Hands-on Gear Review

Ahnu Northridge Review

Ahnu Northridge
By: Amanda Fenn ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 14, 2015
Price:  $185 List  |  $74.99 at Amazon - 59% Off
Pros:  Very comfortable, tall boot suitable for hiking, laces and side zipper
Cons:  Not super warm or waterproof
Manufacturer:   Ahnu
67
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 20% 6
  • Comfort - 20% 9
  • Weather Protection - 20% 6
  • Style - 15% 5
  • Traction - 15% 7
  • Ease of Use - 10% 7
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Our Verdict

Our testers loved the Ahnu Northridge and we highly recommend it if you like going for moderate winter hikes or want a techier boot to wear around town. Thanks to a side zipper and front lace combo, this women's winter boot is easy to get in and out of. Plus, as soon as you slip it on, you'll notice the hyper comfortable, supportive footbed. While it doesn't offer as much ankle support as other winter hikers like the Vasque Pow Pow II or Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Titanium - Women's, it served us well on a six-mile hike through Canyonlands National Park. Additionally, the Northridge has a super grippy Vibram sole and abrasion-resistant mud guard. Made of suede and nubuck, this winter boot did not score as well in our style metric and it wasn't quite as warm as other boots, but it is a great option for those that live in milder climates and like its unique look.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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A somewhat techy-looking piece, the Ahnu Northridge features front laces and a side zipper. Its Vibram sole and breathable eVent fabric make it our only tall boot that is suitable for hiking. We also liked the combination of suede and nubuck leather materials and loved the Northridge's comfortable, supportive footbed.

Performance Comparison


One of our favorite winter hikers  the Northridge is super comfortable and offers great traction. In our 2015 review  we re-tested this boot and found it to be the same as the previous year's model.
One of our favorite winter hikers, the Northridge is super comfortable and offers great traction. In our 2015 review, we re-tested this boot and found it to be the same as the previous year's model.

Warmth


We had some high expectations for this boot and we were a bit disappointed that it wasn't warmer. This model has 200 grams of insulation, but our toes got cold while standing around a desert campsite in 30 degree temperatures. Although standing still was a bit chilly, when we started moving, our feet quickly warmed up. On the bright side, the 11-inch shaft adds extra calf warmth. Overall, the Northridge was warmer than the Sorel Conquest Carly; however, the Vasque Pow Pow II and the Sorel Tofino both provided more warmth than the Ahnu boots.

Although it's not the warmest product in our review  this boot breathes remarkably well and will keep you toasty while you're moving.
Although it's not the warmest product in our review, this boot breathes remarkably well and will keep you toasty while you're moving.

Comfort & Coziness


We found this product to be one of the most comfortable boots in our review. It wasn't the coziest, but thanks to its EVA midsole, which provides heel and arch support, as well as extra shock absorption, we constantly felt like our feet were being cradled. We wore this boot on multiple hikes and unlike other tall boots like the Sorel Joan of Arctic, this piece was light and easy to move in. Ahnu also fitted this model with a TPU shank, which helps increase support and stability. Finally, this boot offers superb breathability; unlike its rubber toe box counterparts, this model left our feet dry and comfortable.

If you're looking for the ultimate in coziness, be sure to consider the UGG Adirondack II.

Delicate Arch - Arches National Park. A beautiful view in some incredibly comfortable footwear.
Delicate Arch - Arches National Park. A beautiful view in some incredibly comfortable footwear.

Weather Protection


This product will weather puddles up to three inches deep, but beware if you venture deeper than that. When we submerged this piece up to its side zipper, water immediately started pooling in the bottom of the boot.

Is it a mud puddle or quicksand!? Either way  the Northridge performs. This boot will handle puddles up to three inches deep.
Is it a mud puddle or quicksand!? Either way, the Northridge performs. This boot will handle puddles up to three inches deep.

