Trying to find the right hiking boots seems easy until you realize just how many options there are to pick from. Online shopping has made it both easier and difficult since it provides us with more choices than the local boot store.
But sometimes visiting your local store is impossible if you have a crazy schedule or are a weekend hiker who would rather be out blazing trails instead of being in some stuffy department store.
We get it.
We’ve compared them here in our ahnu montara boot vs ahnu sugarpine review so you can see how they stack up.
Please keep in mind that these are women’s hiking boots, so if you’re a man or unless you have dainty feet….well
Let’s just jump straight into it.
|#1. Ahnu Sugarpine Boot
Our Best Pick
|#2. Ahnu Montara Boot
Ahnu Sugarpine Boot Video Review
See Sugarpine Customer Reviews
Ahnu Montara Boot Video Review
Straight out of the box, you’ll notice that both look great but if we only bought hiking boots based on appearances it would make shopping a whole lot easier. We’ll get into the materials and appearances a little further down, but let’s get a brief overview of each boot.
One thing we noticed is that people wanted to know what the difference is between the two.
These two boots are frequently compared to each other because of their close similarities.
For the most part, both are very comfortable and have a durable feel to them.
Looking at them, you would never think that the stitching would come out after a few months of use, or that you would start to wear holes into the soles if you used it for anything but light hikes around your local nature trail.
But not everyone is suited for or enjoys city hiking, so for that, the Sugarpine would meet your expectations better whereas the Montara is perfect for a more dress-y/casual appearance or perfect to throw in the back of the car when you want to take a quick walk around your park after work.
Since hiking usually means having to be on your feet for long periods of time and dealing with a variety of terrain- both even and uneven- fit is important to keep in mind when you’re looking at your next hiking boot.
Now, it’s not as simple as just stopping by and picking up the boot in your typical sneaker size.
Make this mistake, and you will end up sore, frustrated, and possibly broke depending on how much you paid for your new hiking boots.
Before we talk about the fit, let’s get something out of the way first.
When you’re buying boots, you need to keep two things in mind:
1. Your feet swell the most during the first part of the morning, late at night, and when you’re on your feet all day.
2. When hiking, you don’t want to be wearing the usual socks that you’d wear with your regular tennies.
They’re too thin and you’ll have blisters for days.
So you want to wear thicker socks, like wool.
What does all of this have to do with fitting your new hiking boots?
By taking into account those two things, you should realize by now that you can’t just pick up your hiking boots in your regular shoe size and expect to stay comfortable.
Some people get lucky with their boots, but it’s rare and unless you enjoy the whole shipping return process and then waiting for the new pair to come, we suggest eliminating the hassle and just picking up whichever you choose in the next size up.
This will account for swelling feet and thicker socks.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about the fit of these boots.
Right off the bat, we noticed that the toe box for either of these boots is narrow and it was a hit or miss for ladies with wider feet, so the ladies with wider feet may want to steer clear.
The Ahnu Sugarpine offers great ankle support when laced up all the way, but are comfortable if you don’t lace your boots all the way to the top eyelet.
The Montara boot also has a low ankle, but we noticed there seemed to be more of a better ankle support with little movement with the Sugarpines.
What about Arches?
If you have somewhat of a flat arch, consider adding your own inserts if you decide to go with the Sugarpines. Montara’s boots have a decent arch to them but it is possible to add your own inserts too if you want.
Breaking in was easy for the Sugarpine boot.
Just sliding them on and walking around seemed to do the trick. The boots contoured to our feet in less time and off we went.
The Montara boot wasn’t so lucky and will require a break in period before you decide to scale hillsides or mountain trails.
Weight has an impact on comfort and how far you can go on the trails, believe it or not.
Heavier boots might be more durable and sturdy, but if they’re too heavy, they can start to feel like a ball and chain wrapped around your foot when going up inclines or for long distances.
The Montara is noticeably heavier and because of this, we’d recommend using it for either smaller jaunts or where durability is an issue in tall pokey brush or rocks. The heavier materials also mean your foot can’t “breathe” as much, so if you’re worried about your feet getting hot- stick with the Sugarpines.
