Hands-on Gear Review

Ahnu Sugarpine II WP - Women's Review

Price:  $135 List | $134.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, waterproof
Cons:  Not a lot of support
Bottom line:  A great shoe for shorter hikes or less rugged terrain.
Editors' Rating:   
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Actual Weight per pair (size 10):  1.56 lbs
Width Options:  Regular
Upper:  Leather and mesh
Manufacturer:   Ahnu

Our Verdict

The Ahnu Sugarpine II 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.

New Version
The Sugarpine II WP is available now! Scroll on to get the scoop.


RELATED REVIEW: The 12 Best Hiking Shoes for Women


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Cam McKenzie Ring

Last Updated:
Wednesday
May 23, 2018

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The New Sugarpine II WP vs. the Old Sugarpine WP


The Sugarpine WP has been revamped for 2018 and is now the Sugarpine II WP. The changes are mostly aesthetic, with a new heathered mesh and a cleaner outsole design. Check out the Sugarpine II WP below on the left, followed by its predecessor, the Sugarpine WP.

Ahnu Sugarpine WP - Women's NEW
  • New Upper — The redesigned upper now features a heathered mesh material.
  • Redesigned Outsole — The technical features of the insole, outsole, and waterproof membrane all remain constant, but Ahnu updated the outsole design to be cleaner on this new shoe.

Since we haven't slipped our dogs into the Sugarpine II WP yet, the following review refers to the original Sugarpine WP.

Hands-On Review of the Anhu Sugarpine WP


The Ahnu Sugarpine 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 than average.

This mostly synthetic shoe comes in some fun colors  and they are ready to go out of the box - no break-in required.
This mostly synthetic shoe comes in some fun colors, and they are ready to go out of the box - no break-in required.

Comfort


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, hit the sweet spot of providing supreme comfort underfoot without being too soft.

We tested these shoes on hard desert trails which offered no rebound or cushioning. As such  we really noticed how soft these shoes were  which made them less comfortable over long distances.
We tested these shoes on hard desert trails which offered no rebound or cushioning. As such, we really noticed how soft these shoes were, which made them less comfortable over long distances.

Support


These shoes have adequate arch support — more than the Ahnu Montara III but less than the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator. 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.

These soft shoes didn't feel very supportive on rocky terrain.
These soft shoes didn't feel very supportive on rocky terrain.

Traction


The Oboz (left) vs the Ahnus (right). The Oboz sole has an aggressive and deep tread pattern  while the Ahnu's is narrower and less pronounced.
The Oboz (left) vs the Ahnus (right). The Oboz sole has an aggressive and deep tread pattern, while the Ahnu's is narrower and less pronounced.

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.

Will it stick? The Vibram rubber used on this shoe is sticky  and we had decent traction when scrambling on bare rock.
Will it stick? The Vibram rubber used on this shoe is sticky, and we had decent traction when scrambling on bare rock.

Weight


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 noticed the difference a few ounces makes especially when compared to the heavier shoes like the Lowa Renegade GTX Lo (16 ounces per shoe). The North Face Endurus shoe weighs just a couple of ounce more but was a much more comfortable and stable shoe overall.

The Ahnus (left) vs the Lowas (right). These were the lightest and heaviest shoes in this reviews  and really represent the two sides of the spectrum when it comes to hiking shoe construction: new-school lightweight synthetic designs vs old-school leather and stiff soles.
The Ahnus (left) vs the Lowas (right). These were the lightest and heaviest shoes in this reviews, and really represent the two sides of the spectrum when it comes to hiking shoe construction: new-school lightweight synthetic designs vs old-school leather and stiff soles.

Water Resistance


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.

Durability


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 Targhee III Low - Women's and the Keen Voyageur - Women's.

Toe stubbers beware! The minimal toe bumper won't provide much protection from sloppy footwork on the trail.
Toe stubbers beware! The minimal toe bumper won't provide much protection from sloppy footwork on the trail.

Best Applications


The Ahnu Sugarpine WP are best for day hiking without a heavy pack.

Heading out for a light hike is the best use for these shoes.
Heading out for a light hike is the best use for these shoes.

Value


The Ahnu Sugarpine WP retails for $135, which is a reasonable price for a fully waterproof shoe in our estimation.

Conclusion


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.
Cam McKenzie Ring

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