By Kim Fuller Published on Gear Institute
On a recent trip to British Columbia in Canada, these boots barely left my feet. Our group toured the rural areas of the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island, where it rained on and off every day. I wore KEEN Terradora boots for the majority of the trip, and they kept my feet comfortable and dry the entire time.
I tested them in the city of Vancouver, and then all around the area’s more rugged terrain and beautiful coastline — through wet rocks of Horne Lake Caves, the muddy trail of Soamas Hill, and on a two-hour zodiac tour through Desolation Sound.
The Terradora is KEEN’s current female-specific lightweight hiker. They are comfortable while maintaining a secure fit, and use the brand’s own waterproof and breathable membrane called KEEN.Dry. The boots are lightweight with a breathable mesh upper and are also available in a non-waterproof version.
I was grateful to be wearing the waterproof Terradoras during the wet days in Canada. As expected, after hiking in them for awhile my feet did warm up quickly. Ventilation is likely more effective in the non-waterproof style (although I didn’t try them), but I would choose having my feet warm and dry over cool and wet on any outing.
KEEN uses Cleansport NXT for natural odor control, so the boots stay fresh on multiday trips. I purposefully packed extra light, which meant these shoes were my only closed-toe option for five days in a row in damp conditions.
Keen has aimed the Terradora at the healthy, active woman who migrates to urban spaces, and needs gear that empowers her to get outside in the new “outdoors,” which is to say wandering city parks mid-week with weekend jaunts up local hiking trails. Wearing the boots confirmed their purpose. KEEN has coined a new TrailFit term, and it’s all about fusing outdoor fitness with everyday urban adventure. The mission here is to turn any trail, mountain or city into an opportunity to get outside and be fit.
The Terradora was made for and inspired by active, do-it-all women and designed off of feedback and requests — rather than simply taking a men’s shoe and just shifting the size and color. The Terradora is designed to fit a woman’s slightly higher arch, and I found it to be a fast and light hiker that I was ready to explore in for a while, right out of the box. I also liked the lower collar height to eliminate friction or pressure on the front of the ankle or on the Achilles.
The Terradora are stable with a shank that creates a strong platform, paired with a comfortable footbed and low-density midsole to extend the hours you can stay on your feet. The boots have a more narrow fit in the heel, creating increased stability and a glove-like fit on varied terrain, like the kind I found hiking in BC. The multi-directional lugs on the non-marking rubber sole are just over one centimeter at their deepest points; substantial enough for secure footing on a trail and with a grip that still held on wet rocks. The boots are lightweight and agile — much more so than a heavier backpacking boots, which often take some breaking in. With a low-density EVA midsole, the Terradora is more of a hybrid between a sneaker and a hiking boot, so it works well for long-haul days on varied terrain with moderate technical elements.
On the Desolation Sound zodiac tour, the boots kept my feet dry as water periodically splashed into the boat and sloshed around my feet. I had waterproof pants that covered the boot ankles, so water did not seep through from above.
Aesthetically, the boots generally fit into most situations I encountered on this trip, and can be a go-to for any adventurous female traveler. An open-toe variation would have been more temperature appropriate on warm days during more casual travels and adventures; and one is in the works. The Terradora Ethos, a more airy style, will be introduced in spring 2018. That model is made for warm-weather hiking. The quick-dry lining is designed to minimize concerns when stepping into a stream while on the trail. A secure-fit lace-capture system, as well as the high-traction grip of the KEEN All-Terrain Rubber Outsole, are said to deliver stability and all-terrain versatility, just as the pair of Terradoras I’ve been wearing have already demonstrated.
“Fit to perform, the Terradora Collection fuses the love of sweating outdoors with everyday urban adventure,” said Nol Gerritse, KEEN’s Hike Category Marketing Director. “The Terradora Ethos excels in versatility, it’s designed to keep her outside adventures going in style — from summer trails to city exploration.”
The Terradora boot is currently available, and the Terradora Ethos will be ship to outdoor and sporting goods stores across the country as of spring 2018.