Photography by Richard Giordano
Prepping for a trip to Iceland, I hemmed and hawed over footwear. The country has a reputation for extreme and unpredictable weather, and I knew most of my time would be spent outdoors. Something waterproof, rugged, comfortable, and warm was crucial. Made from waterproof full-grain leather, featuring a Vibram SPE midsole, Fuga outsole, and designed for the damp Pacific Northwest, Danner’s Mountain 600 boot was a solid contender. When the box arrived, my boot-buying difficulties from earlier in the year lingered fresh in my mind. I have small, narrow feet that can be hard to fit. Fortunately, Danner offers a 365-day warranty across their footwear line. To my surprise, the size 5.5 boot in Rich Brown slid on like Cinderella’s slipper—but the true test awaited.
I wore these boots every day for three weeks in Iceland—while driving, pounding the pavement in Reykjavík, preparing meals in the rain, and walking over volcanic rock, black sand, and soggy grass. The low-profile ankle rubbed on the right for a day or two (this is common for me) but resolved after a quick break-in. There was no pinching, squishing, gaping, or hot spots, and my feet remained happy in temps hovering around freezing. The attractive styling meant I could go for a quick hike or dine in most restaurants without feeling too dressed down.
The suede leather dried impressively quickly when wet but became temporarily discolored after a traipse through some thick, slippery mud. It also took a beating during a hike amongst some sharp, volcanic rock. The suede became nicked, but I feel these add to the boot’s rugged good looks without affecting performance. The eyelets are robust, but the laces are extremely long and require a double knot to keep them from unraveling and dragging behind me like a toddler’s favorite blankie. These minor factors didn’t take away from how much I enjoyed the boots and how well they functioned during my time in Iceland.
My next stop was the American West. I put these boots to the test in the dry dust, silt, and rocky desert terrain of Nevada and California and was equally impressed. At 1 pound per boot, the Mountain 600s are on the heavy side; I would opt for a pair of trail runners with more aggressive lugs for longer and more technical day and multi-day hikes in the summer and in the hotter temperatures (I opted for something lighter south of the Mojave). However, as an all-around boot for overlanding, the fit, comfort level, quality, and robustness make the Mountain 600s a winner in my books.
$230 | danner.com
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