Jeremy Collins' Next Approach with the KEEN Versago Hiking Shoe
KEEN Ambassador Jeremy Collins is a climber who has pioneered more than 300 new routes in the United States and climbed extensively internationally with notable first ascents in Argentina, Venezuela, Canada, and China. We tagged along on a recent red-rock excursion in Nevada to chat about footwear and the freedom of being out in nature.
How do you define versatility?
Versatility is reliability. I need to rely on my footwear to adapt to changing scenarios and be prepared for my spontaneity.
BEYOND YOUR PROFESSIONAL INVOLVEMENT, WHAT ABOUT NATURE DRAWS YOU OUTSIDE?
Being outside is the only place I’ve ever felt at home. When the weather is bad, or I’m injured, I feel homesick. Nature is what balances me.
WHERE WAS THE SHOOT? LOCATION AND TIME OF DAY?
We hit the trail early before dawn in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THAT LOCATION?
Red Rock is one of my go-to's. Even though it’s 40 minutes from Vegas, you can find solitude easily. The deep canyon walls are where I learned to be a climber and it holds a very special place in my heart.
The day started out distracted for me honestly. I had a lot of emails to answer, decisions to make, and work to do. But the farther from the pavement we got, the quieter the obligations became.
WOULD YOU USE THE VERSAGO AS AN APPROACH SHOE?
Absolutely. It’s light and airy which is great for the majority of climbing I do.
DESCRIBE THE DAY OF THE SHOOT. WHAT VIBES WERE IN THE AIR AND IN YOUR HEART?
The day started out distracted for me honestly. I had a lot of emails to answer, decisions to make, and work to do. But the farther from the pavement we got, the quieter the obligations became. I was really looking forward to the climb. We were headed to a north-facing route with a 600-foot sustained, but technical, climb.
BEYOND TRAVELING ON YOUR PROFESSIONAL EXCURSIONS, WHERE ELSE WOULD YOU WEAR THE VERSAGO?
Sockless for a run on the beach. With jeans to a BBQ. The outsole is not too aggressive so I’d slackline in it. Light runs, short hikes, and just kickin’ it.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGN ELEMENT ON THIS SHOE?
The wrap-around tongue-sock is my favorite, but I also REALLY like the upper. The fabric is breathable and light. I noticed it immediately hiking in the desert, it had that sandal lightness, breathability and kept out debris and sand. I also really like the heel cup on KEEN's light hiker collection—the Versatrail and Versago products. It's distinct and functional, plus I like the way it looks.
WHAT MAKES THIS PRODUCT STAND OUT AMONGST THE REST OF THE FAST, LIGHT HIKERS IN THE MARKET?
It’s not trying to be something it’s not. It’s a light hiker for sure, and I can see it in the gym, yoga class, and at the bar.
For more climbing inspiration, and to see Jeremy's latest illustrations, you can follow him on Instagram at @jercollins_com