Breaking in new boots on a hunt

Just in time for hunting season, I finally got a new pair of hiking boots. I’d about walked the old ones right off my feet, and I knew they wouldn’t hold up to another hunting season.

I used to be a Merrell hiking boots fan, but after a few pairs that didn’t last as long as they should, I switched over to Danner Boots. The Danners tend to be a little more expensive than Merrells, but the last pair of Danners I had lasted me more than a year, and I’m really hard on boots.

Not only are the Danners durable, they’re comfortable. I tend to lean toward the heavier styles, because I know I’m going to be rough on them, but even the bulky versions I’ve worn have felt more like tennis shoes than clod-hoppers.

They’re also made in America. Portland, Oregon, to be precise. In a time when most footwear is put together overseas, finding good boots made right here in the USA is pretty rare.

And they’re not as expensive as I thought they’d be. The pair I just bought ran me $140, which is about what I used to pay for Merrells that were made in Asia. I got mine at Sportsman’s Warehouse, and they had quite a few other styles of Danners for under $200. I opted for the hiking style, rather than a hunting boot, because I tend to wear my hiking boots just about every day.

One of these days, I’ll head back to Sportsman’s and get a pair of Danner Pronghorns, though. The people I know who hunt in Pronghorns say they’re the toughest, most comfortable hunting boots they’ve ever worn, and you can get them in an uninsulated version for $200, or with a 400-gram insulation for $210. That would keep your toes warm on a frosty October morning, for sure.

Now that I’ve found I can afford Danners, I don’t think I’ll ever wear anything else. They’re tough enough for hunting, but nice enough for everyday use. And they’re built to last, right here in America.