Boots can be an interesting thing to review: we think of them in such simple terms (protect my feet) but in day-to-day use there are a number of metrics they are measured by.  Failure to keep up in any department means the whole package doesn’t work.  Does the heel cup chafe your Achilles?  Too much ankle support or not enough?  Is the sole too rigid causing early foot fatigue and cramping?  Having warmed you up with the first media glance of Danner’s Reckoning, I’ve now had enough months and enough miles to fully weigh in.

While the tech specs are well covered in the First Look article, here’s a brief overview:

  • Danner Vibram Outsole
  • Fiberglass Shank
  • Air Mesh liner
  • 8″ Boot, weighing ~37oz
  • Made in the USA, Berry compliant

I’ve had this pair of boots for about six months now, and they have been my daily wear.  I’ve taken them out to the range or into the woods whenever I’ve needed to test other products.  I’ve worn them on a number of long walks and a few jogs.  I’ve spent the day in the heat stacking hay bales.  Until recently, I still felt I needed one more big push before I could finalize a review.  I spent the last few days in eastern Oregon hunting antelope.  The environment is similar to Afghanistan, rocky ground and steep walking, only with a lot more sage brush.  The daytime temperature was well over 100° F and we chased some nice bucks from hither to yon.  These few days not only added a great deal to the mileage count, they provided the more extreme conditions necessary to put some stress on a hot-weather combat boot.

Danner Reckoning boots | Final Review
That air mesh liner…

So, we have an un-insulated desert boot, mid weight with good ventilation.    Usually lacking insulation means boots in this style suffer when the sun goes down.  So far, this has been just as comfortable in 45° rain as it has been in 105° desert sun.  The air mesh liner is really effective at keeping your feet dry, so when you’re done moving and sweating for the day your wet feet don’t turn into frozen feet.  Plus, it feels like velvet.  Nearly friction-free velvet.  No more hot spots on your foot, the joy of having a boot this soft on the inside cannot be understated.  I figured this liner would wear pretty quickly, but with

Having a soft ankle like the venerable USGI jungle boot usually means you’re on your own for ankle support.  While this high-ankle region is similar, it is just a little stiffer, offering twisted-ankle protection without causing fatigue from fighting against excessive restriction.

Vibram knows outsoles.  Traction on the Reckoning simply works.  Pavement, wet grass, mountainous rocks and dirt: the Vibram sole handles it all without skipping a beat.  Impact cushion is likewise effective here, minimizing the shock transmitted up to your joints.  This has a profound effect on the knees and ankles of someone who tromped all over Afghanistan with a wrecked meniscus.  Walking doesn’t have to hurt??

Danner Reckoning boots | Final Review

The rough-out, full grain leather that is wrapped around the outside of this boot is very durable stuff.  It’s matched well with 1000D nylon to provide a fantastically wear-resistant exterior.  I scuffed and scraped my way through all the rocks along my path, yet the leather is showing very little wear.

The Reckoning is IT.  This is the be-all, end-all of hot weather boots.  The Reckoning is in my personal footwear Hall Of Fame for its comfort, support and durability.  Danner is asking $260 for a pair of what I consider to be the best boot you can find for temperatures above 32°.  Don’t get caught deploying without them!