Ahnu Sugar Pine Hiking Shoe - Your Walking and Hiking Gear Views
"Breckenridge in May?" Skepticism weighed on his brow like a Colorado summit. "Yes." I replied, "So I need the best shoe you have." Ken, my REI salesman intently gazed at the candy colored assortment of women's hiking boots like it was the Milk Way Galaxy.
Breaking our veil of silence I whipped out my hand scrawled checklist. Usually I don't put this much thought or planning into footwear purchases, but it was my first time buying hiking boots. Ever. Now, timing was imperative. In a mere 7 days I would be traveling to Colorado where snow threatens to fall on any given day and the gorgeous state is filled with precarious hills and valleys galore.
I tentatively placed the torn paper in Ken's hand, and watched his eyes as he read. No eyebrows this time. Aloud, he pondered, “Water proof, durability, and light weight. I believe I have what you need.” Five minutes later the Ahnu Sugar Pine hiking boot, size six were out of the plum colored box and snuggled up to my feet. I took two laps around the store and was sold. The final piece of the puzzle in place, I was ready to start my Colorado journey!
The three essential factors I yearned to find in a new hiking shoe were durability, a light weigh feel, and a waterproof interior. The Ahnu Sugar Pine hiking shoe encompassed all of these facets and even had a few tricks under its tongue flap.
One of the challenges I faced while in Colorado was dealing with the ever-changing terrain formed from the shifting weather patterns. During the trip I encountered snow, mud, and steep up hill climbs peppered with sliding rocks. The Ahnu Sugar Pine conquered all of these feats exceptionally well.
My first hike of the journey was on a steep incline oozing with mud from the melted snowfall earlier that morning. I braced to feel my feet sinking into the brown sludge, but the multi-linear traction from the sole of the shoe created a balanced effort to reduce suction and provide a stable footing for the rest of the climb. I finished the trek with just a thin layer of mud caked onto the sole of the shoe, but not once did I ever sink below the surface of the ground thanks to the footwear.
The second test of durability I subjected the shoe to occurred on the third excursion of the week. This hike started on a cramped ridge overspread with loose gravel and rocks. My main concern was slipping on the dusty trail due to the unstable earth below my feet and the sheer narrowness of the walk. Once again, the Ahnu Sugar Pine proved me wrong. Even though I could feel the earth shifting and altering, the sticky treads of the shoe constantly remained anchored on the precarious path and the streamlined, flexible design was able to hug every curve the pathway presented.
Light Weight Feel/Comfort
There is no worse feeling than starting a climb with bricks strapped to your feet. Currently, many hiking products on the market emulate this clunky, burdensome feeling especially right out of the box. Fortunately, the Ahnu Sugar Pine feels as light as a feather. Weighing in at just 11.6 ounces, the shoe provided me with a spring in my step due to the aerodynamic layer design, specifically on the back end of the shoe. The arch and mid-foot support also contributed to the over all comfort factor. Lastly, the sued collar and breathable mesh interior created provided amazing versatility to handle both city streets and mountain terrain.
The chief aspect I was searching for in a shoe was the ability to be completely water proof through freshly fallen snow and heavy, deeply packed precipitation. My first city walk into town, I encountered about three inches of freshly fallen snow, which the shoe handled remarkably. On that particular jaunt I was only wearing thin mid calf socks. To my pleasant surprise, the socks as well as the shoes remained bone dry throughout my hour spent trudging through the powdery downtown area. However, the true test of the waterproof nature of the shoe took place on the last climb of my stay. This walk was through two skiing switchbacks, particularly located at a high elevation where the snow was immensely heavy and deep. The first step I took on this trail landed me in about a knee length deep plunge of snow. I quickly pulled my leg out of the freezing trap only to find once again, the exterior and interior of the shoe felt as cozy as they did when the expedition began. This trek lasted about two hours, where I was constantly climbing over and then consequently sinking into giant snow banks. Despite these frosty challenges, the shoes stayed exceptionally dry and my feet were kept toasty the whole duration of the hike.
The buzzword I would use to sum up the Ahnu Sugar Pine is versatility. This shoe expertly adapted to every challenge the Colorado terrain had to offer, and then some. These shoes allowed me to stay dry through gigantic snowbanks, remain poised on unstable terrain, and aided in a seamless transition from cruising city streets to mastering uphill adventures.
I would highly recommend these shoes to anyone looking to experience trail hiking, stream stomping, and overall outdoor adventure!
Faith Krech, Raleigh