Better known for their lineup of tough leather boots, Danner offers an impressively well-rounded hiker in the Trail 2650. We took the low-top version of the shoe to Patagonia, where it faced long days, high mileage, and a lot of scrambling. The verdict: the Trail 2650 is surprisingly capable, combining the light weight and nimble feel of a trail runner with the traction and protection of a beefier design. It’s not the most stable or supportive option, but we came away pleased by its good looks and all-around performance. Below we detail our experiences with the Trail 2650. To see how it stacks up to the competition, see our article on the best hiking shoes.
From the box, we used our Danner Trail 2650 to a variety of day hikes as well as an overnight backpacking excursion along the Cerro Castillo Trek in Chilean Patagonia and came away with awe. While hiking, the Trail 2650 was extremely comfortable and nearly like a tennis shoe in its feel with added protection and traction. This is a perfect combination for those looking to travel light and fast. A large part of this is due to the nature of Trail 2650 Trail 2650 utilizes leather around the upper, whereas many competitors use mesh or nylon. Leather comes with its drawbacks: it tends to stretch, absorbs water faster and may be less durable, based on thickness. However, the increase in comfort is well worth the tradeoffs we believe.
The shoes were comfortable even while lugging an overnight load that was a nice surprise. The Cerro Castillo Trek after the load was dropped off at the campsite and hiking through a rocky and slick valley path to Laguna Duff, much of which was boulder-hopping through the rain and on rough terrain. The shoes were comfortable and grippy and adept in the tough conditions. It is interesting to note that it is interesting that the “2650” of the Trail’s name refers to the complete length on the Pacific Crest Trail, which is a reference to the shoe’s obvious intention. Even though the Danner isn’t proven in comparison to its more established rivals but it’s still an interesting trail-hiking choice due to its outstanding convenience while moving fast and lightweight.
With a weight of 1 pound 8 ounces for the pair The Danner Trail, 2650 is definitely at the lighter end of the hiker’s shoe range. While on the trail, the shoe was extremely agile, yet it was surprisingly adept at taking on rough terrain even with an overloaded pack. In comparison, it has a lighter weight than highly-acclaimed Salomon X Ultra 3 Low Aero (1 1 lb. 9.8 oz. ), Merrell MQM Flex 2 (1 1 lb. 9 oz. ) as well as Aerios FL GTX from Arc’teryx. Aerios FL GTX (1 lb. 8.4 oz. ) However, the Aerios comes with a waterproof membrane that helps add a little weight. The Salomon X Raise is a low-priced model. (1 1 lb. 5.5 oz.) lowers the Danner slightly, however, the other three are very competitive considering their trial skills. Trail runners, too, like those of the Brooks Cascadia 15 (1 lb. 7.4 oz.) in addition to Altra Lone Peak 5 (1 1 lb. 6.2 oz.) aren’t all that heavy as the Danner, and both shoes compromise stability and protection. Overall the Danner is a great middle in between weight and on-trail performance.
In the context of a low-weight trail shoe, the Danner Trail 2650 offers an impressive grip over a range of terrains. I wore the pair on a difficult, slippery, and occasionally off-trail trail as part of the Cerro Castillo Trek. it mastered all conditions with ease. Despite the variety of difficult conditions, I did not find myself searching for places that had more stable footing as the shoe’s Megagrip sole and a lug pattern that is aggressive gave me confidence when rock-hopping in sleet and rain. To illustrate, we included an alternative, the Salomon X Raise (which makes use of Contagrip rubber from Salomon’s house) but the shoe was a bit sloppy from a traction standpoint and was prone to slipping on wet rocks.
Stability and Support
Put simply, if you’re looking for a lot of support, you won’t find it in the Danner Trail 2650. Low-top shoes (especially lightweight models) are inherently less stable than hiking boots, and the Danner is no exception. To be fair, we did wear an overnight pack and trek over especially tough, rocky terrain and experienced only slight ankle turns. But for those who prefer a supportive hiker, we would recommend stepping up to a model like the Keen Targhee III, Merrell Moab 2, or a higher-cut boot like the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid.
When fully laced up, stability was good but not great. In general, leather shoes can be a bit tougher to tighten down, not mention they have a tendency to stretch (a positive for comfort but downside for stability). For comparison, we took the Arc’teryx Aerios FL GTX on a challenging trek into the Grand Canyon and found that it provided a notable bump in stability, and the Adidas Terrex Swift 2.0 was also standout in this regard (albeit with less stiffness). All in all, the Danner Trail 2650 is most at home on established trails and light scrambles, and it does make an intriguing thru-hiking option. However, it wouldn’t be my first choice for long days of scrambling or constant pounding on granite like is common in the Pacific Northwest.
