Today we will continue with shoes again, and more precisely with a comparison between two brands that produce high quality hiking shoes for all outdoor enthusiasts that are also quite affordable: Keen and Merrell.
Choosing the right hiking shoe or boot is a not-so-easy task sometimes, as many elements contribute to the choice. The right footwear makes the difference not only when you are on a mountain trail, but also during a light walk in the city.
Along with being comfortable and having the right shape for your feet, the shoe must also be slip resistant.
Next, you have to consider the climatic conditions in which the hikes will take place. For example, on a winter hike you will need a shoe that will keep your feet warm, as well as ensure a perfect grip on all types of terrain.
You’ll also have to think about the type of terrain you are going to go onto, to ensure that your boot has the best grip possible.
Another element to look at can be the reinforced toe, in order to prevent damages to your feet and toes.
The brands that we will compare today are both famous especially for their footwear and have all these features in their products as we will see.
So, let’s begin!
* Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate this site earns from qualifying purchases (meaning: we may earn commissions if you buy products recommended/reviewed here, by following the links to Amazon shown here). The availability of products in this page may change at any time. Please check the materials, features, colors and sizes on the various shops (linked in this page) before buying, because sometimes our articles may contain errors. Product images you see here are for illustration purposes.
A Short History Of The Brand
The history of Keen begins with the production of the Newport sandal, which has now become the symbol of the company – a symbol of travel, outdoor life and innovation.
The sandal created in 2003 was designed to protect the toes so, as a “natural continuation” of this attitude, in 2010 Keen produced the Utility work boots, to guarantee protection for those who had to protect themselves at work.
Read also: Lowa vs Salomon Hiking Shoes: A Comparison
One of the values that characterizes the Keen company, is the pioneering vision: they produce “pioneering” footwear and shoes, always finding ways to innovate, in line with the transparency of the production processes, with the integrity of the production and with the responsibility.
You might also like: 15 Best Hiking Trails in Norway: Our Top Picks
Materials and Manufacture
Keen has in their product line hiking shoes and boots that are suitable for both less technical requirements and also more articulated routes and terrains.
Their shoes are generally flexible and versatile, and most models offer waterproofing and traction in the most difficult terrains.
Keen has a special regard for the materials they use for the production of shoes. These materials must be safe for workers, consumers and the environment.
Among the technologies and materials they use, we can mention: leather, hydrophobic mesh linings, EVA insoles, non-marking rubber outsoles, PFC-free water repellency, Cleansport NXT™ for natural odor control and KEEN.DRY, a waterproof, breathable membrane developed by Keen.
To increase sustainability in production, the brand uses the Higg Index, a tool that helps measure performance and guide improvement. Keen is very focused on its values: sustainability, transparency and responsibility are some of these.
Now let’s see two popular products of this brand to have a better idea of what they offer:
Keen TARGHEE EXP Men’s Waterproof Hiking Boots
The TARGHEE EXP hiking shoe is one of the bestseller products of Keen. The Keen.Dry technology used here, makes the shoe waterproof and breathable. It allows the foot to breathe without water entering the shoe.
It is equipped with a Metatomical Footbed Design, which is an internal support mechanism to better delineate the shape of the foot on the inside.
Keen Targhee II Women’s Hiking Shoe
Our second choice by Keen is the Targhee II hiking shoe for women.
Similar to our first pick, it is a waterproof shoe, with the Keen.Dry membrane that makes it breathable too. Available in many different color combinations for all tastes.
The prices of Keen’s hiking shoes start at around $100 and can reach $200 in a few cases, with the average price falling in the $130 – $150 range. Not very expensive, in our opinion!
So, if you want to try something new and innovative, Keen may offer you the chance to buy the right product at a good price, also considering that their shoes go on sale from time to time.
Are Keen’s shoes and boots worth the price?
Keen is a brand that uses mainly quality materials and cutting-edge technologies – for perspiration, waterproofness, etc. – so we believe that their prices are fair and their products worth trying.
A Short History Of The Brand
Another American brand, Merrell was born in 1981 from the work of Randy Merrell, Clark Matis and John Schweizer.
Their initial production was essentially focused on hiking shoes. Over time, they have come to cover a wider range of products for outdoor activities and sports out in nature.
In fact, today they are a reference point for hiking, trekking and outdoor sports enthusiasts. Comfort, Durability, Versatility and Design are the key words on which the brand’s production is based.
They care about environmental sustainability, which is why their products are made with recycled and natural products. Rubber, polyester, EVA are all recycled materials that they use in their production.
“Buy fewer products, use them longer” is one of their statements, that describes their approach to production and manufacture.
Materials and Manufacture
As for materials, Merrell uses mainly recycled materials, in line with the values of the company. In fact, rubber and polyester, are recycled to ensure a lower impact on the environment.
Most of the materials are also natural, but they rely on synthetic materials too.
You might also like: 12 Best Hiking Trails in Italy: Our Favorites
M-Select Dry is one of the most used technologies in the production of Merrell shoes, and is a water-resistant membrane similar to Gore-Tex.
They use Gore-Tex as well, to make shoes that are resistant to harsher weather conditions. Lastly, Kinetic Fit is used for the insoles and M-Select Fit is the technology used for cushioning.
By Merrell we have picked:
Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe
The Moab 2 Vent hiking shoe is one of the most popular products of the brand. It’s made of suede leather and has a Vibram TC5+ sole to resist any type of terrain.
To ensure breathability and ventilation, it comes with a mesh upper. Comfortable thanks to the targeted heel cushioning, it is mainly made up of recycled materials.
Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe
This is the women’s version of the Moab 2 Vent shoe, available in different colors.
Just like the men’s version, it has a Vibram sole and the foot is protected by targeted heel cushioning, to make walking more comfortable. Durability is one of its main characteristics.
As we said in the beginning of this comparison, these two brands have reasonable price ranges for most of their shoes and boots.
Merrell’s prices on average start at around $80 and can go up to $200 – $250 for their most technical designs. We believe these are fair prices for products by a quality brand like Merrell.
Are Merrell’s shoes and boots worth the price?
In short: yes! We can confidently say that Merrell provides a wide range of shoes with a good overall quality and performance, for all hiking, backpacking and camping enthusiasts.
So, considering this wide range of products and price options, you will certainly be able to find the design that suits you best among their shoe line.
3. Which Brand is Better?
Merrell is well known worldwide for their footwear and in our opinion they have more experience and a more articulated history than Keen. But, both provide high-quality products.
So, which one is better?
This time it’s a bit difficult to answer this question, since both use advanced technologies, are eco friendly and have similar prices.
We could try to rely on the range of products and say that perhaps Merrell is a brand that offers more solidity and a guarantee of reliability. This is also because both offer high quality at reasonable prices, so for a “safe” purchase we would choose Merrell.
Keen focuses more on innovation and novelties, so for those who love to experiment and choose a shoe that is different from the usual and from other brands, we would instead go with Keen.
As for prices, as we said, both brands have similar price ranges that we believe are fair and not excessively high.