Danner Boots – A State of Art Footwear

Danner Boots – A State of Art Footwear
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Imagine a soldier on the battlefield, a law enforcement officer on the job, or a mountaineer ascending Mt. Everest. How important do you think something as simple as footwear would be to each one of them? If you were to ask anyone who works at Danner in Portland, Oregon, the answer would almost certainly be this: Very Important. That’s because Danner is a company that prides itself in putting the absolute most into making the best footwear possible for those in the military, law enforcement, industrial, outdoor and hunting fields. It is this commitment to excellence and high standards that has elevated the name Danner, and in fact the company itself, to a level upon which they alone stand.

A Trusted Original

Sure, there are other companies out there who make quality, sturdy boots and footwear. But to wear a handcrafted Danner boot is something else entirely. That is why the name Danner is so trusted by those in the military and law enforcement, and by anyone worth their salt who spend their time outdoors: from a hunter to an outdoorsman to a construction worker. Danner embodies what most footwear companies today do not: a commitment to detail and quality, a very high set of standards, belief that a pair of boots should be durable and last a long time, and use of the absolute best materials. All of these combined means a pair of Danner boots will look and feel great and serve you faithfully in any situation.

Danner boots

Danner boots

The Danner Shoe Company was founded in 1932 by Charles Danner in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. His mission was to create affordable, handcrafted work boots. In 1936, Mr. Danner moved his company to Portland, Oregon, continuing his search to make high quality boots and footwear. In the 60’s and 70’s, Danner started making hiking boots. The Danner Mountain Trail Boot was the starting point for their tradition in making superior hiking boots that continues to this day. In 1979, Danner introduced a new way of making a completely waterproof boot, using Gore-Tex fabric technology. Today, Danner carries on their tradition of excellence and high standards with a full line of hiking, hunting, outdoor, military and work boots in their 30,000 sq. ft. factory in Portland, Oregon.

Art Form & Craft

You can describe Danner’s process of making boots as both an art form and a craft. Both attributes can be used to describe the design of what Danner does when they make a pair of boots. Over 100 hands will touch the boots as they are being produced from start to finish. Danner boots go through a multitude of steps from start to finish. It all starts with the grading and cutting of the leather and the hand stitching of the boot. Then features such as Vibram outsoles and Gore-Tex waterproof liners are added and incorporated into the design. Danner boots are built to last, which is why Danner has a recrafting department to make sure a pair of boots will last a long time. Ever wondered how to properly take care of and condition your Danner Boots?

Here is a breakdown of Danner’s process of making a pair of boots:

Grading Leather

Danner craftsmen test and grade 100% of the leather that goes into making a pair of the boots. None of the testing and grading of the leather is done by machine or automation; all of it is done by hand. Each hide is graded on a scale of 1-5 that tells the cutters how much of each hide is usable. Every hide of leather is then measured through a series of six tests that check for tear strength, thickness, temper, flexibility, durability, and finish and appearance. This process of hand testing and hand grading the leather ensures boots that will perform better.

Cutting Leather

Every single piece of leather in a Danner Boot is cut by hand. Every part of the hide has a specific purpose and use. Certain parts of the hide are used for certain parts of the boot. For instance: the stiffer leather is used for the toe, while the softer leather is used for the tongue and the lining. Danner’s experienced craftsmen evaluate each hide to cut around any flaws that might be found in the leather. This process ensures that the best part of each hide is used, and that the end product will be flawless.


Danner handcrafts every single boot they make, and no step is more important than the other. Almost the whole boot is hand-stitched piece by piece, much of it by eye. Danner also puts hinges on the boot lasts so they can be removed from the boots without damaging the lining. Both of these processes are highly important and somewhat unique in an industry where automation and mass-production by machine are the norm. Danner doesn’t cut corners in order to make a pair of boots faster. This process is the only way to craft a boot with the fit, comfort and durability that meets their high standards.

Design Construction

Danner starts the design process by using an articulated hinged last, which yields a more consistent fit for every Danner boot. Next, the designers select the best components and materials- from premium leathers to Gore-Tex waterproof fabric- to construct the boots. Danner is able to incorporate processes such as stitchdown and San Crispino construction- which in turn make for a more durable and higher quality boot- into their design process and construction. These processes are rarely if at all used by other companies, and are only possible because everything is done by hand by Danner’s expert craftsmen. Using stitchdown and San Crispino construction is the best and strongest way to ensure a boots longevity.

Vibram Outsoles

Just like a pair of boots, an outsole is only as good as what you put into it. Which is why Danner collaborated with Vibram to create a custom outsole design that year after year stands up to the highest standards. The Vibram outsoles are made of vulcanized rubber in a multi-step process that is also all done by hand. The first step involves mixing the ingredients such as powders, pellets and liquids into a mixer with blocks of polymer. These ingredients are mixed together to create the rubber compound used to create the outsoles. Next, the rubber compound is placed in a mold running at 350 degrees fahrenheit that will heat up, melt, flow and fill the mold. This process results in the creation of the Vibram volcanized rubber outsole.

Gore-Tex Fabric Liners

Danner was the first company to use Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable liners. Their liners are made with only one seam to ensure complete waterproof protection. Danner calls this the “Around the World” stitch because it encompasses the entire liner. This one stitch seam guarantees waterproof protection and performance. Gore-Tex waterproof and breathable fabrics are extensively and exhaustively tested to ensure the highest standards. The waterproof fabric is first tested by Gore-Tex and again by Danner to meet the high standards held by both companies. The end result is a boot that is guaranteed to keep your feet dry.


