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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Ahnu Mendocino Boots > Test Report by David Wyman

Ahnu Mendocino Boots
Test Series by David Wyman

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Initial Report - May 22, 2012

Field Report - August 3, 2012

Long Term Report - January 17, 2013

Tester Information

NAME David Wyman
EMAIL wyman(AT)wymanhq(DOT)com
AGE 34
LOCATION Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
HEIGHT 5' 10" (1.78 m)
WEIGHT 175 lb (80 kg)

While I've been camping for years, I've only been backpacking for a short time. I'm trying to find the right equipment, alternating between tent and hammock. My dog usually comes along on the longer hikes, and my wife and toddler join me on the shorter ones. I tend to carry more gear than I need resulting in a heavier pack, but I'm working on that. When I hike with my dog and/or my wife and son, we take it a bit slower, stopping frequently to enjoy the forest. I rarely hike fast unless I'm trying to make up time.

Initial Report - May 22, 2012

Product Information    
Manufacturer Ahnu
Product Mendocino Boots
Year of manufacture 2012
MSRP US $165
Color Black - also available in Smokey Brown
Size 10.5 - also available in 7 to 13
  Listed: Measured:
Weight N/A 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg) - both boots together

Initial Impressions

Never having owned a pair of leather hiking boots before, I wasn't sure what to expect. The website did a fairly thorough job of describing and explaining the boots and those descriptions matched up very well with the actual boots I received. These Ahnu boots are almost completely leather and seem very well constructed. The classic leather upper contrasts heavily with the aggressive sole. The outer edges of the soles are verey hefty and look like they will really grab the terrain. The tread on the bottom has a very interesting triangle pattern. The upper portion, around the ankle, is very padded. The laces use pretty standard clips along the top of the foot. In the middle, right where the shoe bends, there is an extended clip that comes almost around to the side of the ankle. The laces then continue up the front of the ankle. The laces are bit rougher than the usual paracord that I usually put on my boots and will hopefully stay tied a little better.

There is an eVent inner liner to keep them waterproof but still allow them to breathe and the easy to grasp tongue and ankle support make them very easy to put on. The removeable insole is pretty standard and relatively comfortable.


Trying It Out

The boots are very easy to slip on and they do a good job supporting my arches. The heel feels very cushioned and walking several miles/kms in them didn't leave my heels feeling beat up. These boots are also the easiest footwear I've ever broken in. Tightening them up to fully support my feet while hiking and climbing usually causes my ankle and heel to blister for a while with new footwear. The Ahnu boots didn't give me any blisters or rub any part of my feet raw. I had ordered a size 10.5 based on other boots I've worn and these were accurately sized. They weren't too wide or narrow and there was enough room around my toes that they didn't feel cramped.

They seem to have good traction but I didn't have a chance to hike through the mud or over very wet ground. I'll be interested to see if they grip just as well in poor conditions. The boots are light enough that I didn't really notice them at all during the initial hikes and they were just as easy to take off when I was done. The laces stayed tied the entire time but I'll see how they do after they've had a chance to get dirty.

Field Report - August 3, 2012

Trips Taken
May: One overnight trip in the Laurel Highlands/Ohiopyle area of Pennsylvania. The trip covered about 6 to 8 miles (9.5 to 13 km) with temps ranging from the mid 40s F to upper 60s F (7 to 20 C)

June: Eight days of hiking in Colorado, including one two-night trip and a single one-night trip, all around Estes Park, Colorado. Did around 40 miles (64 km) overall in temps from 50 F to 85 F (10 to 30 C)

July: One overnight trip in Raccoon Creek state park in Pennsylvania. Covered close to 14 miles (22 km) in mostly dry (with one short but heavy downpour) and hot weather - the temperature while hiking was usually in the 90s F (30s C)

Thoughts and Impressions

For the most part, I've been very pleased with how well the Ahnu boots are performing. I've put a decent number of miles on them and they're still holding up well.

