I’m due to spend the weekend on a cold, bleak Dartmoor in 3-days time learning all about the intricacies of advanced navigation and how to survive when your advanced navigation fails you completely. So I put out the feelers to a few brands last month for a pair of warm, waterproof winter boots to keep my feet as the least of my worries. The call was answered by Keen with a pair of their epic Revel winter boots.
Sold as Keen’s warmest, most comfortable hiking boot the Revel is quite a chunky little number with those caricature looks which Keen’s enormous toe bumper lends itself to. In the flesh it feels like a quality piece of manufacture. Comprised of many pieces of waterproofed Nubuck, the boot is a complex one with plenty of potential problems in the stitching and gluing, but as far as my month long in-at-the-deep-end testing has gone they’ve not shown any signs of wear or problems.
Straight out of the box the Revel is a comfortable place to be. Its generous lining of insulation and padding makes the first fitting more of a slipper affair, and the deep sole keeps you insulated from the ground not just in terms of warmth but also in feeling. It’s not a boot for those who like to feel every detail of the earth, but more for those of us who like to strap on a stomping boot and go forth without a care.
The Revel is lined with Keen’s own KEEN.DRY membrane for waterproofing. I’ve been in and out of streams, mud and wet grass and this has kept my feet bone dry. It’s difficult to say how breathable they are compared to an un-insulated boot because they’re much warmer and thus my feet have sweated more when it’s been warm out.
On the subject of insulation, the boot is lined with 200g KEEN.Warm insulation (I like the way Keen avoids bullcrap words and just lobs a KEENdot on front of everything) which so far has kept my feet toasty in sub-zero conditions. Underneath your foot, where cold can creep up from the ground, Keen have built in a 3-layer system of wool, air pockets and a reflective heat-shield to keep things warm. This works darn well.
The sole of the Revel is a chunky-lugged, wide base which is very stable and not too stiff. It’s definitely not a crampon boot, so forget the high-mountain use, but this is a boot which is designed to help you walk on gentle slopes covered in snow. I’ve only had a very short test on snow so far, but they appear to bite in to it well and if there are any concerns at a later date I’ll come back and edit this review. The mid-sole is fairly flexible, with a nylon shank to keep it from doing banana-like bends and enough material that you feel supported without being forced to walk in any way. The upper is soft and gives easily if you bend the boot.
The Revel suits a wide-footed person, with plenty of room at the toes and a fairly flat arch. I found that I needed a little more arch support than the boot offered as standard so I slotted in an extra pad.
Styling-wise, the Keen Revel plays it safe with the colours but adds a contemporary dash with the chunky two-tone sole, massive rubber toe-box and yellow logo. The lacing system works fairly well even when caked in mud, and there’s a little metal ring for gaiters at the front.
A low-rise heel section makes for a boot which isn’t going to rub on your ankles as you walk (unless you have it tight) one which is easy to get on and off.
The price-tag for the Revel may make some readers gulp. At £130 you’re paying a lot for footwear which doesn’t have whizz-bang acronyms falling all over it and isn’t really suitable for mountains. But so what? Compared to what else is on offer for around that price, the Revel is a damn fine winter boot for the vast majority of outdoors folk who have no intention of going up Scafell Pike, but rather want to keep their feet warm and dry when walking on lower fells, hills or just with the dog.
SUMMARY: The Keen Revel is a great winter boot. Solidly constructed, waterproof and warm it offers a nice cosy place for your feet to be all day long. The price tag is sensible and the build quality on our sample is excellent. A grippy sole, decent lacing system and out-of-the-box comfort complete the package.