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.
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