By Noel Paine
With runners and walkers doing different things with their legs and feet, it makes sense that the shoes for each would be a bit different. It seems however that most people out walking are wearing running shoes. This may be due to the fact that there are lots of runners and running shoe stores, and fewer walking specific shoes and stores.
I am a runner, walker and competitive racewalker (taking walking to its limit). This is my review of the new Keen walking-specific KW400 walking shoe.
KEEN KW400 Stats
KEEN KW400 Features
I would classify the shoe as:
It comes in a sneaker-like option with a few colour options including the blue I got, bright yellow and a few other options. It also comes in a leather upper version.
This shoe seems to follow the trend of the running shoe industry, using plate technology of some sort to reinforce the midsole, enhance the rocker of the shoe and look to try and improve walking/running efficiency.
I have always been very active, even as a kid and have loved moving and exploring. I like walking, hiking and exploring trails, running on the road, trails etc. and now as a Masters athlete I stumbled across racewalking. As a walker and racewalker, I was intrigued and excited to get my hands on this new KEEN shoe.
How is the Fit and Feel of the Keen KW400?
The shoe feels substantial and is a snug fit around your heel and ankle with a well padded heel collar and tongue. The offset lacing, I did not really notice affecting the fit, but you can notice visually. The shoe does not come in widths and is not overly wide, but I did not notice it feeling tight. For my size 12 foot, it fit true to size.
What is it Like to Walk in the Keen KW400?
It has a distinct feel and the most rocker I have felt in almost any shoe including some of the running super shoes. The hump and support in the shoe is as close to an arch support as I have ever felt in a shoe. Comfortable, different and interesting is as I would describe it. It might take some people a while to get used to.
I think the shoe that comes close to the feel of the KW400, would be a HOKA running shoe with its substantial midsole and decent rocker.
Who Should Try the Keen KW400?
I would suggest someone who walks a lot and wants to get the most out of their active walking to try this shoe. For a very casual walker or someone older, the extra rocker in the shoe etc. might be too much and maybe not appreciated.
Difference Between Walking and Running
Walking and running are different. One of the key differences is that running involves a continuous gait with both feet off the ground at some point, while walking has one foot on the ground at all times.
Difference Between Walking and Running Shoes
Running shoes are made for the impact of running (3-4 times your body weight when your foot hits the ground). They are also made to flex where you need to during a run. Walking shoes in general can be firmer and the cushioning can sometimes be firmer. A lot of people use running shoes with no problems for walking, but it does not work the other way around.
The same general tips you use for fitting a running shoe apply for walking shoes. Make sure the shoe is comfortable, fits snug not tight or sloppy and has enough toe room. It is a good idea to measure your feet each time you get a new shoe and to get advice from a knowledgeable shoe person.