Confession time: I tend to abuse my shoes.
Rain or shine, I’m out in the woods. My shoes get dragged through the mud, drowned in creeks, and buried in snow.
So, when I heard about Keen’s Revel IV Polar Boot, I was skeptical. The marketing pitch describes a comfortable yet durable boot, light as a feather and rated for temperatures down to -25°F.
It sure sounds perfect. But every shoe company under the sun claims its product is the strongest, warmest, most capable boot on the market.
Turns out every claim about the Revel IV Polar Boot is true.
Not only do these boots keep me warm and dry in every season, but they’re also the most comfortable and versatile shoes I’ve ever owned. The Revel IVs manage to combine excellent traction and superior protection with a lightweight build, resulting in the perfect all-purpose boot for year-long wear.
Keen Revel IV Polar Pros:
- All purpose
- Excellent traction
Keen Revel IV Polar Cons:
- Low mid-foot outsole
- No steel toe
Revel IV Polar Buying Options
The Revel IV Polar is available for men and women in several different styles, and you can purchase them through various online retailers.
Buying directly from Keen may be a better option if you’re a military member or healthcare worker because it offers discounts through the website.
Keen also provides free shipping and returns, a 30-day trial period with your boots, and a year-long warranty.
Revel IV Polar Models
I got the mid-length Revel IV, but this model is also available with a higher ankle for added protection against deep snow. I love how lightweight the mid-length shoe is, but it’s important to note that I use it as an all-season hiker and work boot.
Those using the Revel IV primarily as a snow boot might be better off purchasing the Revel IV High Polar Boot. This model adds an extra 200 grams of insulation to ensure waterproofing and warmth further up the lower calves. It increases stability, boosts protection, and is rated for temperatures down to -40°F.
Gentlemen will be happy to discover that the Revel IV Polar is available in several stylish options, with either a mid- or high-ankle design. The only thing that changes here is the sizing, with additional room in the toe box and heel to accommodate larger, wider feet.
Keen also created an additional Revel IV model known as the EXP. It’s a more agile and performance-focused boot, but it isn’t available to the ladies. Keen seems to have stopped distributing it entirely, but men can still find the Revel IV Polar EXP on Amazon.
The Revel IV Polar is a rugged outdoor shoe. If you live in a more urban setting, the Revel IV Chelsea model might be better than the Polar. The Chelsea provides all the protection of the Polar with a sleeker and more refined look. Plus, an easy-pull elastic gore lets you slip them on and off instantly.
Want them for the whole family? I can’t blame you. While Keen only manufactures the Revel IV line for adults, it has a wide selection of kids’ shoes made with the same high-quality materials. The Redwood Winter Boot sports a protective high ankle and is rated for use down to -25°F, so it’s perfect for snowy weather.
In warmer climates, the Ridge Flex Boot is a great kids’ option for outdoor wear and tear. With a breathable yet durable body, these boots are sure to keep your little ones safe and comfortable as they roam through nature’s playground.
Revel IV Polar at a Glance
Unboxing these boots was a memorable occasion. Usually, I don’t think of shoes in terms of style; I focus more on utility and comfort.
That being said, I have to admit it—they’re sexy. The Revel IVs sport a sleek, stylish body with a combination of soft leather and subtle, mellow textiles. From a single glance, it’s obvious they’re well-made. Running your hands over these boots, you can feel the love that went into the design.
The Revel IVs are tough as nails yet cute enough to wear all day.
They’re attractive and shapely, with a surprisingly light and compact build. But can a boot this good looking really hold up under pressure?
After two years of ownership, I can answer confidently with a resounding yes.
Build Quality and Materials
The Revel IV Boot is made from top-notch materials sourced carefully and ethically from around the world. Much of the material is recycled, which is a major draw for eco-conscious consumers. The company clearly put a lot of thought into construction, resulting in one of the most durable and ergonomic boots on the market.
The upper boot combines tough Nylon, waterproof leather, and high-performance Ripstop mesh to create an impenetrable barrier around your feet.
Inside, you’ll find 200 grams of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) insulation to keep the cold at bay. This insulation is part of the KEEN.WARM technology and the company is very proud of it. Keen uses recycled plastic bottles to manufacture its insulation, so it’s a sustainable way to walk around.
