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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2012
History: I researched hiking boots extensively before deciding on the Explorer. I've usually chosen Lowa boots (made in Germany) because of their reputation and the positive results I've gotten out of the 4-5 pairs I've owned. However, it's become increasingly important to me to support American businesses. After all, when enough people save a few dollars to buy something (usually of inferior quality) made in China, American businesses eventually go under.

That being said, it was still important that I get a quality, comfortable boot. I've been in the Army for over 20 years and have owned several pairs of Danner combat boots. Each one held up to the punishment that operations can dish out, still looking and feeling good years later. I even had several pairs re-soled. This also factored into my decision, and I narrowed the list down to the Explorer.

Quality: I've had the boots about a month now, and must say I disagree with the review that claimed they were uncomfortable (I believe he said that, paying this price, they should feel great right out of the box). It depends on what type of boot you prefer. If you prefer the tennis shoe type, with the more rounded outsoles, then this may feel uncomfortable at first. This is a sturdy BOOT; not an altered high-top sneaker. The sole feels indestructible, whereas the leather is a great combination of pliability and toughness. If you've had leather boots in the past, you'll be able to tell that they put a lot of work into these. The seams are tight and blend well with the leather. The eyelets are strong, with no sharp protrusions that will impact the leather. Even the laces they chose show that this is a superior boot. My only complaint is that the collar should be padded a bit more. It's great if you're wearing boot/hiking socks, but if you're just wearing white socks (like I did to work), it's less comfortable.

Performance: Last week, I visited the backcountry of the Colorado Rockies for about 4 days. The boot held up well traversing streams and occasional boggy areas, and my feet remained dry. The insides aired out quickly once we made camp each evening. The arch supports they included (easily removable) must have done a great job, because I had no issues with tender feet. Finally, it cleaned up well with little effort. You'd never be able to tell that it just returned from scraping on boulders and going 10+ trail miles per day.

Bottom Line: Not to sound cliche', but you get what you pay for. These boots were a great purchase. I've had natural and synthetic boots and, while each has its advantages, I prefer natural leather. This boot will take care of you as long as you take care of it (a reason I think many prefer the carefree nature of synthetic; no maintenance). Danner even has craftsmen that will refurbish the boots for you to make them as good as new. If the past month is any indication, I won't need to send these in for a long, long time.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2010
I have been a police officer for a long time, most of my career as a canine handler. I found out a long time ago that you get what you pay for in foot wear, and not to skimp on good boots. Danners are the best I have found after trying out several other top brands. I have been wearing Danners at work for over 15 years now, and this is my first pair for off-duty wear. The quality is every bit as good as my duty boots and I look forward to years of wear from them. They are a bit stiff when you first get them so my recommendation is to break them in slowly; just use common sense. I did about two weeks of 2 mile walks with mine and they are feeling great. Brown Kiwi should keep them looking great.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2012
I purchased a pair of these boots in size 10D after trying on a pair at a local store. They weren't the most comfortable, but everyone I talked to said they needed to be broken in. I figured I would have to wear them for a couple weeks or more to get them where I wanted them.

Fortunately for me, the heel shank in one of boots shattered after just a few days (lost half a star for this). I returned them to Amazon, and got a full refund. During this time without boots I did some measuring and reading online about sizing, and thought I would try a pair of 9.5EE instead.

Let me tell you - AMAZING difference. What at first seemed like a pair of boots I would just have to get used to is now a pair of boots I'm excited to put on every day. Though I'm pretty sure the "new" pair is a pair another customer returned (no tags, no insert, boxed turned inside out). Considering the no hassle return of my old pair and the reduced price of the "new" pair, I won't complain.

All in all, I've put many miles on these boots in the last month and change. Get your foot sized, it is well worth it. And remember that full leather boots need care to keep them in good shape for the long haul. Conditioner and waterproofing will keep them in good shape for years to come.

- - - - On a side note, you cannot take the new Danner's to any boot shop to be resoled! My local boot guy told me that they use a heat activated glue and a special "oven" to attach the soles, and that the Danner recrafting shop is the only place that can do it (lost another half star for this). You must send your boots back to Danner to get resoled. This may make a difference to some of you. And if anyone knows any different, please let me know!


