KEEN Women’s Durand WP Mid, $180
The KEEN Women’s Durand WP Mid hiking boots offer “amazing comfort and unsurpassed durability from the first step to the millionth,” according to KEEN’s website. I took them for a spin in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park and the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge to see if, in fact, KEEN made good on the amazing comfort and unsurpassed durability promises. Temperatures were seasonable, ranging from 65º-80ºF. It didn’t rain on any of the hikes I went on with the Durands, but I stepped in my fair share of puddles for testing purposes.
The Durands are stiff enough to give me the support I need without being inflexible, and were comfortable right out of the box. They softened quickly during the break-in period and started to feel more comfortable the more I wore them. Though the Durands are heavy-duty, they’re surprisingly lightweight. Aside from the fact that they’re higher than a day hiking shoe, they feel like day hiking shoes. I can’t stand beefy backpacking boots that make me feel like I’m wearing footwear straight out of the Terminator or Judge Dredd, and the Durands are a great balance between weight and support.
I felt locked in and supported on terrain of all sorts in the Durands. They maintained support when the trails got rocky, and I haven’t noticed any decrease in support over time. I didn’t feel a thing stepping on sharp rocks, or kicking them. I carried a light daypack on most of the outings, but these are sturdy with plenty of support. The sole held up wonderfully no matter what terrain I was on, and regardless of whether it was dry or wet. I could easily see carrying a full pack for a weekend or longer (25-40#) comfortably.
The waterproof breathable membrane does its job with respect to waterproofing, but as with any boot in humid spring weather, my feet got warm while I was moving, but no warmer than I’d have expected wearing shoes of any kind in the summer. They held their own in mud puddles and while I was rock hopping; the only debris that made it in was dust.
The lacing system is clearly well-thought out. The first three eyelets are part of the upper, which likely means they’ll be more resistant to breakage long term. They’re also leather, so once I cinch them down, the laces don’t move. The fourth is a small piece of what I’d liken to webbing threaded through a buckle. The webbing is strong and it allows the laces to slip through easily. The top two are a metallic material and they rotate, which is great; I can get the exact fit I need, and they move as my ankles bend and flex.
The Durands do run a bit small lengthwise; in my normal shoe size, I found my big toes tapping the front of the boots with every step. I clipped my toenails to see if that would make a difference, but by the end of my second hike with the Durands, my big toes were sore. I wouldn’t want to go a half size up because the toe box is already on the wide side, but for folks with normal or wide feet, it would be an easy way to solve the toe-banging problem.
Bottom line? The Durands are a solid, lightweight, great all-around backpacking and hiking boot, assuming you can get the correct fit length and width-wise.