In the spring, I received the Danner Trail 2650 GTX hiking shoes for testing and ever since I’ve been wearing them regularly for hiking, trekking and everyday use in rainy weather. Danner is an American footwear manufacturer with a long history. They started making work boots in 1932 and in the early 70’s they premiered their first hiking boot. Today Danner is a well-established brand within hiking footwear and thus I was very excited to test their flagship hiking shoe. The Trail 2650 shoe is designed for speed hiking and fast alpine ascents. It’s a very lightweight shoe and that’s exactly what I wanted for my hiking adventures in summer, spring and autumn. For the last three months I’ve been wearing the Trail 2650 shoes daily, investigating the materials, fit and comfort.
The Danner Trail 2650 GTX shoes are suitable for:
- Everyday use
The Danner Trail 2650 shoe weighs only 13.5 oz. (382 g) and is thus perfect for lightweight hiking. It’s available in several different versions. I received the version with leather/textile uppers and Gore-Tex lining (GTX in the name stands for Gore-Tex). The shoe is also available without Gore-Tex lining, with mesh/textile uppers (Trail 2650 Mesh), and there is also a special version for warm weather hiking (Trail 2650 Campo). All these versions are also available in the mid model which comes just over the ankle and thus provides better ankle support. The mid model is a good option if you often carry a heavy backpack or do technically demanding trails but still want to have lightweight footwear.
When I unwrapped the shoes, I immediately noticed that they are made of robust and sturdy materials. The front part of the upper is made of suede leather while the rear part is made of a sturdy textile. The shoes also feature a rand. A rand is a rubber layer that goes around the toe of the shoe and provides extra protection for your toes and the shoe on rocky terrain. At the heel, the shoes have a large piece of rubber which according to Danner provides protection for the heel. I haven’t had shoes with such a heel before and to be honest I don’t think it’s a particularly useful feature as it’s fairly uncommon to bump your heel against the rocks while hiking. I think Danner tried to make the shoes look more stylish with this detail but I’m not sure they succeeded. Nevertheless, I also don’t see any disadvantages of this feature except it adds a tiny bit of extra weight and bulk.
The Danner Trail 2650 has a sturdy insole, PlyoGo midsole and Vibram 460 outsole. The insole seems to be durable and so far, I haven’t noticed any signs of wear. The PlyoGo midsole is made of EVA foam. EVA foam midsoles are lighter than PU midsoles but have a shorter lifespan (read more about this in our Hiking Footwear Guide). I found the midsole a bit too soft but more about this in the section below. I was happy to see that the shoes utilize Vibram outsole. I’ve only had good experience with Vibram outsoles and thus I was excited to see that they still make top-notch products.
Comfort, Fit and Support
When I put on the Danner Trail 2650 shoes for the first time, I noticed that they are a bit stiff, and that I would have to break them in. As the shoes have leather uppers, this was not a big surprise. However, I also felt that they are a bit too tight just behind the toes where the laces start and wasn’t sure whether they will expand with time or not. Before going on the first hike with them, I wore them for a week for everyday use. They did become softer, but they have remained tight in the area behind the toes. That surprised me a bit because the shoe size otherwise fits me perfectly. The shoes are not squeezing me that much that I wouldn’t be able to wear them comfortably, but since I haven’t had problems with other shoes being too tight there, I do consider this a minor design flaw.
Besides that, I was very happy with the fit and I found the Danner Trail 2650 shoes comfortable to wear. They are perfect for easy trails as well as for hiking on rocky terrain because they are robust and sturdy. They also provide very good cushioning. Nevertheless, I did find the PlyoGo midsole slightly too soft. The midsole performs great when I’m hiking lightweight, but when I carry my daughter in the Poco child carrier pack (total weight of 33 lbs/15 kg or so), the midsole becomes too soft and somewhat bouncy. I didn’t have this problem with my Lowa Innox shoes, but they also had midsoles made of PU while the PlyoGo midsole is made of EVA. The Danner shoes are 100 grams lighter than my Lowa shoes despite that they have uppers made of heavier materials (leather vs. synthetics). So, I guess that it’s especially the midsole that makes the Danner shoes so lightweight.
Breathability and Waterproofing
The Danner Trail 2650 GTX shoes come with Gore-Tex lining. Since I live in Denmark where there are in average 156 rainy days per year, I can confirm that I thoroughly tested how waterproof the shoes actually are. And I must say that I was very satisfied. I don’t recall ever coming home with wet feet when I wore the Trail 2650 shoes, although I wore them in heavy rain more than once. Now, the Gore-Tex lining does decrease the breathability of the shoe to some extent, but I was actually positively surprised how breathable the shoes are. In terms of breathability, the Trail 2650 shoe matches my Lowa Innox shoe which has a fully synthetic upper. One would thus expect that the Danner shoe would be less breathable, but that is not the case. So, all in all I’m very satisfied with both breathability and waterproofing of the Danner Trail 2650 GTX shoes – a rare combination, indeed!
The shoes come with Vibram 460 outsoles which I found to be excellent. The shoes provide really good traction on both gravel trails and rocky terrain. I was especially satisfied with the traction in wet conditions. The shoe almost glues to the surface which makes hiking in wet conditions not only more enjoyable but also safer.
The Danner Trail 2650 shoes are available in EU sizes from 40 to 49 (US sizes from 7 to 15). Each size is also available in the wide version. I got the shoes in EU size 44 (US size 11) with normal width and besides being too low in the area behind the toes as explained above they fit me perfectly. I’m wondering whether the wide version would fit me better in that area. Nevertheless, I think that the shoe would then be too wide in other areas where it fits me perfectly now. Most of my other shoes are size 44 or 43.5. Therefore, the Trail 2650 shoes seem true to size.
The Danner Trail 2650 GTX shoes are a great option for lightweight hiking, backpacking and mountaineering. They are made of high-quality materials and therefore very durable. I was also impressed with breathability, waterproofness and traction. The shoes are best for 3-season hiking although they can also be worn in winter, depending on the snow conditions. I was a bit disappointed with the fit (they are a bit tight behind the toes) and the EVA midsole which is too soft for carrying heavier loads comfortably. Nevertheless, the Trail shoes have many advantages, and I can’t wait to wear them on our hiking holidays in the summer.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.
We field tested this product. The rating shows its overall performance.About Rating
- Sturdy materials
- EVA midsole is too soft for carrying heavy loads
- A bit tight (low) in the area behind the toes