Danner Crag Rat Evo hiking boot | Tested and reviewed

Named for crags but built for mountains. Warmly insulated but pleasingly light. Can handle winter but arrived in spring. What, exactly, is the Danner Crag Rat Evo?

from Danner
RRP  £370.00
Danner Crag Rat Evo boots

by Ben Weeks |
Updated on

Danner’s new Crag Rat Evo boot has confused me. ‘Crag rat’ is a metonym for a climber. But these are clearly not climbing shoes. Then there’s the boot the Evo evolved from. The original Crag Rat USA is a high-ankled boot of the traditional leather variety, one that looks as at home hunting, logging, or even motorcycle-riding as it is trekking. The new Evo is almost as far removed from that version as it is from a sock-tight climbing shoe.

But the most confusing element is working out exactly what type of boot it is and what it’s for. Its profile is that of a typical mid-ankled hiking boot. It’s protected by a significant rubber rand and, perhaps most strikingly, features an obvious crampon attachment welt at the heel. Reading the online specs also tells me that it features a PrimaLoft Aerogel Toe Cap for insulation.

So, it’s a winter boot, right? Maybe. Except, it’s really light. The Crag Rat Evo is also much more flexible than I’d expect for a winter boot. Walking in them feels little different from any other pair of 3-season boots. And then there’s the fact I was sent the Crag Rat Evo in summer, with winter not yet looming on the horizon. So, what exactly is this boot for?


  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Full crampon compatibility
  • Wide fit available
  • Insulated


  • Quite pricey
  • May be too flexible for winter mountaineering
  • Too warm for year-round use
  • Features
  • Construction
  • Comfort
  • Performance
  • Value
  • Sustainability
Weight (per boot)615g
UpperSynthetic leather/fabric w/ Gore-Tex lining
Sole Vibram’s Mulaz
Men's sizesRegular width US 8-15 | Extra Wide US 7-14
Women's sizesRegular width US 5-11

I think I know. It’s for big days in the mountains, for long stretches of walking, bursts of technical scrambling, and possibly the odd glacier crossing. Perfect for Alpine summers, but in the UK? Well, if you like to walk among the winter mountains where snow or ice may cover the paths and easier ground but might be tempted to head higher where bare rock or easier gradients have escaped the freeze, or if you would simply like a boot that can perform at an admirable level all year (with the possible exception of the warmest summer days), then the Danner Crag Rat Evo might just be your perfect boot.

Winter compatible

The Crag Rat Evo has a few features that make it clear it has colder climbs in mind. The ledge at the back of the heel that will accept a clip-on crampon is the key identifier. But there’s more. The insulated toe box is there to keep the cold nip of Jack Frost at bay, and the full rubber rand and chunky tread indicate an aptitude for tougher terrain. But, as we’ll see, this compatibility with winter isn’t all the Crag Rat Evo has going for it.

Easy flex

Traditionally winter boots are quite rigid. This makes them more secure in crampons, particularly on steeper ground, and more useful as tools on hard frozen terrain. But it also makes them less comfy for walking in, as the boot doesn’t bend with your foot. There’s a lot of bend and flex in the Crag Rat Evo’s sole, and while there are times in winter when a more rigid boot is preferable, this flex makes the CRE much more versatile year-round.

Remarkably light

Along with being surprisingly flexible for a winter boot, the Crag Rat Evo is also incredibly light weight. Each size 9 boot registers just 615g on my digital scales compared to 931g per Scarpa Manta Tech boot – my usual go-to winter walker. While this perhaps makes it less than ideal for some of the burlier winter tasks such as kicking steps in ice, it makes it far less draining on the feet, meaning you’ll be able to walk further and longer.

Grip for snow and climbing

The rubber on the underside of the Crag Rat Evo is Vibram’s Mulaz sole. This is the same grip found on a wealth of winter-focussed hiking boots, including the Scarpa Manta Tech. It’s made from a sticky rubber compound that provides excellent traction on rock (it also has a dedicated ‘Climbing Zone’ beneath the big toe), features chunky lugs (I measure them at approximately 5mm) for a firm grip on snow or mud, and retains the ability to perform in extreme environments and temperatures.

Made in America

Danner is based in Portland in Oregon in the US of A. If that city sounds familiar, it’s because Danner is far from alone in calling Portland its home. It’s a veritable hotbed of sports design and development, cited as the birthplace of numerous brands (see panel right), along with the American HQ of many more, meaning that it’s rife with experts and expertise in the field of outdoor kit, particularly footwear.


A 3-4 season boot that promises to be more technically proficient on snow and ice than most, and lighter and more comfortable than many – a close to perfect compromise.

How we tested the Danner Crag Rat Evo hiking boot

LFTO and Trail Magazine Gear Editor Ben Weeks put the Danner Crag Rat Evo to work during several days hiking in North Wales.

Ben has been with Trail for over 10 years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader and Climbing Instructor. He loves thrilling scrambles and gnarly Scottish winter routes so is a master at putting technical gear and cold weather kit through its paces.

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