The Keen Venture proved to be a quality boot with useful features and overall reasonable versatility and held its own amongst a field of strong competition, though did not stand out in any of the review metrics as a clear top performer.
A casual hiker with a shoe-like feel, the Venture is appropriate for mellow hikes with little weight.
Slipping into these boots for the first time, it feels like they could be laced up and taken for a hike right out of the box, although there was some discomfort around the toe as the material bends inwards towards the foot until it softens a bit. The soft and pliable performance mesh upper is generally unrestrictive and the EVA midsole bends easily and does not have the same stiffness as the clunky-feeling Asolo Powermatic 200. The last is described as regular, though we found them to be on the wider side. Those with medium volume feet are able to cinch the traditional laces down enough, and the KonnectFit heel adjustment allows for a more custom fit as well, and wider feet will appreciate the extra room.
The Keen KonnectFit allows users to tighten up the heel cup with an innovative internal lacing system.
This is one of the softest hiking boots we tested and is in the same vein as the Asolo Falcon GV. This light and nimble boot has a shoelike feel which aids in mobility and comfort when day hiking or carrying light loads, but we felt that despite the ankle protected offered by the cuff, it was not as appropriate to carry a large pack as the super stable Salomon Quest 4D or the marginally heavier Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX.
The Venture has a relatively soft torsional rigidity, allowing it to smear on rocks well, but it was not the most supportive boot we tested.
hiking shoes and boots use a proprietary rubber compound called Keen.All-Terrain+ to build the sole and this rubber felt sticky and grippy when on dry terrain, especially bare rock and packed dirt trails. In wet conditions like muddy trails or snowy patches, our reviewers did not have as much confidence, as the shape of the lug pattern on the sole quickly became clogged and failed to offer the anticipated grip. In more demanding conditions than on moderate trails, we preferred the heavier lug pattern found on a boot like the La Sportiva Trango TRK
The lugs on the Venture are spaced close together, allowing them to get filled with mud, reducing their effectiveness.
This pair has a verified weight of 2.4 pounds per pair in a size 11. This is lightweight by the standards of hiking boots, and in this metric, they competed with other much higher performing models quite well. While they are light, they are not nearly as light as the Hoka Speedgoat Mid which offers amazing comfort and is also designed for fast and light missions. Another Keen model, the Best Buy award-winning Keen Targhee II Mid, outscores the Venture, is less expensive and is slightly lighter.
With a flood height of 4.5 inches, there is ample protection to slosh through shallow puddles you might find on the trail. As with most Keen footwear, these use their proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane called Keen.Dry, a liner which effectively keeps water out. We had no leaking issues in our five-minute underwater test.
The Venture did well in our submersion test, and our feet stayed dry.
While we had no issues with these boots during our test period, the main concern we have with their long term durability is that the upper is made of a mesh blend that exposes a lot of the material to abrasion. The Targhee II Mid has much more suede leather on the upper that may resist wear a bit better.
The synthetic upper remained in good shape during the review but may wear down quickly if taken into rougher terrain.
The Keen Venture is a good choice for hikers who want a lightweight boot that is immediately comfortable, supportive enough to go on day hikes and short overnight treks, and is a bit more robust than a typical hiking shoe but is not as cumbersome as a heavier hiking boot.
Keen has included a number of its advanced footwear technologies in the Venture, and its price tag of $180 reflects that. While we like the shoe on its own merits, there are many other higher-performing boots at a similar weight for up to $50 less.
The Keen Venture is a hiking boot that is best suited for a hiker who wants a boot that is light and easy to break in, spends most of their time on dry trails, and wants a bit more support than usually available in a low cut hiking shoe.