Ramblings of Spring and Cute Shoes – KEEN Haven CNX

Is Spring here yet? I’m sure some of you across the country are enjoying springtime, say in northern California where it’s dry and 60 degrees for much of the year. But for us in the upper Midwest, spring this year has involved a lot of snow and temps in the mid-30s.

Keen Haven CNX. CNX is Keen's newly released slimmed down line of shoes.

KEEN Haven CNX. CNX is KEEN’s newly released slimmed down line of shoes.

What makes it harder is that I have cute new pair of KEEN Haven CNX shoes that I’ve been wanted to wear for months, however the problem is that they’re really not made with 100 percent snow-covered ground in mind. Not many shoes are good on snow, but we runners-up here have a trick – you put about ten 3/8-inch long stainless steel sheet metal screws into the soles of your shoes from the bottom so the screw heads provide the grip. Instant traction, especially on snow and ice. However, I was not going to screw my new, cute spring shoes!

“Spring break” for my family was the first week in April. It should have been a great time to try out my shoes – after all, they are a bright spring color. Most of the snow actual melted nearing the last weekend of break – yippy! As I was set to drive the kiddos to a mega wood playground where I could literally run around and play on my new shoes, and you guessed it – it started snowing…hard.

Plan B, two days later: Let’s head to a local orienteering meet at a State Park on the Mississippi River just northeast of St. Paul. I would try out the shoes in the snow and muck. I was tired of waiting, tired of the shoes just sitting there looking cute, and ready to see how they performed.

My new, cute shoes before embarking on a snowy and muddy orienteering course

My new, cute shoes before embarking on a snowy and muddy orienteering course

The shoes are not really constructed for pure running, but my feet are forgiving, and I can run in many multi-sport shoes and the like for short periods without problem. Furthermore, using orienteering to test the performance would be perfect as orienteering courses put you onto a multitude of surfaces from pavement to rocky (and snowy) streambeds to muddy hillsides.

The fit of the shoes was very good – they have a glove-like feel. For a minimal shoe, at 8.2 oz, they are flexible enough to allow easy maneuverability, yet stiff enough to allow you stability on say uneven, rocky streambeds.

No worse for the wear - I was impressed that with all the muck I went through, these shoes didn't pick it up.

No worse for the wear – I was impressed that with all the muck I went through, these shoes didn’t pick it up.

I was also impressed at how dry my feel stayed after running through 8 inches of snow for about 30 minutes of the course. The shoes are not waterproof, but the outer construction material didn’t attract moisture. The moisture that did get in was not too uncomfortable due to the moisture wicking lining within the shoe – and I was smartly wearing wool socks.

Oh, and not to forget my favorite part about of KEEN shoes in general – the toe protection. The outsole of KEEN shoes wrap up and over your toes, making stubbing your toe nearly impossible. While orienteering or trail running, you kick rocks period. But if you’re wearing KEEN shoes, your toes are not throbbing afterward. Anytime I stub my toe while wearing other shoes, I remember why I like my KEEN shoes so much.

Bottom Line: When in doubt, go light. That’s my motto for most athletic gear. The lighter it is, the less it slows you down.  When wearing the KEEN Haven CNX, you almost have to remember that you’re not barefoot. I would consider the Havens a top-notch performance multi-sport athletic shoe, and they’re not bad-looking either. Dare I say cute?

For more information on KEEN Footwear, visit http://www.keenfootwear.com.

About the author

Molly Cochran

Molly is a self-proclaimed adventure addict who participates in a number of sports - ultra running, mountain biking, orienteering, kayaking, snowshoeing, triathlon, nordic skiing, and adventure racing.

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