Posts Tagged Keen
The weather where you are might not be making you think about sandals, but if you’ll be taking a vacation to a hot place or you want a truly original gift idea, check out this Keen custom shoes offering.
The original Keen Newport sandals were a revolution that launched a company and they’re still super-popular for several reasons. They’ve comfortable, functional, cool, and protective of your toes. Plus they’re terrific for water activities like kayaking and river rafting. Now they can come in whatever color combination you want as well.
Keen gave me a code to try this process out and it was a pure delight. Well, for my teenage daughter anyway. I knew she’d go crazier with the choices than I would, so I let her loose on the Keen Custom page so she could make her own unique pair.
After picking her size, she chose from 20 strap colors. Then from 13 stitching colors. Then from 14 microfiber colors for the tongue and sides. After that the lining, from four choices. She chose the woven tab colors (from 7 options) for the two pull tabs, then picked from 10 bungee lace colors and 5 colors for the plastic pull tab at the end. Last was the outsole and midsole, which produced the only bit of whining: sorry kids, gray or black there.
It gets topped off with a yellow and black Keen logo no matter what, but it would take a math club contestant a few minutes to figure out how many combinations you can get from all that. It’s a lot of choices. She went back and forth a few times trying different options, which is easy to do on the intuitive website. Each time you change something, you see the result on the screen and you don’t have to ever hit a back button and start over.
At the top of the screen is how hers came out. Here’s another pair I mocked up with random choices. Obviously a much different look.
This process takes 2-3 weeks, so order today if you want them by Christmas. (To avoid that stress, print the custom page and buy a gift card for $130 instead.) The process was very smooth though, with Keen keeping us updated: a verification e-mail that pictured the shoes as we’d ordered them, another e-mail later that it was in process at the factory, then one when the shoes were on their way.
Sure, these cost more than a pair of regular Newports you buy off the shelf, but how much is it worth to have bespoke travel shoes like nobody else’s? For now anyway these don’t come in kids sizes, but the women’s sizes start at 5 and the men’s at 7. See more at the Keen custom shoes page.
It’s hiking season, and whether you’re hitting the trail for a long trek or short jaunt, you’ll want one of the four day packs below accompanying you. Of course, day packs aren’t only for hiking: no matter what sort of traveling you have planned, chances are you need a backpack to store your stuff. Whether you need a backpack to put into service as a carry-on, touring pack, or cycling pack, one of the below will likely fit the bill.
MountainSmith Mayhem: Mountainsmith’s Mayhem has the look and feel of a larger backpacking pack with the size capacity of a large day pack. You get all the bells and whistles, including multiple loops for trekking poles or tools and compression straps for attaching extra gear. Like a backpacking pack, the Mayhem comes equipped with a hip belt and chest strap, and lumbar support to the back panel. You get a hydration bladder sleeve, side water bottle pockets, and a removable safety whistle. The fabric is ripstop nylon made with 420d Nigh Tenacity Nylon Duramax, and a zippered top pocket stores car keys and other valuables. Pick up the Mayhem in black and yellow at Mountainsmith for $129, or Amazon or Backcountry for as little as $90.Best for serious day hikes and short-term backpacking.
Patagonia Lightweight Travel Pack:
The Patagonia Travel Pack boosts a 35L capacity like the Mayhem, but has a nifty party trick: it packs down into its own internal pocket to become he size of a large fist. Store the Travel Pack in a larger bag or suitcase, and have it on-hand for situations in which you find you need an extra carry-on or additional day pack. In this day and age of luggage fees, it’s great to pack this Patagonia away for travel en route. And it’s no flimsy thing, either: the Travel Pack is made of nylon double ripstop, and while thin and lightweight, it includes a waist belt and padded shoulder straps, a chest strap, and wide top-loading opening drawstring closure and snap-down compression strap. Pick up the Patagonia in Tupelo yellow, Larimar blue, or black at the Patagonia for $79 or at Backcountry or Moosejaw for the same price. Best for travel days and multi-sport outdoor adventure.
