I sympathize, cold toed ladies of the adventure world. Cold feet is a common issue on the icy winter trails and a tribulation of explorers of all shapes and sizes. Thankfully, the Twain Harte Hiking Boots from Ahnu pack in generous amounts of insulation and a warm sock liner to help deal with even the coldest days. We’ve dredged them in every condition we could manage, and we’ve come away quite satisfied with their performance. Our review:
A blend of fashion and function, the Harte Twain boots are built from a light weight full grain waterproof suede outer body paired with a faux fur lining about the top of the boot. 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation are embedded into the body of the boot for warmth while a full length waterproof membrane ensures the wearer stays dry and comfortable on slushy trails. A solid TPU shank about the heel provides torsional stability and the Vibram outsole provides grip and a sure foot on slush, ice and rock. A dual density EVA foam provides shock absorption and the removable foot bed and sock liner provides a custom fit and stiffness thanks to be replacable. The boots weigh just 15 oz and retail for for $175.
What we liked
Warm is the main selling point here, and warm they are. The Thinsulate insulation does a fantastic job of trapping body heat and continues to function optimally even when sweating or dashing through slush and ice. The faux fur helps to conserve heat that might otherwise slip out around the ankle, and the removable sock liner provides extra insulation under the foot. This can be removed for a little less heat or to access the insole. Impervious the the conditions around them, they not only stay toasty warm into the teens but they also do an excellent job of regulating heat build up to avoid overheating and sweating. Well below freezing, especially when paired with some thick wool socks, they kept our tester warm where no boot has before.
The light weight build preserves energy on already exhausting winter hikes through snow with heavy winter bags. The soft and flexible ankles make flexing while climbing and descending effort free, while the TPU shank manages to provide enough support to avoid ankle rolls and instability on uneven terrain. It’s an impressive combination of stability and weight that is wholly appreciated on tougher climbs or longer miles.
Overall, the boot is quite comfortable. The entire body is soft and smooth, with a mostly seam free construction, espcecially around the toes and the walls of the foot. It laces up tight and heal slip was non-existent, avoiding blisters where many boots like to slide up and down across the back of the foot. The sole is stiff enough to provide shock protection and rock resistance, and does a great job of producing long term comfort while hiking, although a stiffer ankle might be warranted for the heavier packs of backpacking. The embedded toe bumper prevents sore toes when bumping into ice and rocks, and the flat eyelets gently lay the laces across the foot. overall, it’s a great feeling boot that breaks in in no time.
They look great. The smooth lines, embossed leather and the faux fur come together to produce a look of performance and aptitude but with a hint of feminine flair. Stylish without looking gaudy or desperate for attention, they fit in both on the trail and on the streets.
Even on ice, the Vibram sole provides excellent traction when ascending and descending. Wet rock and steep dirt inclines proved to be of no consequence, and they performed even better when paired with a solid pair of crampons.
What we didn’t like
The heal has a small seam along the hank which produces a stiff spot that after more aggressive hikes built up a slight soreness. Luckily, this never resulted in a blister as it’s friction free, but the heal can become a little sore during break in. Thicker socks certain helps, and this fades as they properly soften up and adjust to the wearer.
The removable sock liner (great for accessing and swapping out the insole) tends to slide around inside the boot. Luckily, it’s not necessary and the boots can function fine without them. But we ended up with the liner bunching up underneath the heal while climbing.
The Twain Harte boots from Ahnu provide a good opportunity to both save weight and preserve warmth. Maintaining comfort over long hiking trails in conditions ranging from the 20’s into the 40’s, they’re flexible, reliable, and look great while absorbing mile and mile of trail. Aside from a minor pressure point on the heal and the slipping sock liner, they’re an excellent and affordable boot for cold weather hiking.
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For more information on Ahnu and their Harte Twain, check out http://www.ahnu.com/sale/twain-harte/1009595.html
I wanted to send a special thanks out for Ahnu for their extended support and for providing this excellent piece of equipment to review. We couldn’t do this without their help. Thank you so much! Our full disclosure can be found on the about me/contact page.