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Keen Ridge Flex Mid WP Review

This is a good hiking boot that will provide comfort and ease of use right out of the box
Keen Ridge Flex Mid WP
Photo: Zappos
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Price:  $185 List | $184.95 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable and roomy, good waterproofing
Cons:  Questionable durability, average traction
Manufacturer:   Keen Footwear
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 21, 2021
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 17
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Stability - 20% 7
  • Traction - 15% 6
  • Weight - 15% 5
  • Water Resistance - 15% 7
  • Durability - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Keen Ridge Flex Mid WP is a hiking boot that uses an innovative new feature that is designed to improve walking comfort and reduce the amount of time to take in a pair of boots. They are easy to walk in and comfortable right out of the box, making them a good option for those getting into hiking and want to hit the trails right away. They are good on and off the trails, though traction was an issue in wet and mucky terrain due to the lug depth. It is a bit expensive for an average-performance boot, though the Keen Bellows system might tip the scales if you favor a boot that is more efficient to walk in.

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Pros Comfortable and roomy, good waterproofingTop-level hiking boot performance, excels in all metricsIncredibly lightweight, comfortableGood all around performance, lightweight, supportive and comfortableGood value, extra toe protection, solid traction, out-of-the-box comfort
Cons Questionable durability, average tractionExpensive, not as great for hot and dry climatesLess durable than heavier models, thin soleCould be more breathable, not great traction on smooth rockBelow average stability, not very durable, lacks good breathability
Bottom Line This is a good hiking boot that will provide comfort and ease of use right out of the boxThe 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 trailThis mid-top hiking boot is ridiculously lightweight, though it offers excellent stability and traction for fast and light objectivesThis boot brings the comfort that feels close to a shoe but adds in the support you would expect from a hiking boot, resulting in a capable, low-weight performerA solid hiker that features great comfort and toe protection in an inexpensive package
Rating Categories Keen Ridge Flex Mid WP Salomon Quest 4 Gor... Salomon X Ultra Mid... Salomon X Ultra Mid... Keen Targhee II Mid
Comfort (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Stability (20%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Traction (15%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
5.0
4.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Water Resistance (15%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
6.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Keen Ridge Flex Mid WP Salomon Quest 4 Gor... Salomon X Ultra Mid... Salomon X Ultra Mid... Keen Targhee II Mid
Weight per Pair (Size 11) 2.66 lbs 2.90 lbs 1.85 lbs 2.28 lbs 2.37 lbs
Boot Type Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot Lightweight Hiker/Day Hiker
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular and Wide Regular and Wide
Waterproof Lining KEEN.DRY Gore-Tex Gore-Tex Gore-Tex KEEN.Dry waterproof breathable membrane
Upper Water resistant leather and mesh Leather, nylon PU coated leather Waterproof PU coated leather Waterproof nubuck leather
Last Board/Shank Stability shank 4D Chassis Molded shank Molded shank Torsion stability ESS shank
Midsole PU EnergyCell SensiFit Injected EVA Dual density compression molded EVA
Sole KEEN.ALL-TERRAIN Contagrip Contagrip Non-marking ContaGrip Non-marking rubber outsole

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.

Performance Comparison


Putting the Keen Ridge Flex boots to the test in the Palisades of...
Putting the Keen Ridge Flex boots to the test in the Palisades of the Sierra Nevada.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Comfort


We have long 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.

The Keen Ridge Flex Mid are well-cushioned for pounding out the...
The Keen Ridge Flex Mid are well-cushioned for pounding out the miles on trail.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Built on a compression-molded EVA foam midsole, we found it to be 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.

Stability


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 inner shank gives these boots the ability to have stability on...
The inner shank gives these boots the ability to have stability on uneven surfaces.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

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.

Traction


Keen has long used their proprietary rubber blends on their boots and shoes. For this model, Keen employs 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.

The sole gives a lot of surface area contact, great for most trail...
The sole gives a lot of surface area contact, great for most trail conditions.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

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.

Weight


We put the boots on our scale and measured them at 2.66 pounds per pair in a size 11 US. This is not ridiculously heavy, though when compared to other boots that are of similar weight, these do not have the same performance.

Weighing the Ridge Flex Mid boots on our home scale.
Weighing the Ridge Flex Mid boots on our home scale.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Water Resistance


The Keen Ridge Flex Mid WP uses another in-house Keen technology to ensure that feet stay dry and comfortable, called Keen.Dry. 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.

No issues here other than cold feet in this snowmelt-fed stream!
No issues here other than cold feet in this snowmelt-fed stream!
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Durability


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.

A close-up of the Keen.Bellows Flex system.
A close-up of the Keen.Bellows Flex system.
Photo: Ryan Huetter

Value


These boots are a reasonable value for a mid-cut hiking boot that uses quality waterproofed leather. Still, there are overall higher-performing boots in this same price range.

Conclusion


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.

Ryan Huetter

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