In this article we compare Danner vs Chippewa boots. Both Danner and Chippewa are American-based companies, and both still produce at least some of their boots here in the USA. Quickly, here’s what you need to know about some of their most popular boots:
- Danner Bull Run – These are great factory boots. Made with 100% leather and come with a wedge sole, which is best for a smooth surface. The wedge soles don’t offer the traction of a rugged outsole, but they are more comfortable. If you work on concrete all day, these can help. Made in the USA by union workers.
- Chippewa Logger – Chippewa is famous for their logger boots. They build their premium tier of loggers with 100% leather and additional mid-sole support. Many people consider Chippewa Loggers to be one of the best logger boots available.
- Danner Quarry Boots – One of the best outdoor work boots on the market. Made in the USA. Lace-to-toe design maximizes control. These boots have a 100% waterproof Gore-Tex liner with a rugged Vibram outsole.
- Danner Vicious Boots – These boots are modern-style boots. They are a sort of hybrid between a work boot and a hiking boot. Not everyone wants to wear a heavy-duty work boot. These Danner Vicious boots give you an alternative that can help you perform on the job while also providing comfort.
Danner boots is based out of Portland, Oregon. Danner was started when founder Charles Danner ventured to the Pacific Northwest to build premium work boots for loggers in 1932. Danner’s most popular boot is their Quarry boot, which we will discuss later. It is a heavy-duty work boot offered in several different versions including plain-toe, alloy-toe, and insulated (source).
Chippewa’s beginnings date back to 1901, and to a small factory in the lumber town of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Since then, they have grown to become one of the most trusted names in premium work boots (source). Present day, Chippewa boots are part of Justin Brands, a premium brand of western and heavy-duty, functional work boots and other types of footwear. Chippewa is famous for their logger boots.
Danner vs Chippewa Boots
If you’re considering Danner or Chippewa boots, the good news is both of these brands are premium work boot brands that have a long history of providing excellent quality and dependability.
Both brands have a long history of providing dependable work boots for several different types of jobs and environments, both indoor and outdoor.
In this article let’s compare Danner vs Chippewa by taking a closer look at some of their best and most popular boots, and how they might work for you.
Danner vs Chippewa: Boots to Consider
Danner Quarry Boots
The Danner Quarry boots are heavy-duty boots that have a classic stitchdown style and build. These boots are built for power and durability, and can stand up to some of the toughest work environments. These boots are made in the USA.
If you are looking for something that is more like a sneaker (sneakerboot), then this boot won’t be for you. These Danner Quarry boots are heavy-duty boots that prioritize toughness and quality, and have a classic, traditional work-boot build.
When you buy boots, you are presented with a choice: do you want comfort over toughness, or toughness over comfort? Ultimately, we all want both, but usually to gain on one you have to give a little on the other.
Although the Danner Quarry boots are quite comfortable to wear in comparison to other heavy-duty work boots, this boot first and foremost prioritizes toughness and durability. This boot will hold up on jobs where a more modern, lightweight boot will not.
This is not a flimsy boot, and sometimes if you have a job that demands the toughest boots on the market, you will have to sacrifice a few things, like weight and flexibility, to ensure the boot can hold up and protect your feet.
If you work in an environment that demands toughness from boots, the Danner Quarry delivers. It has a classic lace-to-toe design, where the laces drive down far near the toe of the boot.
In recent decades, the laces on boots have gotten higher and higher up the foot as boot and shoe companies try to save money. The problem is, the less lace coverage a boot has, the less control that is passed to the foot.
The Danner Quarry boot does it the right way, and maximizes the laces to transfer the needed control to your foot.
This is a perfect example of prioritizing quality over weight. Danner could have reduced the weight of these boots by reducing the laces, which would also reduce the amount of leather needed for the laces, but they didn’t want to sacrifice the premium durability and build of this boot.
Yes, expect the Danner Quarry boots to be comfortable, but not like a sneaker. These are not sneakers. These are heavy-duty work boots built to last.
One things these boots do use to help increase the flexibility is they use a fiberglass shank instead of a steel shank (a shank is a supportive piece between the outsole and insole of the boot). Steel shanks provide extreme support, but can also make a boot stiff. Fiberglass shanks are a balance between support and flexibility.
