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Rugged, Refined, and Recraftable: Danner Mountain 600 EVO Hiking Boots Review

If you’re looking for a boot built like a light hiker that performs like a backpacking boot, it would be a good use of your time to start with the Danner Mountain 600 EVO.
(Photo/Nick LeFort)
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I can’t even fathom how many hiking routes have been found and peaks bagged in a pair of Danners. I just semi-retired a 7-year-old pair of the Danner Jags. There’s still life left in them. But not enough to put them through the level of abuse I used to.

In 2016, Danner introduced us to its Mountain 600 — a light-hiking boot developed in conjunction with Vibram. It featured both a Vibram SPE midsole and Fuga outsole for stability and comfort. It also had Danner Dry lining to keep water at bay.

Last year, Danner expanded its Mountain 600 line to include the Mountain 600 Leaf. The Leaf offers the same Vibram midsole and outsole, but instead of the Danner Dry lining, it uses a GORE-TEX liner and could be recrafted. Meaning that when the boot reached the end of its life, Danner could rebuild it for you.

This year, Danner added a third variant to its Mountain 600 series: the Mountain 600 EVO. This new boot is similar in form and function to its predecessors, but it’s the first boot in the series to be rated for backpacking. So, I loaded up a pack, laced up my Mountain 600 EVOs, and headed for the hills with a heavy load to put these boots through their paces.

In short: Danner has turned a light hiking boot into a comfortable and lightweight backpacking boot with its Mountain 600 EVO. It’s made with full-grain leather, a burly Vibram sole, and Megagrip and Traction Lug technologies. This boot is a nice middle ground between Danner’s heavier backpacking and lighter hiking options. It can also be recrafted when it’s been worn down to the end of its life, so theoretically, you never have to retire these boots.

To see how this boot stacks up against the competition, check out our guide to the best hiking boots.

Danner Mountain 600 EVO


  • Weight 2 lbs., 6 oz.
  • Material Full-grain leather
  • Best Use Hiking, backpacking
  • Top Attributes Vibram Fuga Traction outsole, TPU shank


  • All the Vibram technology baked into the boots
  • Ample cushioning without the bulk of a cushioned boot
  • Ability to be resoled


  • They don't come with the classic red or green laces

Danner Mountain 600 EVO Review

Design & Features

The Danner Mountain 600 EVOs are the third offering in Danner’s performance heritage Mountain 600 series. All three boots feature the Vibram Fuga Traction Outsole, which utilizes its Megagrip and Traction Lug technologies. In unison, both features offer increased grip on wet and dry surfaces and increase the overall surface area of the outsole for better traction. 

Additionally, all three boots feature the Vibram SPE Midsole, which is designed for increased stability and extended comfort. It’s also longer-lasting compared to other midsoles used in today’s hiking boots.

Rugged uppers and the ability to be resoled ensure the Danner Mountain 600 EVOs will stick with you for the long haul; (photo/Nick LeFort)

Cushion & Waterproofing

The thickness of the Mountain 600’s cushioning is surprisingly minimal. With all of the features that Danner has baked into these boots, it has found a way to keep the weight of its boots down, make them less bulky, and preserve the cushioned feel you need for the long haul.

Like the Mountain 600 Leaf, the Mountain 600 EVO has a GORE-TEX liner to keep moisture out.

Added Stability

In the Mountain 600 EVO, Danner upgraded to a TPU shank over the nylon-based shank found in the other two Mountain models. Compared to nylon, TPU is designed to last longer and is rated for more aggressive terrain and a higher weight load. This upgraded shank is the key to your ability to strap on a pack and take these boots backpacking.


Like the other boots in the Mountain 600 series, the Mountain 600 EVO boots can be recrafted when you’ve worn them to the end of their useful life. That should take years. But when the time comes, you send your boots into Danner’s recrafting department, and it will rebuild the boots for you.

