Keen vs Thorogood Boots: Which One Is Better?

In the world of footwear, there are a lot of boots to choose from. If you are in a search of a pair of durable and comfortable hiking boots then you should know that there are two brands that are popular: Keen and Thorogood.

Then, here comes the burning question “which one is better?”. both keen and Thorogood boots are both very well-known brands that many people love.

These brands have a lot of great boots that you will love wearing and they both have a variety of boots that can be worn for many different occasions.

The major difference between Keen and Thorogood boots is in their looks.

Keen is designed to look more like an outdoor boot with a lot of dress styles to choose from while Thorogood boots are more of a traditional style of boot great for a western or country look.

Keen vs Thorogood Boots

In this article, we’ll be going deep into comparison to help you make a decision on which boot is the absolute best for you,

Keen vs Thorogood Boots: Overview

Let’s see what our initial impressions of Keen and Thorogood boots are

Keen boots

  • Great for people who are active on their feet
  • Adequate cushioning and waterproof ability
  • Comfortable right out of the box
  • Equipped with wool lining or added warmth

My first impression of Keen boots is that they are great for people who are active and on their feet. They are also perfect for people who like to go on hikes or take long walks through the woods.

These boots have a lot of cushioning, so they make your feet feel comfortable and supported. I love how they are waterproof because it makes them perfect for rainy days.

I also like how the laces are easy to tie. You can easily put them on without worrying about them coming untied while you’re wearing them.

The leather is soft but also has some stiffness to it, which makes them comfortable to walk in right out of the box.

I put them on and walked around for a few minutes to see how they felt, and I was amazed at how comfortable they were!

The wool lining adds extra warmth without making your feet sweat. I’ve worn them in temperatures ranging from 35 F to 75 F degrees so far, and they’ve kept my feet warm even on the coldest days.

The thick sole makes these boots an excellent choice for hikers or anyone who spends any time outdoors on their feet all day long!

The uppers are a 3mm neoprene that is very flexible, but durable. The soles are made of Vibram rubber and have some nice treads on them (though they’re not super aggressive).

The boots fit very nicely around my feet and ankles. There is a velcro strap around the back of the heel that keeps everything tight and comfortable.

The laces go through grommets on both sides of the tongue, so you can get an adjustable fit there as well too if needed.

They also have a little loop on top for clipping your laces together when you don’t need them hanging down around your feet anymore (or if you just want to keep them out of the way).

Thorogood boots

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Beautiful and shiny leather
  • True to size right out of the box
  • Can be pretty stiff at first

The first thing I noticed was how light the Thorogood boots are. They felt like they weighed nothing at all. And they are very comfortable.

The leather is beautiful, with a nice shine to it that makes the black color pop even more than it already does on its own. It feels very thick but not stiff or hard like some other leathers can be when they aren’t broken in yet.

The fit is true to size and right out of the box they are comfortable enough to wear all day without any break-in time needed, but they are pretty stiff at first (as most boots are), so you may feel like you’re walking around on stilts at first.

After wearing them around the house for a couple of hours each day for a week or two, however, they should feel pretty comfortable as long as your feet aren’t too wide or narrow for these boots (which mine are not).

Keen vs Thorogood boots: Comparison

Here’s a comparison table putting Keen and Thorogood boots side by side:

Feature Keen boots Thorogood boots
Construction Seamless and stitch down construction for most Keen boots models Thorogood boots are made with Goodyear welt construction.
Stitching Flatlock, welding, and blindstitches Blind and chain stitches
Leather Full-grain and suede leather Cowboy leather
Price $57 – $250 $70 – $300
Build quality Strong and reinforced stitches, tapered seams High-quality leather with versatile usage
Insole proprietary molded EVA foam Leather, synthetic, and polyurethane
Outsole Combination of rubber and EVA foam Vibram and natural latex rubber
Fit and sizing They run small True to size
Style Outdoor and dressy Traditional look with a western feel

Keen vs Thorogood boots: Construction

Keen Boots

Keen boots are made with a variety of different shoe construction methods. Keen footwear is known for its durability and long-lasting comfort, and this is achieved through careful engineering and attention to detail.

