Keen Ridge Flex Mid WP Review
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Keen Ridge Flex Mid WP
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|Pros||Comfortable and roomy, good waterproofing||Top-level hiking boot performance, excels in all metrics||Lightweight, comfortable, excellent traction||Very comfortable, supportive||Inexpensive, great waterproofing, quality material|
|Cons||Questionable durability, average traction||Expensive, not as great for hot and dry climates||Narrow fit, slightly small sizing||Average waterproofing, fair traction||Heavy, clunky, uncomfortable|
|Bottom Line||This is a good hiking boot that will provide comfort and ease of use right out of the box||The gold standard of what a great hiking boot should be, and we heartily recommend it for those seeking the best possible performance on and off the trail||This high-performing hiking boot tears up technical terrain with maximum precision and is at home far from the trail||This super comfortable hiking shoe is one of our favorite budget-friendly models||This is a classic hiking boot that uses traditional materials and is an inexpensive option for someone who wants a beefy boot|
|Rating Categories||Keen Ridge Flex Mid WP||Salomon Quest 4 Gor...||La Sportiva Ultra R...||Merrell Moab 3 Mid...||Timberland Mt. Madd...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Keen Ridge Flex Mid WP||Salomon Quest 4 Gor...||La Sportiva Ultra R...||Merrell Moab 3 Mid...||Timberland Mt. Madd...|
|Weight (per pair)||2.66 lbs (size 11)||2.90 lbs (size 11)||2.08 lbs (size 45 EU)||2.36 lbs (size 11)||2.31 lbs (size 11)|
|Boot Type||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot||Lightweight hiker/day hiker||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot||Midweight hiker/backpacking boot|
|Width Options||Regular||Regular||Regular, Wide||Regular, Wide||Regular, Wide|
|Waterproof Lining||KEEN.DRY||Gore-Tex||GORE-TEX extended comfort||Waterproof membrane||TimberDry|
|Upper||Water resistant leather and mesh||Leather and nylon||AirMesh, microfiber, TPU||Pigskin leather, mesh||Full-grain leather|
|Last Board/Shank||Stability shank||4D Chassis||Nylon molded flex TPU||Molded nylon||TPU shank|
|Midsole||PU||EnergyCell||Injection-molded MEMlex||Super Rebound Compound||EVA|
|Sole||KEEN.ALL-TERRAIN||Contagrip||FriXion XF 2.0||Vibram TC5+||Rubber|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We wore these boots on several rigorous hikes, including an early-season trek into the still snowy Sierra Nevada. The Keen.Bellows Flex system, a concept familiar to those who still telemark ski, replaces an area of the forefoot (and behind the heel) with a pleated flex zone that is designed to reduce walking friction and improve longevity. We found the Ridge Flex Mid WP to be a good overall boot that was comfortable and roomy, though it did not excel in any one metric.
We have always appreciated Keen footwear for its outstanding comfort, and this boot is no exception. Straight out of the box, these boots are easy to slip on, have a secure lacing system that holds the padded ankle cuff in place, and use a cushioned PU insole.
Built on a compression-molded EVA foam midsole, we found it quite comfortable to walk on trails without feeling much of the terrain underneath, though when scrambling over sharper rocks, the protection offered by the midsole and stability shank felt average.
The Keen Ridge Flex Mid WP uses a stability shank insert to provide torsional stability and give structure to the boot. Still flexible enough to allow for a free and unencumbered stride, it does add rigidity to the boot for kicking up loose scree or snow.
The mid-cut boot height wraps around the ankle and gives the additional stability many hikers desire for longer hikes in rough country or when carrying heavy pack weight.
Keen has long used their proprietary rubber blends on their boots and shoes. For this model, they employ their Keen.All-Terrain compound. Not too soft and not too hard, this outsole gives good traction on smooth rock slabs in dry conditions and maintains grip on looser trails in wet conditions.
We think the lug pattern and shape are adequate for most on-trail excursions and even some off-trail travel, though the lugs are quite closely spaced and easily become embedded with muck if hiking on muddy trails.
The Keen Ridge Flex Mid WP uses another in-house Keen technology, Keen.Dry, to ensure that feet stay dry and comfortable. This waterproof/breathable membrane works as advertised, and we had no issues during our hikes. Traipsing through snow, wet trails, mud, and stream crossings, these boots held their own. Even during a longer submersion test in a creek, we did not experience any leaks.
On our scales, these boots weighed in at 2.66 pounds per pair in a size 11 US. This is not ridiculously heavy, though when compared to the best hiking boots of similar weight, these do not offer the same performance.
The upper material of these boots is comprised of treated waterproof leather, which will be very resistant to wear, and a very small amount of mesh, inconspicuously located around the tongue, which we are not very concerned about degrading. The Keen.Bellows Flex area on the top of the toes, marketed as being able to withstand 1 million steps, is where we have questions about long-term durability and will continue to monitor as we test these boots further. Using a soft rubbery material that is sewn to the rest of the leather upper, we will remain interested to see if this solves durability issues or creates them.
Should You Buy the Keen Ridge Flex Mid WP?
This comfortable boot is a great choice for hikers who desire an easy to use boot with no breaking in period, or for those who have wider feet and desire a wider fit. The innovative Keen.Bellows Flex makes it easier to flex this boot, making them something to consider for longer trail-based adventures.
What Other Hiking Boots Should You Consider?
This is a great and comfy boot, but there are overall higher-performing boots in this same price range. Keen's Targhee III is a comfortable and lighter weight model that runs a bit less, price-wise. The Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex is our favorite recommendation and does well in many types of terrain.
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