Danner Jag

8.7 score
[Editors rating (8.7)] = (TheGearHunt) score (8.7)/10

Editor rating: 8.7 / 10
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Danner Jag Review Facts

In the 1980s, Danner put our a light hiking boot known as the Jag. It was out of production for 30 years. It has been revamped. It still has the original style, but has received some 21st-century upgrades. It is a more versatile version. Testers wore the boots for getting groceries, fly fishing, hunting for morels, and hiking to the crag. The lightweight and awesome looking boots live up the manufacturer’s performance claims.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Stylish
  • Waterproof
  • Well-constructed
  • Expensive
  • Sole inadequate for slippery or steep terrain

Sole Composition

A secret to a hiking shoe lies in its midsole. It is between the inside of the shoe and the rubber bottom. A midsole determines how stiff a boot is. It lessens the ground impact. Sandwiched between the outsole and the midsole are shanks and plates.

The layer provides specific protection. Plates determine flexibility. Shanks support weight. Because of the soft outsole of the Jag, the shanks in the midsole are thin and do not support heavy loads. Soft-sole boots are great for a weekend day-hiker. The shoe has a neoprene outsole that discolors a bit over time. It is grippy — the bottom is made of a retro Danner waffle outsole designed to adapt to a variety of terrains.


The shoes have been taken on hiking trips where the trails were wet and rocky, bushwhacking along muddy streams, and hiking on moderate to easy trails. The boots can be used for light running. They are great for heavy duty trails, paved and dirt trails, light or medium sized rocks, and boulders. The shoes are more or less a casual shoe that could be taken on a light backpacking trip.


The waffle outsole is one of the upgrades mentioned in the introduction. It performs well for daily use, tromping through the woods, fishing, or hiking. The waffle soles are advertised as versatile. They are best suited for light trails and around town. Seriously slippery or steep terrain would require more traction.

Upper Build

There is microfiber and soft suede used in the upper. The inside of the shoe is a type of mesh. It is similar to the material found in other boots. The shoes keep their shape and are easy to keep clean. There is a gusseted tongue. It is attached to the upper part of the shoe.

The Jag fits into the category of mid to high-cut hiking shoes. They are intended for short backpacking trips carrying light loads and day hikes. They flex easily and need little break-in time. They do not have the durability to offer the support of stout backpacking boots.

Size & Weight

Before the 1980s, Danner’s hiking boots weighed several pounds. The Jag is lighter due to upgrades in the material. A size seven men’s shoe weighs one pound, 4½ ounces (two pounds, nine ounces for the pair).

An EVA midsole helps in the reduction in weight. When everything is equal, lightweight boots are the better choice. There is an adage that says carrying a pound on the feet puts five pounds of pressure on the back.

Added weight becomes noticeable after a long day. Feet, ankles, and legs may not benefit from lighter footwear. Heavy shoes are more durable and provide more stability. It is recommended to determine the amount of support needed and choose the lightest shoe available that meet that need and fits the foot well.

Customer reviews are inconsistent about the sizing of the shoe. Many say it fits perfectly, while others say it runs large or small. A proper fit means there is ample room inside the shoes. When the boots are laced, the toes should not touch the end of the toe box.

The ability to Insert a finger between the back of the shoe and the heel of the foot is an indication of a proper fit. Wear the type of socks you will be wear when walking or hiking. Those who plan to use some insole should have them in place when testing for size.

If the decision is between two sizes, it is best to opt for the larger size. Most people experience swelling in the feet after being on them for a long time. Boots that are too small will not change the phenomenon and will be uncomfortable.

Airflow & Waterproofing

The material has an impact on a shoe’s water resistance, durability, breathability, and weight of the shoe. Full-grain leather provides abrasion resistance, excellent durability, and water resistance. The testers’ feet stayed dry while tromping through puddles and mud and standing in shallow water while fly fishing.

Hiking boots advertised as waterproof have uppers with breathable and waterproof membranes to keep feet dry. Besides full-grain leather, the shoes have a proprietary Danner Dry liner. It is built-in to let moisture such as sweat escape and help keep water out.

The shoes are waterproof. They have a patented water technology that keeps the feet dry and warm. The upper is a thick canvas-like material that prevents water from getting inside the shoe. When the shoe gets wet, a crease formed when the foot bends does not allow water in but does change to a darker color. It eventually goes away as the outside of the shoe dries.

It is not as breathable or light as a split-grain leather and nylon combination. Membranes reduce breathability. The boots keep feet warm and may be too hot to wear in the summer. If the Jag did not have the waterproof membrane, breathability would be increased, the shoe would be more comfortable, and be cooler when the weather is warm.

The open-cell PU foam of the OrthoLite insole is 95 to 100 percent breathable. It allows air to circulate, keeping feet cooler on the inside of the shoes. A moisture management system is created that helps move moisture from the feet to provide a healthier, drier, and cooler shoe environment.

Comfort & Cushioning

Comfort is high on the list for features needed for hiking footwear. Squeezing feet into uncomfortable shoes for a single event is not uncommon, but for hiking regularly, something cushiony and comfortable is essential.

