Danner Acadia Desert Boots (#26000): A Review
I like boots. A lot. I would wear them everyday if I could. I wear them to work during the colder months. I may have even worn them court a time or two, steel toe and all.
In the past year or two, I’ve worn out or destroyed all of my hiking boots and lightweight boots. All I had left were steel toe work boots and my wintertime boots, which are sized around wearing super-thick wool socks. So I figured it was time for a new pair of warm weather boots.
After a bit of research, I decided I’d try something new: a breathable boot. All of my other boots, since I was in high school, have been waterproof via GoreTex or some similar substance. This has never really been a problem, even when I wore 400g Thinsulate GoreTex hunting boots all summer when I was younger and cut grass for a living. And the waterproofness has been an asset, given our relatively moist climate. But hey, why not try something new.
In the end, had a couple criteria: (a) Made in the USA, (b) designed to be a breathable boot from the outset, (c) 8-10” height, (d) sized to fit comfortably with a regular white athletic sock, and (e) relatively light weight. I settled on the Danner Acadia tan colored desert boot, in its non-GoreTex version; the Acadia model can also be had with GoreTex, steel toe, insulated, and in black, Army tan or USMC tan.
I knew from my reading that Danner boots tend to run narrow. I’m right on the D-EE cusp, depending on the particular boot and the sock being used, so I figured that D would be fine given my desire to wear white athletic socks with these boots. Boy was I wrong – way, way too narrow. Unfortunately, I had purchased these boots NIB on eBay (presumably from someone who had made the same sizing choice I had…). Returns were not an option. So I relisted the boots and kicked myself for not buying local.
Then a past happy Danner customer suggested I contact Danner to see what they could do. I thought this preposterous – I bought their boot on eBay, for goodness sake. But I emailed them anyway and explained my situation. Within 20 minutes, they had sent a cheerful email reply and it was arranged that I mail the boots back to them for an exchange. I cancelled my eBay auction. A few days later, a new 12EE pair was waiting on my porch when I got home.
To break the new boots in, I took them with me on a weekend trip that would involve some skeet shooting, a bit of off-road travel, some shore fishing, and a bit of hiking. And I brought an extra pair of broken-in boots, just in case. The 12EE size still had me worried – it started a bit snug in terms of width and the eyelets were really splayed apart, and I was honestly a bit concerned that it would also be too narrow for me. After 1 hour of wear I had to re-tighten the laces and they felt better, but my heel was still moving about more than I prefer. After 2 hours, the boots felt really good and were clearly fitting themselves to my feet. The next morning, they started out great with no heel slop and the eyelet distance was at about 1/2 of its adjustment.
Two weeks later, they are now fully broken-in, and seem to strike a very good balance between work boots and hiking boots. They breathe surprisingly well, and now fit comfortably with a white athletic sock and would be fine with a medium-thickness wool sock in cooler temps.
The Vibram Sierra soles are great in dirt, sand, and even for climbing slick wet mud; it is too early to know how well it will hold up on pavement, but the rubber feels fairly firm compared to some other boots I own that have held up pretty well on concrete. Walking up a loose sand dunes is no problem, and neither is traversing the slick, dark clay mud of the stream bank where we were pulling out 15”+ brown and rainbow trout as fast as we could get a line back into the water. And while very supportive, the boot body is flexible enough that it was comfortable for driving, unlike my incredibly rigid RedWing logger boots (which are great for logging and miserable for everything else).
Overall quality of construction is top-notch. Stitching is tight and straight, lace eyelets are firmly affixed, and the lining is well-attached, without any signs of sag or uneven tension. Dust and dirt brush right off of the rough-side-out leather. And ventilation within the boot is superb.
All in all, I am very impressed with this boot so far. MSRP is around $230 and I don't feel like the buyer is being cheated at that price. And unlike so many other boots, they're made in the USA, too!