Love Those Shoes! Keen’s Newport – The Perfect Summer Shoe

by Randy Murray on July 11, 2011

Before we took off on our recent vacation I felt that I needed some new summer shoes, something light and airy, that would allow me to walk and cover a lot of ground comfortably. I typically wear tennis shoes, or running shoes, as many call them. But my poor back doesn’t allow for the pounding of running. Trust me, if you see me running, start running yourself. Bear, bomb, or battle, something bad must be right behind me.

But I do like the stability and the traction of running shoes or cross trainers. I don’t like how hot my feet get wearing them on a long urban trek on a summer’s day.  Sandals don’t offer the same stability and traction. They may be light and cool, but the flopping and rubbing is a potential disaster on a long walk.

Recently I’ve seen those hybrid shoes that look like a pair of cross trainers with the sides cut out — a sandal that functions like a running shoe. They looked ideal. So I went out to my local shoe discounter and bought a pair of them from Sketchers. A week later I returned them. The soles were already coming apart after just a few hours of light wear and no scrambling over rocks. But in that week’s time my sister-in-law saw what I was wearing and went on at length about Keens.

As I’m about to do now.

I returned the Sketchers and went next door to the giant sporting goods store. To my surprise, they had a large Keen display. Within a few minutes I had a pair on and could immediately tell the difference.

These are terrific shoes. The Newports, the ones that I’m wearing now, are exactly what I wanted. They are very light and airy. They have a toe cap to keep me from stubbing mine (or having to look at them). And they are easy to slip on and adjust so that they move with your foot with no sliding or flopping about.

They are waterproof, but I haven’t waded into any streams yet, although I did wear them on one very wet day walking through some English countryside and small towns. I never felt a slip walking over the wet cobblestones or soggy pasture grass (and dodging the sheep dung). And my feet remained cool throughout.

These are very well made. I don’t feel they’ll come apart any time soon. And I’m wearing the heck out of them this summer. Once you get the hang of pulling them on using the loops at the heel and the tongue and tightening the shock-cord lacing, they’re simplicity itself to get on and off, but completely snug and stable while you’re wearing them.

And as an aside: fashion rules to the contrary, you can wear these with socks. Not the knee-high dress sock and sandal thing, but a short athletic sock. Here’s your rule of thumb: if you’re hiking through water or just bumming about, no socks. If you’re covering a lot of ground, but staying dry, wear socks.

And check the sizing carefully. I found that my best fit was a half size larger than I normally take.

Briefly: Comfort, durability, traction. Keen Newport (company site). You can also find them at Zappos.

They are not cheap, but after trying cheap, I’ve found the Keen Newport to be an excellent value. Get yourself a pair and hit the trail.

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