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Keen Anchorage II Review

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Price:  $140 List
Pros:  Easy to slip on, comfortable, stylish.
Cons:  Low cuff, not very warm, poor water resistance.
Manufacturer:   Keen
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 1, 2016
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66
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Warmth - 25% 6
  • Water Resistance - 25% 4
  • Fit and Comfort - 25% 8
  • Traction - 15% 8
  • Ease of Use - 10% 9

The Skinny

The Keen Anchorage II is one of the most casual looking boots in our review, with a clean style and narrow profile. While most other winter boots that we tested had more water resistance as a result of being taller, the Anchorage II is the boot we preferred to wear when going out for happy hour, or making a trip to the hardware store, as it pairs well with a pair of jeans and can look good in a range of situations. The Sorel 1964 Premium T is a more waterproof and warmer boot that also has a casual lifestyle appearance, though it is much clumsier to walk around in. We like slip-on boots a lot for running around town, so much that we made the Bogs Classic Ultra Mid our Editors' Choice award winner. While the Bogs are much warmer and more waterproof than this pair, we did prefer the Keen's style over the Bogs when we wanted to look more presentable. You can head on over to our Buying Advice article for more information on how to select the best winter boot.


Our Analysis and Test Results

The Keen Anchorage II is a Romeo-style slip-on boot with elastic on the sides to make slipping them on and off easier. They use water resistant nubuck leather, which can be further treated with aftermarket leather care products. Inside is the Keen.Dry waterproof membrane and 200 grams of Keen.Warm insulation. The sole has a dual density rubber compound, and one boot weighs 1 pound 6 ounces. They currently come in Black and Brown color options.

Performance Comparison


This was one of the best looking boots we reviewed  and it pairs well with a pair of jeans for casual occasions.
This was one of the best looking boots we reviewed, and it pairs well with a pair of jeans for casual occasions.

Warmth


Using 200 grams of Keen.Warm synthetic insulation, this boot should be on par for warmth with many other boots in our review, yet it ended up feeling noticeably colder. We think this is due to the insulation being sewn behind an inner liner, much like the Keen Summit County III, which ends up compressing the insulation and reducing its loft. Since loft is what gives insulation heat retention, this colder feeling was not surprising. We also noted that the insulation was only placed around the lower section of the foot, and that there was none on top of the foot. With only lined leather surrounding the top of the foot, heat escaped more easily. While this was one of the least warm models in this review, we still feel that it is a good boot for around town or for milder winters, and it is not too warm to wear indoors. They also did not make our feet sweat too much when walking around in them. If you need a truly warm boot that will also walk fairly well, check out our Best Buy winner, the Kamik Nation Plus.

This boot is reasonably warm  and okay for walking in the snow for short periods.
This boot is reasonably warm, and okay for walking in the snow for short periods.

Water Resistance


This pair is one of only a handful of boots in this review to feature a waterproof-breathable barrier. Keen uses a proprietary membrane called Keen.Dry, and we felt it worked well. Similar to our Top Pick for Winter Hiking, the Vasque Snowburban Ultradry, the nubuck leather outer on this pair is water resistant but should still be treated occasionally with leather cleaner and a waterproofing agent. This will help it maintain its ability to shed water, since a soaked outer will lead to the inner membrane not functioning correctly. This boot's biggest exposure to water comes from the fact that it is the lowest cuffed boot that we reviewed, and the elastic sides used to make this a slip-on model give it the lowest maximum puddle depth - only four inches. This does not make it a bad boot, just be aware that it has limitations when it comes to deep submersions when fording overflowing rain gutters.

This boot has the lowest maximum puddle depth out of all the models in this review  but the leather upper did keep the water out in our ice bath test.
This boot has the lowest maximum puddle depth out of all the models in this review, but the leather upper did keep the water out in our ice bath test.

Fit and Comfort


We have to give kudos to Keen for making a slip-on boot that fit so well. It may be that our lead reviewer's foot was the perfect shape for this boot, though we felt that it was very well-shaped, and contrary to Keen's own advice to size this boot up, we wore this boot in our normal street shoe size and were quite comfortable. There is a little bit of play inside the boot, but not nearly as much as the wider Columbia Bugaboot Plus III Omni-Heat. The material is nubuck leather, so after using this boot it will break in a bit and conform to your foot. We liked the included insole, but wanted to take a little volume out so we replaced it with an aftermarket foot bed for our test. The only uncomfortable aspect was the sharp feeling the boot top gave against our shin. Thick socks helped with this, and prolonged use will likely break down this stiff leather edge.

Traction


The dual compound rubber used on the sole was good in all but the iciest conditions. We had no issues with traction on days of hard packed snow or slushier conditions when the sun finally came out. It had average traction overall when compared with such specialized soles like those on the Adidas Outdoor Terrex Conrax CP, but for a slip-on Romeo boot that will most likely be used as a casual boot around town or even as a work boot, the traction provided was more than adequate.

The tread on these boots is more than adequate for the around town activities they are designed for.
The tread on these boots is more than adequate for the around town activities they are designed for.

Ease of Use


Only the Editors' Choice winning Bogs Classic Ultra Mid scored higher in this category in our review, and even so only by a narrow margin due to the extra large grab handles to pull them on with. We really like the ability to slide right into these boots hands free, or if you're wearing heavy and thick winter socks, you can use the pull tabs on the front and back. Our lead reviewer is a big fan of Georgia Romeo boots for their good looks, comfort and ease of slipping on, and has now converted to this pair instead.

These boots are easy to slip on with or without the front and back pull tabs.
These boots are easy to slip on with or without the front and back pull tabs.

Best Applications


This is a great winter boot for most consumers who live in a region where wintertime precipitation is measured in inches, not feet. They are easy to use, have a good looking casual style, and are warm enough if you move around or are in a mild climate.

Value


At $130, these boots are a good value for those who want a nice looking boot that does not have the clunky look that other pac boots or winter hiking boots might have. If you don't mind a bulkier boot that will also be warm and walk well, check out the Kamik Nation Plus, our Best Buy award winner.

Conclusion


Not everyone needs a tall winter boot that will keep out cold water and snow from rushing in, so if you find your needs are limited to light snowfalls and rains, then the Keen Anchorage II boot could be a good choice for you. It is a boot that can fit in at the lumber yard or a casual dinner, and our reviewers found it to be a welcome addition to the shoe rack.

Other Versions


Keen The 59 Chelsea
  • Similar look as the Anchorage
  • No insulation
  • Full leather, water resistant outer


Ryan Huetter