Reviewing a pair of walking boots isn’t something you can do on a single outing so over the last few weeks we have been putting the Keen Liberty Ridge European made walking boots through their paces. More accurately we have been putting them through rivers, bogs, marshes, boulder tracks and gravel paths all in an attempt to simulate a long period of wear in just a few weeks.
The Capture Outdoors team agreed that if we were going to test Keen’s all leather Liberty Ridge range properly we had to approach our walks in the worst way possible, no easy routes, no avoiding the black peat sludge, this had to be a proper worst case scenario experience. As a result I have literally exposed the Liberty Ridge boots to all the things you would naturally avoid and the results are extremely positive!
Liberty Ridge Comfort
The first thing I noticed was that the Keen Liberty Ridge hiking boots are remarkably comfortable right out of the box, which is unusual for full leather walking boot. Although it is always preferable to try on your boots before purchase if this isn’t possible we found ordering a half-size larger made for a really comfortable feet. I also recommend using a consistent style of sock with a set of boots to ensure longterm comfort and fit.
I wore the boots around the office for a few days to ‘break them in’ but they actually felt great from day one and after a few days the boots has found their comfortable fold lines. The shock-absorbing direct-attach PU midsole in the Liberty Ridge range ensures long lasting comfort, with a full-length shank adding additional stability.
I really noticed the structure and support of the Liberty Ridge when descending from the mountains; thanks to the stiffened shank there was very little give especially around the ankle. This is particularly noticeable when I lost my footing on the rocks so much so I noticed my pace was notably quicker and I approached rocky descents with much more confidence.
Durability and Support
The Liberty Ridge features a one piece construction so this ensures lasting durability and waterproofing, the materials from the sole right through to the laces are of a noticeably high quality. The Liberty Ridge boot is designed for technical ascents and longer backpacking trips and this is really apparent in the construction, even after a number of challenging hikes the boots were showing little evidence of strain and I noticed that when I brushed off the post hike mud these boots still looked great.
The boots are exceptionally well waterproofed, there are few seems to let in water. On our first outing we deliberately attacked every puddle and river and even when completely saturated in sludge and water my feet remained dry. I jumped in puddles and was really impressed that the only possible way to get my feet wet appeared to be over the top rim of the heel.
During my final day of testing, a twelve mile hike I managed to sink the boots into a peat bog yet there was no let-in even around the lace area. As well as being waterproof the boots are also breathable so my feet remained reasonable cool throughout the walk and notably I didn’t experience any swelling after five hours hiking in the mountains.
You would expect a walking boot to offer a good tread but I noticed the soles on the Liberty Ridge offered tremendous grip even when going through a rocky river and I really love the enclosed rubber toe. I have found with previous boots that the toe rubber was the first to weaken especially after a number of rocky hikes, it would take quite a bit of abuse to weaken the toe on the Liberty Ridge boots.
The Keen Liberty Ridge boots took everything I threw at them yet retained their support, waterproofing, comfort and appearance. The experience provided a confidence that I could rely on the Liberty Ridge boots in the extremes of the mountains or over multi-day adventures.
The Keen Liberty Ridge boots come on two colour variations and look fantastic, the boots are sturdy and offer brilliant support perfect for challenging terrain but yet are comfortable for all day wear. If you are looking for a hardwearing and supportive boot for challenge terrains the Liberty Ridge boots will be very difficult to beat. With proper love and care the all leather, European made Keen Liberty Range will offer years of walking at an affordable price. If you are looking for a lighter walking boot for less challenging environments then the Keen Durand range may also be worth considering.