The Danner Quarry boot is offered in two different types of outsoles: a wedge outsole and a more traditional 90-degree heel heavy-duty outsole. If you work on smooth surfaces, the wedge outsole would be a good choice because it is more comfortable (but doesn’t have the lug pattern to stand up to harsh terrain). If you work in uneven terrain, you will want to stick with the traditional outsole.
We also like the fact that Danner has proven it is willing to listen to feedback from its customers, and to consistently test their own products to make necessary changes.
Let’s take this Quarry boot for example. During field testing of the Quarry boot, they noticed that the back heel stitch was a high wear area (due to workers kicking their boots off after work). So Danner implemented a small redesign by simply moving the back stitch to the outside of the heel to avoid future issues (source).
This Quarry boot uses what is called a “610 last”. A last is a foot-shaped mold that determines the fit of a boot. The 610 Last used for this boot is Danner’s most universal last and can be worn by many different types and shapes of feet.
According to Danner, this 610 last type is industry standard made true-to-size and has a relatively broad and deep toe box area, which provides more volume in the forefoot and toe. This design has a full length removable footbed (source).
These Danner Quarry boots come in plain-toe, safety-toe, and insulated versions. They have a 100% waterproof GORE-TEX lining to help keep your feet dry in wet conditions. These boots use a Goodyear Welt construction that is re-craftable.
The Danner Quarry is a general heavy-duty outdoor boot (although the wedge sole would also work for indoor jobs that need a heavy-duty boot). This is a boot that can be worn for a wide variety of jobs and trades. It has a traditional build and classic functionality. If you want to compare it to a Chippewa boot, the Chippewa Birkhead Boots (style 55069) are very good general outdoor work boots.
Here are some pictures of a used Danner Quarry boot. Although the boot has taken on some wear and tear from heavy use, you can see that the seams have held up well over the long term:
Chippewa Logger Boots
Chippewa is famous for their logger boots. Loggers boots are obviously used by loggers, but they’re also a popular boot for lineman, farmers, and ranchers. Some also prefer to use a logger boot as a motorcycle boot due to the raised heel for riding.
Chippewa offers a wide range of logger boots so that you can find one that works best for you. The Chippewa logger boots are some of the absolute best harsh-terrain boots available on the market today. Not all versions of this boot are insulated logger boots, but they do have insulated versions.
Logger boots are a special kind of outdoor boot that is built for two purposes. First, it is built to stand up to marshy, mucky, uneven terrain that is full of brush, debris, bugs, and everything else. Second, it is built for climbing (a logger boot is a popular boot for lineman). ***If you want to learn more about a logger boot, visit our article What is a Logger Boot?
The Chippewa Logger boots are offered in three different price tiers so that you can find one that works best for you. The most expensive Chippewa Logger is handcrafted here in the USA. Here’s what you need to know about the 3 tiers of Chippewa loggers:
- Most Affordable – Chippewa’s most affordable tier of loggers uses heavy-duty leather, but they use a non-leather material up around the collar of the boot and in the gusset of the boot, which reduces cost, and allows them to offer this boot at a lower price point. Chippewa strives to offer the best option of logger at every price point. You’d be hard pressed to find a better logger boot at this cost.
- Standard – This middle tier moves to a 100% leather for the entire boot. It also has a rugged Vibram outsole, which is a more premium outsole than the more affordable tier. It also has an additional Robus leather midsole that the lower tier does not (lowest tier has 2 rubber midsoles). So this tier provides more cushioning under the foot.
- Premium – This is Chippewa’s premium, fully-loaded logger tier. They refer to these loggers as “super loggers”. 100% premium leather construction, additional midsole support that the other tiers don’t have. Rugged Vibram outsole. Premum Dri-Lex lining which helps the boot breathe. Goodyear Leather Storm Welt build. And maybe the most important part about this tier, it is handcrafted right here in the USA.
Here is a look at a pair of Chippewa logger boots, and how they have held up over time. As you can see, despite extreme use, these boots are still holding well at the seams. These are logger boots with Vibram soles.
