Hands-on Gear Review

Keen Marshall WP Review

Price:  $130 List
Pros:  Great wet and muddy traction, very breathable, minimalist midsole
Cons:  Very little cushioning
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Measured Weight of Pair, Size 12:  2.3 lbs.
Waterproof Lining:  KEEN.DRY waterproof breathable membrane
Upper:  Lightweight mesh,┬ásynthetic overlays
Manufacturer:   Keen Footwear

Our Verdict

Keen Discontinued The Marshall WP January 2017

The Keen Marshall WP is a comfortable, minimalist shoe. There's a lot less between the trail and the sole of your foot in this shoe, creating great sensitivity. It is an excellent choice for cool weather canyoneering, and the version without the Keen Dry membrane is great choice for hot weather dayhiking and summer canyoneering.

Hikers looking for a step up from barefoot shoes may find this a great option. Keen's other popular hiking shoe, the Keen Targhee 2, couldn't be more different. It's much less sensitive than the Marshall, and provides exceptional foot support for rough terrain and carrying loads.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Brandon Lampley

Last Updated:
Thursday
January 26, 2017

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The New Saltzman WP vs. the Original Marshall WP


With the same tooling as the Marshall, users of the new Saltzman WP from Keen can probably expect a similar performance, according to the manufacturer. The main updates came in the design of the upper, which we've detailed below. Check out the differences here, with the new Saltzman on the left and the Marshall we reviewed on the right. Then, keep reading for a full summary on the Saltzman.
Keen Saltzman WP

Here's a summary of the updates to the new Saltzman WP:
  • Upper — With a new waterproof mesh upper and water resistant mesh lining, we're curious to see how it performs, since waterproofness was actually one of our favorite things about the Marshall.
  • Midsole — We're excited to see this update, as we thought the original Marshall midsole was less than satisfying. The Saltzman features a new, durable high-rebound PU Midsole.

Since we haven't gotten our hands on the new Saltzman just yet, the rest of this review continues to reflect the Marshall WP.

Hands-On Review


The sensitive and form-fitting Keen Marshall WP breathes better than other waterproof hiking shoes and sticks like glue in wet conditions, but doesn't have the support and cushioning for long, rough miles.

Performance Comparison


Relaxing in the Keen Marshall WP at camp. This shoe's minimalist design is comfortable  form-fitting  and breathes better than most others.
Relaxing in the Keen Marshall WP at camp. This shoe's minimalist design is comfortable, form-fitting, and breathes better than most others.

Comfort


Rating the comfort of this shoe takes a little thought. The flexible mesh upper hugs the foot comfortably from day one, and the insole provides decent arch support. The thin midsole provides very little cushioning though. At times sensitivity is great. This shoe works wonderfully in the sandstone canyons of Utah where feeling your way across the rock underfoot while moving relatively slowly is common. But hiking across pointy roots or rocks on the trail is uncomfortable.

Four lower traditional eyelets and Keen's innovative heel wrapping upper webbing eyelet make a nice lacing system for the Marshall. Keen's shoes fit a little wide, and this upper eyelet lets folks with smaller feet create a good fit around the heel. The Keen Marshall WP with its mesh upper is the most breathable waterproof shoe we tested.

This model has great sensitivity  but not much foot support for rough terrain.
This model has great sensitivity, but not much foot support for rough terrain.

Weight


This product weighed in at 2.3 lbs, heavier than we thought it would be, but right in the middle of the products we tested. The upper and midsole on this shoe are minimal and light, but the beefy sole adds weight. There's a lot of Keen's "sticky when wet" rubber down there.

Support


Keen isn't shooting for foot support with this product, and it received a low score for this metric. We found that our feet tired quickly in rough terrain while wearing this hiking shoe and we wouldn't recommend it for long days, rough trails, or carrying a pack.

Traction


Traction is one of the strong points of the Keen Marshall WP. As we've come to expect from Keen, its sole provides excellent traction in wet conditions, both on rock and in the mud. Loose gravel was the only terrain that gave us trouble.

Wet  slushy  muddy  frozen  full of puddle trails gave us no troubles when dayhiking in this shoe.
Wet, slushy, muddy, frozen, full of puddle trails gave us no troubles when dayhiking in this shoe.

Versatility


This model doesn't provide enough support for rough terrain or carrying much weight, but is a good smooth terrain hiker. Folks who've been experimenting with barefoot or minimalist shoes for hiking might enjoy this model for long trail hikes. The minimal cushioning makes it sensitive for a little running, but uncomfortable. The brown on tan color scheme (brindle/drizzle) is an attractive casual shoe for the rainy season around town.

Water Resistance


This is another one of this model's strong points, and it's very breathable as well. The uppers bead water longer than other shoes before needing a fabric treatment application.

Durability


This was a surprisingly durable shoe considering the mesh upper. The mesh itself doesn't abraid easily and the synthetic and PU overlays serve to protect it in key areas. The beefy Keen sole will last a good long while as well.

The reinforced mesh upper of this product is very breathable  and the burly Keen rubber sole will last a long time.
The reinforced mesh upper of this product is very breathable, and the burly Keen rubber sole will last a long time.

Best Applications


The Marshall leans towards the barefoot style of footwear, with minimal midsole cushioning. A comfortable dayhiker on smooth terrain, barefoot enthusiasts may enjoy it for rougher hiking. With good wet traction this is a good choice for canyoneering and we've heard it's popular for all-day disc golf sessions.

Value


At $130, there are much more versatile shoes available. But these are super durable for their weight and if you want a minimally cushioned hiking shoe, go for it.

Conclusion


The Keen Marshall WP is a perfect canyoneering shoe and comfortable day hiker. Folks that don't need a lot of foot support will love its form-fitting upper and trail sensitivity.

The Marshall WP performs well on rocky terrain. Climbing at the Monastery  Drake  CO.
The Marshall WP performs well on rocky terrain. Climbing at the Monastery, Drake, CO.

Brandon Lampley

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Most recent review: January 26, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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