Slippery Boots of Death

Of course, having the word “desert” in the name is a dead giveaway that the Danner Desert Acadia GTX boots were not originally designed for snow use, but the Gore-Tex liner kept my feet dry and warm with just regular mid-weight wool hiking socks in -10C weather.  My feet were warm even standing for extended peroids of time in deep snow.  The Vibram Sierra sole worked fine in loose snow and on packed snow, but on freshly snowplowed roads where the black ice had been exposed, they were crazy slippery.  Granted it’s ice, but my Danner 453 hikers actually had more traction on the same surface.  I’m not going to even get into whether siping the sole blocks like snow tires or using a harder/softer compound would make them work better in a winter environment.  I’ll be looking into whether Lowa or someone else makes a snow/ice Gore-Tex boot. 

Comfort and support-wise, it was like being back in my old Danner Fort Lewis boots, only lighter.  There is less ankle support than an all-leather boot, but they allow for more freedom of movement with fewer pressure points.  The tunnel-style speed lace loops work much better at speed lacing than the mountaineering-boot-style D-ring tabs on the Fort Lewis boots.  From the warmth standpoint, I think the more breathable fabric and suede outer may actually be warmer than a full-leather boot because they allow the Gore-Tex membrane to breathe so much better, and warmth and moisture are inversely related.  The newer fiberglass shank, although not as stiff as a legacy steel shank, probably doesn’t conduct heat away from the underside of the foot through the sole.  The sizing was about right, both in width and length, and the arches are in the right location for my feet.  For dedicated warm/dry-weather use, I’d probably get the non-Gore-Tex version of these a half size down for use with thinner socks.

Construction is top-notch.  You really can’t beat Danner’s USA-made boots for quality.  The resoleability is nice, but I don’t know if I’ll ever realize that, since by the time the soles are worn out, the uppers of my boots are often fairly well trashed.  Danner makes some non-resoleable USA-made boots, but the price point is in the same ballpark, and the weight is not significantly lighter, so the only really clear advantage to those is a thinner sole. 

 These Danners are definitely good boots, just not on ice.  I’ll add more to this later after I get some more varied trail use on them.

Tentatively, Three-and-a-half out of four gear monkeys

Highly Recommended

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