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on February 25, 2007
Danners Mountain Light II is a hiking boot with a very long heritage, going back to 1957. Before then, hikers pretty much used work boots or very expensive European mountain climbing boots.

The Mountain Light II is constructed using what is often called the "stitchdown" method, otherwise known as Norwegian Welt. The upper leather flares out where it meets the midsole and the two parts are joined by stitching which is visible around the outside edge of the boot. This method has a couple of advantages: it makes the sole of the boot slightly wider than the uppers, which gives a broad base for stability. When the sole eventually wears out, it is easily replaced. Disadvantages are that boots constructed this way can be heavier than boots in which the soles are cemented on.

Uppers are constructed of one piece of leather, with a vertical seam at the Achilles tendon, covered by a reinforcing heel counter. The tongue is interesting in that it is covered by a leather debris guard which opens toward the outer side of the boot, and which serves to close the space between the tongue and the uppers.
Laces run through five impressively strong sets of D-rings, then around two speed hooks. All the hardware appears intended to last forever, in other words to outlast the soles and leather and then be reinstalled on a new pair of boots several decades from now.

Soles are dual-density Vibram "Kletterlift", with a very firm outsole for traction, and a slightly cushier middle layer to absorb some shock when walking.

The entire inside of the boot is lined with a Gore-Tex fabric, and so is waterproof until the water depth exceeds the level of the tongue gussets. The boot is about 5 inches high, so provides good freedom of motion when walking, while still covering and protecting the ankle bones. For some people, this translates as "does not provide good ankle support" and prefer a boot with more height. I feel that not having a tight fit around the ankle allows the muscles and tendons to work more smoothly.

Walking in these boots after wearing foam padded "sneaker boots" can be puzzling at first. Danners start out feeling very narrow and stiff, as if there is no flexibility at all. Additonally, there is no foam padding anywhere, just Gore-Tex in contact with your feet, surrounded by leather, with a very slight give in the footboard. The debris guard over the tongue feels very thick and pushes down on your instep. I really don't know how anyone ever liked these enough in the store to buy them and take them home, unless like me, they had read favorable reviews from previous owners and gave them a chance.

As one wears the boot for short walks, an interesting thing is observed to occur. The soles begin to flex where they need to under the ball of your foot. The footboard gradually conforms to the contours of the bottom of your foot. The leather over the instep, around the heel and the toes slowly begins to flex and stretch until it fits your foot like the boots were custom fitted for you. After a few weeks, you reach a point where the boot is ON your foot, but doesn't call attention to itself because the fit has become so good. Any perspiration from your feet is very efficiently wicked away from your socks by the Gore-Tex lining, so feet stay dry and comfortable.

With each pair of boots, Danner provides their well-known "Airthotic" insert, a flexible ventilated plastic heel and arch support, which allows the user to fine-tune the desired degree of arch support. I experimented with and without the Airthotic, and with various thicknesses of socks, finally settling on no insert and two pairs of medium-weight hiking socks. This combination gives a good fit with a lot of cushion surrounding the foot, as well as exposing the full surface of the Gore-Tex liner for moisture absorbtion.

In sum, the Danner Mountain Light II is a classic design with excellent workmanship, updated with some modern materials to make them waterproof, and therefore providing a good climate for the wearers feet under a wider range of conditions.

Although not particularly comfortable initially, they soon achieve a very high degree of comfort, surpassing in some ways the comfort of many other boots. I don't wear mine at work, because I have to wear steel toe boots. However, when I get home, I very often put them on to wear around the house. The fit is so good, I enjoy wearing them while eating supper or watching television. I also wear them casually, with jeans and khakis, sometimes even to church.

Durability appears to be very good, many users report years of wear before resoling, with multiple resolings possible if the leather is cared for properly,
Their appearance is enough unlike other hiking boots that people notice them, and offer spontaneous compliments.

I found these to run about 1/2 size smaller than most of my other shoes and boots.
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on December 31, 2012
After sorting through a lot of reviews, I finally decided to take the plunge and buy up these boots. I had reservations about getting them due to the negative reviews. I tend to mainly focus on the negative reviews to see what type of problems/issues may arise. I also look at the positive reviews and try and ignore the "lovers" and "haters" who will post completely one-sided reviews. I definitely recommend looking at some of the lower star reviews, but also keep in mind they are very negative. They bring about some valid points:

1. You will most likely need to get new insoles. Almost every review recommends the superfeet. The boots come with a plastic pair which I don't think are intended to be the sole support for the boot. Also, the size I bought was too big because there isn't an insole. I bought a pair of insoles (the superfeet) and it sucked up the excess volume and the boots fit near perfect. So, there is play with sizing depending on the type of insole you decide to go with (e.g. thick or thinner insoles).

