Keen Delta

A few years back I discovered the joys of Keen’s Growlers, a fantastic lightweight winter boot. But like all good things, they got canned.
This winter, Keen may just have redeemed themselves and brought in a replacement, the Delta.

Visually they’re very different to the Growlers, the upper is nubuck rather than synthetic, the ankle is a little higher, they look much like a regular boot. But, the detail gives the game away.
The outsole is the same, with Dual Climate rubber (gets harder in the cold to bite better, it looks like it works from experience) in what’s probably Keen’s most aggressive lug pattern, the whole unit has a nice easy flex for comfy walking. The upper is waterproof, lined with a Keen Dry membrane (for more reliability after some time with eVent in their footwear), and there’s 200g Keen Warm synthetic insulation in there too. I wondered about having an insulated boot for walking, but with a thinner sock on the move I’ve been fine, and at a winter camp it’s a joy when your feet don’t chill.
One brilliant little feature kept from the Growler is the metal D-ring at the toe end of the laces, your gaiters or trouser cuff clips here, is super-secure and doesn’t wear away your laces.
The insoles are all new, they are… Thermal Heat Shield Footbeds. What this means it it looks like a piece of fabric cut from a tweed jacket and stuck onto silver foil. But, it’s well formed, and it’s awfy nice under your feet, so they’ll be staying in there.
The rest is very Keen-esque, right down to that big bad toe bumper.

The Delta’s will take lightweight flexible crampons, and the Growlers have been brilliant over snowbound Munro’s the past few winters, so I’ll be looking for the same here.
Flexible, lightweight footwear in winter is like a guilty pleasure. If you’ve crushed your feet in stiff heavy boots evey time the snows come for countless years like me, moving to something like this has you looking over shoulder wondering “This can’t be right, but it’s so good, I’ll get found out if I’m not careful…”.
I want these to work, so they’d bloody better do, there’s no size 9 Growlers left on ebay.
More when there’s plenty snow.

15 thoughts on “Keen Delta

  1. Do you still use your Icebug Speed Bugrip numbers? How do these compare?

    I have a set of Navigators with the bugrip web add-on thingy that I bought last year for running in the snow and ice (they finally arrived from Sweden just as the last of the snow disappeared though, so they’re virgin). I’ve got the Speeds as well. Great footwear.

    These look nice though. Are you sticking Kahtoolas on them?

    If you are out in these, would you not ever use trail runners + Kahtoolas if the weather warranted?

  2. Very different to the Icebugs, the Keen’s grip better off the snow and ice, but the Icebugs have superpowers on it. Got a new pair ready to go this winter.

    Kahtoolas, Hillsounds and aluminium Grivels will go on the Delta’s, maybe some lightweight Stubai’s if they appear.

    Trail runners and Kahtoolas is fine. I last did that the winter before last, the only downside for me was that my feet get cold quicker. Performance is fine though, the more flexible the shoe the betrter Kahtoolas work I think, especially the aluminium ones as it brings the front points into play better.

  3. I’m hoping that my Icebug Navigators + Bugrip or Kahtoolas, with some warm Teko socks, will be the goto combination for winter walking/running this year. Possibly adding the Inov8 lightweight gaiter thingys to stop snow getting in over the top.

  4. Aye, they look magic. The sole’s as grippy as hell in soft stuff, and the bigger voluime lets you get a warm sock in there.

  5. Interesting. I’m in the market for something a bit “chunkier” for the winter. I realise these things are subjective but how does the fit compare to say, the Fastpacker Mids?

  6. I’d say a little wider at the forefoot, put probably a similar length for a given size?
    These should be available to try on, the Delta’s are getting a push in the UK market.

  7. Ah, but it’s finding them to try on that’s the hard part. Mail order gamble rather than take a trip to the big city? I believe so :o)

    Thanks for the info.

  8. Sizing again: do you take the same in the Targhee in the Delta?

    Unfortunately, Keen don’t seem to do half sizes above 11. What’ that all about? I really appreciate the keen wide toe box but I really need an 11.5 with anything more than a regular sock. I’ve got a pair of Targhees in a 12, which I am hoping I will be able to get away with this winter with extra heavy socks and a liner. Would have liked to have tried a pair of Growlers in an 11 and a thin sock though, but I had to wait till they were going cheap and by then there were no sizes for regular humans.

  9. I take the same size in all my Keens, but the fit isn’t totally consistent, I just get away with as I change footwear so often.
    The Deltas’ feel a little longer and possibly a little narrower than the Growlers were, but still perfect for me, it’s tiny amounts we’re talking.
    They are supposed to be available up to a US 14, but no half sizes as you say, and whether anything that big will make it into the UK is the big question anyway.

    The only ones left on the planet… http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/KEEN-MENS-GRAY-GROWLER-WATERPROOF-PRIMALOFT-BOOTS-12-/310251563751?pt=US_Men_s_Shoes&hash=item483c6f2ae7

  10. where do you get the hillsound crampon from? I seem to only find it for shipping to me from USA. Any UK outlets?

  11. Hillsound sent me them to test as they were looking for feeback from the UK. A couple of distributors were looking at bringing them in but I don’t know what the news is yet. US/Canada is the only option just now.
    There’s cheapo versions around the ‘net with a similar design (Hillsound’s patent is North America-only), but the quality of the components is unknown.

  12. Got a pair of these from Webtogs, took a chance on a online boot purchase! Fit is good (size 8.5 to 9’s and fat feet are good in a UK9), warm with a aggressive grip.

    However after their first proper adventure in snowy conditions (walking into town doesn’t count…), I have noticed the boots are damp. Didn’t notice when I got home but putting them back on 2 hours later they are definately damp. Also noticed on the REI website that the only 2 reviews mention them not being water proof. I feel this may be an issue in a winter boot!

  13. It won’t be that they’re leaking, it’ll be the insulation holding onto the moisture. There’s a membrane, the synthetic fill then the leather and fabric outer, so getting them dry does take a while. I was used to it with the previous model the Growlers, but the Deltas have a new membrane and new insulation, so I’ll be watching now to see if drying time is noticably worse. Thanks for the heads-up.

    I’ll watch for leaks just in case as well!

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