Being purposefully soft and spongy, the NXIS Evo boots mimic the feel of a training shoe. On the trail that means the soft sole has loads of energy return and conforms to the contours of the ground, giving you the bounce you need to move fast. A by-product of a soft, spongy sole is excellent grip, as the NXIS Evo wraps itself around lumps and bumps in the trail and the soft rubber holds fast on greasy rocks and most other types of ground condition you might find.
The upper is equally as floppy, but doesn’t succumb to being useless as a walking boot. In fact, there’s a surprising amount of support at the ankle, and the foot generally feels well locked in. The lacing needs a good deal of tugging to get the boot into shape, but once it’s suitably well fitted the NXIS Evo is a surprisingly stable walking boot.
A spacious toe box lets the toes splay but this doesn’t always bode well for long walks, where sloppiness internally can ultimately lead to blisters. The NXIS Evo does surprisingly well at offering the best of both worlds. Although the toebox is very spacious your foot remains locked in and there’s no toe banging on descents.
So the NXIS Evo is clearly a comfortable and lithe walking boot but there has to be a downside right? Of course! The downside to all this softness in the sole unit is the lack of protection from proddy bits on the ground. You can really feel every lump and bump, which is great for ‘trail feel’ but not so good for sore feet over long walks. Whether this compromise is worthwhile is down to how you intend to use the boots.
Build quality is great, as it usually is with Keen walking boots and the mesh upper with TPU overlays has so far proven durable across multiple walks. The soft sole might wear prematurely, expect the same kind of use out of these as you would with a pair of trainers and you won’t be far off. Off course, there’s a Keen signature toe bumper, not only to protect your toes but also the boots from scuffs.
If you’re looking for a fast and light walking boot with an immediately comfortable trainer like feel, then you can’t go far wrong with the NXIS Evo Mid. Just don’t expect them to feel like a pair of stiff walking boots.