Hiking, Backpacking, Mountaineering
If you’ve been paying attention to what is going on in the outdoor industry right now, then you have probably noticed that there are some major shifts taking place. The fight to protect public lands and politics aside, it’s clear that one demographic has been gaining some well deserved attention and recognition — women.
With campaigns unfolding to promote and encourage women to get out there, get more involved, and to be heard, it’s not hard to see why this demographic may also in turn be gaining some much needed revamping of essential apparel and gear.
Ahnu has recently collaborated with Teva, a long time outdoor favorite, to design a collection of footwear specifically designed for, and geared towards women in the outdoors.
I was lucky to receive a pair of the Ahnu North Peak eVent Women’s Hiking boots and gave them a go.
Ahnu has been around since 2007, and was first dreamt up in the San Francisco Bay area. The 3 founders of the company have mastered their craft by creating a harmonious blend of style and function, which ultimately gave rise to the diverse repertoire of the Ahnu brand.
The Ahnu business model is perfectly summed up as a passage on their website as having, “… a balance between fitness and fashion, performance and aesthetics, profit and philanthropy, and work and play”.
Fun Fact: They derived the name of their company after a Celtic goddess who was known for balance between well being and prosperity
After spending some time in their shoes, everything about this statement rings true. It’s all in the shoe.
The Ahnu North Peak shoes are amazing ultimately because of their women’s specific contours. This is evident in the narrow heel, soft insole throughout, and the overall fit of the shoe. The North Peak employs eVent waterproofing technology. Combined with genuine leather on the outside, these boots have got some serious toughness going on.
The boot is breathable, tight but comfortable, supportive and flexible. A soft Polyurethane heel pad and midsole adds support and traction, and responds to the types of high frequency pressure the foot usually endures on long hikes.
The ankle cuff is higher than a basic hiking shoe. Compared to other boots, like my Lowa’s the cuff sits at just about the bone of your ankle, no higher. It’s contouring shape fits almost perfectly to the curvature of the ankle without wrapping the back of your ankle in stiff boot material. I have found that when the cuff wraps all the way around, it often digs into the the ankle and achilles, and with every step over the course of a moderate or even short hike, the back of my legs and ankles are sore. The lace grommets are perfectly placed to allow you to tighten the boot securely. Overall, the design of the boot in terms of fit is on-point.
The outer portions of the shoe are made with durable pigskin leather that stands up to the test of mud and dirt. In my case, I tested the North Peak’s avidly while on a trip to Moab. After a recent rain, the exterior of my boots were covered in that (beautiful) combo of red dirt and mud which was easily cleaned up upon my return home. The eVent waterproof technology kept the boots water repellant through the mud and rain.
Ahnu didn’t skimp on toe protection either. The North Peak boots boast a tough toe cover at the front, which really helps protect your feet on those rocky accents, uneven terrain, and surprise roots or rocks that pop up on the trail.
The Vibram DuraTrek soles promote ultimate traction. If you look at the treads on the bottom of the shoe, you will notice they are large and almost U-shaped. The lugs really grip the ground and make it easier to breeze right over that tough turf. The boot is in a way chunky, covering a lot of ground with each step. But at the same time, the boot is remarkably light and flexible. It is truly comfortable, so much to the point that I hardly even noticed my feet at all when I was testing them out. I jumped from rock to rock feeling no extra weight at all. I traversed narrow edges along a high cliff portion of trail with sure-footedness and precision. I ascended rocky terrain with ease, no slipping, and no sliding. I honestly didn’t spend anytime “breaking them in” before I set out in Moab. I slipped them on, tightened them up and took off without a second thought.
Another perk, I love the vibrant color choices available. They stand out from most of the standard brown swatches of earth toned boring hiking boots.
Ultimately I was really impressed with this shoe. I’ve worn my fair share of various styles of boot in my hiking days, and can honestly say that the Ahnu North Peaks truly feel the best. It’s easy for a shoe to weigh you down when it’s so important that it remain tough and protective. Ahnu has managed to bridge the gap between durable and lightweight with the North Peaks, and for that reason, I am all about this boot. The women’s specific design really comes through in the boot. You can feel it from the second you slip those puppies on. Though I haven’t had a chance to test them on a long backpacking trip yet, I have some big plans for these boots this summer, and I’m totally confident that these will help me get where I need to be regardless of weather or distance.
The North Peak Women's Hiking Boots are all pro and hardly con.
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