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SIZING: true to size
The first thing I look for in a hiking shoe, well, any shoe for that matter is how comfortable it is when I first get it on. The Keen Alamosa seems to find a zen-like way to balance stability with comfort in all the right places. Built for shock, suspension and stability (or what Keen refers to as their S3 system), the Alamosa goes beyond that to offer a great ride over any terrain. An EVA heel insert and footbed cushion provided much needed cush for my feet on our rocky trails. The Alamosa's were tested out in a great variety of environments from dry, dusty trails to my day job at the office and even in a foot of snow! The waterproof nubuck leather and breathable mesh upper performed well beyond my expectations as I made fresh tracks in the snow on a photo shoot in Garden of the Gods. My feet stayed warm the whole time and even on the slippery, wet rocks, the Keen Protect Toe Protection and 4mm multi-directional lugs provided superior traction.
Some features I really enjoy are the integrated mesh tongue/scree guard, the toe guard and heel lock. When the tongue is a part of the upper itself, it provides much better protection from trail debris then the norm. The patented Keen Protect Toe guard is like a car bumper for your toes and the Metatomical Footbed Design in conjunction with a heel lock feature keeps your foot in place with minimal risk of rolling an ankle. Since I firmly believe that I accidentally tested this belief and had to walk back to my car on some icy roads. Did I slip? Not at all. I actually enjoyed being able to try these babies out on multiple surfaces this snowy morning.
Overall, the $100 price tag that comes with the Backpacker voted 2011 "Best Day Hiker" is a decent one considering all the bells and whistles that come with it.