First KEEN Boot For Women: Terradora Put To Test

KEEN’s debut hiking boot for women is lightweight and looks good. We tested a pair on the trail and around town.

It took 13 years since its KEEN’s 2003 launch, but the brand released its first women’s-only hiking boot this spring. The Terradora reached REI shelves in December 2016 as a retail exclusive, but it’s now available everywhere.

We were excited to give these modern hikers a go—especially because they’re the first pair from the brand with women’s feet as the focus. It’s worth noting KEEN offers many boots in women’s styles. But the Terradora is the first by the brand built for women from the ground up.

In short: The Terradora is lightweight and comfortable right out of the box, and sports a sleek look. While it was great for a day hike or a camping trip, the Terradora functions well as a closed-toe shoe around town.

KEEN Terradora Women’s Hiking Boot Review

The boot is available as a mid-height silhouette for $140, and also in a lower-height, shoe profile for $120. Both have a waterproof membrane, though the low-profile version is available as a more breathable, non-waterproof option.

Since women’s feet guided design, the shoe is narrower and hugs the heel, which increases stability. Women also tend to have a slightly higher arch, and the Terradora accommodates a female instep.

I have a fairly narrow foot and high arch, and I found the shoe to be true to size. The boot fit flush against my foot, but not too tight. The collar sits lower and is low-density—intended to relieve pressure from the Achilles—which I checked off as a comfortable feature.

Lightweight Women’s Hiking Boot

KEEN touts the Terradora as a “lightweight” shoe, but I was still surprised how light it felt.

The low-density EVA midsole helps the boot trim down weight. The pair I tested was 1.6 pounds per shoe. By comparison, a pair of the KEEN Durand mid-height, waterproof hiking boots for women is closer to 2 pounds.

Though lighter, the Terradora’s soles felt supportive on long and short hikes—even under the weight of a 15-pound pack. That’s in part due to the stiffer stability shank in the midsole that offers support and protection from rocks.

The shoe’s upper is a reinforced synthetic mesh with a texture and thickness that’s similar to, but thicker than, a knit running shoe. This means the boots felt instantly comfortable when I pulled them on, with no break-in time required before trail action.

The upper practically molded to my foot, rather than sitting stiffly around it. This also meant I had to adjust and tighten down the laces before an ascent.

Waterproof / Breathable

My favorite feature of the Terradora was its waterproofness. I hiked in a rainstorm and submerged the boot in a stream, and my socks remained dry.

The boots use a proprietary waterproof-breathable membrane that allows vapor to release, while simultaneously preventing water from entering the boot.

While I found the latter to be totally true, after a few hours hiking with medium-thick hiking socks in humid, 85-degree conditions, my feet felt clammy.

While the boots generally breathe well, it’s limited by the weather conditions, sock choice, and personal body temperature. Like most waterproof boots, you’ll probably want to skip these on hot/dry days.

The non-waterproof, low cut Terradora

For those who mostly hike in hot or dry weather, consider the low-cut, non-waterproof version.

Traction

The outsole is made with 4mm multi-directional lugs, meant to provide grip in all types of terrain. I found the boot’s traction held up well on both ascents and descents, on rocky and dusty trails, traversing slick rock, even on moss-covered, wet boulders.

I didn’t have a chance to test them out in mud or snowpack.

KEEN Terradora: Who It’s For

The KEEN Terradora offers style and comfort on and off the trail. For active women who also enjoy a curated wardrobe with fashionable pieces, the Terradora successfully hits both arenas.

This boot is especially awesome for someone who needs a hiking boot pronto and doesn’t have time to break in a hardier pair, or prefers a lightweight, non-stiff feel.

These boots are also easy to maintain: Use a damp sponge to remove loose dirt—that’s it. Plus, the interior has odor control technology called Cleansport NXT, a process that bonds naturally occurring, live micro-organisms to the fibers of the fabric. (Anything to help my boots—and the mudroom, car, and closet—stay odor-free, and I’m game).

Bonus: the outsole’s rubber is non-marking.

While I didn’t test the Terradora’s durability at higher elevations—with boulder fields and scree—or on a backpacking trip, I’m excited to see how they survive 14ers and long treks.

tagged: #review

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