Scouting Report: I’ve tried out tons of hiking boots, and these are my favorite. They are meant to be roughed up, but are comfortable and as reliable as it gets.
As an outdoors enthusiast who’s broken or sprained multiple body parts during previous adventures gone wrong, I take my outdoors gear seriously. Though I’m often passed by peak baggers rushing to their next summit, I consider myself a somewhat serious hiker and I enjoy what many nature lovers would run away from: multi-day wilderness backpacking trips and seven-degree snow hikes. Given my previous injuries, however, I require very sturdy boots that will keep my feet dry and my ankles protected, all while minimizing the chance I’ll slip down a steep and muddy ridge. Some people prefer hiking shoes (which I also own and occasionally use), but I tend to prefer proper hiking boots because they provide better ankle support, which is especially important in the rugged, rocky regions I tend to frequent.
My favorite has to be the Ridge Flex hiking boots by Keen because they are rough, comfortable, and reliable. They have a unique, built-in flex that bends less in areas where other boots crack and weaken over time. For all my hiking nerds out there, here’s how the technology works. When the foot is in motion, there’s a critical moment when the foot compresses and you roll onto your toes. This area of the forefoot is where most hiking boots fail after years of heavy use. The accordion-like flex feature of these boots makes them last longer and reduce the amount of energy you expend while hiking.
Keen Ridge Flex Mid WP
Like my last pair of Keen boots (which I wore for 5 years, and retired during a jungle hike in Colombia this spring), these boots fit me perfectly. Unlike my last pair, which had laces that I consistently struggled to keep tight yet never once tried to replace, these laces stay tight the first time I tie them. Considering how many pairs of boots I’ve found loosen up and require you to stop every 20 minutes to tighten and re-tie, this seemingly-basic feature is actually pretty important.
As with most hiking boots (except for these stylish hiking – or hiking-adjacent – boots that require no break-in time), you’ll want to break them in a bit before hitting any serious trails. I usually wear my new boots around the house and to run errands before heading out for a long hike and that’s what I did with these boots. But once they're broken in, these boots will serve you well. They’ve quickly become my favorite summer hiking boots (I prefer insulated boots for winter) and I’m looking forward to wearing them on weekly hikes all summer.
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