Call me an old duffer, but there’s something subconsciously comforting about having tough leather walking boots like they had in the Olden Days. More-so than their fabric counterparts.
I know the comparative specs might be similar on paper in terms of durability and wotnot, but the leathery contender simply looks tougher. Waterproofer. Bombproofer. It would kick seven shades out of its opponent.
My last pair of leather boots put me off them for life.
It was around 2000-ish and I was offered a pair of Barbour concrete blocks made to look like footwear. They looked great for the era and Barbour was very local to me so I snapped them up only to realise that, at best, they were deep-sea diving boots. I’ve had fabric and Gore-Tex ever since.
So when Keen said they were keen (it would be wrong not to do it) to send us their Liberty Ridge boots I took them home with a grumble. They’d be boats.
But they’re not, I’m glad to say. Turns out that hiking technology has moved on a bit since they simply laced-up cows and slipped them on, ready for the trail.
The Liberty Ridges are surprisingly lightweight to the point where you’d be hard-pressed to tell them apart from fabric ones in a blind one-in-each-hand weighing contest. If such a beast existed. Which it doesn’t. But it should.
Touted as perfect for hardcore, gnarly, all-day trail-walking, the Liberty Ridges are proper full-length, ankle-supporting efforts, with that ‘comforting’ look about them. They’re leather. Rugged. They just look tough. They look like water would run away from them rather than risk it.
Speaking of waterproofing, the own-brand KEEN.DRI breathable membrane has certainly been doing the job for me so far in really clarty walking conditions. For those not au-fait with Geordieisms, that means muddy barely-existent tracks in the woods. And have you seen the rain we’ve been having lately?
The Liberty Ridges have done themselves proud. Not once have the chunky multi-coloured Keen-branded soles slipped, not once have I thought about wet feet and not once have I grumbled. The thick external shank running from the top of the foot to the heel has even done its job – I often manage to ‘pull’ my heels and soles just with the repetition of walking, and I’m yet to feel a twinge.