Thursday, June 20, 2013

Product Review: AHNU Montara Women's Hiking Boots Initial Thoughts

After years of hiking in the Asolo Women's Stynger hiking boot, I finally made the jump to a new boot- AHNU Montara boot. The Montara has been pretty well received and reviewed and after last year's incredible blisters upon blisters upon blisters, I knew I needed to make a change if I wanted to do longer hikes.

Now last year I just powered through the blisters. They were a regular thing. Weirdly after several hundred miles of hiking they became blood blisters (ew!). I received plenty of advice. I tried the foot guru's at EMS. I tried several foot gurus and I bought the Stynger in a smaller size (suggestion of the sales associate- didn't work and hurt more- ouch!). I had shoe sales people suggesting that I just try to form calluses, which I discovered from 20 weeks of hiking last year with giant blisters and then blood blisters and then blisters on my blood blisters, that forming calluses may take years for me.

SO finally I tried a boot that worked for me. One thing I've discovered is that if you get blisters, you can try a few strategies (tying boots differently, trying different socks or layers of sock), but likely you are in the wrong boot for you. This is tricky because some people can hike in the certain boots with no problem, in fact Adam hiked for years in the men's version of my boots without a single blister. Interestingly, when he got new boots (Vasque's) he started getting blisters.

Women's AHNU Montara Boot

Women's AHNU Montara Boot

I would like to scream the following if I may... the women's Ahnu Montara boots freakin' rock!!! They are the perfect boot for me. While I definitely cannot guarantee they will be the right type of boot for other people, they are well worth a shot for those searching for the right boots. I don't get blisters in the Ahnu's!!!! I can't believe how easy it is to hike when you don't feel the scrape of skin against boot.

Ahnu Montara Hiking Boots: Initial Thoughts

Pros so far many...

  • I don't get blisters in them. This appears to be because they are somewhat of a "softer" boot, meaning they fell less stiff than my Asolos. This is tricky for me because I love a stiff supportive boot with my super flat feet, but sometimes you just gotta compromise.
  • Very lightweight. The Montara's were super lightweight every time I handled them and continued to feel light as I hiked. I literally felt like I could run in them- even ten miles in.
  • Great price point.  EMS has them listed at 149.99 and if you wait for a sale, you can score even harder.
  • I generally have pretty hot and thus wet feet after a day of hiking. So much so, that I love changing my socks midhike. After pulling these puppies off at the end of a hike my feet were actually dry- shocking. The Montara's utilize EVENT technology for waterproofing which is supposedly more breathable yet just as waterproof. I can definitely attest to the breathability...

Downside so far...

  • I feel like their soles may not be quite as sticky on rocks as my previous boots. Still better than most shoes, just not quite so sticky.
  • Less stiff and feel less supportive than other boots to me. Like I said, I have very flat feet so I am interested to see how I will do on longer than ten mile hikes.

Things I still need to find out about...

  • I haven't had the boots in really wet weather yet, so I'm not exactly sure how waterproof they are. The EVENT technology is touted to be more breathable and still waterproof, but quite frankly I hate wet feet so if my little toes become wet I may be back to ground zero.
  • Because they are lighter and less stiff, I wonder how long they will last in comparison to the Styngers. My Styngers lasted forever. Like I said before- trade offs and compromises. I'll gladly take no blisters and replace the boots more frequently instead.
  • I'm a little worried about the sturdiness of the top eyelets. I need my boots pretty snug to keep the blisters at bay and these eyelets seem a little flimsy. We'll see....

Disclaimer: Product Reviews are based on opinion only and are not intended to condone, encourage, or promote a product. Some products are sent to me by the manufacturer or affiliates and are mine to keep. I mention this specifically on products sent to me. Compensation and/or product and/or services never interfere with the review of the product. Otherwise, products and services are purchased by me for personal use. The boots were purchased by me.

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