Danner Stronghold Work Boots are Ready for Long Days Right Out of the Box
Sure, plenty of boots say they’re ready to work out of the box. The reality is that many of them need some break-in time even if they don’t give you blisters. Danner Stronghold work boots put a lot of stock into being legitimately comfortable as soon as you take them home. But are they really?
The good news is that it won’t take long to find out!
- True out-of-the-box comfort with no break-in period
- True-to-size, secure fit
- Black style looks good on and off the clock
- I’d prefer heavier construction than cement at this price
Editor’s Note: Check out our best work boots review article for our favorite products for all applications.
Danner Stronghold Work Boots
Danner Stronghold work boots are built on the foundation of a Vibram Stronghold outsole. It’s oil and slip-resistant on both wet and dry surfaces. It does a decent job of releasing mud but give your boots a little kick before you walk inside the house.
The midsole is a Vibram SPE rubberized EVA. EVA foam is what makes running shoes so comfortable and shock-absorbing. The downside is that foam breaks down and most runners have to replace their shoes at least every 6 months. Vibram’s EVA midsole blends more durability in so your boots last longer but without going as stiff as many work boots. It definitely adds to the comfort level.
The upper is full-grain leather and put together with a combination of single and double stitching. The major seams are double-stitched and the are a couple of minor ones on the tongue and below the lace hardware that are single. I prefer to see double stitching as much as possible. That said, it’s unlikely the stitches will be the first point of failure.
Inside, you’re looking at a breathable waterproof lining, a nylon stabilizing shank, and a removable Ortholite insole. These boots are EH rated.
I’m a size 12-1/2, which means almost no one makes boots in my size. Since I have to choose between 12 and 13, I normally default to the half size up. For the Danner Stronghold, it’s the right call—the size 13 fits true to size.
The boot form secures around your mid-foot area well. There’s room in the toebox for the inevitable foot swell that takes place over a day (though not as much room as Keen Utility boots). Despite the extra half-size of space, my heel locks in securely and I didn’t have any issues with movement and blisters. Overall, it fits more like my running shoes than some of my work boots, and that’s a good thing.
When I put the boots on, one of my first thoughts was that they wear very light and that’s because they are. My size 13s weigh just 28.4 ounces each, making them significantly lighter than my other go-to work boots.
Danner claims the Stronghold is ready to work right out of the box. I’m pretty skeptical of those claims, but it’s a valid one in this case. I tried them on for a few minutes in the shop and I was impressed with the initial level of comfort of hard surfaces.
The boots’ first call up to the majors was for some chainsaw work. Most all of it was from ground level where I needed a combination of flexibility, stability, and support and the Stronghold delivered. Even for a brand new pair of boots, they were all-day comfortable and left me with no blisters.
There are a lot of work boots that just look like work boots, but the Danner Stronghold work boots have a pretty nice style in black. It’s not something you really want to try and pull off for the traditional service at church, though. However, with a pair of jeans, chances are that no one will have a clue you’re wearing work boots.
In addition to the black, mid-length, soft toe version I tested, you have several other options. You can also go with a lighter brown in the same mid-length or slightly darker in either a waterproof or hot wellington. All four versions are available as a soft or composite toe.
Women’s models are available in black or grey.
At $190, these boots don’t fit into the budget category. They’re not way out in left field, either. Their initial and ongoing comfort is better than similar boots in the same price range. Even though the price is a little higher than I’d like to see for a cement construction boot, my feet are pretty happy with this choice by the end of the day.
The Bottom Line
Out-of-the-box comfort is definitely the highlight for Danner Stronghold work boots. They don’t require a break-in period and they’re genuinely comfortable for long days straight away. I really like their combination of lightweight, flexibility, and stability to go along with the comfort.
Most of the work I’ve done in these boots is on turf with some wear on concrete floors and I’m pleased with the performance and comfort on both surfaces. This is really an all-rounder kind of work boot that works well in a variety of environments.
Danner Stronghold Work Boots Specifications
- Tested Model: Danner Stronghold Black Soft Toe (Style 16718)
- Boot Height: 6″
- Upper: Full-grain leather
- Midsole: Vibram SPE rubberized EVA
- Outsole: Vibram Stronghold
- Insole: Removable Ortholite
- Price: $190
Will the composite toe model offer adequate protection if I run a professional level chainsaw (5+hp saw). I’m looking for a replacement boot and have generally stuck with steel toes because of the risk of a toe/saw injury when pile cutting.