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Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's Review

An affordable and high performance winter hiking boot
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $170 List | $169.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Protective and durable, very warm, breathable, excellent traction, great for hiking, high value
Cons:  Not the most stylish
Manufacturer:   Keen Footwear
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 12, 2020
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85
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 14
  • Warmth - 25% 9
  • Weather Protection - 25% 8
  • Comfort & Fit - 25% 9
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7
  • Traction - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The Keen Revel IV Polar is our favorite winter hiking boot. A burly outsole and lightweight construction are designed for all-day wear, and the 400 grams of insulation and super thick outsole will keep your feet warm, even when standing around in the coldest of temperatures. When testing traction over slippery trails, the lugs held to mud, slick rocks, and logs with ease. With over 60 miles logged, the outsole and upper still look like new, a testament to its durability so far. In warm weather, it breathes and will keep your feet dry up to its cuff (7.5 inches). Wear it throughout the winter, on the trails, or in town.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

As our favorite winter boot specifically for hiking, the Revel IV Polar boasts an excellent fit with comfort that will last all day. The fat traction underfoot will cling to slippery trails and punch through deep snow, and the protective upper offers superior weather protection while keeping your feet dry. This is our top recommendation if you're seeking a winter hiker.

Performance Comparison


A look at our favorite hiking boot  the Keen Revel IV Polar. A great choice if you need a durable  warm hiking boot with a wider fit  built for all-day wear.
A look at our favorite hiking boot, the Keen Revel IV Polar. A great choice if you need a durable, warm hiking boot with a wider fit, built for all-day wear.

Warmth


Your toes will stay toasty all winter long in this boot. The underfoot traction is thick, which acts as an additional insulator. It's stuffed with 400 grams of synthetic insulation, which maintains warmth, even during the coldest days of the year, with a cold-weather rating of -25F. Overall, a warm hiking boot that's ideal for winter camping, snowshoeing, or hiking.


When working all day outdoors on a super chilly day, we wore this boot with a thin pair of synthetic hiking socks. The entire day, even when hiking through streams, our feet stayed toasty and warm. The insulation is ample but doesn't impede the fit, so toes can wiggle and generate heat. The thicker outer keeps the heat in while also allowing moisture to leave, keeping your feet dry even as you hike.

Our main tester works outdoors all day teaching kids in an outdoor environment. On this snowy day  she dons the Revel IV Polar to ensure warm toes all day long.
Our main tester works outdoors all day teaching kids in an outdoor environment. On this snowy day, she dons the Revel IV Polar to ensure warm toes all day long.

This boot pairs easily with hiking pants, snow pants, or a skirt and legging combo. The shaft length provides 7.5 inches of protection up the leg — a decent amount, but there are taller options for more coverage and even more warmth if that's something you need.

The interior liner is warm and breathes well  contributing to overall warmth.
The interior liner is warm and breathes well, contributing to overall warmth.

The outer is constructed of leather with a Keen.Dry breathable membrane. Even when hiking all day long, and when temperatures began to heat up, our foot never got wet or swampy. This is a breathable-yet-warm boot that we'd recommend for winter hiking or standing around in cold weather. If you're a lifty at the ski resort, do a lot of winter camping, or are seeking a boot that'll go well with a pair of snowshoes, this is a great choice.

The dry membrane in addition to the leather breathes out moisture while keeping heat locked in. A great recipe for warm feet all winter long.
The dry membrane in addition to the leather breathes out moisture while keeping heat locked in. A great recipe for warm feet all winter long.

Weather Protection


This boot offers tremendous weather protection. It's completely waterproof from the outsole to the top of the cuff. The outer is constructed of a combination of leather and a thin textile called "Keen.Dry waterproof." The boot's tongue is hefty and didn't let any water in during our puddle depth tests. Overall, an incredibly weatherproof boot with the option to purchase with a mid-height shaft (what we tested) or a higher profile for extra coverage.


We spent a lot of time in this boot while hiking and exploring in late Fall. Not only did we wear this boot while teaching at an outdoor school that spends the entire day outside in the Colorado mountains, but we wore it while shopping, hiking, exploring, and more. Through mud, snow, storms, and blizzards, it kept our feet warm and dry.

Testing "puddle" depth in our local river. We learned this boot is waterproof all the way to the cuff!
Testing "puddle" depth in our local river. We learned this boot is waterproof all the way to the cuff!

During our puddle tests, where we stand in a river and stomp around to determine the level of waterproofness, the Revel IV Polar proved to be completely sealed and protective. If you find yourself hiking through rivers or puddles regularly, this boot will keep you protected. The only caveat is the height. We tested the mid, which, when paired with snow or hiking pants, does great for protection. However, on its own, the mid won't protect from the tallest of snowbanks. That said, it does come in a high boot top if you prefer even more protection. It also comes with a gaiter adaptor so you can prevent snow from entering the top when snowshoeing or hiking.

