There are a number of niche brands out there right now offering to donate x-amount of money to a selected charity for each unit of a particular product bought. However, we haven’t come across many quite as generous as Keen Footwear whose new boots – produced in collaboration with Himalayan brand Sherpa Adventure Gear – sees €15 being donated from the sale of every shoe to charity Room to Read and, particularly, its literacy programme in the Himalayan region and the Tarai flatlands.
Keen estimates that proceeds of the sale of approximately three pairs of Keen Innate x Sherpa Adventure Gear shoes will enable one child to read and write for a year, while the sales of 25 pairs will fund a child to be supported through secondary school for an entire year. The ultimate goal is of teaching 1000 children to read and write for one year – a laudable aim, although that’s quite a few units to shift in this market.
€15 seems a generous amount, even given the boots are priced at £140 – the high end of the mid-ranged market. At that price, one is entitled to expect a solid, decent look pair of walking boots and, in fairness, these don’t disappoint.
We trialled a burgundy pair which we put through their paces on a long weekend in the Western Lakes, North West England (including a gentle trek up Scafell Pike). As well as looking smart – we’d happily wear these on a casual basis as well as for hiking – the boots boast a range of technical and environmental credentials as long as your arm.
They feature a distinctive endless knot embossed into the upper and subtle signature Nepalese flag detail to the heel loop, paying homage to the Sherpa climbers of the Himalayas.
They are constructed in Better Leather from a Leather Working Group (LWG) tannery, and include a PFC-free Durable Water Repellent system and as well Eco Odour Control. PFC-free DWR’s are equal to their PFC counterparts when it comes to water repellency but generally have issues around oil repellency. That said, a quick clean following our trip and these boots were as good as new; more importantly, they kept our feet dry.
A PU midsole provides lightweight durability whilst Keen’s S3 technology and stability shank deliver reliable suspension and support. A waterproof, breathable membrane gives great protection, with an EVA footbed providing step in comfort and superb arch support.
Our verdict: A really smart, stylish looking pair of boots, which are very reasonably priced given their technical spec and also make a generous donation to a fantastic cause.
The KEEN Innate x Sherpa Adventure Gear is available from www.keenfootwear.com and selected retail partners across Europe from September 2019 priced at £140.