Im a big supporter of gear that is worth its salt, and I am even more a fan of timeless designs that have been improved over their life. Danner boots are classic gear. They are not the most high tech design with the most high tech materials, but they are built to last: a concept that has been lost in the modern world for some time.
These days products are built for convenience. Either they are broken in already or built with materials that have a specific life span. It has come to it that its easier to replace something than it is to repair it. But that is not the case at Danner. They hold true to wanting to build something that may take a year or two to fully break in, but will take a lifetime to break. To put it mildly, Danner overbuilds. This focused commitment of overbuilding has allowed them to accomplish what few can claim: instead of simply being viewed as a product, Danner today serves as a badge of self-expression for those at the top of their vocation, as well as those who aspire to be.
Each boot is hand crafted, with hand selected materials of the highest quality right here in the United States in their Portland, Oregon shop. Danner set the standard (literally) for quality. In 1996 Danner set the ISO 9002 Certification in place for their products earning them the stamp that their boots were constructed to the highest standards of comfort, durability, support and waterproofness.
In 1932 Danner opened its doors in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin with five employees to begin the manufacture of low priced handcrafted work boots. The country was in the midst of the depression, labor costs were under 30 cents per hour and leather and other raw materials needed were dirt cheap. The finished boots sold for less than four dollars a pair. In 1936 In his search for higher quality boots, Charles Danner discovered that calked logging boots in the Pacific Northwest were selling for more than twenty dollars a pair, a considerable amount of money in 1936. That year he moved his family and the Danner business out to Portland, Oregon.
By the end of World War II, the company had built a name for itself making a logger style boot known as the “Shipyard Boot”. The business passed from father to sons Bill and John Danner. Bill Danner purchased his brother’s interest in the business and became the sole owner of the Danner Shoe Mfg. Company. Then in the 60’s President Kennedy stressed the importance of exercise and, seemingly overnight, outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, mountain climbing became national fads. In response, Danner began making hiking boots. The Danner Mountain Trail Boot was recognized by Backpacker Magazine as being the “most ideal” hiking boot. Light and flexible, yet sturdy and very comfortable, this boot began the tradition of Danner boots followed to this day. Then in 1979 Danner pioneered the use of the new GORE-TEX fabric technology, and developed and patented a technique of making the first truly waterproof boot.
Now 82 years later, Danner holds themselves to the highest standards they ever have and continues the tradition of making footwear that won’t break. Today they feature full grain leather metallic and non-metallic safety toes, speed or traditional laces, oil and slip resistant Goodyear Vibram soles, and fully waterproof GORE-TEX construction.
All of Danner’s hand made boots are built to last, but what about when you’ve dished out so much punishment to them that they were pushed to their edge? Do you throw them out for a new pair? Nope: You send them back to Danner to be recrafted to live another day.
There are not very many companies left that say that they won’t compromise, That make a product by hand in the States, that can be recrafted to just like new so you can try and break them again. Thats why I picked them. I love my boots. There isn’t a whole lot more to say about them than that. They’re comfortable, they’re dependable, and they’ll last for forever. From the Military to the ballast rock of the Rail Yard – they are there for me. A year in review for these boots is simply this: I won’t buy another brand of boots.