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From tarmac to trail to scree to stone steps, Keen have taken the room-for-your-toes comfort, protection and stability of their iconic NXIS hiker and given it a running shoe feel with a waterproof, engineered knit upper and all-terrain tread.

Meet the Keen NXIS EVO Waterproof Hiking Shoe, built to move light and fast on the trails.


Our SportsShoes ambassador, Ben Mounsey, has been busy putting the Keen NXIS EVO to the test;

Lug Depth4mm
LengthTrue to size
RATINGS(out of 5)


The popularity of walking and hiking has dramatically increased in the last few years and as a consequence, so has the number of shoes on the market – consumers are simply spoilt for choice when it comes to buying footwear. Gone are the days of ugly, traditional walking boots – now replaced with a range of shoes so vast, it’s almost impossible to choose the right pair to suit your hiking needs. From lightweight trail shoes designed for fast-hiking, to heavier and more durable leather boots, to more versatile, contemporary and fashionable styles designed to suit the younger hiking generation.

Which leads me to ask this important question – exactly where does the Keen NXIS EVO Waterproof Hiking shoe fit into the spectrum?

I would say the NXIS EVO are somewhere near the middle of the scale, which explains why they score so highly across the board. They are high-quality, have a built-to-last feel and a secure fit with plenty of protection at the front and back of the shoe. The design fuses together traditional and contemporary styles that will appeal to hikers of all ages. I’m a big fan of the black and yellow colourway (very practical!) and like a number of hiking shoes that I’ve recently tested, they look equally great with walking trousers or a pair of jeans.

NXIS, an anagram of the rock band INXS, stands for No Terrain is the same. And thankfully, there’s no danger of Kissing the Dirt and Falling Down The Mountain in these shoes, because the 4mm multi-directional lugs perform extremely well on all types of terrain. After a few weeks of testing, I’ve been really impressed with their traction and even more so with their high-levels of comfort and cushioning. They just feel very springy and responsive – similar to the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor Mid II, which is high praise indeed.

In my opinion, what makes Keen so special and unique, is the generous and comfortable fit of all their shoes. The NXIS EVO is no exception to this rule. There is plenty of room in the toebox and across the forefoot, so your toes and feet can really spread out. I was worried that extra room inside the shoe might affect the stability, especially with having such narrow feet. However, the Keen KonnectFit Heel Control system delivers a secure fit and provides support at the back of the shoe, helping to keep your feet and ankles more stable. It connects to the lacing system by using a wiring system around the back of the shoe and through the upper lace eyelets for a really locked-in feel. Additionally, the top collar hooks on the lacing system allow you to pull the uppers closer together for a comfortably snug and personalised fit. The laces themselves are also a great feature – exceptionally strong and striking in design.

I also really appreciate the shape and thickness of the gusseted tongue. I know it may sound strange to rave about the tongue, but in my opinion it’s one of the most important parts of any shoe. If the tongue doesn’t sit well, isn’t padded enough or is simply the wrong size or shape, for me there is no compromise. It’s one of the first things I notice when I test any shoe and it can honestly make or break my relationship with them. I’ve suffered from a number of emotional footwear break-ups over the years. I hate saying ‘it’s not me, it’s shoe’.


For a waterproof shoe, the membrane and textile lining of the NXIS EVO is actually quite breathable. What helps here is that there are large sections of mesh across the whole of the upper, allowing the shoe to breathe much more effectively than most other waterproof models. In all honesty, I would more accurately describe the upper material as water-repellent, not waterproof. It’s showerproof, puddle-proof and mud proof, but when partly, or fully submerged in any deep water, my feet have never stayed completely 100% dry. I suppose there has to be some compromise between breathability and protection from the elements. In this case, you have a happy medium with the NXIS EVO.

Something very noticeable about this shoe is the feeling of under-foot protection. The combination of a removable PU (polyurethane) insole and a thick EVA injected midsole provide a secure and cushioned platform, whilst still allowing plenty of flex and movement on uneven and challenging terrain. This protection extends to the front of the shoe with a strong toe-bumper and TPU overlays at the front and sides of the upper mesh.

Like most hiking shoes on the market, this NXIS is available as a mid-height boot or a shoe, depending on your personal preference. Once again, I draw similarities to the La Sportiva Raptor here and it would be fair to say that both sit in a similar position on the hiking shoe spectrum. Personally, I prefer a mid-height shoe for my serious hiking adventures because I like extra protection around my ankles and more importantly, additional structure and support to help keep your feet in a stable position and reduce lateral movement on uneven ground. However, despite testing the shoe version of the NXIS EVO, I must say that the KonnectFit heel-capture system is really effective in this respect.

So, there you have it – the Keen NXIS EVO Waterproof Hiking shoe. The brand’s lightest hiker to date, with a secure and generous fit, a cushioned and comfortable platform and a grippy all-round tread which won’t have you falling down a mountain.


Interested in the latest shoes, apparel and technology? Then head over to our Kit & Gear category for more reviews, tips, advice and product releases.


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