It also works incredibly well. The thick insulation layer keeps feet warm in temperatures well below freezing, with the boot rated for safety even down to -25°F.
But the Revel IVs won’t just keep you warm. They’ll also keep you dry. The company’s KEEN.DRY technology incorporates a paper-thin waterproof membrane into the shoe, which allows sweat from your feet to evaporate and escape without allowing moisture inside.
In comparison, other companies usually repel water with spray-on fluoride compounds. In addition to the membrane, Keen also uses a spray-on compound. However, it’s a more sustainable one free of harmful “forever chemicals.”
KEEN.DRY tech is crazy awesome for people who have poor circulation or struggle to regulate body temperature. Other waterproof boots become cold and numb the feet or get too hot and become a sweat lodge. I’ve found the KEEN.DRY membrane not only keeps me warm in the winter, but it also keeps me cool in the summer.
At a practical level, Keen’s tech allows the shoes to stave off snow and water without increasing weight and bulk. This makes for a lighter, more compact shoe that’s easy to walk in and transport. You can even tie them to a pack or bug out bag without throwing off your weight too much.
Read: Best boots for bugging out
Insole & Midsole
Inside the boots you’ll find a Thermal Shield Insole lined with a layer of wool. The wool is soft, so these boots stay comfortable even with a thin sock. Below the wool is something Keen calls a “heat trapolator,” which isn’t a real word, but the tech is pretty solid.
The trapolator is a thin aluminum shield sewn between a layer of felt and foam insulation. It works via reflection to stop body heat from escaping and prevent cold air from coming in. The entire insole manages to stay both rock-solid and comfortable, which isn’t a feature you often have with heavy-duty boots like this.
The magic ramps up even more at the midsole. This is crafted from ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam and features a strong stability shank right in the middle. EVA is a synthetic polymer foam known for superior shock absorption and comfort, so it’s a great choice for boots you wear all day.
EVA compresses as you wear it to fit the exact mold of your feet, providing a bespoke experience within the shoe. The only downside of EVA is that you might lose some support because it compresses over time. This hasn’t happened to me yet, but it’s a possibility because of the material.
The insole and midsole are phenomenal, but where the Revel IV really shines is the KEEN.Polar Traction outsole. For me, this is the most critical part of the boot. I’m clumsy and fall a lot, so I need a shoe that helps me stick to uneven ground.
This is that shoe.
Polar Traction provides peace of mind and sureness of step. Since the shoes are designed for extreme conditions, you can walk over slippery rocks, muddy banks, and icy hills without issue.
The outsole is built with a contemporary rubber-based compound that stays flexible even in ultra-low temperatures. It’s embedded with fiberglass cleats that pierce and grip slippery surfaces like ice and wet moss, so you never have to worry about slipping and falling on uneven ground.
For extra protection against the elements, Keen has equipped the Revel IVs with a rubber-tipped toe and a hard rubber shellback on the heel. I find both give excellent protection against banging and scraping without bogging me down with extra weight.
The Keen Revel IV boasts various unique features that make it stand out from the competition:
- 5-millimeter no-mark multidirectional lugs
- KEEN.Polar Traction fiberglass grip-helpers
- Lightweight stability shank
- Tough metal eyelets
- High-abrasion rubber-tipped toe
- Shellback-protected heel
- KEEN.DRY waterproof membrane
- Eco anti-odor control
- Two pull-helpers
- Eco-friendly waterproof leather
- KEEN.WARM tech throughout
Keen Revel IV Polar in Action
I have literally spent years testing these boots. After so many rich and varied experiences, I can speak confidently about the features I love most. Perhaps even more importantly, I can tell you where these shoes fall short. This is admittedly a much shorter list, but you still need to be aware of some things.
What I Love
The Revel IVs have the shortest break-in period of any boot I can remember. They fit me like a glove after just a few hours of wear. This is likely due to the EVA foam soles, but Keen’s shoes are also known for a generously wide foot and toe box. Since I have troll feet, that’s perfect for me.
I live in the Ozarks, so a comfortable hiking boot is paramount. The Revel IVs are the most comfortable I’ve ever had. We get all four seasons here, so I need a boot that allows me to get out in every type of weather. Again, the Revel IVs deliver. They’re breathable and sweat-wicking for hot summer days, yet they trap all my body heat inside during the winter months.