The protection is an obvious feature that is evident in Danner Trail 2650. Danner Trail 2650. The shoe has excellent toe coverage and an ample patch of burly and stiff rubber in the front. When I was hiking, I smacked my toes on roots and rocks several times without any issue. It’s interesting to note that the shoe has a noticeable chunk of rubber with a hard surface on the heel. The verdict is yet to be decided: It’s not often that I am able to pound my heels when walking (certainly not as often that my heels) The large patch certainly adds weight to the overall design. However, the extra cushion made me more confident with my heel positioning in a scramble and stumbling, which was a nice benefit.
Waterproofing and Breathability
We tested the non-waterproof version of the Trail 2650, and Danner also makes a Gore-Tex model for $20 more and with a small, 1-ounce weight penalty. Choosing between waterproof and non-waterproof hiking shoes is ultimately a matter of personal preference (and we’ve written our own article on the topic here), and much of it depends on the location and specific conditions of your trek. On a longer, multi-day trip with a larger pack, I switched to the Danner Trail 2650 Mid GTX boots, which performed admirably in keeping my feet dry and remaining relatively breathable (as most Gore-Tex models do). But in the end, if you aren’t hiking in a moisture-prone area or have an easy way to dry your shoes quickly, the non-GTX model is both cheaper and lighter.
Durability and Build Quality
From the moment we received the shoes we were a bit concerned about the long-term durability due to the light construction that is the Trail 2650. After putting on some miles and running, the shoes are able to withstand small scratches and scuffs. The coating of rubber on the upper part of toes is showing signs of wear, however there’s no concerns about the major areas as of yet. Certain lightweight hiking shoes have uppers that are so thin they scratch easily However, the Danner’s supple upper made of leather has held up to a surprising amount of use, which includes some running. Overall it’s a great shoe to have. Trail 2650 is a very sturdy shoe, particularly among the other shoes in its weight category.
Sizing and Fit
If you’re looking for a shoe that fits when it comes to fit, the Danner Trail 2650 is a bit smaller. I have pretty average feet (on the larger side, or so) and decided to go with the “wide” model. The shoes were too large to my foot, however, the “regular” version was noticeably snug and uncomfortable (but be aware it’s likely that these shoes will expand). Also, it’s important to note that the Danners are also a little too long, and I suggest taking a smaller size if you’re at a crossroads (the boot model is even longer). Overall this was not the most suitable fitting for me, however, those with wider feet may be able to get better results. One last (albeit minor) complaint the Trail 2650’s laces are a bit long. If they are fully tightened, and triple-knotted they are almost touching the ground.
Other Versions of the Danner Trail 2650
We brought the men’s low-top, non-waterproof Trail 2650 to Patagonia, and Danner makes a few of other variations of the design. The shoe we tested is also available in a women’s-specific version that costs the same at $150 and has an identical build and feature set but comes in different colorways and weighs less at 1 pound 2 ounces per pair. For those who hike in especially wet climates, the Trail 2650 GTX adds a waterproof membrane for $20 more and a 3-ounce weight penalty. Finally, Danner also came out with a waterproof Mid model of the Trail 2650 ($180). However, after testing the Mid GTX alongside the low-top shoe in Patagonia, we found that the boot felt notably sloppy and lacked support. Of all of the versions of the Trail 2650 available, we like the low-top version tested here best.
What We Love
- It’s very comfortable straight from the beginning and out on the trail.
- It’s light on the feet and is like the tennis shoe or trail runner, but with more grip.
- Amazingly strong in harsh conditions, such as the off-trail terrain that can be a challenge in heavy precipitation.
- Great protection for your heel and toes. I’ve stomped my toe on the ground and on the roots several times without any issue.
- A stylish look and a city-like appeal that isn’t often found when it comes to hiking shoes.
“What We Never Do”
- A good amount of support, stability and comfort. We didn’t experience any major problems or pain even after a long day out on the trails, however there are definitely more comfortable hiking shoes available.
- We haven’t encountered any significant issues with durability yet However, the rubber layer on the top of the foot is thin and is showing signs of peeling and the leather upper could be prone to deterioration in the future.
