Verdict from 8 experts and 100+ user reviews

7 reasons to buy

  • The majority found the Danner Explorer 650 extremely comfortable right out of the box.
  • A large number of buyers mentioned that the shoe felt very light on their feet.
  • Numerous customers said that the footwear had excellent durability. 
  • Many style-conscious hikers highly appreciated the overall look of this hiking boot.
  • Several users said that their foot, owing to the boot’s high breathability, remained dry throughout the day hiking session.
  • A few individuals praised the strong build of the footgear.
  • Less than a handful of verified Danner reviewers commended the 650 for having reliable ankle support.

1 reason not to buy

  • Some hikers were unhappy about the performance of the boot in wet seasons. They felt water leaking into the boot.

Bottom line

The Danner Explorer 650 is a lightweight, comfortable, highly durable hiking boot that impressed the outdoor community. The style-conscious ones liked the looks of the boot. There were hikers who mentioned that their feet remained dry and cool throughout the day owing to the boot’s high breathability. A small minority, however, complained about the leakage they experienced in the rainy seasons.

Tip: see the best hiking boots.

Good to know

  • The Danner Explorer 650 has the Vibram Escape outsole. It features self-adapting lugs placed at strategic locations to provide optimal traction and long-term durability.
  • The Vibram SPE midsole and the multi-density Ortholite footbed provide comfort. The combination also delivers two times more resilience than the conventional EVA midsole. The system distributes the effect of impact forces over the whole midsole, thereby reducing the risk of injuries. 
  • The Danner Explorer 650 has different variants. The one that features a full-grain leather upper with parts of nylon has sturdiness and durability. It can also adapt to the natural shape of the foot. The version with suede and nylon upper is tough and breathable.

This product is offered in standard width and lengths for men and women. The Danner Explorer 650 wide hiking boot is for men only. It generally runs true to size. The sturdy upper in all three versions of the day hiking boot provides the needed security. The lace-up closure gives a snug fit. The mid-cut design reduces the risk of twisting one’s ankle. The semi-curved shape ensures an adaptable fit. It uses the DPDX last for a sleek, low-profile look with enough room for comfort. Danner built the shoe on this last to promote surefootedness—the ability to tackle rough terrain safely—without the extra bulk.

The Vibram Escape outsole is a combination of strategically placed lugs and the Megagrip compound. The lugs self-adapt themselves to provide the needed traction in different directions. The rubber compound, which works in synergy with the lugs, further enhances the grip of the boot on tricky terrain.

The SPE (Specialized Performance Elastomer) midsole from Vibram is a new compound that combines ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and rubber. This component still has the same cushioning abilities as the traditional EVA midsole but has more durability. This blend promises enhanced support, comfort and bounce.

In its midsole, the Danner Explorer 650 features an Ortholite footbed. It has three layers varying in density to provide optimum support and cushioning. It has an open-cell polyurethane construction to allow dissipation of heat and circulation of air.

The shank is exposed—it can be seen from the bottom of the boot. Made of TPU, it stiffens the boot and provides a stable platform to the wearer.

The Explorer 650 has a sleek profile. Two of its variants feature a full-grain leather upper with parts of nylon. It provides the needed comfort and durability. Full-grain leather does not go through any sanding procedures and is, therefore, the reason for the dull shine of the boot. The suede and nylon upper variant offers similar features and has breathability.

The Danner Dry technology is a waterproof yet breathable barrier. It works in synergy with the mesh lining to allow the air to enter, keep the interior dry and maintain the temperature for the right amount of coolness inside the footgear.

The flat shape of the laces enables them to remain tied unlike the conventional round laces which tend to untie easily.  Moreover, there is the cushioned tongue with a mesh liner featured over the waterproof layer for comfort. The tongue is gusseted to keep out the elements.

  • The Explorer 650 is the reimagined version of the Danner Light. The classic waterproof hiker was released in the 1970s. The hiking boot brand Danner links past to the future through this boot by combining heritage features with their latest footwear technologies.


How Danner Explorer 650 ranks compared to all other shoes
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Top 28% Danner hiking boots
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The current trend of Danner Explorer 650.
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Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

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.