Last month I attended the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City where I was introduced to a shoe company I’d never heard of before…Ahnu Footwear. A majority of their shoes are for the ladies, but they have a handsome line for men as well, including a few hiking boots. I was really admiring the Mendocino boots when the rep showing me around offered to have a pair sent to me to test out. “Heck yeah,” I said.
A few weeks later a black pair of the Mendocino boots arrived. As I was opening the box I was wondering if perhaps it was the namesake that had initially drawn me to the boots, as I once spent several glorious days in the hip northern California town with the same name. I often wonder where the inspiration comes when shoe manufacturers’ name their latest designs. As I took the boots out of the box for the first time and held them in my hands, the distinct scent of leather wafted into the air, the leather was soft to the touch and they were as good-looking as I’d remembered. “Mendocino” seems an apropos name for these boots; they are sophisticated, yet rugged. Refined, yet practical. Like yin and yang of the northern California community, set against a rugged coastline, where discriminating affluence meets the proletariat preservationist…the Mendocino boots reflects a similar synthesis.
I’m a big fan of full leather boots, but one of the typical hurdles is the extensive break-in period. Not so with the Mendocino—these boots are so comfortable straight out of the box, I was amazed. While I would never recommend wearing a new pair of boots from box to trail, I think you might be able to get away with it if they were a pair of Mendocino by Ahnu. While I have not worn these boots long enough to attest to the following, I would have to guess that the trade-off for the ready-to-wear leather boots would mean a reduction it the sturdy protection one would expect from full leather boots. In other words, these boots are more suited for light hiking rather than a strenuous 5-day backpacking trip through the Andes. This review is more of my initial impressions verses a long-term, in-depth analysis of the overall performance.
Details about the Mendocino Boots:
While the outside upper part of the boot is soft and supple, it also provides waterproof protection. The inside has an eVent liner that allows for good breathability, and, the nylon mesh tongue provides extra venting. I found the boots to be snug, but not tight…providing enough space to keep my feet comfortable, as well as breathable. The lacing is strung through a combination of open and closed metal lugs and a pair of nylon loops. The fourth rung from the toe is an offset nylon loop…this design helps lock-in the heel so to prevent rear movement and to minimize the possibility of developing a hot spot (blister) [see image]. There is a fabric tab that comes out of the interior of the boot at the top of the heel; this wonderful design feature eliminates the need for a typical loop at the heel used to assist wearers putting on their boots—it’s almost like a built-in shoe horn.
The Mendocino boots by Ahnu Footwear are extremely comfortable, lightweight, durable and handsome in their classic design. Quality materials and construction through-and-through. And, at a retail prices of $175, a very good value for what you get. A steal at $145 as I’ve found at some on-line retailers.
Ahnu Mendocino Specs:
Available Colors: The Mendocino comes in black and smokey brown
Measured Weights: Boot size: 10 US = 20.8 oz
Sizes available: 7 to 12 in half sizes, and 13
Price: Retails for $175
- Traditional Hiking
- Fast Hiking
- All Day walking
- For more information, visit: Ahnu.com
If you own a pair of Mendocino boots by Ahnu Footwear, please leave a comment below and share your experience.