SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Gear Review: Keen Voyageur Shoes, Winterport Boots and Merino Wool Socks

Keen has always kept me safe and confident on the snowshoe trails – year after year.  What many people don’t understand is that Keen’s trail shoes are perfect for snowshoeing.  Keen’s trademark rubber sole – curving over the toe of the shoe – fits wonderfully with most snowshoe bindings.  Keen shoes are convenient on many levels: They’re rugged, tough, stylish, and engineered to withstand the cold outdoor elements.  This past season, I had the chance to test two different Keen boots, the Voyageur and Winterport, in combination with two different Keen merino wool socks.  After my review, I concluded only one thing: Same as usual…Keen products never disappoint.  

Voyageur

The Voyageur boasts a mesh lining that replaces a waterproof barrier, on either side of the shoe.  This automatically caused me to be concerned; how would this feature hold up in snowshoes?  Turns out, not too bad…the shoes performed as advertised.  The mesh lining provided some much-needed airflow.  However, because the Voyageur is a low-ankle shoe, I used gaiters to prevent snow and moisture from ruining my day.  Just another day on the trails!  Overall, the Voyageur is a comfortable shoe, similar to its predecessors, the Targhee II and Newport Trail WP.  

For a review of the Targhee II, click here.  For a review of the Newport Trail II, click here

Features:

Weight: 15.06oz / 427 grams
Lining: Moisture Wicking Textile
Upper: Leather, Webbing, Mesh
Rubber: Non-marking rubber outsole
Fit Tip: We find this style runs about a 1/2 size small.
Activities: Hiking
Type: Shoes

– 4mm multi-directional lugs
– Dual Density Compression Molded EVA Midsole
– KEEN toe protection
– Non-marking rubber outsole
– Removable metatomical footbed
– S3 Heel support structure
– Torsion stability ESS shank

Winterport

My Winterport boots are there for when I shovel the snow off my driveway.  They’re my go-to slip-on boots when I run outside in my robe to get the morning paper.  They’re flexible for everyday use and provide a powerful addition to any gear arsenal.  I tested the Winterport boots in an all-day backcountry snowshoe trek and never experienced a cold-toe problem or uncomfortable moisture issue.  

So what’s my favorite Winterport feature?  I enjoy the Winterport’s built-in gaiter system with adjustable quick-draw elastic cord.  With the elastic cord, you can comfortably cinch the gaiters around your ankle.  If you need a boot that matches the quality of cold-weather Sorels and the toughness of Scarpas, try the Keen Winterport boots.  They’re a reliable boot that will be there for you no matter what you’re doing in the snow.

Features:

Weight: 24oz. 680 grams
Lining: KEEN.DRY Waterproof / breathable textile
Upper: Leather, Synthetics
Rubber: Dual Climate Carbon Non Marking Rubber
Fit Tip: We find this style runs about a 1/2 size small.
Activities: Snow
Type: Cold Weather Boots
Weather: Cold – insulated

– 200g KEEN.WARM insulation
– Dual climate rubber outsole
– Dual density compression molded EVA footbed
– KEEN.DRY Waterproof breathable membrane
– Molded rubber Shellback
– Quick draw elastic cord lace
– Removable metatomical Footbed
– Thermal heat shield footbed

Socks – M Boulder Canyon Crew Mid & Wildwood 3/4 Crew Lite

Merino Wool is an up-and-coming material – derived from Merino sheep (thought to have the finest and softest wool).  As most snowshoers know, wearing wool socks is as important as wearing sunscreen in the blazing sun.  Wool socks wick-away moisture and keep your feet dry, unlike cotton.  

Important snowshoeing tip: Never wear cotton socks when snowshoeing!  

Keen’s socks compliment its lineup of trailhead shoes and boots.  They’re cushioned, comfortable and are conveniently labeled with an R (for Right) and L (for Left).  This means that Keen has engineered its socks to fit accurately and fit according to its merino wool technology.  But, unlike other brands, Keen has designed a lineup of socks that reinforce impact points on your foot and provide “moisture management.”  Sweet!

M Boulder Canyon Crew Features:

Material: Merino Wool 60%, Nylon 35%, Lycra Spandex 3%, Polyester 2%

– Air panels to promote air circulation
– Anatomical Flex Fit system reduces bunching of material underneath feet
– Hiking sock has cushioning from top of welt to toe for more impact reduction and moisture management
– Merino wool regulates temperature and wicks moisture from skin
– Ravel free double welt top to keep socks up
– Reinforced toe and heel for extra durability
– Y heel pockets for better fit

Wildwood 3/4 Crew Lite Features:

Material: Merino Wool 60%, Nylon 35%, Lycra ® Spandex 3%, Polyester 2%

– Air panels to promote air circulation
– Anatomical Flex Fit system reduces bunching of material underneath feet
– Cushioning from top of the welt to the foot bottom for impact reduction and moisture management
– Lite Hiking sock is anatomically designed to fit his right and left foot
– Merino wool regulates temperature and wicks moisture from skin
– Natural merino wool colored wool used in leg to reduce the use of dye
– Ravel free double welt top to keep socks up
– Y heel pockets for better fit

For more information about Keen Footwear, visit www.keenfootwear.com.  To purchase a pair of Keen Voyageur shoes, click here.  To purchase a pair of Keen Winterport boots, click here.  To purchase Keen socks, click here.