LTR - Keen Obsidian Hiking Shoes - John Waters
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LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Over the last 2 months I've worn my Keen trail shoes on weekly 4 to 6 hours
hikes in the public lands behind our property and I spent 9 days hiking in
various locations in southwest Colorado as well as the Mesquite, Nevada area
and in Zion National Park and Arches National Park in Utah. In all, I
estimate that I put on another 50 to 60 miles (80-100 km) on these trail
shoes and probably more because I also wore them for work for about a total
of a month.
Colorado one-day-each hikes took place in the Black Canyon area of the
Gunnison National Park near Gunnison, Colorado and in Mesa Verde National
Park near Cortez, Colorado. A total of 2.5 days was spent there.
Mesquite, Nevada hikes included trails in the Valley of Fire State Park and
Desert National Wildlife Range. Because of time constraints, only 2 days
were devoted to hiking in Zion National Park and 1.5 days in Arches National
Park, but I probably covered well over 10 miles (16 km) anyway.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
To quickly review, in my Field Report, I mentioned that these trail shoes
were hurting my feet because of a crease being formed where the toe-box
flexes. My left foot was okay, but my right foot felt like the area around
the toe was being pressed in on and my sock around the toe was being stopped
from flexing. I decided to set these shoes off on the side for 2 weeks and
wore my most comfortable boots instead to give my feet a rest.
After 2 weeks, I started to test the Keens again. My feet felt fine now and
it was a chance to start over with fresh feet. I even decided to take the
Keens with me on the 2 week trip mentioned above, but I was also going to
bring along my favorite boots just in case.
I had no trouble using the Keens at all for the first 4 or 5 days. The
weather was very nice in these areas. Sunny, in the 50 F (10 C) range, low
humidity under 30% and the trails were pretty well groomed because we were
with another couple who are not into technical hiking. After 4 or 5 days
though, I could feel that my right toe was feeling the same way as before.
So I switched to my favorite boots for a few days. When I switched back to
the Keens after 2 days of relaxing in my favs, I again had no issues until I
was wearing the Keens for the next 2 days. Now, when I say wearing them for
several days, I mean they were on my feet almost all the time for those
days. I only had them off for sleeping and showering.
Apparently I cannot wear these for an extended period of time. I checked to
see if my socks were causing the problem, but my feet do not sweat and I
wear the very same socks with all my other boots. So if I wear the Keens for
a few days and put them aside all is well. If I were to have worn them for
one day just for testing and not worn them continuously for days at a time,
I may not even be reporting this toe issue. (I know this is projecting, but
I want to make this point very clear) because after I take them off and wear
something else then go back to them, my feet feel fine for a few days. In
fact, the first day that I go back to them, they feel great; lightweight and
I had the opportunity to wear the Keens in snow finally last week. Nothing
deep. Just barely up above the edges of the footbed. But it was an icy kind
of snow and slippery. As trail shoes, these do not perform like my winter
boots that grip exceptionally well on icy snow. They did not give me a great
deal of confidence and I was aware that I had to be careful not to slip and
fall. Likewise, in slippery mud, they also did not grip well. The tread
design is not very aggressive and the lugs are not deep. Also, the bottom is
labeled "carbon rubber", which offers good cushioning and durability but not
the grip of other outer sole material.
" When not worn for extended periods, these can be quite comfortable
" These are not shoes that I would wear on icy trails or in slippery
" They do allow mud to be removed easily from the treads and they clean up
" The lateral support is excellent, keeping ankle twists to a minimum
" The toe guard provides excellent protection
" Waterproofing worked well
" They look pretty hi-tech and have nice glow in the dark touches
" After all the mileage, there is little wear shown on any part of the shoe.
This concludes my long-term report on the Keen Obsidian Hiking Shoes. Thank
you to BackpackGearTest.org and Keen for the opportunity to test these
John R. Waters