By: Blonde Two

I have to admit to never thinking in terms of energy efficiency when it comes to buying walking boots but one thing I always consider is comfort.

Who wouldn’t?

A day out on the hills is only fun until your feet start aching and your blisters start forming. The team at KEEN however has come up with an interesting idea that combines both comfort and efficiency.

Flexible for comfortable walking

Think about where your boot or shoe bends the most when you walk. Across the top of the toes.

You know the place, it’s often the first to be compromised as your boots age.

Now imagine a walking boot with a specialist built-in flex panel in exactly that place. You’re looking at the new KEEN Bellows Flex series of walking boots, hiking trainers, and walking shoes. So flexible that KEEN estimate the Ridge Flex range offer a whopping 60% energy saving!

We Blondes both have wider than average feet (probably all the walking) so we were, of course, eager to try the range out for ourselves. Below are our reviews of the KEEN Tempo Flex Hiking Trainer Boots and the Ridge Flex Waterproof Hiking Shoe.

A walking boot fit town to countryside walking

I’ve recently been doing far more town walking than countryside walking. This has of course been because of lockdown restrictions but I’m hoping to continue my new found love of walking for travel as restrictions ease.

I usually wear trainers for my walks but as these have spread further afield into the countryside (pun intended) I have sometimes found myself wishing for the support and grip of my walking boots.

Nowhere near as heavy as leather walking boots (my best recommendation for serious hill days), but far more supportive (especially to the ankle) than trainers, the Tempo Flex Waterproof Hiking Trainer Boot (yes I know it’s a mouthful but you don’t have to actually say it if you shop online) gives the best of both worlds.

I took mine for a 12km round trip to visit a friend. As well as walking the streets, they bounced across a couple of beaches, and conquered a gravel track.

Their behaviour was impeccable.

It takes a well-made and flexible boot to avoid blisters on such a long first trip out but these didn’t even bother a blister I had developed in another pair of boots a few days before.

If you are looking for a walking boot that will fit the occasion on days when you don’t quite know where you’ll end up, this one would be a good fit (an actual good fit).

Here are my B2 scores out of ten.

  • Comfort: 10
  • Looks: 6 (great design, not sure about the colour)
  • Innovation: 10
  • Fit: 10 (medium to wide feet – perhaps a tighter fit than some people are used to in walking boots)

Perfect walking trainer for wider feet

I wasn’t sure at first about the bright salmon-pink panel on the front but once I tried the trainers on the comfort far outweighed any misgivings I had about their appearance. These really are fabulous walking trainers for me. I like my boots and walking shoes to be quite loose around my toes and still quite tight around my ankles. It takes me a while to get the lacing right on my walking footwear usually as I try to work out the optimum tightness in the right places. These trainers didn’t require any special lacing as the toe area of the shoe is quite square compared to others. This squareness is perfect for allowing my toes some wriggle room! I have tried the shoes walking and cycling and they were good for both. After wearing them a few times I have realised that I actually quite like the coloured panel on the front. I don’t blame Keen for making it stand out; if you’ve invented something as good as this you want people to notice it!

The KEEN Ridge Flex Waterproof Hiking Shoe

  • Comfort: 10
  • Looks: 8
  • Innovation: 10 (the colour grew on me)
  • Fit: 10