On a whim (and because I had the time) I drove about 20 minutes to the nearby Gander Mountain (which I had never visited and, in fact, only recently realized that we had in our metropolitan area.) My intent was to have a look at some Danner boots that were not available at my other outlets (i.e., Cabelas, Dicks, REI.)
First strike--they didn't have my normal shoe size, 10½. I asked for an 11. The 11s actually felt a bit snug, and on the right foot, it pinched a bit in the front--although they otherwise were quite comfortable. I think I needed to try and 11½, which quite surprised me, because I wasn't even wearing the proper midweight merino wool hiking socks that I would wear with the boot in actual practice. That meant that, heck, I might have even needed a 12! Because I didn't have the proper socks, and because I wasn't intending on buying anything tonight, I didn't keep trying on different sizes and keep the sales guy hopping. I'll need to go back with the proper socks (and I realized that I really need to cut my toenails before I do it, too!) and try this out again with some slightly bigger sizes.
The last word in hiking boots is, of course, fit, fit, fit. If you get a pair that fits you properly, you can expect to hike in them right out of the box comfortably, and not get blisters or have other foot problems. But, if they don't fit properly, then you're in big trouble if you spend very much time in them. This is why I'd never attempt to buy a pair of boots online (well--at least, not without finding the boots somewhere where I could try them on. That's a bit mean-spirited, though--going somewhere to try on boots, and then saying, "thanks!" and leaving without buying anything to go purchase online.)
As much as I was in love for a long time with the concept of the Meindl boots at Cabela's, I've reading great reviews of these Danner hikers, and they're cheaper, and they look nicer than I thought, and they're an American company. I'm leaning more and more towards these after all. Plus, I like the rubber toe box and heel cap. I'd like even better a full rand.