We’ve been very impressed with the Danner Women’s Trail 2650. It’s as close to a perfect trail shoe as we’ve found, being lightweight, durable and, in our opinion, looking great too.
Pros / Reasons to Buy
- Durable build
- Extremely comfortable
Cons / Reasons to Avoid
- Not the cheapest
- We found they were a little cool on the feet in wet conditions
We’ve been very impressed by these lightweight trail shoes from well-known brand Danner. They tick all the right boxes: they are comfortable, have a minimal breaking-in period, are very well made, durable and bring all of this into a lightweight package. We’re quite taken by their looks too and Danner offer these shoes in a number of different color ways, so there’s bound to be an option that appeals to your sense of aesthetics. We’ve got no hesitation in awarding these our Top pick and winner for best Women’s Trail shoe.
Compare to Similar Products
- Adidas Terrex AX4 Gore-Tex Hiking Shoes
- The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack
- Keen Nxis EVO Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoe
- Our full guide for all options: 20 Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes
Get a closer look: Danner Women’s Trail 2650 in motion
Analysis and Test Results
The Danner Women’s Trail 2650 shoes have impressed us enormously. We’ll cut straight to it and say we have no reservations about awarding them our top pick and choosing them as our winner for best Women’s waterproof hiking shoe. These shoes hit what we think is a great balance between light weight, durability and stylish good looks. They are perfect on the trail for general hiking and nature walking (though you’ll likely still want some more rigid boots if you intend to go mountaineering) but beyond this, these shoes make a great and comfortable choice for day-to-day wear too. In fact, our reviewer has barely taken them off. Our only criticism is that our reviewer found they were left with slightly cooler (but still dry!) feet after testing these shoe’s water resistance by crossing a shallow stream.
The Danner Women’s Trail 2650 hiking shoes make use a Vibram outsole. Vibram is a name you’ll often see on the soles of hiking and trail boots and they are a third-party manufacturer with decades of experience making soles for outdoor shoes and boots. We don’t think we’ve ever encountered a bad Vibram sole and the soles on the Women’s Trail 2650 is no exception, offering a medium to deep thread pattern and a rubber material that looks to strike the right amount of balance between softness – for improved traction, especially so on we tor slippery surfaces – and hardness – for improved durability.
Outwardly, the Danner Women’s Trail 2650 hiking shoes do not seem to be that breathable. The front section is made from suede, and the mid-section is made from rubberized mesh, both of which are not exactly known for their breathability. However, on a closer look, you’ll see that these sections are perforated, and the rear section is plain mesh. Whilst these shoes don’t utilize Gore-Tex or similar, Danner still claim they are waterproof. In our testing we’ve found the breathability of these shoes to be first rate, even on long hikes on hot summer days.
These Danner Women’s Trail 2650s are hiking shoes rather than boots and as such, they don’t offer any specific ankle support. There’s a raised section at the heel, but that’s about it. In some areas of outdoor activity – for example technical mountaineering, or if you’re going to be clipping your boots into shoe shoes or skis – then rigid ankle support is a must as it could really help prevent you from sustaining a serious injury. However, for general hiking, walking or even trail running, this level of support is not essential, and many hikers simply prefer the feel of a hiking shoe over a boot. It’s not a scientific survey at all, but broadly speaking, we see hikers wearing boot smore often in Europe and shoes more often in America. Ankle support – even a little bit of it – can offer you some protection if you slip or fall. None of the boots here – except perhaps the Scarpa Ribelle Lite HD – offer the kind of ankle support that could potentially save you from breaking an ankle, but even minimal ankle support could prevent a twisted ankle. However, if you prefer shoes to boots – and many really do find they offer a comfort advantage – then this tradeoff is well-worth making.
The Danner Women’s Trail 2650 offers very subtle arch support out of the box – it certainly wasn’t something our reviewer was aware of in use. The role arch support plays in a shoe or boot’s comfort is very subjective and some will favor more than others. There are certainly many who will be indifferent either way. Arch support can easily and inexpensively be adjusted and matched to your expected comfort levels by replacing the insoles in a pair of shoes and, with this in mind, it makes sense that Danner have opted for a ‘neutral’ offering here.
The Danner Women’s Trail 2650 shoes are offered in a single ‘medium’ width, suitable for most foot widths and in sizes from US 5/ UK 3.5/ EU 36 up to US 11/ UK 9.5/ EU 44. On the foot, our reviewer found these shoes exceptionally comfortable on their slightly wide feet and the sizing seemed true.
