REVIEW: Danner’s Vicious boots wrap hiking comfort in a durable, protective shell

Updated Aug 22, 2018
Danner Vicious boots weigh just 24 ounces each.Danner Vicious boots weigh just 24 ounces each.

Whether you get them for yourself or somebody else, boots are always a welcome addition under a construction worker’s Christmas tree.

I’ve had a chance to spend a couple months in these new Danner Vicious boots and have to say that these are the most comfortable all-day boots I’ve ever owned, bar none. Danner’s DNA comes from their long tradition in hiking and outdoor boots. For the new Vicious line of boots, they wrapped their hiking technology in a shell that provides the kind of durability and protection you need on construction sites.

Shoes sizes are all over the map these days, but I ordered these in my true foot size, 11.5 and they fit perfect, first time out. That should allay any concerns you have about ordering online. There was zero need for break in and the boots are equally comfortable with thick socks or thin, and that’s a first.

Three things stand out in the “foot-feel” of these boots.

  1. They hug the heels. No movement here means a steadier foot and ankle and no break-in blisters.
  2. The arches are high enough that I don’t get any fatigue in the middle of my feet.
  3. There seems to be a deeper than normal well underneath the balls of my feet. If there’s one part of my foot that gets sore late in the day it’s going to be there, but with these Danners that doesn’t happen.

About a month ago I spent two days in these Boots, walking the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center, averaging about eight miles a day and on my feet for most of 12 hours. Usually at a trade show I’ll switch footgear at the end of the day, slip into some running shoes to give my feet a change, but with the Danner Vicious boots, that was not necessary. At the end of these long days my feet still wanted the Danners over anything else I’d packed.

The speed lace system uses four pairs of channels below (rather than eyelets) and two hooks at the top so you can tighten up the whole boot with just one tug.The speed lace system uses four pairs of channels below (rather than eyelets) and two hooks at the top so you can tighten up the whole boot with just one tug.

I’ve also spent the last four weekends on my feet on the concrete floor of my shop. Again, the hours were long, but my feet stayed comfortable throughout the whole day and late into the evenings. If you’re like most, at the end of a long day you grab an adult beverage, kick off the boots and put the feet up to enjoy the game or what’s left of it. With the Danner Vicious boots there’s no urge to remove the boots. They’re so comfortable I have to be careful not to leave them on when I go to bed. I kid you not.

On the outside of the boot, the heel and toe are capped with abrasion-resistant material. And there’s enough stiffness in the toe that you can kick blocks and timbers into place without hurting your toes. The low-profile heel makes for a natural stride and a less shock when walking on hard surfaces. While tromping laterally across the hill that constitutes my backyard, the 90 degree exterior edges of the heel and sole bit into the ground firmly. If you’re in the mountains or steep hills you want that in a hiking boot, as nothing’s worse than losing your footing while traversing a steep slope. For landscapers or guys who pioneer land clearing work this is a big plus and a quality you don’t find on a lot of construction boots.

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The boots are built on Danner’s Trailguard platform. According to the company it’s designed to improve comfort while reducing weight. It features a dual-density EVA midsole (more cushioning than many traditional midsoles) with a thermoplastic urethane (TPU) shank within the midsole for stability control. A non-metallic safety toe protects the front end of your foot and a breathable Gore-Tex liner cuts down on sweaty feet.

A 90-degree angle on the heel and sole helps your foot grip on slopes and soft soil and the shallow tread lugs shed mud and gravel easily.A 90-degree angle on the heel and sole helps your foot grip on slopes and soft soil and the shallow tread lugs shed mud and gravel easily.

On some deep lugged boots, the tread on the bottom of the sole can trap small bits of gravel. Walk those over somebody’s wood or tile floor and you’ll be in the doghouse. Danner’s Vicious boots don’t have a very deep lug and hence do not hang onto pebbles or gravel (or mud for that matter) which may save you an ass-chewing someday.

The speed lace system runs the lace through channels (rather than eyelets) in the lower part of the tongue and then the traditional hooks above. This enables you to tighten up the whole boot with just one tug on the laces.  The padding on the tongue and around the ankle is substantial and helps eliminate the gaps around the ankle so scree, gravel and dust don’t get into the boot.

I honestly struggled to find something to criticize about these boots. I could say that the leather uppers were a bit soft compared to the harder leathers in some other boots I have. This may mean the Vicious won’t last as long as some on the gnarliest jobs—asphalt paving and concrete work.  Time will tell, but the trade-off is that more heavily armored boots weigh more. At about 48 ounces a pair, the Vicious boots are the lightest in my closet—one reason I can wear them all day without feeling fatigued.

At $180 msrp, the Danner Vicious boots are well worth it and my go-to boots for just about everything. And they look good too. A touch of color, but nothing too gaudy.