Before you reach any lofty summit, navigate dense forests, or traverse a gurgling creek or loose shale slope, you must first lace up your boots. For nearly a century, Danner boots have been on the feet of explorers, pioneers, and passionate trailblazers not content to sit at home and live vicariously through the adventures of others. With the assurance of superior craftsmanship, they, like founder Charles Danner, set out into the rugged unknown looking to get lost—and find themselves—in the great outdoors.
Danner makes footwear that embodies a sense of place. It’s designed in harmony with nature yet resistant against its harshest elements, ensuring no obstacle on your journey is insurmountable. Like the old growth evergreens that blanket the region, Danner’s Pacific Northwest roots run deep—all the way back to 1936, when the company moved from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin to Portland, Oregon, chasing the opportunity to supply loggers with a boot suited to such an arduous trade.
Impervious to wilderness challenges and enduring through the Great Depression’s toughest economic times, Danner has changed and adapted over the years, expanding to offer products for diverse occupations and different walks of life. As the first to develop a GORE-TEX lined boot, their legacy unfolded on the cutting-edge. Today, its mission to empower boundary pushers remains the same, as does its commitment to quality, craftsmanship and innovation.
One such pathfinder is Greg Hennes, who, in his early adulthood, left behind his Central Minnesota home and the picturesque Mississippi River. His heart pulled him westward and upward, to tall snow-capped peaks of Oregon where he reveled in his passion for snowboarding. Entrepreneurial ventures also unfolded, including a photo equipment rental business, a seasonal craft market and even a cologne with campfire aromas. But his latest achievement is a testament to the shared heritage and drive of all renegades.
In search of a cabin property near the Wallowa Mountains and pristine Eagle Cap Wilderness in the remote northeast corner of the state, Hennes stumbled upon the Jennings Building in downtown Joseph. It needed work, and it was four years before he built up the nerve to purchase it; but once he did, lots of sweat, hard labor and widespread community support transformed the 1910 structure into the restored, five-room Jennings Hotel. The town’s Prairie Mountain folk school, a non-profit community center meant for experiential learning of traditional craft skills, is another of his projects.
Hennes’ undertakings represent a departure from familiar bearings in search of uncharted courses, in the face of adversity, true to the Danner spirit. Through World War II, Danner held fast when other businesses went under, answering the shipyard’s demand for sturdy work boots. They stayed resolute, even when Charles’ own sons John and Bill, who had joined the business while taking classes at the University of Portland, were sent overseas to join the fight.
What began as a family enterprise gradually extended to Portland at large, and the city reciprocated that embrace. Their shared principles have woven a community of creators and inventive partnerships; the stylish collaboration with the Portland Timbers is a boot straight out of a soccer and hiking enthusiasts’ dream.
On their many excursions and expeditions, Danner’s customers will surely encounter stony outcroppings, springy pine needles and gravelly shorelines underfoot, but they can always count on a comfortable experience that fully allows them to appreciate the surrounding beauty. So, wherever it is your compass points, before you go there, throw on your Danners and you’ll enjoy every step.
Find your new favorite footwear at danner.com or at Danner’s locations in Union Way (1022 QW Burnside St, 503-262-0331) at its Factory Store (12021 NE Airpot Way, 503-251-1111) or in Tanasbourne (11010 NE Evergreen Parkway, Hillsboro, 503-262-0332).