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Keen Venture Review

A great boot for day hiking and overnight trips, providing support and comfort for trails of all types.
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Price:  $180 List | $179.95 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Light, comfortable, fast break-in period
Cons:  Wide fit, average traction
Manufacturer:   Keen
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 30, 2019
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 14
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Stability - 20% 6
  • Traction - 15% 6
  • Weight - 15% 8
  • Water Resistance - 15% 7
  • Durability - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The Keen Venture is a nimble, lightweight hiking boot that is a great choice for any kind of trail-based activity. They are lightweight and comfortable enough to lace up for a casual day hike around the local trails, and supportive enough to protect feet and ankles while carrying a moderate pack on an overnight adventure.

These mid-cut boots are similar to the slightly higher performing Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX in comfort and traction but may be a better option for those with wide feet. Those hikers wanting more support can't do any better than our Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX, the highest rated hiking boot in this year's review.


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Keen Venture
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
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Pros Light, comfortable, fast break-in periodComfortable out of the box, fast and nimble, great stability, support, and water resistanceBest choice for rock and snow travel, durable, breathes wellAmazing comfort, stable, great tractionComfort of a trail runner with more support and stability, good all around performance
Cons Wide fit, average tractionPotential durability issues with many seams, not as good for warm or hot environmentsWider fit, not the best lace locking systemNot as capable in off-trail terrain, rockered sole feels unnatural at firstNot as breathable in warm conditions, not great traction on smooth rock
Bottom Line A great boot for day hiking and overnight trips, providing support and comfort for trails of all types.Our Editors' Choice Award winner blends comfort, stability and traction in a boot that fits well right out of the box and provides top-notch performance.For rock scrambling, alpine approaches and moderate snow travel, the Zodiac GTX is a light weight mountain boot disguised as a hiking boot.Feels like you are wearing pillows on your feet. With cushy soles and hi-cut protection, they are a great choice for those who value comfort on the trail.This boot brings the comfort of a trail running shoe but adds in the support you would expect from a hiking boot, resulting in a capable performer in all trail conditions.
Rating Categories Keen Venture Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX HOKA ONE ONE Sky Kaha Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX
Comfort (25%)
10
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7
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
Stability (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
Traction (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
8
Weight (15%)
10
0
8
10
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4
10
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6
10
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7
10
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9
Water Resistance (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Durability (10%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
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6
Specs Keen Venture Salomon Quest 4D 3... Scarpa Zodiac Plus... HOKA ONE ONE Sky... Salomon X Ultra...
Weight per Pair (size 11) 2.4 lbs 3.3 lbs 2.66 lbs 2.5 lbs 2.28 lbs
Boot Type Lightweight/ Day Hiker Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot Midweight/Lightweight hiker Midweight Hiker/Backpacking Boot
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Waterproof Lining KEEN.Dry waterproof breathable membrane Gore-Tex Performance Comfort Gore-Tex eVent Gore-Tex
Upper Performance mesh Nubuck leather and textile 1.8mm Suede Perwanger Waterproof leather Waterproof PU coated leather
Last Board/Shank Stability shank 4D Advanced Chassis BZ last None Molded shank
Midsole EVA midsole Dual density EVA PU + 3D EVA-MP EVA Injected EVA
Sole Non-marking rubber ContaGrip Vibram Drumlin / Mont Vibram MegaGrip Non-marking ContaGrip
Warranty 1 year 2 year 1 year 45 days 2 year
Sizes Available 7 - 15 7 - 13 37 - 48 EU 7 - 14 7 - 13
Color Options Yes Yes No Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

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.

Performance Comparison


A casual hiker with a shoe-like feel  the Venture is appropriate for mellow hikes with little weight.
A casual hiker with a shoe-like feel, the Venture is appropriate for mellow hikes with little weight.

Comfort


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.
The Keen KonnectFit allows users to tighten up the heel cup with an innovative internal lacing system.

Stability


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.
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.

Traction


Keen 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.
The lugs on the Venture are spaced close together, allowing them to get filled with mud, reducing their effectiveness.

Weight


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.

Water Resistance


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.
The Venture did well in our submersion test, and our feet stayed dry.

Durability


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 synthetic upper remained in good shape during the review but may wear down quickly if taken into rougher terrain.

Best Applications


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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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.


Ryan Huetter