When I got wind that a hillwalking expedition was being planned (not by me I might add), I committed to my usual slightly obsessive inventorying of my gear. You never want to be the chump who turns up on the morning of a long hike in plimsoles carrying a plastic bag containing a few battered sandwiches and a flask. A couple of my fellow walkers are pretty experienced and I don’t rate experiencing emasculation! There was not much of a chance of me being quite that guy, but hillwalking is not something I have a wealth of experience in, so exercising prudence in my preparations is only appropriate for a man of my age.
So, as any hiker of standing (not me I might add) will tell you, dry and blister free feet are desirable at all times. The key to which is good footwear that has been broken in, fits well (no friction please) and can withstand the onslaught of moisture that hills like to keep on tap for the unsuspecting yomper. In this particular area my footwear stocks were a bit light. Time to research and invest. I found an online outdoor store (an oxymoron?) that serves up the usual footwear, waterproofs and warm clothing with a fair sprinkle of style. Outsiders Store. A really good online store for “fashion inspired functional clothing.” Very worth a visit for Patagonia, Danner, Filson and Hestra among others. It is definitely a website I will be visiting regularly. I might even get to visit the bricks and mortar version when in London later this month!
It is here I found my hiking boots. From Portland, Oregon, Danner boots have been around longer than most. You don’t survive since 1934 without having a good product. I invested in this expertise and trusted them with my feet for a 24km hill hike day, plus a flat 10km the following day. Going for a hiking weekend as a relative greenhorn means you need all the help and traction that you can get.
Sometimes when you come across a heritage brand like Danner you just have that almost instinctive faith that the workmanship and nearly 100 years of experience will deliver.
I did the usual prudent prepping by breaking them in around the house in the fortnight leading up to the hike. I needn’t have bothered. Slipping my feet into them for the first time was a joy. Who knew hiking boots could be this comfortable?
The comfort the boots provided made me wear them around the house even more and my wife and children were no doubt impressed by my steely resolve and fastidious preparation for what I was assured would be an “easy walk with nothing hairy.” The forecast was for Mediterranean sunshine one day and determined condensed Mordor moisture the day after. Ah, the unpredictability of the celtic climate!
So, the acid test then in the hills of Kerry, Ireland. If only Danner could make the equivalent of their wonderful boots for my knees is all I need to say! My feet felt great (the knees not so much) and were dry as a bone on both days. The grip was superb, I only slipped twice, both occasions due to my greenhorn status as a hiker. There were a solid, reliable presence on a couple of mini scrambles. I tested them on a road walk to a great wee pub, where they performed admirably on the road and in front of the peat fire while enjoying a couple of Guinness.
The boots also look great and are well suited to trips into town or a light walk on the local greenway here with the family. I don’t really want to take them off. As Danner themselves say “boots are meant to take you somewhere.”
So, here is where my Danner boots took me with a few mates a few weeks back. The pictures tell it better than I can-
Thanks for reading.