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Keen Anchorage III Review

These Chelsea boots are fashion-forward, but they don't perform well in most winter conditions
Keen Anchorage III
Credit: Keen
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Price:  $175 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Good style, easy to slip on and off
Cons:  Not warm, little weather protection, pricey
Manufacturer:   Keen Footwear
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 24, 2022
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51
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 10
  • Warmth - 25% 5.0
  • Weather Protection - 25% 3.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 7.0
  • Traction - 15% 6.0
  • Durability - 15% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Keen Anchorage III is a Chelsea-style winter boot that is relatively comfortable to wear, though it won't help you much when winter weather arrives. It has very little insulation, as a thin layer of leather is the only thing between you and the cold. An elastic panel on the side of the boot allows for easy on-and-off, but this material isn't waterproof and allows water into the boot in shallow puddles. The traction and durability are just ok, and the style could be better. Bottom line, if you're looking for a Chelsea boot, there is better footwear out there.

Editor's Note: We updated this gear review on February 23, 2022, to include more information on which boots are our favorites and why.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Keen Anchorage III
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Keen Anchorage III
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award 
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$149 List$185 List
$199.85 at Amazon
$102.63 at Amazon
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$110.00 at Amazon
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Pros Good style, easy to slip on and offGreat traction, excellent fit, very comfortable, warm, affordableExtremely durable and weather resistant, excellent traction, easy on and offConvenient slip on design, waterproof to 11.5 inches, good priceGreat traction, very comfortable, inexpensive
Cons Not warm, little weather protection, priceyOther boots are warmer, relatively low water-resistance heightNot that warm or comfortable, baggy fitHandles let in water or debris, only come in single whole sizes, not as warm as some competitorsNot that warm, fabric eyelets, low height
Bottom Line These Chelsea boots are fashion-forward, but they don't perform well in most winter conditionsThese boots are the total package, with warmth, comfort, a great fit, and a fair priceThese slip-on work boots are protective, durable, and convenient, making them perfect for outdoor winter choresA convenient and protective boot with good weather resistance and a very wide toe boxThis very comfortable and inexpensive winter hiking boot has excellent traction, but won't keep you dry in deep snow
Rating Categories Keen Anchorage III The North Face Chil... Muck Boot Arctic Ic... Bogs Bozeman Tall Merrell Thermo Chil...
Warmth (25%)
5.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Weather Protection (25%)
3.0
6.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
7.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
9.0
Traction (15%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Durability (15%)
5.0
7.0
10.0
10.0
5.0
Specs Keen Anchorage III The North Face Chil... Muck Boot Arctic Ic... Bogs Bozeman Tall Merrell Thermo Chil...
Maximum Puddle Depth Before Major Leaking 4" 8" 13.5" 11.5" 6.5"
Measured Shaft Height (from bottom of sole to top of shaft) 8" 11" 13.5" 13" 7.5"
Measured Weight (per pair, size 13) 2.76 lbs 4.14 lbs 4.48 lbs 4.88 lbs 2.74 lbs
Appropriate Activity Town, errands Town, errands, chores Chores Chores Hiking, town
Fit Details Snug True to size Roomy Roomy True to size
Lining/Insulation Fleece footbed 400g PrimaLoft Silver Insulation Eco 5mm CR Flex-Foam Neoprene w/ Fleece Lining 7mm Neo-Tech Neoprene 200g M Select
Upper Material Waterproof full-grain leather Full-grain waterproof-leather upper 5 mm CR Flex-Foam Neoprene Rubber Waterproof polyurethane-coated leather and mesh
Toe Box Rubber Rubber Spandura rubber Rubber Rubber
Outsole Non-marking rubber TNF Winter Grip Rubber Vibram Arctic Grip BioGrip Rubber
Company Claimed Cold Weather Rating -25 F -40 F Not listed -72 F Not listed
Animal Products? Yes Yes No No No
Sizes Available 7 - 17 7 - 14 7 - 15 7 - 14 7 - 15

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Anchorage III is decently stylish and comfortable, though it misses the mark on several fronts for warmth, weather protection, and traction. It's also pricey enough that we have trouble recommending it for anything past casual urban use.

