In an appreciation for the brands we stock, part of our journal will be dedicated to telling their stories, and there’s no better place to start than with Danner, the US footwear brand that has become one of the staple go-tos for the workwear inspired style that we are passionate about here at Finnieston Clothing.
Danner Boots began life back in 1932 in Portland Oregon, and for nearly a century has designed and made boots with true craftsmanship and integrity at its core, a work ethic and mission that still exists today. Still supporting a renegade spirit where Danner adheres to a vision of their footwear being used for adventure and exploration, the brand has carried this mojo into new collections as well as producing timeless classics. Our very own Luke Miller talk us through why he loves the brand...
Luke, can you tell us how long you’ve been a fan of Danner?
I’ve been keen on the Danner range since I first came across them maybe as far back as ten years ago. I think the first style I actually saw was the Mountain Light – which caught my eye because I was looking for a similar pair of Fracap boots at the time.
During the early part of my twenties I worked in a premium casual menswear store in Glasgow which had stores across the North of England too. Every time something new came in store one of you would have dibs on new gear when it came to payday and it was universally accepted that no two guys in store should have the exact same footwear or apparel, so the hunt for new and often more niche brands was common.
Danner was a brand that fell into this category for me, there were some really cool online stores and independents internationally but no one in Glasgow at that time. Online shopping wasn’t the same then as it is now and without having a pair in front of me I never decided to bite the bullet… until recently!
What was your first pair of boots and what switched you on to the brand?
My first pair of Danner Boots was the Moc Toe Bull Run in Brown. When it came to sourcing brands for the Concept Store we wanted footwear accessories and apparel which were of high quality and were designed with longevity in mind. Leather boots are a staple for me but unlike Danner, not all brands get the formula quite right. We have an array of styles from traditional workwear inspired boots to hiker derived styles through to the contemporary 917 boot. When you see component names like Ortholite, Gore-Tex and Vibram you know these guys have done their homework!
Has the interest evolved with wearability?
Having been pretty loyal to Red Wing over the years I’d have to say the most surprising thing for me was the almost instant wearability of these boots as an everyday option. In the past I’d had boots that had break in periods that were almost unbearable, you just begin to think that initial aches and pains are all part of the process. There’s nothing like spending two hundred and fifty quid plus on a pair of boots you’ve coveted for years and after a day of walking around thinking ‘what have I done!?’ The Danner’s aren’t like that at all. From first wear they are comfortable thanks to Ortholite insoles on their wedge sole. In addition the top two speed hooks for the lacing instead of eyelets allow easy access at ankle level to slip them on and off.
What do you wear Danner Boots with? What’s your style?
Usually selvedge denims for me! There’s something about a pair of raw denims and American boots that is hard to beat. In saying that I often pair them up with a cotton twill trouser or fatigue pant, something looser with a slight taper but a rolled hem, to show off the boot itself. I live in Finnieston Tees and Sweats these days but ideally a shirt or overshirt is a nice pairing with the Bull Run – they’ll basically go with anything!
We’ve seen a huge interest in US workwear boots including Red Wing, why do you think that is?
I think in the last few years we’ve seen an enormous shift in people seeking out better quality items especially with menswear. When it comes to footwear though I think the key is stick with the guys who have specialised in footwear for generations, otherwise most of the time you are just paying for the brand name. Grenson and Trickers in the UK and Danner, Chippewa and Red Wing across the pond all fit this criteria. Some of the ticket prices may cause you to wince, but if you can stretch to the premium price tag initially, it will see you good in the long term. Don’t be fooled into the cheaper alternative, you’ll end up paying double eventually! At just two hundred pounds the Bull Run represents phenomenal value for a 'Made in USA' leather boot.
How long has your last pair of Danner Boots lasted for?
Well I’ve not had them long but must have worn in excess of 100x already. Most days at some point I’ll have them on. I’m not a neat freak or particularly precious either so they’ve already picked up some battle scars and there’s a little patina beginning to show. This is the whole appeal for me. You look at them and they tell a story. I’m confident I’ll still have them years down the line. The wedge sole can be replaced at the end of its life and a new pair of laces every so often keeps them looking well-worn as opposed to tatty.
How popular is Danner with the Finnieston audience?
It’s good for us to practice what we preach. Our customers know the lengths we go to to ensure our lines are of the best quality and understand that unless we’d wear it, we wouldn’t sell them it! With the likes of Danner Boots you feel you’re not just buying footwear– you become part of a select group of people ‘in the know.’
Our outerwear lines all look great teamed up with a pair of Danners, so we’re hoping that the brands will go hand in hand in store, and if the first few months of this year is anything to go by, we’re on to a winner. With customs delays etc at the tail end of last year we didn’t actually receive our Danner range in time for our very brief opening last year, however managed to almost sell through the Bull Run styles on our online store before lockdown was over, we’ve only just recently had a top up!
Give me the top five places to wear them?
Work on the cooler days.
Pub with the lads.
Restaurant with the missus.
Out with the dog on dry days.
On the terraces.. eventually!
Check out the entire Danner range here