Since 1932, the Danner boot company has been making high-quality tootwear for working men and women, and they are based right here in the United States. Danner’s headquarters are in Portland, Oregon, and they stake their reputation on using a blend of old-world craftsmanship and new-age technologies to build footwear that will literally last a lifetime. This isn’t some empty marketing ploy; I’ve owned the same pair of Danner Fort Lewis 10″ boots since they were issued to me in June, 1993, at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. Twenty-one years later, I still have them, and still wear them. I love them so much, I even sent them back last year to get what the cobblers at Danner refer to as “The Supreme Package.”
Name: Danner Fort Lewis 10″ Black 200G (style #69110)
Colors available: Black leather, brown suede (discontinued)
Sizes available: 7-15
Widths available: Men’s B (narrow), men’s D (medium), men’s EE (wide), women’s M (medium)
Weight: Men’s 74 ounces, women’s 64 ounces
Upper material outer: High-quality full-grain polishable leather.
Upper material inner:
- 100 percent waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX® liner is engineered to keep your feet dry and comfortable—even in extreme conditions.
- 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation offer lightweight warmth for those needing protection in cold climates.
Outsole material: Vibram® Kletterlift outsole is specifically designed for comfort and durability. The heel provides lightweight comfort as well as superb shock absorption.
Fit and size: Narrower and tighter fit than I expected. I recommend the EE boots if you have an average-width foot and want to wear a heavier boot sock during colder weather.
Unique feature: One slightly unusual thing about these boots is their relatively small toe. The 10″ boot has 12 eyelets down the front, meaning they’re spaced very close together for a boot with a 10″ upper.
Application: Law enforcement, camping, hiking, day-to-day outdoor activity that doesn’t lead a person to especially wet areas.
Pros: Unusually long durability, less GORE-TEX keeps the feet warm without causing you to sweat. Also, these are re-craftable even after 20 years of abuse.
Cons: High price
Bottom line: I am impressed by any product that, after 20-plus years of use, I can send back and get completely rebuilt. Some people may balk at the price, but good footwear is the basic cornerstone of any outdoor activity. That said, these are not perfect boots for all conditions. I would not recommend these if you are hiking across swamps and rivers; I would choose a different boot, such as the Lowa Z-8s. That being said, I abused these boots whenever I could from 1993-2002 while I was active duty. My job as an engineer didn’t allow me to wear them all the time due to their lack of a “safety toe,” but I did manage to sneak them on and wear them on some field deployments. I also used them as my primary ATV-riding and logging boots for years with no issues at all.
The vibram soles were completely worn flat when I sent them back to Danner in the Spring of 2013. The old-world dedication to craftsmanship and customer service was evident when they resurrected them; my boots were returned to me prepared for another 20 years of abuse. All Danner boots that feature stitched soles are able to be recrafted, with six levels of work to chose from. Still not convinced at the quality of these boots? Just look at the before and after pictures, below. I was not kind to these boots at all. The Danner family of boots can be found at four locations in the Portland, Oregon area or on Amazon.com
Stay tuned for expansion and changes coming early in 2014 as we work to make The Loadout Room even bigger and better. I’ll be working to bring you a piece on acquiring water in a post-disaster situation, and one on firearms for prepping.
(Featured Image Courtesy: danner.com)