KEEN Durand Mid WP Hiking Boot

KEEN Durand

Keen recently sent me a pair of their new women‘s boot, the Durand Mid WP.  The day after the boots were delivered, I had a long hike planned, so their maiden voyage was a 15 mile climb to the summit of 14,000ft Longs Peak.  Generally, it‘s not a good idea to start such a hike in brand new boots, but hey, it would be a great beginning to the break-in and helped me test a lot of their features in a single trek.

I was immediately impressed by their lace system. In the toe box the eyelets are normal, but the last couple at the top are metal hooks that hinge. These hinged lace loops made the tightening and final adjustment of my laces significantly easier and didn‘t cause me to yank on the laces to the point of sore fingers. All in all, it is very easy to get a snug fit for your forefoot, heel, and ankle.

The first 7.5 miles of the trip were fairly steeply uphill, crossing over boulder fields, through forests, a few mountain streams and marshes, and even ice and snow.  Needless to say, the boots experienced almost every type of terrain on this hike. During this ascent I found the boots extremely comfortable. They felt more like running shoes than hiking boots. My women‘s size 8.5 weigh only 16.5oz, so each step felt as if there was an extra spring instead of being weighed down. This saves the hip flexors and allows for a more natural step. Most people are mid-sole steppers, but in heavy hiking boots one really has no choice but to heel strike or take a shorter gait to compensate.

They felt great all the way to the summit!

Heading down, I decided it was time to really put the waterproof KEEN DRY breathable membrane to the test. Every bit of water I found I walked through. In fact, I removed the boots a few times to check the dampness of my socks. I never felt the least bit of dampness inside the boots.

The upper portion of the boots are a bit more flexible around the ankles. I really appreciated this feature so my ankles had room for natural movement as opposed to some boots that are so rigid my ankles have ached from being held in the same position for to long. Another interesting observation while wearing the boots is how well they worked across large stretches of boulder fields and on the descent. When I say boulder field, I mean everything from shale sharp patches to hand over foot climbing large boulders to cross the field.

KEEN Women’s Durand Mid WP on Amazon

KEEN Durand – enjoying the view

Normally, trekking over this type of terrain, especially downhill, my feet would have been extremely sore, toes numb, and my shins in unbearable pain after the first few miles. However, in the Durand Mid WP, I felt none of these things. They have a dual compound rubber outsole, with the toe box covered in rubber to protect your toes when you kick rocks. This helps to absorb the shock and keep your toes protected. How many pairs of boots have you gone through that have toe rubber peeling away from the fabric? I have confidence this will not be the case with these.

In addition, these boots have direct-attached KEEN polyurethane (PU) midsoles and an integrated PU heel cushion. This adds a level of comfort between the sole and the foot bed, and gives shock absorption from toe to heel, whether bounding over rocks or through a forest, for the lifetime of the boot.

I was also extremely pleased by the traction of the boots. I had no trouble powering up large rock faces and they even had a good amount of grip on some snowy spots I encountered. Ice was a little bit slicker, but I believe that is the nature of the element. Unless you‘re wearing spikes, a hiking boot can‘t be expected to have too much grip.

After a thorough testing of these boots, I would absolutely purchase a pair. These American built boots are a bargain at their MRSP of $180. I have a fairly wide forefoot that causes me some trouble in other boots, but KEEN is known for being slightly wider in the toe box. If yours are narrow, best to try before you buy. The only issue with the Durand is that it seems to run half a size small, so the company suggests ordering half a size larger than your normal boot size for the best fit.

Thank you KEEN for providing these boots for my review!

– Carley

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