KEEN Vs. Oboz: Which Brand Would You Pick?

Two of the major manufacturers of hiking boots today are KEEN and Oboz. At first glance, you want to go with KEEN. After all, “keen” is another word for discerning and is a {somewhat dated) way of saying something is great. Oboz sounds like an orchestral instrument. And there’s just something about those all caps. Before we jump to conclusions, though, let’s explore both brands thoroughly. Let’s start with KEEN.

keen vs oboz

Is KEEN A Good Brand?

Well, people like how they look and how they feel. There is a little break-in time. However, the shoes are not very durable, particularly where the soles are concerned. One major complaint is customer service. You can make the best shoes in the world but if you leave your customers feeling slighted your company is done for.

What Does KEEN Stand For?

This is not an acronym, though there are educational groups that use this word. The company was founded in 1999 by Martin Keen of Jamestown, Rhode Island with his invention of the Newport Sandal. Marty just likes seeing his last name in all caps.

Does KEEN Run True To Size?

They do run true to size. They are a little snug at first but very quickly conform to the feet.

How To Determine The KEEN Size?

First, you measure the length of your feet in centimeters. Keen has a conversion chart that will help you determine your size. Measure your foot width as well. Keen does offer wide fitting shoes.

How Do KEEN Boots Fit?

One major selling point of KEEN boots is that they are super comfortable. The fit is a bit snug at first but it doesn’t take long at all for them to conform to the shape of your foot.

Where Are KEEN Hiking Boots Made?

KEEN products are assembled in Portland, Oregon with imported materials.

Are KEEN Boots Good For Hiking?

Keen boots are lightweight, waterproof, and breathable. Being lightweight means less calf fatigue on a long hike. Waterproof boots are a must on a hike. Being breathable just adds to the comfort level. KEEN does make a decent hiking boot.

Are KEEN Boots Good For Walking?

They are comfortable enough for just making your way downtown, walking fast, faces pass. These are great travel shoes in general. One terrain they are not good for is beach sand. This is one time when being waterproof can be detrimental.

Are KEEN Hiking Boots Waterproof?

Are you even paying attention? Yes, KEEN boots are waterproof and will keep your feet dry.

How Do You Break In KEEN Boots?

This won’t take long. KEEN boots break in easily though the manufacturer recommends a leather conditioner to speed things up. Just wear your boots around the house for a little then gradually work your way up to walking around town. It won’t take long for them to feel comfortable enough for a hike.

Are KEEN Shoes Good For Wide Feet?

The Newport, Targhee II, Austin, and Presidio are among KEEN models specifically made for wide feet. They are a bit limited on women’s sizes but they have them.

Do KEEN Shoes Stretch Out?

Keens will gradually stretch and conform to your foot as you wear them. They may be a little snug at first.

Can You Wash KEEN Shoes?

KEEN sandals are machine washable on a gentle cycle within cold water and a mild detergent. Use nubuck leather cleaner and conditioner for leather. Wool must not be machine washed but brushed with a spot removing foam. Canvas should be hand cleaned with a sponge. Insoles should also be hand cleaned. Tea tree oil can be used to treat odors.

How Long Do KEEN Shoes Last?

KEEN shoes are comfortable, but for all their good points they are not terribly durable. They’ll last about one hundred and twenty miles before the soles start to peel.

Popular KEEN Models Reviews:

1) KEEN Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

KEEN Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

This model is one of KEEN’s top sellers. They are technical yet traditional with twenty colorways so you are sure to find anything that matches your outfit. Their big selling point is that they are waterproof but they are also lightweight and comfortable. There is a good reason this is one of the top sellers.

Features and Benefits:

The KEEN DRY waterproof, breathable membrane helps your feet stay dry and comfortable throughout the day by letting the vapor out without letting any water in. The KEEN All-Terrain rubber outsole delivers a high-traction grip in every environment. The Torsion stability External Support Shank (ESS) and mid-cut height provide both ankle support and balance on uneven surfaces.

What We Like:

  • The boots are supportive and stable.
  • The patented toe box protection keeps toes safe.
  • It has a minimal break-in period.
  • They are ideal for normal day-to-day use.

What We Don’t:

  • The eyelets for the laces are made out of fabric and are rather weak.
  • The lugs come off after a few months.

2) KEEN Voyageur Hiking Shoe

KEEN Voyageur Hiking Shoe

These nineteen colorways are cool in more ways than one. It is light and breathable so great for the summer. They will offer the wearer an excellent sense of stability plus support. However, they are a bit less waterproof than Targhee boots. They are ideal for hot and dry environments.

Features and Benefits:

The rubber sole is flexible and supportive. Said rubber outsole is non-marking. The insole is removable for cleaning convenience. The Metatomical EVA footbed provides support and stability. The leather and mesh upper make for a breathable shoe that is comfortable enough to wear in extreme heat.

What We Like:

  • There is no break-in period.
  • The shoes are very supportive.
  • The toe box is roomy.
  • They’re very breathable.

What We Don’t:

  • The lining wears out fast.
  • The sole separates too easily.

KEEN Targhee II Vs. III

The biggest difference between the Targhee II and III is a switch in material to an oiled nubuck leather outer. This allows the boot to work with your movement in a more ideal way. The Targhee III has a great grip because it utilizes the same sole at the Targhee II.

