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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Keen Explore Vent and WP Low Boots > Test Report by joe schaffer

Keen Explore Vent shoes
Test Series
by Joe Schaffer

INITIAL REPORT - August 10, 2019
FIELD REPORT - October 30, 2019
LONG TERM REPORT - January 10, 2020

NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
AGE: 71
HEIGHT: 5'9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (79.4 kg)
SHOE SIZE: 9 (wide, when available)
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

    I started backpacking in 1959. I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year; about 30 solo. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair, etc. This year's summer trips have been 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day. I winter camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); 1 to 4 miles (1.6 to 6.4 km) on


The Product:
        Manufacturer: Keen
        Web site:
        Product: Explore shoe
        Color: Climbing Ivy/Olivine
        Received: 8/6/19

Vendor description:
    4mm multi-directional lugs
    Stability shank
    Konnectfit heel-capture system
    Radial support system
    Notch in back for achilles

    Performance mesh upper with TPU overlays
    KEEN All-Terrain rubber outsole
    EVA midsole
    Breathable mesh lining
    Removable PU footbed with arch support

MSRP: $110 US

My measures:
    weight: L 13 1/8 oz (374 g)
    weight: R 12 1/2 oz (355 g)
    weight: Pair 26 3/4 oz (730 g)
    length: 11 1/2 in (29.2 cm)
    max width at heel: 3 5/16 in (8.4 cm)
    max width at forefoot: 4 5/16 in (11 cm)
     shoesExplore Vent low-cut hiker appears to have three main attributes: 1) Light; 2) Breathable; 3) Traction.

    The shoe has very minimal ribbing. A rubber rand covers the front of the toe box. The outer shoe is breathable, coarse-weave nylon. Inner lining offers a heavily padded tongue, anchored to the sides of the shoe with nylon panels. Laces pass through holes, supported by fabric 'eyelets' sewn only at the bottom of the small loop. Two upper-most lacing holes are reinforced with metal eyelets, with the top eyelet having no fabric loop. There is one pass-through webbing loop on the top side of the tongue. Laces are round. The cuff is moderately padded and has an achilles notch. A pull tab is affixed just below this notch. The two-layer sole sports 43 aggressive traction lugs with 4 lateral lugs at the toe and 3 at the heel. The sole is about 1 1/4 in (3 cm) thick at the heel, tapering to about 3/4 in (2 cm) at the toe, including the insole. The removeable insole has an added increment of cushioning at the heel.


  Explore feels very light on the feet. I can't say I feel the difference in weight between the two shoes, but I wonder why the right shoe is 5/8 oz (19 gm) lighter than the left. The pull tab is an interesting feature. There's no-muss-no-fuss getting hold of it as is often the case with a fabric loop, but my old fingers have to rely on pure strength to remain ahold of it.

fit: These shoes fit my feet very nicely. Though my foot seems wide for many shoes, there is no tightness over the forefoot. Heel lift is not an issue.
    comfort: The shoes feel teriffic. The multi-layer upper construction seems to breathe really well; a trail test is yet to come. The soft nature of the sole makes them feel like cloud-walking--on a smooth surface, anyway.

    lacing: Laces don't slip very easily through the eyes. Slippage resistance is great when the shoe is on, but a little frustrating for a Type A to get the shoe on and laced. The sides of the shoes are not overly firm and yield to spreading as the laces give way for pulling the shoe on or off.

    tongue: The generous tongue's anti-migration panels hold the tongue in place, a feature I prefer.

    tread: Aggressive lugs across most of the sole suggest great traction without the siping or cross-hatching that typically holds mud and dog poop tightly in place.

    suspension: These shoes provide a soft ride in the house. Part of the testing will be to determine if the sole, especially at the heel, becomes spongey. The soft and very flexible insole seems insufficient.

    rubble isolation: My old arthritic feet are not expecting much isolation from trail rocks and rubble given the flexible nature of the sole, and that expectation will be tested without any backpack weight.

    stability: The shoes offer the kind of lateral support I prefer, especially in a low-cut. I turn ankles easily. If the count is low for this shoe as I expect in the test, I'll be able to keep track

    manufacturing quality: I don't find a single defect.

    style: They are really comfortable. That suits me. The shoe displays no arrogance of design in color, ribbing, lacing or any other aspect that I'd interpret to be marketing more than function.


    Aug 15-Oct 26, 2019: Urban wear, sunny and dry. Walking on concrete and driving.

    Total wearing: 66 1/2 hours / 12 mi (19 km)

    Shoe fit is great. I often require a little more width in the toe box, and these shoes have exactly what I need. The suspension suits me well--I like a bit of heel lift and what I would regard as a firm but cushioned ride. I haven't stepped on anything that bent through the sole enough to make my feet hurt. The very wide heel provides great lateral support. No tongue migration. They don't stink. So far no sign of wear on any part.

    The shoes seem a little hot for summer wear. The laces are hard to pull, though consequently they stay in place. With the 'non-slip' laces and my nature of unwillingness to fish them out each time I put the shoes on, I find it hard to slip my foot in. The tab on the heel for pulling the shoe offers me no assistance as I can't pinch it tightly enough to get adequate traction. A shoe horn works better.

    Nov 2-Jan 9, 2020: More urban wear, sunny and dry. Walking on concrete and driving.

    Total cumulative wearing: 85 1/2 hours / 29 mi (46 km)

    Above impressions remain unchanged. Never had occasion to walk in the rain, so no chance to observe the shoe's wet performance. They still look new--no sign of wear; or any degradation in the suspension. I never found myself scuffing as a result of the heel sole width; and I never turned an ankle. I've spent a lot of hours in the shoes, along with a little walking, and they have developed no odor at all. The shoes can be a little warmish on a hot day, but overall I find them very comfortable walk-abouts.

Quick Shots:
    a) comfortable
    b) well made
    c) light
    d) good lateral support

Thank you Keen and for the opportunity to test this product. This report concludes the test.

Read more reviews of Keen gear
Read more gear reviews by joe schaffer

Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Keen Explore Vent and WP Low Boots > Test Report by joe schaffer

Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

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