2. These boots will dig into your achilles. The fold over tongue design will put pressure on the top of your foot. HOWEVER, this was from the first several times I took them outside to WALK. I have had these for about a month. With a proper break in, these will become non-issues. Please don't expect to immediately take them out of the box and go hiking. You will pay for it. If you break in the boot, you will be rewarded by your patience with a pretty comfortable boot. Now, I say "proper", which I consider to be wearing the boot casually for awhile (e.g. wear them to work, walking the dog, etc.). To be honest, I am still breaking them in a bit. The leather is pretty soft and will probably break in easier than most boots, but don't expect the one week break-in period some reviews claim unless you choose alternative break in methods which may speed up the process (e.g. soaking the boots in warm water, showering, etc.).

Those were the main "negatives" I remember from all of the reviews. A few other notes - I was mainly concerned with the heel cup and the ability to lock in my narrow heals. With the right insole and working with the boot and lacing them, I can get them locked in pretty well. As I am still breaking them in, I don't get as much rubbing on my heal anymore and expect that to only get better the more I wear them. Another note I noticed from reviews is that the 5" doesn't provide enough ankle support. I disagree, but each person is different. The top of the boot just comes to the top of my ankle, thus, providing ankle support (again, you can play with the height by thicker or thinner insoles). Some may desire more coverage. I have skinny ankles and during my break-in period, I had to work on the boot and lacing to get the desired "tightness" around my ankle. The top of the boot is wide and it was initially tough for me to get the desired ankle support out of it. With good lacing, this negative can be negated (good lacing resource - [...]).

A lot of reviews skip over the break in period and go straight to stating the fact that they have had the boots for 20 years strong. I don't doubt that claim, but the boots take some initial work, but the investment will pay off. Also, I get the impression that a lot of the negative reviews didn't give the boot the proper attention - I am probably wrong on some but not all.

The three take-a-ways from this review should be 1) buy this boot, 2) they need a break-in period, and 3) definitely work on lacing the boot during the break-in period that matches your needs. I didn't discuss the third point too much, but I can't stress that enough. The way you need the boot to be laced will be uncomfortable and put unwanted pressures and pains in undesirable places, but the boot will break-in. Then, hopefully, the boot will last you 10+ years. A good review that I found informative and pushed me over the fence is by upadowna (web search it). Good luck.

Edit: Forgot to mention "Bones" 3-star review on here. Very good and IMO accurate review.
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on October 30, 2011
I have used these boots everyday for about a year, and put them through the paces for sure. I Have owned many pairs of hiking boots in this price range.

So we'll start with those perty green laces, throw them out as soon as you get them. They wont keep tied, and will very quickly break. I think mine lasted almost a month, and during that time I would have to be constantly reminded that my shoes were untied...they were an annoyance to say the least, complete garbage if you really want to know. The cuff on the ankle is about a half inch too low and does not fully support the ankle. The leather is 1 piece, and have kept my feet very dry. The leather is also too soft, they again don't give any ankle support. I work a job that requires I have 100lbs+ on my back in remote mountain locations. These boots will offer NO support for sprains.

The plus side is that they break-in almost immediatly, week-week and a half, and they wont cause blisters during that time. The boot is also very comfortable. The Goretex lining really helps with drying the boot after tromping through mud and swampy trails. The eyelits and hooks are very burly. ALL of my other boots have had the eyelits pop out, leaving pencil diamater holes in them. The sole is good, I walk up wet slippery bedrock without any concern. They still have about 25% tread left.

So here's the deal, If you are planning on wearing these boots every once and a while and only taking day hikes with small weight on your back, If your into "urban" fashion then these boots will be fine. But If you require a little more ankle protection, If you want a boot that will last, I have to reccommend you buy LIMMER boots. They are made in the US, they have an unlimited lifetime warranty I.E will literally last forever, and they cost about the same. The down side is that they are much stiffer, meaning you have to suffer a very brutal break-in period, and they have to be worn fairly regulary to maintain that break-in. So if you think these boots have a tough break in two suggestions don't buy this boot, and grow a pair, Danners are practiclly slippers.

