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A Look at the Danner Pronghorn Boot

A Look at the Danner Pronghorn Boot

A sharptail grouse hunter wearing Danner Pronghorn boots

How do the Danner Pronghorn boots perform for upland hunting?

Need to kill some time? Walk up to the nearest upland bird hunter and ask a simple question: “What are the best boots to wear in the uplands?” Don’t worry, what happens next is totally normal. There will be a long pause, and that blank stare you see on his or her face is not one of confusion. In fact, neurons in their brain are lighting up rapid fire as they attempt to decide just where to begin. Hold on tight, ‘cause you’re in for information overload.

There are very few subjects as near and dear to the hearts and minds of upland bird hunters as their choice of footwear. Yes, I know, there are gun dogs and shotguns too, but I don’t have all day and I’m trying to keep this PG.

With that in mind, I’m going to tell you about a pair of boots I wore while hunting the short grass prairies of North Dakota this past fall. Danner was kind enough to send me a pair of their Pronghorn boots well in advance of my trip.

In production for nearly two decades and currently on the fifth generation of Pronghorns, at an MSRP of $230.00, the Danner website describes them as such:

“Built on our TERRA FORCE® NEXT™ platform, the Pronghorn delivers the all-day comfort and stability that make the day’s haul easier on your feet. Full-grain leather that’s passed our exacting quality tests forms the upper around our proven 851 last. To cope with unpredictable weather in the field, we built the Pronghorn with a GORE-TEX waterproof liner that keeps moisture out and lets your feet breathe.”

The boot and sole of the Danner Pronghorn
A look at the Danner Pronghorn and its sole from the Danner website.

I received my pair of Danner Pronghorns midsummer and began wearing them during my dog’s daily exercise runs which are essentially a hike through the woods for me. The terrain is relatively tame, but there’s just enough variability to ensure that the boots would break in nicely. Any sort of break-in regimen I had in mind however quickly became an afterthought. The Danner Pronghorns were quite comfortable right out of the box.

To add a little perspective to my review, I must say that the Danner Pronghorns are the first pair of leather boots I’ve given the time of day in the roughly four years since I transitioned to wearing rubber boots exclusively. I won’t get into that decision too much here, but for my purposes a rubber boot suits me very well year-round where I live and hunt most often.

That said, out West on the prairie, a rubber boot is often not necessary, nor is it ideal. During a trip the previous fall, I brought with me two pairs of boots from well-known manufacturers that are commonly marketed to upland hunters. Both had been on the shelf for a couple seasons but both were broken in and had plenty of life left. To make a long story short, the first pair left me with a heel bruise after day one and I wore the other pair for the rest of the trip. They were better, but I dealt with that bruise and general discomfort until I returned home to Minnesota and slipped into the comfort of my rubber boots for the rest of the season. 

Fast forward to fall 2019, I arrived in North Dakota mid-September ready to log some miles chasing sharp-tailed grouse for the next week. Hopefully better prepared this time, I wanted to see if the Danner Pronghorns would live up to the reputation (more on that later) that precedes them and carry me across the rolling terrain with support and in comfort.

Perhaps surprisingly, after lacing them up for the first morning hunt, my footwear became an afterthought the rest of the trip, and that was a good thing. Compared to the previous fall where my feet and the pain and discomfort they were in was on my mind often, there was none of it this time. Which is perhaps a backhanded way of complimenting the Danner Pronghorns. But isn’t that the way it is with footwear? You don’t really want to notice your boots or your feet while hunting. You’ve got more important things to worry about—like where are the birds and where is the dog.

Upland Gun Company Dog Engraving

I will say that I was quite curious to try the Danner Pronghorns because of the seemingly polarizing subject they can be when the topic of boots inevitably comes up among upland hunters. People either seem to really love them or not care for them at all. Reading between the lines a bit, most of the negative feedback seemingly stems from concerns over durability and construction. It would be hard for me to comment on long term durability as I truly have only worn them for a couple months including a week’s worth of serious hunting. 

After my trip to the prairie, it was back to the swampy ruffed grouse and woodcock covers and back into my rubber boots. Again, nothing against the Danner Pronghorns, I actually thought hard about wearing them during some warmer early season hunts which is another backhanded compliment (sorry, Danner, I really do like them!), but somebody is probably going to have to pay me to wear anything but a rubber boot in those covers.

