We do like a new outdoor shoe that manages to be a successful hybrid, and we were duly impressed by Keen's latest hiking offering for summer, the Terradora Ethos hiking trainer. The Ethos sits alongside Keen's other Terradora models, the Pulse and Leather WP hiking boots, both of which we rate as lightweight, stylish and as comfy to wear as trainers. So we were expecting similar good stuff from the Ethos.
The Ethos is a true summer shoe, a hiking trainer-cum-sandal that would only really be warm enough worn in late spring and summer. It still includes lots of hiking shoe-style elements, and the tough closed toe box and supportive ankle feel like those on a proper trainer, but the lighter side panels have vents to keep feet cool and to help the Ethos to dry fast and to wick away sweat. These vents are overlaid with synthetic leather - we'd have preferred an airy mesh, but the vents do still do a great job of keeping feet cool. We liked the cushiony, bouncy soles, which are light and supportive even on fast-paced trail hikes and scrambles. And we found the Ethos also excelled as a water shoe for use walking in or near rivers and the sea and even for wearing as aquatic shoes for wild swims, as they dry so quickly and still feel comfy to wear when damp. Deep lugs on the sole offer excellent grip even on slippery rocks and muddy trails.
The Ethos are easy to slip on and off, and we loved the adjustable elasticated ties, although there's a sweet spot to be found here - they need to be tight enough to keep your feet snug even when wet, but be careful not to lace them too tight to avoid leaving a perfect imprint of the Ethos on your feet... We found the Ethos fit brilliantly without socks so it's up to personal preference if you wear them (you might lose some style points with socks).
Our Terradora Ethos fit true to size but other testers reckoned they needed to go half a size up for a good fit- worth considering if you're usually between sizes. We have narrow feet and the Ethos felt like a great fit, but those with wider feet or bunions might find the slim fit too narrow for them.
The Ethos doesn't come cheap at over £80, but if you're planning a busy active summer or a few months of travelling in tropical climates this could be your perfect one-stop shoe, especially if you're backpacking, as it's light, easy to pack and ideal for everything from hiking to city exploring to beach days and water sports.