Hellooooo beautiful. You may recognise these gorgeous hiking boots – they played a starring role on Reece Witherspoon’s feet in Wild. So how does Danner’s much-coveted Mountain Light Cascade, £287, measure up off-screen?
Danner Mountain Light Cascade review
Product description: “The women’s Mountain Light Cascade is a tribute to one of Danner’s iconic hiking styles introduced in the early 1970’s – a style believed by many to be the greatest backpacking boot of all time, and is featured in the Fox Searchlight Pictures release WILD. Made in our Portland, Oregon, factory, the boot features a rich, full-grain leather upper and flat red laces. The rugged Vibram Kletterlift outsole is perfect for outdoor or casual use.”
Over hill and dale: There’s no denying Danner’s classic 1970s design, reimagined for the 21st century, is beautiful. After all, it is a movie star. But does it pack in substance as well as style? I’ve worn my pair on windy coastal hikes and on fell walks in the Lake District in plentiful mud and rain. Unlike a lot of leather boots, the Mountain Light Cascade feels very light, despite sporting thick Vibram soles, and doesn’t feel clunky or heavy after a few miles. It does take an hour or to of hiking to feel like the supple leather has started to mold to your feet, but the more you wear the Mountain Lights, the comfier they feel.
I like a lot of high ankle support, and wasn’t sure about the wider, low cut of the Mountain Light, but as long as you lace the thick red laces up tightly they do feel like they’ll stay put and support you, even on uneven terrain. The Mountain Lights look too pretty to ruin with mud and rain but once dirty they are easy to clean and quick to dry. However, unlike some of Danner’s other models, such as Crater Rim, the Mountain Light isn’t waterproof. Mine don’t let water in when stomping through puddles on a dry day but for a long-distance hike in bad weather I’d pick something that’s hardier against rain.
If you do buy these, take care of them. The Mountain Light feels and looks like a beautifully made product, and in a world of fast, throwaway fashion, I love that Danner will repair your boots for a reasonable fee if they get damaged, so there’s no reason they couldn’t last you a lifetime.
Verdict: Yes, they are wincingly expensive, but Danner’s Mountain Light Cascades are a work of art, beautifully crafted and a joy to wear. They’re versatile and look good anywhere you roam. A good choice if you fancy splashing out, or if someone has been very good this Christmas.
If you need a bog-standard pair of hiking boots for the winter I’d pick something more workaday, and if you’re planning tough adventures I’d choose Danner’s waterproof Crater Rim (£197), which boasts Gore-Tex.