Verdict from 3 experts and 100+ user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • The KEEN Summit County made numerous winter adventurers seriously satisfied with its thermal insulation.
  • Comfort-wise, this footwear greatly exceeded the expectations of many reviewers.
  • Based on a number of reports, the Summit County had excellent waterproofing.
  • Wearers by the dozen raved about the boot’s lightness despite its overall bulkiness.
  • About a handful of people came away more than pleased with the Summit County’s supportive ankle collar.
  • Some users regarded the boot as nothing short of fantastic on the traction front.
  • This winter hiking gear by KEEN impressed a few wearers with its striking good looks.
  • A review expert expressed only positivity with regard to the boot’s flexibility. Outside winter hiking, he said it can also be worn for snow-related activities, such as snow shoveling and plowing.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Reviewers by the handful, which include a footwear critic, echoed their dismay concerning the boot’s sloppily wide fit.
  • A couple of purchasers were baffled by the Summit County’s lace loops. They said they were poorly made, snapping beyond use all too soon.
  • A professional reviewer from a reputable gear blogging website found the boot’s lacing system challenging to configure, especially around the instep zone.

Bottom line

The KEEN Summit County winter hiking boot delivers comfort in spades. It is also a looker of a boot that is amazingly light, insulated, and waterproof. And yet, with all that said, the boot may not have full glory as it was castigated for being too wide.

Overall, the Summit County is yet another excellent outdoor offering from KEEN, especially for people with wide feet. Those who are on the narrow side would do well wearing thicker socks, however.

Tip: see the best hiking boots.

Good to know

  • The newly updated KEEN Summit County has some notable improvements and changes over the previous model—the Summit County III. It still sports a leather upper with KEEN.Dry for waterproofing, though when compared with the past edition, its ankle shaft has a more synthetic construction. 
  • Getting a personalized fit in this refreshed version is as straightforward as before. That said, the boot now has an extra layer of fit customization thanks to the ankle-hugging pair of lace loops placed just above the boot’s instep line. 
  • For thermal insulation, this boot still uses the proprietary technology KEEN.Warm. Over its predecessor, this iteration has more toe insulation at 450 g. Its upper region, however, has seen a slight decrease in warming—from 400 g to 300 g. 

KEEN’s Summit County is a high-cut, men’s winter hiking boot with an adequately true-to-size fit and standard width. It is offered in a number of whole and half sizes. Its lace-up closure, with its ankle-hugging lace loops, provides a personalized lockdown. The boot’s pull tabs—one on the tongue and the other on the back of the heel—provide on-and-off assistance.

What grants wearers grip over snowy ground is the Summit County’s dual-climate rubber outsole. Also known as KEEN.DCR, this rubber layer stiffens in cold weather to provide grip over hard snow. Its low-profile, V-shaped lugs have toothy angles to bite into soft surfaces. Lugs are also seen along the sides of the sole for extra traction when performing lateral maneuvers. In addition, this outsole has ridged heel and forefoot zones to assist wearers in their ascents and descents. 

The footwear’s toe guard is the outsole’s extension called KEEN.Protect. Marked with the eye-catching exclamation point logo, this rubber bumper shields wearers from bumpy hazards as much as it protects them from frontal impacts. 

Ensuring wearers remain protected over treacherous terrain is the boot’s hefty midsole. This rubber-like platform is made of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) to which the midsole owes its lasting durability, weight resilience, and not to mention, low-temperature resistance. 

For additional underfoot comfort and thermal insulation, Keen engineers gave the boot a removable thermal heat shield footbed. It is made up of three layers—a wooly top for cushioning, a supportive middle, and a heat-harnessing bottom barrier. This insulating insole is designed to keep the warmness of the boot’s interior inside while the biting cold outside. 

The KEEN Summit County’s above-the-ankle upper is a combination of synthetic fabric and waterproof nubuck leather. The protective band (the boot’s version of rubber rand) located at the base of the upper and the shellback heel support are both synthetic, with the latter closely resembling rubber plastic. 

When it comes to protecting users from wet elements, this shoe is imbued with a waterproofing technology exclusively by KEEN called KEEN.Dry. It is a membrane within the bootie of the footwear that also wicks away moisture from the inside. What keeps feet all nice and warm, on the other hand, is the internal component referred to as KEEN.Warm. This insulation technology is made of charcoal bamboo. 

The Summit County’s lockdown system is comprised of synthetic round laces, lace tunnels, and open hooks. Its pair of lace loops located just above the instep is part of the boot’s ankle-hugging overlay. Stitched to the mid-center of the tongue is a lace keeper which is made of the same synthetic material as the ankle lace loops. 

-Charcoal bamboo, more commonly known as bamboo charcoal, is made up of pieces of oven-burnt bamboo. Treating fabric with charcoal bamboo gives it thermal insulation of up to 10 degrees Celsius.

-An alternative winter hiking boot from this brand is the KEEN Durand Polar Waterproof.


How KEEN Summit County ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 42% hiking boots
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Bottom 32% KEEN hiking boots
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Bottom 49% snow hiking boots
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Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.