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Apr

20

2016

Time Tested: Keen Shoes, Four Ways

A winter boot, a summer sandal, a lightweight hiker, and something wholly unique—all without that trademark bumper toe.

Durand Polar WP Boots

$200

Field Test

I’ve always favored rubber two-layer insulated boots for winter, but I should have known better. Put rubber boots on inside, or simply go for a drive with the heater on, and your feet sweat. Step outside and they freeze up. Rubber doesn’t breathe. I switched to the Durand Polar boot last winter and won’t go back. They’re waterproof enough for slush; deft, not clunky, and my feet don’t come out in wrinkles at day’s end.

Why It’s Timeless

Durability. My past rubber boots repeatedly failed where the leather upper meets the dry rot of the rubber lowers.
–Marc Peruzzi

Dauntless Posted

$110

The Claim

The mix of bright, colored straps and leather make for a stylish sandal that delivers real comfort.

Field Test

It’s the rare shoe that needs no breaking in, but the Dauntless Posted immediately felt comfortable, thanks to flexible elastic with a soft, leather cushion, as well as the leather-covered cork footbed. They were the only shoes I brought on a week long Mexican vacation, which included walking the ruins of Coba and Tulum, navigating the streets of Cancun, wandering miles of beach, and dancing to three nights of music at a Playa del Carmen resort. My weak ankles never wanted for additional support.

Why It’s Timeless

It’s the perfect travel or festival shoe.  –Kiran Herbert

Uneek

$100

The Claim

Keen says these unisex, lightweight shoes—which definitely look unique—adapt to your feet for the perfect fit, and boast a special two-cord construction that molds to your foot for freedom of movement, support, and security.

Field Test

To get to Havasupai Falls, Arizona, one has to backpack eight miles into the Grand Canyon. Once there, the majority of the hikes are through the falls themselves, and thus water shoes are ideal. Weighing around nine ounces, there was no question I’d bring my Uneeks along. However, I didn’t to wear them around town to break them in beforehand, so I broke them in on trail. This is a rookie mistake with any outdoor shoe, but it’s an even worse move with sandals, as I soon developed blisters on the tops of my toes. But 15 miles later—wearing socks—I’d stretched them to the point of comfort. Although my Uneeks offered more ankle support and traction than my old water shoes, small rocks still found their way in.

Why It’s Timeless

Breathable, flexible, and secure, the Uneeks offer support in water or on land. They also come in a dizzying array of colors.  –KH

Versatrail

$120

The Claim

Keen calls the Versatrail a high-performance hiking shoe that’ll absorb shock and provide support (especially for your arches), all without the weight of a traditional hiker. 

Field Test

These shoes, which Keen makes for both sexes, aren’t necessarily designed for trail running, although that’s what I use them for most. In Colorado, where the trails are scree-laden and loose, my bad ankles don’t stand a chance in more conventional, minimalist trail runners. The quick pull laces on the Versatrails means I can fit the shoes snuggly to my feet without worrying about stray cords while moving around (if you’re not a fan, traditional laces are also included). With each step, the cushioning provides renewed energy. Again, these Keens were comfy right out of the box.

Why It’s Timeless

Durable, supportive, and lightweight (8.24 oz. per shoe for the women’s; 10.3 oz for the men’s), these shoes are great for light hikes, shorter trail runs, or errands around town.  –KH

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