KEEN have been innovating footwear for many years now. They launch new technology to improve their footwear every year.

Early in 2021, they are launching their latest sneaker-hiker boots, with a performance-orientated design that utilises their newest technology.

KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX technology is designed to reduce the energy each step needs, to make hiking easier on the feet – and to keep you out hiking for longer.

With two new boots for both Men and Women, KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX technology means that each step you take takes 60% less energy to bend, flex and power through.

KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX and the TEMPO FLEX boots
KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX and the TEMPO FLEX boots

Testing the new TEMPO FLEX boots

We were very kindly sent a pair of the TEMPO FLEX boots with the KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX technology before they launched, so we could test them out.

We took them to one of our favourite local spots to give them a run for their money across terrain types, up and down hills and across slippery ground to see how they performed. In typical British fashion, it also started raining, and after recent downpours, there were areas we wandered through that tested the KEEN.DRY waterproofing too. Here’s what we thought.

Fit

Firstly, I noticed that these new boots felt a little different to other KEEN boots I had tested before. Slightly thinner profile around the foot, with a closer feel nearly all round. There is still plenty of room for you toes, which I love KEEN boots for, but overall the TEMPO FLEX boots felt a little more ‘sporty’ rather ‘big hiking boots’.

The mid-height model I tested felt very comfortable, despite me being a little sceptical of the different fit at first. After a good couple hours of walking around, my feet still felt great. I had no fatigue in my ankles and the closer fit actually felt very good over rougher ground. They felt very secure.

KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX and the TEMPO FLEX boots
KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX and the TEMPO FLEX boots

Flex

So, how did they flex? Well, they flexed a lot. But oddly it wasn’t really noticeable. The rubberised area across the top of the foot has a series of ridges that allow the shoe to flex and morph to your feet’s natural motion – more so than a traditional leather boot might.

It instantly felt great walking up inclines. Surprisingly so.

It instantly felt great walking up inclines. Surprisingly so. Walking was a breeze. Whether it was over hard ground, wet mud and leaves or gravel, the boots and flex of them allowed me to feel confident in my steps.

Grip

I have always found KEEN shoes to be pretty well equipped in terms of their grip. The TEMPO FLEX were no different here. One slight difference I saw was the more directional ‘lugs’ on the outsole. They are positioned in such a way that they feel like the help to push you forward, rather than being more omni-directional for all-round grip. Though, they certainly still offered that.

KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX and the TEMPO FLEX boots

Waterproofness and toughness

The TEMPO FLEX boots I tested were definitely up to scratch when it comes to protecting your feet from water. I tested through the rain, some rather wet squelchy mud and standing water. My feet were dry and warm throughout.

The boots feel quite tough. They feel like they could take a reasonable battering before they were to break. I think this is down to the materials used and layered construction. There is a reasonable amount of recycled P.E.T plastic used in these boots, as well as ripstop TPU. With these materials, they should last you a long time.


Conclusion

I was pleasantly surprised at how these boots performed. The flex really did feel like it made walking easier. My feet and ankles felt great even after a long walk. They aren’t the thickest of boots, but I have and am still warm wearing them in cold and near minus temperatures. Waterproof and grippy, I’d suggest these boots would be great if you know you’re going on a days hike and want your feet to feel good for the duration. I wouldn’t say they are for the most real technical mountain hiker, but these certainly could appeal to a wide audience who love to get outdoors and need a boot that can keep up with them.