|8 / 10
|1.5 / 2
|1.7 / 2
|1.6 / 2
|1.6 / 2
|Value for Money
|1.6 / 2
Previously Keen shoes such as the Keen Targhee were seen as a stepping stone for people who wanted get away from big heavy hiking boots, reduce the impact on the body and help speed up travelling time. While the Keen Targhee is still well loved, the increased availability of trail runners, including from Keen, has taken a big bite out of the market. Over the past year or so, Keen has produced a number of trail runner models and after much searching, I managed to locate my required size 15US to test them out.
While a number of Keen’s outdoor shoes go up to size 17US for men, in the case of the Zionic model, they top out at size 15. Having said that these shoes are of standard construction as opposed to a number of well known brands that have a wide forefoot. However, Keen’s claim to fame is they cater for wide feet so as someone that has an average ‘rear to mid foot’ and a ‘very wide forefoot’, these shoes fit me quite well.
Cosmetic wise as a trail runner these shoes are bold but unassuming – there is a colour to cater for everyone and at the time of this review there were a number of new colours hitting the market. The cosmetic striping on the outside of the shoe is actually a plastic overlay of some sort and over my 200+km usage this striping was starting to delaminate. A cosmetic issue only but something to consider.
While most shoe manufacturers will make a big thing of specifying technical specifications like ‘drop’ and ‘sole thickness’, Keen tends to hide the figures so you may have to go onto the Keen website to find the specifications. In the case of the Zionic, it has a 17mm drop from heel to toe which is one the largest I have ever tested. While I didn’t notice this high drop during my testing, even though I had come from a a zero drop shoe, it did take me a few days to get used to them. While the Zionic feels comfy providing plenty of cushioning and support during my 200+km of usage, I wasn’t able to work out the sole thickness but the underfoot cushioning didn’t lose any of its support so its durability should be pretty decent.
Now for the negatives and for me there were really only two. The first was the sole design. While the Zionic sole is durable, showed no sign of wear, and gripped the trail in dry powdery conditions, the grip failed on wet and greasy trails. If you aren’t going to be wearing these on wet trails or in wet weather then no problem but if you are, then this issue may be a deal breaker.
The other negative was the lack of padding at the rear of the shoe. In fact the lack of padding required me to apply a Bandaid across my left heel, which is my larger foot, for about a week until the skin had toughened up. It took me a while to work out what was going. It appears to be the rear tab on the shoe is so much higher than most shoes – rather than curving backwards as it does on Hoka shoes, the tab tended to sit almost straight which is where the rubbing occurred.
Once I resolved this issue, they worked really well for me.
So what did I think overall? These are a great shoe, particularly for those with broad feet and for use around town or on dry trails. However in my case, I need my shoes to also perform in wet and greasy conditions so they are unlikely to displace my other options on-trail.
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AUD $239.99 RRP
Keen Zionic Speed Men’s Hiking Shoe Fjord Blue – Evening Primrose colour
Keen Zionic Speed Men’s Hiking Shoe Dark Olive-Scarlet Ibis colour
Keen Zionic Speed Men’s Hiking Shoe Black and White colour
Keen Zionic sole view
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by Australian Hiker