The Keen Newport H2 | All-Around Tough Sandals for the Active Traveler

The Keen Newport H2 in Kalinga Province
The Keen Newport H2 in Kalinga Province
The Keen Newport H2 in Kalinga Province

I’m more of a sandals guy when I travel. I rarely bring or use my shoes (except for running). I like the comfort of having my calloused feet breath. On bus rides or on board planes, I often slip-off my footwear to be comfortable as can on my seat and sandals are very convenient for this. I like my sandals tough too, as often, there would be impromptu hikes around the corner and I want my footwear ready for those occasions. I’ve been using the Keen Newport H2 Sandals for more than a month now. A fitting time to see how this hybrid footwear known for its toe-protection performs in real life. The greatest test was our epic 6 hour hike at the mountains of Kalinga province.

A hybrid sandals with toe-protection
A hybrid sandals with toe-protection

Design

The Keen Newport H2 is a sandal type footwear, but its sole is much like a shoe, thick and tough and has a anatomically contoured footbed that has Anti-Odor properties to keep molds and unpleasant smell in check. The Keen Patented Toe Protection wraps up all over the toes. It is solid and robust that it would take a considerable force to feel a rock smashing to your toe (which I wouldn’t do to prove my point). The mesh used is waterproof so the shoe can also be used on river crossing and other water activities. I like that there are reflective lines on the finger hooks at the back and lace ring at the front. There’s an elastic lace with Quicklock to keep you feet on hold. It’s not light at half a kilo weight but not that heavy either as a real shoe. There are about 12 design/color combinations available,  mine is the gargoyle gray and rust design which I really like.

The anti-odor and anatomic footbed is very comfortable to use
The anti-odor and anatomic footbed is very comfortable to use

Comfort

I always take time getting to know my footwear. I make sure to break them in first and the Keen Newport H2 is no exemption. The Newport H2 is one of those footwear that needs at least a week of use to get comfortable in. Let the mesh soften up a bit and my foot get used to the footbed which I thought was one of the most comfortable I’ve used. The Keen Newport H2 needs to be 1/2 size bigger for a right fit or else I couldn’t put my foot in. It feels more like a shoe actually than a sandal but more breathable. Since the toe protect is made of rubber I’d not leave it under the sun as it heats up and can get a bit sweaty inside.

Tough soles with great traction
Tough soles with great traction

Performance

I’ve used the Keen Newport H2 as a general walk around footwear. What I liked about it is that it can pass up as a shoe. I’ve used it for city strolls, for biking and even took it to a gym once. But its true test was when we went to Kalinga Province. Photographing by the rushing Chico River, I had to hop along rocks. Then there’s this hike to Buscalan which took 3 hours from the road. Fairly easy to moderate. But the 5-6 hours traverse from Buscalan to Tinglayan challenged the Keen Newport H2 as we had to deal with steep paved stairs to muddy trails, occasional streams and walking along narrow rice paddies. One thing I must commend is that traction is excellent on this sandal. It can handle different terrains really well.

Once the Keen Newport H2 gets wet, it doesn’t have that annoying squishy feel and feet doesn’t slide in. I also have to mention its odor control which I know is a common problem among footwear especially when it gets wet, is effective as it claims. Didn’t get that unpleasant odor after prolonged use.

More shoe-like, it has elastic laces with quicklocks
More shoe-like, it has elastic laces with quicklocks

Nitpicks

While the shoe does excel in traction and toe-protection, there are just minor things to improve on. When really small pebbles, rocks,stray leaves or dirt would get in the sandals, I couldn’t just shake them off, I would have to remove the sandal first. The Keen Newport H2 may be waterproof but it doesn’t dry as fast as I expected it to be. I left it overnight indoor along another sandal and it didn’t dry completely the next day unlike the other sandal. Probably out in the air it would be much faster.

The author with his Keen Newport H2 somewhere in the trail between Buscalan and Bubut Villages in Kalinga
The author with his Keen Newport H2 somewhere in the trail between Buscalan and Bubut Villages in Kalinga

Verdict

For a sandal person like me, the Keen Newport H2 ticks the right boxes for an all-around travel footwear that can be used on casual strolls yet ready and tough enough for challenging hikes. Water activities? No problem. It’s a near perfect footwear for me except for the few nitpicks I mentioned which can be improved on.

What I liked:

  • Tough and durable design
  • Very comfortable footbed
  • Anti-odor works
  • Excellent traction
  • Reflective lines
  • Quicklocks on the elastic lace
  • Robust Toe-Protection

What can be improved on

  • It can get sweaty sometimes especially on hot environment. Probably a more airy design.
  • Not fast drying
  • Annoying that I can’t shake off small pebbles from inside when they get in.

The Keen Newport H2 sandals has a store retail price of Php 4,690.00 in the Philippines. Keen Footwear is available at ROX stores, Res | Toe | Run, Grind in Nuvali, Landmark Trinoma and Royal Sporting House Festival Mall. For more info and updates check out the Keen Footwear PH Facebook Page. The Keen Newport H2 sandals was provided for this review but does not in any way influence the views of the author.

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