From Bryce Canyon Vistas to the Catskills’ Devil’s Path, a good pair of boots is often all you’ll need for serious adventures. Whether you’re a seasoned thru-hiker who destroys footwear, or buying your first pair for a weekend adventure on the trail, quality boots are worth every penny you spend. That’s why we chose a pair of American built KEEN boots for our summer adventures this year.
In a time when many companies are seeking outside manufacturers and overseas production, KEEN chose to build a new factory in Portland, Oregon. With more than twenty styles being produced there now, the factory also doubles as a learning and test center, allowing for rapid prototyping and excellent quality control. All of this means that every season your new KEENs will get refined even further as their designers relentlessly build better footwear. After a year in a pair of American Made boots, we’re definitely believers.
Liberty Ridge ($200)
The Liberty Ridge is KEEN’s flagship boot for Fall 2015. Combining a solid leather upper with KEEN’s direct injection PU mid-sole delivers unparalleled comfort. A full length shank provides stability for heavy loads and uneven terrain. If you’re looking for a boot that is built for long haul backpacking, this is it.
We know what you’re thinking. You came here to look at serious boots, and this glorified water shoe doesn’t make the cut. You’d be surprised however, to find a serious sticky rubber sole on the bottom of the UNEEKs. We took a pair to with us for a two week trip to Thailand earlier this year, and found ourselves reaching for them for everything from long airport layovers to hauling camera gear across deserted beaches. The 8mm nylon cord provides excellent venting, and dries incredibly fast when wet. For wearing around camp or casual travel, you won’t find a more comfortable option.
The award winning Durand was our choice last fall for backpacking, canyoneering, horseback trekking, and everything in between. KEEN claimed that we could walk in these for a million steps without losing any comfort, and after nearly a year of beating on ours, we can say they were right. The PU mid-sole doesn’t compress over time like a traditional EVA foam, ensuring you have a responsive boot for years. The compound rubber of the Vibram sole is both sticky and durable – your legs will wear out long before this boot does.