Danner vs Thorogood Boots Compared [What’s the Difference?]

In this article we compare Danner vs Thorogood boots. Both Danner and Thorogood 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:

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  • Thorogood American Heritage Boots – 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. Click here to view these Thorogood boots available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). These fit true to size.
  • Danner Quarry Boots – One of the best outdoor work boots on the market. Just like the Thorogood boots above, these boots are made in the USA. Lace-to-toe design maximizes control. These boots have a 100% waterproof Gore-Tex liner with a rugged Vibram outsole. Click here to view the Danner Quarry boots available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
  • Thorogood Logger Boots – Both Danner and Thorogood make premium logger boots, but the nice thing about these Thorogood Logger boots is they are made in the USA. These boots have a waterproof membrane and a goodyear storm welt build. Click here to view these Thorogood Logger boots at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
  • Danner Vicious Boots – These boot 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. Click here to view the Danner Vicious boots available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).

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).

Thorogood boots are made by Weinbrenner Shoe Co., an employee-owned company based in Wisconsin that has deep roots in American culture. Weinbrenner Shoe Co. started manufacturing shoes in the late 1800’s and was a significant contributor of boots for the US Army in both WWI and WWII. That same American pride is carried forward into their modern-day business, and specifically to the Thorogood American Heritage boots, which are made in the USA by union workers (source).


Danner vs Thorogood Boots

If you’re considering Danner or Thorogood 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 provide premium work boots for several types of work environments, both indoor and outdoor.

If you made me choose, these are the boots I would choose for each specific situation (but again, both brands make quality work boots for most all crafts; affiliate links below take you to Amazon.com):

  • Outdoor Trades – Danner Quarry (view at Amazon)
  • Outdoor Harsh Terrain – Thorogood Logger Boots (view at Amazon)
  • Construction – Danner Stronghold Boots (view at Amazon)
  • Indoor Factory – Thorogood American Heritage (view at Amazon)
  • Uniform Boot – Danner Acadia (view at Amazon) or Thorogood Jump Boot (view at Amazon)

In this article let’s compare Danner vs Thorogood by taking a closer look at some of their best and most popular boots, and how they might work for you.

Danner vs Thorogood: 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.

Danner Quarry Work Boots

If you work outside and are looking for something that is more like a sneaker (sneakerboot), then scroll down to the bottom of the article. These Danner Quarry boots are heavy-duty boots that prioritize toughness and quality.

When you buy boots, you are presented with a choice: do you want comfort over toughness, or toughness over comfort? The Danner Quarry, of course, is quite comfortable to wear, all things considered, but this boot prioritizes support, durability, and toughness.

This is not a lightweight 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 quality over comfort. 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.

So, expect the Danner Quarry boots to be reasonably comfortable, but not comfortable in comparison to a sneaker. These boots are as comfortable as heavy-duty boots can be.

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 boots come in both a heavy-duty Vibram outsole (for harsh terrain), and a more comfortable wedge outsole, that would be a good choice for construction workers or factory workers who spend most of their day on smooth surfaces, and don’t need an aggressive lug pattern. Wedge soles are very comfortable in comparison to outsoles built for harsh terrain.

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.

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 the finished product. 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).

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:

Where to Buy the Danner Quarry?

Click here to buy the Danner Quarry boots at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). In general, expect the Danner Quarry boots to fit true-to-size. Wide sizing is available. To read more about the Danner Quarry boots, visit our Danner Quarry Boot Review.

Thorogood Logger Boots

Logger boots are a style of heavy-duty boots that are built to survive in the harshest outdoor conditions. These boots are built to stand up to wet, marshy environments, where the terrain may be uneven and unpredictable.

Thorogood Logger Boots

Rubber work boots are also an option for tough outdoor jobs, but not everyone likes a rubber boot (and not every situation calls for it). Logger boots strive to give you extreme waterproof protection with a lace-up leather design instead of rubber.

Obviously this style of boot is built for the logging industry which fights consistent wet conditions and uneven terrain with constant bush, debris, and bugs all around. But logger boots also make a lot of sense for other jobs like farmers, ranchers, fence crews, ditch crews, etc.

The Thorogood Logger boots are designed a bit different than classic work boots. Logger boots run high up past the ankle (9″) and lace snug against the leg to help prevent brush, debris, bugs, and moisture from getting down inside the boot.

Logger boots also use a larger heel than classic work boots do. Many classic boots use a 1″ heel, but logger boots usually push the heel past 2″ to help elevate the foot and boot out of wet, marshy terrain.

This also allows for a more aggressive lug pattern which can provide traction in harsh outdoor conditions. This Thorogood Logger boots is not a factory boot.

The Thorogood Logger boot uses a steel shank (supportive piece between outsole and insole) to help provide toughness and protection to the bottom of the boot. These boots have shock-absorbing removal insoles. They use a Goodyear Storm Welt construction, which helps keep moisture out of the midsole area and is re-craftable (source).

