Review: The Overlook Is Danner’s Most Versatile Shoe Yet
Meet the crossover shoe of your dreams
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Multipurpose outdoor gear is having a moment.
Maybe that’s because the next generation of outdoorists are keen on doing more with less, but it’s also compelling when a product can pull double duty. That theory might explain why Danner, the iconic footwear brand known for its line of rugged boots, released the Overlook shoe in time for summer.
As an outdoor-urban crossover shoe, the Overlook is built to perform most anywhere. It features a series of technical specs which include a water-resistant upper and a lugged sole, but the whole package provides everyday comfort and style when the nearest trail is a workweek away. With that in mind, we put them to the test all around New York City (and beyond).
Design and Materials
Not unlike your favorite pair of trainers, the Overlook is designed to fit more like a traditional shoe and less like a clunky hiking boot. To do so, it relies on a breathable, water-repellent EnduroKnit upper that hugs your foot like a glove (the fit reminds me of Nike’s FlyKnit technology), offering next-to-skin comfort that’ll almost convince you to ditch your socks. It’s then finished with nubuck leather accents that add a touch of style and durability. All told, the Overlook’s appearance suggests it’s a shoe you’d wear to the local watering hole, but it’s remarkably capable beyond town.
Underfoot, a triangle-lugged outsole delivers plenty of traction through soaked city streets and slick backcountry trails. In fact, Danner tapped Vibram to supply the materials, so you know it’s incredibly durable and long-lasting, which bodes well for a shoe you’ll wear all the time. The midsole is reinforced as well to be firmer around the edges and softer in the middle, ensuring your feet are content no matter the terrain.
My primary concern with the Overlook was comfort. To that end, I wore it across Manhattan, through Brooklyn and outside the city, going so far as to avoid public transit whenever possible. Through it all, I found it to be well-rounded and capable at everything from running errands to day hikes. Though it lacks some of the stability that stiffer shoes provide, the knitted upper was breathable and pairs well with the Vibram rubber in a variety of conditions, including those weekend adventures on the trail. I wouldn’t recommend wearing the Overlook in a torrential downpour, but Danner explicitly says the upper is water-resistant, not waterproof. Storms aside, I found myself throwing on this shoe with blind confidence knowing it could handle any obstacle and look good along the way.
What We Like
- Style. Even though Danner equipped this shoe with a subdued, rugged flair, it still turns heads. From the bar to the barbecue to the backcountry, you can wear it just about anywhere.
- Balance. So many iconic footwear brands are releasing similar crossover shoes, but so many are falling short by creating a shoe that oversells its style or capability. The Overlook is one of few that looks and feels like a trainer but performs like a trail shoe at a moment’s notice.
- Pedigree. You’re not just buying a pair of shoes, you’re buying a pair of Danners. That fact alone ensures your footwear is tough, tested and ready for just about anything. And if it falls short, Danner stands behind its workmanship to make things right.
What We Don’t
Though I’ve always worn shoes in a standard width, the Overlook felt skinny through the midfoot. The outer edge of my foot barely aligned with the edge of the shoe, leading me to discourage those with wide feet from picking these up. Danner might make a wider model if demand calls for one, but don’t hold your breath. Other models like the Jag Low offer similar features and urban styling if your heart is set on some versatile footwear.
Should You Buy It?
For those of us that don’t live within walking distance of the nearest mountain, we crave footwear that works wherever we go. It needs to look good at the office, feel good underfoot and perform on every adventure. If you’re still searching for a do-it-all shoe, the market is ripe with options from some of the biggest outdoor brands. You could go so far as to try on every pair, or you could stop wasting time and pick up the Overlook. You won’t be disappointed if you do.
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