February 11, 2014

Ahnu Hiking Shoe Review

By Starving Bitch

Please welcome Cranky Team member Starving Bitch with this product review!  Note: when lazy-ass Crabby McSlacker finally gets around to updating the blog's "about page" you will learn more about Starving Bitch and how she's been helping out, but you already know her from her fun Cranky comments as well as her excellent blog Striving for Skinny Jeans, where she always manages to keep it refreshingly real even when life challenges abound. Thanks Starving Bitch! --Crabby

I was asked to test run a pair of hiking boots. Well I call them hiking boots but was pleasantly surprised when they showed up and looked more like sneakers, really snazzy colored sneakers.  Just goes to show you how often I “hike” I imagined these hideous brown boots that go half way up my calf. 

So... they're not ugly! But how do they perform?

Here are some of the Ahnu® Sugarpine Air Mesh  features:

  • Breathable mesh upper to keep you cool and comfortable
  • Waterproof leather and suede upper
  • 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
  • Gusseted tongue helps keep debris and dirt out
  • Moisture wicking mesh lining
  • Rubber toe cap protects feet from abrasion
  • Dual density EVA 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
Fancy terminology that I don't exactly grasp but shock absorption and slip resistant as well as waterproof were words that seemed to fit the kind of hike I had envisioned since it just snowed a ton this past week.

They were quite comfortable when I first put them on, again felt like a really good pair of sneakers. The heel area was a bit stiff which worried me as I tend to get blisters really easily, I figured they were new and would loosen up a bit once I started walking.

It was only 19 degrees when my friend and I trudged out through the huge piles of snow to the trail behind her house to go around the reservoir, I noticed my feet didn't feel cold at all despite only have a small thin pair of socks on.  I also was impressed right at the beginning how even though they were only ankle high no snow got into the shoe. That's a huge deal if you are in a wintery climate such as myself.

We started out on the trail and I noticed how well they gripped in the snow, the snow was packed somewhat in certain areas, but in other areas was quite deep, I didn't slip at all even when I had to quickly move out of the way of oncoming snowmobiles.  

I decided to dress in bright colors to match the shoes
Unfortunately half way through the hike, I could tell I was developing a blister on the back of my left foot, as I said I'm very prone to blisters and it happens quite a bit, so if you are also prone to blisters I would definitely advise some moleskin on the skin at the heel area as these shoes definitely were very firm back there and rubbed.

The tread on the shoe is pretty deep, I didn't feel as though I would fall at any time, which will be helpful in the spring as the trail gets muddy and I've often slipped in just my sneakers walking it.

After our hour long hike, I was flushed, sweaty and feeling tired. But I felt the shoes held up nicely and the most important feature, the waterproof worked. My feet were bone dry even trudging through calf high snowbanks.  That is a big deal.

Of course in the shower the screams from the water hitting my bleeding blister and my neighbors probably thought someone was giving birth in the house. 

The arch in the shoe is pretty decent, if you don't have flat feet such as myself it will probably be fine for you. My foot is hurting a bit, but that tends to happen to me until I'm able to change the arches in shoes. I know I'm a huge pain when it comes to feet. But my toes paint lovely.

I think it's a great shoe is you are just starting out in the hiking world, they are sporty looking and I probably would wear them everyday and not just for hiking. The fact that they kept my feet so dry, I think I would probably wear them on those days when there is snow out but not enough to wear my big huge snow boots but enough that my sneakers would get wet. Perfect for those days.

Any thoughts on footwear or winter weather? What do you guys wear for hiking?  


  1. Bummer about the blisters... possibly if you hadn't been forced by an evil taskmaster to trudge off for a long review hike without a chance to gradually break them in, your feet would not have been roughed up!

  2. Don't be knocking my "hideous brown boots that go half way up my calf" they are a thing of beauty to me and brown hides the dirt. You can even wear them with a sun dress for that Daisy Duke look so don't think their not fashionable either.
    I always wear thick hiking socks summer or winter as they will protect your feet from any fitting errors.

    1. Love it Cindy! I actually tend to favor muted colors myself though have not been brave enough to sport the Daisy Duke look!

  3. Thanks for the review! I am a HUGE hiker. Basically footwear for me depends. Right now it is hiking boots between the snow and the mud. I also do use some sort of trail runner/light hiker during the nicer time of year and certain routes.

    I am using Solomon for my trail runners and Vasques for my hiking boots. Not loving the Vasques but they are almost worn out anyway.My favorite hiking boots were always Raichles, but they are harder to get in the US now.

    For blisters (once they are there) I put on a bandaid and then duct tape right over that. I have always had more like with duct tape than mole skin. Is there anything it can't fix?

    By the way, waterproof is a deal-breaker for me. In the state of WA (Seattle side) I can never understand why non-waterproof light hikers/runners are even stocked. :)

    1. Duct tape! What an inspired idea QD!

    2. Duct Tape! GENIUS! I knew I was in trouble when I took the shoe off and my sock was covered in blood and you can hang your leg out of the shower as much as you want water is hitting that open wound and it's going to hurt like someone stabbed you with a hot poker!

      I was pretty impressed with the waterproofing!

  4. My kids do most of the hiking, and at the creek, but they use steel toe boots so they don't have to worry about the water moccasins. Yes, really. The good support and waterproof features do sound like they would be good for living in the swamp, though.

  5. I don't really hike (and certainly not in snow!!) but I do like the looks of the shoe - nice that it isn't brown!!

  6. I love my casual shoes from them! They gave me a hiking shoe but my feet being too wide & with bunions & no fat pads in the balls of my feet - well, no go for me but I know others that swear by their hiking shoes! :)

  7. Shoes are the enemy! LOL! The only shoes I find comfy are Crocs...and you just can't wear them everywhere. These hikers seemed to do the job in the snow and that is great (boo to blisters!). I tiptoe around the city to ensure I don't wipe out (again).

  8. I wear Reebok walking shoes to hike. Anything more hiking oriented is guaranteed to either start a blister or rub my achilles tendon raw in about half a mile, and I'm tired of paying for shoes I can't wear. (This rant being somewhat out of date since the last time I bought a shoe specifically designed for hiking was in the eighties--the aforementioned raw achilles tendon in half a mile led to these shoes being passed on to a friend.) I sure would like something waterproof, though. Sigh.
    And what is it with shoe manufacturers not wanting to make the soles the same color as the uppers? Is it fashion or what? (Is this cranky enough?)

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  9. I have wide feet, so I hike in Tevas. Good socks help with comfort, too.


    the shoes and the people behind (in the? :-)) the brand.

  11. I live in NC. Unlike today we don't usually get a lot of snow. But I could use those boots today. LOL
    They look great to me.

  12. Hiking shoes are similar to running shoes, except that they are made with sturdier material. This is to ensure that your feet are duly secured as you pass through different textures of land and water.


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