Keen footwear uses two primary methods for constructing its shoes: seamless or stitch down construction.

The method chosen depends on the specific model of the shoe as well as the intended use of the shoe itself.

Seamless Construction

Seamless construction is used in Keen’s hiking boots and other styles that require durability over long periods of time.

This method uses only one piece of material for each shoe, so it does not have any seams or stitches that can break down over time. This is found in shoes like the Keen Men’s Targhee Vent Mid Boot.

Stitch down Construction

Stitch-down construction is used in Keen’s sandals, as well as some other casual styles like skate shoes and water shoes.

Stitch down boots are constructed using multiple pieces of material stitched together at strategic points, giving them more flexibility than seamless boots while still providing durability and support over time.

This is found in shoes like the KEEN Utility Men’s San Jose 6″ Alloy Toe Work Boot.

Thorogood boots

Thorogood boots are made with Goodyear welt construction. This is the strongest type of shoe construction and allows for a repairable shoe, if necessary.

Goodyear welts are made by stitching a strip of leather to the inner sole and upper of the boot, then sewing the welt to this strip.

The welt is then stitched to the outsole using lock stitches that can be removed and replaced if necessary.

An additional advantage to Goodyear welts is that they allow for some movement in the sole so that your foot can move comfortably within the boot.

The construction in Thorogood boots is better than that of Keen boots.

Keen vs Thorogood boots: Stitching

Keen boots

Keen boots feature a variety of stitching types. Depending on the intended usage and model of the shoe.

The most common type is called “flatlock,” which is similar to a zigzag stitch. Flatlock stitches are used to connect the upper and outsole together at the toe box of a Keen boot.

The second most common type of stitching is called “welding,” which uses heat to bond materials together. Welded seams are commonly found on high-end leather products such as Keen shoes and boots.

The third most common type of stitching is called “blindstitching.” Blindstitching is more durable than flatlock stitching and has fewer seams on the outside of a boot, which makes it more appealing for some people.

Thorogood boots

Thorogood boots use a combination of stitch types. The upper of their boots are stitched together using a blind stitch, which is a type of stitch that is made by hand without visible stitching on the surface.

The blind stitches are used to connect the parts of the boot together and also form the shape of the boot.

The lower part of each boot has an overlay that is stitched on top of it using a chain stitch, which is another type of stitch that is made by hand.

This type of stitch is used to attach the overlay to the boot, while also forming its shape.

This type of stitching lasts longer than that of Keen boots.

Keen vs Thorogood boots: Leather

Keen boots

Keen leather boots are made with full-grain leather and suede leather. Full-grain leather is the strongest and most durable type of leather. It has a natural texture and is perfect for the outdoors.

In full-grain leather, you will find the grain pattern that runs across the hide. This is the same pattern that you see in the skin of an animal after it has been tanned.

The natural surface of this type of leather is very durable and strong. Most full grain leather is also resistant to water, which makes it ideal for outdoor footwear like Keen boots.

Suede is durable, but it isn’t as strong as full-grain leather. The suede on Keen boots is made from 100% polyester material that resists stains and water damage.

Thorogood boots

The leather used in the boots is a proprietary Thorogood leather called “Cowboy Leather.” It’s a combination of full-grain and top-grain leathers that are tumbled and burnished to create a patina.

The company hasn’t disclosed the exact makeup of this leather, but it does say that it’s made from 100 percent American-raised cattle. The leather is tumbled and burnished to give it a distressed look.

The leather is treated with natural waxes so that it won’t crack or split over time. It’s also water-resistant and will keep your feet dry even when you’re standing in water for long periods of time.

Thorogood boots are more durable than that used in Keen boots.

