I received the Keen Liberty Ridge boot for review purposes and immediately was impressed. Right on the box was a sticker which said “American Built” and that is unusual these days. Upon initial inspection of the boots, I felt they were very well constructed from various rubber types and a smooth brown leather. The tread looked quite aggressive, which I liked immediately.
Below is what KEEN states about this boot on their website (Keen):
The Liberty Ridge hiking boot is KEEN’s tough, supportive high-performance leather boot for long trips on gnarly trails. The shock absorbing direct-attach PU midsole delivers lasting comfort, and a full-length shank adds stability. The waterproof upper and KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane combine to keep your feet dry. Designed to handle any trail surface, if you rack up serious backcountry mileage with a full pack, this is your boot. American Built with materials from around the world.
Weight per shoe: 24.0 oz/680.4 g
Features: American Built, Hiking, Waterproof
Weather: Wet – waterproof
Rubber: Direct-attach Construction
Fit Tip: This style is running a 1/2 size small. We suggest ordering a 1/2 size larger than your usual size!
Measurement Note: Our measurements were taken using a Men’s size 9 US (42.0 EU). Measurements may vary by size.
When I requested my size for these boots, I just ordered the Size 10 without reading their suggestion of ordering a size larger. This may be why I have a hard time getting my heal past the upper cuff. But I do believe part of this is because the leather on the inside of the upper cuff is a soft smooth leather which tends to grip your sock. Once the boots are on, this prevents your socks from going anywhere, but it makes getting the boots on a little difficult. Not a deal breaker by any means! The boots fit nicely once on. I noted the laces are JUST long enough to get the job done. Another 1″ would help, but they work ok.
There is a break in period I have found on these boots. It took a few days of wearing them every day for them to work out the hot spots and be comfortable, but I never got any blisters. I will be interested to see how the leather to rubber bonding holds up over time. I tend to be rough on my boots, using them both for working in my custom furniture shop as well as light hiking locally and bird hunting. I will comment more on this longevity in the next couple months!
I have been wearing the Keen Liberty Ridge boots now essentially every day since I received them for review. I LOVE these boots. They are probably the most comfortable backpacking boots I have owned or at least coming equal to my old standby backpacking boots that came from our outdoor sporting goods store that resides in Freeport, ME. I would be willing to project that the soles on the Keen boots will last a little longer than my other backpacking boots. Mostly because they are a bit more aggressive and beefy.
In terms of the use the boots have been getting, I have been doing some short day hikes as well as the majority of the use being working in my custom furniture shop. The boots performed fabulously on the trails both uphill and down. No heel slipping or toe jamming or any of that funny business. No blisters either. I still have a somewhat hard time slipping my foot in which is irritating, but not a deal breaker by any means. They have been standing up to shop work well given the rubber overmolded toe section. I tend to trash the toes of my work shoes (I don’t wear my hiking boots in the shop normally) so I wanted to see how these boots would hold up with rough use. I am very pleased so far. I like the way they laces snap into the hooks too and everything tightens nicely.
I will report again soon with pictures of the wear and tear and after using some leather dressing on the boots to make them look fancy again. Stay tuned!!
Just a quick update with just one picture for now. After wearing these boots every day except while we were in St Maarten (flipflops and Keen sandals there!) I am very impressed with how they have held up. Typically when I wear medium hiking boots such as these every day, the laces start fraying and the toes begin to wear fairly quickly. I have seen no evidence of them wearing out like other boots I have used.
Above is a picture I took yesterday while out ice fishing. It was just around freezing with a light breeze and I was only going fishing for a couple hours so I forwent my heavy pack boots and just wore the Keens with MicroSpikes. I had light hiking socks on and I believe between the quality boots and the MicroSpikes keeping my feet off the ice, my feet were plenty warm! The MicroSpikes fit those Keen boots perfectly by the way.
I just felt as though I should do a final long term update on these boots. I have now been wearing them for close to a year. I wear them EVERY day! I have learned with these boots that you get what you pay for. I had always avoided Keen boots for my work as they were a bit pricey. I will say now that they are worth it! These boots are still essentially mint in regards to the rubber to leather connections, which is wear cheaper boots fail first. My typical boots I wear every day start falling apart after about 6 months. These Keen boots will have the soles wear out before the uppers fail!
After wearing them for this long, I have a couple things I do not like about them. When wearing pants and sitting and standing up, the tongues tip forward which is annoying. The top lace eyelets are a little low, therefore there is not a huge amount of ankle support. I put on my regular hiking boots and my ankles were cradled so nicely, these do not do that. Now, in this hiking world of hiking trail runner shoes and such, this is probably fine. Do not buy these thinking they will support your ankles like taller boots. The other thing that has not gotten any better is the soft leather at the back of the heal makes it really difficult to slide your foot in. a little talcum powder solves it, but the next time you put them on it’s the same game.
With all that said, these boots have held up superbly over this past year working in my furniture shop, hiking, standing around, etc etc. My feet are always dry when it is wet out and not overly hot in the summer. They are worth the money and I will seriously consider Keen boots once these finally wear out, regardless of the cost.