Keen Newport H2

8.5 score
(TheGearHunt) score (8.5)/10

Our TheGearHunt score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
Editor rating: 8.2 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
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Keen Newport H2 Review Facts

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.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Cradles the foot
  • Easy on and off
  • Good traction
  • Quick-drying
  • Shock absorbing
  • Stylish
  • Supportive
  • Lack of adjustment points
  • Hot
  • No heel tightening mechanism


The knife-cut siping of the Keen Newport H2 outsole delivers traction that is reliable on wet surfaces. Non-marking carbon rubber offers durability. Carbon rubber is used to create a stiff platform with low weight — the stiffer the shoe, the more power that is transferred. Less energy is lost.


The midsole is the area between the foot and outsole. There is a hardened midsole in the Keen Newport H2. It is compression molded EVA. It has excellent support. EVA material is made of thousands of minuscule bubbles when joined together hold air.

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 Keen Newport H2 is available in medium widths. The upper is made of polyester webbing and synthetic neoprene. The strap material is polyester webbing. The Clarino Serdia antimicrobial footbed helps keep odor under control. Hydrophobic foam lines the polyester webbing rubber for comfort.

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 Newport H2 weighs 2.01 pounds per pair. It is lighter than the original version made of leather.


The design of the shoe prevents it from stinking. It allows the shoes to breathe and dry out. There is an anti-odor footbed. Keen uses Cleansport NXT which breaks down sweat with enzymes. The treatment is bound to the footbed material and engages only when in contact with sweat.


For overall comfort, the Keen Newport H2 ranks at the top of the class. Testers who were not fond of the closed-toe design did not object to giving the shoe a nine rating for comfort.
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.


The Newport H2 made Keen famous. The Keen protect bumper in the front of the shoe is an iconic feature. The rigid rubber bumper protects the toes from sticks, stones, and stubbing. It is the ideal shoe for canoe tripping, light hiking, sailing, boating and much more.

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.


One reviewer put the Keen Newport H2 to a 400-day test. The shoes looked like new after that much wear. The shoes were taken snorkeling at the bottom of the ocean in Guam, the snow-capped mountains in Korea, the jungle in Thailand, and the city streets of Singapore, Seoul, and Tokyo. They can survive tremendous amounts of wear and tear over time.

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.


Sandals do not usually provide much toe protection. Keen’s waterproof sandal features patented toe protection. The protective toe bumper is made of rubber that sustains a lot of abuse. The wearer is not going to hurt the toes with this 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.


The term ‘responsiveness’ of shoes is not understood by everyone — a plush shoe that is super forgiving delays responsiveness. Shoes that are not very forgiving have a minimal response delay.

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.


The appearance of the Keen Newport H2 is more shoe than a sandal. Closed-toe models provide more stability. The stout sole material of the shoe is impressively resilient and stiff for how light the shoe is.

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.


There are mixed feelings about whether additional support and a toe box offer better versatility. The Keen Newport H2 performed well in each field test reviewers performed even activities that are not particularly sandal friendly such as skateboarding and biking.

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.


The price of the Keen Newport H2 is on par with expected costs from a major manufacturer if footwear. The MSRP of $100 is not cheap but is a fair price for the quality, construction, and material found in the sandal. Keen provides a one-year warranty on their craftsmanship.


The traction of the Newport H2 is a great feature. It can be taken on aggressive bike hikes and not have any problems. The shoes stick well. Out of ten water sports shoes rated by a group of testers, the Keen Newport H2 can in third with a rating of eight out of ten.

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 testers called this metric adjustability. The Keen Newport H2 scored only six out of ten in this category. Instead of having buckles and straps, the shoe uses an elastic loop having a cord to tighten the shoes that is similar to regular shoelaces.

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.


Stability refers to shoes designed for arch support. Supportive features in the midsole under the arch area provide stability. The features bring the foot into neutral alignment. Stability shoes have support, flexibility, and cushioning.

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.

Key Features

* Clarino Serdia antimicrobial footbed
* EVA midsole
* Lightweight
* Non-marking carbon rubber sole
* Patented toe guard
* Polyester webbing

Bottom Line

The gray area between sandal and shoe is not unapproachable. Testers who admitted to disliking closed-toe sandals found something about the Keen Newport H2 that they liked. It is a trustworthy, capable, and very comfortable option. While it might not be the initial thought to come to mind when thinking about sandals, the shoe is work consideration, especially for those looking for amphibious footwear.