BackpackGearTest
  Home Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Ahnu Montara Womens Boots > Test Report by Erin Foudy

Ahnu Montara
Test Series By Erin Foudy

Initial Report May 8th, 2012
Field Report July 24th, 2012
Long Term Report September 25th, 2012




Tester Info:
Name: Erin Foudy
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Height: 5'11'' (1.8 m)
Weight: 150 lbs (68 kg)
Email address: erinfoudyATyahooDOTcom
City, State, Country: Tucson, Arizona, USA

Backpacking Background:
I started backpacking while working for the National Park service ten years ago.  I have been a backcountry ranger/law enforcement ranger and served on search and rescue crews.  I typically take two or more camping trips a month, year round.  I appreciate light weight, but am not obsessed by it.  I often carry a 30 lb (14 kg) pack and stay out from three to nine days at a time.  I also enjoy day trips with only water on my back.  I take trips to Colorado and Montana in the summertime and enjoy the outdoors there as well.



Initial Report



Product Information and Specifications:

Manufacturer: Deckers Outdoor Corporation
Year of Manufacture: 2012
URL: http:/www.ahnu.com
Measured Weight (Pair): 2 lbs (0.91 kg)
Size Tested: 9.5 US
Color Tested: Dark Gray
Other Available Colors: Coffee Bean, Astral Aura, Tawny Port
MSRP: $150.00 US



Description:

The Ahnu Montara Boot (hereafter referred to as the Montara, or the boot) is a mid-height, lace up hiking boot with Vibram outsoles.  The Montara is made of waterproof-oiled leather, and suede leather uppers with rubber toe and heel caps.  The collar and tongue of the Montara are padded genuine pig leather, the tongue also features gusseted sides to keep debris from entering the boot.  To create a waterproof boot, Ahnu uses eVent fabric which the website describes as waterproof, breathable membranes.   Ahnu claims that the eVent fabric will protect my feet by allowing sweat to evaporate through the fabric to the outside, while at the same time preventing moisture from entering; keeping my feet dry on the inside. 

The Montara also has NUMENTUM™ HIKE technology that the Ahnu website describes as a technology that promotes a more natural stride by centering the foot and promoting balance.  According to the diagram found on the inside top of the shoe box, the NUMENTUM™ HIKE technology has five important components.  The first being an EVA midsole that acts as a shock-absorber; second is a shock dispersal plate located in the forefoot to protect against sharp stones; next, Vibram soles for grip-protection and traction on varied surfaces; fourth are the EVA stability postings on either side of the heel to assist in neutral positioning; and last, the TPU shank for arch support.  Ahnu claims that these features combined create a shoe that can take on the roughest of terrains while at the same time providing great comfort and stability.    



Initial Impressions:

The very first think that struck me about the Ahnu Montara Boot, before I had even seen the boots, was how lightweight they were.  In fact, when I first received the package containing the boots I was so excited, however, when I picked the package up I was immediately disappointed thinking it contained something other than boots due to how lightweight it was.  I was very pleasantly surprised when I opened up the package and found the Ahnu shoe box inside.  I have never owned a boot that is so lightweight, especially one that is also waterproof. I hope that the boot being lightweight does not translate into the boot not being durable.  I am a little concerned that such a lightweight boot may not be able to hold up as well over time.  I will be sure to pay special attention to how well the Montara holds up to see whether my concern over the durability of these boots is valid or not.   

Inside the Ahnu shoe box I found the Montara to be in the desired size and color I had requested with a tag attached to one boot explaining the eVent waterproof fabric used to construct the Montara. I found the Montara to be an attractive looking hiking boot, the colors are appealing and fun.  I will definitely be wearing this boot on and off the trail as the style is such that it can serve as a hiking boot or boot for around town.   Upon close inspection of the boot I found no defects or problems, they appeared well constructed and to be of good quality.

When first trying on the Montara I noticed that the boot does not fit quite as snug as most of the boots I own.  The boot was still very comfortable, the padding around the collar felt especially nice.  I did my best to cinch down the laces as tight as they would go but I have a narrow foot and I was unable to get the boot to feel as close-fitting as I would like.  Once I get a chance to try the boot out on the trail I will see if the looser fit causes my feet to develop any hot spots or blisters.  I am hopeful that the Montara will perform well for me even though it is not a fit that I am used to in a hiking boot.           



