Emily GrahamBASE’s Publishing Director is a Cumbrian-based mother of 3 boys who hunts out hills to hike, woodland to explore and water to paddle on. Also has a serious penchant for being unwashed and camping.
A lightweight easy-to-wear and instantly comfortable hiking shoe that transitions perfectly from hill to lunch.
Swede upper with mesh lining
Great support and comfort
Colours to suit everyone
Not that far off a normal trainer
I have a real soft spot for Danner.Maybe it’s the fact that I have an American mother and the brand heritage just seems to resonate with me, but I also love the look and feel of the traditional Danner mountain boot and how that same feel is peppered across all of their products and packaging. The box and tissue paper is plastered with maps of Portland, Oregan USA (where they started making boots back in the 1930s) and the instruction booklet all in brown and green fit really nicely together.
I was chuffed with the shoes on first peek… while some people might find the desert taupe/ picante colourway a bit bland, I am a sucker for something a little less flashy. On initial wear, I found them comfortable, like putting on a trainer and was keen to put them to the test on the hills.
What I’m Looking For
I’m the opposite of fellow BASE pal Matthew Pink who basically lives in hiking shoes. Based on a farm up in Cumbria, I am ALWAYS in wet weather gear and need wellington boots or my Blundstone boots (covered in Nikwax) to keep me as dry as possible. When I go hiking, I normally reach for my Meindl high rise waterproof hiking boots (due to weak ankles and wet weather!) but this time I was keen for something a bit lighter and more versatile for every day use.
Living between Hadrian’s Wall and the Lake District means we spend a lot of time climbing hills with three kiddies in tow but then hitting the local village for some grub. So I wanted something that wasn’t so intense… something wearable, comfortable and not too chunky for lunch afterwards.
I started out wearing these on local walks with the kids and dog, whether it be along the river near us, through woodland or scrambling up hills. I then tested them along the border and in the Lakes. They have been out and about in varying conditions typical of the North. I guess I have been wearing them for around two months now and they still look pretty banging.
WHO IS THIS ITEM FOR?
Danner have been making boots for ‘explorers, craftspeople, and pioneers’ since the 1930s and you can feel the care in the craftsmanship. I would say that I’m someone who is looking for something a little less flashy and this kind of branding is right up my street – an understated vibe. It is super versatile, comfortable and a great entry level shoe for someone that wants something lightweight and not too technical, that can easily jump from daily life to the trails.
The Trail 2650 comes in four different variations. The Campo is the lightest available; the Campo GTX with the same lightweight construction but with the addition of a Gore-Tex lining; then the original 2650 which I’ve tested here; the same with a Gore-Tex liner and finally the 2650 mid with GORE-TEX waterproof lining and additional ankle support.
What Stands Out
Super-comfy midsole and Vibram outside makes for maximum comfort. I didn’t get any blisters which was a novelty and probably down to the EXO heel system.
Easy to jump from the trail to your desk and on to the school run which for me is really key.
These feel really lightweight making them super manoeuvrable and easy to wear in any given circumstance. For an even lighter option try the Campo.
Despite the relatively shallow lugs, you still get that grip with the flexible midsole and the reliability of Vibram Megagrip for long-wearing resilience with incredible grip on both wet and dry surfaces.
Since breaking my ankle back in the day, I do often opt for a higher boot to help support my ankle a little more on the trail. Not that a higher boot always helps, but I did find my ankle quite exposed in the lower cut when walking on more technical terrain. The 2650 Mid would make a good option for anyone looking for a bit more support from their trail shoe or those looking to take on more challenging terrain.
Value For Money
At £160 they are on the expensive side for a pair of trail shoes, especially ones that are so close to a trainer. But I’m hoping these will last for a long time on the trail, especially considering their condition over the last two months.
It’s worth noting too that they offer a 365 day warranty! And you can definitely find them a little cheaper if you’ve got a bit of time to sniff about.
BASE BOTTOM LINE
Knowing that the Danner is a bit of a cult favourite amongst the fashionistas and billed as a lightweight, low-cut, non-waterproof option I wasn’t sure exactly how well shoes would actually perform on the trail. However I found them flexible, comfortable, quick to wear in (which is unusual for me) and really easy to don in day to day life as well as on the hill.
The fact they are so light was exactly what I was looking for and they didn’t let me down. I guess for someone who lives in an incredibly rainy county and has a slightly funky ankle, I would probably go to my higher, waterproof boots for bigger hikes, but I can see these being a perfect entry level go-to for light dry summer trail hikes and those who want a stronger more sturdy trainer for every day life.
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