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Review: Keen Tempo Flex WP Hiking Boots

Keen boots
 

Super comfortable and lightweight mid-height sneaker hiking boots for fast and light hiking or everyday wear

Sneaker-style hiking boots are a winner for casual hikers to enjoy for everyday wear as much as time on the trail. And with good levels of protection and an innovative design that makes these lightweight hiking boots super efficient over longer distances, the Keen Tempo Flex WP Hiking Boots offer the best of everything: style, performance and comfort.

Keen Tempo Flex WP Hiking Boots: The stats

Best for:Fast hiking, casual walks and everyday wear
Weight:740g / 1.6 lbs (per pair, size 5)
Waterproof:KEEN.DRY waterproof and breathable membrane
Uppers:Rip-stop mesh, TPU overlays and KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX insert
Outsole:KEEN ALL.TERRAIN
Eco-conscious:Recycled PET rand and Eco Anti-Odour insole

Features of the Keen Tempo Flex WP Hiking Boots

Uppers

Hiking boot uppersThe rip-stop mesh uppers have TPU overlays which offer good levels of durability. There is also a KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX insert across the top of the toes which increases flexibility in the boot. This accordion-like section also reduces stress where the boots bend the most and decreases cracking over time. Additionally, the flex insert makes walking easier! Hikers use up to 60% less energy to flex the boot than other boots.

Outsole

Hiking boot outsoleWith 4mm deep lugs, the ALL.TERRAIN Outsole provides excellent grip and traction on almost all types of terrain. It is especially good on dry rocky ground, hard packed trails and grassland. However, the sole doesn’t perform well in muddy conditions.

Insole

Hiking boot inner soleThe removable insoles are treated with Eco Anti-Odour. These are pesticide-free for natural odour control. They offer a good amount of extra cushioning and a small, but adequate, amount of arch support too.

Laces

Boot lacesThere are two collar hooks on each side of the tongue for a secure fit around the ankle. The rest of the laces thread through webbed loops that sit on top of the tongue. Overall, the laces are easy to adjust in specific areas and they stay done up securely once they’re tied.

Protective rand and toe

Keen Tempo Flex Hiking BootsIn-keeping with the traditional Keen design, the toe box has a protective bumper, though not as beefy as classic Keen bumpers. In addition to this, there is a protective rand along the outside edge of the boot. This is made of recycled PET.


Person standing in hiking boots with water bottle

Keen Tempo Flex WP Hiking Boots review

Sneaker-style hiking boots aren’t for everyone. And nor should they be. They lack many of the properties offered by “proper” hiking boots such as stability, durability and protection that are essential in certain conditions and environments. However, where they lack in their suitability to thrive in more extreme mountain conditions, they certainly make up for in other areas.

First up, sneaker hiking boots are a superb option for the casual hiker. Casual in terms of hiking frequency and distance. But also in terms of style. They’re ideal for people who want a stylish and practical boot for everyday wear that is also completely at home on the trail without sacrificing performance too much.

Secondly, this style of hiking boot is usually incredibly comfortable and lightweight. Excellent if you want to move fast on the trail but also a strong choice for those who may struggle with breaking in more traditional boots.

If any of the above resonates with you and your hiking needs, then the Keen Tempo Flex Hiking Boots are the perfect sneaker hiking boots that offer much more than just a comfortable and stylish boot for all your walking needs.

Boot flexing

Efficient hiking

New to the market in 2021, the Tempo Flex range is designed to be the most efficient hiking boot on the market. I’m sensing some ear-pricking of fast and light hikers across the land! The idea behind the ground-breaking (sorry) KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX technology is to provide structure in the boot that works with the foot and not against it. Accordion-like inserts flex with the foot to reduce stress points and resistance and thus, make every step that little bit easier. As mentioned, Keen tests found that hikers use around 60% energy to bend their feet, compared with similar boots.

For the likes of everyday hikers, like me, this sort of comparison would take some serious testing and analysing. So, we’ll just have to take Keen’s word for it!

However, my first day hike in them was supremely enjoyable and I really did feel like I was wearing sneakers or trail running shoes and not heavy and cumbersome hiking boots.

Woman hiking on cliff

Comfort

I’m a firm believer that comfort shouldn’t be noticed. Stick with me here! Unless something is designed with the sole purpose of providing comfort, like a soft pillow, then comfort should just be a byproduct of good design. As such, for me, not noticing the clothes on my back or the shoes on my feet is a very big positive. The less I notice them, the more comfortable they are, in my eyes anyway! Each time I put on the Tempo Flex Hiking Boots, I do notice that they are instantly comfortable, usually as a comparison to other footwear. However, once I’m walking, I don’t notice them at all. And that’s exactly as it should be. Unnoticeable comfort!

Their first outing was an 8-mile hike and they were a dream. I didn’t even wear them around the house before-hand. So if you’re after out-of-box comfort that actually does what it says on the box, then these are a winner.

Grip

The shallow lugs and grip pattern feel nimble and sticky when scrambling over dry rocks or stomping over packed trails and grassland. However, in muddy conditions the sneaker-like properties of the soles just don’t stand up to the task. They fill with mud very quickly and fail to shed said mud as you walk. The result is a slippery ride that sure keeps you on your toes!

Woman standing by the sea

Style

An appealing characteristic of sneaker-style hiking boots is their aesthetics. And the Tempo Flex’s sure are distinctive and unique for hiking boots. I love the idea that hiking boots are appropriate for everyday wear, and vice versa. The combination is another subtle step towards more considered consumerism that, in theory, equates to people needing less pairs of footwear in their lives. This couldn’t be more true for casual hikers whose dedicated hiking footwear sits unused in a cupboard for much of the year, only to inflict blisters on their wearer when they actually do get out on the trail.

Sizing

These boots are true to size, unlike the Keen Targhee shoes which come up big for their size. If you’re after the super spacious toe box usually associated with Keen footwear then you won’t get it with the Tempo Flex boots. They’re certainly not cramped or narrow, just not wide across the toe.

What I love the most about the Keen Tempo Flex WP Hiking Boots

I love how unnoticeably comfortable these boots are on the trail. They’re super lightweight and make me feel very nimble.
Plus, despite their bold styling, I actually really love how they look. They’re my go-to shoe for rainy days about town.

What I don’t love so much about them

They’re pretty unsuited to walking in muddy conditions due to the shallow lugs on the soles.


Keen boots with jeans

Verdict

They’re comfortable, supportive, protective, and super stylish. But what really shines about these agile and contemporary hiking boots is how lightweight and easy they feel to hike in. Though they don’t offer everything that more tradition hiking boots do, the Keen Tempo Flex WP Hiking Boots are an ideal option for fast and light hikers as well as occasional hikers and everyday wear.

Find the latest price at:
Keen Footwear

Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

About the author

author-joey

Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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