Performance Comparison


Keen Anchorage III winter boots - the keen anchorage iii is a decent chelsea boot, but it doesn't...
The Keen Anchorage III is a decent Chelsea boot, but it doesn't perform well compared to most winter boots.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Warmth


The Anchorage III has no insulation, except for a thin layer of fleece in the footbed. The sole is relatively thick, which helps prevent heat conduction through the bottom of the foot. This was effective on cold pavement, but our feet got cold quickly when we wore these boots on snowy surfaces. The leather is soft and is susceptible to losing warmth as well. If you live in a cold winter climate, these won't keep you warm on most winter days. But if you spend the cold months in a temperate urban environment, or if you only need winter boots for short outdoor jaunts while commuting or doing errands, they'll be just fine.

Keen Anchorage III winter boots - the anchorage iii has no insulation, and the footbed is lined with a...
The Anchorage III has no insulation, and the footbed is lined with a thin fleece layer.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Weather Protection


The Anchorage has a tall shaft height compared to other Chelsea boots, but the elastic panel that allows the boot to slide on and off is not waterproof. When we submerged the boots in a creek, water immediately seeped through. On top of that, this material starts only 4 inches off the ground, so if you step in a puddle deeper than that, you'll have wet feet. All Chelsea boots share this weak point, and as a result, they're the least weather-resistant winter boots in our test. That said, the maximum puddle depth before leakage is better in this boot than other Chelsea boots out there.

Keen Anchorage III winter boots - the anchorage iii is waterproof to a submersion depth of four...
The Anchorage III is waterproof to a submersion depth of four inches, at which point water begins to seep in through the elastic panels around the ankle.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Comfort and Fit


When we first slipped our feet into these boots, they felt very comfortable compared to the winter boot competition. The footbed is comfy, and the leather toe box is roomy, which creates a slightly rattly feeling, though it's not too bad. Over time, we noticed that we developed a pressure point on the tops of our feet, where the two panels of leather come together to form a seam that runs from the toe box up the tongue. This seam protrudes down into the foot cavity for its entire length, and it dug into the top of our feet, causing pain over time. This problem might be specific to our foot shape, but we didn't feel this problem in other Chelsea boots.

Keen Anchorage III winter boots - the vertically-oriented leather seam that runs up the center of the...
The vertically-oriented leather seam that runs up the center of the top of the foot gave us some pain, but this might be specific to our feet.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Traction


The tread pattern on the Anchorage III could be better. The lugs are not deep, so there is little space in the sole to absorb surface irregularities when walking on rocky terrain or deep snow. The lugs also aren't sharp, so they don't bite very well. However, if you spend your time walking on mostly paved surfaces, these boots will grip well enough for everyday use.

Keen Anchorage III winter boots - the anchorage iii has shallow lugs that don't grip snow or uneven...
The Anchorage III has shallow lugs that don't grip snow or uneven rock well, but they work great on pavement.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Durability


As with all fashionable leather boots, the exterior of the Anchorage needs care and regular treatment to avoid damage and wear. The leather scratches easily, which isn't a problem if you don't care about the style, but scratches can be an eyesore. Also, the leather will dry out over time and lose its water-resistant treatment, so we recommend treating the leather with a waterproofing agent at the beginning and end of every winter, if not more often. This will help keep the leather soft, pliable, waterproof, and stain-resistant.

Keen Anchorage III winter boots - leather scratches easily, and these boots are made almost entirely...
Leather scratches easily, and these boots are made almost entirely of leather.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Should You Buy the Keen Anchorage III?


The Keen Anchorage III is a relatively comfortable Chelsea-style boot at a lower price than other boots of its type. However, compared to winter boots overall, these don't perform well. They aren't warm or weather-resistant, and their traction only works well on paved surfaces. Most consumers looking for a good pair of winter boots should look elsewhere. These boots cost less than other Chelsea boots, but not by much, and their performance isn't as good as other similar options. We also don't think that the Anchorage III style measures up to the competition. Compared with other winter boots, these boots provide much less warmth and weather protection and are more expensive. So, we don't think they are worth the money.

Keen Anchorage III winter boots - the keen anchorage iii is a decent chelsea boot that is less...
The Keen Anchorage III is a decent Chelsea boot that is less expensive than other similar options, but it doesn't perform well.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

What Other Winter Boots Should You Consider?


If you need a stylish boot with some winter properties for the city streets and tracks to work, we prefer the Blundstone Thermal - Men's. While more expensive, they offer more to keep you warm and dry. Plus, we think they look more like streetwear than the Keen, making them better for on-the-go professionals looking to stay stylish and warm.

Jeff Dobronyi
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