We've been wearing Keen's latest version of the Venture, the Mid Leather for a few months now and are seriously impressed.
This is a lightweight hiking boot with comfort at the forefront of its design philosophy. This philosophy worked well in the Venture hiking shoes but works even better and makes a whole lot more sense for soggy British autumn and winter weather in the boot version.
At 1284g per pair in men's UK11 the Venture Mid is impressively lightweight for a winter ready boot and you really feel that on the feet. Couple this with a supple but supportive leather upper and you've got a recipe for success. On top of this the midsole offers adequate cushioning and this is one of the few walking boots that I'm happy to wear without aftermarket footbeds, thanks to a comfortable PU insole with added heel padding.
Fit is fairly narrow down the length of the boot which provides a firm and comfortable hold on this tester's feet but beware if your feet are fuller, as the Venture probably won't suit you. Keen have done a great job of combating heel lift with their proprietary Konnectfit system, as the name implies it connects the power you put into lacing at the top of the ankle into tightening the boot around the heel. This is achieved through the use of cables running down to the sole and around the back of the foot completely eradicating heel lift which can lead to nasty blisters.
Having been nearly ankle deep in water a number of times in the Venture mid I can attest to the usefulness of the Keen.Dry membrane which along with the gusseted tongue keeps all moisture out. In colder weather there's no real downside to a waterproof membrane but in the height of summer your feet might yearn for a little more ventilation.
The rubber outsole and 4mm lugs provide great grip and stability, in fact it's one of the better soles out there across variable terrain including wet, slick surfaces like rocks and tree roots. The lug pattern is suitably mud shedding and a shank through the midsole assists in stability without making for an overly rigid boot.
Keen's chunky rubber rand makes an appearance which bolsters the already good durability of these boots, if you're hiking rocky paths they do a fine job of stopping scuffs and protecting your toes.
When you first take the Venture Mid Leather out of the box the appearance is a little conservative compared to the vast majority of brightly colored walking footwear out there, but the looks have really grown on us. They have a smart appearance that you wouldn't mind wearing to work every day if your job was of the outdoor variety, this is also helped by the low profile silhouette.
Overall these boots are a winner for us, they marry lightweight comfort with great hiking capability, which is really what you want in your everyday walking footwear. From walking the dog to hiking Munro's the Venture Mid Leather are a solid three-season option.
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