Danner Bull Run Boots
If you are working on a factory floor, and choosing between Danner vs Chippewa, I would recommend the Danner Bull Run Boots. You can get these boots in both a moc-toe and a round-toe.
The Danner Bull Run boots make for good factory boots because they use the wedge outsole. Wedge soles are built for comfort. They don’t have deep, aggressive lug patterns because these types of soles are intended to be used on smooth surfaces like concrete, plywood, tile, etc.
If you work on a factory floor, these Danner Bull Run boots give you something tough and dependable, but the wedge soles provide a bit of comfort to help balance it out. I see people wearing heavy-duty boots on a factory floor all the time that have huge lugs, and I’m just left thinking there is probably a better boot out there for them.
If you stand in place and work at a machine, these boots allow you to wear something that is dependable and tough, but something that won’t feel like a brick on your foot.
Some people mistakenly think a wedge sole means that the boot will have poor grip. This is actually not the case. Yes, wedge sole boots are not built for uneven, rugged terrain, where a traditional lug outsole will be much more appropriate. However, one benefit that a wedge sole has is it has a larger contact surface area with the ground.
Traditional lug outsoles have a raised heel that creates a gap (below the arch of the foot) in the outsole of the boot where the boot doesn’t contact the ground. A wedge sole does not have this gap. It is flat across the entire bottom of the boot.
The fact that the wedge sole has a larger contact surface area means it does actually provide quality grip and traction, as long as the surface it is being used on is a smooth surface like concrete, plywood, tile, etc.
On a smooth indoor surface, or even some smooth outdoor surfaces, the wedge sole makes perfect sense. You just don’t want to be using a wedge sole on harsh terrain.
A wedge sole can also be more comfortable than a traditional lug outsole. The traditional outsoles that have aggressive lugs, raised heels, and a gap under the arch of the foot, make for a clumsy contact with the ground as you walk. Your heel hits, then a gap in the shoe, then the toe area hits.
This inconsistent contact with the ground can make traditional lug outsoles a little harder on your feet. With a wedge sole, your foot takes on less shock as it walks across the floor because the bottom of the boot is smooth and contacts the ground without a gap.
I’ve worn a wedge boot for several years, and it is definitely a more comfortable wear than a traditional boot (in my opinion). One thing that I personally just notice is even when I stand, I feel much less stress on my heel. The raised heel of traditional boots consolidates stress to the heel, and I can tell when I stand on wedge soles the stress is distributed evenly across the bottom of my foot, and leads to less irritation.
All that said, because these Danner Bull Run boots use the wedge outsole, they make for great factory boots for those of you who stand on concrete all day. And another added bonus is these Danner Bull Run boots are wedge sole boots made in the USA.
These are unlined boots. This is actually another reason why they make sense for a factory worker who doesn’t need waterproof protection or insulation. No lining means these boots will breathe a little easier, and be a little cooler to wear. If you will be wearing these on a smooth surface outdoors, they make for nice summer work boots in dry conditions.
Chippewa 6″ Service Boots
Not everyone needs a heavy-duty boot. Some of you may be looking more for a general utility boot that you can wear both in your workshop and out on the town.
The Chippewa Service Boots are a somewhat fashion-focused boot that looks good both on and off the clock, but provides your foot with a full-grain leather that can stand up to what you might throw at it from your backyard workshop.
Again, not everyone is looking for that rugged, heavy-duty work boot. You might be looking for more of a stylish, versatile boot that you wear indoors when you go to the office, and then in your workshop on the weekends. This boot has a low-profile V-Bar outsole that does provide good grip, but it doesn’t have the large, aggressive lugs needed for outdoor, harsh terrain.
If you are working mostly indoors, or just using these boots as a casual work boot, you don’t need that aggressive lug pattern anyway. These boots are made with full-grain leather, and have a classic cork midsole. They are made in the USA with imported parts.
These boots don’t have an inner lining. They are not insulated boots. They do not have a steel-toe. These are just stylish boots that work as general utility boots to wear in your backyard shop and to wear with a pair of jeans when you run errands.