When it comes to a day out on the trail, your level of enjoyment is directly proportional to how happy your feet are. It doesn’t matter how easy the hike is, if your feet are uncomfortable, you’re likely to have a miserable time. Conversely, the trail can be rocky, demanding, and rough, but with the right shoes, you can go all day long, with a smile on your face. Of course, this is all well known to day hikers and long distance trekkers alike, and we’re always on the look out for good comfortable shoes that are versatile, lightweight, and affordable.
Enter the new Obsidian WP light hikers from Keen, a company with a tradition for making quality footwear for all our outdoor adventures. The Obsidians have been designed from the ground up to be the perfect trail shoe. For instance, they’re waterproof, yet breathable, which means you can tackle all kinds of trails, in all kinds of weather, while your feet remain cool and dry the entire time. Keen also built in a stone bruising plate to help protect your feet, and created a rigid, yet flexible shoe body, that is both lightweight and comfortable.
All of that marketing speak doesn’t mean much of anything if the shoes don’t perform the way you need them too. Fortunately, the Obsidians deliver in that department too. In the couple of weeks that I’ve been wearing them, I’ve put them through all kinds of conditions from hiking the streets to hiking the trails, with a variety of weather to deal with, ranging from dry to muddy to wet. Very very wet. In all conditions, the shoes performed well, providing great traction and stability, while keeping my feet comfortable and dry. And while that “stone bruising plate” may sound like a bullet point on a spec sheet, at the end of the day, my feet felt very good after wearing these shoes. Clearly, something was working.
This positive review does come with a couple of caveats however. First, the shoes took awhile to break in. Longer than I have been use to from other light hiking shoes that I’ve had in the past. While they weren’t incredibly uncomfortable during the break-in period, it was a challenge to wear them for extended periods. The ridged frame, which provides stability while on the trail and helps the shoes to take a beating and still wear well, also requires a bit of extra time to loosen up. Keep that in mind if you’re planning on using these on a big hike. Allow plenty of time to break them in before you go on that trek.
As a personal preference, I like my shoes to feel snug around my feet, and the Obsidians certainly fit the bill. If you have wide feet or don’t like a snug fit, you may want to try a different boot, or at the very least, try these on before you buy. The snugger fit helped me to feel more in tune with the varying conditions on the trail, but the wide bodies amongst us may not feel the same.
If you’re in the market for new pair of hiking shoes, then be sure to take the Obsidian WP’s for a test drive. I was very impressed with their fit, but even more so with their ability to handle a variety of trail conditions while keeping your feet warm, dry, and comfy. ‘d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the high quality synthetic materials used to make these shoes. Not only do they help the shoes to wear incredibly well, the aid in that process of keeping your feet so well protected. The quality shoes through in the construction as well, as they are sturdy and well manufactured. The fact that they happen to look good is just a bonus. (MSRP $125)
Disclaimer: The shoes that I used in this review were provided by Keen for evaluation purposes.
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