Danner’s light-hiking boot, the Jag, is back after a 30-year hiatus. We tested a pair on the trail and around town.
More than 80 years ago, Danner began manufacturing work boots in Chippewa Falls, Wis. They were full leather and heavy duty — literally. It wasn’t until the decade of Disco and Star Wars that the brand launched its first lightweight hiking boot.
The Jag boot (released a little later in the 80s) put Danner into the light-hiking fray, and 30 years after it went out of production, Danner revamped the Jag. Still with its original style, the Jag received some 21st-century upgrades.
Danner Jag Hiking Boot Review
Since they’re lightweight (and look awesome), I felt the need to wear the new Jags everywhere for this review. Whether I was hiking to the crag, hunting for morels, fly fishing, or getting groceries, they’ve been on my feet for the past several months.
Bottom line: These Jags live up to Danner’s performance claims. As advertised, they are waterproof, lightweight, and durable.
They cost $170, which is on par with other leather hikers. As a bonus, they have a rugged yet urban look that earned a lot of compliments.
The Jag was born in the ’80s. Before that, Danner’s hiking boots were burly and weighed several pounds. The ones we tested (2015 release) are even lighter, due to material upgrades. My size 7 boots weighs 2 lbs. 9 oz. per pair (1lb 4.5oz each). The EVA midsole helps cut weight.
It has a fairly flexible sole, which makes it nice for daily wear and light, fast hiking. It protects from rocks and sharp edges well, while still letting the foot contour around obstacles somewhat.
I stood in the shallows while fly fishing, and tromped through the mud and puddles of spring hiking — my feet stayed dry.
In addition to full-grain leather, Danner uses its proprietary Danner Dry liner in the Jag. This built-in liner helps keep water out while letting sweat and other moisture escape — it’s waterproof.
I’ve been wearing the boots for over three months and they’ve been good to me so far. I’ve put on at least 50 miles in the Jag boots. Half of that was day-to-day wear. The other half was hiking on easy to moderate trails, bushwhacking along muddy streams, and hiking on wet trails and rock.
They’ve held up well so far and I plan to update this review as time goes on and the miles add up.
In our tests, Danners have proven to be long-lasting boots. Some of our other testers have been wearing the Mountain 600s for a year and they are still in excellent condition.
An update from the original boot is the waffle outsole. I found that it performed well hiking, fishing, and tromping through the forest, as well as for daily use.
Danner claims the retro waffle soles are versatile, and work best around town and on light trails. I’d have to agree here. But if you hike in seriously steep or slippery terrain, you’ll want a boot that has more traction like the Mountain 600, or Crater Rim.
Overall, I’ve been very happy with the boots. Plus, I’ve received more compliments on them than any other shoes I’ve owned, which isn’t performance-related, but it sure made me feel awesome.
If you’re looking for a light hiking boot with a flash of style, check out the Jag.