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Danner hiking boots vs. Columbia hiking boots

Danner and Columbia hiking boots: which are better?

Hiking is an excellent year-round way to experience the outdoors while getting exercise. Regardless of what type of hiking you like to do, having the right gear plays a critical role in staying safe and comfortable. Finding proper footwear is the first, and arguably most important, step in the gear-selection process. And both Danner and Columbia are leaders in the hiking footwear industry.

What are Danner hiking boots?

Founded in 1932, Danner has built a reputation for making rugged, long-lasting footwear for both men and women. However, don't expect the company's heritage to confine its boots to traditional materials and manufacturing processes. Danner footwear incorporates high-performance materials such as Gore-Tex and Vibram soles.

A unique aspect of the Danner brand is that the company will take the high-end, high-performance materials you roughed up on your treks and give your boots new life in its recrafting center in Portland, Oregon. Prices for the service vary. All Danner boots are made in the Portland factory or elsewhere in the United States.

Danner's wide range of footwear includes outdoor-oriented and lifestyle designs that optimize functionality and comfort while keeping prices affordable. However, there is a wide price range for Danner footwear, and it doesn't always seem to correlate with the materials used. There are both traditional leather and lightweight synthetic hiking boots at the top end of the price range.

Danner hiking boots pros

  • High-quality materials are used throughout the Danner line.
  • They're reasonably priced, given their quality.
  • There are numerous styles, designs and materials.

Danner hiking boots cons

  • Sizing is not uniform across designs and styles.
  • Thick leather, Danner's classic material, takes longer to break in.
  • Style-oriented boots may not be as good for hiking as they appear.

Best Danner hiking boots

Danner Men's Mountain 600 Boots

This 4.5-inch hiking boot is one of Danner's most popular models because of its versatility and durability. There are a number of materials and colors to choose from; keep in mind that your choice may have an impact on the final price.

Sold by Amazon and Dick's Sporting Goods

Danner Men's Panorama Waterproof Hiking Boots

These Danner boots are on the affordable side, but they don't skimp on quality. Their waterproofing is complemented by a chunky, grippy sole that extends up the side of the boot to provide extra protection from water and moisture from seeping in through the seams. There's also external support on the heel to keep your foot secure.

Sold by Dick's Sporting Goods and Amazon

Danner Men's GI USMC RAT Boot

Worn by none other than the U.S. Marines, you can be sure that these rugged all-terrain boots deliver support and performance. They're affordable, too. And although the 8-inch height takes some getting used to, these boots thrive on hikes where ankle support is of paramount importance.

Sold by Amazon

What are Columbia hiking boots?

Like Danner, Columbia has been a well-respected part of the outdoor gear industry for decades. Founded in 1938, Columbia has been making quality footwear since 1993.

Although Columbia's prices are slightly lower than Danner's in most cases, this certainly doesn't mean that its boots, especially for hiking, are less well-made. In fact, Columbia is known for producing great no-frills hiking boots at a reasonable price.

Columbia differs from other outerwear brands in its outdoor-enthusiast-first approach. Regardless of the style, all Columbia hiking boots perform reasonably well on the trail. While this doesn't mean you can take any pair anywhere, it should take away some stress if you're worried about versatility. But aesthetic style isn't an area where Columbia excels when it comes to hiking boots.

Columbia hiking boots pros

  • Columbia hiking boots are affordable, even at the higher end.
  • Innovative, comfortable designs characterize its lineup.
  • Columbia makes excellent insulated boots for the colder months.

Columbia hiking boots cons

  • Columbia hiking boots aren't known for offering great protection in the form of steel toes or ultra-thick uppers.
  • Lifestyle hiking boots you can use stylishly off the trail are few and far between in the Columbia line.

Best Columbia hiking boots

Columbia Men's Newton Ridge Plus II Waterproof Hiking Boot

These lightweight boots are affordable and well-made. You can rely on them to keep the elements at bay, especially if you pair them with a set of boot gaiters that cover the openings at the ankle. The sole on these boots is extra grippy, which makes them great for four-season hiking.

Sold by Amazon

Columbia Men's Crestwood Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

These combine durable full-grain leather with breathable mesh to create a comfortable wear-all-day boot. The sole is chunky and designed to provide ample support so your arches don't become fatigued too quickly.

Sold by Amazon

Columbia Men's Trailstorm Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

These bring the best high-performance technologies for the lowest possible price. Although they're totally waterproof, they're also breathable, which makes them great for three-season use. The sole is grippy enough to use on moderate hiking trails and lightweight enough to wear around town in the rain or other inclement weather.

Sold by Amazon and Dick's Sporting Goods

Should you get Danner or Columbia hiking boots?

Both Columbia and Danner have developed reputations for producing high-quality outdoor gear. Both have an established history of innovating while sticking to the roots that their customers love.

However, that has resulted in Danner opting for a higher-end, more stylish take on the performance-oriented hiking boot. If you're not worried about shelling out some extra cash for something that looks as good in the city as it performs on the trail, Danner is the way to go.

Columbia, on the other hand, is better for purists who simply want a functional hiking boot that minimizes cost. With Columbia, you don't sacrifice quality or performance, so if you're on a budget, it's a no-brainer.

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William Briskin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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