Gear review: Explorer-in-Residence Jill Heinerth tests the Keen Terradora hiker

From marching for climate awareness in Washington, D.C to stomping through North Florida swampland, Heinerth tests these hiking boots as only an explorer can
  • May 24, 2017
  • 569 words
  • 3 minutes
hiking boots, Keen, flowers, field Expand Image

Hiking boots are an exploration staple for me, but they aren’t always as functional in the field as I need them to be — and often, I can’t wait to remove my heavy footwear at the end of a long day. The Keen Terradora hiking boot has turned everything I know about hikers on its head. The Canadian footwear brand’s first women-specific hiker is both functional and street-worthy, capable and fashionable.


At first glance, the Terradora claims some of the same robust features of its Keen predecessors. They have a well-protected toe and burly soles with multidirectional lugs that offer traction and stability. But look a little deeper into these waterproof wonders, and you’ll find a world of new features. They are exceptionally lightweight and exceedingly comfortable.

I put my new Keens to the test in a variety of climates from spring rainstorms in Ontario’s Elora Gorge to marching for climate awareness in Washington, D.C. to rigorous hikes on the Appalachian Trail to stomping through North Florida swampland. I wore them from dawn to dusk and from trails to museums, testing them for performance, durability and long-term comfort. Until something else really exceptional changes my mind, I’ll be wearing these regularly!

Expand Image
Heinerth wore the hikers to a march in Washington, D.C. and says they are as fashionable as they are functional. (Photo: Jill Heinerth/Can Geo)


The breathable mesh upper was great in a wide range of temperatures and offered an excellent range of motion while still protecting my arthritic ankle. I’m prone to blisters in new shoes but never experienced a hint of chafing or pressure in these. The size range included a relaxed size 11 for my big feet. I’ve often had to turn to men’s shoes for rugged features and a size that fits, but Keen has dedicated itself to offering real equality in features in both the men’s and women’s footwear.


Expand Image
Heinerth tested the waterproof hikers in a variety of wet locales. (Photo: Jill Heinerth/Can Geo)

I tested the waterproof claims against a variety of situations. The sole and mid-upper is protected by the brand’s exclusive “Keen.Dry” waterproof layer that remained bone-dry even after wading in shallow water for more than five minutes. Above the proprietary membrane, the upper performed well in rain and puddles but began to creep a little moisture after several minutes of wading in water more than five centimetres deep. Although Keen never advertised these shoes as waders, I like to know ahead of time how far I can push my equipment.


Successful hiking adventures always come down to quality footwear. Moisture management, grip and comfort are top concerns. Wearing Keen’s new Terradora hiking boots, stylish flare accompanies functionality. I’d give these hikers a solid five-star rating for backcountry experiences and urban adventures.


Expand Image
The Terradora hiker is a new staple in Jill Heinerth’s exploration arsenal. (Photo: Jill Heinerth/Can Geo)

Related Content

People & Culture

RCGS names Jill Heinerth as Explorer-in-Residence

Cave diver Jill Heinerth is one of Canada’s greatest explorers and a world-leading technical diver. She's also the RCGS's very first Explorer-in-Residence.

  • 443 words
  • 2 minutes


What lies beneath: Ghost gear in our oceans

Ghost gear — lost or abandoned fishing gear — is a major problem in our oceans, but renewed efforts are underway to clean it up

  • 1487 words
  • 6 minutes

People & Culture

Jill Heinerth named first Explorer-in-Residence

  • 418 words
  • 2 minutes
Jill Heinerth cave diving


Video: Jill Heinerth on being an Explorer-in-Residence

This year the renowned cave diver became the first explorer to officially represent The Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Here, in her own words, Heinerth talks adventure.

  • 194 words
  • 1 minutes