From Danner. A hunting version of my all time favorite boots. Notice the subtle transition of the sole from forefoot to heel, perfect for use on all kinds of uneven surfaces, even helicopter skids. Especially helicopter skids. SEE HOW SMALL THE UPPER LACE CLEATS ARE? THEY ARE A PROBLEM ON WHAT IS OTHERWISE AN OUTSTANDING BOOT.
Once upon a time I was the Airborne SAR Tech EMT and Rescue Training Coordinator for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Division. Our first due area was the fifth largest county in the United States and it just happens to be some of the most diverse terrain in the lower 48. As the Search And Rescue slash Emergency Medical component of the crew, on a given shift I could be working anything from a car accident on the valley floor to a lost hiker in the Mazatzals at 7900 feet. My gear had to be multipurpose, high performance and dependable. My favorite boot for this job came to be the Danner Special Forces (an 8 inch version of the Fort Lewis boot) which is now called the Recon.
The Special Forces Boot was a black uniform boot with Gore-Tex liner, 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation, a unique Vibram Kletterlift outsole and was made in America. Once it was properly broken in, it was a great boot. In fact it was such a great boot I have always wanted a brown version to use for hunting. Well, brother Cody and I were sitting on the couch the other day watching a little college football and yelling at kids when I noticed that the Hood Winter Light boot in the Danner catalog looked a whole lot like my beloved duty boots. I don’t know when they came out or how I missed them but the Hood Winter Lights are the Special forces Boot (Recon) but in brown full grain leather instead of black. Hot damn, boys! That is good news. What’s more, they are also available in a 6 inch version called the Explorer. Thanks Danner. Very cool.
If you need a lightly insulated, all purpose, high quality boot that comes is a wide range of sizes (7 to 15, B, D and EE widths) you owe it to yourself to check these out.
UPDATE – I have been trying to figure out the difference between my old Danner Special Forces boots and this one except for the obvious color. It finally hit me that it is the lacing cleats on the upper. The Special Forces had heavy duty metal or steel loops which they called Speed Laces. The Hood Winter Light has round metal studs with shallow notches carved out of them to hold the laces.
Problem is that they are so shallow that when the laces are even the slightest bit loose, like when you are hiking up hill, the laces often pop out of the notches. That’s a big enough problem to keep this model from getting a GREAT GEAR RECOMMENDATION so Danner needs to do one of two things to remedy the problem. Go back to the old Speed Lace loops or use the cleats they put on the Santiam GTX which are much deeper and hold the laces securely.
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