The KEEN Aliso pack has a 22 L capacity, and while it performs adequately on the trail for short hikes, it’s a far better commuter pack and travel pack. You get a laptop sleeve compartment inside which can convert to a hydration sleeve, and thickly padded shoulder straps so that heavy laptop doesn’t give you a neck ache. There’s no waist belt, but the construction is rugged, with a wide exterior zippered pocket and several organization slots internally. The Aliso is a nicely sized pack for when you need or want a streamlined look. Pick one up in bright chartreuse or forest night at KEEN for $80 or Amazon on sale for under $50. Best for air travel and work commutes or shorter day hikes.
Kelty Shrike: The women’s Kelty Shrike carries 26-30L in a very roomy main compartment, with a nicely sized zippered top pocket for valuables. With external loops for attaching extra gear and a wide top-loading mouth, the Shrike acts more like a 35L pack. With a shoulder strap system designed especially for women’s frames, the Shrike is the most comfortable day pack I’ve tried. (There is a men’s version too for the guys.) The waist belt is lightly padded and you get a chest strap as well. Inside, a roomy laptop sleeve doubles as a hydration storage compartment. Pick up a Shrike for $99 in light green or black at Kelty or at Altrec for the same price. Best for longer day hikes and serious road trips with outdoor adventure stops.
There’s a reason we’ve reviewed multiple KEEN CNX sandal options at Practical Travel Gear. This line of summer footwear is both rugged and stylish, whether you’re looking to fit yourself or your kids.
Women’s KEEN Mercer MJ CNX:
Everyone needs a summer sandal that can go from outdoor play time to indoors, or daytime adventure to evening dinner plans. Keen’s Mercer MJ CNX have joined me for a day bike riding around Nantucket, followed by sidewalk window shopping and historic building touring, and road tripping with detours from point-of-interest walks to farm stand produce picking. In other words, they’re sturdy enough all-round to tackle most anything you’d do during a summer day, excepting for serious hikes and water play.
The MJ CNX is a Mary Jane style (that’s where the MJ comes in, of course), but unlike most closed-toe shoes for summer, they don’t make your feet sweat…much. I know, gross, but if you’re planning to wear a pair of shoes all day in the heat, ventilation is crucial. And the MJ CNX has it: it’s made with breathable mesh with a suede upper. These shoes are extremely lightweight and flexible, but still have the support you’d expect from KEEN in its polyurethane midsole and toe grip. The sole is non-marking rubber with what KEEN calls ‘multi-directional flex grooves’ for great grip.
The Mary Janes slide on easily with just one strap with velcro closure, which can be adjusted with it’s hook and loop construction. Pick them up in any of five colors (burnt orange, black norse blue, barberry, or shitake) from KEEN for $90, or find it on Amazon for a few bucks less.
Children’s Medomak CNX:
If the kids need to be shod as well, the KEEN Medomak CNX will carry them through the day along side you. This shoe comes in youth and toddler sizes, and includes the closed-toe construction crucial for seriously active kids without being bulky or heavy. Even those these shoes are fully inclosed cross-trainers, kids will feel as though they’re in a sandal.
The Medomak CNX is narrower and lighter than regular KEEN shoes, with a breathable quick-dry lining and leather overlays. These shoes can go from water to indoors within minutes, making them a great choice for kids who have river rafting, kayking, fishing, or general water play on the itinerary. The polyurethane shanks offer stability and support for uneven terrain, and the outsoles include KEEN’s multidirectional flex grooves. My kids will be wearing Medomaks while on the river this summer, where they’ll transition from rafting to hiking multiple times per day.
The Medomaks have elastic tie closures that make getting them on–even with wet feet–less of a chore. Pick them up in four colors designed for boys (but certainly fine for girls too) ranging from blue/black, black/yellow, orange/brown, and shitake/olive for $55 at KEEN . Amazon carries them for the same price in all four colors.
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.