Keen Voyageur - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Mesh upper is breathable
Cons: Not waterproof, minimal padding underfoot
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Keen Voyageur has a "water resistant" leather and mesh upper, a dual density EVA midsole, and a non-marking rubber sole with 4 mm lugs. While the length of these shoes ran true to size, the cut was on the wide side compared to the other models in this review.
Keen's footwear has a reputation for being cut on the wide side, and these hiking shoes were true to their style. While that is a bonus for the wide-footed ladies out there, they don't work so well for the narrow-footed hikers. While we couldn't knock off any points for that (because what is not comfortable for us could be the best fit ever for someone else), we did find a lack of cushion under the forefoot to be a bit of a problem by the end of a five-mile hike. We could feel every pebble and cobble and wished there was a little more cushion underfoot.
We also experienced some hot spot issues under our big toes with this pair. Our feet were sliding around so much in the very wide toe box that we started to get some irritation underfoot. Again, we can't fault the shoe too much, because it's just not cut for our foot, but it is something to keep in mind when sizing a pair. Too wide and you'll have friction issues from your foot sliding around, and too narrow and you'll have friction issues from your feet rubbing against the sides. You can check out our Buying Advice guide, where we break down the things to look for when sizing a shoe, and also make recommendations for different brands and models to look for depending on the width of your foot.
This shoe feels flat under the arch. Perhaps this is due to its wider cut overall, but we don't feel much support in that area, which then decreases the lateral stability of the shoe. While this model still works well as a light day-hiker, if you are looking for something that you can also carry a heavier backpack with, many shoes have a stiffer sole and provide more support overall.
The 4 mm multi-directional lugs on the soles provide good traction on moderately technical terrain. They aren't the "stickiest" shoe in the bunch but work well for a variety of loose dirt trails and even some low angle scrambling.
At 1 lb 10.5 oz in a women's size 7, this pair is in the middle of the pack weight wise. You can shave a few ounces off each foot with a lighter shoe, but you'll sacrifice some support and durability in the process.
Keen states that the Voyageur has a "water-resistant" upper, which means that if there's a light rain or you're walking through dew-coated grass, your feet might still stay dry. But once submerged in water, either on purpose (like we did in our bucket test) or by accident (say your foot slips while crossing a stream), you have about 30 seconds until the shoe is soaked through. While this is probably a deal-breaker for someone in the Pacific Northwest, if you are mostly hiking in dry climates, then a non-waterproof shoe is a great option as they tend to be more breathable than a pair with a waterproof lining. Note that Keen does not make a waterproof version of this model.
Overall, these shoes seem sturdy and durable. The extra rubber on the toe gives the shoe a "function over fashion" look, but holds up to as much toe-stubbing as the sloppiest hiker can manage. However, the first thing to wear out is the exposed EVA foam on the sole, which is fragile compared to the bottom rubber.
We polled other outdoorsy women to see if they had opinions of the boots in this review, and one female Forest Service employee showed us her pair that she wore in the backcountry for one season. The sole was deteriorating, having been banged up by rough terrain. If you know you'll be hiking in rocky conditions, look for a pair of hiking shoes that has rubber around the entire shoe.
These shoes retail for a little bit more than the similar shoes we tested. However, if they fit your feet well, then it's worth paying more to get a good fit.
The Keen Voyageur did not score very high overall in our tests, but that doesn't mean it's not a good shoe for certain applications. In fact, if you live in the desert and have wide feet, these might be your perfect pair. As the saying goes, if the shoe fits, wear it!
— Cam McKenzie Ring