Although the Danner Quarry boots we covered first are perfect for many types of outdoor jobs, the Thorogood Logger boots will be better if you work in the harshest outdoor conditions, with wet terrain, brush, and debris to contend with.

The Thorogood Logger boots are available in safety-toe and insulated versions. They use triple-stitched main seams and are considered one of the toughest logger boots on the market today. To read more about logger boots, visit our article What is a Logger Boot?

Where to Buy the Thorogood Logger?

Click here to buy the Thorogood Logger boots at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). In general, expect these boots to fit true-to-size. Wide sizing is available.

Thorogood American Heritage Boots

The Thorogood American Heritage boots are some of the most popular premium work boots on the market. These boots fill a specific need for many types of workers who want something that is both comfortable and tough.

Thorogood American Heritage Boots

If you work on a factory floor, or even on some construction sites, you need something that is tough, but also appropriate for that environment. For example, you absolutely don’t need to wear a logger boot if you work in a factory.

Logger boots and other types of heavy-duty outdoor boots use aggressive lug patterns to provide traction in harsh outdoor conditions. If you are working inside, you don’t need that.

You might be looking for a boot that can, yes, provide proper support and toughness, but with a build and style that is more appropriate and comfortable for an indoor environment. Many factory jobs are great opportunities to turn to a more comfortable wedge sole boot.

Wedge soles are comfortable, but don’t have the aggressive lug patterns that outdoor boots use. But again, it’s about matching your needs with a boot. And that’s really what comparing Danner vs Thorogood is all about, finding a boot that best matches your needs.

The Thorogood American Heritage boots (although available also in a square heel outsole) use a wedge sole that creates a boot that combines comfort with a dependable, durable build. Wedge soles are more comfortable than traditional outsoles, and might help take some stress off your feet.

These boots are 100% leather and made in the USA. They have shock-absorption footbeds and although the wedge soles don’t use aggressive lug patterns, they are still slip-resistant. The Thorogood American boots are available in plain-toe and safety-toe, and come in both moc-toe and round-toe versions.

As we discussed previously, wedge-sole boots are best for those who work mainly on smooth, flat surfaces like concrete, tile, plywood etc. If you work on gravel, rough surfaces, or other types of harsh terrain, you will want a more rugged style boot.

Below is a look at a used pair of Thorogood American Heritage boots. As you can see, the seams have held up well and the boot itself still holds its shape. The toes are showing wear and tear, but the seams have not separated and the boot is still going strong. The wedge sole is beginning to show wear, which is to be expected with this much use.

Where to Buy the Thorogood American Heritage?

Click here to buy the Thorogood American Heritage boots at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). In general, expect these boots to fit true-to-size. Wide sizing is available. To read more about these boots, visit our Thorogood American Heritage Boot Review. To read more about how this boot fits, visit our Thorogood Boot Sizing Guide.

Danner Stronghold Boots

Although some of the boots we’ve already covered above can also work as construction boots, some construction workers prefer a more modern take on boots. Classic boots, which have a bulky stitch-down style can be built more for power than flexibility and comfort. A more modern boot, like this Danner Stronghold boot, is a sort of “sneakerboot” that gives you something that is tough, but also flexible and comfortable.

Danner Stronghold Work Boots

According to Danner, these Stronghold boots were inspired by hikers, but built for tough work conditions (source). These boots are built with full-grain leather and have a waterproof liner for moisture protection.

Again, these boots are going to be more flexible than classic heavy-duty work boots. The shank in a boot (supportive piece between the midsole and outsole) helps determine the flexibility.

These Danner Stronghold boots use a nylon shank, which allows the boot to be much more flexible than classic work boots that use a steel shank. Now, because of that, there is a tradeoff to consider: do you want the protection and support of the steel shank, or the comfort and flexibility of the nylon shank?

Obviously this will be determined by your specific job requirements and needs. Some construction workers may be very concerned about having steel support underneath their foot for pierce protection. If that’s what you need, maybe you opt for more of a classic-style work boot (with steel shank) and combine it with a wedge sole (for comfort).

But many construction workers appreciate flexibility and comfort, and these Danner Stronghold boots provide that. These are plain-toe boots.

Where to Buy the Danner Stronghold Boots?

Click here to buy the Danner Stronghold boots at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com). In general, expect these boots to fit true-to-size. Wide sizing is available. To read more about how Danner boots fit, visit our article How do Danner boots fit?

Danner vs Thorogood Conclusion

In reality, these two boot brands are very similar. They both have a long-rooted history of making premium work boots for many different types of jobs and trades. Again, if you made me personally choose, I’m picking this boot by Danner as my favorite outdoor work boot, and this boot by Thorogood as my favorite indoor work boot (affiliate links take you to Amazon.com).

But everything is dependent on your specific tastes and job requirements. The first steps to choosing the right work boot often comes down to identifying whether you need to prioritize toughness or comfort in your work boots, then build from there.

The takeaway for Danner vs Thorogood boots is that once you identify your own needs, both companies likely have a boot that can work for you. At that point, dive into the specifics, and decide which one makes the most sense.

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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