Keen Anchorage III Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Anchorage III is decently stylish and comfortable, though it misses the mark on several fronts for warmth, weather protection, and traction. It's also pricey enough that we have trouble recommending it for anything past casual urban use.
The Anchorage III has no insulation, except for a thin layer of fleece in the footbed. The sole is relatively thick, which helps prevent heat conduction through the bottom of the foot. This was effective on cold pavement, but our feet got cold quickly when we wore these boots on snowy surfaces. The leather is soft and is susceptible to losing warmth as well. If you live in a cold winter climate, these won't keep you warm on most winter days. But if you spend the cold months in a temperate urban environment, or if you only need winter boots for short outdoor jaunts while commuting or doing errands, they'll be just fine.
The Anchorage has a tall shaft height compared to other Chelsea boots, but the elastic panel that allows the boot to slide on and off is not waterproof. When we submerged the boots in a creek, water immediately seeped through. On top of that, this material starts only 4 inches off the ground, so if you step in a puddle deeper than that, you'll have wet feet. All Chelsea boots share this weak point, and as a result, they're the least weather-resistant winter boots in our test. That said, the maximum puddle depth before leakage is better in this boot than other Chelsea boots out there.
Comfort and Fit
When we first slipped our feet into these boots, they felt very comfortable compared to the top-ranked winter boot competition. The footbed is comfy, and the leather toe box is roomy, which creates a slightly rattly feeling, though it's not too bad. Over time, we noticed that we developed a pressure point on the tops of our feet, where the two panels of leather come together to form a seam that runs from the toe box up the tongue. This seam protrudes down into the foot cavity for its entire length, and it dug into the top of our feet, causing pain over time. This problem might be specific to our foot shape, but we didn't feel this problem in other Chelsea boots.
The tread pattern on the Anchorage III could be better. The lugs are not deep, so there is little space in the sole to absorb surface irregularities when walking on rocky terrain or deep snow. The lugs also aren't sharp, so they don't bite very well. However, if you spend your time walking on mostly paved surfaces, these boots will grip well enough for everyday use.
As with all fashionable leather boots, the exterior of the Anchorage needs care and regular treatment to avoid damage and wear. The leather scratches easily, which isn't a problem if you don't care about the style, but scratches can be an eyesore. Also, the leather will dry out over time and lose its water-resistant treatment, so we recommend treating the leather with a waterproofing agent at the beginning and end of every winter, if not more often. This will help keep the leather soft, pliable, waterproof, and stain-resistant.
Should You Buy the Keen Anchorage III?
The Keen Anchorage III is a relatively comfortable Chelsea-style boot at a lower price than other boots of its type. However, compared to winter boots overall, these don't perform well. They aren't warm or weather-resistant, and their traction only works well on paved surfaces. Most consumers looking for a good pair of winter boots should look elsewhere. These boots cost less than other Chelsea boots, but not by much, and their performance isn't as good as other similar options. We also don't think that the Anchorage III style measures up to the competition. Compared with other winter boots, these boots provide much less warmth and weather protection and are more expensive. So, we don't think they are worth the money.
What Other Winter Boots Should You Consider?
If you need a stylish boot with some winter properties for the city streets and tracks to work, we prefer the Blundstone Thermal - Men's. While more expensive, they offer more to keep you warm and dry. Plus, we think they look more like streetwear than the Keen, making them better for on-the-go professionals looking to stay stylish and warm.
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