I am currently on my fourth pair of Keen shoes. I’ve worn out the soles of three different styles of Keen shoes in seven months. I hike an average of about two miles a day which means each pair of Keen shoes has lasted approximately 120 miles when you deduct all of the time spent without hiking shoes due to their replacements being in transit via postal service.
Here is a timeline with photos showing the various defects:
- Keen Voyageur – Shipped – 6/21/2011
- Keen Voyageur – Wore Out – 8/22/2011
- Keen Alamosa – Shipped – 9/8/2011
- Keen Alamosa – Breaking – 10/30/2011
- Keen Alamosa – Wore Out – 12/10/2011
- Keen Gypsum – Shipped – 12/17/2011
- Keen Gypsum – Breaking – 1/12/2012
- Keen Gypsum – Broken – 1/31/2012
- Keen Gypsum – Wore Out – 2/16/2012
As you can see from the above photos, the hard rubber “lugs” tend to peel away from the softer part of the soles and the primary point of failure usually occurs where the harder rubber “fingers” wrap around the side edges of the soles. The “hard” rubber parts of the shoes don’t seem to be very durable since once they are nicked or cut they will easily tear and further delaminate.
To Keen’s credit, they have replaced and shipped three replacement pairs of shoes with very little fuss or hassle. All I had to do was take a picture of the defect, fill out their online Warranty Claim form and wait for the replacement shoes to arrive in the mail. It’s almost like it happens so often they’re used to it.
I bought my first pair of Keen shoes because they had a good reputation and I wanted to replace the $40 New Balance shoes which I had been hiking in for a year and a half before they started showing minor signs of wear. I was hoping the “rugged” $100 Keens would far outlast the Plain Jane shoes that I bought from Sears but they didn’t even come close. If you buy Keen shoes and they start to peel apart, contact Keen Customer Service and return them ASAP because they will inevitably fall apart.
I’m still looking for a good, durable and comfortable replacement shoe. If you have any suggestions, please write your recommendations in the Comment section below.