Keen Aphlex; $150 (www.keenfootwear.com)
The Aphlex is one of Keen’s newest additions to its hiking shoe lineup and comes in both male and female models. Excited to test the waterproof design, we took it to the lakes and muddy portages of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters. The rubber sole boasted solid traction over the slick rocks and greasy mud, even under heavy portage loads. Paired with a neoprene sock it was plenty comfortable. Our only concern is that shoe does take awhile to dry out, so while it does perform well and is an ideal hiking shoe for muddy conditions, those looking for a river-specific shoe, might prefer something that dries faster.
More 2017 Footwear Reviews:
The NRS Velocity is a sturdy. purpose-built, high-top paddling shoe with plenty of support and cushion for long portages.
The Body Glove Dynamo Rapid is a minimalist water shoe for light and fast adventures.
The NRS Boundary Boot is a calf-high neoprene boot for cold, wet, muddy conditions.
C&K’s team of expert gear testers reviews the year’s best paddling shoes before the 2017 season.
Five Ten applies their legendary rubber to a sleek and durable paddling shoe.
A classic, low profile neoprene bootie with a thick rubber outsole.
A trail-focused water shoe with breathable mesh on top and plenty of support underfoot.
A purpose-built paddling shoe with ankle support, grip, and a thick sole.