It’s strange that I can vividly remember the first time I saw a pair of Danner boots. Dad was gearing up for quail season and came home with a big “Danner” shoe box. We carefully opened the lid and peeled back the tissue paper to reveal a pair of beautiful full grain leather boots with thick rugged soles. That pair was with him for over 15 years before they were finally retired. Today, Danner is making the same high-quality footwear for outdoor lovers using modern materials and manufacturing methods. Some of their models are 100% made in USA, and others are made overseas.
With a new hunting season around the corner, I decided to get a fresh pair of boots and settled on the Danner Recurve. I was drawn to the classic design and the specs make them ideal for the terrain I experience when upland bird hunting, and hill-country hiking around Texas. Described as a “performance heritage” hunting boot, the Recurve features a traditional hunting boot design made with the latest high-tech materials. It has a full-grain leather and suede upper with Danner Dry 100% waterproof barrier, removable OrthoLite insoles, and Vibram mid/outsoles. In other words, you’ll be dry and comfortable. The pair I have is non-insulated, but they do make a 400G Thinsulate version for colder weather.
Weight: 45 oz per pair
Liner: Danner Dry
Outsole: Vibram Recurve
The Recurve boots are 7 inches tall with 4 lace hooks on each side. The brass lace hooks and eyelets are riveted and reinforced. Most of the leather and suede upper is double stitched for added durability. The tongue features a leather top half for comfort and a waterproof nylon lower half. Two different types of Vibram materials are used for the midsole and outsole. The midsole is a specially formulated rubberized compound that enhances rebound for maximum comfort and support. While the outsole is made with Megagrip compound and has adapting lugs and flex lines that provide incredible grip in all conditions. Unfortunately, the soles are glued to the boot. Once they wear out, they can’t be sent back to Danner to be “recrafted.”
The top of the heel has a built-in leather loop for easy pull-on assistance. It’s double stitched, and thick leather. I’m not afraid of it wearing out or tearing any time soon like I’ve experienced with other brands. There’s not much bad to say about the production quality of the Recurve – it’s a great looking boot. I wish the glue line was a little cleaner in some places, but that’s being picky.
Putting them on and standing for the first time had me perplexed– they were just so comfortable. It felt like I was wearing a pair of running shoes but with ankle support. The OrthoLite insoles really make a difference here. While I wouldn’t consider them to be a lightweight boot, they do feel nimble on the feet and are not noticeably heavy. Most boots leave me feeling like I’m wearing cinder blocks.
Another thing that was immediately apparent, they don’t require a break in. The boot shaft isn’t too stiff, and it doesn’t bind or pinch my foot in any position. The rounded toe box gives me enough comfort room when wearing thick wool socks to wiggle the toes and is wide enough to let my flat feet move naturally. I can’t stand any toe box that’s tapered as they tend to compress or squish my toes. The lining and padding are comfortable around the ankles and it’s breathable. These are truly the most comfortable out of the box hunting boots I’ve owned.
I spent the following weekend doing yard work and chores around the house while wearing the Recurve boots. On Saturday I took just under 13,000 steps when working outside. My feet were not fatigued or hurting at the end of the day. The boots aren’t too heavy to really feel that energy drain at the end of the day. I’m glad I got the non-insulated version since it was triple digits outside and humid. My feet were able to breathe easy in the boots with merino socks. The suede and leather seem to be holding up well so far.
The next day I went on a walk down the street to our park with a pond where I submerged the Recurves to just below the pull loop on the back. They didn’t let in any water and remained “Danner Dry.” The banks were slightly muddy, but the Vibram soles didn’t have any problem traversing the steep slope. The tread pattern on the outsole provided excellent stability and traction.
Personally, I’m not a fan of high shaft boots and the 7-inch Recurve is the absolute tallest I’d go. I find the taller boots limit my mobility and make me fatigue faster due to the awkward fixed ankle. When laced to my liking, the Recurve allows enough movement to not feel restricted but supported at the same time.
I’ve been wearing them now exclusively for three weeks, and the boots have exceeded my expectations in comfort and performance. There was no break in period required and were ready to go out of the box. The full grain leather is durable and the Vibram outsoles provide excellent traction. The brown color scheme and classic styling lets me wear them outside of hunting season when I’m doing work around the house and running errands in town. There are the normal wear and tear scuff marks on the leather, but the soles remain at 100%. If I hit the leather with a quick polish they’d look like new again – there are no deep scratches. I’m confident the Recurve will be a great pair of hunting boots for seasons to come.
Learn more at Danner.