Like all Keen footwear I have reviewed, this latest offering is a solid bit of gear and looks ready to take on the trail whether it be up, down, or along the flats.
I gave them a work-out over some tracks in Arthur’s Pass National Park and also around easier terrain near my home in Christchurch. Pulling on the compression cords immediately brings a snug-secure feeling to the feet and coupled with the very robust toe – a solid rubber bumper which extends right across the all important and rather sensitive toe area, both sides and top – then you have a ‘shoe’ that is fit to go.
This point is worth repeating as many hiking sandals just don’t cut it for me because I feel too vulnerable hitting the trails with exposed toes.
I liked the grip the Newport offered on the tracks I took them on, some of which were quite steep. The outsole is made from Keen’s own proprietary material and so long as you don’t push them too hard you could do some off-track exploration. I also liked the versatility of the webbing, which can be tightened to reduce foot slip inside the sandal, and conversely loosened when on the flats or just walking to the local café.
They do need a bit of effort to get on and off but that’s par for the course for a stiffer, harder wearing sandal which weighs in at 810g/pair.
These sandals are probably not your everyday around the house, garden or beach item during the summer; they are a bit too solid and stiff for all-day comfort at that level. But for the trail they are ready to go and at this price well worth it for a good pair of tough sandals.