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Ahnu Sugarpine II WP - Women's Review

A great shoe for trekking around a city one day and the environs the next.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $135 List | $99.97 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, comfortable, no break-in period
Cons:  Not a lot of support, minimal traction
Manufacturer:   Ahnu
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 14, 2018
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 14
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Support - 20% 6
  • Traction - 15% 6
  • Weight - 15% 10
  • Water Resistance - 15% 4
  • Durability - 10% 7

The Skinny

The Ahnu Sugarpine II WP is one of the lightest and most "street-style" models in our hiking shoe review. There is a fair amount of cushioning in both the heel and the forefoot, and the uppers are soft and require no break in period. They are an excellent option for trips where you might be walking around a city one day and exploring its nearby forests the next, so we've given the Sugarpine II our Top Pick for Adventure Travel Award.

While they are comfortable and supportive enough for light hikes and around town wear, they lack a little of the support and traction we want when heading out on longer hikes or when wearing a pack. The lacing system doesn't extend very far down the front, and this updated version isn't exactly "waterproof" either. Luckily there's our Editors' Choice winner, the Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry, which is a burly shoe that can handle a variety of terrain and an overnight hike with a more massive pack. For times when you need something that works in the city as well as the mountains, the Sugarpine II is an excellent choice.

Shoe or Boot? Your Choice!
Ahnu also makes a a full boot ($145) version of this shoe, which we tested in our Women's Hiking Boot review.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Sugarpine II WP has a heathered mesh upper with a bit of leather on the sides. This shoe was updated slightly since the last time we tested it, with only a few cosmetics details but some significant structural ones. The midsole used to be a soft-density EVA, but it now uses Ahnu's "TPU Numentum," which gives it a little more structure and support. However, the waterproof liner didn't last as long in our water tests as the previous version. Some fit notes: while the length is true to size in size 10 women's that we tested it in, they do feel like they are on the narrow side, and other online reviews confirm this trend. This is fine for us as our head tester has narrow feet, but if you have wider feet than average, you may get a poor fit in this pair. If that sounds like you, there are wider shoes in our review to consider, including the Keen Targhee III and the Oboz Sawtooth Low BDRY.

Performance Comparison


Hiking around Red Rock Canyon just outside of Las Vegas  NV  in our Top Pick for Adventure Travel. If your weekend plans include a city tour one day and some light hiking the next  these shoes are an excellent choice.
Hiking around Red Rock Canyon just outside of Las Vegas, NV, in our Top Pick for Adventure Travel. If your weekend plans include a city tour one day and some light hiking the next, these shoes are an excellent choice.

Comfort


This is one of the most comfortable pairs that we tested, and the updated version of this shoe is significantly more comfortable than the original. The older version had a soft density EVA midsole, and while they felt comfortable on paved trails or city streets, they were too soft for rugged trails. The new midsole is slightly stiffer, but still on the soft side, and it makes the shoe more comfortable since we no longer feel every little pebble underfoot.


The mostly synthetic upper requires zero break-in period, so these shoes feel comfortable right out of the box. They are almost as nice underfoot as our Top Pick for Comfort, the Hoka One One Tor Summit WP. That shoe has a distinct look to it though that might not be for everyone, so if you want comfort and a neutral style, the Sugarpine II is a better option.

This shoe is one of the most comfortable ones that we tested. It's soft but still has some support underfoot so that you don't feel every rock on the trail.
This shoe is one of the most comfortable ones that we tested. It's soft but still has some support underfoot so that you don't feel every rock on the trail.

Support


While this new version of the Sugrapine is more comfortable than before, the support felt similar, and not that great overall. The soles are still soft and easy to twist, and the lacing system only has four eyelets, which makes it a challenge to lace it down securely and minimize heel lift. There is a wider than normal ankle opening, and we have to crank down the laces to feel like our foot is locked down properly.


They don't have the best arch support, but they do feel more supportive than the Ahnu Montara III, which has a flat construction. While hiking on smooth trails and moderate terrain, the Sugarpine II has a comfortable, running shoe-like fit and stride, which is one of the reasons they are our Top Pick for Adventure Travel. You can walk around a city in this pair in comfort, and it handles a moderate trail just fine as well. However, they don't provide a lot of lateral support for rocky terrain or uneven trails, and we wouldn't want to wear an overnight-sized pack with them either.

