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.