The Danner Women’s Trail 2650 shoes make use of a mixture of leather suede and synthetic materials in their construction. The Suede section of the upper is actually relatively small, but is at the front of the shoe, where its hard-wearing properties can be best put to use. The rest of the shoe is synthetic and comprises mostly open mesh or ventilated rubberized mesh. There’s also a sturdy rubber batch on the heel. This isn’t just a design flourish – it’ll also help provide some extra rigidity and impact protect around the heel area. These shoes feature a Gore-Tex membrane which allows them to be both breathable and water resistant.
Styling is a very subjective quality, but we’ve got to say we like the look of these Danner shoes. The Women’s Trail 2650 is offered in a number of different color options, and we think it combines design cues from traditional footwear in a thoroughly modern package. The days of boring-looking or purely utilitarian outdoor footwear are long gone, and these are shoes we could imagine many people would buy for their looks (and comfort!) along – regardless of whether they intended to take them on the trail or not. Their comfort and style combined make them a real winner.
Long-term durability is difficult, perhaps even impossible for us to assess in the time we have to review any products and you’ll really only get a full picture of it after years of use. However, Danner have a reputation for making solid, long-lasting footwear and these Women’s Trail 2650s certainly seem to be no exception. They appear to be very well built and in the time we’ve had them, they’ve shown absolutely zero reason to think they won’t last for many years. They’ve been tested rigorously out on the trail and feel very dependable and hard wearing. As mentioned above, these boots make use of suede in their upper section and in some color versions – including the ones we’ve reviewed – this suede is light in color, and we could expect this to discolor with use – especially if you regularly take the shoes into muddy or boggy conditions. However, this would be purely cosmetic and would not impact the usability of the shoes at all, it would also be easy to clean them up (as we have done after some use) to get them looking great again very easily. All in all, we have no doubt that these Danner shoes will prove to be very durable choice.
With a weight of 680g/1lb 8oz for a pair, the Danner Women’s Trail 2650 shoes are at the lighter end – though not the absolute lightest – of the shoes in our round up. That they hit this weight whilst still being exceptionally well-built and durable is a definite plus point in our opinion. Heavy footwear has a disproportionate impact on fatigue – the old saying that one pound on your fee tis equivalent to five pounds on your back has been proven to be true in experiments – so it’s well worth considering the weight of what your put on your feet and not just if you consider yourself an ultra-lightweight backpacker.
Danner supply their shoes with a three-layered cushioned insole. It is, of course, removable. We’d say it’s at the better end of generic insoles, and we’re sure most buyers would be perfectly happy with it. However, changing out the insole for an after-market option is also a great way to fine-tune the fit and comfort of your shoes. Whether you want extra arch support or deeper cushioning, this is a quick and fairly inexpensive way to make a potentially big difference.
No shoes are completely without a breaking in period and this is a quality that’s very subjective. However, we found the Danner Women’s Trail 2650 to be very comfortable straight out of the box and after one or two short local walks, we were more than happy to wear them out on a much longer hike. Our reviewer did not experience any discomfort, rubbing or blisters from these shoes whilst breaking them in and has pulled many miles on the trail in them since with nothing but good things to say.
The Danner Women’s Trail 2650 shoes use regular, standard laces. Laces are actually a really versatile way of securing your footwear and many people don’t realize that they offer enormous potential to fine-tune the fit and comfort of your shoes. This can make a massive difference on the trail. The lacing pattern you use can also make a big difference here and our guide gives some great suggestions on how you can further personalize the fit of your shoes via the laces.
These Danner Women’s Trail 2650 shoes have a hardened rubber section around the toes to provide some degree of protection if you stumble or stub your toe. They are not fully rigid, though, so you can’t expect the same degree of toe protection as you’d get on, say, a dedicated mountaineering boot. However, we’d say that for general hiking and walking the toe protection is every bit as good as what Danner’s competitors offer.
Hiking Shoes v Hiking Boots
In the past, you wore boots for hiking. It just seemed to be the done thing. What’s more, most hiking boots were bulky and inflexible. However, that’s all changed and footwear manufacturers have brought some fantastically innovative designs and material to their hiking ranges. Hiking shoes are now absolutely a viable choice. For some types of technical hiking, rigid, supportive boots still make sense, but for general hiking and trail walking, lighter shoes are a great option. There’s no major reason not to choose shoes over boots, so the choice really does come down to personal preference.
We’ve been very impressed by the Danner Women’s Trail 2650 shoes. They seem to tick all the right boxes: they are comfortable from the get-go, well made, durable and yet lightweight too. To top it all off, we like how they look! All in all, we would not hesitate to recommend them.
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