A look at the burly toe cap which is highly durable. We also appreciate the adaptor for adding on a gaitor to protect against especially high snow banks.
A look at the burly toe cap which is highly durable. We also appreciate the adaptor for adding on a gaitor to protect against especially high snow banks.

Comfort & Fit


According to our testers, of all the hiking boots we've tested so far, this one stands out as one of the most comfortable. The fit is supportive under the arch and roomy in the toes. It's built to be easily paired with thick socks to be worn all day in cold weather. You could even use this boot in warmer weather, with a pair of thinner socks due to its excellent breathability. The fit is also true to size and roomier than most hiking boots — which means more space to wiggle your toes and layer up.


Not only is the fit spot on, but the Revel IV is stable, protective, and comfortable to wear all day long. Out of the box, we laced it up and wore it for 8 hours straight with a thicker pair of socks. The mid-rise height is incredibly stable, with lots of lateral room in the toe box for those with a wider foot. If you're looking for an all-day wear winter boot, this is truly an excellent choice for the wintertime. It's comfortable, breathable, and will keep your feet warm and protected.

A fun feature to help you pull your boot on with ease. We also love the thicker cuff that's comfortable against the calf.
A fun feature to help you pull your boot on with ease. We also love the thicker cuff that's comfortable against the calf.

Ease of Use


This boot is about average when it comes to this metric. As a hiking boot with a stable upper, you can slip your foot into it, but you need to lace and unlace it every time. For the mid-height model, however, there are only two eyelets that need to be laced and tied.


In our testing, it took about 15 seconds to put on this boot. It's not our first choice to slip on and off when needing to head out the door in a rush. If you're looking for that kind of performance, we'd suggest you look at a Pac boot instead that doesn't have any laces. That said, of the hiking boots, this is one of the fastest to pull on and take off.

Easily lace your boot! Just two eyelets and you're done.
Easily lace your boot! Just two eyelets and you're done.

Traction


The traction on this boot is beefy and absolutely stellar! While no boot can protect over black ice surfaces, this one will keep you upright on basically every other surface. Heavy snow, slippery icy with snow mushed in, mud, and more. It's an all-terrain hiker built to take on city streets and steep mountain trails alike. Plus, it'll easily wear with a pair of yak tracks or snowshoes for more technical terrain.


The rubber outsole features 5mm multi-directional lugs that are well spaced for all sorts of conditions. This boot bites down on slippery surfaces and will keep you upright. The rubber is softer, which means it conforms to rocky surfaces and digs on, similar to the performance of a Vibram sole.

A look at the hefty traction built into this awesome hiking boot.
A look at the hefty traction built into this awesome hiking boot.

When testing on a local steep hiking trail riddled with snow, mud, and ice, this boot stuck to the surface. The only issue we had was on a clay road. The clay was wet and glomed onto the outsole. While these conditions are hard to satisfy with any hiking boot or running shoe, the Revel IV actually shed the mud quite well — though it did take some work to get the mud out of the lugs. All other boots tested on this surface didn't do nearly as well.

Hiking steep trails? No problem! This boot will stick and hold well to most wintery surfaces.
Hiking steep trails? No problem! This boot will stick and hold well to most wintery surfaces.

Overall, the traction on this versatile boot is trustworthy in comparison to the competition. As a result of its performance, we'd recommend it for both hiking through cold and cool weather, as well as travel in the city or suburbs. Even after our rigorous testing period of over 60 miles, the outsole remained new-looking.

Value


Winter boots can cost an arm and a leg. We are happy with the retail price of this boot. Not only is the sticker price lower than man, but the performance is also upstanding. After 60 miles of use, the outsole still looked new, and there's no scuffs or serious wear and tear. The toe bumper at the front is hearty, ensuring that the high impact zones are well protected and thus more durable. We suspect this boot will last a long time given the excellent construction and performance thus far. We will continue to test it through the year and report back again if there are any problems, but our confidence is high.

Conclusion


The Keen Revel IV Polar is monumental in the world of woman's winter boots. This hiking-style boot is not only durable and well constructed, but it's loaded with 400 grams of insulation. It's warm, breathable, protective, and features one of the best outsoles we've ever tested! It's built to be worn all day long throughout the winter with a roomier fit and all-day comfort. Enjoy its comfort and performance, all at a reasonable price for such a bomber winter boot.

Hike around and enjoy the performance of this winter hiking boot.
Hike around and enjoy the performance of this winter hiking boot.

Amber King