We retested the Keen Revel IV Polar this season and couldn't help but gravitate towards this winter boot all over again. Despite some stiff competition, it is still one of our favorite winter hiking boots. A burly outsole and lightweight construction are designed for all-day wear, and the 200 grams of insulation and super thick outsole will keep your feet warm, even when standing around in the coldest of temperatures. When testing traction over slippery trails, the lugs held to mud, slick rocks, and logs easily. With over 60 miles logged, the outsole and upper still look like new, a testament to its durability so far. In warm weather, it breathes and will keep your feet dry up to its cuff (7.5 inches), though it's likely too thick for year-round use and you'll need other footwear for warmer weather.Editor's Note: This Keen review received an update on February 23, 2022, to provide the details you need to find the right boots for you.
Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's Review
Cons: Less stylish, somewhat heavy, stiff collar
Manufacturer: Keen Footwear
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Keen Revel IV Polar - Women's
$113.89 at REI
$220.00 at Amazon
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|Pros||Protective, durable, very warm, breathable, excellent traction, high value||Full coverage protection, highly durable, reliable traction||Cozy wool lining, very warm, highly waterproof, versatile construction||Good value, ultra warm, great traction, highly waterproof||Lightweight, super soft interior, durable leather exterior|
|Cons||Less stylish, somewhat heavy, stiff collar||Pricey, very heavy, retains moisture, difficult to drive in||Expensive, slightly bulky||Only ankle-high coverage, hiking-specific style, narrow fit||Unimpressive outsole traction|
|Bottom Line||Great for winter hiking on slippery trails thanks to incredible traction, support, and weatherproofing||This highly durable boot is completely waterproof and great at insulating, though it's a bit too bulky to wear on low-snow days or during high-output activities||This boot is the epitome of comfort and warmth wrapped in a versatile, high-performing, waterproof package||This well-priced boot hits all the marks with a winter-friendly design that maintains great traction, weatherproofing, and warmth||One of the most comfortable choices in our lineup, with a soft, heat-retentive interior and durable, waterproof exterior|
|Rating Categories||Keen Revel IV Polar...||Muck Boot Arctic Ic...||UGG Adirondack III||Merrell Thermo Chil...||The North Face Shel...|
|Weather Protection (25%)|
|Comfort and Fit (20%)|
|Specs||Keen Revel IV Polar...||Muck Boot Arctic Ic...||UGG Adirondack III||Merrell Thermo Chil...||The North Face Shel...|
|Maximum Puddle Depth Before Major Leaking||7"||16"||9"||6"||7"|
|Measured Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft)||7"||16"||8" rolled / 10" extended||6"||10"|
|Measured Weight (per pair, size 7)||2.41 lbs||4.59 lbs||2.36 lbs||1.79 lbs||2.25 lbs|
|Type of Boot||Winter hiking||Winter workwear||All-around winter||Winter hiking||All-around winter|
|Fit Details||True to size, wide||Runs big||True to size||True to size||True to size|
|Lining/Insulation||200 grams KEEN.WARM Recycled PET||Fleece||UGGpure wool||M Select Warm (200g)||Heatseeker Eco Pro (200g)|
|Footbed||EVA||bioDEWIX||EVA||Kinetic Fit BASE||OrthoLite|
|Upper Material||Mesh and Leather||Rubber||Waterproof suede and leather||Waterproof PU-coated leather and mesh||Full-grain leather and ballistic nylon|
|Outsole||KEEN.Polar Traction||Vibram Arctic Grip A.T.||Molded White Spider Rubber||M Select GRIP||Surface Control rubber|
|Company Claimed Cold Weather Rating||-32°C/-25°F||Not stated||-32°C/-25°F||Not stated||Not stated|
|Temp Change in Ice Bath||-3.8 F||-9.5 F||-7.2 F||-5.2 F||-6.5 F|
|Sizes Available||5 - 12||5 - 11||5 - 12||5 - 11||5 - 11|
Our Analysis and Test Results
One of our favorite winter boots in the lineup, the Revel IV Polar boasts an excellent fit with comfort and traction that will keep your feet happy out on the coldest days. The burly lugs underfoot will stick to slippery trails and punch through deep snow, while the protective upper maintains superior weather protection to keep your feet dry. This boot is our top footwear recommendation if you're seeking a burly winter hiker.
While not the most fashionable boot, we continued to reach for the Revel IV for snowshoe hikes, dog walks, and morning preparation on ski days. The underfoot traction is roughly 1.5 inches thick, which acts as an additional insulator. The boot's cold-weather rating is -25 Fahrenheit. While we couldn't test in temperatures that low, we found it to retain warmth and comfort in 4+ hours of cold exposure. For this reason, we would highly recommend this for any outdoor activities that don't require long periods of deep snow penetration.
Nearly all of the boots in our test group contain 200 grams of insulation or less. We have found that 100-200 grams is the most common amount of insulation for everyday winter footwear. Boots with 200 grams of insulation have proven to be the best at sustaining warmth for an extended period. The Revel IV has 200 grams and had held its internal temperature during an ice bath test the best of all the boots we tested, changing only 3.8 degrees after a full 10 minutes.