Summary:

The Ahnu Montara Boot so far seems like it is a well designed lightweight mid-height women's hiking boot.  It has eVent fabric which is advertised as a breathable, waterproof material as well as NUMENTUM™ HIKE technology that Ahnu describes as promoting a more balanced stride along with comfortable support. 

Pros:
1.  Very light-weight
2.  Comfortable fit
3.  Waterproof
4.  Attractive appearance

Cons:
1.  Doesn't fit quite as snug as I would like
2.  Initial durability concerns



Field Report



Field Conditions:


I wore the Ahnu Montara Boots on a backpacking trip to northern Arizona as well as during at least three day hikes and a nice backpacking trip while in the White Mountains of northeastern Arizona.  However, our planned trips in the Colorado Springs area were cancelled due to the Waldo Canyon Fire and due to my boyfriend's grandmother, who we stay with in the area, being placed on pre-evacuation orders.  Not to mention that most of the national forest around Colorado Springs has been closed indefinitely.  Once the fire was mostly contained we were able to get in a few short day hikes, but no overnights.

Coconino National Forest in northern Arizona.  Elevation ranging from 9,600 ft to 12,643 ft (2,926 m to 3,854 m) on top of Mt. Humphreys.  Temperatures ranged from 32 F to 65 F (0 C to 18 C).   This trip was a 3-day, and 2-night trip backpacking excursion.

Mount Baldy Wilderness, northeastern Arizona.  The elevation ranged from 9,394 ft to 11,414 ft (2,863 m to 3,479 m) near the top of Mount Baldy (non tribal members are not allowed to summit).  Temperatures ranged from the mid 40s F to the mid 70s F (10 C to 21 C).  I hiked 17 m (27km) during a two day one night trip.
             


Performance in the Field:


Since I received these boots I have worn them quite a lot.  I really like the Montara; they are attractive, comfortable, functional and unbelievably light weight.  I like these boots so much that if it weren't for the unusually high temperatures I have been unable to avoid this summer, I am sure I would be wearing them almost non-stop. 

While wearing the Montara in the field I found them to perform great.  In my excursions with the boots in the White Mountains and the Coconino National Forest of northeastern Arizona, as well as Pike and Roosevelt National Forests in Colorado, I was able to test the technologies that Ahnu advertises the Montara to possess.  I encountered scree, large rocks, slick rock, downed trees and a surprising amount of snow.  The boots handled all of these obstacles with out any problems. 

When I first received the boots I was concerned due to the loose fit; it was a fit I was unaccustomed to in a hiking boot.  My main concerns were blisters and whether the looser fit could provide the stability I expect and depend on from a mid-height boot.  However, I found the boot to provide great stability with the added benefit of amazing comfort.  I typically experience an aching pain in my feet about a mile in while hiking, I had always assumed that this was just something I would always have to deal with.  With the Montara, amazingly, I have not experienced this pain!  I can only attribute it to the looser fit of the boots and Ahnu's NUMENTUM™ HIKE technology.  Not only did the boot provide the most comfortable hiking experience for me in quite some time but it also gave me great stability and support while backpacking with a heavy, water laden pack on my back.  Having extremely weak ankles I am always worried about having adequate support while hiking on uneven, rocky or slick surfaces and so far the Montara has not let me down.  The Vibram soles performed well and provided adequate traction on the varied surfaces I encountered.  I did experience some hot spots twice on my longer overnight trips.  Both times I immediately stopped and covered the hotspots with duct tape before they were able to turn into anything more serious. 

 As mentioned above I actually experienced some snow on my travels while wearing the Montara.  While climbing Mt. Humphreys I was surprised to find at least a third of the trail up to the top still covered in snow.  I honestly thought about turning around several times as the snow was pretty treacherous in many areas.  There was ice and steep drop offs in several places.  However, my desire to reach the top coupled with the performance of the Montara in the snow overcame my fear and I eventually made it.  There were times when I actually stepped into snow and sunk in up to the top of my thigh!  The eVent fabric did its job and amazingly my feet never got wet.

