Keen Versatrail colors

Close-Up: KEEN Versatrail ‘Light Hiker’ Refined

A ‘hybrid’ shoe, the Versatrail exists between hiking boots and trail-runners as purported do-all outdoor footwear. We talked to a designer at KEEN for the scoop.

Keen Versatrail (1 of 5)

The Versatrail, new this spring, will appeal to casual outdoors types and hardcore hikers alike.

We got a preview of the shoes in the mountains of New Mexico last fall and have been wearing them ever since. The Versatrail line of footwear for men and women is now for sale nationwide.

First Look: 2016 KEEN Versatrail Hiking Shoe
First Look: 2016 KEEN Versatrail Hiking Shoe
KEEN takes aim at the 'light hiker' category with its 2016 flagship footwear, the Versatrail. We laced up for a 10-mile hike last week in New Mexico for a first review. Read more…

Last week, for a closer look, we connected with Miroslav Milanov, a part of the team that concepted and created the Versatrail shoes.

Interview: KEEN Versatrail Designer

With the Versatrail, how did KEEN differentiate in the crowded “light hiker” space?

Miroslav: This shoe offers great performance, but the styling is what sets it apart. The color, the fusion of materials, and the design are all key features that make it stand out amongst the rest. Most of all, as the name indicates: Versatility is key. It’s about having a shoe that can take you from the trail then back into town — and look good doing it all.

Keen Versatrail colors

What about performance while hiking and other use?

The shoe is lightweight, fast and super-comfortable the first time you put in on and every time after that. It’s designed for easy use, meaning you can take it off and put it on quickly.

One tester noted the tongue is thin and “fits like a sock around the top of the foot.”

The Versatrail uses thin Ariaprene foam on the tongue. We wanted the tongue to hug the foot to limit slipping when doing outdoor activities. With a seamless frame, this light hiking shoe is made for all-around comfort. When worn casually, this type of construction also allows the shoe to be worn loosely and still give the support needed.


What other materials are of note?

It ties on with “speed laces” which also make it easy to adjust when you’re on the go. But, if you’re not into the bungee laces, each pair comes with an extra pair of tie laces. Additionally, no-sew reflective elements add visibility after the sun sets.

There is an external EVA heel counter that is designed to keep your heel in place without limiting movement. Plus, a dual-density EVA midsole and lightweight stability shank give the performance needed on the trail or anywhere else you happen to be.

What do you want people to know about this shoe and about you as the designer?

The Versatrail was designed with adventurer’s in mind — it’s perfect for whatever you might encounter out there. It’s also made for people who expect top performance — but, won’t compromise style for function. 

Versatility is at the heart of what we do at KEEN and it drives many of our most successful designs, I believe that the Versatrail has a chance to become an instant classic.

Here at KEEN, we love to wear the shoes we design, so we get personal with the process. I’m excited to see the shoes on peoples’ feet and hear stories about where the shoes have taken them.

–This article is sponsored by KEEN. See the company’s Versatrail line here.