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Danner Trail 2650 GTX Hiking Shoes Review

Danner Trail 2650 GTX Hiking Shoe Review
Danner Trail 2650 GTX Hiking Shoes are a good alternative to mesh trail runners when you want footwear that’s more durable or provides more moisture protection. They run narrow but they’re also available in wide sizes. This same model is also available in all mesh, partial mesh/leather, and non-waterproof leather shoes as well as mid-height hiking boots so you could use the different models in different seasons if you wish.

Specs at a Glance

  • Upper: Leather
  • Waterproof/Breathable: Yes, Gore-Tex membrane
  • Height: 3″
  • Drop: 8mm
  • Sole: Vibram Megagrip
The Danner Trail 2650 GTX has a burly front toe kick and good forefoot protection
The Danner Trail 2650 GTX has a burly front toe kick and good forefoot protection.

I decided to try these Danner hiking shoes because I’ve finally gotten sick of replacing my mesh trail runners when the toe box gets ripped up from hiking the rocky and mountainous trails in New Hampshire and Southern Maine. I love the breathability, grippy soles, and drainage provided by mesh trail runners, but I’m tired of replacing them after only 250-300 miles because they get so badly holed, well before the soles get close to wearing down. I’ve put up with these durability issues for over 10 years with La Sportiva Ultra Raptors and now with Saucony Peregrines, but I’ve been on the hunt for trail runners or hiking shoes that last longer. I can’t afford to spend $800 every year on new trail runners. There has to be a better way.

The Danner Trail 2650 GTX has leather uppers that are perforated along the sides to enhance ventilation. They have a burly toe kick up front and a toe cap that extends down the sides of the toe box for increased abrasion resistance. The Vibram Megagrip soles are flat without an arch but have a slight front and heel rocker that makes them easier to walk with. The lugs are moderate in length with grooves cut into the soles to help shed water. The sole has a TPU shank for support and EVA foam for cushioning. The heel is well protected and the tongue is attached to the mesh-lined inner shoe, with the sock-like fit you find in many trail runners.

The side vents provide surprisingly good breathability.
The side vents provide surprisingly good breathability.

I’ve found the Trail 2650 to be a very stable shoe that sits low and flat on the ground without a tendency to roll. It’s warmer than my mesh trail runners on cold mornings when there is frost on the ground, but comfortably so without feeling too warm. They repel water nicely when we have to plow through wet leaves and mud. I have to say I’m very impressed with the Gore-Tex lining since the shoes dry quickly, even after a complete soaking if you have to continue hiking in them. I never thought I’d say that about any Gore-Tex-lined shoe.

Danner Trail 2650 GTX Hiking Shoes

Foot Protecton
Water Resistence

Durable Waterproof Hiking Shoe

The Danner Trail 2650 GTX is a lightweight waterproof/breathable hiking shoe that's one step up from mesh trail runners in protection and durability. If you're looking for a hiking shoe that's much more durable than a mesh trail runner and provides better moisture protection, the Danner Trail 2650 is a home run.

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Despite their suede leather uppers, these Danner Trail 2650 hiking shoes need virtually no breaking in. You can wear them out of the box for hiking, but the uppers take about 10 miles to soften up completely, allowing the forefoot to flex more when scrambling up rock. Similarly, the grip of the soles improves once you’ve roughened the lugs up naturally.

The mid-foot is narrow but the toebox is roomier. The 2650 GTX is also available in wide sizes.
The mid-foot is narrow but the toebox is reasonably roomy. The 2650 GTX is also available in wide sizes.

When I got these Danner 2650’s, the first thing I did was modify them by sticking a big piece of velcro on the heel so I could wear dirty girl gaiters with these shoes. There’s not a super flat place on the back of the shoe to do this, but my velcro strips are still holding on pretty well despite this. The Danner Trail 2650 Campo and Danner Trail 2650 Campo GTX models come with factory heel gaiter attachments.

The next thing I did was to remove the cheapo factory foam insoles and replace them with Superfeet insoles that have a higher arch to prevent Plantar Fasciitis. The shoes themselves do not have an internal arch at all.  I’m susceptible to Plantar Fasciitis and will do just about anything to avoid it. It can occur when your arch doesn’t have enough support or your heel moves around too much. A good insole prevents both of those triggers.

The shoes have Vibram Megagrip soles with widely spaced lugs for rapid drainage in wet conditions.
The shoes have Vibram Megagrip soles with widely spaced lugs for rapid drainage in wet conditions.

The laces on the Trail 2650 GTX are standard flat textile laces, but there isn’t an elastic strip or pocket to tuck them into to keep them out of the way. I just triple-knot them and cover them with my gaiters to prevent them from coming unraveled. That works well enough.

The fit is decidedly narrow in the mid-foot, but the toe box provides enough room for your toes to splay out and relax. Wide sizes are available, however, in the Trail 2650 GTX as well as the other non-waterproof, mesh, and warmer weather variants of this shoe that Danner offers.

The Danner Trail 2650 GTX requires very little break-in is wearable out of the box.


