Every once in a while, I get a request to review a piece of gear, clothing or book. The person sending the email sees that my blog concentrates on the outdoor life and wants an honest review.
If the item deals with hiking or the outdoors, I say “yes”. That’s how I got to review the Keen Voyager shoes/boots.A testing lab, Solelabz.com asked me my foot size and sent me the Keen Voyager Boots.
I saw this as two tests. First, did they fit? Second what did the boots feel like when I hiked in them? Let’s take the second question first.
How I test the shoes
When I received the boots in the mail, I pulled out my best pair of light hiking socks to wear with the Keen Voyageur. I walked around the house, up and down the stairs but not outside yet, just in case I needed to return them.
They fit well. They were comfortable with a good-size toe box and gripped well. They passed the house test.
The next day, I took them out for a walk in the neighborhood. I walked to Beaver Lake and tried them on pavement, street, and trail around the lake. But it was just about four miles. How would they do on a real hike?
Now, if you look at the picture above, note that the Voyager is a low boot. To quote the manufacturer, hiking in the Voyagers is like opening a window and filling your stuffy apartment with fresh air.
Solelabz says that this pair of hiking shoes is one of the top-rated on the market today. So I took them to Dupont State Forest on a wet, drizzly Carolina Mountain Club hike. The boots stayed comfortable on varied surfaces. Dupont has trails, logging roads, pavement and lots of wet rocks around the waterfalls.
The manufacturer claims that it’s the right boot for daily walks to light hikes. To me, trekking in Europe and on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail past the mountains is light hiking. You’re walking on pavement, unpaved roads and some forest trail. A high boot would be overkill.
I wore a light boot on Le Chemin de St. Jacques for 440 miles across France and would use the Voyager for another section of the Camino de Santiago.
In the Southern Appalachians, I will wear the boots at Bent Creek, certain trails in the Smokies that aren’t too rocky, birding and, of course, at Dupont State Forest.
Here’s the first test.
This is my first experience with getting shoes of any kind through the mail. I really hesitated to accept this chance to review the boots. I didn’t think they would get a fair shot if I got the size wrong. But I told them my boot size and gave them two sizes – if the boots ran big and if they ran small, wide and narrow. And they fit. Amazing.
By now, you, dear reader, are saying. “Sounds great, Danny, but how much do they cost?”
I could say that I have no idea because Solelabz didn’t tell me. So I looked them up. They retail for $115, according to the Keen website.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might notice that I only give good review. Am I being bought? No! I tell the sender that I don’t give negative reviews. No point to advertising bad stuff. So if I review here, it’s all good.
Here’s the full manufacturer’s description
The Voyager is a crossover between hiking boot stability and the technology of the running shoe. It’ll keep you covered for anything ranging from daily walks to light hikes.
The main Voyager’s striking point is its superior ventilation. The upper is mostly mesh, which ensures an athletic level of breathability. The trademark Keen rugged construction is also here, so torsional stability demanded by the rough trails is guaranteed. S3 Technology developed by Keen focuses on trail-worthy performance by addressing shock, stability, and suspension.
The outsole is hard, with lugs going in multiple directions for ultimate grip. A compression-molded dual-density midsole is paired with metatomical removable footbed for all-day comfort. Keen’s patented construction of the toe bumper is also featured, giving extra durability and safety to the Voyager.