KEEN Durand Low WP review

11Aug15
KEEN Durand

KEEN Durand

I had high hopes of producing a video review of the gear Stu and I had the opportunity to test out during our #EpicDangerRoadTrip in June, but suffice to say, I do much better behind the camera than in front of one. So a static review will have to do… trust me! I will finish the video at some point so y’all can have a good laugh in due time. But first: KEEN.

Continuing a legacy of quality and proudly American-built, the latest KEEN offering shines on the trail and laughs at water. Mwhahahaha.

The Durand Low WP follows the classic KEEN style: leather upper with mesh tongue and accents for breathability. The proprietary KEEN.Dry waterproofing is flawless, it shrugged off all the water I threw at it. Generous heel loops make getting them on a breeze. The outsole and lug pattern are top-notch. The sole (they call it dual compound rubber) feels kin to a climbing approach shoe, making for sure footing on the trail, and it’s built so well, I can easily see hundreds of miles ahead in these. The toebox is also quite roomy, giving your piggies plenty of room to swell, splay and be happy.

On the Rock Jock Trail in the Linville Gorge.

On the Rock Jock Trail in the Linville Gorge.

We hiked 40 miles on our road trip, searching out some of the most dangerous and treacherous trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains region and I was very pleased with their performance. The remote Eagle Creek Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was a perfect testing ground: 15 creek crossings in 9 miles (top photo).  While we didn’t have time to find all 15, we did manage a handful in the first part of the trail and the toes came through dry. As with all WP footwear, waterproofing works both ways: and my Durands got soaked during a massive rainstorm, making them tough to air out. While breathable, the KEEN.Dry still holds in some water, so be sure to air your feet out as much as possible if you get swamped.

The KEEN website has some notes on the fit, and recommends that you go up a half size when ordering. My (much) older pair of KEEN’s tended to run large…  my normal size is 9, but they fit in the old 8.5 just fine. The Durand’s I initially got were size 9.5, but were far too large and loose. The size 9 fit me much better,  so be sure to try them on first if you get the chance. Another note on fitting: I tend to lace & tie my boots tightly, which caused a couple points under the tongue to painfully rub the top of my foot, so I ended up loosening the laces which alleviated the pain.

On the Eagle Creek Trail.

On the Eagle Creek Trail.

Overall, I am very impressed with the Durand line, and the Low WP boots lived up to my every expectation with only a few downsides. And at a price point of $160, they are right in line with many other waterproof offerings. The Durand line also includes a mid-height boot and a stout winter version that I can’t wait to get my feet in… now go grab some and hit the trail!

Disclaimer: my Durands were provided to me at no cost for the sake of evaluation and my thoughts/comments are my own. Photos of me by Stuart Peck.

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