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(The Gear Loop) - Keen has taken the wraps off its upcoming NXIS shoe: a tantalising hybrid that fuses the fleet-footed world of trail running with the stability and protection of a proper hiking boot

Due to go on sale from early February 2022, the upcoming NXIS is packed with features that are aimed at those who like to cover ground quickly. Although Keen is, erm, keen to point out that speed hiking doesn’t necessarily mean romping as fast as you can, but instead covering more ground and mixing up the type of terrain you cross in a single session.

KeenKeen NXIS Evo WP photo 1

Soon to be available in both a mid-height ankle boot (the NXIS Evo Mid WP) and a low cut version (the WO), the new shoe features a waterproof, breathable membrane upper, as well as breathable textile lining to ensure feet stay cool and dry.

What’s more, the durable water-repellant coating is PFC-free and there’s an eco-friendly anti-odour coating on the inside of the shoe to fend off any unpalatable wafts after long days on the trails.

KeenKeen NXIS Evo WP photo 4

Lightweight and performance focussed, the NXIS boasts Keen’s Comfort Heel Control, which features specific achilles padding, yet provides a locked-in fit at the rear to avoid any rubbing as the miles rack up. Keen’s overall fit also offers a roomy toe box, more akin to a barefoot shoe, which allows space for the toes to spread out in a more natural way.

The lower-cut WO version looks as if it has trail runners in its sights, with lots of toe protection and a compression-moulded midsole for plenty of underfoot cushioning. Both shoes use a revised All.Terrain outsole featuring a new, proprietary horseshoe pattern with deep lugs designed to optimise grip and additional traction on the ascent and braking control on the descent for better grip and traction.

KeenKeen NXIS Evo WP photo 7

Available in a number of more traditional hues, we couldn’t help but be drawn towards a Black & Evening Primrose colour combination, which sports a neon yellow sole that contrasts nicely against the deep blue of the upper. Of course, more subdued colour schemes will also be available upon launch.

Writing by Leon Poultney.