Gear Review: KEEN Portsmouth Shoe

It’s no secret that KEEN makes some seriously comfortable footwear. First the sandals, then the approach shoes, then the hiking boots … my love affair with KEEN is well documented.

Now the company has come out and created a casual wallabee-style shoe that incorporates all of the performance features you’d expect from an outdoor-oriented gear maker with a lace up style that’s as at home on the weekends as it is around the office (at least my office).

The Portsmouth shoes feature a water resistant leather upper and a moisture wicking lining to keep your feet warm and dry despite whatever the elements throw at you. They also boast a non-marking rubber outsole for grippy performance in all conditions. The “metatomical” footbed is engineered for arch support and to cradle the foot in motion – like pretty much every other KEEN shoe you’ve ever worn – while the well-known KEEN toe protector wraps up and over the toes for all over protection.

Yes, they perform like KEENs. No, they don’t look like them.

So how do they fit? True to size, according to KEEN, with the same “wide toe” fit that any KEEN wearer knows well. For walking around town, they’re great, and provide just enough ankle support for everyday use. I can’t say I would feel particularly comfortable wearing them in the backcountry – at least I wouldn’t want to scuff up the leather, or otherwise mar an otherwise perfectly nice walking shoe – but they are more than beefy enough for what I usually throw at my shoes.

The nice thing is, as city shoes the Portsmouth doesn’t look like a high performance shoe. They are water resistant, yes, but they look like standard leather lace-ups. They are super supportive in the arch department, but they aren’t orthopedic specials. They feature heavy duty rubber soles, but they don’t wear like a pair of hiking boots.

The KEEN Portsmouth is available in one color – a dark tan “bison” that I think looks nice with jeans – at an MSRP of $100. For more information visit KEEN. To purchase the KEEN Portsmouth shoes, click here.

About the author

Tim Sprinkle

Tim Sprinkle is a Denver-based writer and editor whose work has appeared in dozens of publications, including Outside, Backpacker and Wired.

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