I also have a big concern with the Danner Website who directly controls what reviews are posted and ultimatly seen by their prospective buyers. Meaning that they don't want people to know the actual quality of their boot, they just want people to buy them. I feel duped into buying these after having read all of the glowing reviews on their site. These boots are NOT as good as you might imagine from reading the reviews, don't be fooled. Today I went to post on their review page and my review was rejected. It was a 3 star review! Very disapointed with the company's attitude towards its customers.
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on June 25, 2012
So I've gone through several pairs of Danner's (I reviewed the Explorer, only style I could stand for more than 2 weeks). There really was no break in period but it took a few days to find the right sock combination (don't be surprised if you need two pairs). The laces are holding up fine to 15 mile a day overland use (one reviewer had issue with the laces, good review by Hank Wordsmith, I recommend reading his as well). I'm not sure the boots are going to last me more than a year, but I got them for MUCH less than the $310 retail price, and less than several similar pairs of work/outdoor boots I've tried.

I had some rubbing at the heel, and I had read about this from reviews here on Amazon and elsewhere. It went away after 3 days. The boots have conformed to my feet, and I use green Superfeet insoles (I tried the blue, did not work for me - took out too much volume in the heel area and I was getting bad heel lift).

There is no heel shank, just a heel cup, and I've had to adjust my way of walking along basalt side slope so accommodate this but it has not affected the performance or my satisfaction with the boots. I have no heel rolling. There is still enough leather to prevent that.

The soles work well for me. I travel over basalt, through mud, through several seral stages of forests, granite, and everything else. They slip on loose scree, but what really wouldn't?? I've had no issues of consequence.

While I've been happy with these, and they are very comfortable, the fact that I've had to go through 5 styles and 7 pairs has soured me on Danner, and I will most likely try Limmer or another brand of boots when these wear out. I hope they last through at least one re-soleing, as I'd like to see how Danner's customer service and the whole process works.

I stated this in my Explorer review and I'd like to restate it here - it seems Danner boots MUST GO BACK TO DANNER to be resoled. They use a new proprietary process and heat bonding glue that must be done through Danner. I've checked with two cobblers and they have both said they cannot resole the new Danner boots.

let me know if this has been helpful!
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on August 8, 2015
With most people these boots are "love it" or "hate it". I love them because they fit my foot perfectly with hardly any break-in. Every boot I've ever worn took some time to break in, and even the best ones would still give me heel blisters after hard hunting or hiking, especially anything over a days worth of hiking. The heel cup in these is cut for a thin ankle, and they don't let your heel lift like a lot of boots that are really comfy when you try them on at the store. My foot is very boney, thin, and with a very high arch. I did put some high arch insoles in mine which also help with the fit and heel lift. The ones that come with the boot kinda suck in my opinion. The build quality on these is excellent as well, with one piece leather construction, stitch down sole. I've got a few hundred miles on mine and the lugs on the sole are a little rounded off but still good for a few hundred more miles. They aren't the most water proof boots, mainly because of their height, but other than that they are all I thought they would be and more. I hope to own them for at least 20 years.
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on May 25, 2013
The boots:
I was lucky enough to pick up an only pair of 'like new' Danner Mountain Light II for $102 from Amazon's warehouse deals. Yup, chances are slim and the boots are practically brand-spanking-new in the box with tags! But unfortunately, they were way too big even though I bought them at ½ size down so therefore they must be returned. I immediately repurchase a 'new' pair (at one whole size down) and costing $100 more, now the new boots fit like a glove even though they are 2E (wide). Strange, they run BIG...or longer in length I should say but at the same time it is very NARROW and runs more like the regular "D' or 'M' widths. It fits me now, even though at one whole size smaller but the overall length of the boots are still longer compared to all my other (bigger size) shoes due to its protruding front/rear soles.