The Sugarpine is more lightweight with mesh like materials that allow the foot to breathe and making each step effortless, but they’re also not the greatest for tall brush or rocks that can poke through.
Insoles and Outsoles
The insoles or the inserts for your boots will help determine if your feet will stay comfortable as you hike.
They can be the difference between happy feet and sore feet.
Every hiker knows that awful feeling of bruised and tender feet after a hike in a pair of cheap hiking boots.
With the Ahnu Montara boot, the soles feel sort of thin, and all though durable, the tread isn’t anything special.
There were times where you could feel sharp rocks or twigs poking up through the soles. Not enough to actually puncture the soles, but you can feel them. So thicker soles would be nice.
As far slipping goes, it just depends.
There were times where crossing creeks on wet slippery rocks wasn’t a problem, but then there was also slippery logs where it was almost impossible. Would these boots hold up in snow? A few inches maybe, but I wouldn’t chance more than a few inches just because the tread isn’t the greatest.
The Sugarpines are about the same.
Some slippery conditions like rocks, crossing streams, and mud is okay but I wouldn’t rely on either of these boots for those extra slippery conditions or for some hiking around in the snow or cold.
For dry conditions though, you can’t go wrong with either of these boots.
Are They Waterproof?
Waterproof boots will make your life easier and keep your feet warm and dry whenever you’re going through small streams, or just walking around a damp forest.
Many boots will advertise that they’re waterproof but many don’t live up to that claim.
The Ahnu Sugarpine boots did great in light rain and puddles despite the mesh materials. They also are easy to clean and can be dumped into the washer when you get home without any extra fussing. Or you can just hose them off and they’ll look brand new when they dry.
Would we use them to cross streams?
The waterproof materials only extend to the sides of the boot and don’t completely cover the bottom of the boot.
The Montara Boot is reasonably waterproof but they lose the waterproofing pretty quick and need to be re-waterproofed.
That’s not unusual and can be fixed quickly with some waterproofing treatments and in that case, I would still treat any pair of boots you do decide to get.
When the Montara boots were completely immersed in water, it took forever to dry when sitting outside in direct sunlight and next to a campfire compared to the Sugarpines which seemed ready to go with minimal dampness the very next day.
What your boots look like may not rank high on your priority list, but if you like an assortment of colors, at the time of writing this, the Sugarpines offer more of a color selection.
For Sugarpines you can choose from:
Mulch, Blue Spell, Astral Aura, Dark Grey, and Deep Teal.
With Montara, you can only choose from Red Mahogany or Smokey Brown. Other colors include Astral Aura, Black, and Red Mahogany- but their availability changes frequently so just keep that in mind.
With all that said and done, what do we think?
We would go with the Ahnu Sugarpines if we needed to get up and running quickly with little or no break-in time.
They clean up well and are reasonably comfortable so we can stay on our feet all day without having to worry about blisters later.
They’re durable and do reasonably well in different terrains, but we think it’s best that no one buys this particular pair of boots and expects to be able to scale the more challenging obstacles like slippery rocks with moss on them and so on.
Because they’re lightweight (able to breathe easier with mesh-like materials), they don’t feel heavy on the feet but they are lacking in ankle support because of the low ankles.
The Ahnu Montaras are heavier with better ankle support and would be ideal for more sketchy terrain where you don’t want sticks and rocks poking through the sides of your boots.
They don’t dry as quickly, so either waterproof them before crossing streams, or leave them at home unless you want to wait 24 hrs+ for them to be ready to go again.
They do require a break in period to get used to your pressure spots before a big trip, so make sure you plan ahead before your trip so you’re not dealing with achy feet later.
The tongue of the boots do have a habit of rubbing across the top of the foot and some people did complain about the ankles rubbing too.
That could be because of different foot morphology, but in either case, wearing a moleskin, or thicker socks may help.
Overall, both are great boots but we think it’s important to get clear about what you intend to do before you grab either or.