KEEN-parison: Which Waterproof Backpacking Boots Do I Need?
Miles of trail to explore, a surprise flock of pheasants, and waking up in the middle of a valley to see the morning fog roll in. It doesn’t get much better than that. Now that recreational areas and national parks are opening up again, backpacking can offer outdoor activity that limits social contact while providing peace and reflection along the way. (Read more about how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we spend time outside and the importance of recreating responsibly.)
If you’ve ever been backpacking, you know that along with all that huffing, puffing, packing, unpacking, cowboy coffee, and dehydrated soup, comes true reward. And if you’re new to backpacking, welcome to the club. We can’t wait to greet you out on the trail.
When it comes to backpacking boots, every seasoned hiker knows (and every newbie will soon find out) that the happiness of your feet can be the difference between an epic backpacking adventure or three (or more) days of pure torture. And since here at KEEN we happen to be in the happy-feet business, we make boots that keep your feet supported, comfy, and excited about the miles ahead. After all, you have much more important things to do out there on the trail. Like finding that perfect tree branch to hold up your gravity water filter, or reflecting on your life’s purpose as you meander down a meadow trail through a sea of wildflowers. Check out some of our favorite backpacking boot options below and get stuff-sacking.
|BACKPACKING BOOTS||Full-length stability shank||Heel brake for descent||KonnectFit heel-stability||Available in wide version|
Before we dig into the nitty-gritty about each of these styles, first things first. Every single one of these backpacking boots is waterproof and Consciously Created with environmentally preferred leather and Eco Anti-Odor, so that hours in your boots during the day doesn’t stink up your tent at night. And, speaking of those long hours hiking, each pair comes equipped with arch support to keep feet feeling good all day, as well as grippy rubber outsoles for durability and traction mile after mile (after mile).
Wild Sky: So, you’ve mastered the day hike and you’re ready for multi-day adventures with the equivalent weight of a three-year-old kid on your back? Look no further than the men’s and women’s Wild Sky boots. An everyday hiker that’s built like a backpacking boot, this pair opens up your trail possibilities. Designed with support right where you need it most, the KonnectFit heel-capture system gives your heel a supportive feel without being restrictive. Add in a durable, environmentally-preferred leather upper and a grippy KEEN.ALL-TERRAIN rubber outsole, and you’re ready to hit the trail running (at least until you realize that out of excitement, you left your pack in the car).
KEEN Targhee II boots
Targhee II: There’s a good reason why our Targhee boots have stuck around in our lineup since 2005. They are total workhorses. One of our bestsellers for a reason, these women’s and men’s hiking boots are versatile, durable, and come equipped with an aggressive outsole that locks onto loose or slick terrain. Plus, we make one for every foot under the sun. We have a women’s version, men’s version, wide fit, low cut (for those training hikes leading up to your big trip), and a mid cut, so you’re bound to find a pair that fits like a glove (and hikes like a mountain goat).
Durand II: Weekend trips or week-long excursions, backpacking is all about getting out there and getting in some restorative time in nature. In order to make the most of your time, you need a pair of boots that can take the abuse of whatever conditions you find yourself in. Our men’s and women’s Durand backpacking boots are made in America, out of materials you can depend on. A midsole made for resilient cushioning and a rugged outsole keep you comfortable and on track so you can get to where you’re headed (and enjoy the views along the way). We think that KEEN fan Tara VanHaaster put it best, “It's pretty humbling to think of the places your own feet can take you if you're not afraid to try."
KEEN Karraig boots
Karraig: Picture this. The weather has taken an unexpected turn, the trail has turned into a muddy slip-and-slide, and you still have eight more miles before you hit camp. Turns out, it’s no big deal (if you have the right footwear for the job, of course). Inspired by the wet and rugged conditions common in European trekking, these men’s boots are our most technical backpacking boots yet. Designed for the unknown conditions of the backcountry, this pair supports every step with a full-length stability shank and a heel brake design that makes rocky descents easy on your feet. If you’re into off-the-grid adventure, pack your bag, grab your personal locator beacon, and lace up tight in these European-made boots.
For many hikers, backpacking is a true test of ability. Mastering camp cooking or smelling out a false lead comes with time, but you can stay comfortable and supported while you’re learning in KEEN backpacking boots.