What I can tell you about the Danner Pronghorn boot is that they are made by a company that knows boots. They’re damn comfortable and they are absolutely capable of standing up to long days of intense use. At just over three pounds per pair they won’t weigh you down. They actually felt quite lightweight which tells me I may be used to wearing a bit heavier boot. Lined with Gore-Tex, I had no issues with moisture. The prairie country I was hunting is typically quite dry; however, the grass still collects quite a bit of dew in the morning. The outside of my Danner Pronghorns were wet every morning but my feet inside were dry.

The fit was spot-on in my medium width size 10.5 boots and the 8 inch uninsulated model served me very well during my early season North Dakota hunt. Support was about perfect for the mild rolling terrain on the prairie. They were comfortable out of the box and they kept me moving forward and my feet in great shape on one of my favorite trips of the year.

I want to acknowledge the concerns about Danner Pronghorn durability and make it abundantly clear that I cannot comment on that—yet. Durability is a critical component to boot making and it plays a large role in the value proposition of any boot purchase. I certainly hope my Danner Pronghorns remain in service for quite some time as I like everything else about them. I will add updates to this review as I deem necessary.

*Please comment below and let us know how you like your Danner Pronghorns and how they’ve held up.

Overall, the Danner Pronghorn is a well-crafted upland hunting boot. If I lost my Danner Pronghorns today, I’d be tracking down another pair tomorrow. 

View Comments (18)
  • I wear a 13 wide and have purchased 2 pairs over the years, hoping they would make a boot wide enough, they still fail to make the boots wide enough for big men, will sell them cheap! It’s kind of like KUIU, I guess they think only small people hunt! What about making a limited amount that fit big and tall folks?

  • Have had 4-5 pair. Fit great, comfortable walking. a PROBLEM is— waterproof liner fails within 30-40 hunting days. Usually 1 season. Boot is still good but not if you will be in water or even heavy dew. Seems for $230 bucks should get more than 1 season!

  • Live in Arizona and hunt quail extensively. Also make annual treks to Idaho/Oregon for Chukar. Have a set of Pronghorns for the past several years, but have not worn them very often. Still prefer my 15+ year old Danner Sharptail boots. They feel lighter, and are more comfortable. They (the Sharptails) have been my ultimate bird hunting boots.

  • I purchased a pair last spring and have loved them here in SW Minnesota. Have not had issues with leaking as others have had.

  • I bought my first pair last fall hoping the reputation and price would hopefully add up to possibly the nicest boots I had ever owned . I also have wide feet and bought them in the wide version. I walk my dog everyday and after just a week I had to stop wearing them . Much discomfort in both heels and they are not wide enough . I have never bought a pair of shoes or boots that have caused me such discomfort .
    Quality and lightness of boots seem very nice .

  • Bought a pair – never again – went fishing in Canada and with a light mist the water running down my rain pants was enough to get my right foot wet. Had worn about 6 times previous.

  • Going on my 4th year with my pronghorns. I’m a surveyor so they get a lot of everyday wear and tear, not just from hunting. The goretex lining started to fail about year 1.5, which seems to happen with every pair of goretex boots I’ve ever owned, so I wont let that stop me from buying another pair. I think they’re the best cross between a hiking boot and hunting boot that I’ve ever owned. Excellent boot!! I just hope they don’t stop making them.

  • Wore mine for three months last fall on the prairie and in wet situations and had no problems! Bought them on the urging of a friend who’s been wearing them for years-

  • I’m on my 2nd set of Pronghorns. I wear them to hunt in the fall, but also to run the dogs in the woods pretty much year round, so I put some miles on them. I replaced the first set because the toes were pretty beat up from rocks and they looked terrible. My current pair is 1-2 seasons old and I just wore them this morning. I find them to be very comfortable, reasonably durable, and adequately waterproof. Other than rubber boots, I’ve never found a pair of boots that have been truly waterproof, so I don’t expect the Pronghorns to keep me dry walking though 6 inches of water, but they do keep out the dew and snow.

    Overall, they’re not perfect, but I don’t think you’ll find a better boot for the grouse woods of Maine than the Danner Pronghorns.

  • This was the 4th year with the same pair of Danners and I think that says it all. I’ll be starting next season with a new pair of Danners, not even going to look at another brand.

  • I have 3 pair and not only hunt in them but wear them for work outside as well. I still wear an uninsulated pair of Gen3’s that I picked up for a song in 2004 and they are the best boot I’ve ever owned. They are showing their age now and are getting worn down. I have 2 pair of Gen 4’s, one insulated the other in 800g. Both good boots and I’ve had zero problems with them. They changed the look and sole on the Gen 4 and they were bulkier than the Gen 3’s, but still had all day comfort. I like the return to the old look and will likely pick up another pair in the near future.

