KEEN Marshall WP Hiking Shoes Review

KEEN Marshall WP waterproof hiking shoes

Whether you have Raynaud’s syndrome or not, cold feet on a hike are nothing to joke about. The reason is simple: if you’re worried about cold feet, you’re not enjoying the outdoors. The search for keeping your feet warm invariably leads to keeping them dry, which is what drew me to the KEEN Marshall WP hiking shoes.

I’m about the farthest thing from a mountaineer or hardcore backcountry hiker, but I do enjoy hikes in the Columbia River Gorge and Forest Park. Mindful of budget, I was also hoping to find a hiking shoe that would be a hybrid appropriate for both 4- to 6-mile hikes and urban walks. Heat and dryness were key, but it was important to find a hiking shoe that was comfortable as well. Break-in periods are simply a hassle. The salesperson at my local REI showed me several such hybrid-like shoes, including a nice pair from Salomon, but they didn’t fit me well. Then I noticed the KEEN Marshall WP hiking shoes, which seemed a bit wider. I’d finally found what seemed to be a match.

A month into owning them, the KEEN Marshall WP hiking shoes have been a smash hit on all fronts. They’re as comfortable as tennis shoes, have flawless waterproofing, and do a surprisingly good job at keeping my feet warm while providing great breathability.

As shown in the video below, the Marshall WP shoes have a great one-two waterproofing punch. The combo of an exterior membrane and KEEN Dry lining is basically kryptonite to all forms of moisture. Walking through puddles and low water is now an afterthought, as you can go into water about 2 inches high before you run the risk of it seeping through the shoelace eyelets. Even then, the angle of the tongue liner keeps those first few splashes out. (Review continues below video.)

One of the elements I most appreciate about the KEEN Marshall WP hiking shoes is their width. I’ve been told by local New Balance salespeople that I have duck feet. I’m not going to argue. I’ve been known to need size 4E shoes from time to time, and traditional Nike and adidas shoes tend to run too narrow. To be frank, width was the main reason I didn’t walk out of REI with a pair of Salomons. These KEENS are definitely wider, even though KEEN doesn’t officially make a wide size. Even if you don’t have wide feet, this is a good thing if you suffer from cold feet, because they accommodate heavyweight wool socks without making your toes feel like sardines crammed into a can.

Keep in mind that wider base may increase the blistering potential for people who have narrow feet or who go on extended hikes. But then again, the tread on the KEEN Marshall WP hiking shoes may not be the best for long hikes anyway. In some ways the shoes’ tread is in a no-man’s land: it’s deep and spread-out enough to be occasionally slippery on urban metal surfaces, yet not deep enough to really get you through the serious muck on a muddy hike. They’re also hiking shoes, not boots, with material that stops below the ankle. That’s important if you’re concerned about ankle support. That said, the Marshall WP are sturdily built and offer good support for what they are.

The shoes are also quite stylish, which is more important to some people than others. Ironically, the people for whom that’s probably most important aren’t likely to notice the style’s biggest flaw: they can be a pain to clean. The elevated webbing design on the side of the shoes looks really cool, but it acts like a magnet for muck and mud. And, because it’s elevated, you actually have to scrub a bit to get the mud off. Again, not everyone’s going to care about this, but it’s worth pointing out if you’re going to hit a wet trail.

With that said, for any less-ambitious hike, or one in dry conditions, the KEEN Marshall WP hiking shoes are great. I’ve already recommended them to several people looking for a hybrid urban/hiking shoe, and I’d highly recommend them for people looking to keep their feet dry and warm as they venture outdoors. Like many Oregonians, I hike somewhat regularly, but I don’t need anything that’ll get me to the summit of Mt. Hood or Mt. Baker. For 4- to 6-mile hikes and walking around urban settings, this is a great shoe to double-up with a nice pair of thick wool socks.

KEEN Marshall WP hiking shoes

KEEN Marshall WP hiking shoes
9.04

Design

9/10

    Support

    9/10

      Waterproofing

      10/10

        Warmth

        9/10

          Comfort

          10/10

            Pros

            • Impeccable waterproofing
            • Surpsingly help keep feet warm
            • Nice width for wide-footed people and/or heavyweight socks
            • Great hybrid for short hikes and urban walks

            Cons

            • Tread's a bit shallow for thick muck or major off-roading
            • Can be slippery on metal surfaces in an urban setting

            Jonas Allen

            Jonas spent 17 years covering travel, technology and entertainment for regional and international media. He now writes about gear, clothes and tips to stay warm. He hopes his lessons will help other people who get cold (re)discover the great outdoors.

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