SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Gear Review: Keen Shellrock WP and Austin Shoes

Shoes are necessary in life.  Likewise, snowshoes are as well (if you live in Antarctica).  A well-made pair of shoes is paramount to any snowshoe outing…and for any outing in general.  Shoes’ importance is illustrated perfectly in the movie “Die Hard.”  In the film, Bruce Willis’ character John McClain is caught up in a terrorist attack without shoes.  Throughout the movie, John’s shoeless adventures eventually lead him into a great deal of pain.  “Shoot the glass!”  That’s all I have to say.

Shoes are important to the essential protection of your feet.  And likewise, shoes are important to your snowshoe outing; they must be warm and bulletproof to get you through the trudges of snowshoeing.  Keen Footwear always obliges. 

So, here are my thoughts on Keen’s latest additions – the Shellrock WP and the Austin.  Although these shoes aren’t your typical snowshoeing choices, I wanted to test their waterproofness.  I big A+ from me!  Both shoes performed as advertised…and looked debonair as well.  That’s right, I look for performance AND style.

Although the Shellrocks were more suited for the outdoors, the Austins had a sleek design.  I was thoroughly impressed with both shoes.  The Shellrocks worked well in snowshoeing conditions, while the Austins performed well in metro conditions.  I’m glad to have the opportunity to try both.  And it’s not too often that I get to try a “street” shoe as opposed to a trail running shoe that works with snowshoeing.

Here are some brief thoughts…

Shellrock WP in the Trailhead category:

*The design is great and they have a very rugged look
*Very breathable despite being waterproof (you don’t often find low-cut shoes that are waterproof)
*You can wear them all day, but you don’t look forward to taking them off when you get home
*Extremely lightweight
*They fit my feet better than my Merrells. They have a little bit more of an athletic fit.

Features include:

*Heel motion stabilizer
*KEEN.DRY waterproof breathable membrane
*S3 Heel support structure
*Seamless waterproof breathable upper
*Sticky rubber traction
*Stone bruising protection plate
*Toe protection
*Torsion stability ESS shank
*Y-Forefoot Flex Grooves

Austin in the Blvd category:

*Plenty of room in the toe without being bulky
*Very good arch support but not too much to be uncomfortable
*These are also very comfortable and do not require a “breaking-in” period
*Low around the ankle bone

Features include:

*Classic wallabee lace design
*Leather and moisture-wicking textile lining
*Waterproof leather upper

For more information on Keen Footwear, visit www.KeenFootwear.com.

To purchase the Austin shoes on Backcountry.com, click here.  To purchase the Shellrock WP shoes on Backcountry.com, click here