Form & Function

Danner Mountain 600 EVO Hiking boots
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

If you take all three versions of the Mountain 600 series of hiking boots and line them up next to one another, you might not see much difference. All three variations have seven eyelets and are swooping from the toe up to the ankle. The EVO uppers are also a single-piece construction, whereas the original 600s and the 600 Leaf feature panel construction are also different.

But you only figure that out after staring at them for so long. Where the big visual difference occurs is in the outsole. Both the original Mountain 600 and the 600 Leaf have more of a sneaker-style outsole. This makes them distinctly more for day hiking and everyday wear. The 600 EVOs have a distinctive hiking book-style sole that separates the heel from the rest.

Backpacking and mountaineering boots have long utilized this type of sole. It allows for the use of crampons, snowshoes, or gaiters.

First Impressions

A real sucker for a well-made full-grain upper hiking boot, I was drawn to the Mountain 600 EVO the minute I saw them.

Many moons ago, I was offered the opportunity to test and review the original Mountain 600 boots. But I didn’t like how they looked. They were too much like sneakers to me. That’s when I scored those stellar Jags I mentioned earlier. And I got a little sentimental when I saw the defined heel in the sole and the swooping ankle collar in these 600 EVOs. 

Danner included two pairs of laces with its EVOs, one round and one flat. Seeing they weren’t the classic red or green that Danner’s older boots are known for, I swapped them out for some 550 paracords with ample reflective properties.

Danner Mountain 600 EVO Hiking boots
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

In the Field

At 265 pounds, I’m a beefy guy who requires a hiking boot that won’t break down and give up on me. When I throw a 35 or 45L pack on my back, I can be pushing the limits of some of these modern hiking boots.

Knowing what I know about the Vibram Fuga Traction Outsole, Vibram SPE Midsole, and TPU Shank, I didn’t hesitate to consider bringing some extra stuff in my pack to see if I could push my luck.

The Fit

My first time out with the EVOs was my second time wearing them. While I didn’t really experience a break-in period, I identified a couple of things about the fit right off the bat. The first was a little tightness on the sides of the toebox — nothing serious. In fact, I got used to it by the time I reached the trailhead.

The second was the attention to detail Danner put into the ankle of this boot. It’s not too loose or tight. Because there’s not a lot of padding there, there is an unexpected — albeit welcomed — element of flexibility. 

At the end of the first day of backpacking, I was tired and sore, but my feet felt fine. There were no hot spots and no need to pull out the moleskin. Additionally, there was no pain in my arches or ankles where the majority of the give and take was happening as the boots flexed on the trail. Thirteen miles later, I am happy to report that the results were the same as they were on mile one.

Style Points

Since that time, I have worn the EVOs on numerous occasions both hiking and just living my modern life. They go well with a good pair of Carhatts and some chunky Smartwool Midweight Hiking Socks.

At the time of this writing, I am headed out to see my daughter perform in her fifth-grade chorus concert. I am opting to wear the EVOs instead of my Crocs. (This is a major growth moment. Please congratulate me the next time you see me.)

In Conclusion: Danner Mountain 600 EVO Hiking Boots

Danner Mountain 600 EVO Hiking boots
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

My first job was at a local camping store selling hiking boots. I never understood the need for a light hiker versus a full-blown hiking boot. It wasn’t until Merrell hit the scene that I could really appreciate the reason for the two categories.

However, as much as I enjoy a nice light hiking boot designed for a shorter day hike, there will always be a bigger need in my life for a hiking boot designed for demanding, multiday expeditions. I’ve experienced both the Mountain Light II and the Jag. I can confidently call the EVOs a solid middle ground.

That said, with the Mountain 600 line, Danner has found a way to blend the two styles of shoe. And the brand has done it elegantly.

It’s more than obvious that Danner has spent a lot of time finding ways to improve on modern hiking boot design. Its use of a Vibram midsole and outsole and the incorporation of recycled materials is both innovative and forward-thinking. At $250 with the ability to be recrafted, it’s a worthy investment.

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