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Keen Voyageur - Women's Review

Great shoe for those with wide feet who need a hiker for arid areas.
Keen Voyageur - Women's
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Price:  $120 List | $96.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Mesh upper is breathable
Cons:  Not waterproof, minimal padding underfoot
Manufacturer:   Keen
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 26, 2017
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 14
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Support - 20% 7
  • Traction - 15% 6
  • Weight - 15% 7
  • Water Resistance - 15% 2
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Keen Voyageur is ideal for day-hiking in hot, dry conditions, thanks to its breathable mesh construction. They are lightweight but don't have as much cushioning or support as other shoes in this review. They do have a protective rubber toe-box, the classic Keen look, but the exposed EVA foam on the sole does not last over multiple hiking seasons. They are cut on the wide side, so if you have trouble finding shoes that properly fit due to the width of your feet, these might be the perfect pair for you.


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Price $96.00 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Mesh upper is breathableComfortable, stable, great traction, durableVery comfortable, lightweight, waterproofGreat traction and stability, durable construction except for the lacesLightweight, versatile, great all-around performance
Cons Not waterproof, minimal padding underfootUpper absorbs water (but doesn't leak), a little heavyNot the best traction, questionable durabilityDifficult to tighten the toe box due to the speed lace system, release button got jammed, a little stiffQuicklace system not our favorite, didn't feel great with a heavy pack on
Bottom Line Great shoe for those with wide feet who need a hiker for arid areas.The Sawtooth II excels at day hikes, longer adventures, and tricky terrain, making it an easy pick for our Editors' Choice Award.An exceptionally cushioned shoe that is also lightweight and waterproof.An excellent all-around hiking shoe that is waterproof and supportive.A great option for fast hiking / running.
Rating Categories Keen Voyageur - Women's Sawtooth II Low BDry HOKA ONE ONE Tor Summit WP Terrex Swift R2 GTX X Ultra 3 GTX
Comfort (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
7
Support (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Traction (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weight (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
Water Resistance (15%)
10
0
2
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Durability (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
Specs Keen Voyageur -... Sawtooth II Low BDry HOKA ONE ONE Tor... Terrex Swift R2 GTX X Ultra 3 GTX
Weight per pair (size 7) 1.66 lbs 1.83 lbs 1.55 lbs 1.36 lbs 1.5 lbs
Width Options Regular Regular, Wide Regular Regular Regular
Upper Leather and mesh Leather & textile Nubuck and suede leather Synthetic mesh Synthetic mesh
Midsole Dual density compression molded EVA midsole Dual density EVA EVA and RMAT oversized midsole EVA Injected EVA
Lining Mesh B-Dry eVent Gore-Tex Gore-Tex
Sole Non-marking rubber Sawtooth Vibram Megagrip Hi-traction with 5mm lugs Continental Traxion rubber ContaGrip rubber

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.

Performance Comparison


This classic hiking shoe has some great features  like a breathable mesh liner and great traction.
This classic hiking shoe has some great features, like a breathable mesh liner and great traction.

Comfort


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.

There's not a lot of cushioning in the forefoot of this shoe  which affected its comfort score. Our feet were also sliding around quite a bit in the front due to the wider cut  which caused some hot spots underfoot.
There's not a lot of cushioning in the forefoot of this shoe, which affected its comfort score. Our feet were also sliding around quite a bit in the front due to the wider cut, which caused some hot spots underfoot.

Support


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.

Even hiking on flat trails we didn't feel much support from this shoe.
Even hiking on flat trails we didn't feel much support from this shoe.

Traction


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.

We were able to hike up and down moderate slabs in these shoes with ease.
We were able to hike up and down moderate slabs in these shoes with ease.

Weight


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.

Water Resistance


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.

Durability


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.

The rubber toe cap on the Voyageur (right) provides a lot more protection than some other models  like the Ahnu Sugarpine (left).
The rubber toe cap on the Voyageur (right) provides a lot more protection than some other models, like the Ahnu Sugarpine (left).

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.

This shoe has a large swath of exposed softer EVA midsole  which can't withstand the same abuse as the rubber toe cap.
This shoe has a large swath of exposed softer EVA midsole, which can't withstand the same abuse as the rubber toe cap.

Value


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.

If your looking for a light hiker for desert conditions  this pair is a good bet.
If your looking for a light hiker for desert conditions, this pair is a good bet.

Conclusion


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