Danner is able to bring boots back to life with their recrafting department in their Portland, Oregon facility. Most of the outsole of Danner boots can be recrafted and replaced. Besides, the leather can be reworked and the seam can be restitched. The stitchdown construction of Danner’s boots allow them to be reconstructed and recycled from the midsole down. Putting a new Vibram outsole on the boots gives them a new life and makes them last longer. A boot can be recrafted several times as long as the upper of the boots construction is still in good condition and in one piece. This means that your well-loved pair of stitchdown constructed boots can literally last you a lifetime, and will be there for you as long as you take good care of them.

Mountain Light

In 1979, Danner introduced the original Mountain Light, considered by many to be the best hiking boot of all time. Fast forward to today, and the Mountain Light is still handmade by Danner’s expert bootmakers in Portland, Oregon. Although Danner has reintroduced the Mountain Light to a brand new generation, the new model is still made to the exact original specifications and attention to quality and detail that made the Mountain Light an instant classic that has withstood the test of time. For over 30 years, the Mt. Light has helped set the bar and influence every other hiking boot since its creation. Its hard to beat an original, and to this day the Mt. Light has kept its place as one of the top hiking boots on the market. Danner has also introduced the Mountain Light II, a new iteration of the classic Mountain Light.

Danner Mountain Light Hiking Boots

Every pair of Mountain Light Hiking Boots are handmade and handcrafted in Portland, Oregon. The superior quality and durability of the Mt. Light boots is a testament to the passion and attention to detail that goes into making every pair of boots. These are Made in the USA and must conform to Danner’s superior standards and specifications. Every pair is made with full-grain leather, Vibram Kletterlift outsoles, waterproof GoreTex liners, a 650 last and are embossed with the Danner logo. The quality and craftsmanship of the Mt. Light boots can be seen in the details. The boots are made with a full-grain, one-piece all-leather upper that provides waterproof protection and durability. The Vibram Kletterlift outsole- which was created for comfort and longevity- provides excellent traction and stability on surfaces that are dry and wet.

The Mt. Light boots weigh 62 oz, measure 5″ in height, and feature a fiberglass shank. The heel will give the wearer lightweight comfort and superb shock absorption. The 100% GoreTex breathable and waterproof liner is designed to keep feet dry and comfortable in normal and extreme conditions. Danner’s 650 last has a narrower and more slender fit. This means the boot will be more snug on your feet, which is good if you are doing something that requires stability and support. Danner craftsmen use a stitchdown construction by hand that gives the boot a wider platform. This offers better stability underfoot, and allows the Mt. Light boot to be recraftable in their Portland, Oregon facility.

Danner Mountain Light II Hiking Boots

In addition to the original Mt. Light, Danner has introduced its sequel, the Mountain Light II. Like all of Danner’s boots, the Mt. Light II are also made in the USA in Portland, Oregon. They can also be re-crafted to look like brand new boots even after years of use, and the stitch-down constructed sole can be easily replaced if they have worn down. The bottom line is that these boots will last you a good, long time. The Mt. Light II boots weigh 3 lbs 8 oz; so if you are looking for something that is light and fast, these boots might not suit your needs. Having said that, for heavy duty durability, the Mt. Light II boots are amazingly comfortable, and only get more so over time. They are made with a full-grain leather upper that provides plenty of ankle support on all types of terrain, especially on rocky and uneven terrain. The Gore-Tex liner combined with the one-piece leather construction makes these boots 100% waterproof. They are very breathable for an all leather and Gore-Tex boot, even in the midst of summer and winter. The Vibram Kletterlift outsoles are made to provide superior traction and comfort and will also last a long time. The half-step molded polyurethane instep and fiberglass shank inside the boot will support the arch and heel of your foot, and the EVA midsole will provide shock absorption and support as well.

danner mountain hiking boot

danner mountain hiking boot

Overall, the Danner Mt. Light and Mt. Light II’s are a classic and solid pair of hiking boots that will see you through thick and thin; from the trails and terrain of the harshest environments to the concrete sidewalks of the city. Most people will wholeheartedly agree that both boots stay true to Danner’s mission of creating quality crafted boots that are both durable and comfortable. The beauty of the Mt. Light and Mt. Light II is that they will only get better over time and with use, and will shape themselves to your feet. Also, both boots are recraftable, which means the wear and tear and abuse they will endure can be undone and even reversed. This will leave you with an essentially new pair of boots. Take care of them and they will take care of you, and will last you a very, very long time.

Measuring for the Perfect Fit

Because the Mountain Light Boots are made on Danner’s 650 last, they will generally fit people with a narrower foot better than people who have a wider foot. This is because the Mt. Light boots are intended to have a more snug and narrow fit. If your foot is wider than normal, I would suggest ordering a size “EE” for the Mt. Light. For the perfect fit, start by measuring both feet. If you find that one of your feet is slightly wider than the other, then choose the size that will fit the larger of the two. Another thing to consider is the type of socks you might wear with your boots. If you will be wearing socks that are thicker, then consider a pair of boots that are a half-size larger than what you would normally wear. When you get your boots, wear them inside and try them out for a few hours to make sure they fit and feel right.

Size Chart
Size Desc
Mns B: Men’s Narrow Width
Mns D: Men’s Medium Width
Mns EE: Men’s Wide Width
Mns 4E: Men’s Extra-Wide Width
Wmn M: Women’s Medium Width
Wmn W: Women’s Wide Width