During our Micro adventure in the Biesbosch, with two new friends which we found through our Facebook promotion, we all wore the Keen Venture shoe. Two of us wore a dark blue “Mid” version that encloses the ankle, and the other two a lower orange version.
It was an intensive fifteen hours in which the grip, the fit and wear and the water resistance of the shoes were really put to the test. In this review I am sharing my own experience with the shoes, but also the impressions and experience of Simon and Arvid, both very experienced outdoor men, and both former salesmen at the Bever (largest outdoor franchise in the Netherlands). So from two perspectives, these guys know gear, and they know the importance of good shoes.
Circumstances & Conditions
The fifteen hours in the Biesbosch were dry in terms of weather, but shortly before we departed that it had rained copiously, so we walked a lot through wet grass. In addition to that we spent the rest of the time in a canoe, get them in and out of the water in a very wet area. So, it was quite damp for the shoes to put it mildly. Temperatures ranged between 5 (in the evening) and 10 degrees above zero. After the micro-adventure, wore the shoes regularly (and still do), cycling to work, walking the dog in the woods, and doing odd jobs around the house and so on.
All these different activities, both on an adventure and in daily life, make it abundantly clear that it is a very versatile shoe, and because of its looks (I know it is a matter of taste), it is not only hardcore outdoor focused but quite “urban” minded as well.
Upon arrival in the Biesbosch, Simon and Arvid took to the shoes with an experienced eye. What immediately stood out were actually three things: the shoe is lightweight, the sole is stiff without being too hard, and the profile gives a lot of grip. Arvid is a very experienced rock climber and immediately concluded that such a shoe would do very well as an approach shoe and that you should even be able to climb sections of rock with it (without it being a climbing shoe). Simon guessed that it would be a great shoe for canyoning.
Fit and wearing comfort
The shoe is indeed nice and light, and it fits well. Not plush and “thick” inside, as if your foot is completely enclosed by a thickish layer, which you have with some shoes, but light and sturdy. That may also be because the shoe was a bit wider than I’m used to. But I didn’t feel the shoe was too loose because of that.
That is also because when you tie your laces, through the connected “Konnect Fit” thin cable system that runs around your heel, you actually pull your foot really tight and lock in your heel. It’s a very nice feeling where your heel is so stable in your shoe and does not slide up and down while walking at all. (This ensures you also have no blistering).
As expected the grip was very good indeed. We had aluminum canoes where the inside also got pretty wet, muddy shores that we had to manage when portaging the canoes, and at no time did I feel that I was slipping. Arvid, Simon, and GearLimits partner Jimmy agreed. A really good sole.
Waterproof and breathable
KEEN uses its own KEEN.Dry waterproof and breathable membrane in the shoe. As long as you do not step shin deep into water, mud or otherwise wet terrain, the Venture will keep your feet dry. We all had exactly that, no water entered the shoe from outside. At the end of the day, I was the only one with a very light damp feeling, which I mainly attributed to my propensity to sweaty feet in combination with a pair of rather thick winter merino socks that I was wearing.
Regarding those sweaty feet: KEEN indicates that it uses “Eco Anti-Odor” insoles in the shoe that are impregnated with “probiotic technology”. This means that it does not use chemicals to combat sweat and odors.
In addition, the water repellency of the materials without PFCs has been achieved. While PFCs are still widely used because these perfluor carbons are extremely water-repellent, but also highly polluting, KEEN opts for more environmentally friendly alternatives.
In our opinion, versatility is also part of sustainability. As described at the start of the review, this shoe is very versatile. From the waterfront, through the forest, your own street or the city, to the forests and mountains. You’ll only need one shoe for it.
The KEEN Venture is a light, waterproof, well-fitting outdoor shoe that is very versatile due to its sturdy sole and strong construction. Produced with a sustainable eye and a design that also works well in an urban environment, with the KEEN Venture you have a good shoe for all your outdoor activities this summer, … and autumn, and probably winter, spring certainly .. .-)
MEN’S VENTURE WATERPROOF OUTDOOR SHOE
Available in colors: olive/raven, cheddar/raven (shown), black/keen yellow, blue/vibrant blue
Retailprice: € 139,95
MEN’S VENTURE WATERPROOF MID OUTDOOR BOOT
Available in colors: olive/raven, grey/magnet, nights/raven (shown), black/black
Retail price: € 149,95