Danner Mountain Light 2

8.1 score
[Editors rating (8.1)] = (Gearweare.net) score (8.1)/10

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Editor rating: 8.1 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
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Editor’s Conclusion
The first Danner Mountain Light boot was introduced in 1979. There is a reason why the design of this boot has hardly changed, why some people own (and wear) the originals, and why people are still purchasing them. This updated version, the Mountain Light II is waterproof, incredibly durable, and surprisingly stylish.

The wide platform and all leather look remind me of a pair of Doc Martens. Similarly, these boots also have a fairly long and brutal break-in period. Most people require about two to four weeks of alternate days wearing the boots until they form to the foot and feel comfortable.

But hey, there’s a reason they are so popular. It isn’t uncommon to hear that people still have and wear a pair that is over 10 years old!
Danner Mountain Light 2 Review Facts
Editor's Pros & Cons

Incredible durability

Great traction

Fiberglass shank ankle support




Difficult to secure the tongue in a comfortable place

Long break in period

Very narrow


Key Features


Let’s start with the facts before the opinions. Each shoe weighs approximately 31 ounces. This is quite heavy, but they wouldn’t be nearly as durable without this weight. An orthotic footbed paired with an instep that hugs your foot and provides arch support and great breathability. The insole can be switched out if you prefer a different shape or material.

One of the most common gripes about this boot is the tongue. It takes some training to get it to lie flatly without any folds or creases. If you don’t take the time to position it correctly during the break-in period, you may be doomed.

Another hotspot is the Achilles. If the shoe is not tight enough it will likely rub your Achilles raw. Make sure you buy the correct size and lace them up tightly to avoid this movement. These are meant to fit like a glove.

The overall comfort of these shoes is controversial and subjective. Some say they are comfortable out of the box, most people agree they are comfortable after a brutal break-in period, and for others, they never become comfortable. As with most hiking boots, a good pair of socks go a long way.


On Danner’s website, there is a size guide that interactively helps you determine the best fit for you. Generally, you can order true to size, but not always true to width. These boots are very narrow. Many people order the EE version, and for some, even this isn’t wide enough. This shoe is intended to fit like a glove.

These boots are 5 inches high and feature a traditional lace-up format with durable metal rings. At the top of the boot, there are two metal hooks to wrap the laces around. It is important to lace them tightly to keep the tongue and your heel in place and to improve ankle support.


The Mountain Light II is a simple, yet strong boot. The materials that make up these shoes, their durability, and stability are the most notable features. However, there are a few others worth mentioning.

As any good hiking boot should be, these are waterproof. The upper is made from one piece of leather which helps to keep both water and debris out. The leather inherently provides water protection and it is made even stronger with a GoreTex lining. The interior nylon lining is moisture-wicking and provides breathability.

As I have mentioned, some people develop gnarly blisters and others do not. I like that the Mountain Light II has minimal seams. Any blisters you get during the break-in period, will not likely be from a seam chafing one specific spot.


The Mountain Light II is made from full-grain leather. This material undergoes six different tests of durability to ensure its strength. The ankle support is provided by fiberglass shanks and I have no complaints about the interior nylon lining.

One of the most notable features is that these boots are recraftable. This means that if the sole wears out, if the stitching needs to be touched up, or if the leather needs to be treated, Danner can do that for you. This is an amazing feature because your boots are brought back to life but you don’t need to break them in again.

Additionally, this shoe comes with a 365-day warranty from Danner.

Stability and Traction

These shoes were built to protect you, keep you upright, and look good doing it. They have a wide platform and a Vibram 148 Kletterlift outsole.

This combination provides great stability and traction on wet or dry terrain. It also provides great shock absorption.

Comparison to Similar Hiking Shoes

Many people spend time dissecting the differences between the original Mountain Light and the Mountain Light II. To be honest, they are very similar. The leather used in the II is slightly softer, making the break-in period less gruesome but you also lose a bit of stiffness which further improves stability.

The Mountain Light II is available in D width or EE width, while the original is only available in EE. The airthotic insole of the II also provides some extra comfort, but as I mentioned before, the insole is easily switched out in either version of this shoe. They are priced exactly the same.

Switching gears to a different brand, the Tashi boot from Hanwag is another strong contender. It is made from yak leather and features double stitching to increase the durability. It has a Vibram Tessin outsole that provides great traction. Both the stitching and outsole can be recrafted to revamp the boots. One pair weighs about 54 ounces.

The ball bearing lacing system allows you to dial in the fit. There is also a soft padded leather cuff that provides flexibility and comfort.

In terms of price, these are actually more expensive than the Danner Mountain Light II. However, it’s not unusual for people to own these boots for over a decade either. If your foot just doesn’t seem to be made for the Danner boot, I recommend giving the Tashi a try.


These boots come at a price, literally and figuratively. They are expensive and will put a toll on your feet during the break-in period. However, as I mentioned earlier, many people wear their Mountain Lights for over 10 years. Thanks to the ability to recraft them, they might even last a lifetime.

If you have the right-shaped foot and can push through the break-in period, I think you will be very pleased with this boot. Don’t be scared to customize them with different insoles or to try out different sock thicknesses and lacing techniques before giving up on them. A decade or two down the line, you’ll be glad you did.