Comfortable shoes are supportive, padded, and sized correctly. If shoes are too tight or too loose, they cause blisters, pressure points, and hot spots. Lightweight hiking boots focus on comfort and minimalist construction. After a bit of a break-in period, the shoes are incredibly comfortable and lightweight. They have a forgiving sole that feels like a sneaker.

The shoes feel like extensions of the legs. They are easy to walk in. The upper is made of lightweight suede and canvas for comfort and performance. On the inside is a lightweight, breathable mesh that offers foot comfort.

The Danner Jag has a PU OrthoLite insole that offers the benefits of open-cell foam technology. It provides long-term cushioning, high-level breathability, moisture management, is lightweight, and washable. The lightweight OrthoLite insoles enhance the shoes’ performance with airy comfort.


The rugged/urban look of the boot has earned many compliments. The consumers get a quality suede with a nice appearance. Some lace and shoe color combinations contrast nicely. The shoes go well with jeans. They look and feel best when tied tightly.

Choosing the right hiking boot gives a balance of durability needed on trails and still caters to a person’s fashion sense. Hiking shoes are among the best styles from which to choose when searching for versatility.

Longevity & Overall Quality

The testers had the Jag boots for more than three months before giving an evaluation. The had put a minimum of 50 miles on the boot. The shoes were worn about equally for day-to-day wear and hiking.

They held up well. Danner has a reputation for producing long-lasting boots. The EVA midsole can handle a lot of impact. The lightweight suede and canvas upper is lightweight and durable. Danner is known for its craftsmanship.

Attention is paid to detail. Quantity is forgone for quality. Hiking shoes are more durable and lower in weight than heavy-duty hiking boots. The Jag falls on the spectrum between trail runners and heavyweight hiking boots.

Many, like the Jag, have a waterproof lining. The soles are more durable and harder than trail runners. The OrthoLite insole compresses less than five percent over time. The fit and cushioning never change. It provides comfort each time the shoe is worn. They are machine washable and maintain their performance benefits.

Safety Features

The shoe protects the feet from sharp edges and rocks while allowing the feet to contour around obstacles. The Danner Dry lining on the inside gives excellent waterproof protection. The lace-up closure locks the foot in position with sturdy metal hardware throughout.

There is a soft, breathable lining on the inside and an EVA midsole for excellent cushioning and shock absorption. The stiffer midsole protects from sharp rocks and provides support. When traveling off- trail where snakes and other small animals lurk, boots that cover the ankles offer extra peace of mind. Ankle collars are cut lower than heavyweight boots and do not provide as much ankle support.


The sole of the sole is relatively flexible. It can be worn for light, fast hiking, and daily wear.

Support & Balance

The ankle support is lightweight and not suited for heavy backpacking. The waffle outsole keeps the wearer steady on a variety of terrains. The reason the Jag is so versatile is that full-grain leather is used for backpacking boot made for rugged terrain, heavy loads, and extended trips.

Contrary to what some people think, stiff boots provide stability and comfort for long hikes and uneven, rocky terrain. EVA is the most used midsole material. It is less expensive, lighter, and a bit cushier than polyurethane that is also used for the midsole.

A good fit is a critical but subjective factor. A shoe that fits a person with long, narrow feet and a high arch may not feel so great to someone whose feet are wide and have a flatter arch — ample cushioning under the feet is a crucial factor. Heels are prone to hitting the ground first on level ground travel. As the angle increases, people tend to step with the forefoot first. Many features increase and decrease the stability of a shoe.

How well the lacing system can be adjusted, the stiffness of the sole, the lateral stability, and support under the arch all play a role. Hiking shoes are not as supportive as a full boot. People who plan to do heavy backpacking or have unstable ankles will likely want to opt for a full boot.

The shape of the foot determines how much arch support is needed. Flat feet need a shoe with a pronounced arch to feel stable. A shoe lacking arch support is brutal to those with normal or high arches. The Danner Jag hiking boot has surprisingly good ankle and arch support for a lightweight shoe.

Lacing System

The lacing system of the boot is traditional. The lace-up closure is made of metal hardware for a secure fit. Correct lacing should be taut from the top of the shoe down to the toe, but not too tight.

Laces should contact the shoe firmly and evenly with no loose lacing. D-ring locks of the Jag brings the laces through the eyelets from the top, applying pressure on them. There are different techniques to use to snug the heel in the pocket, distribute pressure, improve performance, reduce pressure, and eliminate lower skin irritation.

Cost & Value

They are expensive. Similar to other leather hiking boots, they cost about $170. Some Amazon purchases are more budget friendly. The cost of hiking boots typically is from $60 to $120. The best boots are found on the upper end of the spectrum. The price tag of the Danner Jag is an indication of its value. To keep from spending a fortune on two pairs of shoes, choosing the Jag serves the purposes of utility and fashion.

Key Features

* Textile and 100 percent full-grain leather
* Danner Dry waterproof protection
* D-ring lacing
* Durable
* Footbed if removable open-cell PU OrthoLite
* Logo patch on tongue
* One-inch heel
* Padded ballistic weave upper
* Padded collar
* Rubber sole

Final Thoughts

The Danner Jag is comfortable around town or on the trail. It incorporates a new waffle outsole, a cushioning EVA midsole, lightweight materials, and durability. The shoe adapts to various terrains.