With Autumn upon us and the wet and windy weather arriving as it always does, we needed to look towards some waterproof gear to help us through our rainy weekend in the Brecon Beacons.
Enter the new KEEN Venture mid boots in leather. Part of KEEN’s Venture collection, which is their most modern set of performance hiking footwear to date.
Fit & Feel
We know that KEEN footwear tends to be pretty darn comfy out the box, and don’t need much in the way of wearing in before longer walks. These boots were indeed the same. In total I wore them for about 10 minutes around the house before I took them on a 5k or so walk.
The Venture mid already has a softer material version, so I knew testing out this new variant in the leather might be a little different. Thankfully, the leather is very soft and supple, therefore didn’t require much in the way of wearing in to avoid those pesky blisters.
The fit around the ankle is great. You feel locked in but still have a good range of movement when walking and traversing difficult terrain. Personally I feel the konnectfit heel capture (those very thin metal wires) looks a little flimsy and out in the open for a technical hiking boot, but it does the job of locking you in very well. It also adds to the aesthetics and brings a tactile feature to some of the technical aspects of the boot.
There is also a good level of comfort underfoot, with a high standard (removable) footbed and nice arch support.
The Venture series all feature the same 4mm multi-directional ‘lugs’ on the outsole. They are quite a dominating design feature and certainly do the job they were designed for very well. Grip across many terrain types is fantastic. I tested these across tarmac, gravel, mud, grass and other loose ground and found the grip to be pretty unstoppable.
I did however come a little unsteady when walking across very slippery rocks in a small stream, slipping and nearly landing myself in the water. I doubt most boots out there could offer a super solid grip on super slippery rocks though, so I don’t really see this as any kind of fault or let down. I see it as more of a warning to myself to be more sure footed!
The Venture waterproof boots feature the KEEN.Dry membrane on the upper. Couple that with full grain leather and you’ve got yourself some pretty waterproof boots! To test these out thoroughly, I spent a good 45 minutes rambling around in a small but fast flowing stream. Often with the water rising over my toes and forefoot.
After around 45 minutes in and around the water and a walk back to the car, I did notice my toes feeling just on the side of damp. Not wet, but definitely a little damp. I put this down to the fact that the water level over my foot came up and over the level of the leather where the laces begin. Under the laces is a softer fabric material, that I believe might not be as waterproof as the leather. I don’t think much water got into the boot, but I do think a tiny bit did.
Price and colours
– Available in three subtle colourways; Black/Magnet, Mulch/Black and the boots that I tested Steel Grey/Magnet
I think these are a great performance walking boot. Modern styling, great level of comfort and generally fantastic stability. And, even though I think a tiny bit of water may have got into the boot during my test, it was just that. A thorough test. I wouldn’t expect to be walking through a fast flowing stream in these boots for 45 or so minutes on a normal walk or when hiking up a small mountain. So, in my opinion they performed very well and would deal with most watery situations you would find yourself in. Like a big downpour of rain or splashing through some deep muddy puddles with a dog.
All in all, I think the Venture mid in leather is a good all rounder, and at a decent price point for the quality.