: Danner Wading Boots
After fishing successfully on Bahia Honda flats for bonefish one evening, I ran into a very nice couple who were camped down the beach from me. I noticed the woman had a Danner hat on to sheild her eyes from the sun. I offered the social gesture of "hello" as I waded past her little slice of paradise, and she and her husband offered plenty of friendly chat in return. I asked about the hat, and she said "do you like the boots?". Fact is I love them, and until Dennis Worley at Kaufmanns' in Bellevue Washington (some 3500 miles away) recommended them to me, I have been a faithful Danner fan. Of course I wasn't wearing them in the Keys, but they had changed my whole outlook on basketball sized rocks and crushed ankles and insteps. The rigidity and optional carbide studs provide traction and safe stepping for miles of rocky riverfront.
I answered "love 'em" and she replied "good - that's our company". I guess they aren't having too much trouble selling the boots, even though they are top shelf. So I chatted with Mr.Danner and wife for a little while longer as the sun spread it's pastel glow over the mangrove lined sugar white sands of the Florida Keys, and then headed to the car for a date with conch chowder and key lime pie.
Sometime later, standing diametrically distant from that time and place in the pacific northwest, I laced up the Danner boots for a quiet pass through a glacial stream in it's late summer stage - hiding giant rainbows in it's shadows and baring slippery shore rocks. They felt soles quietly gripped the warm weather algae as I swung the purple butt spey through the lie.
Danners are a 5-10 year shoe. They are rigid and will soften over the first few wearings, but will not blister your feet if bought in the correct sizes. They stiffen after long periods of drought (how sad) but soften quickly once wet (ahhhh).
They are cut a little bit narrow, but I have a very wide foot and don't have a problem. In fact I dislike my foot squirreling around in other shoes I have owned.
The soles are so durable and rigid I have never replaced the felts on my studded mid-top boots after several hard years of fishing (v-e-r-y hard). This could have something to do with the studs preserving the felt, dunno.
The stitching on the side panels where the aesthetic suede strip meets the ballistic nylon sides tends to come loose, but has no effect on the performance of the boot (aesthetic only).
Some of the other manufacturers are making a similar product at far less cost, but I will stick with Danners having had great success with them over the last decade. That decade required two pair, by the way. In fact my old ones are left in Seattle and are used to wade steelhead rivers each year.
Quality rating ****
Price rating **
Overall Value rating ****
Special reasons for liking / hating them:
The speed lace hooks (like women's ice skates) on the top few rungs makes on/off a cinch! Putting your full weight on them with your ankle wedged between two rocks doesn't matter, you can't feel a thing. try that with average vinyl or canvas boots.
Although I do not own a pair they are a very popular boot in the Western US, and with good reason. I have met a few people that owned them and being a bit of a gear-weenie I'd ask how they liked them -- never, I repeat never was there one complaint. These people bought them for work and often wore the same for their personal pair. Durable equipment that will last.
Thanks for the tip on the sizing, I tried fitting into some Simms boots before and needed two sizes up from what I normally wear - too narrow to boot. This is an item that really should be tried on before purchasing, as the sizes are so variable.
04-26-2000, 09:26 AM
I must say I have never had a bad thing to say about my Danners. My first pair had been resoled 4 times taken abuse, bring them in for a litttle honest stitching and there are good to go. My second pair are going bad with about two dozen days on them. Seams failing between the mesh and the pleather. I had heard Danner changed the thread, back to the shoe repair with both pairs. Just an FYI their quality may be slipping.
04-27-2000, 01:22 AM
What's the best boot? Sounds obviouse but it's the one that fits the best. I wanted the Danners to be the boot for me(-40%) but they fit me weird in the heel. I tried on 4 pairs just in case, but no go.
Sims are pretty narrow.
Patagonia are sized wacky and don't offer much support.
My Orvis Brogues fit ok.(a little sloppy), have good support, but are a little flimsy.
It is tough to combine good insulation, circulation, comfort and support.
Like the best hiking boots, Danners are stiff starting out but age well and last for several years. Their biggest advantage is support and overall durability, and I love the carbide studs for fall wading on river banks. The SPEED laces are hard to live without once you use them. I agree w/ Andre - the aesthetic stitching along the side panels comes off easy. I never bothered to stitch this non-structural panel. He may be having more problems lately... so you might ask him about new models. I have a new pair that I haven't needed to use yet (the old are still fine).
One note of caution - they should be purchased to fit the style of wader you wear with the arrangement of socks, etc. They are rigid like hiking shoes or skates and if they fit with summer waders they might not work with 5mm feet. If you buy for both wear outer socks in summer like most PNW guys do, this also keeps gravel and grit from damaging the wader feet while padding the space for winter weight use.
I've had many many shoes but none delivered the years of hard core service that the Danners have for me. Mileage may vary!
I've never their wading boots, but Danner's are absolutely the best light hiking/hunting boots I've ever used. I'm on my third pair.
For those of you in the Pacific Northwest, the Danner outlet in Portland is worth checking out. It's been a while since I was there (maybe 7 years - yikes!), but they used to have lots of cosmetic seconds for half off.
