Ahnu Shoes: For Hipster Hikers in the Making

03/13/2009 at 09:45 AM ET

With cabin fever running rampant, I need a pair of shoes that will allow my boys to hit the ground running at the first sign of spring — and I think I’ve found them in Ahnu. Since 2007, this California-based company has been making high quality outdoor performance shoes for adults, and now they’ve expanded their product line to include children’s sizes. Available in three styles — Bridge ($45-$50) , Benicia ($45-50) and Creekside ($50-55) — Ahnu’s children’s shoes are every bit as sturdy and stylish as their adult counterparts.

The Bridge is an awesome slip-on sneaker with a large Velcro power strap that is perfect for children who need help with their fine motor skills. Beneath that strap you’ll find Ahnu’s innovative elastic lacing system, which does most of the work of keeping the shoe on the foot. I’ve always been wary of slip-on sneakers, as our boys are perpetually in a state of motion; as a result, we have found ourselves slipping said slip-on sneakers back on — over and over and over again — but not so with the Bridge. They really do stay put, while offering our boys great traction and grip in the process. The same can easily be said for the Benicia, a sporty Mary Jane, while the aptly-named Creekside will accompany your child from pond to park in water-friendly, fashion-friendly comfort.

All three models come in a variety of pleasing earth tones, with lots of browns and olives for the boys and lavender for the girls, and each are available in juniors’ size 10-13 as well as size 1-6 for big kids. As a side note, I would expect any company specializing in outdoor apparel to practice at least some environmentally-friendly measures during the manufacturing process, but Ahnu’s commitment to the environment is unparalleled. Not only does it use sustainable materials like hemp and charred bamboo in their shoes, a significant portion of the company’s ownership is held in trust on behalf of outdoor and environmental nonprofits.

— Missy

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