We spent 5.7 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what hikers think:

10 reasons to buy

  • A handful of buyers are amazed at how lightweight the pair is. 
  • The Keen Clearwater CNX withstands everything from hiking, biking, walking to boating, a couple of users have commented.
  • A good number of testers approve of its stability when they have tried using the pair across uneven grounds.
  • Some consumers are enjoying this Keen sandal for everyday casual use. 
  • A favorite feature of the majority is that it is washable.
  • Numerous shoppers have noted that they got their money’s worth on this Keen sandal.
  • The minimalist feeling when wearing the sandals is praised by some of the testers. They said that they had a good feel of the ground.
  • The rubber toe rand gives excellent protection, several wearers have remarked.
  • Some hiking enthusiasts are delighted about its traction which was tested in various ground conditions.
  • A majority of users admire the comfort they have received from the Keen Clearwater CNX sandal.

3 reasons not to buy

  • A group of testers with high-arched feet walked for miles and found out that the arch support is lacking, an expert reviewer reports.
  • A small number of disappointed consumers have width issues, noting that the sandals are too narrow for them.
  • A couple of wearers do not like that the stitching fell apart quickly.

Bottom line

The Keen Clearwater CNX is a reasonably priced sandal that provides stability, comfort, and ample traction. Users admire the shoe for being lightweight and versatile for various activities. The thin PU midsole lets users have a good feel of the ground. The toe protection and traction of the sandal in various ground conditions are exceptional.

Buyers are, however, disappointed with a few mishaps. Overall, its benefits overshadow its disadvantages.


Use: Multi-sport
Price: $100
Weight: Men: 9oz | Women: 7.7oz
Width: Men: Normal | Women: Normal
Brand: KEEN
Construction: Closed toe
Material: Rubber sole
Colorways: Grey, Brown, Blue, Black, Green, Purple, Orange
Small True to size Large
Tight Loose
Neutral Stable
Durability 9/10
Comfort 9/10
Traction 8/10
See more facts


A top rated hiking sandal
A top rated KEEN hiking sandal
Top 8% most popular hiking sandals

Expert Reviews

Experts are hikers, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

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92 / 100 based on 14 expert reviews

  • 100 / 100 | Avoiding Chores | | Level 1 expert

    If you are into the minimalist shoes, give these sandals a try. As I've said before, they are great as a camp shoe or just going around the house kind of deal.

  • 100 / 100 | Trail Magazine | | Level 1 expert

    It's a fantastic shoe. I would totally recommend it.

  • 73 / 100 | OutdoorGearLab | | Level 3 expert

    A tester favorite despite low expectations, the Clearwater is the Top Pick for adventure travel.

  • 90 / 100 | Outdoors Magic | Level 2 expert

    For someone that doesn’t really spend too much time wearing sandals due to a lifetime of wearing very poorly designed cheap pairs, I was thoroughly impressed by the Clearwater CNXs.

  • 100 / 100 | Rapid Media Staff | Level 1 expert

    Super lightweight shoes with heavyweight grip and comfort.

  • 100 / 100 | River Sports Magazine | | Level 1 expert

    One of the nice features about the Clearwater CNX is its versatility. From pavement to dirt to water, the Clearwater is constructed to shift with you.

Become an expert

  • CNX by Keen provides lightweight protection to the wearer’s toes. Marketed as “addition by subtraction,” this technology cuts down the weight of CNX products by 10 oz. while delivering support and comfort.
  • Keen’s signature toe protection, Keen.Protect, is also featured in this hiking sandal. It is designed to protect toes from accidental stubbing and striking. 
  • Cleansport NXT is a technology applied to various products and footwear to control odor. The Clearwater CNX uses this component to keep the foot fresh during perspiration.

The Keen Clearwater CNX sandal is for men and women. Its toe box is generous enough for adequate movement of the toes without pinching. The lacing system allows the sandal to conform to the shape of the foot without any pressure points.

