Although there are a lot of waterproof insulated boots on the market, it is hard to find a model that is truly lightweight. The Keen Growler is one of the lightest available, has a waterproof/breathable liner, 200-gram Primaloft insulation, and weight of 18 ounces/boot (women’s 7) and 22.2 ounces/boot (men’s 9). I evaluated it as part of our Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Travel project. Is it the perfect snowshoeing and snow hiking boot?
The Keen Growler has a waterproof/breathable lining, 200-gram Primaloft insulation, and weighs just 16.1 ounces/boot (measured weight, women’s 6.5).
The first time I wore the Keen Growler for snowshoeing, I wore heavy wool socks in them that were too thick and I had a burning feeling in my toe area. I took the insoles out and the problem went away. Since then, I have worn medium weight wool socks inside the Growler with thin SuperFeet insoles and they have been very comfortable. The toe box is fairly wide to accommodate wider feet and thicker socks.
The Growler is very flexible (left), which helps to keep feet warm in cold weather. Their open tread (right) gets good traction in snow and cleans out well.
Since that first trip I have worn the Growler for snowshoeing, snow hiking, and canyon hiking where there were frequent stream crossings, and I love them. My feet stay dry, even when wading in water or snowshoeing in wet snow. Keen's "patented waterproof technology" performed as well as Gore-Tex XCR lined shoes I have worn for hiking. I realize these are insulated boots intended for winter sports, but I did find them comfortable to hike in at much warmer temperatures.
I wore the Keen Growler while snowshoeing, snow hiking, and late winter wet canyon hiking and found them to be dry, warm, and comfortable over a broader temperature range than expected.
I received the boots for review in late winter, so I was not able to test them in really cold temperatures, but they are rated to -25 F. I know I can wear them with an insulated overboot over them if I need extra warmth, so I would not be afraid to wear them in really cold temperatures or for winter camping.
The Growlers also worked well for wet canyon hiking in late winter. The air temperature was warm, but there was still ice in the canyons. It was really nice to just walk through the cold water rather than having to avoid getting my boots wet. My feet stayed perfectly dry, and the boots themselves did not absorb any water.
Overall, I am very pleased with the fit, comfort, warmth, and dryness of the Growler and highly recommend it for active snow travel.
Features and Specifications
- Manufacturer: Keen Footwear, LLC (www.keenfootwear.com)
- Model: Growler
- Sizes: Men’s 7-14, women’s 5-11
- Insulation: 200-gram Primaloft
- Features: Dual density compression-molded EVA midsole, rubber toe bumper, non-marking rubber outsole, quick draw lace capture, Keen patented waterproof technology
- Weight: Measured weight women’s 6.5 16.1 oz/boot (456 g); manufacturer specification women’s 7 18 oz/boot (510 g), men’s 9 22.2 oz/boot (629 g)
- MSRP: $124.99