Keen vs Thorogood boots: Price

They cost between $57 to $250. They cost between $70 to $300. they are more expensive than Keen boots.

Keen boots

The build quality of Keen boots is pretty good. The stitching on the boots is strong and well reinforced.

Most of the seams are taped for waterproofing purposes. There are some areas on the boot that seem a bit weak though, like around the ankle where there is only one layer of leather covering a zipper and lining.

The soles of Keen boots also seem to wear out quickly, but this may be due to me wearing them every day in the winter.

Thorogood boots

Thorogood boots are made with a lot of attention to detail. The leather is of high quality, and the stitching is very neat and well done.

The soles have heavy-duty rubber bottoms that are extremely durable. The boots are built to last a long time and they will hold up well in all weather conditions.

The construction of the boots is good enough that you can wear them as work boots or even hiking boots if you wanted to. They’re very versatile in terms of what you can use them for, which is why they’re such a popular brand.

Thorogood boots come in different styles, so if you want something unique then you might have to look elsewhere because there aren’t too many options for this brand with regard to style and design.

However, if you just want a pair of comfortable boots that will last for years then Thorogood might be the right choice for you than Keen boots.

Keen vs Thorogood boots: Insole

Keen boots

The Keen boots’ insoles are made from a proprietary molded EVA foam that’s soft and comfortable.

The insole is backed by a thin layer of mesh that allows your feet to breathe, so you can wear your Keen boots all day long without getting sweaty or smelly feet.

The boot also has integrated arch support that gives the boot more support than many other brands including Thorogood

Thorogood boots

Thorogood Boots have a number of different types of insoles. The most common is a leather insole, but you can also find Thorogood boots with synthetic insoles and even polyurethane insoles.

Thorogood boots like; Thorogood American Heritage 6” Moc Toe Work Boots have polyurethane insoles

The leather insole that comes standard on all Thorogood Boots looks like a traditional insole. It’s made of brown leather and has a small tab at the end that helps keep it in place.

This type of insole is often removable to make it easier to replace or clean. It can be found in Thorogood 1957 Series 8” Steel Toe Waterproof Work Boots.

Keen vs Thorogood boots: Outsole

Keen boots

The outsoles of Keen boots are made with a unique combination of rubber and EVA foam. This gives them great traction without adding much weight to the boot.

The treads on these outsoles will hold up to years of wear and tear, even if you’re using them every day.

Thorogood boots

Thorogood outsoles are made of multiple layers of rubber compounds, including what is known as “Vibram” rubber, which is a proprietary formula of Vibram USA.

The outer layer of the outsole is made from Vibram rubber while the inner layer is made of natural latex rubber.

Keen vs Thorogood boots: Fit and sizing

Keen boots

The fit of Keen boots is also very good. The toe box is roomy enough to allow for more natural movement without being too large like some other brands that make their footwear look more like snowboard boots than hiking boots.

But then Keen boots run small and it is recommended to order half a size up.

Thorogood boots

They also fit well with arch support. Thorogood boots are true to size, unlike Keen boots.

Keen vs Thorogood boots: Style

Keen boots are designed to be dress boots while Thorogood boots are designed to be traditionally styled boots.

The Takeaway: Overall Verdict

I have both, and I can tell you that Thorogood is far superior in my opinion. The leather in the Thorogoods is thicker and more durable.

The stitching is better (it’s double stitched). The soles are much more solid. All of that equals better durability.

Keen shoes are generally slimmer fitting than Thorogood boots, but both have a similar fit overall.

Both brands offer waterproofing options on some models, although Thorogood offers more waterproof options than Keen does.

Keen boots are not as comfortable because they lack the padding around the ankle that keeps your foot from sliding forward in a steel-toe shoe.

I’ve worn both brands for years now, and the difference between them is clear to me.


We’ve finally come to the end of the long comparison between these two most popular hiking boots brands and I’ve come to a conclusion that Thorogood boots are by far better than Keen boots because of their superior durability and materials.


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