Verdict from 9 experts and 100+ user reviews

10 reasons to buy

  • More than a handful of brand enthusiasts were dumbfounded with the durability of these vintage-inspired backpacking boots. 
  • Numerous users expressed how comfortable the Mountain Light II feels on foot.
  • The craftsmanship of the Mountain Light II was first-rate, according to a lot of hikers.
  • A majority of purchasers were impressed with how the boots surpassed their expectations.
  • The outsole offered a reliable amount of traction on trails, based on some user reviews.
  • A large number of wearers loved the fact that this boot can be recrafted. 
  • Considering the boot’s useful lifetime and ultra-expensive price, heaps of buyers noted that this was one of their best investments ever.
  • Several owners liked how the backpacking footgear kept their feet dry after crossing streams.
  • The functionality of Danner’s second iteration of the Mountain Light left plenty of wearers at a loss for words. They wore it from town to the trails with sheer delight. 
  • After finding out that their Mountain Light IIs were made locally (in the United States), a few verified purchasers couldn’t help but express satisfaction.

5 reasons not to buy

  • Some buyers wished that the Mountain Light II offered more ankle support.
  • The tongue of the Mountain Light II took a lot of getting used to based on a considerable number of consumer reviews. 
  • According to a handful of users, this backpacking boot was too narrow, especially in the toe area.
  • A couple of hiking aficionados found the boots to be heavy.
  • To get the most out of the Mountain Light II from Danner, a significant amount of break-in time was necessary, according to a small group of backpackers.

Bottom line

The Mountain Light II is a heritage piece from Danner which has proven its worth over time. This backpacking boot did not fail to amaze outdoor lovers. Its comfort and decade-worth of service were exceptional. The boot may be handcrafted, but its artistry remained incomparable.

On the flipside, the outwardly quintessential pair was criticized for its narrow fit. Finally, it may be concluded that the Danner Mountain Light II is a cut-above-the-rest boot, yet those who want a pair must be willing to make some interventions.

Tip: see the best hiking boots.

Good to know

  • The longstanding Mountain Light II from Danner is a legendary pair of backpacking boots equipped with technologies made to deliver. It is designed using the 650 last which gives an out-of-the-box snug fit.
  • The Kletterlift sole from Vibram, a product from the outsole manufacturer’s Carrarmato line, supplies the boot with underfoot grip and traction. The specifications of the sole ensure that it works across a range of ground conditions without compromising uphill and downhill performance.
  • Danner’s Airthotic works in conjunction with the EVA midsole. It also helps maintain breathability inside the boots through its perforated pattern. A lightweight and flexible fiberglass shank is added for more support.
  • The retro one-piece, full-grain leather assembly of the upper helps keep out debris and water. The Gore-Tex liner balances waterproofness and breathability while offering moderate insulation.

The Mountain Light II caters to male and female backpackers. Both come in standard width and sizes. The men’s boot comes in wide too.

Danner crafted this backpacking footgear using the 650 last which grants a snug fit. It runs narrower due to its slender contour. Thus, the brand recommends getting a wide (EE) size for those with a wider foot. Likewise, this last is designed for those with a low-volume foot. According to the brand, boots built on their 650 last tend to be snug out of the box. They noted that it stretches with wear for about 3 to 5%.

Danner Mountain Light II is equipped with the durable Vibram Kletterlift outsole—a thinner variation from the sole manufacturer’s Carrarmato line. It has a large contact area for optimal grip on rocks. Its self-cleaning, multi-directional lugs render sensitivity across a range of ground conditions. The angled lugs on the heel and the toe work by minimizing the effort required in commencing and completing a stride, hence promoting grip and brake. The clover-like lugs on the center of the sole enhances traction.

The midsole of the Danner Mountain Light II is made of EVA. It is partnered with the half-length, molded PU Danner Airthotic  which supports the arch of the foot. Also, it cups the heel for proper alignment. The perforations on this footbed enhance air circulation for optimal comfort.

With a fiberglass shank , this backpacking boot offers a lightweight yet supportive ride. Its flexibility allows the foot to move naturally and conveniently, thus minimizing foot fatigue on long hikes.

The Danner Mountain Light II is fully waterproof, thanks to a one-piece, full-grain leather construction of the upper. It is also lined with the breathable and waterproof Gore-Tex Extended Comfort membrane which is non-insulated, thereby allowing maximum expulsion of heat from the inside for comfort.

  • The Mountain Light II boot is assembled with a stitchdown construction which allows it to be recrafted—adding more years to the boot’s lifetime.
  • When purchasing Danner boots, the brand website has a size advice option. Users need to input their gender, size, foot type, arch type and the brand of the shoe they currently wear. Afterward, the site recommends the size.
  • Daniel Craig used the Danner Mountain Light II boots in the movie Spectre, a 2015 James Bond film.
  • The brand lists the following tips to prolong the life of Danner boots:
    1. Clean the boots after every use using a wet rag, sponge or soft brush. Apply cleaning gel sparingly to remove grimes and oil. Rinse off excess with tap water and let it air dry. A boot dryer can be used to expedite drying. However, it is strongly advised not to use a hair dryer or open flame as it can critically damage the leather.
    2. In waterproofing the boots, Danner recommends an application of their waterproofing gel especially if the boots took on excess water. It makes the boot heavy and it can create water spots between the leather and the Gore-Tex lining. Once the boots are clean, the gel can be applied using a clean rag. Allow it to dry and wipe away the excess. Do not use waterproofing gel on nubuck, suede or rough-out leather boots. Instead, use Danner’s waterproofing spray to help maintain its original texture.
    3. Danner offers a boot dressing to assist in breaking-in and maintaining the color of the leather. Likewise, it helps extend the life of the boots. The dressing can be applied to clean, dry boots using a soft cloth and allow it to dry overnight. Reapplication is preferable once the leather appears scuffed, dry or losing its color.


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Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.