Sharp hiking boots always offer great comfort and performance, but after testing the new Tempo Flex with Keen Bellows Flex technology for the past few months, these could be a contender for your most comfortable hiking boots yet. Read on for the full review.
What are you?
Women’s Sharp Tempo Flex Hiking Trainer Boots £ 134.99
- 4mm multidirectional lugs for traction
- The stability shaft offers a light hold
- Speed lace webbing with hooks on the upper collar for a comfortable fit
- KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane
- KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX in the upper material for more bending and less wear
- Recycled PET plastic
- Eco Anti-Odor for natural odor control
- PFC-free, long-lasting water repellent
- Abrasion-resistant rubber tip for added durability and protection
- Padded tongue and collar for comfort
Bellows flex technology
One of the great innovations in the Tempo Flex shoe is the use of Bellows Flex technology. Some new seasonal boots in the Keen range now feature Bellows Flex, which offers a more contoured fit and requires less energy to bend. This makes every step feel easier and allows the boots to flex where other boots could tear and weaken over time.
These boots were a dream from the first walk and, like all Keen boots I owned, didn’t require lengthy wear.
Aside from feeling ridiculously comfortable, at first I didn’t really notice what the Bellows Flex technology was doing. When I started doing more serious and longer mountain hikes, the difference really seemed.
As I was getting particularly downhill, I really noticed how the toe box seemed to gently move inward to grab my forefoot, keep my feet stable, and be supported on steep climbs and descents.
I have had problems in the past with some hiking boots that allowed my foot to slide forward and not provide cushioning on the front of the toes resulting in very sore toes after a descent.
However, on these, the accordion bellows section felt like it was moving and gently hugging my foot, holding it in the correct position and preventing my foot from sliding forward and pushing my toes into the end of the boots.
Fit & styling
Some reviews of the Tempo Flex have complained that the boots are slim, but I wouldn’t agree with that. I have standard-width feet and find that size 6 (my usual size) is the perfect fit for me.
If you have wide feet, be sure to try these on first or choose one of Keen’s wider fitting styles instead.
I love the lacing system and found it quick and easy to tighten and secure the laces without starting the paint! If you don’t care about my purple color, there are some other nice options for you to choose from.
I’m always wary of hiking boots that are designed like sneakers or that claim to be a trainer, but really don’t let the fact that the Tempo Flex are called sneakers put you off.
They offer trainer-like comfort with some similar performance elements, most notably flexibility and light weight. However, they work almost as well as traditional hiking boots. They’re just a lot lighter, a lot more flexible, and easy to carry.
A very steep climb on loose slate really put the boots to the test and found that they offer good traction in dry conditions, as well as good ankle support and waterproofing … which I learned after slipping gracefully into a creek I crossed at the base of Bowscale Fell during a recent Lake District hiking weekend.
Although I’ve only covered about 40 miles in these boots so far, I have worn them on many different walks and in many different conditions. I’ve walked through streams, done short climbs, and climbed steep climbs and descents, and trudged through mud on low lake and forest walks.
Overall, under most conditions, I have found the boots to provide excellent performance and exceptional comfort.
The outsole features 4mm deep lugs that provide good traction and stability in most conditions. The only time I had problems was climbing muddy hills. I found myself slipped a little and the same can be said when crossing a creek and sliding right off the submerged rock I stepped on.
For this reason, although I am able to withstand the wet thanks to good water resistance, I would consider these a hiking shoe for 2-3 seasons rather than something I would use to walk up a mountain in snow or ice.
performance 4.5 / 5
Looks 4.5 / 5
value 4.5 / 5
Overall rating (4.5 / 5)
I found the Keen Tempo Flex extremely easy and comfortable to wear without being too cumbersome. However, remember that it is a medium high boot. To me, they provide enough ankle support for my needs, although some prefer a higher profile and stiffer ankle support.
While the outsole doesn’t work particularly well in the mud overall, I’ve found the boots to offer solid performance and exceptional comfort under most conditions.
As always, I’ll update this review after a year and add photos and the verdict from my long-term test. Right now, the Keen Tempo Flex is my number one choice if I want all day walking comfort and convenience.While I will always love my Terradora II walking shoes, at least the Tempo Flex boots bring on me in terms of comfort the post, but the Terradora has a little better grip.
Many thanks to KEEN for delivering the featured product. We were not paid for this review.
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Shell loves all things travel and the outdoors, and is a nature-loving, comfortable camping girl. Shell started the Camping with Style blog after a serious snowboarding accident that left her with a broken back. Even so, she used the outdoors and nature’s healing powers to recover, and she continues to spend time outdoors whenever she can.
From swimming in open water, snowboarding and kayaking to mountain hiking and meditation, Shell shares their travels and micro-adventures here on the blog. In various publications she has written for, Shell has a particular interest in promoting the well-being and the many benefits of natural therapy.
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