Gear Review: Ahnu Elkridge Mid Hiking Boots…

  • Rating:
  • Reviewed by: David Creech
  • Price (MSRP): $160
  • Category:
  • Best Use: Multi-use
  • Testing Location: Arizona, Oregon, Texas, Nevada, California
  • Testing Environment: High Desert, Mountain Summits, Washes and Creeks, Snow, on and off trail - all conditions

For quite a while I was almost exclusively trail running whenever I went out.  Hitting the local trails was more about training than hiking, pushing for a faster time and keeping the trails under 10 miles.  As a result, I had several pairs of trail running shoes and no hiking boots for more rugged hikes.  I started shopping around, looking for something I could use as an honest-to-goodness hiking boot.  I can’t just order random shoes off the internet either, I really have to physically try every pair on to see what fits my grotesquely deformed unique feet.  As a result, I’m limited to what I can find at the local REI (which doesn’t have the best selection).

 

I must have tried on a dozen styles and nearly as many brands trying to find a shoe that didn’t smash, squeeze or contort my hobbit feet like a medieval torture device.  I was sorely disappointed at trying on some of the shoes I had drooled over online, just to find that they were horribly uncomfortable on my feet.  It’s enough to make me forsake shoes altogether and follow Barefoot Jake and Bigfoot into the shoeless wilderness.

 

Then I saw a pair of mid-height boots from Ahnu, a company I’d never heard of.  I had the REI associate bring me a pair and tried them on, expecting another miserable disappointment.  But these boots seemed to fit well.  I laced them both up and walked around for a while, looking for signs of pinching or rubbing but they fit perfectly.  They also happened to be on sale.  I was so elated at finding boots that didn’t hurt, I bought them.

 

What makes Ahnu boots different…

Ahnu Elkridge Mid hiking boot

Hiking around the granite rocks in the Ahnu Elkridge hiking bootsThe Ahnu Elkridge Mid is a great boot.  It’s a bit of a throwback, featuring classic styling and simple lug design.  The shoes are designed with what Ahnu calls Numentum Hike Technology, a supportive sole assembly that “is engineered to center and guide the foot to promote balance when traversing trails”.  I have to admit, it’s one of the most stable boots I’ve ever worn.  The small TPU shank, mid-foot, provides substantial arch support and torsional rigidity.  There’s also a shock dispersion plate designed into the forefoot to protect against bruising and fatigue from rocky, uneven terrain.  All of these components make for a smooth, balanced, confident stride on the trail.

 

Taking on the snow in the Ahnu Elkridge hiking bootsThe Elkridge Mid has a soft, leather-lined collar and tongue which I have found to be amazingly comfortable.  The main feature of this sweet boot is the eVent material used for the inner lining.  This allows the boot to be breathable in the heat, allowing sweat to evaporate and wick away while still being a waterproof boot.  I was a little concerned about this being a bogus claim, thinking the first time I used these in a wet environment I was going to be soggy and disappointed.  But I’ve slogged through creeks and stomped through miles of wet snow in these boots without getting my socks wet.  Overall pretty impressed with the eVent technology.

 

A boot for any terrain…

I’ve had my Ahnu Elkridge boots for almost a year now.  The range of environments I’ve subjected them to have proven their versatility and functionality.  They’ve climbed to high summits in the hot, dry Arizona summer.  They’ve slogged through wet creeks and washes.  I’ve worn them in icy 4 degree snow and steamy 100 degree heat.  They’ve been reliable performers on the trail and comfortable enough to wear off the trail.

 

soles of the Ahnu Elkridge Mid hiking bootThe lug design of the outsole is pretty simple.  It’s aggressive enough to handle climbing rocky, rugged terrain but not so aggressive as to make walking on the flats awkward.  I have found the sole to be grippy and effective in wet and dry conditions.

 

But will they last…

When I first got these, I had someone ask where they were made, questioning the durability.  Ahnu does manufacture their products overseas (China).  This alone has many doubting the durability and workmanship of the product (any product).  I will admit to having some reservations about this myself.  But after hundreds of miles in hot and cold, wet and dry environments, these shoes have held up amazingly well.  I even left them outside for over a month during the summer, usually the kiss of death for most shoes, and they weathered it well.  I am seeing little-to-no wear on the outsoles and the uppers are holding up beautifully (they picked up a slight color change when stained with red rock dust from Sedona).  The leather liner at the collar and tongue is still soft and supple and showing no signs of degradation.


