Gear Review | Ahnu Footwear
Company: Ahnu Footwear
Ahnu Footwear began with Jacqueline Van Dine, Jim Van Dine and Jenny Fredericks and their ideas for a better shoe. They searched for products that blended performance and style but couldn't find it - so they made them! Hailing from the Bay area in California, this shoe company matches shoes with your lifestyle and asks you to "walk new ground".
For the past several months my wife and I have worn Ahnu footwear on backpacking trips and day hikes. The men's shoe is the Ridgecrest retailing at $150 and the women's Sugarpine which retails for $130.
Men's Ridgecrest features
- eVent® waterproof, breathable bootie construction
- Waterproof leather and breathable, hydrophobic mesh
- Numentum™ Hike technology to center and guide the foot for balance on trails
- RMAT® midsole
- Spider Rubber™ outsole for traction in all environments
- Integrated TPU shank and arch support for torsional rigidity and mid foot support
- Shock dispersal plate in forefoot for stone bruising protection
- Moisture-wicking mesh lining
- Rubber toe protector
- Weight: 15.8 oz
The Ridgecrest was made for both long distance through-hiking and day hikes which appealed to me from the start. I had been looking for a lightweight yet waterproof shoe for longer distance travels and this shoe was built with all the harsh environmental elements in mind. The shoe touts the eVent waterproofing technology which keeps your feet dry while allowing a certain amount of breath-ability. I found this to be true to the eVent and Ahnu claims. Since I live in Arizona, I have never been overly concerned about keeping moisture out as much as I have been about allowing my feet to breathe. The shoes did just fine allowing the sweat moisture to leave the shoe keeping my feet dry on long hikes.
Another thing I noticed right away was the grip of the shoe. I took this shoe on a few quick trips to the Superstition Mountains which are famous for their rugged terrain. I really liked how the shoe handled loose rock and uneven surfaces. Ahnu used Spider Rubber outsole for traction and a shock dispersion plate in the forefoot area so I didn't have to feel every little rock under my foot. Although I typically prefer a Vibram sole, I couldn't tell any real difference in these shoes and was happy with the comfort in the bottoms of my feet.
I wasn't quite as happy with the rest of the shoe, however. When I laced these shoes up for the first time I noticed they felt very tight around the ankle yet loose through my mid foot and heel area. In fact, I couldn't put the lace through the last eyelet because of how high and tight the shoe felt. When I did that it relieved the tightness in the ankle but my heel began to slip slightly which is a big "no no" for me. Also, by not lacing through the eyelet it forced me to use the fabric eyelet as the final lace which will wear and break over time and use (which is why the final eyelet is metal).
The fitting of the shoe really did begin to bother me after only a few hikes. I was really disappointed because the shoe fit all the other criteria I was looking for and just standing in them they felt comfortable. I don't know if it is just the style of shoe but I've never had this much of a problem fitting a pair of shoes to my normal 10 1/2 sized foot.
Lastly, although the shoes are lightweight waterproof and breathable, they are a little clunky for a hiking shoe. I guess that is the trade off for waterproofing a shoe and not a boot.
What I Liked
Waterproof/Breath-ability: I really liked the ability of the shoe to keep out moisture but also allowing my foot to breathe. You can see on the picture above how well the water beads on the shoe which was impressive.
The Outsole: The Spider Rubber does a really nice job gripping rocks on scrambles and tough terrain. Also, the rubber toe protection is key in the desert and prevents stubbed toes.
What I didn't like
The Collar: The collar around my ankle was very tight and awkward fitting. It felt stiff and the eyelets felt too high up on the shoe which made the collar even tighter around the ankle. Also, the tongue of the the shoe was very low and hardly visible when fully laced up.
The Fitting: Overall, I did not like how the shoe fit around the ankle or the mid-foot. I had a very hard time getting the shoe to be snug to my foot but not rub or cut my ankle. I've read similar reviews with this problem as well.
The Price: Shoes, as a whole, are getting more expensive as the technology gets better and these shoes are no exception. $150 seems a bit steep for this shoe.
Overall, there were a lot of features I liked about the shoe and delivered as expected. I thought the best part of the shoe was its ability to keep out moisture while allowing sweat to leave the shoe. The moisture wicking liner is really a great feature on this shoe. I also liked the sole and how stiff and rigid it was. That is a huge bonus for me. However, I just couldn't get over how awkward the shoes fit even after several trips attempting to break them into my foot. I really disliked how they felt around the ankle and for that reason I probably would suggest to use caution when purchasing. I don't want to dissuade others from purchasing this shoe because in reality it does exactly what it promises to do but I would suggest trying them on before making a decision.
*Disclaimer: Although this product was given to me complimentary for this review, it in no way influenced my testing or opinion of the product or company.