The Best From Our Tests: Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoes

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Danner Trail 2650 hiking shoes

TripSavvy / Nathan Allen

Danner's classic hiking shoe—the Trail 2650—is inspired by and named for the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs 2,650 miles (get it?) between Mexico and Canada. Portland, Oregon-based Danner has been making rugged boots and shoes for nine decades. More recently, it dipped into the lightweight hiking market with the Trail 2650 line.

Danner built these kicks with versatility in mind. The Trail 2650s are lightweight and meant for nimble agility on the trails. We've been hiking in the Danner Trail 2650s for a few months now and have found them to be a solid balance between trail running shoes and hiking boots.

Here's our breakdown of Danner's Trail 2650 and who would benefit most from buying them.

Danner Trail 2650

Danner Trail 2650


They feel like a pair of tennis shoes—in a good way

Comfort is where these shoes genuinely excel. Out of the box, we took these shoes on a 5-mile hike near California's southern coast, which included more than 1,000 feet of gain, and had no blisters or issues. They're truly one of the most comfortable hiking shoes we've worn, and we can see why they're so popular among a wide range of hikers.

Quite a few factors are playing into this shoe's comfort. Danner employs a buttery suede upper with a breathable and lightweight mesh. We found the OrthoLite footbed and PlyoGo EVA midsole to be exceptionally comfy. The EXO heel system helped keep feet in place, even on steep and loose climbs. And the 8-millimeter heel-to-toe offset had a trail-running feel.

Danner designed these shoes to be comfy and fast on anything up to a PCT thru-hike. And while we have our reservations about if the shoe could truly handle a hike of that magnitude, we do think they'll work for most hikers, from beginners to experts.

Danner Trail 2650 hiking shoes

TripSavvy / Nathan Allen

They ace the traction test, despite shallow lugs

When we first took the Trail 2650s out of the box, we had our hesitations about the traction. The lugs aren't the deepest. But we're pleased to report our hesitations ended up being mostly unfounded. Danner uses Vibram's 460 outsoles, which feature Megagrip technology—again, something you'll find on trail running shoes.

We're up to about 100 hiking and walking miles on these kicks, and they still look and feel almost as they did out of the box.

And, so far, those outsoles have held up to loose rocks and dirt, varying levels of steepness, and some mud with little or no slippage. The stickiness of the Vibram rubber also seems to hold tight in the little rain testing we've been able to conduct.

The support is sufficient for established trails

We should preface this section with the fact that you're unlikely to find the same support and stability in hiking shoes as in hiking boots. That mainly comes from the low-top style, which lacks ankle support compared to hiking boots that wrap around the ankles. That said, these shoes performed as well as you can expect from a hiking shoe. Again, the proprietary PlyoGo midsole, OrthoLite footbed, and EXO heel system all play a role here. A Trailguard TPU shank, which runs underfoot, provides stability and protection.

Long story short, these kicks are just fine for established trails and overnight backpacking trips. But we'd caution much beyond that in terms of stability and support.

Danner Trail 2650 hiking shoe

TripSavvy / Nathan Allen

We love how lightweight these shoes are

These might be the lightest true hiking shoes we've tested. Truly. Danner lists the men's pair at about 1.5 pounds. They have an incredibly lightweight feel, which helps make these some of the quickest, lightest, and most agile hiking shoes we've donned.

After more than 100 miles of use, they're still almost flawless

We're up to about 100 hiking and walking miles on these kicks, and they still look and feel almost as they did out of the box. We've seen comments from customers on other sites complaining about the lack of durability, but so far, everything we've seen proves these shoes to be durable. Again, would they last a thru-hike? We're not sure. But will they get you hundreds of hiking and walking miles? We know they will.

Danner Trail 2650 hiking shoes

TripSavvy / Nathan Allen

They're worth the price

Danner's standard Trail 2650 shoes retail for about $190. Expensive, yes, but also worth it. These shoes should last you many years. They can work as your everyday hiking shoe and could work on lighter overnight missions. They'll look good enough at a casual restaurant, brewery, or on a flight. I usually recommend that people have two pairs of hiking footwear: a pair of hiking boots for rougher terrain or multiple-night backpacking trips and a pair of hiking shoes for day hikes or quick overnights. These are worth the investment for the latter.

Who Should Buy the Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoes

These hiking shoes will work for anyone from a first-time hiker to an experienced, frequent hiker. If they're your first pair of hiking shoes, they will work. Or if you hike five or more times a week, they'd also work. They're also for the hiker or traveler looking for an excellent crossover shoe that will work on the plane, trail, or bar. We love that these shoes come in men's and women's versions.

Danner Trail 2650 hiking shoe

TripSavvy / Nathan Allen

Why Trust TripSavvy

Nathan Allen is TripSavvy's Outdoor Gear Editor. He is fortunate to live next to an extensive trail system in southern California and touches the trails every day for runs, hikes, or both. Nathan values lightness and speed over bulk and has been impressed with how fast the Danner Trail 2650 shoes are. He uses the Trail 2650s or Altra's Lone Peak 6 Trail Running Shoes for most hikes.

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