UPDATE MAY 22ND, 2012:::::

So after a couple good hikes, overland and through everything in Buck's Lake Wilderness in the Sierra of California, as well as daily use in my study sites in the Klamath Mountains and East of Chico, CA, the heel shanks in both boots had shattered. This caused an obnoxious clicking with every step and wore a hole in the leather on the back of one boot. I honestly don't know if it is something with how I walk or with the boots themselves, though a $300 pair of boots should be able to handle hiking like this without destroying themselves in a matter of >45 miles. I have returned them and will give Danner one more chance with a pair of Mountain Light II's. They are an inch lower on the ankle and have a heel cup, but not a full height heel shank. Down to 3 stars. If these fail, I'm off to try Limmer Boots
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2014
I wore my last pair of Danner Explorers 5 days a week for 9 years. I had them recrafted three times by Danner. When I sent them in for their 4th recraft, the leather was simply too worn out and they sent them back sans recraft. It was time to get a new pair. My old Explorers were size 11. Every other shoe I wear is size 11. I ordered an 11... they were too small. This was pair #1.

So, I contacted Amazon and they provided the awesome customer service they are known for and shipped me a 11.5 pair and RMA'd the 11s back. The 11.5 had two incorrectly crafted seams in the toe box where the fabric was bunched up and impinging on the space for your toes--in both boots. Pair #2 went back.

Retry with the 11.5s. Pair #3 arrived, but were obviously worn with several miles on them. No toe box issue, but not cool for a $230 boot. Jeff C with Amazon was awesome in swapping these out. He told me to hang on to them until the new ones arrived and gave me a credit to help offset the hassle. I didn't even ask for the credit, but Amazon stepped up.

Pair #4 arrived today. Both toe boxes were horribly crafted with the same toe box issue that pair #2 had. Additionally, the right bottom liner near the ball of the foot was completely bunched up and sewn down incorrectly. These will be going back and I'm keeping the used ones.

I really wanted to like these boots. I was really proud to buy Danner and American craftsmanship. Looks like Danner isn't what it used to be. I do not advise buying these boots.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2013
Danner GETS IT RIGHT, these boots are AMAZING! I'm a big guy, tall and over 270 pounds! I have a wide foot - folks lovingly call me either "Big Foot" or "Sasquatch", lol. My Explorers took about a week to break in and "mold" to conform to my feet. Danner's leather selection (see their web-site videos) are true and they really do pick the finest leather available. The leather is rich, supple, smells like the fine leathers used in the BEST traditions, thirty years ago, and I really do feel like I'm walking on air. they're so comfortable, I hike on muddy trails, steep rocky terrain, and even wear them to work on "dress-down" Fridays.

This year has been a little peculiar, with snow, sleet and rain, well into what normally would be "Spring". My feet are dry - really bone dry, and I've hiked through five to six inches of deep mud, five inches of wet, slushy snow, and hiked in the driving rain.

These boots are all that was promised by Danner, and more. Traction is good on rock, dirt, mud, snow, grass, and clay. Lastly, in this World of "disposability", cheap, imported crap, and shoddy workmanship, the stitching is perfect, seams "fit", my feet are dry, and the feel and smell of real fine leather all came from AMERICANS, right here in America! And, they're "recraftable" boots, not disposable junk.

I always bought American-made Red Wings, before. They're great boots, the Red Wings, but these DANNER Explorers, are BETTER!

CRAFTSMANSHIP is still alive and well at DANNER, right here in Portland Oregon - U.S.A. Expensive, maybe, but ABSOLUTELY worth every penny. DANNER, you got it right! I AM a believer!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2011
My husband loves these boots! He wears them 7 days a week and they last and last. Very well made and Amazon has a great price! We are used to paying $329 in retail stores.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2013
These boots are well made, comfortable EXCEPT that the fiberglass heel shanks on both cracked. The footbed was like a glove from first lace up. I am tough on my boots, so i was looking forward to my first pair of Danner's. Unfortunately, before long, I started hearing that clicking sound like someone else mentioned. I also started getting a blister on my left heel. I did some research and realized the shanks had broken and were in shattered fragments moving around in the leather at my ankle/heel. Why would they put fiberglass in an area of the boot that flexes so much? Makes no sense to me.
I spent a lot of money on these boots, because Danner has such a great reputation. These were a bust. My Chippewa's lasted me at least five years.
And all the other Danner boots I would exchange these for have these fiberglass shanks. They should put out a recall on that design.
If it wasn't for this, I'd have given these at least four stars. Too bad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2015
When first slipping my feet into these new boots, it was apparent that they really fit like a glove - a snug glove. The length is perfect to the appropriate size (10D in my case), and the width does seem to be slightly narrower than a medium width (typically called "D"). I love how they really hug my feet snugly (in width), because everyone knows that over time a good leather boot should "step out" and break in to your feet as the leather loosens up to create a perfectly molded fit. Like another reviewer said, my first impression was that these felt like cheap plastic-leather excuses for a boot...but I gave them a try and after wearing them around for a few days on carpet, it was apparent that the leather was in fact real and seemed to be just the right weight for a great casual everyday boot (I wear mine daily to and from and at my office and for casual wear). As other reviewers stated, I am having trouble with some rubbing of the leather seams above my forefoot (to the rear of my toes, in front of the forward eyelet). Left boot was fine, right boot had some rubbing. At first, I thought it may have been wrinkles in the liner, but after wearing for while, it was for sure the leather seems that come together in that area. After wearing them for a couple weeks, I felt like I really needed to get a replacement set that wasn't going to I went through Amazon to have another pair sent. By the time they arrived (with another 8-10 days of daily wear and break-in), most of the rubbing seemed to have dissipated...but the new pair does seem to have slightly more volume in the foot box with no noticeable rubbing from the start. It was apparent that the replacement pair was previously tried by someone (creases in the leather and tongue). The new pair was also made from slightly thicker leather around the front, sides, and tongue (noticeably stiffer). I too feel like Danner may have some quality control issues as there were slight but noticeable differences between the pairs (and in individual boots) with just 8 months difference in the date of manufacture.

