These are some of the strangest looking but most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. They’re comfortable not just in terms of hiking shoes, but shoes in general. This makes them brilliant for things like active adventure travel and general everyday wear, especially if you need a slightly more robust shoe with a bit of grip.
The upper is perfectly constructed to offer great stability with superb comfort. It features a thin gauge 3D knit-like mesh that runs around all the flex points of the shoe, including at the forefoot. This conforms brilliantly to the flexing of the shoe during walking. It doesn’t bunch up and fold like other walking shoe material can, therefore it doesn’t cause any hotspots or blisters. It also has loads of diamond-shaped ventilation holes punched into it which means that this shoe is perfect for the summer.
The fit of the NXIS Speed shoe is quite spacious, especially in the toebox which has absolutely loads of room for the toes to splay. On descents, there’s still an element of control and the toes don’t bang into the fronts of the shoes.
Despite being quite spacious, foothold and support are still excellent, meaning you can go for a proper walk in these shoes. They’re not just one trick ponies for looking good wandering around town or venturing onto a canal towpath.
TPU overlays in the heel, toe, and lacing areas add a bit of stability to the stretchy mesh upper and provide a defence against abrasion. Having said that these aren’t highly durable hiking shoes. They’re much better used in the spring, summer, and autumn months when you won’t be clogging up the mesh and ventilation holes with mud.
At the front, the TPU overlay gives way to a classic Keen chunky toe bumper. On the NXIS Speed, the toe bumper has a V-shaped cut-out in the middle which makes for a bit of a bizarre look, like the foot of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Aside from this, the NXIS Speed is a good-looking, if unusual shoe.
Underfoot there’s a perfect balance between trail feel and cushioning. You can feel the features of the trail but not so much that it leads to soreness. There’s still a fair amount of cushioning and your feet feel well protected. There’s also plenty of energy return from the EVA foam midsole, which is quite thick and spongey. Sticky rubber means that grip is excellent on all surfaces, although the rubber is likely to wear a little quicker as a result.
Our overall impression of the Keen NXIS Speed shoes is of capable and supremely comfortable walking shoes that are primed and ready for summer sightseeing and hiking duties.