This is not only the time of year for outdoors activities to start, but also it’s the time of year that those of us with an REI membership get our membership dividend (10% of what we spend on qualified items last year) as well as a juicy 20% off one item discount code. My dividend went towards a new pair of hiking boots ordered from their outlet store. Between the outlet markdown for being last year’s model, the coupon code, and my membership dividend, this fine pair of $150 boots ended up costing me $30.
Yesterday, these new hiking boots came in, a pair of Keen Klamath hiking boots (keenfootwear.com). In the past I’ve done most of my outdoors adventures in military style boots, since I tend to be very hard on my gear, but this time around I decided to try these to see how well these would work. My main fears were ankle support and sturdiness, and luckily these seem to be not an issue.
When I brought them out of the box, the wife exclaims to me
“You bought those kind of boots? They look like sneakers!”
“Not really, but would that be a problem?”
“You don’t wear those kind of shoes!”
“These aren’t those kind of shoes.”
- On first wear, they are comfortable but snug, with a lot more support than one might assume just looking at them. I’m accustomed to 8″- 10″ boots, yet these still have enough ankle support to make me feel confident enough to take to trails in them. The down side of this, I’m very accustomed to blousing my pantlegs inside the boots for protection from ticks and the like, so I’ll have to find an alternative to this strategy with these lower cut boots.
- Their “4mm multi directional traction lugs” mean one thing, an insanely agressive tread.
- The sole extends up over the front toe area to help protect the feet from whatever might be an issue. For a couple of years I was wearing a pair of open toe Doc Marten sandals, until I kicked my trusty Pelican case and ended up losing a toenail. Since then I’ve had my toes saved countless times after switching to a pair of Keen sandals.
- Being waterproof, I had wondered exactly how they would approach the tongue, and found that they have eschewed a traditional tongue design and instead the boot upper is a one piece design.
- The eyelets in my mind could be a serious weakness of this style of boots being just nylon strip loopings as opposed to metal grometted military style hardwear as I’ve seen in more cheaply made boots. What Keen’s done is use nylon strapping that seems to be stitched into the walls of the boots so you are pulling on the whole side wall instead of just the lacing loops when you tighten them up. The same straps on the upper lacing also wrap around to the heel for extra stability.
- The stock insoles of these seem to be a little better quality than I’m accustomed to in boots, so we’ll see how they work out. I don’t think I’d ever want to purchase boots that would not allow me to replace the insoles.
- The comfort walking in these is great, very good cushioning, I’d assume this is the natural cork at work.
- The nylon straps seem to be strategically placed to actually provide support and strength to the boots as opposed to just looking interesting. I do at least like that the straps have a little bit of reflective material for better visibility, not good for sneaking up on people at night, but then why would I want to do that? :)
Weight wise, these are much lighter than the boots I’m used to, really looking forward to putting some miles on these, and especially to abuse the waterproofing. Keep an eye out, there will definitely be a follow up post on how well these perform through the year.