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Walking Boots

KEEN Wanderer WP Boot | Review

Half-shoe, half-boot - the Wanderer is a brilliantly comfortable all-round walking mid.

‘KEEN’s Wanderer WP is a super comfortable low-cut walking mid that’s a very happy medium between a shoe and boot.’

Outdoors Magic: Lots of cushioning, generous fit, comfortable internal padding, mid-cut design, European made, waterproof.

Outdoors Tragic: A little clumpy compared to more spartan designs. Not great on scrambles.

Outdoors Grabbit?  The Wanderer’s become OM first choice for lower level hill and moorland rambles when unquestioning comfort takes priority over precision on technical ground. It’s a great compromise between a shoe and a higher-ankled boot with a generous UK-friendly fit. And the PU heel pad takes the sting out of harder ground. Its only downside is a lack of scrambling precision.

 

Full Specification

Low-cut walking boot / waterproof leather and suede uppers / hydrophobic mesh lining / direct attach PU midsole / integrated PU heel cushion / KEEN.DRY waterproof lining / contoured heel lock / dual compound KEEN rubber outsole / heel and toe rubber reinforcement

Full Review Below

The ankle is cut somewhere between a shoe and a boot giving a neat compromise between the two. The soft ankle cuff is super comfortable, but keeps out stones and protects ankle bones from abrasion and curious woodpeckers - image: Jon

KEEN Wanderer WP Boot – The Tech

All the clever stuff goes on beneath your feet. Like the excellent KEEN Durand the Wanderer is manufactured in KEEN’s European factory using a direct PU injection process….

All you really need to know is that PU cushioning lasts far longer than the lightweight EVA foam used in many lightweight shoes and boots and retains more of its cushioning after extended use.

Direct Cushioning

Classically the downside to that is that PU is harder underfoot than EVA, but KEEN has sidestepped that one very neatly by sitting a plug of PU foam directly under the heel of the foot Take out the insole and you can see it sitting just where it’s needed. Genius!

The other upside of the European manufacture is that the Wanderer uses a slightly lower volume last than the US models, which we think gives a neater fit, but is still wider than average. If you want more volume, look out for the US-made KEEN shoes and boots.

It's a handsome beast in a distinctive KEEN way. Note the way webbing helps to lock the heel into position. Works well - image: Jon

KEEN Wanderer WP Boot – Performance

The Wanderer felt oddly familiar from the off. It’s super comfortable straight out of the box thanks to a broad toe-box, and soft and padded ankle collar and tongue. It’s a slipper of a boot, or shoe, or a mid…

The fit is kind of UK-friendly medium-broad but with good heel hold too, possibly because of the way a webbing link helps seat the heel in place. And it’s a great compromise between shoe and boot. The higher ankle cuff helps keep debris out of your boot and gives your ankle bones a little protection, but there’s no restriction to movement at all.

Happy Heels

The ride is lovely, just like the Durand. The PU heel plug takes the sting out of pavement, rocky trails and slabbed paths and the durability of the cushioning material means it should go on doing that for a good few years.

‘The KEEN.Dry waterproof lining has kept our feet dry so far, though obviously it won’t help if you go wading through deep streams – one of the downsides of that low-cut ankle.’

The downside to all the comfort is that it’s not a super precise scrambling boot. Think soft, rounded feel rather than sharp and direct. And generally we found ourselves using it mostly on lower level paths and moorland terrain rather than full-on mountain stuff.

We suspect scree would batter the lovely soft leather and suede uppers too and particularly the soft, padded ankle cuff. To be fair though, the boot has KEEN’s signature toe-bumper and heel protection.

Talking of protection, the KEEN.Dry waterproof lining has kept our feet dry so far, though obviously it won’t help if you go wading through deep streams – one of the downsides of that low-cut ankle.

Finally, the dual compound rubber sole works fine on hard to medium surfaces, but struggles a little with proper mud and slop over harder ground.

KEEN Wanderer WP – Verdict

Half shoe, half boot – the Wanderer WP is a super comfortable, mid-height lightweight hiker that’s all about comfort. It’s properly soft and luxurious around your foot, with the low, flexible ankle cuff allowing excellent mobility and keeping wayward gravel at bay.

Things are good underfoot too thanks to the cunning PU cushioning technology and that ingenious heel plug arrangement.

We found it best for lower level and moorland-type walking, though there’s no reason why it shouldn’t manage higher up. It is slightly clumsy on more technical rocky scrambly terrain, but that’s not really its bag anyway.

Bottom line: if it fits your foot, the Wanderer WP is a brilliantly comfortable, low-cut, cushy walking and hiking boot.

More Information

See keenfootwear.com

 

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