Facts

Base model: Keen Explore Vent
Use: Day Hiking
Cut: Low cut
Price: $125
Features: Lightweight
Waterproofing: Waterproof
Weight: Men: 15.1oz | Women: 10.4oz
Width: Men: Normal | Women: Normal
Brand: KEEN
Colorways: Brown, Black
Size
Small True to size Large
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94 / 100 based on 1 expert reviews

  • 94 / 100 | Sean Kiffe

    The Keen Explore Waterproof: Unassumingly rugged lightweight hiker!

    More photos

    The Keen Explore Waterproof hiking shoe was instantly comfortable right out of the box. Its unassuming look hides a rugged capability.

    Modest enough to wear to work on a casual Friday and tough enough to scramble up a couple of thousand feet of a mountain, the Keen Explore seems to be a jack of all trades.

     

    Category: Hiking shoe                     Lug Depth: 4mm                       Weight: 15oz

     

    For hikers who like to move fast but desire a little more protection and waterproofing than a trail-runner provides, this is a shoe to check out. Some years ago I remember thinking that hiking boots were always overkilled in every situation I used them in.

    While there is no replacing a pair of mountaineering boots on the side of a glacier, most of us don't find ourselves in that situation very often. The Keen Explore Waterproof hits the sweet spot between running shoes and hiking boots and fills a much-needed niche in the outdoor enthusiast's foot locker.

    Fit

    The Keen Konnectfit heel-capture system was a nice feature of this shoe. I have what I consider to be a boney heel that seems to have a tough time finding a home in the heel box of the shoe.

    The Keen made my heel feel more than welcome. The shoe has a notched out heel cup style that helps to cradle the heel and give comfort and support to your Achilles tendon.

    The tongue is amply padded and gave a comfortable feel for the top of the foot when laced tight. The padding in the upper worried me a little in the sense that over time it might be a little hot on longer outings on warm days.

     

     

    The upper mesh is pliable, breathable and comfortable but the tight weave suggests durability far beyond a knit shoe. The lacing system is reinforced with a rigid rubberized material and a lateral stability cord.

    The gusseted tongue is a welcomed feature on this shoe, helping keep the padded tongue where it belongs and also keeping bits of debris from finding their way down to your foot.

    The Keen Konnectfit system also creates a sort of exoskeleton on the hind quarter of the shoe, helping with stability. The solid heel provides a good amount of cushion but not too much.

     

    Function

    The 4mm multi-directional lugs are the first thing that stands out on the Keen Explore Waterproof. The tread pattern has an excellent grip on every surface that I’ve used these shoes on.

    From loose gravel to wet mud, to rocky talus, the Keen Explore was in its element for superb grip. The toe of the sole is well thought out with directional lateral bands for those steep moments when you're climbing on your toes. The heel has a similar design.

     

     

    The Keen stability shank delivers support in the arch of the foot where it's needed. The reinforced toe box is an especially nice feature. It’s burly and is ready for abuse. The sidewalls are made from a rugged, synthetic suede-like material that has injected cushioning to help protect the hiker from looming rocks and logs.

    The KEEN Dry waterproof, breathable membrane performed as promised. It's impossible, however, to write a review about a waterproof hiking shoe and not mention its nemesis Gore-Tex.

    As mentioned, the KEEN Dry waterproof did a great job of keeping my foot completely dry. That said, new technology like this lacks the pedigree of a product like Gore-Tex.

    With a juggernaut on the waterproof textile industry, Gore-Tex has become an industry standard. The KEEN dry technology worked equally well, but it does beacon the question of how long will the waterproofing capabilities last on the shoe? That is a question that can't be answered just yet (at least by this tester).

     

    Eco-friendly

    The KEEN Explore boasts that its footbed is infused with a probiotic technology that limits the need for added chemicals to dissuade odor. After 70+ miles in these shoes, they have not generated anything thing in the way of intolerable stink.

    I hope this continues, and the promise of less chemicals involved in the shoemaking process is always a boon. KEEN also reports that they use an alternative chemical technology (proprietary I guess) for waterproofing instead of the classic Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) that are commonly used and are generally considered carcinogenic.

     

    Pros

    • Excellent traction
    • Waterproof
      Lightweight

    Cons

    • KEEN dry stands to be tested for longevity
    • A little warm on hot days

    Overall

    The KEEN Explore Waterproof is a great shoe. It’s light enough to fast-pack, yet rugged enough to scramble up the side of a big mountain peak.

    Its comfort makes a long day with a heavy pack seem less deplorable. For someone that is looking for a comfortable shoe that handles wet conditions excellently and has good support, the KEEN Explore Waterproof is one to look at seriously.

    Finding its home somewhere between a hiking boot and a trail runner the KEEN Explore Waterproof gets high praise from this reviewer. At $125.00, it’s reasonably priced.

    This expert has been verified by RunRepeat. Reviews are neutral, unbiased and based on extensive testing.

  • First look | Dodds Shoe Co |

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-The Keen Explore WP, the waterproof sibling of the breathable Explore Vent, is a competent hiker built with the level of comfort found mostly in sneakers. Its engineers designed it with a kind of water repellency that is PFC-free. PFCs or Perfluorinated Chemicals may be harmful to the environment as they do not break down or degrade easily.

-It comes with two technologies exclusive to the brand: Keen.Dry and Keen.All-Terrain. The former delivers all-around waterproofing, while the latter provides sufficient grip performance on different types of surfaces.

Keen’s Explore Waterproof is a low-top hiking shoe for men and women. Its ghillie lacing promises a personalized and secure lockdown. This closure system works in conjunction with the Konnectfit system to prevent the heel from slipping out of position.

The Explore WP hiking shoe supplies its wearers with ample surface traction through its Keen.All-Terrain outsole. As it has a good amount of multi-sided lugs, which have a depth of 4 millimeters, trail lovers can go from point A to point B with enough footing security—especially on soft- or loose-soiled terrain. The outsole of the men’s variant comes with ridge-like patterns around the rear and forefoot regions. The one in the women’s pair, on the other hand, has the same parts engineered with blocky protrusions instead.

This hike-centric offering from Keen uses an EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) midsole to protect the foot from sharp and bumpy hazards and to give adventurers a steady footing on the trail. Within its confines is a lightweight shank which amplifies the midsole’s capability to support the foot around the arch. Keen shoemakers engineered it with a radial support system, leaving the Explore WP with enhanced stability underfoot.

Helping the midsole level up its cushioning game is the hiker’s removable polyurethane footbed. Its eco anti-odor construction aims to keep stink-causing microorganisms at bay. Outside extra comfort, this plush subcomponent also delivers additional arch support.

The low-top upper of the Keen Explore WP is a combination of high-quality mesh fabric and TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane). Its inner walls are made of breathable mesh. The component responsible for keeping the foot as moisture-free as possible is the Keen.Dry technology (the same tech that makes the Targhee III Waterproof watertight).

Its closure system uses a long-wearing lace made of interwoven synthetic cords. It works with the shoe’s combination eyelets to lock in the foot securely.

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