a pair of boots shown upside down
a pair of boots shown upside down

How a Secure Heel Helps You Tread Confidently

Most of us don’t spend that much time marveling about our feet (though we should). We tend to take them for granted until they hurt. Here at KEEN, though, we’re kind of obsessed with feet. We want to know how they work and how we can make them happier. Because happy feet go places and do things, and the better your feet feel, the more time you’ll want to spend hiking, climbing, running, and exploring.

Heel slip is something we’ve all felt at one time or another, maybe while moving fast on a strenuous hike or crossing a rocky stream. With each step, your heel slides up and out of your shoe. Sometimes it’s a little. Sometimes it’s a lot. Either way, heel slip is not something you want. It can increase friction, which causes blisters. It can make us feel less secure in our shoes and alter our movement patterns to compensate, which can lead to improper alignment. How can heel slip be eliminated? It starts with shoes designed for a secure heel fit, and that’s something we’ve thought about quite a bit.

What’s a Heel For?

If your foot is your body’s foundation, the heel is its strongest, sturdiest part. The calcaneus, or heel bone, supports the weight of the body and acts as a shock absorber. When you run, the force exerted on your feet with each stride is equal to between three and seven times your body weight. On an average day of running to catch the bus, walking to the store, and playing a little three-on-one soccer with the kids, your feet bear the brunt of hundreds of tons of force. That’s a lot for a heel to handle!

two people parkour their way up a rocky trail

The Achilles’ tendon connects the muscles of your leg to the heel bone. Its strength and flexibility are important for running, jumping, and everyday activities. It gets its name from the Greek myth of the seemingly invulnerable warrior Achilles, who died from a poisoned arrow to the heel. You don’t have to be fighting the Trojan War to know that keeping your Achilles’ healthy is vital for doing all of the things you want to do.

Heel problems can affect other parts of the body like your knees and hips, so it’s important that the shoes you wear take the support and alignment of your heel into consideration.

KEEN’s Famous Comfort Fit

At KEEN, we create shoes that keep people active and comfortable. The most important element? They way our shoes fit. We have kinesiologists and biomechanics experts who help make sure that the design of our shoes supports the way real people move through the world.

a hiker crosses a flowing stream

Every KEEN shoe is built for an actual foot. Our anatomical last and design ensure a secure heel fit and plenty of room for toes to spread out. Then, we fine-tune the arch support and cushioning for optimal comfort on the trail. The result? Your every move feels grounded, so you can take the shorter, steeper route to the summit or jump from one algae-covered rock to another to get a better look at some curious harbor seals by the sea.

If you’re looking for even more heel support, look for boots and shoes made with KEEN KonnectFit — like our NXIS hiking boots and shoes. A connected cord system dials in the heel fit for stability on all kinds of surfaces.

a kid and their parent play in the forest

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