It's Gotta Be The Shoes

Aug 1, 2011
If you've been following the Team Erhardt Project saga in the Friday edition of The Shooting Wire then you know I've gotten a bunch of equipment from manufactures like Smith & Wesson, Safariland, Apex Tactical, 1776 Tactical and Pro Ears. One of the companies that generously donated to my cause célèbre is Danner, the Portland, Oregon based boot maker.
Retired from competition, my 'tactical sandals' are best left for light, summer duty.
When I first shot the Steel Challenge back in 2006 I shot the match in, of all things, a pair of Nike sandals in that style made famous by the Teva brand. Not exactly the ideal shooting shoe. This time around I figured I should go with something a little more sensible. So I contacted Danner. A lot of shooters in USPSA, and by extension the Steel Challenge Shooting Association, wear a tactical style boot for the flexibility, support and athleticism that style provides. These are the same qualities, along with comfort and durability, that law enforcement and military personnel look for as well. Now the first thing you need to know is that I am a huge, unabashed fan of Danner boots starting with the first pair I got back in 1999, when I was working in the gun department at a Gander Mountain store in Michigan. At the time I was looking to get a pair of shoes that would be comfortable enough for standing around all day behind a counter. And, if I was lucky enough to get out for some upland hunting, they'd be perfect in the field as well. During one of his regular store visits, the local Danner rep directed me to a pair of 6" boots that he himself wore on a daily basis. To this day, that pair he recommended to me were, are, and probably will be the best boots I've ever owned. They've long since given up the ghost but if I could go back in time I'd buy three or four more pairs just so I'd still have at least a pair to this day.
The Pursuit GTX 6" boots were comfortable from the moment I laced them up.
So, when it came time to upgrade from my tactical sandals I asked Danner about a pair of their Pursuit GTX Uniform Boots. The Pursuit model is available in three versions. There is a GTX 8" boot, a GTX 6" boot and a 3" boot called the DXTVent. If you're interested in the technical features of the Pursuit models, then by all means go to the for the details. I only cared about three things. First, the look of the boot. I wanted a boot that looked good - and who doesn't. Second, the weight, which is 38oz. I didn't need a heavy duty work boot and was looking for something more athletic in nature. That's one of the reasons I went with the 6" boot instead of the 8" version. I always preferred the 3/4 high-top style of basketball shoe when I used to play so the 6" height was going to work best for me. And third? Simply that they are Danners. My past experience with Danner boots left me with certain assumptions about the quality so I didn't feel I had to agonize over every little detail. When the Pursuit GTX boots arrived I immediately started wearing them, assuming of course that I'd have to break them in. All shoes need to wear in to the contours of an individual's foot structure before they truly begin to feel like they are your personal shoes. What I found with these boots - which shouldn't have surprised me at all - is that they were immediately comfortable and felt as if they were already broken in. I am sure that you could take these boots, brand new out of the box, put them on at the start of your shift, and by the end of the day you'd never know you were wearing new shoes. For my part I have yet to experience a single blister or uncomfortable wear-point that would take getting used to. That kind of comfort isn't found in all boots. Trust me. I've bought a couple pairs of boots on sale only to discover the true reason they were on sale - they sucked. The only thing that might be an issue with the boot is it's black color. Black is perfectly fine and I have zero issues with the color, but in Piru, California, where the Steel Challenge will be shot this August, the range will be in direct sunlight nearly the entire day.
If they made this in a 3/4 top (6") model I'd probably be shooting 'Army Strong' at the Steel Challenge.
Danner makes a variety of desert tan boots for the U.S. Military but none in a 6" height, as far as I can tell. Something like their Army Kinetic GTX Military Boots, if offered in a 6" model, would be ideally suited for the sunny, hot and aired climes of Southern California in August. I know, I know. I'll just have to suck-it-up and suffer through with these ultra-comfortable black Pursuit GTX boots. I'm sure I'll survive somehow... Anybody make a moisture wicking performance sock designed for desert use they'd like to send me? - Paul Erhardt Follow the Team Erhardt Project Fridays in The Shooting Wire or on Twitter at @TheShootingWire, use hashtag #TeamErhardt.