I tend to quite like keen boots because they invoke thoughts of being big comfy silly boots with loads of toe protection that allow you to kick things, splash in puddles and just generally have fun.
And the Wanderer boots are no exception to this thought, but what they do have that is remarkably different from the other keen boots that I’ve tested is a much lower ankle support which makes them a useful crossover between a shoe and a boot.
I’m actually quite a big fan of this sort of mid-height boot because it offers a little more stability from the shoe but a little less warmth and a little more ability to get it on and off quickly than a full height boot. I’m also not a massive fan of having high boots around my ankles so I found wearing the mid-height boot a particular pleasure.
The Wanderer is a waterproof membrane boot with a leather and suede upper that looks pretty good and only a flash of colour around the soul and Keen’s trademark yellow triangle on the toe box separated from the more traditional colour schemes of boots which the British public are comfortable with.
The lacing system is pretty simple using webbing retainers and the big fact tongue on the boot makes for a fit which is akin to a shoe rather than a mountain boot. But that’s okay because I find that type of fit far more comfortable and I found myself wearing the Wanderer boots for everyday wear in place of a shoe rather than reserving them for hiking.
The soul of the boot is pretty good at gripping and then shedding sticky mud, and has been absolutely fine on wet grass and stony trials where I have felt secure and well planted. The fit of the boot is quite wide at the forefoot and this translates to a nice wide sole that gives a solid platform on uneven ground.
I have a fairly narrow heel and I have found that there has been very little sleep even with the laces not done uptight and when walking up an incline. Keen say that the boot features a contoured heel lock so I’m assuming that this is doing its thing and keeping me nice and snug.
There is plenty of space around the Achilles tendon which means you can fully flex your feet in any direction without being uncomfortably in the ankle. However this does suggest that there is less support than you would think from the boot of this height and probably only about an inch more than standard shoe.
In terms of waterproofing then the boot has been absolutely fine in prolonged walks through wet grass and rain and the occasional stomp in a stream. The low ankle means you don’t get much more protection from depth than you would in a shoe but this isn’t the kind of food that you would find yourself wearing for a particularly challenging river crossing anyway.
I tried a pair of keen boots recently which just didn’t fit me at all, which is unusual, and I’m pleased to say that the wanderer goes back to the fit and snug feel that I’m used to with keen boots. They are comfortable right out of the box and have never robbed or created a hotspot with any rogue stitching or badly formed mouldings.
All in all the wanderer boots are a great piece of footwear. They give a little more insurance than a standard pair of walking shoes, and come in at about the low end for a pair of boots pricewise.