Ahnu for the very first time, and while it isn't a brand the is as well known as some of the others I've hiked in in the past, I came away completely impressed by the style, comfort, and quality of their products.
The new Ahnu Ridgecrest light hiking shoe is a waterproof, low-cut boot designed to take on rugged terrain and long distance trails. Unlike some other light hiking footwear that is available on the market today, this shoe is completely capable of taking on a monumental trek such as the Appalachian Trail or something similar. Rugged and durable, I have no doubt that you'll be able to walk hundreds of miles in these shoes before you'd ever need to think about replacing them.
The Ridgecrest features an eVent liner that helps to provide the waterproofing you need to keep your feet warm and dry in damp conditions. That same membrane is also breathable however, which allows heat and moisture to vent out as well. As a result, I found these shoes to be quite comfortable to wear in all but the warmest of conditions. Because they are a low-cut boot however, I'd recommend wearing gaiters with them when hiking in snow or very wet weather, as it will help to keep debris and water from seeping in over the top.
In terms of comfort for your feet, the Ridgecrest delivers as well. Out of the box, I found them to be a bit stiff, but after wearing them for a bit around the house, they soon started to break in nicely. After you've put a few miles on them, you're likely to find that they loosen up nicely, and are easy to walk in. The shoes provide a lot of support for the arch of your foot, and give you a nice sense of balance and control while wearing them. The inner padding helps feels great too, and when combined with an integrated shock-dispersal plate, they do a good job of protecting the foot from wear and tear too.
In terms of traction, the Ridgecrest performed well on a wide variety of terrains. I've worn them on dry trails, through mud, across slippery rocks, and even while fording shallow streams, all without any issues. These boots provide a nice sense of confidence and sure-footedness no matter where you go, and while I haven't had the chance to test them on snow and ice as of yet, I feel fairly confident that they would do fine on those surfaces too, provided it wasn't under extreme circumstances.
Lightweight and form fitting, the Ridgecrest at times feels more like a trail running shoe than a light hiker. That's pretty impressive considering they are made for thru-hiking on rough trails. But their level of performance is outstanding in all areas, which makes them easy to recommend for anyone looking for a low-cut boot that can be used to trek tough routes, or as an approach shoe for mountaineering expeditions. In fact, the versatility that the Ridgecrest offers is one of its strong points, making it a good all around option for adventure travelers, backpackers, and city dwellers alike.
Priced at $150, these boots feel like a real bargain. I've spent more than that on shoes that delivered less. If you're in the market for a new show that can safely and comfortably see you through a lot of outdoor adventures, it is easy to recommend Ahnu's Ridgecrest. They give you everything you could ask for in an outdoor shoe, and more.