Howdy, I've been a loyal user of Keens for years now and have always used my orthotics in them (I have to).They have always been the most comfortable boot for my wide forefoot and bunion. However, the Liberty Ridge boots (their top of the line backpacking boot) and some of the other new models now come with some sort of fancy shock absorber in the heel. It sticks up as a bump but their insole is designed to cover it. However, my orthotic is not so designed and I can feel the bump under my heel. Not good! And Keen does not recommend using orthotics with these models for this reason (though the REI salesman didn't know this fact!). To which I say, what kind of crap is that!? I also have been observing that the soles in my Keens wear out faster than they used to, seems like poorer material than in the past. I'm considering trying to grind off the bump, but that seems iffy. I'd be happy to find a new brand of boots but I don't know where to to go. Don't want anything too super heavy. I know some folks on here, like Oregon Mouse and BrianLe, have mentioned that they like trailrunners for their similar foot issues, but I'm just leery about using something so light weight: maybe I'm wrong, but I feel safer with more support of my sole and ankle. And I'm wondering about where to get more durable treads: it's ridiculous how fast I wear out my Keens! Some people claim that the American-made Keen models are more durable than the other Keens, but I don't know.
My foot has grown in width over time, so much so that I had to retire a pair of Danner boots that I had resoled 2 times and have more life left in them. I've now used several pair of trail runners and a Pair of Keens and Merrels. My first pair of mid-highs were Merrels, which almost made the grade, except they proved to be too narrow. The Keens have the sole completely worn off them and I'm using them for work, as the soles are still grippy on roofs. Trail runners, though comfortable and light, didn't work for me in some situations. I don't like walking in wet shoes if I can avoid it, and there just wasn't enough support and padding underneath to keep foot pain at bay for me. I just purchased a pair of Vasque Mt. Elias in a wide width, which seem to be everything I want, but just a bit too narrow in the toebox, and failed miserably on a 3k steep descent with micro spikes a few weeks ago. Since they can't be returned, I bought a pair of Keen Targhee, which seem very similar to what I had purchased before and have a wide enough toe box for my foot. They have what is called an S3 heel support, which seems to be more of a cradle than a bump. The footbed is smooth, with the exception of a slight depression. I've only walked a few miles in them, but they seem very similar to my laat pair, only with about 3/4" of rubber not worn off them! I must say the Keen uppers lasted well. In retrospect, the soles on the Keens, seemed to have gone off a little quickly. They now have little rubber on the sole and a worn footbed, so they no longer keep my feet from becoming fatigued. I need a boot for a 30 lb. pack and very rocky, wet trails. Though the Keens didn't have longevity, they did do all that were required of them in the short haul, so I feel that warranted the purchase of a second pair. I did get them on sale and with some rewards that made them almost 1/2 price. I don't need orthotics, but I do need arch support and a cushioned foot bed. Best of luck with what you find.
Excellent quality boots. I use yoursole heat moldable insole in mine. I opted for a custom made pair to get the features I wanted. My only complaint I can't lace them tight enough. My next pair will have the leather cut back a bit. This shouldn't be a big problem as when I ordered my first pair I actually spoke with the guy who would later cut the leather for my boots.
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