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Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's Review

Great for winter hiking on slippery trails thanks to incredible traction, support, and weatherproofing
Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's
Credit: Keen
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $190 List | Check Price at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Protective, durable, very warm, breathable, excellent traction, high value
Cons:  Less stylish, somewhat heavy, stiff collar
Manufacturer:   Keen Footwear
By Liz Chamberlain and Amber King  ⋅  Feb 23, 2022
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 13
  • Warmth - 25% 8.0
  • Weather Protection - 25% 7.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 7.0
  • Durability - 15% 8.0
  • Traction - 15% 9.0

Our Verdict

We retested the Keen Revel IV Polar this season and couldn’t help but gravitate towards this winter boot all over again. Despite some stiff competition, it is still our favorite winter hiking boot. A burly outsole and lightweight construction are designed for all-day wear, and the 200 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 easily. 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), though it’s likely too thick for year-round use and you'll need other footwear for warmer weather.

Editor's Note: This Keen review received an update on February 23, 2022, to provide the details you need to find the right boots for you.

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Pros Protective, durable, very warm, breathable, excellent traction, high valueFull coverage protection, highly durable, reliable tractionCozy wool lining, very warm, highly waterproof, versatile constructionGood value, ultra warm, great traction, highly waterproofLightweight, super soft interior, durable leather exterior
Cons Less stylish, somewhat heavy, stiff collarPricey, very heavy, retains moisture, difficult to drive inExpensive, slightly bulkyOnly ankle-high coverage, hiking-specific style, narrow fitUnimpressive outsole traction
Bottom Line Great for winter hiking on slippery trails thanks to incredible traction, support, and weatherproofingThis highly durable boot is completely waterproof and great at insulating, though it's a bit too bulky to wear on low-snow days or during high-output activitiesThis boot is the epitome of comfort and warmth wrapped in a versatile, high-performing, waterproof packageThis well-priced boot hits all the marks with a winter-friendly design that maintains great traction, weatherproofing, and warmthOne of the most comfortable choices in our lineup, with a soft, heat-retentive interior and durable, waterproof exterior
Rating Categories Keen Revel IV Polar... Muck Boot Arctic Ic... UGG Adirondack III Merrell Thermo Chil... The North Face Shel...
Warmth (25%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Weather Protection (25%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
7.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Durability (15%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Traction (15%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
Specs Keen Revel IV Polar... Muck Boot Arctic Ic... UGG Adirondack III Merrell Thermo Chil... The North Face Shel...
Maximum Puddle Depth Before Major Leaking 7" 16" 9" 6" 7"
Measured Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft) 7" 16" 8" rolled / 10" extended 6" 10"
Measured Weight (per pair, size 7) 2.41 lbs 4.59 lbs 2.36 lbs 1.79 lbs 2.25 lbs
Type of Boot Winter hiking Winter workwear All-around winter Winter hiking All-around winter
Fit Details True to size, wide Runs big True to size True to size True to size
Lining/Insulation 200 grams KEEN.WARM Recycled PET Fleece UGGpure wool M Select Warm (200g) Heatseeker Eco Pro (200g)
Removable Liner? No No No No No
Footbed EVA bioDEWIX EVA Kinetic Fit BASE OrthoLite
Upper Material Mesh and Leather Rubber Waterproof suede and leather Waterproof PU-coated leather and mesh Full-grain leather and ballistic nylon
Toe Box Leather Rubber Rubber Rubber Rubber
Outsole KEEN.Polar Traction Vibram Arctic Grip A.T. Molded White Spider Rubber M Select GRIP Surface Control rubber
Company Claimed Cold Weather Rating -32°C/-25°F Not stated -32°C/-25°F Not stated Not stated
Temp Change in Ice Bath -3.8 F -9.5 F -7.2 F -5.2 F -6.5 F
Animal Products? Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Sizes Available 5 - 12 5 - 11 5 - 12 5 - 11 5 - 11

Our Analysis and Test Results

One of our favorite winter boots in the lineup, the Revel IV Polar boasts an excellent fit with comfort and traction that will keep your feet happy out on the coldest days. The burly lugs underfoot will stick to slippery trails and punch through deep snow, while the protective upper maintains superior weather protection to keep your feet dry. This boot is our top footwear recommendation if you're seeking a burly winter hiker.

