Keen Vs. Merrell: Which One Should You Buy?

Keen and Merrell are manufacturers of the best line of hiking footwear in the industry. Keen vs. Merrell hiking footwear stand apart from all other competitors. The companies offer an exclusive range of hiking boots and shoes.

In 1981 Merrell saw the need for specialized footwear with a growing interest in hiking. Merrell sold over 25,000 pairs of hiking boots in five years. Wolverine Worldwide purchased Merrell in 1997. Merrell takes pride in making excellent hiking boots and shoes.

Keen entered into the production of hiking footwear in the mid to late 2000s. Keen produces shoes for any outdoor and indoor activity.

Choosing a particular product vs. another is always a difficult decision. For this product review, the Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe is a better choice.

Hiking footwear manufactured by Keen continues to decline in quality. The answer to which hiking footwear you should buy is obvious.

Keen Vs. Merrell

1. Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe

Merrell Men's Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe

The Moab 2 is an updated version of one of the best-selling hiking shoes in the Merrill line, the Moab 1. The changes made to these low-cut hiking shoes leave many areas of concern.

The Good:

Breathable uppers of these hiking shoes mix premium suede leather and mesh. Feet remain cooler when walking on all hot surfaces. Improved traction of the outsole with a more in-depth 5mm lug tread design. Steep inclines and rough terrain are not a problem for these hiking shoes.

Vibram TC5+ sole is more comfort and support.


  • M Select contoured footbed with organic odor control keeps you on your feet and moving
  • Leather waterproof mesh and upper keeps feet dry and comfortable
  • Molded lightweight nylon shank offers excellent support on steep trails
  • Closed-cell foamed bellow tongue keeps moisture and debris out
  • Improved shoe flexibility works with your feet, not against

The Bad:

A difference of the Moab 2 vs. the Moab 1 is the changing of the lacing geometry, eliminating one set of lacing holes. The elimination of this one lacing hole makes it harder to get these shoes close up around the foot. Shoes feel very loose even when the laces are tight.

The expanded toe box of these shoes was a good idea, but they took it too far. There is too much room in the toe box, allowing feet to slide left to the right, causing bruising and blisters.

2. Merrell Women’s Siren Edge Q2 Hiking Shoe

Merrell Women's Siren Edge Q2 Hiking Shoe

The Siren Q2 is another Merrell hiking shoe that has gone through some minor changes. Minimal changes made to these shoes add to the features offered on previous models. These additions allow for increased daily use.

The Good:

Midsole technology features the Q Form 2 insole and midsole. This allows the natural alignment of the feet with advanced comfort.

Kinetic Fit TRI insole conforms to the shape of your feet. Expect excellent light comfortable support on all areas of your feet. The molded nylon shank is supportive and lightweight. Rubber outsole for good traction but could be better.


  • 3D print mesh breathable uppers are durable and appealing
  • Vibram® high-performance outsole provides excellent traction on un-chartered trails
  • Wider toe box prevents cramping and sliding of the foot when walking or running
  • Proper alignment of feet reduces stress on joints and lower back
  • Thinner padded sole allows feet to roll with the natural shape of the ground

Available in a moderate color selection for those that like to “switch it out.”

The Bad:

Consumers report a tight fit around the ankles. This makes it harder to get your feet into these shoes. Support offered by these designed shoes has less arch support with a wider feel.

The heel area of these shoes appears to be an issue with most consumers. Heels rub on the back of the foot with an increased squeezing sensation. The quality seems to be also reduced with a more “plastic” appearance.

3. Merrell Women’s Chameleon 7 Limit Hiking Boot

Merrell Women's Chameleon 7 Limit Hiking Boot

These women’s hiking boots remain docile in a premiere line of superior hiking boots. These boots are designed for backpacking, traveling, or hiking boot. Continual versatility of these boots allows for regular wear-anywhere excellent support.

The Good:

The color of these boots blends in well with natural trail surroundings. The good gripping ability of a chameleon on slippery mossy rocks. Waterproofing of these boots keeps feet dry. Natural air circulation required on hot, steamy days is plentiful.

