Our verdict

We believe that the KEEN Pyrenees is a must to consider if you are in search of all-leather boots for backpacking or day hiking. The sweet spot of this nubuck looker is hiking long miles in cold weather and occasionally crossing streams. Back in our lab, we also found that it's hard to beat the Pyrenees' mighty platform and exceptionally roomy toebox.

Pros

  • Premium nubuck leather quality
  • Top-notch waterproofing
  • Tonnes of impact protection
  • Surprisingly soft cushioning
  • Excellent stability and support
  • Very wide, accommodating toebox
  • Convenient lacing system

Cons

  • Too bulky and heavy
  • Tongue edges dig into shins
  • Lacks traction for mud, ice, and snow

Audience verdict

90
Great!

Who should buy

As one of KEEN's best-selling hiking boots, the Pyrenes is a solid option if you:

  • prefer all-leather hiking boots
  • seek a backpacking boot for heavier loads
  • need a pair for day-long outings on moderately rugged trails
  • want just one go-to boot for the outdoors, work, and casual wear

KEEN Pyrenees hike

Who should NOT buy

Unless you are hiking in low temperatures (below 50°F or 10°C), the Pyrenees is going to feel like an oven. We think that the boot's leather upper is overkill for warm weather and recommend a synthetic waterproof Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX instead.

If you have concerns about this KEEN boot's hefty weight, there are lighter backpacking options. We recommend the Hoka Kaha 2 GTX or the mind-blowingly light La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX.

KEEN Pyrenees lab test

Breathability

When the KEEN.Dry waterproof lining meets an all-leather upper, you get a 100% sealed experience. So do keep that in mind if you're planning to wear the Pyrenees in a relatively warm climate.

To show you exactly how stuffy this KEEN boot is, we pumped smoke through its upper in our lab test. Compared to the breathable Merrell Moab 3 on the right, the Pyrenees traps 99% of the smoke inside its confines.

For that reason, this KEEN boot receives the lowest possible score for breathability - 1 out of 5.

But the good news is that crossing a stream will never be an issue in the Pyrenees. Our feet remained dry every time.

Test results
Pyrenees 1
Average 1.7
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Nubuck is the primary upper material of the KEEN Pyrenees. But no matter how sturdy it may be, having a heavy-duty toe cap around it is absolutely essential for a hiking boot's longevity.

In the lab, we tested the wear resistance of this toe bumper with our demanding Dremel. Applying the tool for 12 seconds at a consistent speed (5K RPM) and force (3.2N), all we got was a small blemish.

This was convincing enough for us to rate the boot's toebox durability with a maximum 5/5 score.

KEEN Pyrenees vs Adidas Terrex Swift R3 GTX Toebox durability

For context, here is what the Dremel does to a mesh-covered toebox with a narrower toe bumper.

Test results
Pyrenees 5
Average 4.4
Compared to 17 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

The interior lining of the KEEN Pyrenees is also lined with leathery material. It proved to be pretty sturdy in a duel with our Dremel.

Four seconds of drilling resulted in a pretty minor scuff that had no effect on the boot's comfort or integrity. This earned the Pyrenees a solid 4 out of 5 for heel padding durability.

KEEN Pyrenees Heel padding durability
Test results
Pyrenees 4
Average 3.8
Compared to 17 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Looks like KEEN utilized one of the hardest rubbers on the market for the Pyrenees!

Known as KEEN.ALL-TERRAIN, this compound showed a very high reading of 92.0 HC on our durometer. It is among the hardest outsoles in our lab.

KEEN Pyrenees Outsole hardness
Test results
Pyrenees 92.0 HC
Average 87.3 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
81.0 HC
Outsole hardness
92.0 HC

Outsole durability

To our great surprise, this hard rubber failed to translate into higher abrasion resistance in our Dremel test.

We held the tool against the outsole for 22 seconds at a high 10K RPM speed. Normally, hiking boots end up with a millimeter-deep dent but our tread gauge showed 1.4 mm in the Pyrenees.

KEEN Pyrenees Outsole durability test

Other backpacking shoes like the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX performed much better in this test (0.37 mm).

Test results
Pyrenees 1.4 mm
Average 0.7 mm
Compared to 14 hiking boots
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

The brand does compensate for that with a thicker layer of rubber. Based on our caliper, it's thicker than average at 4.3 mm.

But we anticipate that the boot will lose its grip long before the outsole wears out due to damaged treads.

KEEN Pyrenees Outsole thickness
Test results
Pyrenees 4.3 mm
Average 3.1 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1.8 mm
Outsole thickness
5.6 mm

Warranty

To keep future buyers reassured, KEEN offers a one-year warranty for its footwear. It covers manufacturing and workmanship defects.

KEEN Pyrenees flex

But because of the somewhat vague description, we are not sure which specific cases this guarantee applies to.

Weight

The KEEN Pyrenees is a heavy-set pair of boots.

Weighing it on our scale in a men's US size 9, we got 21.7 oz/615g. This is significantly heavier than the average of all-leather hiking boots (18.4 oz/523g).

