Chris Townsend likes a lightweight hiking boot from Keen

Keen’s latest boot, the Zionic, is designed for moving fast and has a ‘more contoured, athletic fit’, which means it’s slimmer and lower volume than other Keen footwear. It’s also lighter weight, which I think is the key advantage for hillwalkers and backpackers whatever speed you go at. The fit is just wide enough for me though I couldn’t wear thick socks in the boots without removing the insoles.

The Zionics have a curved last and thick underfoot cushioning. A full-length plate in the sole makes them stiff from side to side while still allowing good flexibility at the forefoot. This makes for boots that are stable on rough ground but don’t impede forward movement. The outsole is a new lower-profile lug pattern consisting of raised and indented oval shapes.

The toe bumper and heel cup are made from hard plastic. The uppers are quite firm despite the large areas of mesh due to extensive TPU overlays. There’s a Keen-Dry waterproof/breathable membrane inside.

The eco credentials of the Zionic are excellent. The uppers are made from recycled PET plastic, all adhesive is water-based, and the water repellency is PFAS-free.

In use I’ve found the Zionics comfortable and supportive. The cushioning is good and the sole grips well on a variety of terrain. Wearing the boots in cool, rainy, autumn weather they were warm and waterproof. As with other boots with waterproof membranes I think I’d find them too warm in summer. There is a low-cut version, the Zionic Speed Hiking Shoe, without the membrane.

My only complaint is that they are rather hard to get onto my wide feet. I could do with the ankle opening being a bit wider. I have to make full use of the pull loop on the heel and tug really hard.

Overall the Zionics are good lightweight boots that perform well, even if you’re not going fast. The price is reasonable too.

RECOMMENDED: This product has been awarded our ‘Recommended’ endorsement, meaning our reviewer believes it is a strong product which works well for its intended purpose.