Posts Tagged Keen
Not every outdoor adventure is a major expedition. For travels that include the need for sporty shoes without the heft of those high-performance wilderness styles, check out the Keen Clearwater CNX and Mercer Lace CNX shoes.
The Keen Clearwater CNX sandals are a lightened-up version of traditional Keen sandals, somewhat similar to my trusty Venice H2 shoes. But these weigh in at only 7.6 ounces, and are slimmer—making them easy to pack for a light adventure vacation.
The washable shoes (wash on the gentle cycle and air dry) have polyester webbing uppers with bungee laces to customize your fit. The curved toe protection comes in handy whether you’re hiking or walking through town, especially if you’re accident-prone and stub your toes a lot. The contoured arch is far more comfortable for all-day adventures than flat sandals. An Aegis Microbe Shield treated lining is included in the footbed, and the low-profile sole includes flex grooves for increased flexibility.
But if you need more of a closed shoe than a sandal, pick up the Mercer Lace CNX shoes. I’ve worn them on the airplane, walking in small towns and sightseeing on city streets. The style is comfortable and versatile enough to do all of the above. Weighing in at 7.99 ounces, they’re also ideal to toss into your suitcase when you’re packing light.
The upper is constructed of breathable mesh and suede, and has the same Keen toe protection as the Clearwater sandals. Allitionally, these shoes have a contoured arch, flex grooves in the low-profile sole and bungee laces that make it easy to secure the perfect fit. They fit nearly as comfortably as slippers, which is why I like wearing them on the plane.
The Clearwater sandals come in barberry (bright pink), black, shitake (brown) and greenbriar (bright green). The Mercer Lace shoes come in Norse blue/super lemon, barberry/hot coral, black/yellow, gargoyle (gray)/Norse blue and greenbriar/spring green.
The Keen Clearwater CNX sandals list for $100 on the Keen website. On Amazon, they’re priced from $95 to $100, depending on size and color. The Keen Mercer Lace CNX shoes list for $90 on the Keen website. On Amazon, they’re priced from $85.95 to $89.99, depending on size and color.
When was the last time you could step out of a pair of snowshoes and into a pair of leggings, and head out to dinner in the same boots you wore trekking across the snow? For me, it was last week, when I wore my Keen Bailey High Boots from the trail to the ski village pub. For a low-maintenance girl such as myself, this makes the Bailey the perfect fashion statement.
These boots are serious in snow and ice, waterproof and fully insulated. The lining is Sherpa that’s soft and warm, with a faux shearling trim at the top. The laces go all the way up, and widen enough to easily allow your foot in or out. (No cosmetic-only laces here…they are for both form and function.) The upper is waterproof nubuck, the midsole is compression molded, and the rubber outsole is ready for packed snow, power, ice, and dirt. In other words, this boot is ready to go wherever, whenever.
But it’s also so good looking, I can dress it up with a winter dress or leggings and wear it to work, out to dinner, or shopping. The boot is heavy…no friend to your luggage weight limit…but if you plan to spend time in the outdoors at your destination, they need to come along for the ride. (They’re fashionable enough to simply wear on your feet to the airport.)
Due to the Bailey’s weight, I wouldn’t pick these boots to hike in during the autumn or on dry dirt, but if snow is involved, they’re ideal. And because the Bailey performs multiple functions, you don’t have to second guess its place in your luggage. They fit me to upper calf, keeping snow and moisture away from my socks, and lace up as tightly as needed. I love Keen’s sole: my arch is always supported and I know I could go the distance in any of their shoes if needed.
The Bailey comes in three colors: black, dark earth, or slate black and earth. I choose the latter, because they go with both black and brown accented clothing. The leather can be treated if desired, though I haven’t found it to be necessary. In fact, I’ve been wearing mine in deep powder and rain, and both indoors and out, since November without any cosmetic or leakage issues.
Flip-flops may pack flat, but they don’t usually hold up to outdoor adventures that require more than a few blocks of walking. Next time, pack Keen Venice H2 shoes along on your trip.
The polyester and polypropylene webbing straps are quick-drying and also make it easy to toss the shoes in the washing machine. Walking warriors can wear them for miles—the molded footbed provides cushiony comfort and solid arch support. I’ve worn mine to hike on a volcano in St. Kitts, do some canyoneering in Utah and hike to the Boiling Lake in Dominica.
