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Hands-on Gear Review
Ahnu Montara Review
Cons: Tight toe box, very little adjustablility in lacing system, lacks ankle support
Bottom line: These durable, all-leather boots are lightweight and stylish, making them one of our favorite boots we tested this season.
Once again, the Ahnu Montara has stood up to our rigorous testing as one of the most comfortable, durable, all-around hiking boot, and is stylish to boot. The height of the mid-cut design provides ample ankle stability and kept our feet dry even in deep water. The Vibram sole held up as we scrambled over the granite domes of Tuolumne Meadows. We even felt secure on the notorious granite slabs and glacier polish that is a signature of the Sierra landscape. At the end of the day, the Ahnu Montaras received many compliments back at camp for their stylish design and color. The are also available in a low-cut shoe version.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Women's Hiking Boots of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
In terms of durability, design, and the latest in waterproof technology, Ahnu Montara provides the best option for a stylish, lightweight hiking boot.
These boots ranked among the highest for comfort in this year's testing. The padded collar and extra padding in the heel helps alleviate any rubbing in the ankle and heel area where hotspots tend to develop. Almost immediately out of the box, the Montara felt like they molded to our feet without needing to adjust them much at all. The leather that these boots are constructed from is soft and supple, adding to the overall comfort of these boots. Other boots that felt great right out of the box were the Vasque Monolith - Womens and the Ahnu Sugarpine. The Ahnu Montara is designed for a narrower foot and does not have much room for adjustment in the lacing system. Good options for a wider foot are the Keen Targhee II - Womens or the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra - Womens.
Designed with Ahnu's Numentum HIKE technology, the Ahnu Montara provides plenty of support and stabilization on uneven terrain. This technology is supposed to help center and guide the foot and they helped us stay balanced on long hikes, on and off trail. We felt that they provided the most support in the ankle, due to the height of the ankle shaft. Boots with similar ankle heights were the Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 and the Vasque Monolith. Both of these boots provided great support in the ankle, much like the Montara. The duel-density EVA midsole also provided support and cushion in the sole of the foot. Similarly, the Ahnu Sugarpine provides support here, but was less supportive overall than the Montara. We also liked that these boots, while still providing support, were rigidly stiff in the sole, allowing for plenty of forward flex in the toe box.
The Ahnu Montara weighs 1 lb 13 oz, but still feels incredibly light on the foot, even after miles of hiking. These boots are light enough for day hiking, but supportive enough to wear on moderate backpacking trips. They are light without compromising the support and comfort needed to carry a heavy load for long distances. We felt that this contender was slightly more substantial than their close relative, the Sugarpine. This is shown in their weight differences, where the Montara is almost 5 oz heavier than the Sugarpine. These ounces make the Montara a better option for longer hikes, comparable to the Vasque Monolith or Keen Targhee II as a more heavy duty day hiker.
We wore these boots on hikes over granite slabs, boulder fields, and loose, steep gravel and found that few boots matched their ability to keep us firmly on our feet in any terrain. We even climbed a few easy boulder problems in Tuolumne Meadows in the Montaras and were surprised by their ability to stick to small footholds. The Vibram rubber soles were supportive and sticky and the moderately aggressive tread kept us on the trail whether it was dirt or rock. Other boots with Vibram rubber performed well, too, especially the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra - Womens, somewhat surprisingly. The tread pattern on this contender is similar to that of the Vasque Monolith. Both boots were able to maintain traction on loose terrain, but with the stickier Vibram rubber, the Montaras out did the Monoliths in terms of traction by their ability to stick to slabs and boulders as well.
What surprised us most about the Ahnu Montara was their water resistance. When wading in four-inch water, the Montaras kept our feet surprisingly dry. In warm weather, the eVent waterproof technology was breathable and did not trap moisture inside the boot, even though the upper is made up of mostly leather. As with durabllity, for water resistance the fewer seams the better — boots like the Montara or the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid - Women's prove it by remaining waterproof after minutes submerged in water. Most of the boots we tested this season had some kind of waterproof coating. We found the eVent waterproof technology of the Ahnu boots and the UDry that Vasque used on the Monoliths stand up to the gold standard of Gore-Tex that the Lowas and the Salomons have integrated into their uppers.
Constructed of entirely of waterproof, oiled leather and suede, the Ahnu Montara received our highest scores in durability. The Montara scored similarly in durability to the Oboz Bridger Mid, only slightly behind our Top Pick for Durability, the Lowa Renegade. All of these boots hardly showed signs of wear during our three month testing period. For a durable boot that is not entirely leather, look toward the Salomon X Ultra Mid, which received the highest scores in durability for a boot made with a combination of materials. Even after days and days on the trail, the Montara still did not show signs of wear — no scuffing, no abraded seams, no wear on the laces. Even after wearing them scrambling in Tuolumne, the boots showed very little sign of wear and tear. The materials and simple design make for a long-lasting and durable boot.
The Ahnu Montara is right in the middle in terms of price and weight, making it a perfect option for a mid-weight boot that will hold up on the trail. They are stylish and comfortable, we even wore them out after hiking and got lots of compliments. These would be a great boot to take traveling; they are a jack-of-all-trades. On rugged trails, rock, dirt, or in the streets, the Montara looked and felt good.
The Ahnu Montaras are versatile and stylish, and a mid-range boot in terms of price. They appear online for around $165, but because they are well-made and built almost entirely of leather, with the eVent liner for breathability, that's a good price for such a well-made shoe. They looked good around town too, so if you are looking to invest in an all-around shoe, they are a good investment.
Ahnu is becoming one of the top brands in women's hiking boots as they continue to make nice-looking, durable boots at good prices. The Montara holds up in rain and rocky trail, while still looking nice at the end of the day. The Montaras are moderately priced for an all-leather boot. They tend to fit a more narrow foot better, while the Ahnu Sugarpine fits a wider foot better if you are looking for a similar boot with a different fit.
— Jane Jackson
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