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Hands-on Gear Review
Ahnu Sugarpine WP - Women's Review
Cons: Not a lot of support
Bottom line: A great shoe for shorter hikes or less rugged terrain.
The Ahnu Sugrapine WP is the lightest and most "street-styled" model in our hiking shoe review. There is a fair amount of cushioning in both the heel and the forefoot, making for a comfortable stride, however the shoe is lacking in arch support and the lacing system doesn't extend very far down the front. Combined with the soft sole makes this shoe great for light hikes and around town wear, but not rugged enough for longer excursions or for wearing with a pack. Look to our Editors' Choice winner, the Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry - Women's, for a burly shoe that can handle a variety of terrain and an overnight hike with a heavier pack.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Hiking Shoes for Women Review
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Ahnu Sugrapine WP has a leather and mesh upper, soft-density EVA midsole, a waterproof membrane, and a non-marking Vibram rubber outsole. While the length was true to size in the size 10 women's that we tested it in, they do feel like they are cut on the narrow side, which was fine for us as our head tester has narrow feet, but is something to consider if you have wider feet that average.
Below you can see how the Sugarpine scored in our side-by-side testing process.
These shoes feel fairly comfortable on. They have a soft density EVA mid-sole (as opposed to dual density midsoles that most other models use), and when combined with the mostly synthetic upper which requires zero break-in period, these shoes feel comfortable straight away. However, they were almost too soft, and once we had a couple of miles underfoot or a heavier pack on, they did not feel as comfortable. Our Top Pick for Comfort, the Hoka One One Tor Summit WP - Women's, hit the sweet spot of providing supreme comfort underfoot without being too soft.
These shoes have adequate arch support — more than the Asolo Outlaw GV - Women's but less than the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator - Women's. But the sides of the shoe are so soft that they never felt too supportive overall. While hiking on smooth trails and moderate terrain they offered a comfortable, running shoe-like fit and stride, but as soon as the terrain became uneven or rocky, they did not provide adequate lateral support. The lacing system is also the simplest of all of the shoes in our review. With only four eyelet pairs these shoes are easily tightened or loosened, but we missed the ability to lace our hiking shoes lower along the foot. Most hiking shoes have laces that extend almost to the base of the toes, but the Sugarpine's laces stopped an inch or so shier. While this gives you an overly flexible bend at the toes, we did feel like the lack of adjustability affected the support when hiking steep trails.
The tread pattern on these shoes is shallow and somewhat uniform around the outer edges. The Vibram rubber is on the softer and stickier side, which did give us good traction when scrambling on sandstone slabs. While hiking on well-managed trails these shoes had adequate traction, but on steeper and looser terrain we prefer a more aggressive design like the soles on the Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry.
The Ahnu Sugarpine WP was the lightest hiking shoe that we tested. The size 10 pair that we wore weighed in at 1 pound 9 ounces, or about 12.5 ounces per shoe. That makes them almost as light as a typical trail runner, and we could really noticed the difference a few ounces makes especially when compared to the heaviest shoe in our review, the Lowa Renegade II GTX Lo - Women's (17 ounces per shoe).
The waterproof membrane did the trick, and our feet stayed completely dry during our bucket test. There was some saturation of the upper though, and the side of the shoe was not quite as high cut as the Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry and the Hoka One One Tor Summit.
These shoes did surprise us with their durability. With an almost completely synthetic upper (there's a narrow band of leather along the bottom) we thought they might easily shred to pieces in the tough desert environment that we tested them in. The synthetic material they use is highly abrasion resistant though and we had no issues with scratching or tearing. We are still a little concerned about the toe cap though, which doesn't provide near the amount of protection as the large rubber protector on the Keen Voyageur - Women's or the Salomon Ellipse GTX - Women's.
The Ahnu Sugarpine WP are best for day hiking without a heavy pack. Due to their lack of aggressive tread, they are best suited to mellower trails without loose dirt or gravel.
The Ahnu Sugarpine WP retails for $130, which is actually a reasonable price for a fully waterproof shoe in our estimation.
The Ahnu Sugarpine WP offers a lot of interesting features, and the synthetic construction provides the option for a variety of color choices, unlike the 50 shades of taupe that most hiking shoes come in. They are lightweight and comfortable, but not the most rugged pair that we tested. If light day hiking on moderate trails is your thing, then these are a great pair.
Ahnu make a full waterproof boot version, the Ahnu Sugarpine ($140) as well as a mesh version of the low cut shoe ($110)
— Cam McKenzie Ring
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