Gear Review: KEEN Gypsum Mid Boots (Women’s)

I bought a new pair of boots for our February 2014 trip to New Zealand and the first time I wore them hiking was for our climb up Single Cone. Just a few steps past Lake Alta I found myself thinking “Oh, oh…maybe these new boots weren’t such a great idea.”

I’d purchased a pair of Keen Gypsum Mid women’s hiking boots for a couple of reasons. I’ve had a lot of good history with Keen sandals and walking shoes and like their fit and build quality. And I’ve had problems with the water-proofing on several other brands of mid-height hiking boots and since I’ve never had problems with Keen’s waterproofing I thought I’d give their mid-height boots a try.

As with every other pair of Keen shoes I’ve owned, my new boots were super comfortable. There’s no heel slippage yet lots of wiggle room for my toes. As expected, the waterproofing did its job when we crossed the initial boggy sections of the track. So why was I thinking my new boots were bad planning? I could feel the rocky terrain underfoot more than I would have liked!

Now that I’m back in Canada, I’ve reviewed the detailed description of my new boots in comparison to the detailed description of my low-rise KEEN Targhee II Light Trail Shoes (Women’s), which I think do a better job of masking uneven terrain underfoot (and I’m currently on my third or fourth pair of Targhee II Light Trail Shoes). There are two differences in the product descriptions that must have a bearing on how much you “feel” the ground underfoot – the removable footbed (which I think means the insole) and the midsole.

That being said, I still give my new boots a 4 out of 5 star rating and (so long as the waterproofing holds up over the 2014 hiking season) I would definitely consider buying another pair of the same kind of boots when these ones wear out. For more on why I think the “pros” outweigh the “cons” for these boots, read my full review on Trailspace here.

One last observation: I’ve checked a few websites this evening and note that on average, reviewers are generally rating the Gypsum Mid Boot more favourably than the Targhee II Trail Shoe. So please don’t take my word as “the” word. Only you can decide what’s most important in your hiking footwear: comfort, durability, price, waterproofing, etc. Once you’ve decided on your two or three most important considerations, look for reviews that specifically address those considerations and use those to build a short list of two or three options. Then head to your nearest outdoor store to try them on. Walk up and down the fake rock hill several times and wear them for a good 10 or 15 minutes before deciding which boot is best for you.

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