Danner Explorer 650 Walking Boot | Review
When both performance and comfort are important, Danner have more than got you covered
Here in the UK, Danner may not be the most recognisable name in the world of boots, but there’s good reason why our cousins across the Atlantic hold these purveyors of outdoor footwear in high regard. Danner have been making boots that can stand up to the climbs of the Pacific Northwest since 1932, and in the 85 years between stitching those first bits of leather and today, they’ve learnt a thing or two. They’ve even featured heavily in a major motion picture, being worn by Reese Witherspoon in her portrayal of Cheryl Strayed in Wild.
Today, Danner are masters of making workwear-style boots that are ideal for a life outdoors, but that also look good enough to wear off the hill as well.
"With high spec hiking boots that look as good as the Explorer 650s in their arsenal, it’s easy to see why the Danner name is rapidly becoming as big here as it is in their native USA."
Weighing in at just over 450g per shoe, The Explorers are a lightweight hiking boot, but don’t let that slender mass fool you into thinking they don’t cut the mustard when the going gets tough.
The boot is protected with a 100 per cent waterproof barrier, which keeps external moisture away from your feet, meaning greater comfort for longer and ultimately more time out and about. This smart waterproof technology also allows internal moisture to escape away from your foot which, at risk of overstating it, makes for a less stinky tent when you take your boots off after a long day walking in them.
On the outside, the upper is made from full-grain leather with breathable nylon panels around the ankles, and then a padded tongue. The cut extends slightly above the ankle in a classic backpacking boot design that’s intended to give extra support and stability.
Underneath sees the Vibram sole that Danner are, quite understandably, so fond of. The SPE Midsole is a rubberised EVA foam which is soft enough to cushion your foot, but it’s also super durable, ensuring it won’t start to deteriorate within a handful of outings. The outsole on the Danner Explorer 650s is designed specifically for the boot itself, and includes a special Megagrip compound which, as the name suggests, is designed to give a reliable hold, even on slippery and wet surfaces.
There’s also a removable Ortholite footbed in the Explorer 650s. This is a three-layer cushioned sole that not only adds comfort but supports the muscles in your feet as well. The open-cell polyurethane construction ensures that air is distributed evenly around the footbed, basically keeping things toasty when they should be, and cooling them when they shouldn’t.
With high spec hiking boots that look as good as the Explorer 650s in their arsenal, it’s easy to see why the Danner name is rapidly becoming as big here as it is in their native USA.
Danner Explorer 650 Walking Boot