Is Oboz A Good Brand?

One thing Oboz has on KEEN is durability. The toe is tough and the lugs have an intense tread system. They are waterproof yet breathable. They are, however, a little on the heavy side and are somewhat lacking in ankle support. They are great hiking boots for the serious hiker but a little much for the urban enthusiast.

What Does Oboz Stand For?

It’s short for “Outside of Bozeman”, referring to Bozeman, Montana where the shoes were first made. The shoes were made to hike through the mountain trails this state is known for.

Does Oboz Run True To Size?

Some of their shoes run a bit on the narrow side but for the most part, they fit true to size.

How To Determine Oboz Size?

You should get an experienced boot fitter to measure your foot using a Brannock device to measure the length and width of your foot and determine your foot volume and arch height. All of this data will affect fit and will aid in assessing which boots may be a good fit for you.

How Do Oboz Boots Fit?

As said, Oboz does run narrow. However, they do offer wide sizes. It should be pointed out that some people who think they need a wide shoe just need a roomy toe box. Oboz has that.

Where Are Oboz Hiking Boots Made?

While Oboz still has headquarters at the corner of Olive Street and Wallace Avenue in Bozeman, Montana, and has recently been acquired by New Zealand based outdoor retailer Kathmandu the factories are located in Vietnam.

Are Oboz Boots Good For Hiking?

These are boots for the serious hiker. They were made for the mountains of Montana but have been proven to stand up to the dry, sandy conditions and steep trails of canyons in Utah. The underfoot control makes up for the lack of ankle support. They stay dry in damp conditions.

Are Oboz Boots Good For Walking?

Not very. They’re too heavy for casual use.

Are Oboz Hiking Boots Waterproof?

They are. They’ve been tested in stormy conditions and came through. What’s more, they’re breathable for waterproof boots.

How Do You Break In Oboz Boots?

Oboz boots can be a little stiff at first. As with any boot, just wear them around every day at gradually longer periods of time.

Are Oboz Shoes Good For Wide Feet?

They do offer shoes for people for wide feet, though you are urged to find out if you really do have wide feet or just need a big toe box.

Do Oboz Shoes Stretch Out?

Any leather shoe can be stretched out some if put on a shoe tree. Otherwise, Oboz will always be the same size.

Can You Wash Oboz Shoes?

First of all, rinse or brush off the mud after each use. Always use the correct cleaning medium and never solvents, detergents, or petroleum. With Oboz, Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel is recommended. Dampen the boots before putting on the cleaning medium. Rinse with clean water. Leather conditioners are recommended. Allow them to air dry.

How Long Do Oboz Shoes Last?

They are very long-lasting. As in, your grandkids might wear them someday.

Popular Oboz Models Reviews:

1) Oboz Bridger BDRY Hiking Boot

Oboz Bridger BDRY Hiking Boot,Sudan

Oboz not only makes good hiking shoes, but they are also environmentally friendly. They plant a tree for every pair of shoes they sell. Bridger BDry offers the most excellent protection for adventures on and off the trail plus those long days hefting a heavy pack. Hikers will love the robust leather upper and better than expected support.

Features and Benefits:

The BDry waterproof membrane will keep the foot dry and comfortable. The nylon stability shank keeps the boot stable and sturdy. The bruise preventing TPU flex chassis protects the feet from injury without compromising flexibility. The BFit EVA insole provides good arch support. The sticky outsole with four-millimeter directional lugs contributes to traction.

What We Like:

  • The boots are waterproof.
  • There is no break-in time.
  • The deep sole treads have good traction.
  • The deluxe insole is removable.

What We Don’t:

  • They run a bit on the small size.
  • The laces come undone easily.

2) Oboz Sawtooth II Low Hiking Shoe

Oboz Sawtooth II Low Hiking Shoe

If you prefer shoes that are lighter in weight and less confining than hiking boots yet are more sturdy and protective than trail running shoes, the Oboz Sawtooth II Low Hiking Shoe may be for you. Features such as a deeply lugged sole and stable heel counter will keep your feet safe and comfortable.

Features and Benefits:

The insole is formed to duplicate the exact shape and construction of every pair of Oboz shoes in order to deliver the kind of fit, feel, and performance that’s unequaled in the industry. The Sawtooth Midsole is perfectly suited for everyday use.

The duel-density EVA midsole offers both cushioning and stability plus a nylon shank that delivers additional support underfoot. The large mesh panels allow the feet to breathe easily. The rubber heel counters aid the shoes in maintaining a snug and comfortable heel hold over time.

What We Like:

  • These shoes have solid cushioning and good support.
  • They are easy to clean.
  • The insole does a better job than expected.
  • The shoes are lightweight.

What We Don’t:

  • The sole wears out quickly.

Oboz Bridger Vs. Sawtooth

These are Oboz two best sellers. They do, however, have different features that will appeal to different people. The Bridger is lightweight, durable, and comfortable with great ankle support and an almost immediate break-in period.

The Sawtooth has a narrower fit than the Bridger plus the rounded heel encourages a rolling motion that naturally helps you stay engaged. It all comes down to whether you would prefer your feet to absorb minimal impact or if you’d rather have a more solid interaction with the terrain.


KEEN and Oboz are two hiking boot manufacturers who both bring a lot to the table. What you want from this table is up to you to decide. Try them and see what’s best for you!


Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top