First we tried Keen sandals. After two years of hard use in Florida environments, the shoes were still going strong. We then added Keen hiking boots into the mix for our trips north and into rockier environments. I’ll review each separately below.
Being primarily in a hot, humid environment, I chose the sandals instead of boots in order to keep me cooler. Although I did sacrifice some protection since they have a lot of open spaces, they allow much more air flow than boots ever could. In the past three years, I have tested the limits of my sandals through sand, swamps, amusement parks, hiking in the mountains, skydiving, and much more. This pair has traveled many miles and to many different places with me. I found that they are too cool for the mountain air of Colorado, but they are really comfortable for warmer climates.
Sand is irritating since it slips right into the sandals, but it is also easy to shake out. They are great for amusement parks since they are almost as cool as flipflops but are much more secure. They are great for casual biking since they stay on and protect the toes. Although most people probably don’t find themselves often trekking through swamps, they have done a fantastic job of protecting the bottom of my feet and staying on even through the deepest of mud.
These shoes have been machine washed many times and left outside in the sun to dry. They have held up incredibly well, although the tread is mostly worn off at this point. At about eighty dollars a pair, these are not cheap. However, the price seems less of a factor after three years of serious use for these sandals (and hopefully many more to come).
This was actually my first pair of hiking boots (just haven’t had a need in Florida). They’ve carried me through several trips in the northeast and will take me to Canada in a few days and Yellowstone later this summer. I purchased them mostly for trips that take me to cooler climates than the South and for places I need additional tread and ankle protection as I’m hiking inclines.
The tread is great, much better than any shoes I’ve owned in the past. They were comfortable to wear right out of the box and needed very little breaking in time, even for someone who isn’t used to boots. The only issue I had was some rubbing around my ankles, but that was due to rarely wearing boots before not this particular boot. These boots run around $130, but they seem built to last. They get more comfortable with each use, and I look forward to many, many more miles in them.