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Climbing out of the crater of a cinder cone volcano at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

One thing is certain when it comes to hiking: everyone needs to have a good pair of shoes. The right footwear can make a world of difference in the quality of your hiking experience. Over the past two months, I’ve been fortunate enough to test out a pair of KEEN Shasta Waterproof shoes from Second Ascent. In order to do a thorough review, I’ve been breaking them in by hiking in some very different environments. These shoes have now been used in snow, along creeks, over sand dunes, and even up a volcano.

Cinder cone volcano trail.

Everybody’s feet are different, which means that many of us look for different features when picking shoes. Still, the two most important qualities are comfort and durability. The KEEN Shastas have both of these elements and so many others that make them a great all-around hiking shoe.

The first thing I notice when I try on a new pair of shoes is the comfort. Who wants to be out hiking all day and then come home to sore feet? The Shastas have a low profile, are lightweight, have breathable venting panels, and fit my feet very well. This makes them ideal for hiking long or short trails in any kind of weather.

Cliatt Creek Trail, Mistletoe State Park, Georgia.

What good is a pair of shoes if they don’t last long? These KEENs have a solid rubber sole and are made with a durable leather-and-mesh upper. Even after hiking numerous trails through really rocky terrain, they held up well and were unscathed.

Black Butte Trail, Deschutes National Forest, Oregon.

Another excellent feature is the toe box. It’s designed to protect your toes from getting beat up when trekking through rugged landscapes. I have to say that my toes were well protected from all of the small boulders that I banged them up against on mountainous trails. My only qualm is that it seemed like the toe box was a little constricting when hiking downhill. After descending about 1,000 feet, my toes felt squished and sore. Purchasing half a size up from your normal size can probably rectify this issue.

Paradise Meadow Trail, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California.

Probably the coolest feature is that the Shastas are waterproof. It’s nice to know that your feet will stay dry even if you meet up with some moisture out on the trail. I’ve worn these shoes when hiking next to creeks, through swampy puddles and snow melt, and even on top of snow itself.

Paradise Meadow Trail, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California.

The shoes also grip the ground very well on almost any trail. They have multi-directional lugs, which provide extra grip on slippery surfaces. Even when I crossed creeks on wet rocks, I was able to get to the other side without any problems. The grip is phenomenal!

Paradise Meadow Trail, Lassen Volcanic National Park, California.

Bottom Line

I think this product would be a good purchase for any woman who likes to hike a lot and needs a long-lasting pair of shoes to enhance the adventure. I’ve traveled across the country testing out this pair, and they were very versatile. They kept my feet comfortable no matter the conditions. Plus, I knew they would stay dry even if I had to make my way through some water. They work well for underground caving, too!

Lava River Cave Trail, Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Oregon.

MSRP: $100, but available online for $69.95.

Much thanks and appreciation go out to Second Ascent for providing the KEEN Shasta shoes for review. We’d also like to thank Deep Creek PR for organizing this review. 

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