We tried it | KEEN Terradora hiking boots

The new versions will be built on the same lasts, but have knit, non-waterproof uppers.

When I’m hiking a trail with serious vert or one that involves scrambling over rocks, oftentimes I grab my old pair of Brooks running shoes and leave my mid-rise boots behind. I’d rather have a shoe that’s light, unrestrictive, and easy to slip on and throw in the wash, and also helps me blend in with Boulder’s yogis and joggers when I’m grabbing coffee after a weekday sunrise hike.

But a few weeks ago, I met a boot that rises over my ankles and has all of those qualities. After hiking in Oregon and Colorado, I’ve concluded that the KEEN Terradoras are just as lightweight, sporty, and comfortable out of the box as my old tennies. But I found that they’re best for wet, cold hikes.

On a steep 2.5-mile climb to Latourell Falls just outside Portland, Oregon, I hopped over puddles without the bulk, trekked over slick bridges with confidence in the traction, and felt supported by the boot’s stiff stability shank tucked into the midsole. It was damp in the Columbia River Gorge, as usual. But even so, my feet stayed dry thanks to the waterproof membrane.

Yet during an approach to a climb in Buena Vista, Colorado, on a day when temps surpassed 80 degrees, I was desperate to dip my overheated toes in an icy stream. The sturdiness of the Terradoras protected my soles from the jagged rocks, but the sheath retained too much heat.

With a new style of Terradoras coming out next January, KEEN is catering to the spring and summer hikers who are less concerned with unexpected downpours or water obstacles. Made with knit uppers formed from a single panel of fabric—a cut-and-sew process that saves scraps and waste—the Terradora EVOs will be more breathable and keep feet cool in the heat. Without the waterproof toe cap, the shoe looks more like a sneaker. But it’s built on the same last with the same outsole and 4mm multi-directional lugs.

Whether slogging through the rain or trekking in the desert, KEEN has options for each.

The Terradora EVO will cost $150 for low and $160 for mid. The original, waterproof Terradoras cost $130 for low and $140 for mid.