For those men and women who depend on their duty gear to keep them in the fight, they want the best. I’m going to take a look at one of the newest tactical boots on the market in this Danner Tanicus review.
When it comes to boots, Danner has been leading the pack since 1932. Danner has long been known for making high quality, tough as nails boots. I should know. I was issued a pair of Danner boots almost 20 years ago. They were with me in the humid jungles of Southeast Asia. They braved the heat and sand in the Middle East. They protected my feet in the freezing weather of Alaska. I climbed them, ran them, hiked them and swam them. They took a beating, but they survived. They have been re-soled a couple times, but other than that, they have held up. I still have them today and they ride in the back of my rig should I ever need them.
Danner Tanicus at-a-Glance
Danner has proven to me they make a boot that can be depended on, so when I received the new Danner Tanicus boot, I had high expectations. On first glance, the Tanicus appears to be another typical, desert tan, 8 inch field boot. However, upon closer inspection, I noticed the quality craftsmanship I was expecting from Danner. The boot is fairly light weight, weighing in at 39 oz (size 10.5). The upper is made from durable leather and 1000 Denier nylon fabric. The lower is the rubber Danner Tanicus outsole. The upper features reinforced double stitching throughout the entire boot. The toe and heel have a double layer of leather for added durability. The 1000 Denier upper construction aids in reducing the weight of the boot. It also provides additional flexibility for more dynamic movement.
The top of the upper features a padded collar. This greatly aids in the comfort of the boot by removing the somewhat annoying “cutting” feeling associated with boots of lesser construction. The back of the ankle features a nylon strap to assist in donning the boot. The laces are fat and somewhat elastic. The eyelets are of metal construction; however they do not provide a locking feature. The boot tongue is also padded and extends a about an inch proud of the top of the boot. It features a flexible elastic pocket with the Danner logo stamped on top. This is a unique feature which I will go into later.
The inside of the boot is very plush, especially for a field boot. It features a perforated fabric over more padding. These perforations, coupled with the ventilation holes at the inside arch, result in a breathable, moisture wicking, fast drying boot. The footbed is made of cushioned polyurethane and has a removable insole. The shank is made of fiberglass which should help protect from punctures should a sharp object make its way through the Tanicus outsole.
The Tanicus outsole is as rugged as the rest of the boot. It features large, widely spaced pentagonal lugs at the heel, toe and ball of the foot. At the arch, there is a smaller, more linear tread, which is minor to say the least. The outsole wraps up the sides, toe and heel, providing decent protection from impact and rocks. There is a smaller, micro pattern on the lugs and the rest of the out sole which provides better traction on harder surfaces.
Donning the Tanicus is very easy. So easy, I didn’t really see the need for the rear ankle strap. The interior almost felt like a pillow on the foot. The additional padding Danner uses in the upper worked well and the boot was nice and roomy without being too large. Lacing the boot was somewhat of a letdown. As I mentioned above, the laces are not lockable, nor is this a fast lace boot. Start at the bottom, cinch it up and repeat until the top is reached. I typically don’t tie floppy bows for boots. I prefer a square knot that will not get caught on things and usually stays tied better. I also appreciate added length when it comes to laces in order to wrap around the ankle. You never know when additional lace might be needed. I found that I didn’t have enough lace to wrap the ankle once I laced the boot to the top. I ended up leaving the top eyelet empty in order to wrap the boot and tied off my square not. The elastic pocket at the top of the tongue gave me an idea. I took the ends of my laces and shoved them in the pocket to stow them. I am not sure if that was Danner’s original design intent, but it worked great and the laces stayed put.
Breaking in the Danner Tanicus
I didn’t bother with a break in period. I noticed a few things right from the start. First, when standing still, as one would in formation, they are some of the most comfortable boots I remember wearing in a long time. The cushioning is very nice, and even after my first 12 hour day, my shins, knees and back felt great. The second thing that became painfully obvious was the way the boot pinched the sides of my foot at the ankle joint, which you can see in the image to the right. The way the sides of the boot are cut at the eyelet transition causes the boot to bend in on both sides, pinching the foot. It was not comfortable at all. I tried to adjust the boot and re-tie it, but it didn’t really help. I just wore the boots like that for a few days and after a while the leather softened up and the sensation seemed to disappear.
Danner Tanicus Review: Traction Control
These boots were typical of any aggressive sole boot when it came to moving over wet pavement. The large lugs reduce the surface contact area of the sole to the ground, resulting in some slippage on steep grades on wet pavement. This was also the case when I attempted to climb over a wet tree that had fallen down. The boots slipped immediately. I was anticipating this as I have yet to find a boot, or any footwear for that matter, that doesn’t slip on wet wood.
On the trail, these boots were right at home. The Tanicus pentagonal lugs did a fantastic job gripping hard pack, gravel, rock and dirt. Ascents were made easy by the great traction, and I had zero slippage even when going over fairly moist dirt. Thanks to the widely spaced lugs, it was difficult for organic material to get too gummed up, which would result in less traction. Instead, the dirt and rocks fell out. I had very little material in the lugs. It was almost like they were self-cleaning.
On my first descent, I noticed my foot sliding forward and my toes bottoming out in the boot. I ended up stopping and re-lacing both boots. I think if the boots had the ability to lock the laces at the very beginning, I wouldn’t have had to stop and re-adjust. Regardless, after I re-tied the boots, the descents were much nicer and my foot stayed where it was supposed to.
I did a little trail running and they did well enough. The soles are stiffer than some of the other boots I have worn in the past, so it felt a little clunky running on the trail. I am sure over time that will change as the soles get worn in. I found a little stream in my travels and jumped right in. The Tanicus kept my feet dry. No, they are not waterproof, but as long as I kept the ventilation holes in the boots above the water line, my feet stayed perfectly dry.
Overall, I think Danner has a good boot on their hands. It fit well, is lightweight and rugged, and for the most part is comfortable. My only gripe would be the lace technology and the ankle pinching. The laces I can live with. The pinching shouldn’t happen. Danner should re-evaluate that portion of the design. The Tanicus boot I received was made in Vietnam. Yes, even Danner USA is having some of their product made overseas. The boots retail for $129.99 and qualify for free shipping. At this time the boots only come in desert tan.