Made of lightweight materials. They don't have much top-of-the-foot coverage so they're mostly suitable for well-maintained trails and summer hikes. Also useful for crossing rivers and streams. They come in open and closed-toe designs. See the best hiking sandals.
The low-cut equivalent of hiking boots. Comfort is paramount in the creation of these shoes so they often have flexible materials. Generally used for day hikes. See hiking shoes.
Mid to high-cut models designed for more aggressive hikes and backpacking. See hiking boots.
Specialized footwear. Often insulated and used in technical routes, ice climbing or expeditions. See mountaineering boots.
Good to know
For hikes that won't last for more than a day, go with hiking sandals or hiking shoes. Tackling trails with greater challenges will require hiking boots or mountaineering boots.
For multi-day trips with a heavy pack. Manufacturers emphasize durability and support in the creation of backpacking boots. See backpacking boots
Designed for users who want to cover a greater distance by going fast, usually with a light pack. See speed hiking shoes.
Boots that grant insulation to the user during hikes. See winter hiking boots.
Mainly sandals. Aside from hiking they can be used for other purposes such as water activities. See multi-sport hiking sandals.
Good to know
Casual hikers can choose day hiking footwear or multi-sport sandals. More info here.
WeightMen: 9ozWomen: 7.7oz
WidthMen: NormalWomen: Normal
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93 / 100 based on 14 expert reviews
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.
It's a fantastic shoe. I would totally recommend it.
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.
A tester favorite despite low expectations, the Clearwater is the Top Pick for adventure travel.
Updates to Keen Clearwater CNX
- 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 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.
Keen Clearwater CNX size and fit
The Keen Clearwater CNX sandal generally runs true to size. The men’s and women’s versions are available in whole and half sizes. 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 Clearwater CNX vs. Keen Newport H2
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.