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Update: Women's Keens for England Trip (Back to Square One)

I know several of you are quite happy with KEEN shoes. I have never tried them, and there is a very limited option for in-person availability here, so I'll probably be ordering online.

We will be traveling around England for two weeks, one of those weeks in London. My plan for clothing is mostly merino wool dresses with leggings, adding cardigans as needed. For those who are familiar with KEEN, which style(s) would you choose that won't look ridiculous with dress/leggings? I don't think I want to attempt their sandals, as i really need good cushioning due to one troublesome toe that decided to get arthritis. The trip is the last week of September through the first week of October. I need something that will take me to the top of Glastonbury Tor, do a walk through the Cotswolds for a few hours, castles in Wales, and oh, so many things.

Posted by
943 posts

The Keen Targhee 3 is great and waterproof, but they're sneakers, so not sure how they'll look with a dress. They were 60% off for the past two days on Keen website and Amazon Prime Day. Many people love their ROSE sandals. I also LOVE the Hoka Bondi 8 for all day walking and cobblestones.

Posted by
319 posts

Lots of women wear sneakers with dresses here, it’s been a fashion look for some time, you’ll look fine, especially at that time of year

Posted by
4186 posts

I love Keens - they work for me (but the sandals don’t). The Targhee is my go-to for serious walking but it is not for dresses or leggings. I wear the Keen Elsa or Elsa Lite. I love the colors and comfort. I can walk miles in them. Plus they really aren’t that heavy to pack, so 2 pair is not a problem. But you will need to try them out - feet, like personalities, are very individual. I have several pairs, including this one and a black & white plaid and a denim.

Posted by
14054 posts

No comments about the Keens but if you haven’t used Zappos for shoes, give them a try. They have free shipping and free returns. I have hard to fit feet so if I’m trying something new I will sometimes order 2 sizes to compare knowing it’s easy to send one back.

Hope you find something that works for you!

Posted by
4186 posts

Pam, I am sorry to confess this post sent me off to replace my Keens - and Zappos didn’t have my size! So Amazon it was - also with free returns (but I shouldn’t have to since they are replacements).

Posted by
1236 posts

I have been a devotee of Keen H20 Newports for over 10 years and have taken them on every (non-snowy winter) trip during that time. But for a fun alternative that is still affordable and washable and has a cushy sole, I take Bernie Mev Comfi shoes. Usually, these two shoes cover most occasions for me, though I have been known to crave a flipflop at the end of the day.

Posted by
317 posts

I am definitely someone who can't stand the idea of wearing a clunky walking shoe with whatever I'm wearing while traveling Yet, when I really think about it, I can't remember what shoes anyone was wearing on any of our Rick Steves tours! So, I've decided I'm going on my next tour wearing the most comfortable shoes I can find. I tend to worry about what looks ridiculous and the reality is nobody is really looking at our shoes on a trip like this anyway.

Posted by
150 posts

Bought a pair of Keens for a trip five years ago and thankfully I also brought a pair of tennis shoes. The Keens for me turned out to be too heavy for travel and walking miles. This past May I wore only Brooks Ghosts in black and did really well for three weeks with them. It’s a personal choice and it’s what feels the best for you.

Posted by
826 posts

You might try Merrel and Ecco also. Zappo is great for ordering multiple styles and sizes and returning the rejects. Amazon also when not available at Zappo.

Bottom line, break them in whatever you choose and wear what is comfortable. No one looks and who cares if they do! You see everything these days.

Posted by
512 posts

Just to add - as a British middle aged woman - it is very very common to see British women wearing dresses with dresses with trainers/sneakers etc.

I was on my feet for work a lot and would always wear a smart shift dress, opaque tights or leggings and a pair of Skechers. Perfectly usual. I then remember wearing the same thing on a trip to Portugal and got stared at, so…

Lots of women wear sneakers with dresses here, it’s been a fashion look for some time, you’ll look fine, especially at that time of year

And I just realised Amanda said the same thing.

Posted by
4374 posts

KD my view of what looks ridiculous is someone who is limping solely because she wore cute shoes instead of good walking shoes. I read somewhere that men now think hiking boots and golf shoes are sexy.

Posted by
277 posts

Thanks all.
To clarify, I am 60 and under no delusions that anything I wear is ever considered cute or fashionable, and I don't care. I wear my Brooks athletic shoes every day, even with my dress/leggings combos. I am trying to find the most comfortable shoes I can find because I do not want my lifelong dream trip to be dampened by pain, nor to be sidelined while the rest of the family gets to the top of the castle walls.

So, no worries that I'm putting fashion first! LOL
That being said, there are some shoes that I think just look dumb sitting down there at the end of my leggings. Just looking for that balance between comfort and overly chunky.

Keep the thoughts coming, I'm appreciating all of them!

Posted by
4897 posts

Regardless of the shoes you use, it's always a good idea in the UK to have a dry pair of socks sealed in a zip lock bag in your day bag. You might never need them, but if you do, they are heavenly. Saved our day a couple of times.

Posted by
277 posts

Regardless of the shoes you use, it's always a good idea in the UK to have a dry pair of socks sealed in a zip lock bag in your day bag. You might never need them, but if you do, they are heavenly. Saved our day a couple of times.

Great tip!

Posted by
39 posts

I purchased the Keen NXIS Speed hiking sneakers for my upcoming trip to Scotland. They have a great tread and are super light and comfortable. They do come with the traditional bulky toe you see on a lot of Keen shoes but I'm willing to put up with it for the comfort and flexibility of use.