Style & Fit


This model has a techier look than many of the other boots that we reviewed. This is due primarily to the pillow-like breathable fabric that wraps around the back of the calf. We did like that you can wear this boot with your pants tucked in or out, unlike other boots like the Sorel Tofino where it would be next to impossible to get the fuzzy fur cuff under a pair of jeans. We also liked the look of the front laces, although the tongue can be a bit bulgy in places when the boot is laced up tight. The Northridge runs true to size and is not too narrow.

The Keen Elsa and Merrell Dewbrook Zip are also cute to wear under jeans that have a slight flare or wider boot cut.

We like to think of the Northridge as tech-casual. The front and toe box offer quite a bit of style  but the baffle-like design on the back takes away some of its appeal. Here  Amanda hikes in Eldorado Canyon State Park in Colorado.
We like to think of the Northridge as tech-casual. The front and toe box offer quite a bit of style, but the baffle-like design on the back takes away some of its appeal. Here, Amanda hikes in Eldorado Canyon State Park in Colorado.

Traction


We took this boot on hikes in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and found the traction to be awesome over both wet and dry surfaces. It has a Vibram sole and some deep, effective treads. You might just feel like a mountain goat in these boots!

Hiking in Canyonlands National Park really tested out this boot's traction. We were impressed at the surfaces that the Northridge's Vibram sole stuck to.
Hiking in Canyonlands National Park really tested out this boot's traction. We were impressed at the surfaces that the Northridge's Vibram sole stuck to.

Ease to Take On & Off


Thanks to a convenient side zipper, this model seems like it would be very easy to take on and off. In fact, in our original review, we rated them highly for this feature; however, this year, we noticed that the zipper pull is quite slippery and very hard to grip when your fingers are cold or wet. Additionally, we sometimes had to re-tie the laces when putting this boot back on since the laces would slip out of the hooks at the top of the boot when we took them off. The only other boot in this review with a side zipper is the short-cut Merrell Dewbrook.

A 360 degree view! Thanks to the more narrow shaft and attractive toe box  you can wear this boot over or under your pants. We didn't love the calf "baffles" or the non-ergonomic side zipper pull  but the zipper does contribute to overall ease of use.
A 360 degree view! Thanks to the more narrow shaft and attractive toe box, you can wear this boot over or under your pants. We didn't love the calf "baffles" or the non-ergonomic side zipper pull, but the zipper does contribute to overall ease of use.

Best Applications


We liked this boot for light hiking and for general use on milder winter days. It's a great option if you're looking for a tall boot, but don't like the faux fur cuff, or if you want a boot that will look nice when you wear your pants untucked.

We loved this product's medial side zipper  which made it easy to slip on and off. The lace-zipper combo really allows you to customize this shoe's fit.
We loved this product's medial side zipper, which made it easy to slip on and off. The lace-zipper combo really allows you to customize this shoe's fit.

Value


At $185, this product is definitely on the more expensive side; however, if you live in a milder climate and are looking for a tall protective boot that you can hike in, then these boots are a worthy option.

The somewhat stylish toe box of the Ahnu is made of suede  nubuck  and an abrasion-resistant mud guard. We liked that you could wear jeans over this boot and the toe box still looks good poking out from underneath.
The somewhat stylish toe box of the Ahnu is made of suede, nubuck, and an abrasion-resistant mud guard. We liked that you could wear jeans over this boot and the toe box still looks good poking out from underneath.

Conclusion


The Ahnu Northridge is a taller, techier boot that will keep your feet comfortable during light to moderate hikes. It's not super warm and doesn't fare well in deep puddles, but we think it's a great piece if your winters are on the milder side.

This was the only tall boot that we reviewed that also works as a winter hiking boot. Here's Amanda four miles out on a cold late fall day in Canyonlands.
This was the only tall boot that we reviewed that also works as a winter hiking boot. Here's Amanda four miles out on a cold late fall day in Canyonlands.

Amanda Fenn

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Most recent review: January 14, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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