When I took my new Keen Glarus hiking boots out of the box, my first thought was, ‘now there’s a hiking boot’. The Glarus just looks the part: full-grain leather upper, eyelet lace-up bindings, rubber outsole with toe-guard…this boot is the epitome of the traditional outdoorsman’s (or outdoors-woman’s) hiking shoe.
How did the Glarus perform? Beautifully, from the first day hike to multi-day backpack trips, to several serious mountain ascents. Right out of the box, the Glarus kept me blister-free, and despite weighing more than most hiking boots I’ve worn, they continue to be among the most comfortable boots in my closet. The toe-protection on the rubber outer sole is very helpful for rock scrambling and severe elevation gain and loss, and the stiffness of the boot kept me from rolling my ankle more than once.
The Glarus features the KEEN.DRY waterproof (but breathable) membrane, which meant I could stand in a mountain creek and not feel a thing. Ditto for summer snow packs on Sierra and Cascade slopes. The eyelet lacing system makes it easy to get the boots snug, but of course, you’ll see this feature on most boot construction. The thing that sets the Glarus apart most for me is the serious toughness of this boot. It’s pretty well indestructible, and you feel that way as well while you’re hiking in them. These are solid boots. Can you find something lighter? Yes. (The Glarus weighs in at 17 ounces.) Something softer and more pliable? Probably. But if you want to feel as though you can push through, climb over, and hike through whatever a trail throws at you, this is the boot to attempt it in.
The Glarus comes in a men’s or women’s version. The women’s, which I wore, comes in bison (dark brown leather), brindle (tan leather) or black and sells for $160. Half sizes are available. I haven’t needed to treat my Glarus boots at all, but if you wear them very regularly, a leather conditioner and cleaner is recommended. Pick up your pair at Amazon, Altrec, or Backcountry.