REVIEW: Keen Zionic
Written By: SportsShoes
LIGHT ON FOOT, AGILE ON TRAIL
With a unique combination of speed, stability, and comfort, the new Keen Zionic will propel your hike forward.
|£149.99 (shoe) / £159.99 (boot)
|300g (shoe) / 480g (boot)
|A contoured, athletic fit with a roomy toe-box.
|Fits slightly small. Would recommend going 1/2 a size up.
|KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane, Higher-traction TPU outsole for lightweight durability 4mm multi-directional lugs for traction and use of Recycled PET plastic.
|Most suitable for:
|Providing comfort and cushioning for fast-hiking activities.
|(out of 5)
We have to start by talking about colour. With a wide range of options available, plus the choice of either a shoe or mid-cut boot, there is a Zionic to suit everyone. Personally, I'm a big fan of the Fjord Blue and Evening Primrose (featured below), so in terms of aesthetics I'm very happy with the look and design of this shoe.
Next comes fit and feel. After reading the many positive reviews about the Zionic, the one feature that most stands out is comfort. And it's COMFORT in capital letters, because I wore this shoe straight out of the box and instantly felt the benefit of a roomy toe-box and a more contoured, athletic profile, for better support while moving fast. It feels fantastic to wear and means you can really spread your toes, making it the perfect choice for those long days on the trail when comfort is the highest priority.
One important thing to mention is fit in terms of length. I'm usually either a UK 10 or UK 10.5 in most shoes and the Zionic is definitely smaller than most. So, if you're in any doubt as to which size to choose then I'd opt for the slightly bigger option.
Breathable weather protection is supplied by the brand’s own KEEN.DRY waterproof membrane, with an environmentally friendly PFA-free Durable Water Repellent, and a gusseted tongue to prevent mud, water and debris from entering the shoe.
Developed to provide lightweight, breathable support, the Zionic has been constructed using a performance mesh upper. The lightweight and supportive mesh cradles the foot in breathable comfort to ensure you remain cool and comfortable at all times. The mesh allows cool air to flow throughout the upper whilst, at the same time allowing hot humid air to escape so you can remain cool, dry and comfortable at all times. This creates a perfect microclimate for your feet to thrive in so you can go further for longer. I think that Keen has struck a perfect balance between breathability and waterproof protection.
Structure and support is enhanced by sections of lightweight TPU overlays on the upper, whilst also providing added durability to keep your feet protected on rocky terrain. At the top of the foot, a thick layer of padded material extends from the heel and wraps around the ankles for protection and comfort. This also really improves stability, giving you extra confidence when moving across uneven terrain.
Additional features include a heel loop at the back of the shoe to help you put it on and take it off more easily, plus a traditional lacing system with a well-padded tongue that fits perfectly to provide plenty of comfort and protection.
Comfort is the key word, but cushioning is a close second. Constructed using a lightweight EVA midsole, the Zionic provides comfortable cushioning that keeps you going all day long.
The thick midsole acts as a shock absorber, soaking up the impact as you move throughout the gait cycle whilst providing resilient cushioning and reducing the risks of potential injury. Completing the high-energy foam midsole is a full-length stability plate that delivers lightweight support, stability, helping to control lateral movement which reduces the chance of ankle rolling or injury. The midsole foam and plate work together to create a springboard effect to propel you forwards on the trail.
Additional features include a removable PU insole also features within the midsole for long-lasting comfort. The insole sits comfortably under the foot and can be easily removed if you'd prefer not to use it. Eco Anti-Odour features in the insole to offer natural odour control, ensuring your shoes smell fresher for longer.
The Zionic features a Keen all-terrain rubber outsole with 4mm multi-directional lugs for traction. This durable rubber is built to last and provides a strong grip on most types of trails surfaces. Personally, I find this shoe performs best on rock and mixed terrain, which the only limitation being extremely muddy conditions. The 4mm lugs just aren't quite deep enough to claw through deep mud in the middle of winter, but on everything else they work just fine. And despite the tread not being that 'aggressive', the lug pattern and amount of lugs, plus the wide-based outsole (big surface area) does provide really good traction. I also really like the fact the lugs are dimpled for extra grip, allowing you to hike with more confidence.
To put it simply, this shoe is specifically designed for fast hiking. It's hybrid design which sits in between a trail running shoe and a traditional hiking boot, combining the very best features of both. It's as comfortable, cushioned and lightweight as the former, whilst providing as much stability, support and protection as the latter. Ideal for all types of distances, equally suitable for a quick hike or a long day on the trail. As previously mentioned, I wore my pair for a few hours straight out of the box without feeling the need to break them first.
I think this shoe will appeal to a wide audience, young or old, experienced or beginner. Plus, they come in two different styles (shoe and mid-cut boot) and a range of colour options.
I'm obviously a huge fan of the Keen Zionic, but don't just my word for it. Check out a sample of reviews below to see what other customers think;
The best fitting shoes!
My husband has been wearing Keen shoes for about 40 years. They are always comfortable. They last forever. The designers have kept up with current trends. Great shoe company! Deitra S.
Best, most comfortable, light weight boots I’ve ever owned. Gavin C.
Gamechanger of a hiking boot
The Men's Zionic Waterproof Hiking Boot is a killer hiking kick. And in the Fjord Blue/Evening Primrose colorway makes for a fun, attractive aesthetic that I'd wear both on and off of the trail. It's boosted my hiking performance. Andy G.
This is an amazing pair of shoes. They are comfortable even after a long day of standing. I love the design and style of the shoe. Looking forward to purchasing more pairs after these wear out. I have already recommended these shoes to my family and friends. Bibbirwhut...
Best shoe I have worn
The Keen Zionic Mid WP Boot have become my favourite footwear by far. These are supposed to be hiking boots but they are so comfortable that I wear them all the time. They are waterproof, formed to my foot really well, have great traction and still smell brand new inside after wearing them for 2-3 weeks. My son is now looking to get him a pair. I highly recommend these. Alex17
I was amazed at the comfort when I tried on these shoes to go on my first hike on a trail. The shape of the shoe sole gives a feel of a smooth heel to toe transition with no jarring. The light weight material allowed me to walk much longer than I typically do, not feeling like I am dragging my feet afterwards. I like the over the ankle fit to help protect my ankles on uneven terrain. Mike J.
- KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane
- Higher-traction TPU outsole for lightweight durability
- 4mm multi-directional lugs for traction
- Two-finger webbing loop on the heel for easy pull-on
- Stability shank delivers lightweight support
- TPU overlays for durability
- PFAS-free, durable water repellent
- Recycled PET plastic
- Eco Anti-Odor for natural odor control
- Contoured Fit which follows foot's natural contours for a more secure fit
KEEN loves making original, purposeful, comfortable, and durable footwear, but they really just want to make a difference. As a family-run business they’ve always felt they have a shared responsibility to do things the right way. The kind of products they make, how they treat the environment and each other, how they make outside accessible for all are part of a mission they’ve taken to heart since KEEN was conceived in 2003.