I’ve been meaning to write a few impressions of my new Keen shoes that some of you have noticed in my photos.
The model is Keen Newport Trail. The color claims to be black, but they really look like more of a dark green.They’re also available in brown.
The design seems to be based on the Keen Newport sandal, but adds an insulated, waterproof/breathable layer. I was looking for something that fit better than my old hiking boots. It had to be waterproof, hopefully something a little more breathable, and a bit lighter. I wanted to use them for winter cycling, and hiking year-round.These met all my criteria, except that they aren’t very light. Then again I think “warm” and “light” may be contradictory.
I tried on a number of different shoes, and these were by far the most comfortable, for me. Then again, needing a size 13, my options were rather limited.
I wanted to make sure to get plenty of breathing/wiggle room, even with thick socks, so I could wear them in very cold weather. One thing that’s great about these is, because of their design, they can comfortably accommodate a wider range of sock thickness than a traditional shoe or boot design.
These fit differently from any other shoe I’ve tried. I tried them on and it felt like they conformed to my feet. The insole supposedly will contour to my feet, over time.
So, how do they perform? So far, they’re great. I’ve worn them with a wide range of different socks, and they don’t feel too lose with thin socks, I just have to tighten the laces more. I’ve worn them for commuting, road biking, and snowbiking, with great results. I was a little worried about the rather subdued tread pattern for hiking, but the rubber is so sticky that not much tread is really needed. They worked well on wet, mossy rocks. I still had to be careful, but I was pleasantly surprised with how good my traction was. If you go to Keen’s site, you can see the shoe from different angles, including the tread pattern.
These shoes have Keen.Dry, which is Keen’s answer to Gore-Tex. Some reviews I read said that Keen.Dry breathes better than Gore-Tex. In my experience, these do breathe better than my old Gore-Tex hiking boots. But, the designs are so different that it’s hard to say whether the waterproof/breathable layers are really that different.
I haven’t done any really long rides in these yet (4 hours or more), but they’ve worked well on everything I’ve thrown at them so far, up to about three hours in cold conditions. I’ve read many times that in order to keep your feet warm in winter, you need adequate room in your shoe. I have more room in these than I did with my old boots, and the difference is significant. I highly recommend making sure you have adequate breathing room in your shoes, if you are having trouble keeping your feet warm. I tie my laces loosely on long cold rides in these, and that works very well.
The only problem I’ve noticed with these, aside from weight, is that the insole has stained some of my light-colored socks. I don’t really mind, so this is not a problem for me.
I’ll post more thoughts once I’ve had these for a while. So far, I like them very much, and I imagine they will continue to perform well.