Athletic, gender-specific hiking boots have excellent stability.


  • Vibram TC5+ blending lightweight construction with increased stability
  • FlexPlate for extra stability for climbing up and over trail hazards
  • Excellent shock absorption and air cushioning preventing sore and aching feet
  • Hybrid sole allows twisting flex foot motions of the foot with no restrictions
  • Trail gripping deeper lug pattern for better traction on muddy or dry trails

The Bad:

Women who purchased these hiking boots find the appearance is too big for smaller feet. These shoes appear to be “clown-like” with the larger size appearance.

These hiking boots have little to no feminine look or appeal. A mediocre color selection distracts from the appearance of these women’s boots. Although listed as a hiking boot, the lower than expected profile design is more of a hiking shoe that a boot.

Color selections will also vary from website to website. Newly introduced colors may reflect a slight increase in price.

4. Keen Men’s Voyageur Hiking Shoe

Keen Men's Voyageur Hiking Shoe

Keen vs. Merrell shoes is an on-going battle for supremacy in the footwear industry. The question remains, why fix something if it’s not broken? Re-making or redesigning an already good product reduces quality and the desired results. Is this the problem that Keen is currently experiencing? Follow this brief investigation:

The Good:

Keen hiking shoes offer a removable metatomical footbed. A better-designed heel lock keeps heels in place. This heel lock reduces foot slippage. The introduction of Cleansport NXT™ technology reduces foot odor for fresher smelling feet. Improved mesh lining for more ventilation in warmer climate conditions. The event is no longer featured on these hiking shoes.

Deeper traction four-millimeter outsoles lock on to all slippery surfaces. Lugs remain free of mud and debris. S3 Heel Support Structures helps to prevent ankles from rolling. Ankle rolling is a common injury experienced by hikers.


  • Low profile design for hiking on a variety of trails, groomed or not groomed
  • Removable, dual-density EVA footbed for change of comfort levels
  • Moisture resistant mesh and leather uppers
  • Exterior toe bumpers protect toes from shocks and abrasions
  • One-year manufacturing defect warranty from date of sale

The Bad:

A mesh lining for continual airflow now replaces the waterproof lining. Avoid streams when hiking, if possible. Consumers report many sole separations due to inadequate gluing or other adhering practices. More comments from consumers state cheap materials used in construction that are noticeable.

5. Keen Men’s Targhee II Hiking Shoe

Keen Men's Targhee II Hiking Shoe

Keen footwear continues to be a strong contender in the footwear industry. The Targhee ll hiking shoes have undergone some major changes. These changes do not represent the legacy behind a premier manufacturer.

The Good:

Targhee ll hiking shoes deliver the best possible traction under all circumstances. These shoes feature a compression-molded EVA midsole with higher shock-absorbing qualities.

These shoes feature a revamped waterproof membrane to keep moisture out. A breathable membrane controls foot moisture. Good mid-cut height adds ankle support with a lightweight design — nubuck leather uppers with a flexible nylon upper mesh.

The aggressive outsole has four-millimeter deep lugs. Lugs tend to fill with small rocks and mud significantly reduce traction — lightweight ESS shank for torsional stability.


  • Improved stability shank for added stability on a variety of terrain
  • Metatomical EVA footbed with proper cushioning and arch support
  • The secure-fit lacing system and heel wrap lock secure feet to the footbed
  • Waterproof nubuck leather mesh uppers for flexibility and breathability
  • Webbing pulls at heel and tongue for easy on and off

The Bad:

Quality appears to be a persistent problem reported by consumers. Sole separation and the slipping of feet when wearing these shoes is a problematic area. There is a very distinctive odor from these shoes, unlike the usual smell of new shoes.

This company continues to sacrifice quality. This results in the loss of consumers that once relied on Keen footwear for years.

