Review: Men’s KEEN Versacore Shoe

A comfy shoe to keep you dry on longer days on the mountain.

Feature type Review

Read time 4 min read

Published Jun 13, 2024

Photographer Núria Paré Soldevila

Will Appleyard
Will Appleyard Diver, mountaineer, climber and paraglider pilot, Will communicates his passion for adventure through his photography and writing and is the author of several books.


The Versacore is another great all-rounder. From super long day hikes and trail-running to afternoon walks and stomping around the city. Wet weather or dry, these super lightweight, waterproof shoes will take you everywhere.

Features Foam Strobel Board underfoot, high rebound foam cushioning, Removable, resilient foam insole, KEEN.ALL-TERRAIN rubber outsole, multi-directional lug pattern, KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane
Weight 330g


  • Waterproof
  • Multi-direction traction sole
  • Lightweight
  • Protruding heel
  • Great range of colours
  • PFAS-free material
  • Wide toe


  • Wide toe if you prefer a slimmer fit!


Something comfortable and colourful, with a great fit and decent sole. Living by the mountains, I blaze through about one pair of trail shoes every year. For the mountain, I always choose a shoe over a boot, unless there’s snow around, when obviously boots are best.


They looked a little on the large side when unboxing. I think that the protruding heel beefs them out a bit and KEEN seem to be a bit wider in the toe than any other shoes I’ve worn. I chose my usual size of 42.5 and with my go-to shoe – La Sportiva – I know that they fit perfectly without having to try them on first. The Versacore came up a tad too big and so I think that a 42 would have been plenty in this case. That said, they’re still a pretty good fit, just slightly roomier. Colour-wise, I love them and weight-wise, I love them even more – they are very lightweight indeed.

Colour-wise, I love them and weight-wise, I love them even more


Cabrera is one of our local mountains here in sub-Pyrenean Cataluña. It’s got the lot really: a loop route with a steep ascent on wet, dry and loose rockm, then soft earthy trails through forest with exposed tree roots eroding slippery paths before topping out through the tree line.

On the top we follow a long, exposed ridge with a steep drop over a wall plunging down its south western side. The views of the plain of Vic on one side and the Pyrenees on the other are almost 360. The descent, once past the beautiful Sancturi of Camarera – an old church now a day refuge – is also steep and on the same kind of terrain as the ascent. Having had a lot of rain this spring, after a very dry summer, the ground under foot went from slippery rock to damp forest paths with fairly deep mud in places. And so, with all of those conditions combined, I felt that this was going to be the perfect testing ground for the Versacores.

The brand-new soles went to work straight away as we scrambled over the poor-quality crumbly rock at the base of the trail. The heel that pokes out at the back was pretty noticeable too – in a positive way. I felt like it gave my feet some extra cushioning and a little extra support also. The back of the heel is cut fairly low too – which felt comfy. I find that a high- backed heel on a pair of new shoes will eventually give me blisters. These didn’t rub at all, even wearing low cut socks.

Putting them on before the trail, I pulled the laces in quite tightly, which took out a bit of that extra room I’m not used to in the toe.

In early 2023 I tested the KEEN NXIS hiking boot for BASE and found the soles of those to be a little too soft, feeling every stone under foot. The Versacores are not like this at all, with the sole providing me a balance of both give and the right kind of rigidity. Powering up the trail, these shoes stuck to the ever-changing terrain with every step, with a pleasing bounce to each one. They’re so flipping light that you feel like they want you to just run, with that little bounce pushing you forward. They’re advertised as being waterproof and yes, they are. There is no stitching as such in the main body of the shoe and so the water just runs off them.

We were expecting a bit of rain and so made a reasonably rapid descent back down to the van, not trail running, but more like trail cantering. The multi directional grippy sole, helped me as much on the way down, as it did on the way up. Those protruding heels were noticeable once again, probably more so on the descent than on the ascent.


I love these shoes and so if you enjoy trail-running, trail-hiking or just trail bimbling, then so will you. They’ll keep you both comfy and dry on longer days on the mountain for sure.



The fact that they’re properly waterproof is a winner. There’s no fabric mesh to the toes and they look like they’re made from one piece of material, apart from the sole, meaning that they do actually keep the water out.


They’re light AF (as aforementioned) with a great sole.

Value-price equation

They say what they are going to do.


Great value. They do what they say they’re going to do. As brands go, I’ve been a bit of a creature of habit over the years, going for the same thing each time and paying way more than these shoes – even when buying second-hand / nearly new, which I often do.


KEEN started out in the chunky brown sandals game and a brand I kind of avoided owing to style and colour schemes that didn’t really suit my taste.  They seem to be moving in a direction that has caught my attention and I’ll just sign off by saying – I really, really like these shoes.

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