The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, I'm really happy with my purchase.  I am comfortable and confident wearing these boots anywhere, on any terrain.  They're light, breathable, waterproof and super comfortable on my poor abused feet.  They've been rugged and tough, taking everything that Arizona can throw at them without a complaint.  They are a little thin for spending a ton of time in the snow and can get cold, but in my mind, that's what socks are for.  I would highly recommend these boots and would certainly look at trying out more of what Ahnu produces.

 

I dig these boots...

Dave Creech is a successful business owner and entrepreneur based in Phoenix, Arizona. He shares his personal story and lifelong passion for travel and rugged outdoor adventure through his blog at WildernessDave.com. David’s focus has been on trip stories, gear reviews, Wilderness Medicine and a series of articles aimed at introducing Yoga to hikers and backpackers as a path to staying fit, healthy and injury free.

Comments

  1. Nice review Dave. I’ve made the switch from trail runners to mid cut hiking boots too. Seems that boots are getting lighter and more flexible without sacrificing durability.

    • Thanks, Tim.

      I still go out in the trail runners when I am looking for speed, but the hiking boots offer better protection in more aggressive or wet terrain. And they are impressively lightweight for what they are. I enjoy them.

  2. Wow! That’s a shining review. Very thorough. What’s the weight on those puppies? My current Redwings are over 3 lbs for the pair. Heavy as hell.

  3. Just out of curiosity, what is so deformed about your feet? High arches and wide in the toe box (he asks hopefully?)

    • Mark,

      That about sums it up. I have extremely high arches. When I was born, my arches were so out of control my feet were misshapen and I had to wear casts for the first year of my life. I also spent the large majority of my 20′s wearing nothing but sandals, or going barefoot, so my feet have become very wide as well requiring a roomy toebox. I also have some permanent damage in my feet and ankles from various injuries over the years making flexibility difficult.

  4. Steven Vocke says:

    I’m looking at picking these up as well but am having a very hard time determining the type of outsole. My preference is a Vibram one (as is on my current Teva Riva eVent shoes which rock but are just getting too worn out) and see that you describe them as Vibrams twice in the review. I’ve had a hard time verifying this, though. All I find is that they are “rubber” outsoles. Can you provide a source for these shoes using Vibram soles?

    Thank you so much for your time and I loved your review. Keep up the good work!

    Steve

    • Steve,

      When I initially did the review, I thought they were Vibram outsoles. Ahnu does make some shoes that use Vibram outsoles but on a second review of their specs, website (and the shoes themselves) there is no Vibram logo used in relation to the Elkridge Boots. That said, they are holding up well…just as well as any Vibram soles I’ve used in the past.

  5. Mike Gartman says:

    Hi Dave,

    Just googled these shoes, and one of the hits was your review. REI has them on sale for $80, but not in the stores, only online. I am tempted to order them before they go back to regular price. Hopefully I can send them back if they don’t fit. I am borderline 10.5-11, sometimes wide, but mostly D width. In other words, nothing fits me great, but almost everything fits me! lol

    I noticed you said the boots worked well with your high arches. I would say I have one low arch and one normal arch. Do you think the boots would be ok for that situation?

    Thanks again for the review, and I have subscribed and liked your facebook page.

    Mike

    • Mike,

      I think they’ll work fine. I’ve been really impressed with the fit. If you’re borderline 10.5-11 I would go with the 10.5. There’s plenty of room in the toe box. $80 is a great price….grab em!

  6. Cabelas has these on sale for 59.99 right now.

  7. Craig Fowler says:

    I have owned these boots for about three weeks, and roughly 30 miles or so in the woods, and I agree with your assessment. I have been through lots of snow, water, rocks, etc. and they have performed admirably in every situation I have placed them.
    They were comfortable out of the box and were pretty much broken in after about 4 miles or so. My feet are “normal” and the boots seem to be just right in all the important (and for that matter, unimportant) places. I cannot yet comment on their long term durability – but after about 30 miles they show no signs of premature wear.
    A bit pricey at regular price, but I would pay that for these boots if I couldn’t get them at a discount – which seems to be available in numerous ways on the internet.
    I liked these so much that I am now waiting for delivery of the low cut version for dry, summer, or less demanding conditions.
    The best, most comfortable, boot I have found yet!

    • Craig,

      Thanks for the comments and I’m glad you dig the boots. I still love mine. On the durability side, mine have now put in quite a few miles in all kinds of conditions and they are holding up just fine. The only issue I’ve experienced is a slight color variation after having gone through a few wet, dry cycles in the Arizona heat. But, realistically, if that’s your only issue then you have no issues.

      I love my Elkridge Mids.

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