Why We Chose It: Innovative, Ethically-made, comfortable
If there’s one brand that likes to think a bit outside the box when it comes to shoe design it’s Keen. If you’ve come across the Keen Uneek sandal you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about here.
The ‘out there’ aspect with this particular boot, the Keen Ridge Flex, should be pretty plain to see. Called ‘Bellows Flex’, this little TPU plate is designed to work like an accordion or bellows, the idea being that it creates less resistance when you flex your foot with each step. The other thinking behind it is that it makes the boots last longer, tackling the issue of boots wearing out where the materials would usually crease.
Who Is The Keen Ridge Flex For?
The Keen Ridge Flex would be best suited to walking in milder temperatures from spring through to autumn. It’s probably warm enough to suit winter walking too, but only when there’s no snow on the ground.
In terms of the type of hiking you could take on in these, we’d say it’s best suited to walks on worn trails. They have quite a relaxed fit and the outsole sole isn’t particularly aggressive so you wouldn’t want to take on anything too technical in them. Country walks, summer hill walks, long distance walks along national trails; the Keen Ridge Flex would suit all of that kind of stuff.
Setting aside the TPU flex system, the upper of the Keen Ridge Flex is very similar to the one found on Keen’s Targhee which is one of the brand’s most popular hiking boots and a mainstay in their collection for over 15 years now. It combines a mix of synthetic mesh, ethically sourced and produced leather, and then there’s a foam padding around the ankle.
“I really like what Keen have set out to do here with the Bellows Flex system.”
There’s also a Keen.Dry waterproof membrane and a quick-dry lining on the inside to help wick away any moisture. This waterproof system, by the way, uses a water resistant coating that’s completely free from environmentally hazardous PFCs.
The lacing system is pretty straightforward here. You’ve got webbing loops at the base leading up to a thicker strap that links with the heel and sole unit to provide that side to side torsional stability you want from a hiking boot. Then there are metal hooks up top.