11-30-2004, 01:56 AM
I have a pair and have used them for three years. Not nearly as comfortable or as good ankle support as Simms Freestones. They hold up well, but I have lossed a number of the brass lace loops - they just break off, and I end up lacing through the eyelets. I am of an opinion this happens often as it happened to my first pair which I sent back, then happened soon after to the replacement. I still have my Danners and will reuse them. My pair of Simms have had several delamination of felt issues. I got my first pair replaced after several years (for free). My second pair delaminated after a few seasons and I fixed them myself. I have since purchased another pair of Freestones (because of comfort), and hope the delamination issue has been corrected. My opinion only. Mark
I fished in them for twenty years....my feet always hurt when I quit fisihing. I even developed collapsed bone muscles in some of my toes... I fish a l ot...anyway, I switched to a pair of Fly Tech boots, added cushioning inserts, and cannot begin to tell you the difference I feel in comfort ....also, I generaly got abotu 1.5 years out of a pair of Danner felt wading soles before they blew out along the outside edges of the boot where the leather rotted along the sole affixed area...unrepairable. Facts, not hype.
Four years after the original post, many new boots have come onto the market. Rather than debate the original post (look at that date!), let's discuss the merits of more modern boot designs.
I have recently added the Simms lightweights to my two pairs of Danners (still going strong) and am eye-balling the Patagonia beefies for the next purchase.
11-30-2004, 12:17 PM
Thumbs up on the Patagonias. I had a pair for 4 seasons with many days on the water, hikes, pavement, etc. The felt finally peeled off and I've used them that way as a saltwater flats boot on rocks, barnicles, sand etc. They look like hell but are still going strong. Still using the original laces!
Best part about them is they dont shrink/stretch like leather does. Always the same comfortable fit.
11-30-2004, 01:51 PM
I have some serious issues with just about every major brand of wading shoes and have not in the last 15 years had a pair that stood up to an entire season of use. I do not spend alot of time riding in boats and fortunately most of the places I fish have very limited road access. So I probably get to put a lot more use on the boot than some others.
I would rate the Simms nera the bottom either Guide weight or light weight. Korker convertibles the jury is still out but its not looking good.
I have had fair results with several Orvis boots and the latest LL Bean lightweight is lasting much better than Simms, but I see wear on the toe and some stitching starting to loosen up so they are on the downhill run.
I have recently accquired a pair of Cabelas Guide Tech Boots that Look like they just might be the ticket I have higher hopes for these than any other that I have used in quite some time. They have a lot of Kevlar mixed in with some very substantial molded sythetics and they are lined with neoprene for comfort. On the downside they only come in Felt Soles so they are a problem hiking in the muds of Winter but I wore them a for sevral months this fall and I see virtually no wear at the toe or the heel and there is no loose stiching or loose glue joints to be seen.
The boot appears to be a little on the wide side as most brands go but I threw in a pair of high tech Gel insoles and that problem went away. They were good enough hiking that when I was back to my truck at the end of a 14 mile roundtrip my feet were just fine.
I wouldn't be so bold as to recomend these boots just yet but I would recomend having a look at them before you settle on another purcahse.
I will jump in here as well. I like to wear studded boots ,when not in a boat, and have had the simms, chota , and now the patagonia beefy. My issue has been with the studds ripping up the leather on top of the toe box. The simms guides were comfy but I was already wearing a hole in tops of the boots from inadvertently cleating myself.
Acutally the best boots I have had were a old pair of lacrosse ones. The toe box was incased in hard rubber which I think is a great idea. These lasted 3 years before the felt wore out. Do not see why others do not do this. I was eyeing the cabelas boots cause they have this feature.
I happened into a good deal with the patagonia beefy boots which have some rubber encasement so I am hoping these hold up. Time will tell...
11-30-2004, 06:37 PM
I will add my experiences as well:
Counting years of use on any equipment item is too broad. 'Yeah, I get X years of use out of my boots'. Fail to mention they only fish 10 days a year.
Danner is no longer making their wading boots. Also have had the same problem as Bee with the side blowing out. Un-repairable. Last pair lasted a whole 30 days before coming undone. Not too happy about that and, even it they were still making wading boots, no way would I ever purchase another pair at even half of their MSRP.
Been through two pairs of beefy studded boots. Approx. 45 days of use on each pair before they irked me enough to replace (felt worn out, boots cracking, studs missing). While very comfortable and plenty of support, no longevity. No way again.
Now wasting money on the Korkers converts. At first I just about exploded after the stupid studded felts came off while trying to wade a particularly nasty river. This after a big whopping 10 days of use. Luckily I was saved because the small shop in the canyon did indeed have replacement soles- the updated version with the rivets to hold the felt on the 'board'. Have now used this 'updated' version for just over 40 HARD days of hiking and fishing. No more issues to report. Boots seem to be holding up very well and MIGHT just prove to be worth the extra cost. Won't really know until next year's abuse comes and goes.