Danner Powderhorn boots impress on first cold hunting trip

It’s been a while since I’ve been impressed by something as simple as a boot, but Danner may have a new lifetime customer.

It could be that I’ve never treated myself to a pair of solid boots, too, but when I first tried on my new pair of Powderhorns I was immediately impressed. At first, it felt slightly clunky because they went up 10 inches to my lower calf, but after walking around in them for a half-hour it felt as if I had been wearing them for weeks. They got a little more action in the following days when I would walk my hound on the hills that surround my house, and whether it was rainy or wet with 30-degree temperatures the boots managed well.

No wonder, because the tread is at least half an inch.

So when I took them on the first real test on a rough-country squirrel hunt in Maryland, I had a good feeling that they would hold up. And hold up they did.

When I walked the same paths in my Sorel boots a few weeks ago, I didn’t realize how rough it would be on my ankles and feet. The area is laden with boulders and leaves that are a slip risk if it rained within 24 hours. The leaf coverage also hides the smaller rocks that will trip someone up, especially when you’re mostly paying attention to what’s above you.

With the Powderhorns, however, those rocks weren’t a threat. It was a dry day, so I was able to avoid the crunchy, dead leaves with ease by rock hopping. And when I needed to walk in the leaves, the boots proved stealthy. When we started the hunt, it was a moderate 50 degrees, but as the afternoon hours ticked away the temperatures began to drop into the low-40s and high-30s. As those temperatures dropped, I couldn’t tell the difference in my feet due to the 400-gram insulation lining the boots. Heading into the colder months, 400 grams may not seem like enough insulation – it’s rated for 30-40 degrees with moderate to high activity – but that test will come with time. Plus, the right socks can make a big difference come December, January and February.

One problem I’m having with the boots so far is the lacing, but it’s not a major issue – I’m just not used to lacing up boots again.

The boots are also “recraftable”, so should I wear them down in a couple of years I can spend $130 for Danner’s resole package that replaces the midsole, outsole and broken hardware, as well as fixes stitches and reconditions and cleans the leather. Or, I can drop another $50 for the premier package that has extra fixes. That’s all still cheaper than a new pair.

As the seasons pass and I put these boots to the test, I’m sure an updated review will be published. In addition to hunting boots, they will serve as hiking and work boots as well.

For now, I can attest that this was a $250 well spent and highly recommend them to anyone looking to upgrade or add a solid boot to their lineup.

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