The natural flexibility and enhanced ground contact of the Clearwater CNX come from its multi-directional flex grooves. It also has a non-marking rubber outsole for traction. Further improving its grip for tackling wet surfaces is its razor siping. As a continuation of the outsole, the Clearwater CNX features Keen.Protect–a toe cap that encloses the sandal's front end to safeguard the foot against accidental stubbing and injury.

The Clearwater CNX uses Keen’s proprietary lightweight PU midsole compound that creates long-term comfort and support. PU midsoles are known for their resistance to constant compression and impacts.

The durable TPU shank in this sandal enhances foot stability and provides additional support. It is lightweight and flexible. It flexes just enough for a natural movement of the foot without sacrificing support.

Keen Clearwater CNX has a 4mm midsole drop. This low-drop sandal has less interference on the natural mechanisms of the foot. Each stride is more efficient because the foot has more sensory information.

The contoured arch serves as additional midfoot support. It also features a metatarsal ridge configuration to further support the underfoot area.

The anti-odor capability of the footbed is care of the Cleansport NXT. Every square inch of fabric has selected microbes. They are bonded to the surface and lay dormant in the fibers until activated. Once activated through contact with an organic substance (sweat), the microbes will work to reduce odor by breaking it down.

The traditional Keen style plus washable polyester webbing comprises the upper of the Clearwater CNX. It is made of a hydrophobic mesh which repels away water, dries quickly and is lightweight. The washable polyester webbing allows breathability to a great extent.

Keen Clearwater CNX maintains a low-profile look with its bungee lacing system and pull-on tabs. The lacing system which uses a 2mm cord allows the user to easily adjust and get the right fit in the upper and midfoot area. Pull-on tabs located on the top of the heel and tongue allow for easy on and off.

  • Clearwater CNX is a washable product. Users can just toss it in a machine on a gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent. Allow the sandals to air dry.
  • Keen Clearwater CNX has a leather version for both men and women.
  • Low-drop footwear is the preference of minimalists.
  • Clearwater CNX sandals are PFC Free. PFC or Perfluorocarbons are found in many common household items and Durable Water Repellent (DWR) outdoor gear. PFC is an enemy of the environment. Studies show that exposure to PFC can cause testicular and kidney cancers. It can also lead to a decreased response to vaccines.
  • The pair was awarded “Best in Test” by the Wanderlust Travel Magazine.

Keen has a wide selection of sandals for hiking and those who are interested in getting a pair may find themselves struggling on what to choose between the Clearwater CNX and the Newport H2.

Upper. Both hiking sandals are designed to offer versatility and comfort on the trails. The brand’s engineers use a polyester webbing to encapsulate user’s foot without compromising durability and protection. Also, to enhance comfort on and off the trails, both the Clearwater CNX and the Newport H2 come with a hydrophobic mesh lining.

Upper protection. The brand-owned Keen.Protect is incorporated into both models. Those who are likely to traverse challenging and rocky trails may opt for the Newport H2 with its burlier toe cap. The Clearwater CNX is styled with less pronounced toe protection. 

Lacing system. The secure fit lace capture system—present on both models—permits easy on and off which also enables hikers to customize the fit. It is comprised of an elastic cord with a lock that secures the desired tension.

Stability. These lightweight multi-sport hiking sandals from Keen offer stability through the incorporation of a TPU shank underfoot. It supports the foot on bumpy terrain while still giving it a decent amount of flex.

Midsole. The Clearwater CNX is equipped with a polyurethane (PU) midsole. It has a high level of resilience; thus its ability to provide cushioning is longer lasting. Its 4 mm midsole drop allows hikers to feel more connected to the ground for enhanced sensitivity. On the other hand, the Newport H2 employs a compression-molded EVA midsole which is a lighter material than PU.

Outsole. These sandals from Keen use a non-marking rubber outsole. The Newport H2 comes with a thicker material than the Clearwater CNX. Both units are designed with razor siping to optimize the footgear’s grip on most types of terrain, especially on slick surfaces.