Waterproof: The boots have done a great job at protecting my feet from water. Most of the hikes I was on were in fairly dry weather but one of the hikes had an incredibly heavy rain storm come through. The rain storm lasted for 10 minutes but dumped a huge amount of water. My pants were rolled down and covered the tops of the boots and the eVent liner inside the boots kept all of the water out. The rest of the hike was over some very muddy trails with quite a few flooded sections. The tops of the boots were high enough that all but the deepest puddles were no problem to walk through.

Breathability: The boots did an average job at keeping my feet from getting too damp from sweat. Shorter hikes seemed to be ok - anything under 2 miles (3 km) or so and the boots seemed to keep the moisture build up down. Longer hikes didn't fare as well - every single one of them had my feet ending up fairly damp.

Comfort: The boots were excellent at keeping my feet comfortable while hiking. I'm used to hiking with heavier boots, so my legs were happier to have these lighter weight ones. The cushioning worked fine on both flat trails and on some of the more serious mountain hikes out in Colorado.

Quality: Even after more than 60 miles (100 km) of hiking, the boots are only showing basic wear. The tread is very slightly worn and the sides and the toe of the boot are scuffed and have a few scratches. The insoles haven't shown any wear yet and are still comfortable to walk on.

Tread: The boots did a decent job on muddy trails - no unexpected slipping and the tread didn't get too clogged with mud. They also did well when ascending and descending steep trails. The tread does a great job grabbing on to things and keeping my feet from sliding out from under me. When climbing some of the many boulders and rock fields in the Colorado mountains, the boots did a fair job protecting my ankles and keeping them from twisting.

Overall: I'm very happy that these boots are so comfortable to hike in and that they're still holding up. I am looking forward to a few more months of testing to see how they do over the long term.

Long Term Report - January 17, 2013

Trips Taken

Over the last few months, I was able to get in five overnight trips, all in the Raccoon Creek State Park. The trips were all in the 8 mi to 16 mi (13 km to 26 km) range. Temperatures for four of the trips were in the 10s to 30s F (-10C to 0C) with one trip having a much warmer temperature span of 30F to almost 60F (-1C to 16C). I was lucky on all four trips to avoid any rain or snow though on the warmer trip, I did have to deal with quite a bit of mud.

Thoughts and Impressions

These boots continue to impress me overall. They do a very good job keeping water, moisture, and dirt out. Despite walking through accumulated snow on the ground on several trips and quite a bit of mud on one very warm trip, my feet did not get soaked or dirty. The only downside is that they also continued to retain quite a bit of moisture inside as well. My feet were often a bit damp after hiking which required me to carry an extra pair or two of socks so I could keep rotating a dry pair on to my feet.

The best part, however, was how comfortable these boots continue to be. Long hikes, short hikes, regular use around town - they work fine in all of those conditions. A lot of boots I've tried have caused blistering on the back of my heel or on the balls of my feet. I haven't had that happen yet with these boots. And that's awesome!

They've also proven themselves as decent boots for fairly cold weather, as long as you're moving. Hiking in colder temperatures with a pair of wool socks and silk liners kept my feet toasty. I did notice that if I stopped moving for a while, the boots let my feet cool off more than I'd like. I usually had a pair of down-filled camp shoes to put on so it was never an issue, but I wouldn't want to have these as my only footwear in the winter.

One of the complaints I hear about boots is with their laces - either breaking too easily, the outer layer separating from the inner layer, or something else going wrong. The laces on these boots had no issues. They did their job and I only noticed them when I was putting on or taking off the boots. The laces seem a little thinner than some boot laces I've had in the past but that didn't seem to affect their functionality or their lifespan.

I will definitely continue to use these boots for a long time and look forward to trying other items from Ahnu.


  Nice contrast between classic upper and aggressive lower
  Easiest footwear I've ever broken in
  Very waterproof
  Stays warm enough in cold weather while I'm hiking
  Very comfortable, even on long trips
  Not as breathable as I would have hoped

Thanks to and Ahnu for this opportunity.

Read more reviews of Ahnu gear
Read more gear reviews by David Wyman

Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Ahnu Mendocino Boots > Test Report by David Wyman

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