6. Keen Women’s Voyageur Mid Hiking Boot

Keen Women's Voyageur Mid Hiking Boot

There is a common misconception in reference to the term “waterproof” versus “water-resistant.” “Waterproof” implies that water will not penetrate any fabric under any conditions. In retrospect, “water-resistant” is the capability of a material to repel or resist water.

The Good:

Advanced waterproofing and breathability of the women’s hiking boots offer outstanding foot comfort. Four-millimeter traction outsoles take on tough terrains.

A mesh lining for more ventilation replaces the standard waterproofing barrier. Waterproofing and increased breathability is a good feature of any good hiking boot.

Consider the preferred leather uppers made from premium certified LWG tanneries. A Dual-density compression-molded EVA midsole ads comfort. Removable footbed for metatomical adjusting of comfort levels.

Good internal arch support cradling the natural shape of the foot. Recommended use: Midweight hiking on open, unobstructed trails.


  • S3 heel protection for added support and stability
  • Built-in ESS rugged shank with shock-absorbing qualities
  • Comfort-oriented built for long hikes on unforgiving trails
  • Durable leather mud shield keeps the mud out and shoes cleaner
  • Clean dried dirt with a soft brush and damp cloth

One- year manufacturer warranty from date of sale.

The Bad:

Boots place more pressure on heels resulting in tendonitis from a “still” shoe. Consumers report rubbing on ankles with increased pain levels. Hooks on top sides of shoes catch the loops on the other shoe resulting in a forward pitch motion and falls.

Why You Need Appropriate Shoes for Hiking

Hiking is one of the fastest-growing outdoor activities. Hiking is an excellent method to improve cardiovascular circulation and general health improvements. Hiking puts you back in touch with reality and the beauty of nature, waiting for your discovery.

Hiking on rough and unforgiving terrain requires specialized equipment. Proper footwear is one of the most critical pieces of hiking equipment.

Hiking is a sport that requires full concentration. Hiking is dangerous with hidden hazards, including steep hills and deep crevices. Sure, footing and stability require the best in hiking footwear. Hidden predators are ever-present on all hiking trails.

Hiking experience will determine what style of hiking footwear you will need.

Chose hiking footwear that is versatile for the majority of your hiking treks. Day hiking to extended backpacking treks is the most common type of hiking.

The most common types of hiking footwear are low-profile shoes for short hikes. Mid- ankle-high boots are an excellent choice for the most challenging terrain.

Hiking footwear should be supportive, waterproof, or water-resistant. A durable outsole provides excellent traction. Shanks should be three to five millimeters thick.

Your choice of hiking footwear should include a good fit. Durable exteriors are also necessary. A roomy toe box with excellent ankle support and footbed is capable of absorbing shocks and impacts.

Good hiking boots and shoes should be lightweight, weighing no more than two pounds each. Materials for hiking boots affect weight, breathability, water-resistance, and durability. Select only the best in materials.

Keen and Merrill are the premier leaders in hiking shoes and boots. Their hiking footwear is designed with comfort, support, and safety. Look to the best when the need is the greatest, this is where Keen vs. Merrell hiking footwear surpass all others.

Comparison Between Keen and Merrell


Merrell and Keen continue to improve their hiking footwear line with some differences in quality. Merrell hiking boots and shoes continues to set higher standards in quality.

Keen’s redesigning of their most popular styles of hiking boots and shoes continue to experience poor quality. Sole separation of their hiking shoes is a major issue noted by consumers. Poor distributorship return policies are also a concern.


Style is where Keen vs. Merrell hiking boots are equal. These companies offer hiking styles from low-profile shoes to mid-high ankle boots with appearances that seem to resemble each other.

Both companies offer hiking footwear with frontal lace-up closures. Merrell decreased the number of eyelets on Moab 2. The deduction in eyelets lessens the ability to adjust shoes to a comfortable level. Mid-shoe lateral stability is also reduced.


Comfort levels are different when comparing Keen vs. Merrell hiking shoes. The sole of the Keen Voyager is too thick. The sole looks like several layers of inexpensive running shoe materials.

