800,000 Steps: KEEN Boots Hit Milestone At Summit Of Mount Washington

They set out before sunrise. Ahead was the Presidential Range of New Hampshire. Mount Washington, at 6,288 feet, was the goal.

But before the high point Mike Richards and his hiking buddy Robert Gibson would hit five other substantial peaks on the trail.

“It was quite a day,” Richards said. “We watched the fog burn off the peaks below us as the sun rose.”

White Mountains of New Hampshire. Notice the helicopter below

The hike was a progression of peaks up to the highest point, Mount Washington. The main route was the Crawford Path, which is the oldest maintained footpath in America.

Richards, age 43, is a resident of Lincoln, R.I., and a hiker, mountain biker, surfer, and “anything outdoors” kind of a man. He was the seventh hiker in our ‘1 Million Steps’ project with KEEN and its Durand boots this year.

Oldest footpath in the U.S.

This past July, we decided to hike at destinations around the U.S. in the KEEN Durands, with a goal of 1 million cumulative steps on the same pair of boots.

Somewhere near the summit of Mount Washington last weekend Richards hit the 800,000-step mark. (We have 200,000 steps to go, or about 100 miles in the Durands by the end of our project.)

He and Gibson put in 21 miles that day, September 7th, from a trailhead and over and up six White Mountains peaks.

In all, Richards hiked 56.9 miles in the Durands over a week, including several weeknight 5-mile treks in the hills near his home.

KEEN Durand boots on the summit

Of the Durand boots, which are a built-in-the-USA model that KEEN released this year, Richards was enthusiastic: “If my foot moved, the boots moved with them,” he said of the precise fit. “No hotspots at all on the bottom of my feet, which is something I’ve had problems with in the past.”

He noted the sharp boulders and talus in the White Mountains. “You could step on the spine or sharp edge of these boulders and not feel a thing,” he said. “They really protected my feet and ankles.”

Boots on the descent

Richards is 6’3’‘ and 230 pounds. He said he feels like the midsole is getting mashed down in lighter trail shoes. But the Durands were solid. “They were super comfortable all day, I didn’t notice that the midsole compressed at all.”

After summiting Mount Washington, Richards and Gibson had a long descent ahead. It was 11 miles to the camp, and they wouldn’t get there until after dinnertime that evening.

“We were going downhill for miles and miles,” he said, “but the boots were strong, had great support, and I had almost no worry of rolling my ankle.”

—See more about our ‘1 Million Steps’ project with KEEN.

Map of route through the White Mountains
White Mountains… one peak after the next
Mike Richards takes in the misty White Mountains view
Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.