[revised text version] OWNER REVIEW - KEEN - NEWPORT H2 - RAMI]
- It's been a while. Please be gentle. ;-)
The html version is in the test folder under owner reviews or by
Tester Information <#TESTER>
Product Information <#PRODUCT>
Tester Biographical Information <#BIO>
Manufacturer Information <#Manufacturer%20Info>
Initial Impressions and Uses <#USE>
Extended Use, Problems and Resolutions <#EXT%20USE>
Various Terrain and Weather <#TERRAIN>
(tester and product information in table format available on HTML version)
*Tester Biographical Information:*
I've been hiking and backpacking in and around Central and Southern
Indiana for the past 20+ years either solo or with my wife and
daughters. Within the last 5 years, I've become an avid long distance
hiker with sections of the AT in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and
Virginia under my belt, as well as other long distance hiking.
The addition of paddle sports to my Spring, Summer, and Fall activity
line up has prompted me to rethink my standard boots or trail shoes
selection. The addition of the Keen Newport H2's to my options list has
been a fantastic success.
All * RED* text in this section comes directly from Keen. Some areas
have been clipped to exclude non-pertinent information, but no
alteration of the content has occurred. The text is available in full by
going to http://www.keenfootwear.com and navigating to either the
Newport H2 page, or by navigating to the FAQ page.
/Product info from the Newport H2 page:/
The Newport H2 is the foundation of the Keen Footwear line. Designed to
perform in adverse conditions, the razor sipped outsole and 3mm lugs
provide excellent traction. A true hybrid, the waterproof uppers
withstand the abuse of saltwater and dirt, while providing supple
comfort and stylish looks.
Features and Benefits
1. EVA Metatomical Footbed
2. Compression-molded EVA midsole
Excellent shock absorbency
3. Patented Toe Protection
4. Razor Sipped and 3mm Lug Rubber Outsole
Non marking, superior traction
5. Polyester Webbing Upper with SBR lining
Quick Drying, comfortable against the bare foot
/Product info from the Keen FAQ page regarding the Newport H2:/
The Newport H2 upper is made with a polyester woven webbing. The H2's
footbed is all EVA so will not absorb water which makes it a better
choice for extended submersion in water. In addition, the H2 is all
synthetic, it is a "vegan friendly" shoe.
For quick drying, the Newport H2 has polyester webbing and a hydrophobic
foam lining that does not absorb water. Just in terms of of pure weight
when dry, the H2 is lighter and will dry a little quicker. Keen footwear
now uses ÆGIS Microbe Shield™ in all of its sandals. ÆGIS Microbe
Shield™ uses a revolutionary bonded antimicrobial technology that
provides protection against odor, staining and deterioration caused by
bacteria, fungus and other microorganisms. It's an antimicrobial barrier
that is machine washable, too! So, you won't have to go to a lot of
trouble to keep your Keen water sandals looking clean and smelling
fresh. Just toss them into your washing machine with a small amount of
detergent and wash on gentle cycle setting. After a couple of hours of
air drying, they'll look like they just popped out of their shoebox! Oh,
don't worry about harming them. Keen sandals love the water, and have
passed rigorous wash-cycle testing.
*Initial Impressions and First Uses:*
I began paying attention to all of the Keen shoes as soon as they showed
up in my store in the spring of 2004. I decided to buy a pair of Newport
H2's after talking with one of my coworkers who had gotten some and
hearing her positive feedback. I ordered my Newport H2's directly from
the company and they arrived within one week of my order.
The Keen Newport H2 sandals are a unique take on an old design for
sandals. The outer sole is the part that touches the road and it is
attached directly to the inner sole which is the part that touches the
bottom of the foot. Connected to that are straps which surround the foot
and wrap around the heel. These all meet at the top of the foot and are
tightened around your foot by pulling a bungee type cord and locking it
in place with a barrel type compression lock. In the case of the H2's
the straps are polyester webbing over a neoprene type material similar
to a thin wetsuit.
I had tried the shoes on at the store so I knew that they should fit me
well, and after arrival I was not disappointed. They were a perfect fit.
I tried them around the house and neighborhood at first to see if I
needed to adjust how tightly they fit for optimum comfort. I also tried
them with and without socks. After determining that the Newport H2's
were quite comfortable and enjoyable to wear with little or no
adjustment, I decided to take them out and see how they did on uneven
I'll talk more about the H2's performance over different terrain later
in the report, but for now I'll talk about what I used them for. I
started out wearing them to work. I work in retail so I am a) on my feet
for 8 to 9 hours a day, and b) constantly moving from place to place and
from standing to kneeling to crouching as I demonstrate products or
assist customers. I found the Newport H2's to be a very comfortable
alternative to regular work style shoes.
I also used the H2's for general running around, casual visits to
friends and family, hiking, playing, driving, walking, boating, etc. My
initial impressions were all positive. Good comfort, easy fit, nice
traction, and best of all, I could get them wet without ruining them or
having them take days to dry out.
