Gear Box: Keen Howser Shoes

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Keen has long been known as a manufacturer of quality outdoor footwear ranging from comfortable hiking boots to versatile water shoes to their popular, and ubiquitous, sandals. But they also happen to make a number of other offerings that are better designed for hitting the town rather than the trail, including a super comfortable new shoe that is best described as a slipper with the sole for the street.

The new Howser is billed as a “sleeping bag for your feet” and that seems like a rather apt description. The shoe is lined with a warm and soft microfleece that feels great on your feet, whether you’re wearing socks or not. That plush material really will have you thinking you’ve accidently put on your favorite pair of slippers, even when you’re heading out the door to run errands.

The outside of the shoe is made from a water resistant, quilted nylon that really will remind you of a sleeping bag or a puffy fleece jacket. When i first put on the shoes, I wondered just how “water resistant” they could be, and while I haven’t wore them in a down pour or stomped through puddles in them, the nylon has worn well and continued to keep my feet warm and dry in a variety of weather conditions.

At first glance, the Howser even look like a slipper, but once you turn them over and see the rubber outsole, you realize that they are designed for more than just shuffling around the house. Those soles give the shoe plenty of street cred, making them the perfect choice for a comfortable day out.

The Howser isn’t just a great shoe for hitting the town however, as I think they would make a great camp shoe for after a long day on the trail. I also plan to use them as a travel shoe, as in addition to their comfort, they are easy to slip on and off, which is always a plus when passing through security at the airport or after you’ve settled into your seat on the plane.

In case you couldn’t tell, I love the pair of Howsers that I’ve been testing. They are comfortable and fun to wear, and offer the trademark Keen quality in a $60 shoe that will feel completely luxurious on your feet. Heading into the winter months, you’ll find plenty of excuses to wear them, and they’ll also make a great holiday gift as well.

Kraig Becker