Ben Wilsonwrote a review of Danner Trail 2650 GTX Hiking Shoe - Men's on March 30, 2020
Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
It's been less than a month but I have nothing but great things to say about these shoes so far. In short: they are durable, comfortable, and fantastic for casual use or serious trials. These are the main points but read on if you like nitty-gritty gear details! (1)They are light. The lightest Danners ever actually. "One pound on your feet equals five pounds on your back" to quote Sir Edmund Hillary after his Everest ascent in 1953. At 27 oz a pair (I measured the 9s I wore), I would expect something much more minimalist than this. Some sacrifice comfort or durability in their shoes to minimize weight. Instead, I was blown away by the performance and support in the arch and heel. These are light, breezy, and somehow still bomber hiking shoes. (2) They're high performance. Vibram soles are deservedly associated with the very best hiking shoes and boots. They provide lasting comfort and great performance. The 2650s are no exception as the 460 outsoles paired with Megagrip rubber crush it out on all conditions. I did plenty of scrambling, hiked in wet and dry conditions, and was always impressed by the deep, multidirectional lugs. I experienced no slippage whatsoever. (3) They're Versatile. The styling and fit make these fit in on the trail or in the city. Though available with a mesh lining, I opted for the Goretex version of this shoe because I plan to spend time in the PNW where conditions are always wet. They ended up being great in the snow too! A goretex lining means you will have a waterproof and breathable shoe. I've taken them through mud, snow, and light rain no problem. However, if your feet sweat a lot, or you step in a deep puddle or water somehow splashes into the inside of your shoe, your feet will get wet. This is true of ANY waterproof shoe. What is not true of every waterproof shoe is that these breathe better than most other options. The 2650s ventilate very well though even in the upper 60s - avoiding sweaty, uncomfortable feet when hiking. (4) They're innovative. Aside from the main points above, this is the first heel counter on the outside of a shoe. The EXO heel system is meant to lock your heel in place. If your hiking shoes have even a little bit of slippage, blisters and discomfort tend to follow. I failed to notice a tangible difference in the external shank from other hiking shoes without it, but it can't hurt!
As far as personal experience, I broke these shoes in by wearing them to work and for walks with my dog around the neighborhood. Then, I road-tripped through Utah for just shy of 2 weeks. In Moab I went on many desert hikes. From relaxed .25 mile scenic walks in Arches to 1,500 feet of elevation gain over 4 miles on the Gooseberry Trail in Canyonlands I had no difficulties with these shoes. They remained unwaveringly stable and comfortable throughout.
Then, I spent time in Bryce Canyon which had much more snow and mud on the trails than I expected! After encountering snow, ice, puddles, and oh so much mud, my feet were never cold or wet. I got up and down muddy/snowy trails just fine and with no wetting out.
A few notes: Hard to speak with authority on durability as . If you plan to have much weight on your back I would opt for the mid version of these or a full boot. If you wont encounter wet conditions I might lean towards the non-gtx version for more breathability, however, I have yet to have a problem with clamminess even in the desert.
Sizing: I wear 8.5s in Eccos, 9 in Hokas, and 9.5 in Adidas and the 9s were perfect for me. My feet are vaguely narrow so if you run wide these might not be for you. I tend to order a half size up for hiking shoes as a lot of activity after a long day will make your feet swell this requiring more room.
Every inch of the shoe illuminates the thoughtful craft and care that Danner put into the design of this trusty trail shoe. 5/5 from me!