While Danner makes plenty of hardscrabble boots meant for traipsing through marshes in pursuit of game or standing all day in the mud while working construction and hiking boots so burly your grandkids will be handing them down to their grandkids, the last few years they’ve been on the forefront of building boots that will do whatever you ask of them in the backcountry but can still be worn around town in comfort. Sorta like the Subarus of the boot world—plenty tough enough for 99 percent of what you’d encounter in the backcountry, but still totally suitable for jaunts around town.
That’s the idea anyway behind the Raptor 650, Danner’s new insulated winter boots. They’re tall, warm, and relatively stylish. They also perform pretty dang well in the white stuff. I tested a pair this spring in Iceland and around snowbound Truckee, California. For boots that look a bit like something Han Solo would wear, they held up great to strap-on crampons, plunging into calf-deep snow, and walking on icy paths.
The 8-inch tall uppers are made from a blend of full-grain leather and wool. Danner’s excellent “Danner Dry” waterproof membrane lines the inside of the boots, sandwiched between the leather and wool uppers, and 400 grams of Primaloft insulation. It’s enough insulation to keep your feet warm while snowshoeing even in temps below freezing; Danner doesn’t make known the expected temp comfort range, but I’ve had them on in the teens while walking through snow drifts for an entire afternoon and I could still feel my toes after. The wool probably helps too.
A removable Ortholite insole provides good cushioning, with a TPU shank providing enough stiffness and support to make these surprisingly capable hikers on rugged terrain. The Vibram Megagrip outsole, standard on so many Danner boots these days, grip well in icy conditions; though I’ve worn shoes with stickier outsoles on ice, these will suffice for most applications.
In Iceland, I overburdened these by slapping on crampons and spending a day hiking on a glacier. In Tahoe, I snowshoed a few dozen miles. Neither are likely the intended use of these boots, but they performed flawlessly, and more comfortably than burlier snow boots I own. The lightness of the boot certainly helps—as a pair they weigh only about 48 ounces. And at no point did I wish I had a boot with tougher outsoles, stiffer uppers, or rock hard toe caps. Plus, my feet were dry no matter what I put them through.
• Waterproof membrane: Danner Dray
• Weight: 48 ounces per pair
• Uppers: Full-grain leather and wool
• Outsole: Vibram Megagrip
• Insulation: 400g Primaloft
Bottom line: The Raptor 650s aren’t the boots you’d pick for a winter elk hunt or a serious backcountry snowshoe mission, but they’ll do just about whatever you ask of a winter boot while being comfortable, stylish, and very easy on the feet. A great all-around winter boot for seriously cold temperatures.
$240 • BUY
More insulated winter boots that’ll keep your feet warm and dry
Oboz Bridger Insulated. Same 8-inch uppers as the Raptors, but burlier with more stiffness and protection. $185.
Keen Durand Polar. Built to handle cold down to -40 degrees, these are the boots for the snowpocalypse. $200.
Photos: Garrett King/Danner