The Danner Trail 2650 GTX is a lightweight waterproof/breathable hiking shoe that’s one step up from mesh trail runners in protection and durability, but less rigid and “blocky” than other hiking shoes such as the Moab 3. If you’re looking for a hiking shoe that’s much more durable than a mesh trail runner and provides better moisture protection, the Danner Trail 2650 is a slam dunk. It’s very comfortable, agile, and requires very little break-in time. It even looks good off-trail too!

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  1. A shoe named after the PCT mileage. Not bad.

  2. Thoughts on the longevity of the tread? I don’t expect things to last forever but getting really tired of replacing trail runners every 300-400 miles because the tread is worn to nothing. There’s the cost factor but it also just seems incredibly wasteful.

    • The sole is a little harder and not as grippy so I’m optimistic that I’ll get 500 on them. I’m showing some wear on the heel at 200 miles, but it’s not too bad. But my problem with trail runners was the mesh uppers. The whites just destroy them way before the soles wear out. But I’m really pleased with the durability of the uppers on these. No sign of wear and I’ve been doing a lot of big gnarly peaks the past few weeks for the grid with lots of abrasion.

  3. I’ve had a pair of the leather non breathable ones that I have really enjoyed. They dry pretty fast for leather (the mesh liner helps them feel drier) and have been super comfortable. They managed extremely well hiking out the morning of a surprise foot of snow in CO with bread bags in them.
    The black layer on the toe is peeling off but overall they are holding up really well. I hope these will last longer for you!

  4. This is a great shoe. So is the non-Gore-Tex version. And, yes, they do last longer than similar shoes. I did the whole AT using only two pairs. Thx for the review

  5. Unless you want the agility of a low hiking shoes instead of a mid. Then it makes perfect sense. You simply have much better range of motion with a low shoe.

    • Hi Philip, how did you get on putting the SuperFeet insole into the shoes? I tried with my usual SuperFeet Hike insoles and they were too wide. I saw that the insoles they ship with are very narrow at the heel / midsole.

      Perhaps the Run insoles you used aren’t as wide at the heel?

      Thanks, Oli

      • I used an old pair of Superfeet carbons I had. They’ve since renamed the product line so I’m not sure what that model is called now, but they’re very thin. Did you cut your insoles to narrow the width?

        • My issue is at the heel / midsole, where the carbon baseplate is. This is particularly chunky on the Hikes, so I didn’t fancy cutting into it.

          Looks like the carbons are meant for slimmer shoes (rather than hiking boots). I’ll give them a go – thanks so much!

  6. I have the non GTX version of these and after thoroughly soaking them courtesy of my dogs choosing to go in a stream they did dry faster than I expected for a leather shoe. They are quite comfortable also. The sole I think it’s supposed to be Vibram Megagrip but it’s not that sticky.
    They still wouldn’t be my first choice for really warm or wet weather but they are quite versatile otherwise.

  7. A couple years ago, I bought a pair of Danner 2650 in the mid height boot. I like them a lot. But, I did have to cut the tongue gusseting down a couple inches on each side, because I could barely force my foot down in the boot, it was so tight. Once in, my 10-1/2 foot fits fine. Hated to cut up the boot, but it helped to get them on.

  8. I’ve been hiking in these in Colorado for almost a year now with Kahtoola Insta gaiters. Really liking this set up for all but the warmest conditions. They have been very durable shoes, water resistant, warm when I want warm, coolish when it’s warm. Kind of amazing, actually. And my feet are narrow and long so the fit is great for me. I also like the way they look!

  9. I got the 2650 Mid a few years ago, and they quickly became my favorite light hiker. Just a little above the ankle, with top two quick lace hooks, not eyelets. I found them too tight to enter, so I razor cut the tongue gusseting about two inches down on each side. Didn’t ruin the shoe, and made it easier to get my foot in. Seem tight, but once my foot is settled, they are as light and comfortable as a Beans slipper.

  10. How is the lateral stability on these shoes? (and how does it compare to the La Sportiva Raptors in terms of lateral stability?) (I really like the La Sportiva Raptors for lateral stability – the soles flare out a bit wider the uppers; it’s hard to tell how much flare the various Danner Trail shoes have based on looking at REI’s pictures.) (Interestingly, I’ve managed to wear out the soles of my La Sportiva Raptors while the uppers are well intact, but I do mixture of NH White Mountain hiking and pickleball – I think the latter is hard on the soles.)

  11. Danner 2650 mid. I walk on average 10-20k steps at my job a day. By far the absolute best shoe I have ever worn. It’s been a year and a 1/2. And I just replaced the In souls. There is no comparison. I’ve hiked in them as well 8 miles on average. Hills gravel sand grass

  12. I have the non-GTX version of these and while I do love them and have put probably 300 trail miles on them in addition to a fair amount of daily wear, they aren’t supportive enough for my over pronating feet. It’s not too bad with a day pack, but anything heavy and they exacerbate my foot positioning issues even with superfeet insoles.

    That being said, I do love them for any hikes where I’m not carrying around an extra 40 pounds.

    • I wear mine with insoles which helps with the arch support. You might try that if you want more support. I replace the insoles in all my hiking shoes and boots with insoles for just that reason, since most foam inserts just suck.

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