One thing that sets Danner apart from many other hiking boot brands is their dedication to quality craftsmanship and time-tested heritage designs. Both the Mountain Light and Mountain Pass hiking boots are a testament to Danner’s commitment to high quality outdoor footwear.
Danner’s Mountain Light is one of the only boots built on their original 1979 specs. While the Danner Mountain Pass is Danner’s answer to improving on the original Mountain Light design and create a lighter more comfortable boot. Below we go into a more detailed comparison so you can find out which hiking boot model is a better fit for you.
Note: If you would like more information on how the original Mountain Light compares to the newer Danner Mountain Light II then check out our Danner Mountain Light vs Mountain Light II comparison.
|Danner Mountain Light||Danner Mountain Pass|
|Fit||650 EE Last.
Roomier relaxed fit.
Fits true to size.
|Outsole||Vibram Kletterlift||Vibram Kletterlift Thin|
|Removable Footbed||No||Removable Ortholite Footbed|
|Made in USA||Yes||Yes|
|Price||Check the latest price on Amazon||Check the latest price on Amazon|
Danner Mountain Light Vs Mountain Pass
Quality, Material and Construction
Danner’s Mountain Light and Mountain Pass hiking boots share a few things in common when it comes to their construction and materials. Both feature high quality full grain-leather uppers, stitchdown construction, and waterproof gore-tex liners. The two hiking boots also share retro design elements such as a lace-to-toe design and metal looped hardware in place of traditional eyelets punched into the leather.
One noticeable difference between the Danner Mountain Pass and Mountain Light is in the upper paneling. The Danner Mountain Light keeps it’s original one piece leather design that wraps neatly around the entire upper. Not only does this design keep the boot looking clean and retro, but it also aids in keeping out dirt, water and debris when hiking. The Mountain Pass on the other hand uses multiple leather panels on their uppers that can be seen with the exposed stitching around the tongue, side ankle and heel.
Another difference between the Danner Mountain Pass and the Mountain Light is found in the shank construction. While the Danner Mountain Light uses a traditional shank style made out of fiberglass, the Mountain Pass opts in for a “Bi Fit Board” that combines the shank, lasting board and midsole into one solid piece. This Bi Fit Board is then molded to match the shape of the boot. Not only does this shank style provide great stability but it also allows for a lighter boot.
Fit and Sizing Difference
The Danner Mountain Light is constructed on 650 EE last. This allows for a more spacious fit that is wider than other lasts. Because of this roomier fit, Danner recommends that you wear a half size down with the Mountain Light. The Danner Mountain Pass on the other hand is constructed from a 503 last. The 503 last is your standard causal fit and Danner recommends you go true to size.
Danner Mountain Pass vs Mountain Light Break In Period
Now let’s cover boot break-ins. The Danner Mountain Light is notorious for their long (and sometimes even painful) break in periods. This is due to the lack of padded insole and old school heritage design that takes time to break in completely. But just like any heritage boot design, the longer break-in period is worth it as the Danner Mountain Light will conform to your foot over time. The end result is a boot that will last you many years of wear and fit like a glove.
Where the Danner Mountain Pass does do better is in the shorter break in time. This is due to the included removable ortholite footbed that offers comfort from day one. Not only does this footbed offer cushioning but it also helps with air circulation to keep you feet cool and dry. If you are deciding between the Danner Mountain Pass or Mountain Light and would rather not deal with the long break-in period than the Mountain Pass may be the better choice.
Differences in Outsoles
Another big difference between the Danner Mountain Pass and the Mountain Light is their respective outsoles. The Danner Mountain Light features a Vibram Kletterlift outsole. This outsole is adequately lugged, provides great traction, and is shock absorbent. We are big fans of this sole because of it’s ability to provide stability on both dry and wet ground.
The Mountain Pass on the other hand features the Vibram Kletterfit Thin outsole. Thin is the keyword here as it’s essentially the same outsole in terms of features. But unlike the Mountain Light, the Mountain Pass is able to keep the weight of the boots down by utilizing this thinner and lighter outsole.
Danner offers multiple color options with both their Mountain Pass and Mountain Light boots. Both boot designs offer your basic brown and black leather options with the Mountain Pass offering a few different suede options as well. Each boot design features their own unique colors such as the Mountain Pass’ Gunmetal and the Mountain Light’s Desert Tan.
Danner Mountain Light vs Mountain Pass: Which is better?
Choose the Danner Mountain Light… if you are looking for a time-tested boot design that will last. Since the Mountain Light is constructed from it’s original vintage specs you will get a carefully crafted heritage boot that will last you years to come.
Choose the Danner Mountain Pass… if you are looking for a lighter boot and can do without the long break-in period. The Danner Mountain Pass keeps the familiar Danner retro hiking boot design but is upgraded to a lighter outsole, next generation shank design and a more forgiving footbed that provides extra comfort.