  • I have owned probably 3 different pairs of Pronghorns.They were very comfortable,light,and relatively waterproof.The biggest complaint I have is they just won’t stay together for more than a couple of seasons here in the southern Appalachians.The leather separates from the synthetic material where they are stitched together.Otherwise they are a good boot for the money.

  • I am retired and hunt the public lands of the western prairie for pheasant and the mountains of Colorado for dusky grouse. My solution to the durability concerns raised with the Pronghorn was to pass on foreign assembly and instead opt for Danner’s line of East Ridge boots which are assembled here in the U.S.A. by craftsmen in Danner’s factory. This adds modestly to the cost but ensures that the assembly is done to spec by highly skilled and experienced personnel. It also gives me an option to have them repaired by the same folks who assembled them if they should ever fail or to have them re-soled should I wear them out. Please note, this also means that the East Ridge sizes are true to standard and may not fit the way that other foreign assembled boots do. This 8″ uninsulated boot comes with a Vibram sole and also comes in EE widths which is closer to what I need. Conditions are typically dry here in the west, but I do sometimes use them to shovel snow from the driveway and do test them in the local creek from time to time to make sure they’re still waterproof, and they are. I also dress them with Mink Oil regularly which also helps protect the leather from the beating of plowing through miles and miles of thick CRP and stubble fields out on the plains. I have been wearing my pair for the past two upland seasons and have hunted them hard behind my 3-year old German shorthair. Including the break-in period to stretch them to my wider foot, I have covered three to four hundred miles in the boots. They have held up extremely well and look like new with a fresh coat of Mink Oil. Should this pair ever be lost to misfortune, I would cry. Then, I would immediately buy another pair in a heartbeat.

  • Great review, Nick, and you captured in this new Pronghorn review what I love most about my Sharptails: comfort. Glad to know that applies to the new Pronghorns as well. After two years with my Sharptails, mark me down as undecided. Mine are the most comfortable boots I’ve ever owned, and I love that, but the stitching has just failed on my two-year-old pair. I’m giving customer support the chance to make it right and turn me into a 100% satisfied / loyal customer, but I do now understand why others have been disappointed in their durability. Here’s to hoping Danner is aware of construction problems, has fixed them or is working to fix them, and is prepared to stand behind recently sold products with durability issues.

    • Just an update that I found Danner support to be a good partner in addressing my durability concerns with my Sharptails and we worked out a compromise that allows me to feel good about buying a replacement pair. As another commenter mentioned above, the reviews on the US/Portland-made shoes seem to be remarkably better than those for the non-US made ones like the Pronghorns and Sharptails. I’m going to give one of the US-made pairs a try (the Powderhorns), and the bonus is they qualify for recrafting services, all for a modest increase in price over the Sharptails and the Pronghorns. Here’s to hoping they’re just as comfortable!

  • I have an old pair that were my absolute favorite boots ever, so I happily bought a new pair last year. The fit and comfort are still amazing but I have to be honest the quality is beyond junk now. Not waterproof, no rubber over the toes. They fell apart and are in worse shape than my eight-year-old pair after one season. I cannot recommend and strongly recommend against.

  • So after reading all the reviews I wanted to treat myself to a pair of boots that were the best and most expensive I ever bought. I only use for bird hunting. Picked up the pronghorns and very comfortable out of the box. I had them 4 months which was about 17 hunts in which I walked about 5 miles on each in a regular field with switch grass. The boots go cleaned after every use. Now for some reason the whole toe area gets all cut up and I’m not going through many briars at all. They look 5 years old already. After last weeks hunt which was my last I again cleaned them and noticed the toe area where it is glued to the leather starting to come in done. NOT GOOD. Since they will be warrantees for only 1year I started a warranty claim and they say they will replace them or give me credit towards any Danner boot I choose. They told me to ship it at my expense. I complained it’s not fair on Facebook and they sent me a shipping label. Getting ready to sent them back. Happy with customer service but now I’m wondering if I should use the credit for maybe the sharptails instead. Bummer.

    • I’d avoid the Sharptails for the same reason. They aren’t any more durable Based on my experience (see above). Get the Powderhorns. They are just as comfortable, but all-leather and recraftable and not that much more expensive. They already seem much more durable. While I thought they were made in USA, they are not and one of the few recraftable pairs not made in US. But I’m very pleased with them and have high hopes that I’ll get 4-5 years out of them instead of 1-2 …

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