Category Archives: Gear Review

Ahnu Sugarpine Boots: Gear Review

 

Ahnu makes some cool shoes. I’ve worn plenty of hiking boots in my time. Some I liked, some not so much. Some lasted for years, some lasted for maybe a month. When I had the chance to check out a pair of the new, waterproof Sugarpine boots, I jumped at it. You never know when you’ll find a new shoe to love. Would this be the one to grab my heart? Or at least, hug my feet in close but not stifling embrace, carrying me for miles without nary a complaint?

Fellow outdoorswomen, the Ahnu Sugarpine waterproof boot is a sweet little package of all that and more. I haven’t worn the heck out of them yet, but so far, so very good. Let us count the ways.

 

 

I Ahnu. Do you Ahnu?

I Ahnu. Do you Ahnu?

 

The Stats

Firstly, I give you the official word on these boots, straight from the horse’s (ah, the company’s) mouth:

  • Ahnu’s waterproof, breathable technology
  • Vibram® non-marking outsole and slip-resistant lugs provide grip and traction on varied surfaces
  • Numentum™ Hike technology with a lateral to medial TPU heel clip for neutral positioning and stability
  • Waterproof mesh, leather and suede upper
  • Gusseted tongue helps keep debris and dirt out
  • Moisture wicking mesh lining
  • Rubber toe protector
  • Duel-density EVA, removable footbed provides extra shock absorption with heel and arch support
  • Integrated nylon shank and arch support provide torsional rigidity and mid foot support
  • Shock dispersal plate in forefoot for stone bruising protection
  • Self-cleaning lugs
  • Weight: 11.6 oz.

 

How does all this translate to the real world? Waterproof: check. I stood in a running stream for five minutes, boots on. Result after leaving the foot bath was dry feet, dry socks, clean boots. Slip-resistant lugs: traction is lovely thus far. I leap from sandstone boulder to sandstone boulder, not quite like a mountain goat anymore, but enough to give these a good test. Grippy soles mean upright hiker, which also means happy hiker.

grippy soles

grippy soles

 

Torsional rigidity and mid-foot support: lots of words to say your foot won’t just fall apart like mush in these boots, support-wise that is. My feet feel gripped, although not stranglingly so, and making quick turns or bends doesn’t wrench my ankle alignment. Weight: hell yeah, these are lightweight! Yet they still feel sturdy and protective. All in all, I’d say the company marketing is spot on.

 

The Test

These are warm boots, so they aren’t best-suited to hot summer hiking conditions. Living in southern Utah means it can be pretty hot in the summer (excepting the rainy monsoon season), so these were sometimes tucked away during the past few months. But springtime hikes, hikes in the higher elevation mountains, or wet days demanded I pull them on and trot outside for some testing.

I ambled over slickrock…

slickrock strolling

slickrock strolling

 

stomped through streams…

yes, they are waterproof

yes, they are waterproof

 

messed around in the mud.

Sugarpine boots are not afraid of getting dirty

Sugarpine boots are not afraid of getting dirty

 

The elements spared no mercy on these boots, and they held up fine. My feet remained dry, pain-free, and happy.

Although I have yet to log a really significant daily mileage in these boots (nine miles is about the daily max so far), when I have worn them out hiking all day, they did me just fine. I’m fairly certain they will hold up over many more months of hiking, but I will report in at a later date as to how they really last.

out & about on a rainy monsoon day in the canyons

out & about on a rainy monsoon day in the canyons

 

Fit: I usually wear a 10-11 depending on the manufacturer (sigh), and the Sugarpines fit me perfectly at 10.5. I have a wider fit just behind the toes (in western boots, I almost always go for the square toe so as to avoid super squishiness) and high arches, so take from that what you will in comparison to how these will fit you.

 

The Verdict:

The bottom line, as if it wasn’t already apparent, is that I really love these boots! I am a convert to the Ahnu line and plan to wear many more of their shoes in all different styles. At last week’s Outdoor Retailer show I was also lucky enough to pick up a pair of their Hanaa sandals in a size 11 (perfect fit for me), which is a casual and cute flip that was just right for wandering the epically large Salt Palace floor. Very, very comfortable, which means so far my Ahnu experience has been fabulous.

So I say, give the Ahnu Sugarpine boots a go, for sure. These boots are so well-made, attractive (available in 6 colors), lightweight, sturdy, and just plain good. I fearlessly recommend them. Now, off to do some more hiking….

new favorite hiking boot

new favorite hiking boot

 

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