An Unusual Boot Recommendation: Danner IronSofts


Aug 26, 2016
A lot of guys will badmouth these boots just because they are Danners. Others might think I'm crazy because I'm recommending a boot meant for working on concrete floors for backcountry hunting. Let me explain. When I bought these I was a college student with little money, and now I'm a graduate student with less money. I bought these boots for wearing in town because they were relatively inexpensive and looked nice. I bought them a half size too small (so my pinkie toe was jammed against the toe box) in hopes that I would wear them in so they perfectly fit my feet. One thing to keep in mind when reading this review: I immediately swapped out the insoles the boots come with for the Superfeet Green insoles I have been using for the last 3 years.
A few weeks after buying the boots, I moved from Vermont to Idaho to start my Master's research. For three months, I wore these boots while carrying 40-140 pounds through the Pioneer Mountains all day, everyday. That area is incredibly dry, and boots I've worked with in that environment before dried out and tore up. These boots held up, and I think they held up so well largely because there is no seams along the side of the toe box. In the past I have torn these seams, leaving the boots completely useless, but the IronSofts don't have that weak point, and wore in phenomenally. My hopes for the boots stretching to perfectly fit my feet worked out, and the boots became very comfortable within a month.

Following that field season, I took the boots on a backpacking trip in the Missions in Montana. We got into the alpine, and these boots scree and sharp rocks very well. It is worth noting that the soles of these boots is relatively thin, and stepping over sharp-cornered rocks in scree fields may bother some peoples' feet. The thin soles don't bother me, but it is worth taking note of. Another think to mention about the soles is the tread. These boots don't have a very aggressive tread, which is something I was worried about in snowy and muddy conditions. These boots stick to the ground pretty well, but can get pretty slick with lots of use. The picture below is the current state of the tread on my IronSofts. I've worn these boots every day, in the mountains and in town, for about a year now, so keep that in mind.
Starting in September, I spent 2-3 nights a week on the mountain hunting. Through September, I hunted elk in some steep, dry country in the Pioneer Mountains, and these boots were extremely comfortable the whole time. The first week in October, I headed into the Frank Church to deer hunt (the photo essay for that hunt can be found here:
). Right from the get go, I was walking through wet snow in 34-40 degree weather. If you want to test how waterproof boots are, that's a good way to do it. Which brings up my only major complaint about these boots. They do well when exposed to water for short periods of time, but they are a long cry from waterproof. Aside from the water sloshing around my feet, these boots were very comfortable in some of the steepest terrain I've ever been in (the slope was about 2600 feet of elevation gain in 1 mile), even with 90 pounds of gear and deer on my back on the first trip out. That weekend I did 34 miles total, and my feet were never a limiting factor in my comfort or performance.

Cut to the beginning of November, and I was back in the Pioneers helping my buddy out on an elk hunt. He ended up getting a raghorn, and I packed out approximately half the bull (1 shoulder bone in, one hind quarter bone in, a backstrap, a tenderloin, and half the rib and neck meat) down a steep, miserable mountain. Once again, the boots did great.

Until last week, I was mostly in town tearing up the tread of the boots on concrete. These boots are great for wearing around town, and go well with double kneed Carhartts, flannels, and Filson vests if you're going for the classy but functional look. Last week, however, after putting these boots through a year of wear and tear, I was hauling 130 pounds of AGM batteries through the Pioneers once again. Even after beating on this cheap pair of boots for a year, they were still comfortable and gave adequate ankle support.

To sum things up, if you're on a grad student budget, looking for a boot that will survive damn near anything you care to put them through, provide great comfort, and are willing to deal with damp feet in exceptionally wet conditions, check out the Danner IronSofts.


Senior Member
Mar 2, 2016
Interesting review. I've worn work boots hunting before but the lack of ankle support and waterproofness was enough for me to reconsider my footwear choice. I saw a review for the iron softs before and there was something significantly negative about them but I can't remember.

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