Testing hiking shoes: an introduction
Spring is well on its way, the summer will follow shortly and lets just not think about the fact that fall will make its appearance within a couple of months already. For us, spring and fall are the times of the year we travel the most. It’s not too hot nor too cold, it’s generally cheap and less busy than in the middle of summer. Every season has its own hiking shoes and so I recently tested the Keen Wanderer WP hiking shoes, which are very suitable for hiking either in spring or fall.
Somehow, I had a very wrong view of Keen in my mind, which was that they mostly made low hiking shoes. However they also have a large variety in ankle high hiking shoes which can be used for some serious mountain hiking.
It’s always a lot of fun when packages with testing articles are being delivered at home. Sometimes this is nothing for weeks, sometimes it’s three days in a row. The mailman knows by now he has the biggest succes rate finding us home between 6-7 pm and our neighbors are used to the fact that occasionally there’s a package for us waiting to be picked up in their hallway. The best thing of getting a testing product though, is the unwrapping of the box. Whenever I buy outdoor gear for myself, I usually do this in a store since I’m just not a big fan of online shopping. You never really know how the product will look like in real life.
Anyway, at some point a big box from Keen was delivered at our house. One pair of hiking shoes for him and one pair of hiking shoes for her. While I opened the box, my heart skipped a beat. Red hiking shoes! How cool is that? As you may have read in one of my previous blogs, in addition to functionality, I think that hiking shoes also have to look somewhat nice. I mean, brown is just so boring! Our goal is to give outdoor a more trendy image among the young (Dutch) people and we are slowly getting the feeling that some manufacturers of outdoor gear are finally starting to realize that it’s not just about decency. The design of the Wanderer was a big pro for me, however the mens shoes were delivered in brown. Not that Martijn cares about that though…
Testing the Keen Wanderer WP hiking shoes
After unwrapping we thoroughly tested the shoes. We took off for the Veluwe natural area, which is beautiful and basically in our back yard. Immediately when I tried the shoes on for the first time, I noticed two things: they are pretty light compared to other hiking shoes in the same category and also are pretty wide. My feet tend to expand a lot while hiking, especially during warmer days, so spacious shoes are always a good thing. Martijn however wears orthotics which only allows him to comfortably wear few hiking shoes. The Keen Wanderer WP hiking shoes didn’t fit him well, so the below review is based on my (Anto’s) experience only:
That afternoon we hike around the endless Veluwe. The good thing about this area, is how extensive it is. Even on a Sunday afternoon in the springtime, we saw almost no other hikers. We mostly hiked on unpaved trails, walked through the mud (it was raining) and sometimes walked on sandy tracks. With every step I took, my feet felt a bit lighter than what I’m used to when wearing semi ankle high shoes, definitely a good thing. I also tested how waterproof they are as you can see in the short slomo below. My feet did not get wet.
That afternoon we hiked just about 7 kilometers so more recently I also tried the Wanderers while on a 20 kilometer hike in the Dutch Salland region. It could have been the warmer weather or the fact that I wore them quite a bit longer this time, but I had a pretty large blister in the end. This of course, can be expected when wearing a pair of hiking boots for the first time for a longer period, but it wasn’t entirely pain free.
Conclusion after testing the Keen Wanderer WP hiking shoes
The good thing about these shoes is that they’re just in between low and high ankle shoes, which makes it possible to wear them on any kind of trek. Personally I have different shoes for every type however I would take the Wanderer with me on almost any kind of trail, something I wouldn’t do with low- or high ankle boots. The weight is excellent compared to other shoes I’ve tried of the same kind. The Keen Wanderer WP hiking shoes are a part of the European production line of Keen, in which every shoe is made in Europe. Keen takes notice of the wishes of their European clientele to improve the performance of their product. Last but not least, the price of these shoes is very good compared to others in the same category, I recently tested the Lowa Lady Light hiking shoes and they were about 50 euros more expensive than the Keen Wanderer WP hiking shoes.
I never write a product review however mentioning some points of improvement as I don’t believe in a perfect product. What I noticed shortly into the first walk is that the laces came loose easily. I double tied them on the second hike which sold the problem, however on the 20 km trail, I still had to retie them every now and then. The second thing I didn’t rave about after using them, was the color. Yes, the color. I know I was very happy about them when opening the box, however after reviewing my hiking clothes I came to the conclusion that most of my clothes are either lilac/pink/purple or some kind of mint green, so the Wanderer doesn’t match with that very well. A total luxury problem as you can, in fact not a problem at all. You can also order these hiking shoes in brown color by the way, which brings me back to the boring kind of color…
Conclusion: the Keen Wanderer WP hiking shoes are a fine and decent hiking pair of hiking shoes. Especially for newbie hikers or price conscience people, this would be an excellent choice.
Interested in buying those shoes? I found the best deal for you on Amazon.com.
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Curious about other hiking shoes? We also tested the following:
– Lowa Lady Light hiking shoes (w)
– Meindl X-SO 30 GTX hiking shoes (w)
– La Sportive Synthesis Mid GTX hiking shoes (m)
Need more hiking inspiration? Then check out these posts:
– The best hikes in the USA and Canada
– Solo hiking as a female in bear country Alaska
– Hiking Iceland’s Laugavegur trek
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Thanks for sharing!