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KEEN Summit County Winter Hiking Boots Review

Keen Summit County Winter Boots Review

Keen Summit County Winter Hiking Boots

Foot Protecton
Traction
Sensitivity
Warmth
Water Resistence
Sizing
Weight
Durability
True-to-Size

Extra Toe Insulation for Cold Feet

Body mapped insulation, a waterproof membrane, and rugged rubber sole provide excellent traction and toe warmth in frigid winter conditions.

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KEEN Summit County Winter Hiking Boots are waterproof and insulated winter boots that are good for snowshoeing, winter hiking, and peakbagging. They have KEEN’s signature oversized toe box with body-mapped insulation to keep the parts of your feet that need extra insulation warm. Large non-marking lugged rubber soles provide a good grip on soft and packed snow, while the boots pair well with traction aids such as microspikes or snowshoes for hiking across ice and snow. The Summit County winter boots run a bit wide, so you should try them if have problems finding shoes wide enough for your feet.

If you’ve never worn KEEN shoes or boots before, the toe-box is wider than you’re probably used to. This is good for winter hiking because your toes and feet will stay warmer if blood can circulate easily through them. KEEN insulates the Summit County with 450 grams of insulation around the toes and foot and 300 grams in the uppers where you need less, since your ankle is covered by long pants and a heavy winter gaiter. The effect on toe warmth is immediately noticeable and makes the boot very comfortable to wear. KEEN insulates and waterproofs their boots with KEEN.WARM and KEEN.DRY, their in-house proprietary synthetic insulation and waterproof breathable membrane instead of licensing Thinsulate insulation or a Gore-Tex membrane. It doesn’t make any noticeable difference and helps keep the price down.

You'll probably be wearing high winter gaiters with these boots for most of your winter hiking.
You’ll probably wear high winter gaiters with these boots for most of your winter hiking.

The upper part of the boot is eight and a half inches tall which is a good height to keep snow out of your boots and your ankles warm. The upper cuff and tongue provide good support but are still comfortable to wear, unlike more rigid mountaineering boots. The exterior of the Summit County is well protected with synthetic leather and heavy-duty side walls to keep rock and ice from bruising your feet. The oversized toe bumper is firm enough that you can kick into snow for more traction, while a rigid heel cap protects the back of your foot with ridges that help secure microspikes and snowshoe bindings.

The boot sole has widely space lugs that provide excellent traction and don’t fill up with snow like a regular vibram tread. They have an arch that permits use with a gaiter, although there isn’t a front gaiter ring, so you’ll have to clip them to your laces. The boots have a slight interior arch and fit more like running shoes than hiking boots. They come with a heat reflective insole covered with wool for comfort, but you can easily replace it with a Superfeet insole if you prefer more arch support. The midsole is made with a firm EVA foam to provide shock absorption and cushioning, while helping reduce the occurrence of plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, posterior tibial tendonitis and most other conditions related to excessive pronation.

The laces thread through cloth channels along the sides of the tongue and not more durable metal eyelets. There are two pairs of metal speed hooks at the top of the uppers and it’s possible to tie more advanced lacing patterns like heel locks, surgeon’s knots, and lacing windows without any issues.

Keen Summit County Winter Hiking Boots
Keen Summit County Winter Hiking Boots – the sides of the boot are well protected against ice and rock.

The KEEN Summit County Winter hiking boots are true to size, but run slightly wide, so I wear them with a thicker wool sock to take up some of the extra interior wiggle. While they’re reasonably lightweight at 3 lbs 7 oz per pair, they are pretty chunky boots, although you quickly get used to walking in them. While they are soft out of the box and require virtually no break-in period, I do recommend you wear them for a few off-pavement hikes before taking them out for an all day hike. Hiking on uneven terrain stresses different parts of a shoe than walking on sidewalks and will help you develop the proper “boot-feel” to give you confidence in the boots when you do venture off the beaten track.

Highly recommended!

Keen Footwear provided the author with boots for this review.

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8 comments

  1. Thank you for the excellent review. I have added them to my shopping list. I have wide feet all the way to the toes so this may be the boot for me.

    One note, it looks like you forgot to fill in the weight of the boots. I see “xx” which I take to be a note to self to put this in.

    • Been meaning to try these boots for several years. They’re really nice and definitely on the wide end of the spectrum!

      The typeface size on my new laptop is too small. Missed that when proofing! Fixed now.

  2. Hi Philip, how would you compare those boots with the Baffin borealis ?

  3. You can get 20% off them through today (10/29) if you sign up for a Keen account. Just pulled the trigger on a pair.

  4. One concern I would make for those among us who have large calves…they tend to overly constrict the lower calf.

  5. Do you find the Salomon or Columbia 600 gram boots (from your new article) much warmer than the Keens? My criteria for new boots is 1) most warmth and 2) fit and support.

  6. This is Year 2 with mine. I urge folks with large calves to avoid this boot. Tightens like a vice at the top of the boot making it pinch and quite painful when hiking any distance. My thoughts…

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