Keen NXIS EVO Hiking Boots | Deep Dive - Outdoors Magic

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Keen NXIS EVO Hiking Boots | Deep Dive

A new launch for Spring/Summer 2022 from U.S. footwear brand Keen. This one's light, it's grippy and should make for a handy option for hikes along long-distance trails

Price: £145 / $190
Weight: 418g (per shoe)

If you prefer your hiking boots to have you feeling fleet-footed rather than weighed down, you’re looking at the right pair here. At just 418g per boot (men’s UK 10) , the Keen NXIS EVO is a very lightweight offering, bringing the benefits of a trail running shoe coupled with the support and protection of a hiking boot. It really is a hybrid between the two actually. You could take the outsole and stick it on a trail running shoe and it would look right at home.


Keen have stuck with their standard last design for this new boot, so If you’ve worn Keen boots in the last few years, the Targhee, Ridge Flex, Durand or Pyrenees perhaps, you can expect the same fit and feel. For those who’ve not worn Keen boots before, expect a loose, relaxed fit around the toes and plenty of padding right around the ankle. Chances are they’ll even be comfortable right out of the box for you. That’s certainly been the case for us here at Outdoors Magic and we’d say the same about pretty much all of the Keen boots we’ve tested.

What Is The Keen NXIS EVO Best Suited To?

OM editor Will can fill you out on that. Here he is on one of the test trips in his local hills.


The reason the Keen NXIS EVO is so light is mainly due to its mesh upper which gives a trainer-like look and feel. This is backed by the brand’s own Keen.Dry membrane to bring waterproof protection and there’s also a water resistant finish that’s made without any environmentally harmful substances.

The ankle has a good solid structure to it and it’s quite nicely padded around the cuff and on the tongue, but it’s just the toe bumper and laminated TPU overlays that bring any real structure to the rest of the upper. That’s not to say it’s flimsy however, as there is still that kind of sturdy supportive feel that you want a hiking boot to provide on the trail. The lacing system, which combines with a heel capture and internal heel lock that hugs the Achilles tendon, is certainly to thank here. All the components of it work together to keep your heel from lifting any more than a centimetre off the footbed and to stop your feet from sliding within the boots, all the while keeping you comfortable. 

Immediately underfoot, you’ve got a removable dual density footbed that’s treated with Keen’s eco-friendly anti-odour solution. In the midsole there’s a plush EVA foam for cushioning and shock absorption and there’s a light shank to block out any sharp rocks or roots. The outsole looks and performs like the kind of one you’d find on a trail running shoe, with multi-directional chevrons and a lug depth of 4mm. 


This really is a very comfortable boot to hike in, providing a lightweight, nimble feel and the right amount of padding and support in all of the right places. There’s a lot of flex and that makes this particularly well-suited to long-distance trail walking but it might not be ideal for those who like a boot that they can take on gnarly scrambles in.

Each boot weighs an impressive 418g (UK size 10).
4mm lugs line the outsole, giving it trail shoe levels of grip.

As for grip, those 4mm lugs do provide a nice bit of bite. We tested the Keen NXIS EVO on a lot of muddy hills and the reliable traction we wanted was there – both uphill and downhill. Wet rock? The compound is quite soft so there’s a bit of grip on that sort of stuff, but, as is usually the case with lightweight three-season boots, it has its limitations on the really slippy and slimy stuff. 

The waterproof membrane certainly does its job. We particularly like that the tongue is gusseted from top to bottom and the membrane extends right throughout it meaning you can pretty much submerse these boots right up to the top of the ankle cuff before water starts seeping in. 

Unfortunately our testing period for NXIS EVO has been right throughout winter, so we can’t comment too much on the breathability. We certainly haven’t had any issues on that front though and, given the amount of mesh across the upper, we’d be very surprised if clamminess was an issue with these. 

The final thing to bear in mind is that you can also get the Keen NXIS EVO in a shoe cut style if you prefer hiking in footwear that doesn’t have support around the ankle. Also, all of the versions are available in men’s and women’s styles and fits.


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