Its sole purpose:
So, long story short, I love my new Danner boots! I'm a light hiker and these boots are intended for that. They also go well with casuals such as jeans and khakis. For comfort, I pair them with Thorlo Men's Coolmax Lt Hiker Crew Sock and they are extremely comfortable to wear while I'm breaking them in as we speak. I also wore them for a 3-mile hike on some very rough terrains in the mountains the following weekend and couldn't be more satisfied. Great ankle support laced all the way up and the boots felt rock solid. Overall excellent padded support. Didn't inhibit any pain or blisters all. Maybe because of those Thorlons. I have a few more places mapped out all over the Santa Monica mountains and along the Malibu coast/canyons. These boots are gonna be in some serious business this summer.

Quality:
Could of been 5-Stars but when I received the boots, the green laces were not very presentable - the left side had dried gunk towards the very first D-rings by the toe, and for whatever reasons, the right side were somewhat chewed up towards the top D-Rings. I emailed Danner about the situation and got a response right away saying that a new set of laces are being sent out. Hats off to Danner!
I gotta admit, somehow the 'like new' pair I got earlier were better built and looked more newer than these new ones. The ones I have now are new alright but somehow the (right) boot has a slight unevenness texture on the inner wall and not as flat compared to the left boot. Not a big deal and they are indeed NEW but just being very picky, especially for the price...I have the right to be don't I? Now go take a hike!
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on May 7, 2011
A while back I was preparing for an extended trip to Alaska and my trusty old USMC Belleville's were, frankly, a bit long in the tooth and not exactly what I wanted to bring along. With a wide foot, I searched high and low, in more places than I can even recollect, before I happened to come across these boots. I ordered a pair and, when they arrived, they fit like a glove. I wore them around locally before carrying them to Alaska because the last thing you want to experience in remote parts of Alaska is a failure in any manner of equipment, let alone among the most important pieces of equipment like solid footwear.

To boil it down - these are amazing. I could not wait to take them to Alaska and, once there, I wore them every single day, through 20+ hours of daylight, in every condition imaginable. I was absolutely brutal on these boots, putting them through every thing you can think of. They were soaked, but, thanks to being waterproof, my feet were dry and warm. They were submerged in mud, dirt, hiked over rocks, through forest, through riverbeds, glaciers, dirt trails, gravel, etc., etc., etc. I can't tell you how much I put these through but, through everything, the only damage they managed to sustain was a small nick on the toe of the left boot. Since then, I've also worn them in the Smokies, the snow, the ice and swampy marshes. They never fail to deliver the absolute best protection, traction and comfort.

More importantly, they were, and remain, the most comfortable pair of footwear I have ever owned in my life. I absolutely love these boots and, if my wife wouldn't hit me over the head with a cast-iron skillet, I'd wear them to bed. Kidding aside, they are incredible and, although they cost more than any pair of shoes/boots I've ever had, they are worth every penny.

For upkeep, definitely get some HUBERD SHOE GREASE 7.5 Oz Shoe Grease. It is by far one of the superior products I've ever used on my boots and, after coming back from Alaska, I worked a fresh coat of Huberd's into these boots and they looked absolutely brand new. My wife was amazed at how they appeared, especially her knowing first hand what I put them through. Outside of that little nick I mentioned on the left boot, you would have thought they had just come out of the box.

I can't recommend these boots highly enough. Worth every bit of acclaim and every penny they cost. They will last you many, many years.

Highly recommended.
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on January 30, 2013
The Danner Mountain Light II seems to be a good boot, but not a great boot. I have a wide foot and used to wear Vasque Sundowners in their wide sizes. The Vasques fit great and have a very good design, but the last two pairs seem to be made of cheaper materials (both the soles and the leather uppers seem to wear out quickly). I tried the Danner Mountain light in EE size and have been mostly pleased. The boot seems well-stitched and sturdy, but seems a little odd in the shape. The wide size seems to be made for someone with a fat foot rather than a wide foot (there is a difference between having a thick fat foot and a wide splayed foot). The leather is soft enough that eventually the boot mostly molds to the shape of your foot, but it's not the perfect fit for the wide foot that some wide EE sizes give.
The boot doesn't come with an insole, so adding and insole seems to help the fit much. This seems odd to sell the boot without the insole. You can easily buy an insole, but it does add time and cost to the boot.
Another small issue is that the gusset on the tongue of the Danners doesn't go all the way up the tongue. This allows water to enter the boot if you step into a shallow stream during a crossing. It's not a huge deal, you just have to keep this in mind when you are walking in wet conditions. My old Vasques had a full gusset and this was nice for water crossings.
On the whole, I'd say the Danner Mount Light II is a good boot, and looks well made. If it came with an insole and had higher gussets, it would be even better. Still, I would recommend this boot for someone looking for a nice sturdy hiking boot.
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on November 29, 2012
I write this after having just received and unboxed the boots earlier today. After only a few hours they appear to be amazingly well built.

