When an old friend from out west called and asked if we’d like to tag along on a trip to South America we couldn’t say no. Not only would the opportunity offer a chance to completely log off for a few weeks, but also countless miles of new streets and trails to explore. So, naturally, we made a couple calls and got some gear to test in the unfamiliar terrain.

Atop the list was a fresh pair of boots capable of handling the rigors of extended travel in many different environments. We went with the Danner Light in mojave colorway ($380), a 6” boot styled after Danner’s military-grade product—beyond aesthetics the boot boasts effectively mil-spec durability and functionality too—and made by hand in Portland, Oregon. Over the course of the trip we covered countless meandering miles on hot concrete in Colombia and well over 50 rugged miles of dirt and rock trails throughout Peru.

While most boots require a serious commitment to break in, we were surprised to find the Light comfortable and flexible right out of the box—the result of the lightweight suede and 100 denier nylon upper. The heavy duty Vibram outsole provided plenty of traction each step of the way—a point we’re quite thankful for, considering a good deal of those steps were on centuries-old stone staircases carved by hand into the mountainsides of Machu Picchu, just thousands of feet from the jungle floor.

The 100% waterproof and highly breathable Gore-Tex liner was a huge boon too. On day four of hiking in the Andes, on the cusp of making it to Machu Picchu, we finally encountered the rain that’d been promised by so many. And boy did it rain. Amazingly, after a handful of hours in the type of torrential rains only a jungle can provide, our toes remained bone dry. Shout out Gore, and the Light’s gusseted tongue and stitchdown construction for doing their job and letting us focus on chewing cocoa leaves and not falling off the mountainside.

From the streets of NYC and Medellin to the steeps of Peru well above 16,000 feet, we found little to complain about with the Danner Light. Nice work.

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