Danner Trail 2650 GTX hiking shoe | Tested and reviewed

Unanimously popular with our testing team, Matt Jones gives the Danner Trail 2650 GTX a thrashing in Wales to find out why.

from Danner
RRP  £190.00
Closeup of hiker standing on a rock wearing Danner Trail 2650 GTX, flexing the shoe

by Matt Jones |
Updated on

When it comes to hiking boots and outdoor footwear, American brand Danner has a history to rival that of some of Europe's best and oldest. Named after the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, this versatile hiking shoe from US brand Danner has proven to be a favourite with LFTO (and our magazine’s) gear testers, even winning a Gear of the Year award in 2023. Danner is seemingly onto a winner with this model, and it knows it.

As a result, it’s released a whole family of Trail 2650 footwear. There are now multiple variants in the range, in dozens of colourways. These include low and mid-cut models, leather and fabric mesh models, waterproof or non-waterproof versions and almost any combination thereof. All, obviously, come in both men’s and women’s fits too. There are even a few collaboration editions in exclusive colours, produced with fellow US outdoor brand Mystery Ranch.

From our testing in the UK, we found the Trail 2650 GTX is a good all-round hiking shoe for spring and summer use. It’s a lightweight hiker with a waterproof Gore-Tex liner. This keeps overall weight down whilst giving you a little extra protection on wetter, muddier trails.

Closeup of hiker standing on a rock wearing Danner Trail 2650 GTX, flexing the shoeLFTO
Price: £190.00



  • All variants are lightweight and breathable
  • Superb traction
  • Stylish and streamlined
  • Very comfortable


  • Not the most protective
  • Not the most supportive
  • Not great for mud


Hiker tying Danner Trail 2650 GTX laces

In terms of construction, the 2650 Mesh version we tested features a fully synthetic upper with a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex liner. You can get this shoe with a partly leather upper as well. The toebox and midfoot feature superlight laminated overlays to add a little more durability and protection, while the heel section includes Danner’s lightweight EXO external heel counter.

Just note that the toecap is not as burly as that found in some other hiking shoes, which means your footwork will need to be a little neater and more precise on the trail – don’t go kicking rocks in these!

The tongue is nicely padded and partly gusseted, while the contoured ankle cuff provides great freedom of movement for the ankle joint. The lacing system consists of simple eyelets, with the lower sets reinforced with metal rings to prevent wear and tear.

Danner Trail 2650 GTX lacing

Unlike the Campo versions of the 2650 shoe, this standard version has a more conventional upper and tongue design. It lacks the integrated, stretchy neoprene tongue and therefore the closer, sock-like fit of the Campo. Having said that, they’re still very comfortable, and unlike the Campo they’re a little easier to get on and off. They’re not quite so effective at preventing dust and debris from getting into the shoe though.


Closeup of hiker standing on a rock wearing Danner Trail 2650 GTX, right side view

Underfoot cushioning comes from an EVA midsole augmented with a simple foam footbed. The midsole also features a plastic shank to add a little stiffness and prevent too much torsional flex. This shank also offers some underfoot protection on rough, uneven terrain.

The overall fit takes inspiration from dedicated trail running shoes, with an 8mm drop from heel to toe. There’s slightly more width in the forefoot for stability, leaving plenty of room for toes to splay. We found it’s a very wearable design and doesn’t look or feel out of place whether you’re walking easier low-level trails or tackling trickier upland hill and mountain paths.


Danner Trail 2650 GTX toecap

Traction comes from a Vibram 460 outsole with aggressively angled 4mm lugs and made from Megagrip rubber compound. On test, it proved hardwearing and versatile, outperforming expectations on a multitude of surfaces, in both the wet and the dry.

Only in the sloppiest mud did the sole unit start to struggle a little, which is to be expected given the relatively shallow tread pattern. On the flipside, it gripped well on dry, dusty paths and when hopping across rock and scree.

Price and performance

Closeup of hiker standing on a rock wearing Danner Trail 2650 GTX, left side view

On test, we appreciated the Trail 2650’s low weight and excellent out-of-the-box comfort, which makes it well-suited to long, leg-sapping hill days. The Trail 2650 also provides a good balance between underfoot cushioning, protection and support, thanks to that spongy EVA foam rubber midsole, which is stiffened with a plastic ‘Trailguard’ shank. This does a good job of absorbing shocks whilst simultaneously fending off impacts from sharp stones, tree roots and the like.

The well-proven Vibram Megagrip outsole provides reliable all-round traction too, provided you don’t stray too far from the beaten track. Both the full mesh and partially leather uppers are cool and breathable, though of course the Gore-Tex lining does make the GTX version of the 2650 slightly warmer than its non-waterproof counterpart. Then again, a waterproof trail shoe can be worn across a wider range of conditions, which makes more sense in predominantly wetter climates like the UK.

Negatives? The lightweight build inevitably feels less structured and supportive than burlier alternatives, such as leather rivals like the Hanwag Blueridge Low ES. And though the mesh uppers feel decently durable, they’re unlikely to last as long as nubuck, suede or full-grain leather.

Danner Trail 2650 GTX heel

Our only other major gripe is with the price tag. Every time we review these shoes, they seem to get more expensive. The Trail 2650 GTX in any variant is about £200. That isn’t cheap and outprices most comparable models from rival brands like Merrell, Scarpa and Salomon. They’re also £25 more expensive than the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Leather GTX, despite being less capable and arguably less durable for mixed mountain use.

That’s not to say these shoes are poor value. They’re lightweight, comfortable and great all-rounders – but we do think that several other rivals now offer similar characteristics at a lower price point. You’re probably paying a slight premium here for the brand cachet that comes with the Danner name and logo. This is, after all, one of America’s most famous and trusted bootmakers (and to be fair, the brand does offer a 365-day warranty across its entire footwear range).


Closeup of hiker standing on a rock wearing Danner Trail 2650 GTX, flexing the shoe

The Danner Trail 2650 GTX is a very well-rounded walking shoe that is lightweight and comfortable, which makes it an understandably popular choice for trail hiking – though the price seems to creep ever upwards.

How we tested

LFTO tester Matt Jones on a backpacking trip

The author of this review and the expert who conducted this test was Matt Jones. Matt is a freelance outdoor writer who tests gear for LFTO and our magazine, Trail.

His experience of hiking and reviewing outdoor gear is extensive, having been one of the UK's most well-known outdoor writers for several years, and having walked and climbed myriad trails and mountains around the world, from the UK to New Zealand.

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