Savvy female travelers know one simple truth about packing: it’s all in the accessories. The right accents can take the same jeans and top from casual to trendy, the same dress from markets and museums to swanky restaurants and nightclubs, so you can pack fewer clothes but still be prepared for any situation.
No accessory changes your outfit more easily than a pair of shoes. But of course the problem is that bringing multiple pairs of footwear adds as much bulk to your bag as a few extra items of clothing. So the key is finding the right pair of shoes — the pair that can be dressed up or down depending on your needs. This is exactly what I was looking for when I found the KEEN Akita High Boots.
Actually, I was looking for more than just a pair of versatile boots. After booking a trip to Russia for late December, I was looking for the chupacabra, the holy grail of boots, a mythical pair that would fit a set of criteria so specific I was glad I had more than four months to find them.
I figured I would be searching until the very last minute before my trip, trying to find a single pair of boots that were: comfortable and low-heeled enough for walking around during the day, and on which I felt secure enough to brave the icy sidewalks of Moscow; stylish enough, with a slight heel, so that I’d feel comfortable wearing them to a trendy restaurant or paired with a wool or cotton dress; and warm enough that my feet wouldn’t freeze on the frigid Russian nights.
I found the KEEN Akita boots and they fit the bill perfectly. The cork wedge heel is 2 Â½ inches, enough to give me a little height but low and stable enough that I never feel like I’m tottering around on my tiptoes, even when walking down steep hills in San Francisco. There’s a super soft inside lining and removable insoles and the heel is shock absorbing so they’re perfect for covering lots of ground in comfort; on the first day I walked for two hours nonstop in the boots and they felt as broken-in as any pair in my closet. The sole also has a reassuring amount of tread, so though I haven’t tested it on snow and ice, I feel confident I won’t be slipping around.
Made of soft brushed leather, the boot comes up to just about an inch below my knees and perfectly fits over jeans, even on my wider calves (those with slimmer legs may find the 15 inch circumference a little roomy) so it has a little bit of sex appeal without the appearance of effort. The black isn’t a deep jet black, which makes it look a little more casual than some other boots, but the height and polished style make it easy to dress up just a bit. You wouldn’t wear this boot to the ballet, put it looks great paired with leggings or dark jeans or with a casual but trendy dress or skirt and tights.
Pricing & Availability
Available now in black or slate black for $180 USD from Keen.com.
The Bottom Line
I’m thrilled to have found a great pair of versatile boots, and I’m confident I’ll feel equally in style wearing these boots on the streets of St. Petersburg as I do in San Francisco.
Disclosure: Vagabondish.com received one complimentary pair of KEEN Akita High Boots in advance of this review.