All in all, I think that these boots will break in fine without any issues and be a great office/casual boot...but also owning other better quality hiking boots (like Asolo), I would never use these for hiking, hard work, or harsh outdoor activities (do yourself a favor and get a great hiking/backpacking boot or custom firefighting boot for the same price or just a bit more). These boots fit like a glove and support the arch somewhat with the snug side leather of the boot, but they really don't have dedicated arch support since no insoles come with them. I wear all my boots with a Superfeet or Spenco Max insole (trimmed to fit), so with the high arch support of aftermarket insoles they fit and feel wonderful. For those of us who have and wear custom work boots that are truly heavy duty (made of 9-12 iron leather), this boot is a medium weight boot at best but should last a long time for my intended use at the office/casual.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2015
Excellent quality boot. I have been looking for a good quality leather hiking boot at an affordable price for some time now. These Danner Explorers are just what I was looking for. Heavy duty leather, excellent stitching, good wide base with great traction, able to be resoled when needed, and made in America. These boots come with plastic heel and arch supports. Initially, I thought it was a little cheap but they are comfortable and seem to work well. I wanted a little extra padding in the ball of the foot, so bought some padded insoles to replace the plastic heel cups. The additional padding pushed my foot too high in the heel, and forced my foot to the top of the boot. No bueno. There is no removable foot bed to take out if you want to add extra cushion, so anything you add just takes up more room in the boot. Not a worry for me, I have an average arch so the plastic inserts that are supplied work ok, and I can still wear them all day comfortably. They are all leather, so expect to have a realistic break in period. I used a leather conditioner and wore mine for about 3-4 hours each day every day for a couple weeks before they started to conform to my feet. Now I wear them whenever I can. The look great, feel good, and look great! They are a bit narrow, so if you have wide feet at all, go for the wide version. Buy some, you will thank yourself.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2013
I have had two pairs of the Danner Explorer; the first pair had a heel shank break within a few hours, and the second had a poorly fitted Gortex lining.

Upon researching high quality hiking boots, I found that the Danner Explorer came highly recommended. I live in Canada, where Danner doesn't sell, but I took the risk and ordered a pair ($310 + shipping + taxes = about $365). They fitted great, and I worked them in on the way to and from work for a few days before hiking in them. Upon my first few hours of a hike, the right heel shank snapped, causing each step to emit a loud "click" as the two plastic pieces shifted over eachother. Since I was planning to use these for hunting, it was not ideal, and just plain annoying anyways.

I sent the boots back, after calling Danner who informed me it was likely a defect ($365 + shipping = $400). They sent back a new pair, which unfortunately I had to pay taxes on again (an additional $50 = $450). Upon inspecting the boots, I saw that the left boot seemed to have a larger size Gortex lining than the size of the boot, which had caused bunching along the sole (sort of like small, hard sandbars) and large folded over flaps along the insides. The left boot is thus quite uncomfortable to wear. However, given that sending them back would at the very least cost an additional $85, I'm not prepared to sink any more costs into these boots.

So for $450 I'm stuck with a pair of boots with a left boot that is quite uncomfortable and unlikely to be useable in a prolonged hike. I may just be unlucky, but my 2 out of 2 pairs with major issues signals to me poor craftsmenship and quality control. Given this experience I will not be going with Danner again, and will try my luck with Hanwag next.
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