Comfortable: no pressure or pinch points, even for sensitive feet
Adequately water resistant for dry snow hiking
Good traction in snow
Waterproof lining is limited to area below the laces
Not enough ankle support for extended hikes or variable, unstable terrain
This boot fits somewhere between stylish lifestyle boot and a boot for hitting the trails. It’s most at home on light winter hikes or snowshoe outings up to about 5 miles or so on even, mellow trails, but lacks the ankle support for extended hikes or more variable terrain. Note: While marketed as a waterproof boot, the Hoodoo quickly soaked through when submerged in ankle-deep water. Keen explained that the waterproof laminate stops just below the laces.
In the broad spectrum of insulated boots out there, ranging from heavy-duty adventure boot to lifestyle snow boot, the Hoodoo High Lace falls somewhere in the middle, capable of a moderate day hike in comfort but tipping the scale a bit toward lifestyle use (read: wearing around town on a snow day).
The Hoodoos are sufficiently warm (they use Keen’s house-brand insulation) and water resistant enough to withstand wet snow or mild rain. They also have a nice bulky rubber sole (with big, toothy lugs) that is great on slick, packed snow. I tested these on a 10-mile hike in about 5 inches of fresh snow and temperatures ranging from about 35 degrees in the sun to about 20 degrees after nightfall. The result: although I wouldn’t recommend them for extended hikes such as this, they actually held up quite well. First, these are not technical hiking boots, so they do not have the foot and ankle support you’d normally want for extended outings. I did notice some ankle soreness from the lack of support after 6 miles or so. However, they ended up being very comfortable—top of their class—and this is coming from a girl with extremely sensitive feet.
My feet did not get excessively cold or sweaty, which was a big plus, although I would probably not be so brave with these boots on such an ambitious hike in colder temps (the insulation is pretty thin and they do not cinch at the top, letting in some cold air).
There is one major caveat: although my feet stayed warm and dry in fairly deep snow during the field test, when we tested these boots for waterproofing (a dunk test: submerging them to the ankle), water poured through the toe area in about 15 seconds.
Keen explained: “KEEN.DRY membrane is built into the boot wrapping your foot in 360 degree protection up to the tongue attachment point. Since you don’t normally walk in slush or standing water that is beyond that point, your feet will stay nice and dry.”
Some consumers might assume, because of the Keen.Dry waterproof label on the side ofthe boot, that the entire boot is waterproof, but this is not the case. We do believe the waterproofing on the lower portion of the boot will be sufficient for 99 percent of users in average winter conditions..