The rubber soles have a grippy, razor-cut pattern that offers incredible traction and helps disperse water—unlike those flat flip-flops. The sandals are treated with antimicrobial technology that helps prevent odor and staining, so kick your feet up and dismiss your fears of shoe stink.
The only minor downside: If you’re hiking somewhere where there’s lots of pebbles or scree, you’ll get rocks in your shoes. It can sometimes be a pain to stop every so often to shake them out. Also, while the Keen toe guard helps keep toes safe from getting snagged on twigs and sharp items, it may be irritating if the fit is too small. Consider buying a half size up.
Now, you don’t have to say no to that island hike. Leave everyone in the dust instead.
When it comes to school shoes and play shoes, my tween daughter is far more concerned about the color and how sparkly they are than about support and ruggedness. Her parents don’t mind that when we can spend 25 bucks at Target instead of 100 at a gear outlet, but we change our tune when it’s time for travel shoes.
We recently spent three weeks in Southeast Asia though and knew we’d be doing a load of walking around Ankor Wat and other sprawling temple complexes. So we made sure she took along these Keen Ambler shoes to have some quality footwear on her feet.
She liked these because they were pinkish and cute, I liked them because I knew I’d hear less whining as the day wore on. We’ve had good experiences with Keens in the past (with Whisper for summer and Kaley for winter) and these were no exception. Scrambling over ruins in Cambodia, dodging motorbikes in Hanoi, and mall-hopping in Bangkok all went well with these Amblers on through all the Ambling.
These are a lot lighter than they look, but still have good traction on the sole and a hefty midsole. Like many Keen designs, they have a bit of rubber over the front that serves the dual purpose of preventing stubbed toes and keeping them from wearing out faster from toe abrasion. It was hard to test the moisture-wicking properties in the 100F/38C tropical heat, but the upper is mostly mesh so they didn’t turn into a sweatbox. Note that they’re not waterproof though—you’ll have to treat them with something on your own if you need that.
The Keen Ambler shoes come in sizes from toddler to “big kid” in a variety of colors. At a $55 list, they’re not too hard on the wallet. See details at the Keen site or shop online to find some styles under $50 at Amazon or Zappos.
These Arcata ones, on the other hand, have gone on a few local trips but are good for every day wear. They got the seal of approval to be cool enough for school: a bit of Vans and a bit of Converse in the design. There’s nothing groundbreaking about this design and no list of features to wow you. They just take a classic design that looks good and modify it a little.
These shoes have a canvas and leather upper and ample rubber on the sole and around the edge, but they only weigh 10 ounces. With this shape, they don’t take up much room in a suitcase either.
Like the other Keen shoes that have cycled through our family (most of them still in use), these appear well-made and built to last. There’s not a long window for that with growing kids who are getting plenty of recess time, but they make good hand-me-downs…
If you like the look of either of these for yourself, they come in men’s and women’s versions as well. Just search the name at Zappos, where they all seem to be in stock.
Are you a fan of strappy sandals? Are you also at least a somewhat active person? Those two things don’t always go together. When you’re looking for cute sandals that are rugged enough to wear for hours of walking without falling apart or causing blisters, grab the Keen La Paz Thong.
Stop the snickering. Not thong, as in underwear, but as in flip-flops. These sweet sandals have more straps than the traditional toe sandals, with ankle-strap support as well. The washable polyester webbing is adjustable in two places, so you can tighten up when necessary, yet make your shoes loose when your dogs are tired.
The molded EVA footbed is cushioned just enough to provide comfort, and yet it’s sturdy for long walks or easy hikes. The rubber outsole has razor siping to improve traction in wet conditions. It also doesn’t mark up the floor, which is a big plus.
I’ve worn these sandals while traveling in Mexico, Kauai, Dominica, Puerto Rico and Aspen. They’re one of the first things I grab when packing for warm-weather destinations because they do double duty—a very important quality in travel footwear.
The shoes run a little on the narrow side, but the front of my foot is somewhat wide, and they worked fine for me. Additionally, you might consider ordering a half side up.