The Danner Trail 2650 is named after the number of miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. While we were impressed by their comfortable fit with minimal break-in time and their shock-absorptive power, they would not be our top choice for pounding out long days with a pack. They are not waterproof, but even more critically, they are slow to dry when wet. This owes to the suede uppers. That said, the plush EVA midsole and squishy ankle collar do lend to a comfortable shoe. While not the most supportive, they are more durable than other lightweight shoes in our review. Overall, we think they're a reasonable option for folks looking for something for day hikes or shorter backpacking trips.Editor's Note: We updated our recommendations for other hiking shoes that might be a good fit on November 7, 2022.
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Feather-light, comfortable, decent traction, reasonably supportive
Cons: Not waterproof, slow to dry
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Danner Trail 2650 - Women's
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|Pros||Feather-light, comfortable, decent traction, reasonably supportive||Great traction, highly cushioned, stable, waterproof, well-priced||Excellent cushioning, roomy toe box, great traction, stable, supportive||Spacious toe box, great traction, waterproof, durable, stable||Fast, nimble, excellent traction, waterproof, supportive midfoot|
|Cons||Not waterproof, slow to dry||Bulky design, no additional runner’s loop eyelet||Hard footbed, a little heavy||Heavy, hard footbed, not the most breathable||Limited adjustability, average durability, runs narrow and long|
|Bottom Line||A lightweight shoe for fair-weather day hikes featuring good comfort, shock absorption, and decent traction||Supportive, affordable, and highly durable, this tried-and-true design is well-suited to every type of foot, hiker, and hiking experience||The perfect balance between strength and softness, with exceptional cushioning, deep tread, and a roomy yet supportive base||A burly, reliable trail partner with a wide base and sticky traction for when trips run long, and durability, stability, and waterproofing are important||This high-performing modern hiker is impressively stable, supportive, and responsive, well-suited to narrow feet on hard-charging missions across versatile terrain|
|Rating Categories||Danner Trail 2650 -...||Merrell Moab 3 WP -...||Oboz Sawtooth X Low...||Keen Targhee III Low||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Danner Trail 2650 -...||Merrell Moab 3 WP -...||Oboz Sawtooth X Low...||Keen Targhee III Low||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...|
|Weight (per pair)||1.3 lbs (size 9.5)||1.8 lbs (size 10)||2.0 lbs (size 10)||2.1 lbs (size 10)||1.7 lbs (size 10)|
|Width Options||Regular||Regular||Regular, Wide||Regular||Regular|
|Upper||Leather, textile||Leather, mesh||Oiled nubuck leather, Cordura fabric mesh||Oiled nubuck leather, mesh||Synthetic textile|
|Midsole||EVA||EVA||Rubber-blended Adaptive Cushioning Technology foam EVA||Dual density EVA||EVA|
|Lining||Mesh||Recycled mesh/waterproof, breathable membrane||B-DRY waterproof/breathable membrane||KEEN.Dry waterproof, breathable membrane||Gore-Tex|
|Outsole||Vibram 460||Vibram TC5+ rubber||True Tread rubber||KEEN All-Terrain Rubber||Rubber Contagrip|
Our Analysis and Test Results
While the Trail 2650 was not the highest performing shoe in our review, we still recommend it for specific applications and certain people. For most fair-weather hikers, this shoe will give you what you need: comfort, traction, shock absorption, and breathability. They feel light on your feet or in your pack and are reasonably supportive. While they are slow to dry (which is not ideal for models that lack waterproofing), they are more durable than other lightweight options.
With a quick break-in time, the Trail 2650 proves to be quite comfortable. They have a soft foam insole, a plush ankle collar, and a generous toe box. The flat laces move easily through their grommets, and it is effortless to pull the laces snug enough to accommodate your feet. The foam tongue wraps around the foot and didn't irritate our reviewer's sensitive feet. The EVA heel provides a lot of cushion to absorb shock, which is something we really appreciate while moving around the mountains.
We would expect these shoes to be more supportive with a name that harkens to the Pacific Crest Trail. The Danner 2650 is incredibly flexible in the forefront, which translates into less support for the balls of your feet over a long hike, especially when carrying a heavy pack. We also evaluate shoes for their lateral rigidity by ringing them out like a sponge. When twisting the shoe from big toe to heel, there is lots of rigidity and support. Then from pinky toe to heel, there is rigidity through the midsole, with lots of flexibility through the ball of the foot. Torsional (or lateral) rigidity provides more support for your foot side-to-side. The less torsional rigidity, the more likely you are to roll your ankle. With these shoes, we were pleased they offered lots of lateral support but disappointed with the flexibility in the front of the shoe.
The Trail 2650 boasts the high-quality and sticky rubber compound of the Vibram Megagrip. They handled well on trail and were grippy on rock for light scrambling. The lugs are on the shorter end of the spectrum, so they won't be as nimble on snow, mud, or looser conditions. The EXO heel provides more space for the heel, but we wouldn't recommend using these shoes to scramble chimneys as the foam risks deteriorating from too much scratchy granite. Overall they offer great traction for summer hiking or fair-weather adventures in the shoulder season.
These featherweight shoes are among the lightest shoes in our review. A pair in a women's 9.5 weighs just 1.25 pounds (20 ounces). So light you'll hardly notice them on your feet! And light enough to throw in your luggage for your next vacation.
We tested the non-waterproof version of the Trail 2650, and they did not perform well in this metric. While wearing dry socks, we submerge each pair of shoes for 10 minutes in 3" of water to test for water resistance. At the beginning and end of the test, we weigh the shoes to test for water absorption. The Trail 2650 was wet on the inside within a minute and absorbed 6.88 ounces of water over the course of the test. For comparison, our top performer absorbed just 2.24 ounces of water. This need not be a deal-breaker if you plan to wear them in dry climates or in fair weather without a ton of snow or stream-crossings. However, the most disappointing finding from this metric is how slow they are to dry. We tested them on a warm evening, and over 13 hours later, they still weren't dry. Point being, if these are the shoes for you, either get the waterproof version or avoid wet conditions.
We expected to see the suede uppers and the EVA foam outsoles to break down during our testing period, but the Trail 2650 has proven quite durable. While we can't attest to the durability of these shoes over hundreds of miles, we were impressed by how well they held up during our review cycle. They buck the convention that lightweight gear always sacrifices durability.
Should You Buy the Danner Trail 2650?
For day hiking, the Trail 2650 proves surprisingly comfortable and offers good traction. They are also durable despite being among the lighter-weight shoes we reviewed. Their grippy Vibram soles and lateral support prove their value on longer hikes, but both leave something to be desired on technical terrain or when carrying a heavier pack.
What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?
If you're looking for a lightweight shoe that is waterproof, then we recommend checking out the Arc'teryx Aerios FL 2 GTX. Alternatively, if you are interested in a beefier shoe that can handle a rigorous day or a heavier pack, we recommend looking at the top-performing and reasonably lightweight Merrell Moab 3 WP or the heavier but ultra-comfortable Oboz Sawtooth X Low Waterproof. Both are waterproof, highly supportive, and offer great traction at a less expensive price.
— Myrha Colt and Mary Witlacil
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