- MATERIALS: Abrasion resistant textile (?), leather, TPU shank, and mesh upper.
- WEIGHT: 14.5 oz
- MSRP: $110
Known primarily for hiking sandals, innovative footwear manufacturer Keen tries its hand at hiking boots. The pair I reviewed is the new for 2013 Verdi WP, which features the new KEEN DRY barrier liner. KEEN DRY is a proprietary membrane designed to seal water out and still allow your feet to breathe much in the same way Gore-Tex and other barriers are designed to. Testing in Colorado means a variety of terrain and conditions ranging from sub zero temperatures one day to blazing hot days the next. These conditions can be very unforgiving to the products, but also providing ideal testing conditions.
The overall construction of the shoe is pretty bomber with a nice gusseted tongue to aid in keeping debris out and the addition of a stiff TPU shank helps to support your feet over the long haul. The TPU arch shank creates a great platform for long miles on the trail with phenomenal support for moderate loads, unfortunately that support is wrapped in a sole that leaves a bit to be desired on sloppy terrain. I was thoroughly enjoying the Verdi until I started up a steeper incline at close to 40° and noticed I was sliding down with each step. Now this was not a loose decomposing granite slope that I would have expected to slip on, rather it was a slightly damp earthen layer of moss, dirt, and vegetation. After a few steps on the slope I decided to hike across the slope to mitigate the slide and even when I changed direction I was still sliding a bit. If Keen were to slap on a more aggressive tread these shoes would be a great addition to your vertical off route hiking quiver.
The Verdi WP's KEEN DRY liner does a great job of keeping water out, but I have to say my feet did heat up a bit and I can't speak to the breathability of it as more testing with a variety of socks may be necessary.
The Verdi WP's do feel great and do fit true to size, the ample toe box allows your fore foot to comfortably expand and flatten with long trail miles and weight. The wide toe cap was awesome to protect the toe for abrasive knocks on rocks and will no doubt extend the useful life of the shoe.
Keen is making great strides into the all around footwear market and the Verdi WP is a great shoe, but one that is limited by the use of a sole that would be more at home on a flat trail or boat deck than the steeps of the Colorado mountains.