Review: Danner Trail 2650 GTX Shoe

A top-notch Gore-Tex trail shoe from the American heavyweight brand.

Feature type Review

Read time 4 min read

Published May 24, 2024

Author Josh Raper

Josh Raper Josh is a photographer and videographer specialising in capturing outdoor brands, travel and expeditions. Having been on expeditions around the world and supported adventurers & athletes on various challenges, he is a passionate outdoorsman and enjoys exploring new places.

OUR VERDICT

A superior long distance Gore-Tex trail shoe that works for everything from a bit of scrambling to everyday city life.

Weight 765g per pair
Features Lightweight – only 765g, Vibram Megagrip combined with Vibram® 460 sole, Leather and textile upper Gore-Tex Lining, OrthoLite footbed, EXO Heel System, Trailguard TPU shank, 8mm heel-to-toe drop

Pros

  • Impressively waterproof
  • Great grip in dry, outdoor environments
  • Increased stability on uneven terrain
  • Very durable

Cons

  • Narrow toe box
  • Slippy on wet urban surfaces such as smooth stone pavement
  • Not very breathable if being used in hotter climates

WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR

Being a travel and outdoor photographer and film-maker, I tend to carry large, heavy rucksacks on some questionable terrain, in all weathers. Therefore, shoe-wise, I need something that can perform well in all those conditions and keep my feet dry while giving me excellent support and grip.

I prefer using a lighter weight pair of shoes compared to boots as I find boots more restrictive when scrambling or hiking up steep terrain, but I don’t want to compromise on ankle support if I can help it.

In an ideal world, I love having a pair of shoes that can perform well in the great outdoors, as well as being able to look like they belong when I go into town.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I was first drawn to the Danner Trail 2650 Gtx because their design was inspired by the conditions on the Pacific Coast Trail (which is 2650 miles, hence the name).

For starters, the PCT has always been on my to-do list, but it also meant that these shoes have been built to withstand continuous use in harsh terrain and to provide enough support so your feet make it the whole way. Knowing that I had some multi-day hikes coming up as well as traveling around Australia, New Zealand and SE Asia, I was keen to test a pair out properly.

My first impression getting them out of the box was that they seemed to be incredibly well-built, and a lot of thought had gone into the design of the 2650 Trail Gtx to make them super durable, while not compromising on weight or comfort. Weighing in at just under 800g, the Danner Trail 2650 Gtx are really light weight considering the upper is made from leather and textile and it has the Vibram megagrip sole.

A word of warning though from first trying these on, if you have feet on the wider side, they may not be for you. My feet are in the middle ground (A shape, E width for those in the know) and I really struggled to get my feet in to begin with. In fact, the only way I could was to take the laces out completely, stretch the shoes out as much as I could and wear them around the house to stretch them out for a bit.

This may seem pretty drastic and a bad selling point, but once I had done this, they fit really well and – aside from the toe box – were trail ready and no real need to break them in beforehand.

Being an adventure photographer, I find myself splashing around in puddles and getting low camera angles in rivers quite a lot. Now I must be honest, I haven’t looked after these shoes as much as I would have liked, and they’ve probably only been retreated once in around 6 months or so. However the Gore-Tex lining combined with the leather and textile upper has always kept my feet dry without fail, even when they’ve been completely wetted out. There is a compromise though with regards to breathability and have found when using these shoes in hotter climates such as in Taiwan and Australia, my feet have been overheating quite a bit. Something to be aware of if you intend to use them in hotter climates.

the Gore-Tex lining combined with the leather and textile upper has always kept my feet dry without fail

THE TEST

This has ended up being a long-term test, and I must say I have been super impressed with them to the point where they have become my everyday shoe as well as using them out in the wild. I must have worn them nearly everyday for 6 months or so now, and they’re still going strong without any obvious signs of wear or tear apart from the expected wear on the sole. 

