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Danner Mountain Light vs Mountain Pass

Danner Mountain Light vs Mountain Pass

Danner is a footwear brand that most people are familiar with, yet they’re new tools in action. When you think about the Mountain Light vs Mountain Pass, it’s pretty hard to define a great work boot since not everyone has the same footstep or shape and preferences.

That being said, Danner takes their boot-making business seriously. The company has been around since 1932, and their focus is not really to design a boot that fits all: they offer different types of boots for different areas of application.

Looking more into the Danner Mountain Light vs Mountain Pass comparison, you will see how both models are designed for work and people up on their feet all day. They are similar to a great extent, but several aspects set them apart.

Danner Mountain Light vs Mountain Pass: Overview

While Danner is largely recognized for their dedication to quality craftsmanship and time-tested heritage designs, both the Mountain Pass and Mountain Light are a testament to the company’s commitment to high-quality footwear.

The Danner’s Mountain Light, in particular, is the only boot designed on their original 1979 specifications. The Mountain Pass on the other hand comes in handy to improve the original Mountain Light design and provide a lighter, more comfortable outdoor boot. Below we get into more detail so you can find out which boot style is a better fit for you.

Danner Mountain Light vs Mountain Pass: Material and Construction

Danner Mountain Pass and Mountain Light hiking boots have a few features in common. Both models come with high-quality full-grain leather uppers, water-proof gore-tex liners, and stitch-down construction. The boots also share retro design elements like a lace-to-toe silhouette and metal lopped hardware rather than traditional eyelets punched into the leather.

One mentionable difference between Danner Mountain Light and Danner Mountain Pass is the upper paneling. The Danner Mountain Light keeps sticks to its original one-piece leather design, which wraps nicely and retro while keeping out dirt and debris during activities.

The Mountain Pass, meanwhile, features multiple leather panels on their uppers, which can be seen with the bare stitching around the heel, tongue, and side ankle. Another notable difference between these two boots stems from the shank construction. The Danner Mountain Light employs a traditional shank style derived from fiberglass whereas the Mountain Pass opts in for a Bi Fit Board- which combines the shank, midsole, and the lasting board into one solid piece.

The Bi Fit Board is then molded to fit the shape of the boot. Aside from ensuring great stability, this shank also allows for a lighter outdoor boot.

Fit and Sizing

The Danner Mountain Light is built on 650 EE last. This ensures a more spacious fit that’s wider and accommodative in comparison to other lasts. Due to this roomier fit, Danner suggests that you go a size down when ordering the Mountain Light.

On the other hand, the Danner Mountain Pass is constructed from a 503 last, which is the standard casual fit. Danner recommends you go true to size.


Another notable difference between Danner Mountain Light and Danner Pass is their respective outsoles. The Danner Mountain Light comes with a Vibram Kletterlift outsole, which is adequately lugged, offers good traction, and is shock absorbent. It’s one of the best soles that can provide stability on both wet and dry ground.

The Mountain Pass, meanwhile, features the Vibram Klettefit thin outsole. Note that “thin” is the keyword here as it’s basically the same in terms of construction. But contrary to the Mountain Light, the Mountain Pass is designed to keep the weight of the boots down by employing this thinner and lighter outsole.

Break-In Period

Coming down to boots break-ins, the Danner Mountain Light is associated with a long (and even painful) break-in period. The boot lacks the padded insole and has been made with an old heritage design that takes a while to break in properly. However, similar to any other heritage boot style, the long break-in period is worth it in the long run, in comparison to the Mountain Light. The ultimate result will be a boot that will serve you many years of wear and fit like a glove.

In fact, the only aspect where Danner Mountain Pass excels is in the shorter break n period. This is enhanced by the removable Ortholite footbed that offers comfort right from the box. This footbed does not only contribute to cushioning, but it also comes in handy for proper air circulation, keeping your feet cool and dry throughout the day.

So if you’re choosing between the Danner Mountain Light and Mountain Pass, and would rather not struggle with the long break-in period, then the mountain Pass might be a great choice.

Color Options.

Generally, Danner offers numerous color options with both their Mountain Light and Mountain Pass boots. Both models are available in your basic black and brown leather selections, with the Mountain Pass offering a few different suedes picks as well. Both designs come with their own unique colors such as the Mountain Light’s Desert Tan and the Mountain Gunmetal.


The Bottom Line

If this is your first pair of Danner boots, then you’re bound to be impressed by their construction, fit and overall comfort. As stated before, everyone has different feet, different pressure points, etc. thus we’re not saying Danner is a one size fits all. However, based on our experience, and what we’ve gathered from customer reviews, the Danner Mountain Light vs Mountain Pass boots is a great option, hardly to disappoint.

You might want to choose the Mountain Light if you’re interested in a time-tested boot that will last. The Mountain Light is developed from its original vintage specs, meaning you’ll get a carefully crafted heritage boot that will last years to come.

Danner Mountain Pass meanwhile can be a great option if you’re looking for a lightweight boot that feels comfortable right from the box. No break-in period. The boot keeps the familiar Danner retro outdoor boot design, yet it has been upgraded to a lighter outsole, second-generation shank, and a more agreeable footbed that provides extra comfort.