No this is not a ferocious mountain lion–it’s Winslow, my cat, checking out my new superhero hiking boots: Danner Mountain Pass. Because why wouldn’t you feel like a superhero wearing these boots? My hands were shaking a little when I opened the box because I was so excited to have my own real hiking boots!
Danner has been making hand-crafted boots since 1932 when Charles Danner opened his boot-making business in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Two years later, he moved his family and the Danner business out to Portland, Oregon which is where Danner boots are still made to this day. Hiking, hunting, law enforcement, military, work and casual–you can find a Danner boot that does what you need.
I had a hard time choosing between the Mountain Light Cascade and the Mountain Pass Rio. On the one hand, I really like the look of the Mountain Light Cascade, its iconic 1970s style with smooth full-grain leather and minimal stitching. And there’s no avoiding the caché these boots acquired following their debut in the movie version of Wild, Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir describing her 1,100-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995.
But in practicality a benefit of the Mountain Pass boot is that it’s 25% lighter than the original Mountain Light. These days (read: motherhood) I am not doing much serious long-distance trekking. Plus the ankle of the Mountain Pass is padded and dips lower in the back which is kinder and gentler on one’s Achilles tendon and delicate ankle skin.
Aside from its classic aesthetic, the Mountain Pass features durable stitch-down construction, a full-grain leather upper and a breathable Dri-Lex® lining. The footbed is removable and the sole is made from Vibram® Kletterlift, designed for comfort and durability with reduced height and weight.
Danner offers four color choices in the Mountain Pass for men and women: Major Brown (suede), Dress Blues, Rio and Cedar (both classic light brown). I chose the Rio. The Mountain Pass retails for $350. You can buy your boots directly from Danner, or a few retailers like REI carry a limited selection of styles. Danner also has four brick and mortar stores. I visited the Danner store location at The Landing in Renton, Washington: a gorgeous store with super friendly and knowledgeable sales staff who were extremely nice to my my very active daughter. If you live in the greater Seattle area, definitely check out their store!
So how did they feel when I took them out for a walk in the Washington Park Arboretum? Like buttah! Seriously, right out of the gate my Mountain Pass boots were comfy. No ankle chafing, no banged up toes (size is just right). I didn’t want to take them off. And since I wasn’t on a back-country trail, I brought along my much loved Porteen Gear camera bag which, I must say, looks pretty darn good with my boots!
And hey, if you want to go ‘Wild‘ with these boots, you can easily lace up a pair a snazzy bright red laces, just like those Reese Witherspoon wore in the movie. However you deck ’em out, these boots are made for walking! Take them out on the trail, ramble through a park or stroll city streets.
Be sure to check out Danner’s website which is chock-full of amazing boots for every purpose under the sun (or rain as is the case in the Pacific Northwest). Pay attention to their sizing guide, which I found to be quite accurate. And please–I cannot emphasize this enough–make sure your boots are the right size and take the time to properly break them in, lest you lose your toenails on the Pacific Crest Trail like Cheryl Stayed did (Strayed, by the way, wore different boots when she hiked the PCT). You will love your boots. And your feet will thank you.
Stay tuned–come Spring–for more adventures featuring my Danner Mountain Pass boots! As soon as the snow melts, I’ll be hitting the trails.
I received this item for review purposes, but all opinions expressed are my own.
It’s all about the journey,