Prioritizing lightweight gear and touting a small pack with just the essentials for day adventures, I always try to ditch extra weight where I can—including from my shoes. Choosing lightweight hiking shoes instead of boots means I sacrifice additional ankle support, but I get to hit the trails feeling lighter. However, testing these Circadia Waterproof Boots from KEEN made me reconsider.
The Whyte Lake Trail in West Vancouver is my usual weekend five-kilometre roundtrip hike with the pooch, and these mid-cut boots provided me with out-of-the-box comfort. The shock-absorbing foam core and well-padded ankle cuff meant I didn’t have to break these shoes in at all, which is a huge plus for those who are prone to blisters. The midsole also provided my feet with noticeable arch support. My feet are of average width, but these boots feature a roomy toe box, making them an ideal choice for those with broader feet and who find shoe shopping a bit of a challenge. The set of lace hooks and exceptional heel hold made this a snug and comfortable fit for me.
Sukh JhangriKeeping up with my terrier, I walked briskly across stretches of gravel and pine needle-covered floors, occasionally hopping off boulders along the trail to the lake. Though keeping a brisk pace and sometimes being pulled in different directions by the dog meant stubbing my toe against boulders and tripping over tree roots, the robust toe bumpers on the boots left me barely feeling anything. Throughout the changing terrain, the chevron-shaped lugs on the durable rubber soles provided strong and reliable traction. And while sloshing across streams, KEEN’s proprietary waterproofing membrane kept my feet dry. Because this is a mid-cut boot, hikers should be mindful when jumping in puddles and wading across streams to avoid water pouring in at the collar.
Moving on from the creek, my new boots dried quickly on the trail. Throughout the hike, these boots proved to be a sturdy and comfortable choice.
I also brought these boots on an international adventure. Over the course of a week, I traversed ancient rainforests and hiked on rocks and loose dirt on the network of easy to moderate trails at Millersylvania State Park in Washington State.
While some days on the trail were longer than others, my hiking adventures never exceeded four hours at a time. Despite their waterproofing capabilities, which tend to cause garments and shoes to trap heat, these boots remained breathable. Whether I hiked for an hour or four, I wasn’t racing at the end to yank these boots off. And when I removed them, my feet were never soggy with sweat.
The Circadia waterproof boots have been one of KEEN’s bestsellers for the past 17 years, and the company recently simplified its design to meet its vision for a more sustainable future. This boot now features leather from a Leather Working Group-certified tannery, while keeping the comfortable fit and rugged durability that propelled this boot to the top of the bestsellers list. Plus, the boots are now finished with a PFC-free water-repellent treatment.
This boot embodies a burlier construction than I’m used to, but it also provides more durability and all-around protection out on the trail without sacrificing flexibility. With reinforced ankle protection, I found myself feeling more sure-footed on the trails. Plus, the ankle cuff kept dirt and other debris from entering my shoes. For hikers who prioritize comfort and durability, this is a solid choice for everyday hikes and trails that aren’t overly technical.
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