Danner: The Heritage of Handcrafting Hiking Boots

Words by Aaron Gerry
Photos by Danner

To see a Danner boot is to instantly recognize a classic.

That’s because Danner helped craft the aesthetic for modern hiking boots in the 60s and 70s. Or, for you whippersnappers, perhaps it was Reese Witherspoon’s footwear that caught your eye in Wild. (Hard not to). Either way, you know a Danner when you spot one.

Today, few brands can match the legacy of this Portland company that’s been hand-making their boots for over 80 years. And none are better at combining classic styling with contemporary hiking technology.

Danner is used to setting the bar after all. They were the first company to incorporate GORE-TEX liners and Vibram rubber into their boots, materials that quickly became industry standard. Their willingness to lead the way starts from the very beginning.

The company was founded by Charles Danner who moved to the Pacific Northwest with the goal of building the best boots loggers could find. He set up shop in Portland, Oregon in 1936, where they are still crafting their footwear today. The land became part of the company’s identity and is built into the fabric of their footwear.

With Mt. Hood as inspiration and relentless winters, the company sought a better way to keep feet high and dry on the rain-drenched days and boots that were light yet durable for long mountain treks.

“Whether dealing with fog and mud or high desert, the elements can be demanding,” says Gabriel Phillips, Sr. Design Manager at Danner of the diverse terrain and weather of the PNW. “These characteristics are front and center in our boots – rugged, wearable, waterproof and handcrafted.”

The Portland Select line encapsulates their original values, meticulously updated for the modern explorer. This collection features Danner’s highest-quality hiking boots, including the Danner Light, Mountain Light, and the Mountain Pass.

Danner Light

Introduced in 1979, this boot redefined the market as the first to feature GORE-TEX. Made from a combination of full-grain leather and 1000 Denier nylon, the upper is extremely durable, while the GORE-TEX liners ensure that no water gets in, while allowing sweat and moisture out.


Mountain Light

Made with backpacking in mind, the full-grain leathers are the strongest and most durable that Danner uses. The boots are constructed with minimal seams and a one-piece leather design which eliminates openings in the tongue area to keep out debris and water.


Mountain Pass

A lighter weight and more versatile hiking boot that reflects the classic Danner styling. The updated sole integrates the shank, midsole and lasting board which cuts weight and offers out-of-the-box comfort from mountain trips to city escapades.


These heritage boots are built to last and are recraftable to make sure they do. That pair of Danner Light your pop’s got? They very well could be originals.

“It’s pretty rare that after years of adventures, a pair of boots has the ability to breathe new life,” notes Phillips of the design principles that allows the boots to be refurbished.

“We want to be a partner in your journey,” says Will Pennartz, Director of Marketing at Danner. “If a pair starts to break down, we will do everything we can to keep them going. That could be as simple as adding a new outsole and reconditioning the leather upper. We can often repair and re-stitch uppers as well, adding years to the lifespan.”

Proudly made in Portland and still going strong, these boots will carry you where you want to go for years, or decades, to come.

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