When my friend invited me to hike the NaPali Coast in Kauai, Hawaii, I knew I needed a good, sturdy waterproof shoe. We’d be hiking during rainy season, and fast-drying shoes were key. Sure enough, as we drove from Kapaa to the northwestern coast, it began to drizzle, then fatter raindrops appeared until I started to think this could definitely be a dismal, overcast day. Once we arrived it stopped, though, and within the first ten minutes we spotted a rainbow.
The scenery was as breathtaking as I’d expected. If you’ve never been to the NaPali Coast, just think Jurassic Park. That classic film and dozens of others like Raiders of the Lost Ark, South Pacific and The Descendents, were all filmed in the area. With it’s 3,000-foot-tall cliffs, accented with lush green valleys, cascading waterfalls and sea caves, this is known as one of the most scenic hikes in the world.
The trail, however, was still super muddy. The perfect test for my Keen Targhee II boots. I splashed through rust-colored puddles, stepped up and over boulders and traipsed up steep inclines that were so mushy that a normal shoe could have been sucked right off. Other parts were so slippery that a regular shoe would have been like wearing a pair of roller skates.
The 2-mile hike to Hanakapiai Beach shuttled us through ethereal rain forests with view after view of the fluted sea cliffs. After about 45 minutes on the crumbly terra-cotta trail, we reach a small river crossing, where we leaped from boulder to moss-covered boulder. And there it was. Hanakapiai
Beach, perfectly flanked by volcano cliffs and lava-rock boulders.
Now, it was time to explore the sandy expanse. Luckily, my boots were lightweight enough for this part of the adventure, too. And despite the fact that my shoes were completely soaked by now, my socks and tootsies were still dry. That is, until I decided to scramble my way up a small waterfall on our return trek. That’s when my socks got drenched.
But no matter. What I appreciated most about the boot was the comfort factor. Because I am flat-footed, I definitely appreciate the fact that it’s soft and cushiony on the contact points of the foot. Plus, it has the company S3 heel support system that provides awesome support along the edges. And beyond the pure functionality of the shoe, I love that it’s not your typical brown hiking boot with ugly laces. Instead, it’s a stylish gray with a combo of leather and mesh uppers and hints of pink thrown in.
Now, the only thing left to do is head back to the NaPali Coast and hike the entire 11-mile route. I’m up for it, and I think these boots are, too.
Weight: 12.5oz/354 grams
Lining: Keen-Dry waterproof membrane
Sole: Keen S3 shock suspension/Non-marking rubber
Thanks to Keen for providing the boots.
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When I’m not zigzagging around the planet — scaling the steps of Chichén-Itzá, carving up Costa Rican waves or roaming through the remote jungles of India — I’m writing about my adventures, the environment, fitness, health/wellness, extraordinary people and social injustice issues. My writing appears in USA Today, ISLANDS, Caribbean Travel & Life, Cayman Airways Skies, American Eagle Latitudes, Orlando Sentinel, abcnews.com, Where Orlando, Where Jacksonville, Upscale and Wild Blue Yonder.
Located: Orlando USA
Likes: Adventure, health/wellness, nature, sports, festivals, dance, music, etc.