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Keen Gypsum Mid

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Keen Gypsum Mid hiking boot

This boot fit very comfortably right out of the box, with no chafing, blistering or problem pressure points on my first hike (14 km). The toe area is nice and wide, so it's easy to wiggle your toes to help keep them warm when hiking in snow or using these boots with snowshoes. The only weak point is that when hiking, I can "feel" rocks and stones a little more than I'd like.


  • Comfortable
  • Waterproofing is excellent
  • Lightweight


  • Structure of footbed doesn't mute the feeling of sharp rocks and stones underfoot as much as I'd like on rougher trails

Over the past 7 weeks I've worn these boots on several hikes in New Zealand and quite a few walks in Canada. So in just a short time I've tried them out in both summer and winter conditions. 

I've been wearing Keen's for years — sandals, walking shoes and light hiking boots. This is my first pair of Gypsum Mid (Women's). Keen's waterproofing has worked well on wet trails and in the snow. I've also worn them while using a handheld shower to clean them off, and have had no trouble with water penetration.

I like the good fit around the heel and the looser fit across the ball of my foot, especially in the toe area. Room to wiggle your toes is especially important when winter hiking/snowshoeing and these boots earn 5 stars on this particular point.

My sole (sic) disappointment has been with the structure of the footbed. When hiking Single Cone and the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand, the sole transmitted a lot more of the "feel" of rocks and stones underfoot than I've come to expect from Keen walking shoes and boots.

I think my current pair of Keen Targhee II light trail shoes does a much better job muting uneven terrain. I noticed the same decrease in overall foot comfort when I used Kahtoola MICROspikes on these — a little bit of lumpiness under the balls of my feet where one of the spikes is positioned.

Please note, this is not an extreme problem. It hasn't prevented me from finishing any hikes (up to 20 km) or winter walks. It just means the bottoms of my feet get tired a little sooner than they would in a boot with a more robust footbed/sole. 

Unless unusual wear and tear issues crop up over the 2014 summer hiking season here in Canada, it's quite likely I'll replace these boots with another pair of the same model when the time comes. 

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: C$179

As comfortable as a boot could possibly be.


  • Cushiony inside, tough outside.
  • Pure comfort.
  • KeenDry WPB membrane works.


  • A day or so to dry if water gets in the top.
  • Traction sketchy on smooth wet rock.

Imagine wrapping thin pillows around your ankles and walking on a rubber mat. With bumpers on your toes.

That was the first impression, and many days of tough use later they still feel the same way. I'd be surprised if it was possible to get blisters in these, given the right size. The ankle-locking lace system works, so I could half size up from 'town' shoes and have maximum wiggle room with no chafing or slippage.

They are built noticeably wide in the forefoot, which lets the foot adapt to long hikes and uneven terrain. Less foot fatigue at the end of the day than other shoes and boots I've tried. The sole is flexible, but thick enough to feel solid and stable. Traction is good on steep dry rock, and in loose dirt, gravel and mud; the one time I've slipped in these was on sloped wet rock.

The waterproof-breathable membrane does what I hoped it would do. My feet are dry in shallow streams, dew-covered grass, waterlogged moss, puddly bogs, and drippy undergrowth. The leather 'skeleton' of the boot has quite a bit of mesh in smart places, and feet don't feel swampy. No sweat-damp socks til July.

However, don't get water over the top of them, or let rain run down into them. Remember the cushions? Day at least to dry, so put rain pants or gaiters over them.

So far these Gypsum Mids have seen six long trips (10 days plus) and about a year's worth of 3 day weekend trips, with no real sign of wear. They're used on barrens, bogs, beaches, boreal forests ... varied terrain, not primarily rock, never pavement, so YMMV.

I wanted a higher cut boot because I was tired of mud, sand and pine needles in my shoes. It was either commit to a permanent shoe-gaiter combo, or try boots. I tried on dozens of boots at multiple stores over a long period of time. Still very happy with these, would buy again.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $159

Great boot with a great fit!


  • Waterproof
  • Great fit
  • Stability


  • None so far

I got these boots in exchange for a pair of Targhee II's that had a very poor fit. Keen's customer service was great in helping me with that issue. They not only make a great product they are also a top notch company.

I have only had these boots about a week so my experience with them is limited. However, we had some snow recently followed by a few days of sunshine so today was an excellent opportunity to try them out on the sloppy, muddy trails. They performed great. My feet stayed dry and the fit was very stable.

I like the way Keens fit in that there is plenty of room in the toe box but not so much that you have too loose of a fit. Today's hike was a short trip on my local trail but I can see that the Gypsum will work great on longer more strenuous hikes with weight on my pack. I am looking forward to many miles in these boots. I would highly recommend!

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $140


  • Superb fit and comfort from the first day


  • Nothing at all

These are the best hikers I've ever worn! Very supportive and yet light and comfy. Great tread to keep you from slipping in mud.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $75

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