Anyone who hunts knows that wet feet suck — and that wet, cold feet suck even worse. I tested the Danner Pronghorn boot in the hope my feet would stay warm and dry.
The “holy grail” hunting boot will be light, durable, waterproof, breathable, and comfortable. In my experience, no hunting boot ever made by mere mortals can claim full marks in all those categories.
The all-leather Danner Pronghorn boots with 400-gram Thinsulate can’t either. But they did perform well and stood up to every test I threw at them.
Over the past year, I put these boots through their paces (as much as any Kansas flat-lander can). I’ve been through my fair share of hand-me-down boots already worn out by the time I inherited them. And those experiences have led me to the conclusion that a good pair of boots is as indispensable as a sharp knife.
These boots took me everywhere from cool spring mornings walking through calf-high, soaking-wet winter wheat, to January afternoons wading through snow drifts chasing after a bird-crazy German shorthair.
In short: The all-leather Pronghorns ($230) I tested aren’t flashy, but they will keep your feet dry and warm over miles of varying terrain and conditions. And you can also a Realtree Camo pair for $20 less ($210) at Cabela’s. (It’s essentially the same boot.)
Danner Pronghorns: Leather-Clad Goldilocks?
How did that story go? ”Not too hot, but not too cold either.” That about sums up the Pronghorn in 400-gram Thinsulate. I tested these boots in a variety of temperatures and activity levels. They performed at their best in cold, snowy, wet conditions with plenty of movement.
Due to minor frostbite received early in my hunting life, I have cold feet. My hunting buddy from Wyoming would say that I’m just soft. Either way, the Pronghorns kept my feet plenty warm well into the single digits as long as I was moving.
There were a few late-winter coyote hunts that could have benefitted from more insulation. But the typical 20-minute sit-down while calling was more than bearable, even when the mercury dipped into the teens and single digits.
If you’re going to be on the move in cold conditions, the Pronghorns’ 400-gram Thinsulate should suffice (unlike my marksmanship on a flushing covey).
High & Dry: Danner Pronghorn Boots
I wanted a boot that would be versatile and could be worn in all kinds of situations. A boot doesn’t do its owner any good if it won’t keep out the morning dew, much less a steady soaking. If you’ve ever walked across a field of winter wheat on an April morning, then you know it doesn’t have to be raining for your feet to get wet.
The Pronghorns stayed dry on several such mornings. Most of those walks included a good half-mile hike in wet wheat and pasture that will test a boot’s waterproofing. They even went for a swim in my kitchen sink.
Quick, ankle-deep creek crossings didn’t pose an issue either. Over the course of an early turkey season, the Pronghorns always got me to the spot without a drop seeping through the seams or next to the tongue.
Keeping the moisture out is only half the battle. Everyone’s heard of Gore-Tex, and there’s a reason: the stuff works. For shorter distances in milder temps, that uncomfortable clammy feeling stayed at bay.
But every dog has his day, and later into spring turkey season it was time to switch into a lighter pair of uninsulated boots.
Danner Pronghorn Specs
- Height: 8 inches
- Average weight: 3.9 pounds per pair
- Men’s sizes: 8-14 medium width; 8-13 wide width; half-sizes to 12
- Camo pattern: Realtree XTRA
Danner Leather: Buy Conditioner
One key factor in preventing waterproofing issues is how you care for your boots. Danner makes a leather conditioner, and you should use it. Dry leather can shrink and crack. And shrunken, cracked leather will not keep your feet dry.
If you plan on buying the all-leather Pronghorns reviewed here, do yourself a favor and take care of them. Your feet will thank you.
Danner Pronghorns Boots: Roomy or Too Roomy?
One downside I noticed with the Pronghorn was the size of the toebox. It was very roomy, which is a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s really nice to have enough space to throw on a thick pair of wool socks and not worry about constricted, frozen toes.
On the other hand, a lighter, thinner pair of wool socks sometimes left the ball of my feet sliding around a bit too much in the toe box. This is part of the compromise you make when buying a versatile boot: It won’t fit every situation perfectly.
Danner Pronghorn Boot Review
The Danner Pronghorn 400-gram Thinsulate all-leather boots performed well in a range of different situations. They were versatile, dry, and warm.
While the boots perform well when the mercury dips low, the insulation can make feet clammy for extended warm days. And the Pronghorn’s wide toe box is great for wide feet or doubling up on socks. The only caveat is smaller feet may slide around some.
In all, Danner Pronghorns work well for traipsing through moist to mucky terrain over many months of the year. Anyone looking for a good late-fall/winter/early-spring boot will be pleased with these boots, especially their affordable price.
Joel Mason is commonly found striding out his pace to keep up with Belle, a birdy German shorthair, in the Flint Hills of Kansas. When bird season ends, his efforts revolve around pinpointing whitetail terrain, relaxing while fishing, and prepping for elk hunts in the western mountainsides.