Portland, Oregon is a hub for all that is cool. As Fred Armisen would say, “The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland.” People wear flannel shirts, tights jeans, big glasses, gauges, the lot. It is a timeless casually classy look. Leather is everywhere you look — Leather wallets, leather pants, leather jackets, leather iPhone cases, leather bags, leather, leather, leather, leather, and, finally, more leather. The most prominent of all of these trades are boots — Portland is a leather boot city. And that is where Danner comes in.
I have been wearing the Forest Heights Piedmont boots from Danner for about a month now and I am thoroughly impressed. A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on Danner and an article on my first impressions of these boots. If you want more information on the company or on my first impressions, please check them out!
The Forest Heights Piedmont Boots, named after the west hills of Portland, are handbuilt in Danner’s Portland factory. They are constructed from Horween leather which is welted to a Vibram 232 mini-lug outsole using a Goodyear Welt. They are built entirely by hand by a team of craftsman — it is said that over 100 hands will touch your boots before they leave the Portland factory. That is insane, considering how huge their production is. This is not a boutique boot company, this is an enormous, global boot company and to have that kind of craftsmanship standards is beyond astonishing.
These boots are built solid. The Horween leather is gorgeous and tough and, combined with a Vibram sole, means that these boots are built for the everyday adventures of Urban Explorers. And because they are welted(stitched) together, the boots are not going to come apart if you wear them day in and day out. The combination of leather welted to Vibram is pretty spectacular. You get the classy aesthetic of a welted leather boot with the usability/traction of a Vibram sole, not to mention it is much more durable than a glued sole.
Just a note — men who wear classy leather boots with straight cut jeans are 78% more likely to attract a mate. And man, do the Piedmonts fit this bill. I have not seen many boots as classy and beautiful as the Piedmonts. The tan leather on the black sole is a timelessly classy look, yet somehow slightly rugged in these boots. The outsole is very low profile, which gives it a classy look, even though it is much more functional than your average leather sole boot.
The leather, with each step, will wear and conform to your foot. In other words, after a few weeks of wear, the boots will look worn. Which just adds to the cool aesthetic. It gives the boots a rugged look, which is much appreciated.
The aesthetic is one that would not be out of place in an office setting, just as it is one that would not be out of place on the Wildwood Trail or a walk up Burnside in a Portland mizzle. These are a great combination of style, class, function, and durability.
I have been wearing these boots for about a month straight now. In that time, we have had snow, rain, and sub-zero temps. It has been a harsh month as far as inclement weather goes and the Piedmonts have stood up to all of it.
The combination of leather with the Vibram sole does not just look good; rather, it creates a weather-resistent boot capable of walking through puddles and snow banks alike without any issues. The major crestfall of a leather-sole boot is that there is limited(if any at all) traction and that it will have problems if you walk through a puddle. This is where Danner comes in — The Piedmonts, with their Vibram sole, will grab onto snow and mud and will not allow water to permeate into the boot. Dry feet are happy feet.
Though they are quite weatherproof, I would still recommend applying a waterproofer (preferably a natural brand, such as SnoSeal or Otter Wax) to increase the leather’s ability to repel water. This will help protect the leather as well as give you a drier foot in the long run.
These are an unlined boot, so they are not exactly warm, but I haven’t had any problems with longer excursions in the cold — Just throw on a good pair of woolies and you are set!
As with any quality leather product, there is a break in period. I have been wearing the Piedmonts for a month or so and they are pretty well broken in — Well, enough to where they are extremely comfortable to wear for an entire day. But, I can see them continuing to wear with me as I wear them.
The Piedmonts are true to size.
There is an ample supply of classy looking leather boots out there, but few have the durability of these Danner’s. I am impressed by these boots. They have stood up to a three hour muddy romp through the woods, puddles, snow banks, 13+ hours on end of wear, and no problems at all.
And the break in period is great for an unlined pair of full grain leather boots!
For $285, you are getting what you pay for. An excellent, beautiful, classy, well-built, and quality pair of boots that is as functional as it is great to look at. A great boot to wear in the city, a great boot to wear on the trail, a great boot to wear in a snow storm, you cannot go wrong with a pair of Danner Forest Heights Piedmonts, a boot for the urban explorer.
Check the Piedmonts out on Danner’s website!
If you have a pair of Danner boots, please share your story below!