In that time, they have completed many miles around the Brecons, Snowdonia and the South Downs, as well as further afield such as the famous Tongario Alpine Crossing in New Zealand and various sections of the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage trail in Japan. These shoes really have seen it all and they keep on going! Not to mention being my everyday shoe around my now home city of Bristol – I estimate that these shoes must have already done 500-750 miles at least.

When I’ve been taking these off the trail, I’ve been impressed with how much grip and protection they provide. I’ve stubbed and knocked the front of these shoes against more rocks and tree roots than I care to mention, but while the rubber toe rand is fairly scuffed now, it’s always protected my toes and shows no sign of failing anytime soon. The Vibram megagrip combined with the multi-directional lugs have allowed me to scramble at some pretty extreme angles on dry rock.  I have found though that on sharper rocks and rougher terrain, you can begin to feel these objects through the sole; not in an uncomfortable or painful way, but might be worth considering if you intend to use these as your main scrambling shoes. 

One thing Danner has done differently with the Trail 2650 GTX is moving the heel cup onto the outside. Normally you’ll find this on the inside, but by moving it to the exterior it allows the heel to sit more naturally, and gives more stability to the whole foot. Danner have also added an 8mm drop to this model, which I’ve found has helped with foot fatigue and improved my walking stride.

WHO ARE THESE SHOES FOR?

The Danner Trail 2650 Gtx is an incredibly versatile shoe built for most terrains and conditions, so would suit someone who is looking for a lightweight durable trail shoe that can also fit in well in more urban environments.

I would just say that if you intend to do a lot of scrambling on rougher surfaces, it may be worth looking at an alternative due to feeling sharper rocks and surfaces through the sole.

WHAT STANDS OUT?

Protection

The rubber toe rand offers great protection from rocks, roots and any other obstacles you may encounter on the trails.

never had any leaks or wet toes

Waterproofing

The Gore-Tex membrane combined with the leather and textile upper results in a super waterproof shoe. I’ve submerged these shoes in rivers multiple times and never had any leaks or wet toes.

Grip

Multi-directional lugs combined with the Vibram megagrip rubber means that you’ll grip pretty much on any dry surface, particularly dry rock.

Stability

The external heel counter results in increased stability on uneven terrain, while maximising comfort and a more precise fit.

VALUE FOR MONEY

Looking at other competitors on the market, I think the value for money is exceptional for the Danner Trail 2650 GTX shoes. While £190 may seem expensive to some for a GTX trail shoe, the ongoing performance and durability these shoes provide is well worth the cost, when you consider how many miles you can get out of them. I certainly have not got nearly as half as many miles out of cheaper pairs before they fell apart. Considering the materials used, I believe this is a genuinely cost-effective option.

BASE BOTTOM LINE

Despite the initial narrow fit issue at the beginning of this long-term test, the shoes have performed well without fail and still have many miles left with no major signs of wear or tear. I’m a big fan.

So you can hit the trails this summer!

BASE checks out a load of trail running shoes!

ReviewMark Bullock • March 07, 2024

Review: adidas Free Hiker 2.0 Low Gore-Tex Shoe

A really great, high-performing shoe for a super wide variety of activities.

ReviewLena Drapella • September 11, 2023

Review: Arc’teryx Norvan LD3 Women’s Trail Shoes

A great all-round trail shoe with a bold and interesting design and a lightweight yet supportive feel

ReviewAlex Foxfield • July 05, 2023

Review: Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX review

A capable, understated and speedy, lightweight hiking shoe

ReviewWill Appleyard • February 21, 2023

Review: Keen NXIS Evo Hiking Boot

The fast and light version of Keen’s bestselling hiking boot

ReviewJethro Kiernan • January 11, 2023

Review: Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Boot

A comfy, light and versatile boot for wet weather hiking followed by a trip to the pub

ReviewMatthew Pink • August 02, 2022

Review: Adidas Terrex SoulStride trail running shoes

A comfy and stable beginner’s trail shoe that transitions easily between terrains

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