Even compared to the average of backpacking boots (20 oz/568g), the Pyrenees is still on the heavy side.

KEEN Pyrenees Weight
Test results
Pyrenees 21.69 oz (615g)
Average 17.92 oz (508g)
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
11.71 oz (332g)
Weight
26.00 oz (737g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

The KEEN Pyrenees justifies its heft with a massive amount of underfoot cushioning. There is a ton of impact and terrain protection granted by the boot's high stack.

KEEN Pyrenees heel cushioning

Based on our caliper measurements, the heel thickness comes in at 41.0 mm. This is actually MUCH lower than the officially stated 53 mm but still considerably thicker than the average.

The Pyrenees even outplayed the beastly Hoka Kaha 2 GTX (39.3 mm).

Test results
Pyrenees 41.0 mm
Average 35.9 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
26.2 mm
Heel stack
46.9 mm

Forefoot stack

The forefoot cushioning of this KEEN shoe happens to be more down to earth. With a caliper measurement of 24.3 mm, it is about the same as the average.

You need that lower stack to help toes feel and navigate the ground better.

KEEN Pyrenees Forefoot stack
Test results
Pyrenees 24.3 mm
Average 22.5 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
17.0 mm
Forefoot stack
30.7 mm

Drop

Based on KEEN's official stats, the drop of the Pyrenees should be 20 mm high. But looking at our own measurements, it turns out to be much lower at 16.7 mm.

Either way, the boot's heel-to-toe differential is much higher than the average. This is a necessary feature for a backpacking boot because that raised heel minimizes stress on the ankle, Achilles, and calf to help you carry heavier loads more ergonomically, with less strain.

KEEN Pyrenees Drop
Test results
Pyrenees 16.7 mm
Average 13.4 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
2.6 mm
Drop
20.9 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

If you've had your fair share of firm hiking boots, the KEEN Pyrenees is going to be a welcome change.

Showing only 15.9 HA on our durometer, its midsole is a whopping 75% softer than average! This is one of the secrets to why this KEEN boot feels so comfy out of the box.

KEEN Pyrenees Midsole softness
Test results
Pyrenees 15.9 HA
Average 25.4 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
15.4 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
53.3 HA

Difference in midsole softness in cold

Because this leather boot is more appropriate for cold weather, we had to test how its soft midsole behaves in low temperatures.

Leaving the Pyrenees in the freezer for 20 minutes, we were amazed to find that it still remained much softer than average! Even after getting 21.2% firmer compared to room temperature, this KEEN boot showed 19.3 HA on the durometer.

That's 45% softer than most midsoles at room temperature!

KEEN Pyrenees Difference in midsole softness in cold
Test results
Pyrenees 21.2%
Average 21.5%
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in midsole softness in cold
100%

Insole thickness

Bolstering the midsole’s supply of comfort is the boot’s contoured footbed. Measuring its thickness in the heel, our caliper showed 5.8 mm.

Even though it is not as thick as some insoles can be, we found that offers plenty of underfoot padding and even helps to hold the heel in place with its cradled design.

KEEN Pyrenees Insole thickness
Test results
Pyrenees 5.8 mm
Average 6.0 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
3.7 mm
Insole thickness
10.7 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

This is one stable hiking boot!

We believe that the KEEN Pyrenees is capable of carrying heavy loads up to 40 pounds thanks to its steady and supportive build.

The boot's primary stability features include a stiff shank in the midfoot, a rigid heel counter, and a firm foothold granted by the leather upper.

Torsional rigidity

A very stiff shank is embedded into the KEEN Pyrenees. It is partially external, so you can actually see and feel it in the boot's midfoot.

On a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the absolute stiffest, we rated its torsional rigidity with a 5.

The shank is a key component that helps the Pyrenees serve its purpose. It is a stable pair for long miles of hiking with a backpack without awkward ankle movements.

Test results
Pyrenees 5
Average 4.2
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

In addition to its sturdy platform, this KEEN boot comes with a barely compressible heel counter. We found that it wraps around the ankle firmly and holds it securely in place throughout the hike.

In our manual squeeze test, we rated the boot's heel counter stiffness as 4 out of 5. Nearly the stiffest!

Test results
Pyrenees 4
Average 3.4
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

Of course, a backpacking boot wouldn't be complete without a wide platform to rely on.

Measuring the widest part of the sole in the forefoot, our caliper showed 114.3 mm. It is pretty average for a boot, nothing to write home about.

KEEN Pyrenees Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Pyrenees 114.3 mm
Average 112.2 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
96.3 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
124.6 mm

Midsole width in the heel

However, looking at the sole width in the heel made us a little concerned. At 85.9 mm, the Pyrenees is slightly narrower than average.

But we must say that on foot it never felt like an issue and its heel width is on par with another popular boot, the Salomon Quest 4 GTX (85.7 mm).

You will probably only notice the difference if you're coming from a monster boot like the Hoka Kaha 2 GTX (106.1 mm).

