I swear I’m starting to turn into a KEENer.
The company has struck gold again with another winning entry into the ongoing “foot-stakes” war of attrition for that coveted outdoors crown, the Ambler light hiking shoe.
The Ambler is the third KEEN shoe/boot offering I’ve tried, and it continues the developing tradition of leaving me thoroughly impressed. When the worst criticism you can muster up about a shoe is its colour, you know you’re on to something good – although it’s difficult to not dwell on the colour.
My pair of Amblers came in a flashy, if not gaudy, colour scheme called Bombay Brown and Wren. Translation: they’re a dullish orange with brown trim. No offence, KEEN… but eeeewwww, and orange is one of my favourite colours.
However, I was quick to note something demographically significant. While men universally disliked the orange, women loved it… so maybe the company is on to something there. In fact, I had to wrestle them away from my wife long enough to write this review… thank God we wear somewhat different sizes, although we’re close enough that I think she’ll be appropriating them in the near future for an extended try-out.
Anyway, when it comes to walking/hiking shoes, I have a mental checklist of what I want and need in the footwear. Comfort, grip, durability and fit are my top criteria, and KEEN has done a wonderful job of over-producing them in this shoe. It’s almost obscenely comfortable, grips like glue, and fits well. I found the shoe ran a trifle long in the toes, but that’s just me being picky.
It’s too soon to tell about their durability, but I have little concern about that when I look at their overall construction.
KEEN is a true gift to me, since I’m very hard to fit properly. I wear, depending on the brand, a Men’s 9 2E or even a 4E, with a high forefoot and arch and a disproportionately narrow heel. I think KEEN had me in mind with their shoes, since width and height has never been a problem. And that’s coming from someone who once drove a shoe-store clerk to distraction after a two-hour marathon to find a light hiking shoe that fit properly.
The Amblers are simply awesome walking shoes, no matter the terrain. I’ve taken them from the Bruce Trail to rail trails to the concrete canyon and jungle of downtown Toronto without even a hint of a problem. That’s impressive to find a shoe that adapts that well to such diverse conditions.
They’re extremely light as well, always a plus, and do well in wet conditions, although I wouldn’t call them a true amphibious shoe in the genre of the KEEN Cimmaron set I also own.
I truly think that, depending on your needs, you just can’t go wrong with these shoes. Now get out there and give me five – miles, that is.