Posted by
4162 posts

I'm a KEEN Women's Terradora 2 Waterproof Mid Height Hiking Boot person. They have no leather and are lightweight. I have 2 pairs of these (as well as an older version in green that seems to no longer be available). The Majolica/Tapestry (dark blue) ones are my favorites. I wore them daily on my trip to Ireland and Wales last summer. The Canteen/Andorra ones are the closest thing to "neutral" shoes I have. This link is to the Amazon listing for them.

Amazon is not the only online vendor, but you can see both colors and more there. Some may be "try before you buy." Here's some of what is said about them with my comments:

100% Textile and Synthetic. This makes them lighter than if they were leather.

KEEN.DRY waterproof breathable membrane keeps your feet dry and comfortable all day long by allowing vapor out without letting water in. My feet have never gotten wet in these shoes is spite of driving sideways rain, wet grass, mud and puddles.

TRACTION & PROTECTION: 4mm multi directional lugs for increased traction on and off the trail. KEEN.ALL-TERRAIN rubber outsole for higher traction grip when you need it. This may sound like overkill, but many surfaces can be slick, even indoor ones.

COMFORT: Breathable mesh lining; Removable dual density footbed with arch support offers long lasting cushioning. This is one of my favorite features for multiple hours on my feet.

SUPPORT: KEEN’s KonnectFit heel capture system for a locked in feel; Built on a women’s specific foot form for a more narrow and precise fit; Stability shank delivers lightweight support on uneven surfaces. Some women have said these are too narrow for them. I wear a 10 medium and can lace them tighter or looser as needed.

I find these boots very comfortable and I wear them regardless of season or location. The additional ankle support has kept me from turning an ankle and falling on many an unstable or slick surface. And they make my feet look smaller 😉. After traveling to Italy with some very comfortable, but not as stable Saucony trainers, I swore that I'd never wear sneakers on a trip again and I haven't.

I should add here that Sockwell socks help to give me more stamina and to keep my feet dry and cool or warm as needed, plus they come in fun colors and patterns. Here's the link. Sarah Murdoch says this about them: "These are the Rolls-Royce of compression socks. ... [They] come in a luxurious Merino wool and bamboo blend, mixing soft coziness with durability. They are also adorable. The patterns are all super cute. ... This would be the best pick for women that like to wear funky socks with skirts..." This is the typical fiber content in detail: 32% Merino Wool. 32% Bamboo Rayon. 28% Stretch Nylon. 8% Spandex.

I always wear slender pants, not as tight as leggings but similar. I think the KEENs look good with my pants and the occasional sight of my Sockwell socks is fun. But the most important thing is how the shoes and socks feel and how I feel after wearing them all day.

Posted by
277 posts

@Lo

Thank you so much for your detailed response! Those are actually the shoes that I keep coming back to on the KEEN website, so your comments are very helpful.
I'm off to REI today to try some on, they only have the low version of the Terradora, but at least that will give me a feel for the comfort and sizing, and then I can order online. I'm seriously tempted by their Chukka boots, not for travel but just for fun. They look so comfy and cozy.

I will also be checking out the socks you suggested, although I have never worn, and know little about, compression socks.

Posted by
277 posts

Well, the Terradora 2 boots came. I loved them. I put them on. I was sad.

Back they go, and the search continues.

Posted by
4162 posts

Bummer! They weren't the red ones were they? I got some of those last summer and they were way too narrow. It turned out that they'd been made somewhere else from where my other 3 pair were made. Fortunately, I have one daughter in law and several granddaughters who wear size 10 so no footwear mistakes I make go to waste.

I haven't tried them, but someone else on the Forum recommended the KEEN Terradora Flex which has many of the same features.

Posted by
277 posts

Bummer! They weren't the red ones were they? I got some of those last summer and they were way too narrow. It turned out that they'd been made somewhere else from where my other 3 pair were made. Fortunately, I have one daughter in law and several granddaughters who wear size 10 so no footwear mistakes I make go to waste.

I haven't tried them, but someone else on the Forum recommended the KEEN Terradora Flex which has many of the same features.

No, they weren't. These were definitely too narrow though.

I have a pair of Oboz Bozeman Mid Leather Waterproof shoes heading my way. Fingers crossed.

Posted by
943 posts

KEEN Targhee 3 -if you write to KEEN, they will tell they are the best option for support, long walking, and cobblestone - they make a sneaker and hi-top -- and they're waterproof. They also come in WIDE

Also, Hoka Bondi 8 - I'm a nurse and on my feet 12-14 hrs a day - BEST shoe ever.

Posted by
14 posts

When you return MaryEllen, give us an update on your shoes/feet!

When I was a much younger small-town girl and took my first out of state business trip to San Francisco, I was so surprised to see women in dressy business attire wearing sturdy running shoes, same thing in New York and Washington. I soon copied that look because I knew their "work" shoes were in their bag. Fast forward 40+ years and I do the same for leisure traveling: dressier up top for cathedrals and museums, sensible comfortable shoes for me that may not be what I would wear for church here. I coordinate my socks and shoes to my clothes and my feet and legs thank me at the end of the day! The sassy sandals or girly slip-ons are only unpacked for dinnertime when not walking very far. After 50+ years of marriage my husband still thankfully looks at my face and not my feet when I'm dressed: I NEVER ask him how I look. . . it works for us!

Hope you had a great trip, never "tripped", and came home with happy feet!