I purposely tested the eVent fabric on a hike in northern Arizona to a small lake.  I waded out into the lake and stood for several minutes with the Montara submerged almost to the laces, again no moisture got through. 

During warmer day hikes in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area I was impressed by the eVent fabric and its ability to allow sweat to wick and evaporate to the outside.  At the end of these day hikes I took off the boots and found my foot to be only slightly moist from sweat where typically in other water-proof boots I've worn I wind up with swampy gross feet.  I am now a forever fan of eVent fabric.  I have been thoroughly impressed with its ability to let sweat out while at the same time keeping moisture from getting in.


Summary:


The Ahnu Montara Boots have been a pleasure to test so far.  I have been impressed with the performance of the boots in varied environments.  I have also been impressed with the level of comfort and support the boots provide while being very lightweight.  The boots remain attractive even after extensive abuse and are holding together well; showing no obvious signs of fabric fatigue, delaminating soles, or other issues.

Pros:
1.  Very lightweight
2.  Comfortable fit
3.  Waterproof
4.  Attractive appearance

Cons:
1.  None!!

Long-Term Report

Field Conditions:

Coronado National Forest, Wilderness of Rocks from the summit of Mt. Lemon.  Elevation ranging from 7,280 ft to 9,080 ft (2,219 m to 2,768 m).  Temperatures ranged from the mid 40s F to the mid 80s F (10 C to 27 C).  I hiked 9.5 m (15 km) during two separate 2-day, 1-night trips.

Several day hikes in Saguaro National Park, the Santa Rita Mountains, and Coronado National Forest around Tucson, Arizona.

Coronado National Forest, Mt. Lemon during two separate 2-day, 1-night car camping trips.  Elevation around 8,000 ft (2,438 m).  Temperatures ranged from the 40s F to the mid 80s F (10 C to 27 C). 

Performance in the Field:

During the Long-Term testing phase the Ahnu Montara boots have continued to perform well for me.  I have primarily worn the boots in the mountains surrounding Tucson over this period.  These mountains, or sky islands, can be very diverse in landscape and weather.  The Montara were worn on rocky uneven terrain, slick-rock, sandy washes, cold creeks, and grassy meadows.  I have continued to be impressed with the durability of the boot especially given how lightweight it is.  The Montara have maintained their nice appearance and show surprisingly minimal wear.  I have been very pleased with the eVent fabric and I have had no issues with water seeping into the boot even when standing in water.  In addition, I have experienced no problems with excess debris entering the boot.

As mentioned in earlier phases of the test series, the Montara have a looser fit than I am typically accustomed to in a hiking boot.  I attribute this fit to reducing pain I had previously experienced during day hikes and backpacking trips with other boots.  The loose fit is extremely comfortable for a hiking boot.  However, when traveling on trails down hill for an extended amount of time I have consistently developed hot spots on the balls of my feet because my foot sliding forward in the shoe.  For me the loose fit of the boot has both a positive and a negative aspect.  I would have to say that the looser fit has been more positive than negative.  Yes, the boot has caused hot spots, but I was always able to treat the hot spots before they turned into blisters.  Once the hot spots were covered and dealt with, the pain and discomfort that accompanied the hot spots went away as well.  Whereas the aching feeling I have experienced with tighter fitting boots would begin about a mile (1.6 km) in and continue throughout the rest of the hike.

Summary:

I have found the Ahnu Montara boot to be a well constructed, attractive, comfortable, and shockingly lightweight hiking boot.  The boot has a looser fit than others I have worn which has resulted in some issues, but has also provided a more comfortable fit.  Overall, this boot has performed well in various conditions, and has given me the support I look for in a hiking boot.

Pros:
1.  Very lightweight
2.  Comfortable fit
3.  Waterproof
4.  Attractive appearance
5.  Good support

Cons:
1.  Loose fit allows my foot to slide around




This concludes my Long-Term Test Report and this test series.  Sincere thanks to Deckers Outdoor Corporation and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.


Read more reviews of Ahnu gear
Read more gear reviews by Erin Foudy

Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Ahnu Montara Womens Boots > Test Report by Erin Foudy



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson