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Keen's Karraig boots offer sure footed performance on UK hills
keen karraig
Best for...
UK hillwalkers who favour a mid-stiff, durable boot
Overall Score
Stable and protective
Overkill for lowland walks

The Karraig feels like a particularly sturdy and dependable three season walking boot with traditional styling and construction that makes them great for UK hill walks. With a PU, rather than EVA midsole and full-length shank the feel underfoot is of stability rather than ultimate cushioning and comfort but there's still enough give and a good bit of rebound. The shank and midsole combination not only offers consistent stability across undulating terrain but also helps protect the bottoms of your feet from soreness, they do this without losing feel so you're getting the best of both worlds if you use your boots predominantly on rocky ground.

The leather and mesh upper has just enough give and articulation in the right places while still remaining supportive, ankle height rises higher than most three season boots which gives you addition support plus protection from wet and debris.

We were particularly impressed by the lacing system which has an eyelet at the transition point between forefoot and ankle that you can lock off once you've dialled in the fit and there are two sets of eyelets above and below which connect into the heel area to pull the material in tight, reducing heel lift. The material around the back of the ankle and heel visibly tightens as you pull on the laces so these really do work.

Underfoot you get a decent heel brake which helps with tricky descents and deep multi-directional lugs which shed mud and offer sure-footed traction across variable terrain.

Build quality is rugged to cope with the demands of rocky terrain, and the signature Keen chunky rubber rand has been replaced with a very durable but more slimline rand which extends almost to the bottom lacing points. The nubuck leather upper is water resistant but Keen have also used their reliable KEEN.DRY liner for a belt and braces defence against moisture, and in combination with the high-rise ankles these boots offer some of the best protection against wet and boggy UK mountains out there.

Keen have included a decent removable EVA footbed which is much more effective all round than the thin whisps of material we're more used to seeing, the foam is dual density so provides extra cushioning in the areas where you need it most like under the heel, the metatomical shape also offers extra support for the foot.

The sole unit is stiff enough to use with a pair of flexible crampons for occasional winter use and the rest of the boot would certainly protect you in snowy conditions, but at 1500g a pair the Karraigs still sit towards the lighter end of the 3-4 season category.

The intentions of the Karraig boots are clear, with a design that lends itself well to the UK market and its particular brand of hill walking. Choice use of materials and proprietary Keen technologies along with a great balance of weight and build quality add up to a boot that offers durable, stable and protective performance from the Brecon Beacons to the Munros of Scotland.

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