I have been an avid hiker and backpacker across the years, but have scaled back the last few as I entered into fatherhood.
Merrells tended to be my brand of choice, with the all leather ones faring the best.
As time went on, I changed my boots for my budget, from Vasque to North Face, and most recently to the Asolo FSN95s.
The last pair I bought based on both price and glowing reviews.
I had thought I sized them correctly, but they have always felt rather narrow and tight overall.
I wear size 11 for nearly all my footwear and did the same for those, but should have gotten the 11.5s in hindsight.
They were adequate for day hikes, but I nearly tore off my heels on a recent backpacking trip into the Adirondack high peaks.
Enough was enough, and I began my look elsewhere with more of an eye on comfort, fit, and quality than on overall cost.
Again my eyes tended towards my faithful Merrell Wilderness boots, but then I found the Danners.

These are all leather, and gore tex lined for breathability and waterproofing, well fitting out of the box, and better yet - USA made.
The price on these retails as the Merrell Wilderness, but with sale pricing they were nearly half off, and a far better all american bargain (which Merrells are no longer.)
I had purchased these in 11EE, so it should have been wider than normal.
So I was rather surprised to find the fit as good as it was on the sides, which tells me these tend to run narrow - so size your pair accordingly.
The cost is more than your average sneaker style boot, but considering how well leather will mold to the feet, I expect these to fit and endure far better after a short breaking in period.
The boots can also be resoled (only by Danner for a fee), and there are many reviews from long time users all over with 10-20 years of wear with nothing but pride in their written words.

I look forward to fully breaking these in, and expanding on my review, but the hours I've walked around the yard and in my home, are enough to tell me I've certainly made the right choice for a quality product that can easily outlast 4 pairs of other branded boots, and cost far less in the end.
I will be applying Obenauf's LP Boot Preservative (8 oz) in the next few days, which will enhance the leather, speed up the breaking in, and help them last.
Bring on the years and miles!
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on January 7, 2015
I bought a pair of these a few months back because my previous pair of mountain boots sang their farewell after a gruelingly wet, muddy 4 days in the Adirondack high peaks.
I am the type of person that reads a lot of reviews before buying anything and I really feel that the record needs to be set straight on some of the negative reviews:
1. these are mountain boots- by definition mountain boots need to be stiff in body, with a hard sole- generally with a steel or other hardened shank in the footbed as well. If you are expecting a pair of glorified high top sneakers, these are not it. Mountain boots are made to protect the foot and ankle in scree and other types of very harsh terrain, and to provide stability- these definitely live up to that expectation.
2. These boots, like any pair of well constructed leather boots need to be broken in. The first thing I ever do after trying on a pair of boots to make sure they fit is to give them a nice thick coat of mink oil and let it soak well into the leather. After letting it soak overnight and brushing, i will wear the boots around the house, in my office or around town- properly conditioned the leather will begin to conform to the wearer's foot and soften. If you buy these boots and immediately wear them on a long hike, you will regret it- as you would with any well made leather boot.
3. I have fairly normal sized and proportioned feet, high arches- these boots fit great.
4. Mountain boots should fit tightly- this is important both for support as well as avoiding blisters and discomfort- this is where conditioning the leather and breaking the boots in becomes really important- if you do that, these boots will fit like a glove.
5. Although the ankle portion is a bit stiff at first, this will break in- wear thick socks the first couple of times you wear them. This stiffness is what will keep your ankle from twisting badly or breaking in the back country, should you take a spill.
I would give these boots a six star rating if I could- they are very well made, by a company that definitely understands the requirements for a mountain boot and who stand 100% behind their product. there are no cheap plastic or foam inserts, you truly feel as if you got $300 worth of boot when you put these puppies on. The Vibram sole is amazing for both traction and stability- worn with a good pair of waterproof gaiters, you are pretty much impervious to anything nature will throw at you.
So far, these boots have conquered ice, snow, multiple peaks, mud, creeks, etc. with a coat of polish, they look brand new.
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