Last fall I reviewed Danner’s Radical boots; I’ve worn them for two winters now and still really like them. I wanted to try something different from Danner so I asked them to send a pair of their Vicious boots. Like the Radicals, they’re Gore-Tex lined but this time around I chose not to go with a safety toe—though the Vicious boots are available with one.
In designing the Vicious, Danner took a hiking boot platform and adapted it to the jobsite. The boot has a full-grain leather upper, a Vibram outsole, and a Gore-Tex liner to make it 100% waterproof. According to its maker, the shape of the boot provides a better fit for the heel while allowing a little more room in the toe box to “accommodate feet that are carrying heavy loads or changing directions quickly”. Additional features include a speed lacing system, low profile heel and a slightly lighter weight than my Radicals (2oz lighter).
What attracted me to these boots was the promise of better support. My gait is such (I overpronate) that the soles of my boots land more towards the inner edge than the bottom—which can cause the uppers of my footwear to stretch to the point where they are no longer comfortable to wear. My Radicals have held up well but I prefer the fit of the Vicious, which are a little more snug without being tight (even though both pairs are the same size). It’s not just that the Vicious are new and haven’t stretched out; the foot bed has a different shape to it. The speed lacing helps because it allows me to snug the boots up in such a way that my feet don’t slide around.
I’ve been wearing these boots on the job and also for hiking. They have been comfortable and stable, and the Vibram outsole has proved to be grippy. I feel confident walking walls in them and have spent entire days on a ladder in them without any problems (if boots aren’t supportive the rungs can hurt your feet).
I highly recommend these boots. Provided you like the way they fit, the only complaint I could see anyone having is that the toe might wear because there isn’t anything over the leather. The toe is sometimes a problem spot—though not for me because I tend to stretch boots out before there is time to wear through the upper.
Danner Vicious Features
100% waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex liner
Full-grain leather uppers
Abrasion-resistant heel cap
Speed lace system
Available black or brown; with or without a nonmetallic safety toe
Height: 4.5 inches (tested); 8 inches
Weight: 46 ounces (4.5-inch model)
Price: $170 (MSRP of model tested)