I take my gear reviews very seriously (I put two weeks of wear and tear on each product, minimum) so make no mistake that when I say I've found the most comfortable hiking boot I've ever worn, I'm not exaggerating. The Ahnu Montara boot has officially earned the highest rating I've ever given a hiker.
"You have so many boots we're going to need to build you a shed just to store them all," quipped my boyfriend as I presented my new testers. True, but I didn't have the boot—the cross-season hiker I could wear on any terrain, the hiker that didn't give me blisters after a few days. Montara hits the sweet spot as an all-purpose, mid-height hiking boot, light yet supportive enough to stand up to even the roughest terrain. The women's leather version features dependable Numentum technology "engineered to center and guide the foot,” eVent waterproofing, and Vibram outsoles for protection and traction (what can I say, I might be a label worshipper), while the leather upper, collar, and tongue feel both sturdy and luxe. The foam-padded cuff repelled dirt and rocks while the leather lining conformed to my foot, and I felt confident scrambling on smooth rock thanks to the boot's grippy sole. In wet conditions, my feet stayed totally dry but never felt sweaty.
Above all, the Montara is King of Comfort—even on repeated trips down steep trails with weight on my back, I felt no pressure or hot spots on the toes or sides of my feet. Toes felt free, heels felt cupped, and feet felt snug without ever feeling constricted. The ultimate test? After a long day, I didn't sprint for my camp shoes. These boots stayed on well after the fire burned itself out.
For fall, Ahnu has released the boot in suede and Nubuck leather and in new colors like navy, dusty red, grey, and chocolate brown, most with colorful accents. From its affordability to its comfort to its versatility, I wouldn't just recommend this boot to a friend—I'd beg her to make the switch. And that's saying something. MSRP $150, ahnu.com.
Follow Johnie Gall on Twitter.