Keen Red Rock

Waterproof low-cut shoes: always a talking point. I can sit on both side of the fence and appreciate that the grass does look drier on both sides. For trail running and open hillside shenanigans, waterproof shoes just trap the water inside and grind away at your feet if the fit of the shoe and your socks aren’t perfect. For trail use and general outdoor cutting about, it’s the toe area that gets the wettest, walking through puddles and up grassy slopes. So for dry feet without having to boots or mids, lined shoes are where you go.
But, so many waterproof shoes have rubbish soles: “We’ve designed these shoes to keep out the water, so let’s slap an outsole on it which grips only the driest of dusty trails to piss folk off”. Yes, thanks for that XA GTX.
A few though get it right, Inov8 being the most obvious, and just in for test is the Red Rock from Keen.

Keen styling always goes its own way, and the Red Rock’s carry the flag high. The fit is a little more snug that usual, and that’s something I’ve noticed from Keen in the past few seasons, different lasts for different intended use. Another area Keen have been moving forward is in their outsoles, this unit has multiple blocks and shapes with a  pretty aggressive heel, so I’m hopeful of a decent performance. Flex is good at the toe, with a stiffer rear 2/3, a format I liked when I discovered it in old Montrails, good dexterity on the move and and nice platform for your heel. The laces go well down the foot for a secure feel, the heel and toe are beefy and there’s extra protective randing at the sides, covering some vulnerable stitching.

Fit seems good, and my foot does feel quite low-to-the-ground inside which I wasn’t expecting. I like the fact that some folk are still making proper trail shoes that don’t look like running shoes as well. We need that, not everyone wants the racer look, but trails shoes are everybody. An’ that.

More later.

7 thoughts on “Keen Red Rock”

  1. The debate between trail running shoes as against boots is an old one and probably depends on personal preference more than any other debate. I’m still in favour of boots but rather enjoy my Innov8 Terroc 330s too. That said, have you seen Hendrik Morkel’s recent post in Hiking in Finland (also, there’s one by Jorgen Johanssen as well in Fjaderlatt) about the Vibram Five Fingers? Would love to see your reaction to those fellows. Saw some in Tesco the other day on the feet of a cyclist. Mrs M reacted badly…

  2. Pete – I have just bought some Terroc 345 GTX’s – but have only been out in them twice – but seem good. I sort of take the view that I don’t want wet feet,don’t like the weight of boots – so you get to waterproof trail shoes. I know they probably will leak at some point – so I take a pair of seal Skinz in the pack just in case. I don’ t think that they are the most comfortable socks to wear – but that it is where I have got to with lightweight foot wear.
    These Keen shoes look good. I have found in the past that because I have narrow feet Keen’s do not fit that well for me – when you say these fit more snug than usual – do you mean that they are as not as broad as most Keen’s ?

    I would be interested on how long the membrane would last

  3. JT, got Vibram Five FIngers a couple of years ago, and I’m not too fussed about them.
    Some observations are that foot shape is absolutely crucial to avoid chaffing, and each model is annoyingly take-it-and-like-it, even the most minimal trail shoe has some leeway with differet socks for conditions. I did try them with Injinji socks but it just pushed my toes further apart and was uncomfy.
    Bottom lione, they work fine, but I can’t be arsed working with them :o)

    Mark, just dicovered the other day that Gore Bike Wear are still making their stretch Gore-Tex socks. They’re magic, and thin enough to wear over your regular socks. I worn that combo on overnighters and been quite happy.
    The Keens are more low-volume that narrower I think, I’ll be able to tell aftre some wear, see how my toes spread out.
    The membarne is KeenDry, which is a returm to the rebranded Entrant DT (so I’ve been told) they used befope they used eVent for a few seasons. Should be okay, my orioginal Targhees are still waterproof and have worn out soles, that’s never happened with a Gore-Tex liner, the liner goes long before the sole.

  4. I have some boots with eVent in them – never been a problem come to think of it. I had several pairs of Hedgehogs- they fit me well but do not last that long – interesting that you feel that goretex is the problem. I have Entrant DT in my Atomic jacket and pants. Where can you get The Gore- Tex socks ?

  5. Liners do take a hammering in footwear, the membrane’s not up to so much repeated flex and some models fare better than others due to either design or luck!
    I’ve got some that are still waterproof after years and some that have given up after a few trips.

    Alpine Bikes can order the socks I found out, as should anyone with a Gore Wear account, usually bike or running shops. I think they were called Viper socks at one point, Viper was the name of the stretch Gore-Tex fabric a while back. Worth a shot if you can get them cheap.

  6. I notice you mentioned that you had a pair of Targhee’s as well as the Red Rocks. How do you find they compare? Broadly they are similar weights, have a similar intended target function, with the Red Rocks supposed to be a little more hardcore. Be interesting to get your opinion between the two.

    I also agree in respect of Keen Dry being a little more robust than standard Gore-tex liners. Most brands are using XCR which is thin enough but as a result susceptible to failing. Keen dry is thicker and fails less frequently in my experience, though it does make for a hotter feeling shoe.

  7. Hey Gareth
    I wore the Red Rocks at the weekend. I did some trails, some hill stuff (as well as a lot of driving) and/grassy tracks. Definitely more grippy that my Targhees, I was expecting my feet to break away at the same poiint they do withy the Targhee sole unit, but they didn’t, the grip is closer top the Oregon PCT boots I’ve got from Keen. It’s earl;y days though, I’ll see how a feel after a few more trips in them.

    A hotter foot but a drier foot? I wonder if that’s a trade-off most folk would be happy to make? The forums are full of folk with wet feet :o)

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