It’s important to note that while we get snow and ice here, temperatures rarely dip below zero. They never reach down to -20°F like these boots are rated for, so I haven’t had the chance to test the shoes at the most extreme end of the weather spectrum.
The Revel IVs have a low gusset, or place where the tongue attaches to the shoes. I love this feature, as it lets me adjust the shoes’ fit based on my socks. I can tighten and loosen the shoes to fit me snugly, whether I’m wearing a thick winter sock or a thinner summer sock.
Springtime brings lots of rain, mud, and seasonal springs that seemingly crop up out of nowhere. I don’t even avoid puddles and creeks anymore. I have complete confidence my boots will keep me dry.
I’ve heard people report that the lower gusset decreases waterproofing capabilities, but this isn’t the case for me. As long as I tuck in the tongue and lace them up snugly, no water gets inside.
The Revel IVs have become my favorite all-purpose boot. I don’t just use them for hiking and outdoor activities. I wear them everywhere. I do lots of construction-related work, and I find the soles flexible enough for bending and kneeling while still providing a ton of protection against jobsite trash, screws, and nails.
My Revel IVs get dirty. I love that they’re low-maintenance and easy to clean at the end of the day. I just wipe them off with a wet cloth, and dirt comes away naturally. I have never machine-washed these shoes and wouldn’t recommend doing so. But they don’t stink, and they continue to perform well despite heavy use.
What I Don’t Love
I want it all. Unfortunately, no shoe can deliver that—not even the Revel IVs. While I love the protective rubber toe, I would feel even more comfortable with a steel or aluminum toe. If that’s nonnegotiable for you, Keen has a line of steel-toed work boots for both men and women.
There is also the issue of price. These shoes are not cheap, but they are comparable to other boots of similar quality. You get what you pay for.
Keen conducts outstanding research, sources high-quality materials, and tests out products vigorously. As long as it delivers a top-notch product, I’m ok with paying a little extra.
Low Profile Outsole
One other complaint is that the outsoles have a very low profile at mid-foot. This is a double-edged sword because you get full-coverage traction on the entire outsole. So, it actually helps the boots stick to rock and ice without slipping.
However, many people use gaiters on a seasonal basis for extra waterproofing. The outsoles’ low profile makes attaching gaiters more difficult than it would be if you had more clearance between the outsole and the ground at mid-foot.
Keen Revel IV Polar Buying Guide
Ready to whip out your credit card? First, let’s make sure these boots will fit you like a glove and look like a million bucks.
Buying the correct size is paramount. Keen makes the Revel IV Polar Boot in women’s sizes 5–12 and men’s sizes 7–15. However, you have to be careful with hiking boots and cold-weather shoes. You may need a thick sock to get down and dirty with these boots, so follow proper sizing practices and always buy a half-size to a size bigger than you think you need.
I’m a women’s size 8, and my Keen Revel IV Polars are a size 8.5. They work perfectly, no matter what socks I’m wearing.
The women’s shoes come in color sets of blue, purple, and brown. Men’s shoes come in blue, brown, and black, though the black looks pretty purple from where I’m sitting.
The hues, tones, and shades of women’s and men’s shoes are all very different. For example, I have the Magnet/North Atlantic color scheme. It’s blue, but much brighter and more vibrant than the men’s blue option.
Why should this matter to you? Because if you’re a woman wanting a man’s color, you can still buy a men’s shoe, and vice versa. Just use Keen’s handy size conversion guide to make the fit as comfortable as possible.
A Company You Can Trust
One other thing that’s worth mentioning is Keen itself. If you’re stuck between two choices and would rather buy based on ethics, Keen is definitely the company to go with. It has a transparent supply chain policy and prides itself on being a sustainable company that gives back to the world community. But it doesn’t just talk the talk—it walks the walk.
Since its founding back in 2003, Keen has donated over $1 million in profits to support green programs and workforce inclusion. It also encourages others to give back by joining its Keen.Corps program. Keen.Corps is a rewards program designed to give discounts and special promotions to people who donate time and effort volunteering outdoors.
I like the idea of buying from a company that cares about the world. But I recommend the Revel IV Polar boots based on performance, not morals. Keen wins on every level. I can’t wait to try another Keen boot, but I’m not sure when that will happen. They’re holding up so well after all.
Check out the full range on Keen Footwear.