Performance Comparison


Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's winter boots - the revel iv has a sturdy rubber toe and heel patch to protect the...
The Revel IV has a sturdy rubber toe and heel patch to protect the feet from kicking rocks or sliding into objects. The extra rubber around the midsole also provides more insulation and water protection.
Credit: Rachel Dobronyi

Warmth


While not the most fashionable boot, we continued to reach for the Revel IV for snowshoe hikes, dog walks, and morning preparation on ski days. The underfoot traction is roughly 1.5 inches thick, which acts as an additional insulator. The boot's cold-weather rating is -25 Fahrenheit. While we couldn't test in temperatures that low, we found it to retain warmth and comfort in 4+ hours of cold exposure. For this reason, we would highly recommend this for any outdoor activities that don't require long periods of deep snow penetration.


Nearly all of the boots in our test group contain 200 grams of insulation or less. We have found that 100-200 grams is the most common amount of insulation for everyday winter footwear. Boots with 200 grams of insulation have proven to be the best at sustaining warmth for an extended period. The Revel IV has 200 grams and had held its internal temperature during an ice bath test the best of all the boots we tested, changing only 3.8 degrees after a full 10 minutes.

Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's winter boots - we tested the heat retention of the hiking boots by placing them in...
We tested the heat retention of the hiking boots by placing them in a concentrated ice bath for 10 minutes and checking how much the internal temperature changed. The Revel IV has lost the least amount of heat of any boot in our current lineup.
Credit: Liz Chamberlain

While hiking, we wore the Revel IV with a thin pair of synthetic socks and didn't seem to sweat much or experience chilly toes. Even after dipping the boots in rivers and streams, our feet stayed dry and warm. The insulation is ample but doesn't impede the fit, so toes can wiggle around and generate heat. The Keen Dry membrane of the upper retains heat while maintaining breathability. This is a great choice for those who work outside or like outdoor winter activities.

Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's winter boots - even though the revel iv polar is designed for hiking, we had no...
Even though the Revel IV Polar is designed for hiking, we had no problem spending the rest of the day in these cozy boots.
Credit: Rachel Dobronyi

Weather Protection


The Revel IV Polar offers excellent weather protection for its size. The high-top construction comes just above the ankle. This design allows the range of motion necessary to hike while providing enough coverage to stabilize your ankles on sloped and slippery terrain. Keen also makes a higher-top version of this boot for those looking for more even coverage.


We spent a lot of time in the Revel 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. It kept our feet warm and dry through mud, snow, storms, and blizzards.

Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's winter boots - the keen revel maintained amazing traction on uneven surfaces in...
The Keen Revel maintained amazing traction on uneven surfaces in both cold and warm snow temperatures.
Credit: Liz Chamberlain

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. This boot should keep your feet dry if you find yourself hiking through rivers or puddles regularly. The only caveat is the height. We tested the mid, which, when paired with snow or hiking pants, does great for protection. However, the mid won't protect from the tallest of snowbanks on its own.

Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's winter boots - testing "puddle" depth in our local river. we learned this boot is...
Testing "puddle" depth in our local river. We learned this boot is waterproof all the way to the cuff!
Credit: Amber King

Unfortunately, most winter boots optimized for hiking will have a mid to low construction. When you're walking around on slippery surfaces, you want a stiff and sturdy upper to keep your ankles from rolling. Snow in the upper collar is a sacrifice you will have to make if you want a stiff boot. Otherwise, gaiters are an option, and luckily, the Revel IV has gaiter connectors.

Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's winter boots - we took the revel iv to the rivers to test waterproofness and found...
We took the Revel IV to the rivers to test waterproofness and found that they were nearly impenetrable.
Credit: Amber King

Comfort and Fit


Of all the hiking boots we've tested so far, this one stands out as one of the most comfortable. Comparatively, the Merrell Thermal Chill has a better fit for narrow feet, while the Revel IV Polar has a wider profile.


The midsole construction of the Revel IV is supportive under the arch and roomy in the toes. It's built to be easily paired with thin or thick socks and worn all day in cold weather. Those with wider feet may like a thick wool sock makes for a tighter fit. The fit is true to size but roomier than most hiking boots — which means more space to wiggle your toes and layer up.

Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's winter boots - the revel is super easy to get into and lace up. it also provides...
The Revel is super easy to get into and lace up. It also provides great ankle-height coverage that keeps water and snow out.
Credit: Rachel Dobronyi

The Revel doesn't need a fuzzy fur liner to feel comfortable. The recycled PET insulation is paired with Keen's Thermal Heat Shield insole and a compression-molded EVA midsole. The tongue is soft and wide and doesn't create any pinch points on the arch. The mid-rise height is incredibly stable, with lots of lateral room in the toe box for those with wider feet. This is truly an excellent choice if you're looking for an all-day wear winter boot.

Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's winter boots - the eva footbed in the revel iv is not the thickest or most shapely...
The EVA footbed in the Revel IV is not the thickest or most shapely but it provides a comfortable base for standing and moving for multiple hours.
Credit: Liz Chamberlain

Durability


The outer is a combination of leather, nylon, and a "performance mesh" lining that creates a sturdy, thick barrier to protect your feet from the outside elements. While we suggest using a leather waterproofing treatment and a leather conditioner to keep this boot from deteriorating over time, the Revel IV Polar has held up well despite some softening in the leather collar and scuff marks on the toe. The rubber reinforcements in the toe and heel maintain structure in the foot, and the stiff leather spine and collar maintain structure around the ankle and heel.


The Keen Polar rubber outsole is about 1 inch thick underfoot and 1½ inches under the heel. The Revel IV has one of the thickest bases in the test group, accompanied by thick, deep lugs. Based on the boot's overall performance during winter activities, we can assume the grip and traction will hold up for many seasons.

Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's winter boots - the outer construction of the revel iv is tough, taught, and durable.
The outer construction of the Revel IV is tough, taught, and durable.
Credit: Rachel Dobronyi

Traction


The traction on this boot is exceptional. While no boot can protect over black ice surfaces, this one kept us upright on just about every other surface. Heavy snow, slippery icy, slushy spring melt, mud, and more. It's an all-terrain hiker built to take on outdoor workdays and steep mountain trails alike. Plus, it pairs easily with crampons or snowshoes for more technical terrain.


The rubber outsole of the Revel IV 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, allowing the shoe to conform to rocky surfaces. Keen's rubber performs similarly to Vibram Arctic Grip soles. The only issue we had was on a clay road and warmer muddy trails. These surfaces were so sticky that the clay and mud stuck between the lugs. After a while, we used a stick to carve the mud out.

Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's winter boots - a look at the hefty traction built into this awesome hiking boot.
A look at the hefty traction built into this awesome hiking boot.
Credit: Amber King

Overall, the traction on this versatile boot is trustworthy compared to the competition. Because of its performance, we'd recommend it for hiking through cold and cool weather, and for travel in the city or suburbs.

Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's winter boots - our two favorite hiking style boots, the merrell thermo chill (left)...
Our two favorite hiking style boots, the Merrell Thermo Chill (left) and the Keen Revel IV Polar (right) have exceptional traction and deep lug patterns that improve toe grip and limit heel slip.
Credit: Liz Chamberlain

Should You Buy the Revel IV?


The Keen Revel IV Polar proved, once again, to be a top contender in the world of winter hiking boots. It maintains a stiff, structured fit while providing great shock absorption and 200 grams of recycled insulation. It can feel bulky and clunky at times but has one of the best outsoles we've tested. It's built for all-day wear and has a roomy fit in the toe box for those with wider feet. Enjoy its comfort and performance, all at a reasonable price for a bomber winter boot. Winter boots can cost an arm and a leg, so you might as well buy a boot that checks all the boxes. The sticker price on the Revel IV is not a small sum, but it is slightly lower than some of the top contenders in our lineup, and the performance is undeniable. After many miles of winter hiking, the boot's exterior suffered minimal wear and tear. The thick rubber toe ensures 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.

Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's winter boots - hike around and enjoy the performance of this impressive winter boot.
Hike around and enjoy the performance of this impressive winter boot.
Credit: Amber King

What Other Winter Boots Should You Consider?


If you'd like something similar but with a lower ankle, a cheaper price that we believe is more comfortable with a better fit, then the Merrell Thermo Chill Mid WP - Women's is one to consider. With similar performance in other metrics, you aren't sacrificing, but you could be gaining a cozy fit and a few dollars in your pocket.

Liz Chamberlain and Amber King
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