- Laces are extremely long. If they are tightened to the maximum, and triple- or double-knotted they nearly touch the ground.
|Danner Trail 2650||$150||Hiking shoe||1 lb. 8 oz.||No (available)||Leather|
|Salomon X Raise||$110||Hiking/trail running||1 lb. 5.5 oz.||No (available)||Synthetic|
|Adidas Terrex Swift R2||$140||Hiking shoe||1 lb. 8.6 oz.||Yes||Synthetic|
|Arc’teryx Aerios FL GTX||$170||Hiking/trail running||1 lb. 8.4 oz.||Yes||Synthetic|
|Oboz Sypes Low Leather WP||$145||Hiking shoe||1 lb. 15.4 oz.||Yes||Leather|
|Merrell Moab 2 Vent||$100||Hiking shoe||1 lb. 15 oz.||No (available)||Leather/mesh|
With its lightweight build and standout protection and comfort, the Danner Trail 2650 was a great match for our treks in Patagonia. Another hiking shoe we brought along on the same trip was Salomon’s X Raise. With a flexible, trail runner-inspired build and low 1-pound-5.5-ounce weight, the X Raise is another good option for fast-and-light missions. However, the X Raise fell surprisingly short in traction—when conditions turned wet, the shoe’s Contagrip outsole became skittish and was prone to slipping. And neither the Danner nor the X Raise are standouts in the stability department (the X Raise’s soft midsole flexed more than we’d like on steep climbs). But these are relatively common compromises for lightweight hikers, and both the Trail 2650 and X Raise are great picks for those shuttling light loads over longer distances. And if budget is a factor, the Salomon comes in at a notable $40 cheaper per pair.
Another hiker with a low-top could be one of the Adidas Terrex Swift GTX. It is the Terrex Swift, as well as Trail 2650 both, feature lightweight constructions (the Adidas is 0.6 oz. heavier at 1 lb. 8.6 oz. ) However, the Danner is significantly less rigid with its leather upper, which provides a great dose of cushioning (but it is true that leather tends to stretch and absorb water faster). But Adidas has the edge in the support department with its robust design and a stiff structure that secures the ankle in the right position. In real-world use, the Danner appears more like a trail running or tennis shoe, whereas it’s the Terrex Swift strikes us as a more robust hiker and the final choice is likely to be based on the feel of the trail. It is important to note that the Terrex Swift is no longer sold with a waterproof option that could cause an impact depending on your needs of yours.
Arc’teryx put its name in the footwear market for hikers by launching its Aerios FGTX. When compared to the of Danner Trail 2650, the Arc’teryx is similar in its lightweight design (1 1 lb. 8.4 oz. ) It’s heavier, however it’s stiffer and less comfortable right from the start (it is more like an approach shoe feel). The Aerios also has an upper made of synthetic (compared that of the Danner’s leather-based upper) and is remarkably durable, yet offers a better fitting and provides a little better stability and stability. Both are a great choice for daytime walking and backpacking in a minimalist manner as well as looking good for everyday use. The Trail 2650 is a bit cheaper at $20 and is available in both Gore-Tex and non-Goretex versions (the Aerios is only available in GTX) this is a slight advantage for us.
Another option for a waterproof shoe is Oboz’s Sypes Low Leather WP. Similar to similar to the Trail 2650, the Sypes is an incredibly stylish and attractive shoe that has an abundance of appeal for everyday wear. We particularly like the sleek and sleek upper made of leather, and the shoe is able to provide enough support, stability, and traction for the majority of on-trail adventure. The area where the Oboz begins to fall apart but this is only when the terrain becomes technical. The Sypes isn’t cushioned enough and doesn’t provide the comfortableness required for long days of trekking, while the Danner has the edge in absolute protection. If you don’t want the fit of the Oboz and comfort, we recommend The lighter, more powerful Trail 2650.
The last but not least, Merrell’s Moab is among the most sought-after lightweight hikers that are available. Both Danner as well as the Merrell are very comfortable right out of the box, however the Merrell is significantly heavier, at 1 pound , 15 pounds (7 7 oz. greater than Danner) and was slightly slow and heavy when on the trail. This model is more comfortable than Danner. Trail 2650 also has more urban appeal, with a more trendy and sleeker design, however you can save $50 when you compare it to the Moab. In all honesty, for moderate to casual hikes and primarily used for hiking, we’d recommend the Moab. If you’re looking to go quickly and light, or are looking for a shoe to be used for both city and hiking and on the streets, the Danner is a tough one to beat.