KEEN Pyrenees Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Pyrenees 85.9 mm
Average 88.3 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
71.7 mm
Midsole width in the heel
106.1 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

It is expected that a hiking boot for multi-day adventures should be much stiffer than average. It helps the foot make more surefooted strides under heavy load.

In our flexibility lab test, we bent the KEEN Pyrenees to a 90-degree angle and measured how much force it took to do that. Based on our force gauge measurements, the boot required 47.2N which is 7% more than average.

But it's pretty normal and even "flexible" compared to its closest competition, the Hoka Kaha (41.6N) and the Salomon Quest (62.3N).

Test results
Pyrenees 47.2N
Average 40.2N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
16.6N
Stiffness
84.7N

Difference in stiffness in cold

What fascinated us about the Pyrenees is how little its stiffness changed in cold conditions!

After 20 minutes in the freezer, our force gauge showed that this KEEN boot only stiffened up by 16.6%! As opposed to the average 48.9%.

KEEN Pyrenees flex

Just one more reason to recommend the KEEN Pyrenees for cold weather!

Test results
Pyrenees 16.6%
Average 29%
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
0%
Difference in stiffness in cold
100%

Grip / Traction

Lug depth

In most hiking scenarios, the KEEN Pyrenees gripped the surface really well... Before we encountered stretches of mud, ice, and snow. That's when we kept wishing we had a pair of 5-mm Salomon lugs underfoot.

KEEN Pyrenees outsole

According to the brand, the Pyrenees comes with 4 mm deep lugs. But based on our own caliper measurements, the treads are only 3.6 mm in depth. This may not seem like a big difference but we could definitely feel it on soft terrain.

It's better to reserve this KEEN boot for dry and moderately-technical terrain.

KEEN Pyrenees Lug depth
Test results
Pyrenees 3.6 mm
Average 4.1 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
3.0 mm
Lug depth
5.7 mm

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

If your toes are screaming for space, treat them to a pair of KEEN hiking boots. This brand is very well known for offering some of the widest toeboxes on the market!

And the Pyrenees is no exception, of course.

Measuring the widest part of the boot's forefoot, our caliper showed 108.0 mm. This is significantly wider than average.

KEEN Pyrenees Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Pyrenees 108.0 mm
Average 102.1 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
95.5 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
110.2 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

But wait, there is more! The boot's toebox remains wide even around the big toe! No tapering here, only plenty of room to splay toes.

Measuring the toebox width here we got a whopping 83.5 mm! This is exceptionally wide for a hiking boot, so you can rest assured  - your thickest sock is going to fit right in.

In addition to all of this, the nubuck leather on the Pyrenees is on the soft side and requires almost no break-in period.

KEEN Pyrenees Toebox width at the big toe
Test results
Pyrenees 83.5 mm
Average 79.0 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
67.6 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
91.1 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The KEEN Pyrenees comes with a fully gusseted tongue, leaving no gaps for water to seep through. Not to mention that this setup prevents the tongue from shifting and helps to create a highly secure foothold.

KEEN Pyrenees Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Pyrenees Both sides (full)

Lacing

The Pyrenees’ closure system uses metallic eyelets, the top three pairs of which are hooks. We loved being able to get the boot on and off quickly with the help of these speed hooks.

KEEN Pyrenees lace hook

Once the boot was all laced up, it kept our feet very secure. This was especially noticeable when going downhill as we never experienced any smashing of our toes against the front of the toebox.

Oh, and how cool is that! This KEEN boot arrived with an extra set of red laces to switch up the look.

Comfort

Tongue padding

As befits a backpacking boot, the Pyrenees features a rather generously padded tongue.

Using a caliper, we measured its thickness at 12 mm, which is similar to other boots in this footwear category.

KEEN Pyrenees Tongue padding
Test results
Pyrenees 12.0 mm
Average 11.2 mm
Compared to 21 hiking boots
Number of shoes
5.9 mm
Tongue padding
22.3 mm

Ankle rubbing

But unfortunately, the edge of the tongue caused some notable discomfort that we just couldn't write off.

It felt quite stiff and kept digging into our shins, chafing the area of contact. Our workaround was to not lace the boot all the way up and it worked.

Luckily, the rubbing subsided after a few hikes.

Heel tab

Attached at the back of the collar is a handy finger loop. It really eased our way into the boot.

KEEN Pyrenees Heel tab
Test results
Pyrenees Finger loop

Removable insole

The insole is removable in the KEEN Pyrenees.

KEEN Pyrenees Removable insole
Test results
Pyrenees Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

No reflective elements are to be seen on this KEEN boot. If this feature is important to you, consider the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX.

KEEN Pyrenees Reflective elements
Test results
Pyrenees No

Sustainability

The KEEN brand is very vocal about its approach to a more sustainable manufacturing process. In line with that, it utilizes the following parts in the Pyrenees boot:

  • Leather from LWG-certified tannery (environmentally preferred)
  • PFAS-free water repellent
  • Eco Anti-Odor for natural odor control

KEEN Pyrenees sustainable