New US-made KEEN Durand Mid WP - Scoop! 

We just got hold of this very early example of the new for autumn 2014 KEEN Durand Mid WP and we thought you might like an early look at one of the neatest shoes we've seen from the US footwear brand.

KEEN's big news in the last year has been the minimalist CNX series, but the Durand Mid is a beefier all-rounder - a size 42.5 weighs in at 650g - that's aimed at year-round hiking use below the snowline. Just as significantly for KEEN, it's made in their new US-located manufacturing facility in Portland Oregon.

Direct-Inject Construction

It looks good too, in a 'Wow! What's that?' sort of way, but there's clever stuff going on beneath the skin as well. In particular, the boot - there's also a low version - uses what KEEN says is 'a unique direct-inject construction technique'. The gist of it is that the nubuck leather and breathable mesh upper is bonded directly to the mid-sole for increased durability and ruggedness.

That midsole uses a PU blend for cushioning and an integrated heel-pad to improve shock absorption on foot strike. KEEN's lab tests show that while after one million steps running shoe-type EVA cushioning can compress by up to 50%, the PU used in the Durand's mid-sole is compressed by just 3% giving longer term reliable and durable cushioning.

Dual Compound Rubber

On the underside there's a dual compound rubber outsole. The black lugs at the side use a compound designed for maximum grip on edges, while the central, orange segments have a more durable make-up to cope with high wear areas.

Otherwise there are plenty of KEEN signature features present and correct including the classic toe bumper, effectively and extension of the outsole and common to all KEEN shoes, sandals, mids and hybrids. There's a KEEN.DRY waterproof lining too and a TPU stability shank which, based on some judicious bending of the sole, seems likely to do the job.

Pimp My Lace Hooks

One really nice touch are the anodised lace-hooks - they look discretely pimp - and buckle that connects the instep lacing point with the heel to hold your foot firmly in place and minimise heel lift.

Slip the shoes on and you get immediate foot-cosseting cush from the well-padded ankle cuff plus a decent amount of room in the forefoot. Subjectively we'd say they're slightly roomier than the CNX range, which have a slightly snugger last in our experience, but not as wide and boxy as some earlier KEEN hikers.

Cushioned Compromise

We reckon it's a pretty good compromise that'll suit a lot of British feet and the well-cushioned sole unit should suit those who find the more minimal underfoot protection of the CNX models a little too spartan on harder surfaces or over longer distances.

Should make a good all-round walking boot. We'll keep you updated later this year with the production mids and shoes set to launch in the UK in August.

More Information

Prices are £140 for the mid version shown here and £125 for the 'low' or shoe variant.

You can find more information at www.keenfootwear.com

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