Last weekend a gang of 13 of us packed into some small, unreliable cars and drove from Cardiff to Snowdon. Watch out for a proper post on how much my buttocks ached after scaling the peak, coming soon! However the mountain was also the perfect place to give my pretty new Keen boots (which cost £76.49 on Web Togs) a real work out, and to see if they could go the distance without giving me blisters.
The product description: “The Shasta is an affordable walking boot that will take you where you need to go without problem, a great all round boot. The Shasta has an internal support mechanism called a metatomical footbed. This is anatomically engineered to provide excellent support and cradle the natural contours of your feet so making the walking boot very comfortable during long days on the trail. The WP in the title of the boot stands for waterproof and the Shasta can do this because of the Keen.Dry lining that is integrated. This allows your feet to breathe when it gets warmer while still preventing water from entering the shoe.”
Test 1: Hiking
I had tested my boots around my house the week before the Snowdon trip, and the heels rubbed. Instead of worrying about this not insignificant factor I took them to the mountain anyway. The boots were obviously pretty excited about getting out of the house because they behaved perfectly – the day wandering around the house had been enough for them to mold to my feet like a second skin, and the sole felt thick and bouncy even after six hours of trekking. I needed to lace them pretty tight to give me proper support, but once they were strapped in I forgot I was wearing them. Perfect.
Test 2: In the wet
I was a little bit wary of the Keen boots as they don’t have Gore-Tex, which I had always considered the only reliable waterproofer. Instead they come with Keen.Dry, an integrated lining that allows your feet to breathe when it gets warmer while still preventing water from entering the shoe. To test them I:
Stood in a puddle for fifteen minutes – dry feet.
Waded up to the lace holes in the sea – dry feet.
Put my feet up to my ankles in the bath – immediate wet feet, but unless you are planning to go for a swim in your Shastas, I can’t see that being a problem.
Test 3: On the beach
The only issue I had during my week of constant testing was the tops of the boots. I may just have skinny ankles but they felt quite wide – another lace hole might have solved this, but as a result just walking along the beach for an hour meant I ended up with boots full of sand.
Test 4: As a fashion accessory
I love the colour of mine (dark shadow and grape nectar, if you must know – who comes up with these colour names?) and they also come in a less girlie slate black and nectarine. My Keens are quite chunky in the toe, which made me slightly worried I looked like I was wearing golf clubs on my feet, but the general consensus from my hiking friends was they looked pretty good for walking boots.
To be honest, I’m not sure how much I care how they look – they are so incredibly comfortable I find it hard to take them off.
Verdict from the top of Snowdon: