If you’re in the market for a pair of walking or trekking sandals, Keen have basically got you covered. The Portland, Oregon-based brand have a large range typified by their highly distinctive Uneek model (which we selected for the previous edition of the Outdoor 100). The new Newport Evo, while less striking to look at, is no less impressive when it comes to performance.
It’s designed to tackle slightly more testing terrain than the Uneek range, with a rubber toe-cap giving you added protection around the toes and a rugged sole. If you’re scrambling over a rock-strewn moraine, these will hold their own against most lightweight approach shoes.
“For those times when full-blown boots are just too much, these are the sandals to go for."
Of course, the whole point of buying a pair of sandals over a pair of approach shoes or hiking boots is that they’re open to the air and allow your feet to breath better, and the Newport Evo sandals definitely do that. The leather straps and open heel let air circulate freely. The whole upper fastens together with a neat, no-fuss bungee cord and there are tabs on both the heel cup and the tongue to make getting them on easier.
Over the years we’ve been consistently impressed by just how comfortable all of Keen’s shoes are, and despite its lack of a solid upper the Newport Evo is no different. This is because the comfort factor really comes down to the footbed, and the Newport Evo features a ‘Metatomical’ footbed of the kind that features on Keen’s high end hiking boots.
Slip a pair of these on and you’ll immediately notice just how well they fit under the arch of the foot and even the first few steps you take will give you some indication of how supportive they are. This is all well and good if you’re just walking round town, but it really comes into its own when you’re out hiking, or walking across sand (always a nightmare!)
You’re not always going to be able to hike in sandals, but for those times when full-blown boots are just too much, these are the ones to go for. And even if you’re hiking in a cold climate, they make an excellent second pair of shoes to take on any trip - lightweight and small enough to fit into a backpack and perfect for padding round a refuge or a campsite.
Keen Newport Evo Sandal