Keen hiking boots and shoes require a break-in period. A minimum of one week is common. Merrell shoes feature a cushioned midsole for excellent foot comfort. The redesigned Keen Voyager now has a broader heel causing feet to slip.


A difference in the outsoles of Keen vs. Merrell makes a very profound statement. Merrell uses a Vibram rugged outsole on some of their hiking boots. The M-Select outsole is capable of taking on the most extreme trail surfaces.

Keen continues to use an outsole, with excellent traction and grip when new but wears down fast. Many sole separations issues are disappointing.


Merrell prefers a molded nylon shank with excellent midfoot and arch support. This shank is flexible, lightweight with enhanced torsional stability. Keen hiking boots provide a “mid” or boot option for extra ankle support.

The narrow arch support of the Keen Targhee ll is good but with a decrease in quality. Merrell’s Kinetic Fit TRI insole with triple-zone arch support offers a light and comfortable feel.


Take into consideration the factors that determine the durability of hiking footwear. Keen and Merrill hiking footwear offer waterproofing, rugged outsoles, and rugged exterior material. This material makes up the composition of a good hiking boot or shoe.

Your feet undergo a tremendous amount of extra pressure on hiking trails. Always wear dependable and durable hiking boots designed for the intended purpose. Durable hiking footwear is dependable, supportive, and comfortable.


Pricing for both the Keen Vs. Merrell continues to remain in contention with each other. You can expect to pay from $95.00 or less to $185.00 or more for either Keen or Merrell hiking footwear.

Search the Internet for the best possible pricing on hiking footwear. You will find preferred hiking footwear by reputable footwear manufacturers. Many websites offer reduced pricing or discounts with free standard shipping. Express shipping is available for an extra charge.

Which One Would You Choose? Avoid Confusing When Making a Choice

Confusion is often the result of making the wrong decision at the most inopportune time and deciding on which hiking boot or shoe to buy is a decision based on knowledge and experience.

Keen vs. Merrell hiking footwear continue to dominate the hiking footwear market. The styles of these premier manufacturers hiking shoes appear similar, yet there remain distinctive differences in design for your particular style of hiking.

So, the question remains which hiking boot you should buy? This is an age-old question that continues with no definite answer. Purchasing either Keen or Merrell hiking footwear is a matter of personal preference. Base your decision on the reliability and quality of the chosen footwear.

Consumer’s comments of Keen or Merrell hiking footwear is a good starting point. You will find valuable information there. This free information provides a better insight into positive and negative reviews. Product reviews answer questions eliminating confusion and doubt.

There are always positive and negative comments made on any product. Consumers tend to create problems that do not exist. Footwear is often the center of most outdoor enthusiasts’ debates on which hiking footwear is better, Keen or Merrell.

In all probability, this debate and conservation will continue on for many years. One crucial fact remains evident. Keen’s hiking footwear quality continues to decline rapidly. Many reported issues of sole separation is a concern requiring immediate resolution.

No hiking boot is perfect. Merrell customers report some issues with this company’s hiking footwear. Reported problems tend to be less serious in nature. Problems immediately rectified by a strong and supportive customer service center.

Merrell hiking footwear might be your best bet. Remove the cloud of confusion and get where you want to be on the trail hiking.


Keen vs. Merrell hiking footwear debate continues with staunch supporters of each company. The rapid growth of a company is a sign of success but often entails details that get overlooked. Details make an average product a great product, especially in the footwear industry.

Outdoor enthusiasts depend on Keen and Merrell hiking footwear. A variety of terrains encountered requires unrivaled foot protection. Quality leads to increased sales vs. poor quality. Unhappy customers look for other companies to meet their expectations.

Keen continues to struggle with a variety of quality issues. Sole separation to poor customer service remains an issue. Negative comments spread fast on the Internet with long-lasting, damaging results.

A growing clientele base results at the beginning of a new tomorrow. Consumers are the heart of any business. Repeat consumers are the beginning of a successful business. Unhappy consumers signal the end of what once was a thriving era in the lucrative footwear industry.

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