*Extended Use, Problems and Resolutions:*
I Received my Newport H2's in early April and began using them
immediately. They quickly became my 'regular' shoe for work, weekends,
day and night use. Three weeks into using the H2's regularly, the pull
loop on the back of the right shoe broke while I was pulling it on. I
immediately contacted Keen to discuss the situation with them. I also
explained how I had purchased the shoes in the first place. After
speaking with them and hearing that they wanted to have my shoes back, I
went to work and discussed their plan with my store manager. They
suggested that I pick a new pair from store inventory, send the failed
shoes back and they would get a new pair of shoes on the way to the
store to replace my pair. My manager agreed that it was a fair deal so
we did the exchange. As it turned out, Keen sent out the replacement
pair the day I spoke with them so my store had their replacement pair
before my damaged pair had even left the building.
During one weekend, I participated in a canoe and kayak demonstration at
a local park. The demo was sponsored by my store and the local paddling
clubs and I had plans to work both days of it. Representatives from many
boat manufacturers were present and answering questions of the people
who were there to try out the boats. My job was to get the visitors in
and out of the boats, and out on the water and back safely. My job was
part boat jockey, part lifeguard, part coach, and part towel boy. I
spent the two days, which were in the mid 60's in my H2's and some
smartwool socks as my footwear choice and never regretted a second of
it. At times during the weekend, I swam out and towed overturned boats
back to shore, and at other times I was on the beach teaching paddle
stroke technique or proper positioning to visitors. All of this was in
the H2's. They performed perfectly.
I have logged nearly one hundred trail miles over the ten months, and
countless generic walking miles as well. In all of that, and excepting
the breakage I mentioned above, there have only been two areas I
consider to be less than optimal in the fit and function of the Newport
H2's. The first of these is the heel strap. The part of the sandal that
goes around the back of my foot is fine for normal use, but if I need a
tighter fit, I'd like to be able to adjust this part of the sandal for a
toe-in-the-toebox fit. This is a rare instance though, so I hesitate to
even mention it. The only method of tightening the sandal is to cinch
the bungee strap which helps to hold the heel back against the strap.
The result of this is that the toes don't fit optimally in the toe box.
This leads me to the second minor issue. The metatarsal ridge. The bump
in the foot bed which is designed to go between your toes and the ball
of your foot. When my foot is pushed all the way forward, or even in a
neutral position, this ridge is quite comfortable and usually
unnoticeable. When I need to cinch the shoes tight for rough terrain
though, my foot is pulled back against the heel strap and that causes my
toes to rest directly on top of the ridge. On the few occasions I have
wanted a tighter fit, the level of comfort in my toes has dropped
because of this.
*Various Terrains and Weather:*
I began using the Keen Newport H2's early in the spring. I have worn
them in virtually every weather condition from rain, to hot summer, to
snow since getting them. I have found that in rain, I do not slip on
surfaces like tile and linoleum. I attribute this to the unique "Razor
Sipped" rubber outsole. This is basically a zigzag cut from left to
right covering the whole flat surface (the grey area) of the outer sole
of the sandals.
If you've ever owned a pair of "Sperry Topsiders™", think of how the
sole of those shoes look and work, this is close to the same thing. One
of the unique aspect of this is that it's hardly visible when the shoe
is not pulled into the arc shape shown in the picture. In real world
language, this means that as I lift my heel to push off on a step, the
curve of my foot causes the outsole to curve as well. the zigzag cuts
then separate and magic takes over so you don't slip. I really don't
know what the technical reasons are, but whatever they are, they work!.
They feel equally sure footed on concrete, wet grass, mud, rock and sand.
The variety of terrain I have covered in the Newport H2's is
representative of nearly all of the Midwest. I spent a little time in
Michigan in which I got to experience beach sand, pine needle forest
floor, large rocks, hills, and mud. I also spent some time in southern
Indiana where I experienced very dry, dusty conditions in what we
consider hilly terrain. In between I've had the pleasure of wading with
the H2's in water, walking on dense pine duff, hard packed single track
type trail, squishy wet up-to-your-ankles mud, and nearly every other
normal type of terrain.
In all conditions, the sandals performed like champs. They clean easily,
don't seem to discolor or fade and as far as I can tell, the
antimicrobial footbed is still in good working order.
There was only one instance where I felt a part of the sandals were ill
suited for the conditions. While walking at the edge of Lake Michigan on
the fine sand beach, I found that the slight wave action deposited some
sand in the sandals which then accumulated in the toe box. From time to
time, I would have to stop to take the H2's off so that I could empty
and rinse them before starting over again. If I were in a hurry instead
of a leisurely walk, I might have found this to be an annoyance, but
since I was not, I did not.
I really love the Keen Newport H2's. They are cool in warm sweaty
conditions, yet warm enough to be used almost year round. They dry very
quickly, they feel lighter, yet more secure than any other trail shoe
I've ever owned, they don't slip on wet slick surfaces and they have
just enough of an odd shape that they don't look like every one else's
shoe. If I could improve anything, I would move the metatarsal ridge a
little further back (we're talking millimeters here), and make the strap
at the back of the heel adjustable in some way to accommodate minor
variations in individual foot sizes.
I will continue to use the Keen Newport H2's as often as I can, and will
tell anyone who asks to give them a try. For my feet and walking style,
these are just about as close to perfect a shoe as I've ever found.
Bravo to Keen for getting almost everything right on the first go.