The soles on this pair are fairly soft and don't provide a ton of lateral support. While they are sufficient for day hikes without much weight  we wouldn't want to carry a heavy pack in them.
The soles on this pair are fairly soft and don't provide a ton of lateral support. While they are sufficient for day hikes without much weight, we wouldn't want to carry a heavy pack in them.

Traction


The tread pattern on this pair is shallow and not that aggressive, and we didn't get good traction on loose dirt trails as a result. The Vibram rubber on the soles 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 have adequate traction, but on steeper and looser terrain we prefer a more aggressive design like the soles on the Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R2 GTX or the Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry.

The tread on the Ahnu (left) is not that rugged when compared to the Adidas Terrex Swift (right).
The tread on the Ahnu (left) is not that rugged when compared to the Adidas Terrex Swift (right).

Weight


This is one of the lightest hiking shoes 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 Merrell Siren Edge Q2 WP weighs two ounces less but sacrifices a lot of comfort in the process. Conversely, The North Face Endurus weighs a couple of ounces more but is more comfortable and stable overall. While choosing lightweight footwear, there is always a fine line between lightweight and the other attributes that make for a great shoe. The Sugarpine II toes that line, offering just enough comfort and stability for light hikes. While we always want to minimize the weight on our feet and in all of our outdoor gear, we're also willing to take an extra ounce here or there if it makes things more functional.

This lightweight pair won't weigh you down  but they aren't suited to heavy-duty hiking either.
This lightweight pair won't weigh you down, but they aren't suited to heavy-duty hiking either.

Water Resistance


There is a "waterproof" membrane in this shoe, but we can't say that this model is very waterproof. It failed our bucket saturation test, whereas most of the other so-called "waterproof" models in this review did not.


It felt as though the water started coming through on the sides of the shoe, and when we looked at the liner on the inside, it appears to only come up about half an inch around the arch area. Other models, like the Oboz Sawtooth Low BDry and Hoka One One Tor Summit, have liners that come up at least an inch to an inch and a half on the inside, providing more protection from the elements. Those shoes are cut higher on the sides as well and will handle a creek crossing better than the Sugarpine II.

These shoes got soaked during our bucket test. The "waterproof" liner is that white stripe you can see under the arch  and it doesn't provide much coverage in that area.
These shoes got soaked during our bucket test. The "waterproof" liner is that white stripe you can see under the arch, and it doesn't provide much coverage in that area.

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 is highly abrasion resistant, and we had no issues with scratching or tearing. We did find some online reviews stating that the liners wear out quickly, but did not observe this firsthand during our testing period.


The one area that seems the likeliest to wear out is the toe cap, which is only a thin layer of synthetic material. It doesn't provide the same amount of protection as the large rubber protectors on the Keen Targhee III and Voyageur. The new midsole will likely last longer than the older extra-soft one, but this pair didn't feel as rugged overall as our Top Pick for Durability, the Lowa Renegade GTX Lo.

The Lowe Renegade (left) is a durable all-leather pair. The mostly synthetic Sugarpine (right) will have a shorter lifespan due to the materials used.
The Lowe Renegade (left) is a durable all-leather pair. The mostly synthetic Sugarpine (right) will have a shorter lifespan due to the materials used.

Best Applications


The Ahnu Sugarpine II WP are best for day hiking without a heavy pack, and they also work well for around-town and when traveling. We don't score the hiking shoes in our review for style, but we appreciate the look of the Sugarpine, as they are functional without looking too technical. They come in a variety of color choices, unlike the 50 shades of taupe that most hiking shoes come in, and they are not bulky in any way. They won't weigh you down on the trail, or in your suitcase either!

Scrambling around in our Top Pick for Adventure Travel. This lightweight pair will keep you comfortable on city streets and while exploring the outdoors.
Scrambling around in our Top Pick for Adventure Travel. This lightweight pair will keep you comfortable on city streets and while exploring the outdoors.

Value


This shoe retails for $135, which feels a little expensive for us if only because they are not that waterproof. The non-waterproof air-mesh version of this shoe is $15 less, or you can also consider our Best Buy winner, the $100 Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator.

Conclusion


We like a lot of the updates that Ahnu made in the new Sugarpine II WP, including the slightly stiffer sole that makes the shoe more comfortable in the end. The synthetic construction provides the option for a variety of color choices, and these shoes don't look too out of place when traveling or in a city. If your travel plans include a lot of walking and some moderate hiking, this pair is an excellent choice. Your feet will stay comfortable all day long, as long as you don't jump in any puddles!


Cam McKenzie Ring