Keen Newport H2
The Keen Newport H2 is a classic contender for closed-toe designed sandals. A grippy outsole, quick-drying materials, and large toe box make it a favorite of watersports enthusiasts and those wanting a protective sandal.
It provides more breathability than tradition hiking shoes and more coverage than the majority of sandals. The shoes strike a balance between the two. Over the years, closed-toe sandals have gotten a bad rap.
The Newport H2 sports a stout, lightweight, design that can handle anything. It is a trail worthy sandal that offers great grip and protection. With water-friendly material and solid coverage, the Keen Newport H2 is a favorite closed water sports shoe of those who tested it.
- Cradles the foot
- Easy on and off
- Good traction
- Shock absorbing
- Lack of adjustment points
- No heel tightening mechanism
When the bubbles are compressed, they provide shock absorption and cushioning, making EVA the perfect material for performance footwear. Its lightweight and low density are perfect for footwear in which weight is a factor.
Not all shoe midsoles are made of EVA because over time, the bubbles lose some air and stay compressed. The midsole will lose support and cushioning. The Newport H2 is a performance shoe. For that reason, the EVA midsole was chosen.
The closure is a single pull lace. The elastic cord that laces the upper is secured with two Quick Locks 3M reflective pull loops on each shoe that make putting on and taking off easy. Patented toe guards protect the feet for biking, hiking, and more. This shoe is a closed-toe design.
There does seem to be a weak point on the upper where the material at the side that attaches to the straps that wrap the back of the foot. Stitching has come loose after a fair amount of time.
The instep material and the toe box offer excellent protection from getting jabbed when ‘shwacking or stubbing toes in a rock river. Neoprene-backed webbing is used in the upper so that each point that comes in contact with the foot is cushioned to be chafe resistant.
Not only does neoprene provide a comfortable ride, but dries quicker than nylon and performs better when wet. It is obvious the shoe was designed with water sports in mind. There is ample space in the upper material to let water out of the footbed and dry out wet feet. Dense, closed cell foam is used in the footbed. It is resilient in water, comfortable, and supportive, even for people with high arches.
There is excellent design cushioning throughout the entire footbed making the sandal extremely comfortable. The shoe is available for both women and men. Twenty-one colors are available for men and 16 for women.
The polyester bands are quite durable. They are separated from the foot by a cushion layer for added comfort. The primary function of the tabs is to aid putting on the sandals. They can endure years of canoe tripping and day to day use and will not break. They are very sturdy.
The sandal is machine washable. If the top bands look muddy, dirty, or sweaty, the sandals can be thrown in the washing machine. The durability of the shoes comes at a slight cost. They weigh in at about a pound per sandal. The weight may require some getting used to but is a small price to pay for a fantastic sandal.
The bumper in the front flows right into the rugged outsole. The bottom of the sandal is a non-marking sole with adequate lugs to prevent sliding. There is razor siping on the heel and under the ball of the foot to help adhere to slick surfaces such as wet rock. The small reflective tabs on the upper provide some extra visibility.
Cushion and responsiveness are neither the same or opposite. Two shoes with similar amounts of cushion can differ in their responsiveness. Adaptability is a low point of the Keen Newport H2.
Highly adjustable models give a more customized fit but are trickier to use than the Newport H2. Testers like the simple, no-frills approach of the shoe, but wished they had a least one extra adjustment to get a snug fit needed in overdrive.
There are stiffer sole materials available, but testers felt the aqua-shoes hold their own against other models. They rated the shoe as seven out of ten for stability. A shortcoming of the shoe is the inability to get a snug fit.
A drawback of many hiking sandals is that they do not
provide the ankle support that the Newport H2 does. By zipping the shoe closed, it tightens the area around the top of
the shoe a bit.
The bungee cord can pull the bands in the front. A slider adjusts the tension by the ankle. The excess bungee can be turned back into itself. The wearer is less likely to roll the
ankle and become injured on an aggressive day hike.
The elastic laces pull the webbing over the top of the feet. It is easy to use and comfortable but doesn’t allow cranking it very tight. Not being snug translates to foot slippage when charging steep terrain or side-hilling. The testers did feel the shoe was up to the challenge of even the craggiest trails.
Testers agreed the greater coverage and the toe box gave top-of-the-foot protections. The sandal-like shoes could be treated as bonafide hiking shoes. The amphibious nature of the shoe is undeniable.
It is reliable in and out of the water. Testers rated it as eight out of ten for versatility. A tricky part about the transition in the sandal is small pebbles and sand are challenging to get out if they sneak in. The shoes may need to be removed to rinse out after going ashore.
Overall, the shoes are highly adaptable to various scenarios. Worn with pants and socks the shoes could be used as a street shoe. Nearly every design component is impervious to water and meant to dry quickly. The non-marking sole material won’t scuff a dinghy. The shoe also works well for someone who wants an extra supportive sandal or highly breathable hiking shoe.
Testers were pleased with the grip in wet conditions and the way it transitions from set surfaces to dry so quickly. It did occasionally falter on slick surfaces such as slimy river rocks and steep sandstone.
Such faltering is typical of nearly any sandal. The Keen Newport H2 does not have the great Vibram sole. However, the rubber outsole material used performs and feels much like the Vibram sole.
It lacks aggressive and super angular tread patterns that are characteristic of trail shoes. Remarks about how well the sole gripped in comparison to how relatively spongy and light it feels, were made.
The elementary system of adjustment is easy to get a grip but does not provide the ability to get a custom fit. There may be no adjustment needed to slide the feet in and out. It is somewhat of a slip-on shoe that can be tightened a little.
They have a firm area in the midsole like that of the Newport H2 to reinforce the arch. The Keen Newport H2 has the ideal balance of flex, moderate cushion, and lightweight. The wearer can pick a pace with an energetic feel for tempo.
* EVA midsole
* Non-marking carbon rubber sole
* Patented toe guard
* Polyester webbing