Lightweight breathable trail shoes
Keen’s footwear usually has a distinctive chunky look whether sandals, trail shoes or hiking boots. These new shoes don’t have that look. Indeed, without the Keen branding I wouldn’t have known they were from the company at all. What makes the difference to the appearance is the lack of Keen’s bulky and solid toe bumper. On these shoes there is only a tiny bumper and a soft rand, making them look like many other trail shoes. They do have Keen’s wider than average fit though, which is good for my wider than average feet.
The Versatrails have breathable mesh uppers with reinforcing webbing strips, a synthetic rand and an external hard EVA heel counter. The latter is an extension of the dual density compression-moulded EVA midsole. This is quite thick and provides good cushioning. The drop – difference in thickness of the sole at the heel and the forefoot – is 8mm. The tread is Keen’s own. I’ve found it grips well on varied terrain. The insoles are semi-stiff round the heel and give a little more support than most insoles though nothing like as much as Superfeet and similar footbeds. The front of these insoles is quite thick foam that is slower drying than the rest of the shoes.
The laces appeal to the lazy part of me as there’s no need to tie them. They’re just lengths of shockcord that fasten with drawcords. I thought having stretch laces might mean the shoes would always feel a bit loose but this hasn’t been the case. The tongue is unusual too as it’s attached to the sole unit rather than the uppers so it forms a separate cradle for the foot. It’s made from Ariaprene hypo-allergenic foam which is stretchy and breathable.
The Versatrails are lightweight at 728 grams a pair (size 9.5) and reasonably priced. I find them very comfortable, especially in warm weather. They’re not waterproof of course but they do dry quite quickly and they are cool when it’s hot. Outside of winter conditions I think these are excellent walking shoes.
Sizes: men 6-5-14, women 3.5-8.5