I have been on the hunt for some insulated footwear that isn’t bulky. I wanted something that could take me to the trailhead, the grocery store, and work… all in the same day. It’s a high demand to find this kind of versatility in a shoe but I knew it was out there. I surfed the web and found Keen’s Elena Chelsea shoe. They’re insulated, light and low profile, just what I was looking for. These are a mid-height sneaker designed for the winter.
The first thing I paid attention to was the fit. They are a narrow shoe but fit true to size. The top of the shoe is snug which helps keep the snow out and the insulation makes the shoe feel padded. They’re not difficult to get on and off although I do wish they had pull tabs on both the front and back. I think this would be a valuable addition and would further simplify their function.
KEEN Women’s Elena Chelsea
Historically, no one has gotten style points for wearing Keens. They have often been seen as a dad shoe company and I used to share this belief. However, they have released a couple of lines lately that earn you compliments and even a couple style points. These Elena Chelsea shoes, their Bailey Ankle Zip and Bailey Chelsea are all aesthetically pleasing and have restored my faith in the Keen designer’s fashion sense.
So style aside, are they actually comfy? Will they last? Yes and yes. I wear the Elena Chelseas and have a pair of the Bailey Ankle Zips and I can wear either pair all day. Their leather is reliable, durable and sourced from a sustainable tannery and is fully waterproof without using PFC (a suspected carcinogen). The Luftcell PU footbed is cushy and I have zero complaints in the comfort department.
The KEEN.Warm insulation is rated to -4º F but I would give the shoes a 5º rating. My feet have gotten chilly in them before so they do have a limit. Overall, I’d be comfortable wearing these anywhere from 5º – 40º environments. I have had no problems walking through snow or on ice. The tread is pretty burly for a sneaker so you get a good purchase on slippery surfaces. The toe cap is a nice protective feature for those of us who’s toes are attracted to things they can stub themselves on (those damned masochistic toes!). Their $130 price tag is pretty standard for a durable pair of waterproof shoes. These are going to last you a long time.
KEEN Women’s Elena Chelsea review
Bottom line: These are some versatile shoes that can take you from your ski boots to the mailbox to the ice cream aisle in the grocery store (or whatever isle your vice is in). If you’re looking to invest in your feet, these just may be the answer to your prayers.
Other bottom lines: I don’t think these should be limited to the winter. I’ll be wearing the heck out of them all spring when the weather is wet and chilly.
Growing up snowboarding and hiking in the bitter cold winters and humid summers of northern Vermont, Eliza learned how to beat up gear and quickly became infatuated with new technologies. After moving to Colorado in 2015 to pursue a degree in recreation and outdoor education at Western Colorado University, her passion for the outdoors grew exponentially. Soon after, she picked up rock climbing, telemark skiing, backpacking, canyoneering, and is slowly learning to love rafting. Through these learning processes, Eliza began to understand the importance of the right gear and hopes to share her experiences and knowledge with others through Engearment.
Now working for Beacon Guidebooks as the ‘Wearer of Many Hats’ (yes, that is her official title), Eliza has learned the ins and outs of the outdoor industry. She has also worked on marketing teams, as a photographer, media coordinator, outdoor instructor and as a wrangler. She is especially excited to encourage other women in the outdoors and is an advocate for diversity and inclusion.
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