Danner Explorer 650 Boots
After a long winter wearing a seasonal waterproof boot, I was looking for something lighter weight and more performant for the spring and summer months. I did a lot of research and kept going back to the hiking boot offerings by Danner. Looking back a year or so ago, I remember visiting their flagship store in Portland and my appreciation for the mix of high-performance designs while never sacrificing the aesthetics.
I ended up ordering a pair of Danner Explorer 650s. The overall appearance is that of a classic hiking boot with hard to miss cues of a military style desert boot, especially with the Sand colorway I ended up going with. The uppers are made up of suede leather and abrasion-resistant nylon. This combination gives you a lot of flexibility when walking and an overall reduction in weight. At 16oz per boot, they are surprisingly light, and that was one of the first things I noticed. I opted for the non-insulated version while retaining the Danner Dry system, a 100% waterproof barrier allows moisture to escape while keeping the outside elements out.
The midsole and outsole are made in partnership Virbam, and while slightly breaking away from the classic looks, this is where the real performance of these boots come in to play. There is just the right amount of padding and bounce back where you would expect it, and the outsoles are supposed to have better grip and be more durable.
Now I have always thought you needed to break in a boot, but that couldn’t be further from the truth with the Explorer 650. They felt great right out of the box. Pair them with an excellent performance sock, and the experience only gets better. I did give them an afternoon around the house before taking them on a short hike. I made a few adjustments to the tongue to better cover an eyelet rubbing my ankle but that was a lesson learned, and it hasn’t been a problem since.
Fit is true to size. Depending on the shoe I find myself wearing either a 10.5 or an 11. I went with the 10.5, and it feels great. I wouldn’t be worried about wearing this boot daily if I had to.
Overall the Danner Explorer 650 is a lightweight performance boot with classic design cues for those that appreciate that. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a great all-around hiking boot.
Danner Men’s Explore 650 6” Hiking Boot, Sand