Keen, well known for its collection of rugged sandals and summer footwear, has a compelling line of highly capable hiking boots and I was happy to try the Keen Pemberton Boot. I have a lot of difficulty fitting boots because I primarily wear minimalist footwear and I was pleasantly surprised that the Pemberton was an excellent fit right out of the box. Credit the wider toe box that is designed to allow for trail swell without becoming sloppy for this. It’s important to have room for your toes to spread as you land and Keen took this into account with the design. The break-in period has been a fast one and the boots feel comfortably molded to my feet after a few days in them.
An late Fall high-alpine hike was a great testing ground for the Pemberton and they handled it with aplomb. The heavy duty soles with a medium-aggressive tread pattern provide excellent traction on varied terrain. I developed zero hotspots while hiking and the heal retention prevented toe bang. To test the waterproof ability, I splashed through some early season snow melt and remained totally dry, thanks to the proprietary KEEN.DRY™ waterproof breathable membrane. This is an insulated boot featuring KEEN.WARM insulation and it would be well suited to typical winter conditions in all but the coldest environments. The included foot bed has a heat retaining foil layer that returns heat to the foot and helps keep the cold out.
The Keen Pemberton Boot is a good looking choice for a Fall/Winter mid-length boot and pairs well with jeans when you are out in town. It includes a lot of Keen’s signature technologies and they all perform as expected. If I had one complaint, it would be the lack of a lace locking mechanism at the heel. The laces still manage to perform well and retain the foot properly. The Keen Pemberton comes in Black, Shitake/Apricot (Tested), and Java/Burnt Orange and is available for a very appropriate $130.