Pros and Cons
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Filed under:Footwear, Gear reviews, Trekking Boots, boots, hiking boots, Keen, NXIS EVO, Waterproof boots
Keen's latest boot is aimed at fast hikers and combines durable materials with a lightweight design.
Keen say that the NXIS EVO “combines all the stability and comfort of the brand’s legendary, multi-award-winning hiker, the Targhee, with the flexibility, lightness and support of a trail runner.”
We’ve been wearing this lightweight boot for several months now and really put it to the test throughout the Scottish Highlands and the Lake District, using it daily in a variety of weather conditions and terrain.
When trying on the boots for the first time – in our regular size – it was obvious that they’ve kept the roomy toebox that lends to the comfortableness of Keen footwear, though they did feel slightly snug around the midfoot. It was tempting to size up, but, as the length was correct, we decided to give them a chance. After breaking in the boots – which only took a couple of short hikes – they fitted perfectly. Fit obviously varies widely, but it is worth noting in case you find yourself in the same situation.
Let’s start by saying that these boots are a very lightweight option at just 332g per boot. While they lack in weight, durability and sturdiness has not been compromised. They have a lightweight mesh upper that has held up incredibly well, even when up against rock, bracken and brambles. We’ve been testing them throughout the wetter months, and they’ve kept our feet perfectly dry, even when plodding through puddles or streams, thanks to the KEEN.DRY waterproof membrane (that is also very breathable). The boots have also been treated with PFC-free, durable water repellent – something that Keen has been committed to since 2014.
It’s safe to say that this is a three-season boot although we have used it without issue during the winter months where temperatures didn’t drop too low. The KEEN.ALL-TERRAIN rubber outsole and 4mm multi-directional lugs – such as you’d find on a trail runner – performed well in a variety of conditions; we had no problem on rock, mud, grassy slopes or even a light covering of snow. There was certainly adequate support underfoot for most hikes, and even lightweight overnight trips. We’d certainly wear these on multi-day treks where a heavy pack wasn’t required, such as a hut-to-hut trek like the Tour de Mont Blanc (the boots excel over long distances due to the comfort level provided and also their ability to cope with different terrains), however, we’d probably go for a chunkier boot where a heavier pack was necessary.
As promised, Keen have delivered a boot that is both lightweight and comfortable, while also being sturdy and protective. Durability and protection has been added through the addition of TPU overlays on the mesh, and a toe cap. The split toe reduces weight and adds to the flexibility. Speaking of flexibility, we found the
NXIS EVOs to offer plenty – comparable to a trail runner. Again, this adds to the comfort level.
When it comes to the uppers, Keen have not compromised on comfort and we found the padding around the ankle to be sufficient and positioned well. The KonnectFit heel-capture system works well and we’ve experienced almost no lifting. The NXIS EVOs were easy to lace and achieve a good fit that didn’t loosen off. The lace system is not fancy, but the webbing system is surprisingly easy to use to achieve a good fit. There is a single set of hooks at the collar that help to get a snug fit as well. They have a pull loop at the back, but we’ve never had to use it as the boots are super easy to put on and remove when unlaced.
Overall, Keen have done a great job with this shoe, and we’ve found it both light and comfortable, but also surprisingly durable. For those who prefer shoes, there’s also a low version of the NXIS available for a tenner less.
More info: www.keenfootwear.com