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Gadling Gear Review: Keen Redmond hiking shoes
Things on my most recent vacation, however, I knew would be different. New Zealand just isn't the sort of place where you land on the tarmac, take the subway to a few wine bars and sleep until noon. The vast, varying landscapes require – nay, plea to be tread upon, with sprawling lakes, huge mountains and cavernous canyons. For a trip like this, I would need something with traction. I would need a pair of hiking shoes.
Recommended by a colleague at Gadling, I was able to track down a pair of Keen Redmonds before I left the United States, a simple, low cut pair of shoes with all of the features found in a normal pair of hiking boots and only a fraction of the weight. Despite never having tried a pair of Keens on in my life, I faithfully ordered my size, crossed my fingers and waited until two days prior to departure before they showed up. And to my delight, they worked out fantastically.
And how the Redmonds hold these virtues. The first thing I noticed when I put on my new shoes (two days before I left) was how comfortable they were. With a wider footprint, my feet had plenty of room to breathe while still snugly tied into the backbone of the shoe. While I figured a small nick or corner would eventually start to bother me while trekking across an entire country, these faults never arose.
Indeed, throughout the entire trip my Redmond's performed well, staying dry after dunking them in the water in Tongariro National Park, smelling fine after tromping through the natural springs in Rotorua and keeping traction when heeling on a SailNZ yacht.
Now, long past my return from Oceania I understand why Keen has a cult following among outdoor enthusiasts. It fits well, it's always comfortable and it performs damn well on the road. What more could you ask for?