Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Gear Closet: Keen Revel II Hiking Boots
Arriving just in time for winter, Keen has just started shipping their new Revel II hiking boots, which have some innovative new features to help keep our feet warm on cold weather hikes. They also manage to maintain Keen's typical high level of durability and comfort while also managing to look good in the process.
Keen has designed the Revel II to have a more traditional look when compared to some of the other footwear in their line-up. These boots have a more understated appearance that makes them feel right at home on the trail, and the high ankle support is a welcome addition to what may be the most sturdy dedicated hiking boots in the Keen catalog.
One of the features of this boot that helps them to stand out from the crowd and makes them a good choice for winter hiking is what Keen calls their Heat Trapolator Insulation System. This patent pending design includes three layers of insulation for the foot that helps keep warmth inside the shoe. This extends under the foot as well, helping to keep the bottoms of our feet toast warm. This approach makes a lot of sense considering that when hiking on snow and ice, much of the cold temperatures emanate from the ground itself.
Keeping our feet comfortable doesn't end with simply staying warm however. The Revel II boots are also waterproof to keep excess moisture out, while a breathable, wicking liner helps to pull moisture away from the foot too. The result is a boot that keeps your feet dry in all but the worst of conditions. When paired with a good pair of socks, most hikers will be ready to face the elements with a smile on their face.
As mentioned, these boots are very comfortable, which is a Keen trademark for sure. I did find that the break-in period for these shoes was a bit longer than some of the other Keen boots that I've worn, but once they did loosen up, they felt as good on my feet as I had expected. For a full-size, rugged boot, they are also lighter in weight than they would appear at first glance, although it doesn't seem that Keen has had to sacrifice any durability in achieving this svelte design.
The Revel II's aggressive outsole does a good job of holding their grip on both dry and wet surfaces, although once again there was a short break-in period before this happened. Out of the box, the bottom of the shoes felt smooth and slick but after wearing them for a bit, they seemed to improve. I'm not sure if my pair of boots shipped from the factory with a slick coating on the bottom, but traction certainly improved after putting a bit of mileage on them.
If you're in the market for a pair of hiking boots that are suitable for cool, or even cold weather hikes, than Keen's new offering may be exactly what you're looking for. They are comfortable, durable and perform well on snow and ice. They also happen to have traditional good looks and sturdy construction that should make them last for years to come. Available for $160, these aren't the least expensive shoes available from Keen, but they just might be the most capable hiking boots the company currently makes.