While hiking, we wore the Revel IV with a thin pair of synthetic socks and didn't seem to sweat much or experience chilly toes. Even after dipping the boots in rivers and streams, our feet stayed dry and warm. The insulation is ample but doesn't impede the fit, so toes can wiggle around and generate heat. The Keen Dry membrane of the upper retains heat while maintaining breathability. This is a great choice for those who work outside or like outdoor winter activities.
The Revel IV Polar offers excellent weather protection for its size. The high-top construction comes just above the ankle. This design allows the range of motion necessary to hike while providing enough coverage to stabilize your ankles on sloped and slippery terrain. Keen also makes a higher-top version of this boot for those looking for more even coverage.
We spent a lot of time in the Revel while hiking and exploring in late Fall. Not only did we wear this boot while teaching at an outdoor school that spends the entire day outside in the Colorado mountains, but we wore it while shopping, hiking, exploring, and more. It kept our feet warm and dry through mud, snow, storms, and blizzards.
During our puddle tests, where we stand in a river and stomp around to determine the level of waterproofness, the Revel IV Polar proved to be completely sealed and protective. This boot should keep your feet dry if you find yourself hiking through rivers or puddles regularly. The only caveat is the height. We tested the mid, which, when paired with snow or hiking pants, does great for protection. However, the mid won't protect from the tallest of snowbanks on its own.
Unfortunately, most winter boots optimized for hiking will have a mid to low construction. When you're walking around on slippery surfaces, you want a stiff and sturdy upper to keep your ankles from rolling. Snow in the upper collar is a sacrifice you will have to make if you want a stiff boot. Otherwise, gaiters are an option, and luckily, the Revel IV has gaiter connectors.
Comfort and Fit
Of all the hiking boots we've tested so far, this one stands out as one of the most comfortable. Comparatively, the Merrell Thermal Chill has a better fit for narrow feet, while the Revel IV Polar has a wider profile.
The midsole construction of the Revel IV is supportive under the arch and roomy in the toes. It's built to be easily paired with thin or thick socks and worn all day in cold weather. Those with wider feet may like a thick wool sock makes for a tighter fit. The fit is true to size but roomier than most hiking boots — which means more space to wiggle your toes and layer up.
The Revel doesn't need a fuzzy fur liner to feel comfortable. The recycled PET insulation is paired with Keen's Thermal Heat Shield insole and a compression-molded EVA midsole. The tongue is soft and wide and doesn't create any pinch points on the arch. The mid-rise height is incredibly stable, with lots of lateral room in the toe box for those with wider feet. This is truly an excellent choice if you're looking for an all-day wear winter boot.
The outer is a combination of leather, nylon, and a "performance mesh" lining that creates a sturdy, thick barrier to protect your feet from the outside elements. While we suggest using a leather waterproofing treatment and a leather conditioner to keep this boot from deteriorating over time, the Revel IV Polar has held up well despite some softening in the leather collar and scuff marks on the toe. The rubber reinforcements in the toe and heel maintain structure in the foot, and the stiff leather spine and collar maintain structure around the ankle and heel.
The Keen Polar rubber outsole is about 1 inch thick underfoot and 1½ inches under the heel. The Revel IV has one of the thickest bases in the test group, accompanied by thick, deep lugs. Based on the boot's overall performance during winter activities, we can assume the grip and traction will hold up for many seasons.
The traction on this boot is exceptional. While no boot can protect over black ice surfaces, this one kept us upright on just about every other surface. Heavy snow, slippery icy, slushy spring melt, mud, and more. It's an all-terrain hiker built to take on outdoor workdays and steep mountain trails alike. Plus, it pairs easily with crampons or snowshoes for more technical terrain.
The rubber outsole of the Revel IV features 5mm multi-directional lugs that are well spaced for all sorts of conditions. This boot bites down on slippery surfaces and will keep you upright. The rubber is softer, allowing the shoe to conform to rocky surfaces. Keen's rubber performs similarly to Vibram Arctic Grip soles. The only issue we had was on a clay road and warmer muddy trails. These surfaces were so sticky that the clay and mud stuck between the lugs. After a while, we used a stick to carve the mud out.
Overall, the traction on this versatile boot is trustworthy compared to the competition. Because of its performance, we'd recommend it for hiking through cold and cool weather, and for travel in the city or suburbs.
Should You Buy the Revel IV?
The Keen Revel IV Polar proved, once again, to be a top contender in the world of winter hiking boots. It maintains a stiff, structured fit while providing great shock absorption and 200 grams of recycled insulation. It can feel bulky and clunky at times but has one of the best outsoles we've tested. It's built for all-day wear and has a roomy fit in the toe box for those with wider feet. Enjoy its comfort and performance, all at a reasonable price for a bomber winter boot. Winter boots can cost an arm and a leg, so you might as well buy a boot that checks all the boxes. The sticker price on the Revel IV is not a small sum, but it is slightly lower than some of the top contenders in our lineup, and the performance is undeniable. After many miles of winter hiking, the boot's exterior suffered minimal wear and tear. The thick rubber toe ensures high-impact zones are well protected and thus more durable. We suspect this boot will last a long time given the excellent construction and performance thus far.
What Other Winter Boots Should You Consider?
If you'd like something similar but with a lower ankle, a cheaper price that we believe is more comfortable with a better fit, then the Merrell Thermo Chill Mid WP - Women's is one to consider. With similar performance in other metrics, you aren't sacrificing, but you could be gaining a cozy fit and a few dollars in your pocket.
— Liz Chamberlain and Amber King
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