Verdict from 25 experts and 100+ user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • The KEEN Newport H2 gets excellent remarks from many satisfied owners for its amazing comfort. 
  • Quite a number of reviewers have praised the high level of traction this sandal provides on both wet and dry terrain.
  • The Newport H2 has excellent arch support, according to many satisfied users.
  • An expert and a handful of consumers lauds the sandal for providing great stability on uneven terrain.
  • A majority of buyers appreciate the sandal for its quick-drying characteristic.
  • This KEEN footwear requires minimal-to-no break-in time, based on scores of positive reviews.
  • The KEEN Newport H2 is feather-like, according to a combination of experts and numerous consumers.
  • Many wearers applaud the sandal for performing well against foot odor.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Quite a number of reviewers expect more from the Newport H2 in terms of durability. Many of these people report ankle strap stitching problems after only a few months of use.
  • Removing debris while wearing the sandal is quite impossible, according to some disgruntled owners.
  • A small percentage of users experienced excessive foot sweating with prolonged use of the sandal. 

Bottom line

With excessive amounts of comfort, support, and stability, KEEN’s Newport H2 can be considered among the must-buys. This exceedingly lightweight footwear provides exceptional traction and requires virtually zero break-in time. Its further upsides include a quick-drying upper, roomy toe box, and anti-odor footbed.

Many people, however, aren’t appreciative of the sandal’s below-average stitching and underperformance against intrusive debris. Overall, this KEEN sandal remains sought-after for all its pros.

Tip: see the best hiking sandals.

Good to know

  • The KEEN Newport H2 is a multi-sport sandal made of PFC-free materials. PFC, or perfluorinated compound, is a harmful substance that does not degrade when released into the environment. It is built with comfort and versatility in mind.
  • Previously, KEEN treated this sandal with Aegis Microbe Shield, a coating that mechanically destroys bacteria, mold, fungus, and germs. This time, the brand went with pro-biotic technology in fighting funk-causing agents. They now use Cleansport NXT—a natural odor-control agent.
  • KEEN’s designers built this product for taking on adventures that involve water. The sandal’s lightness is primarily linked to its polyester webbing upper which is both washable and fast drying.
  • Firm lockdown is achieved through KEEN’s Secure-fit Lace Capture system. This closure system makes use of stretchy cords for laces which are conveniently secured with an adjustable locking clip.
  • The curvy design and engineered thickness of the EVA midsole provide wearers stability and protection. It comes with a non-removable footbed for extra cushioning and support.
  • Newport H2’s surface grip is made possible by the reinforced rubber outsole and its multi-directional lugs. This textured outsole is also razor siped which contributes to the sandal’s traction.

This multi-sport sandal caters to male and female outdoor lovers. It is able to accommodate narrow feet thanks to the bungee lace system which permits users to customize the fit.

The Newport H2’s traction is chiefly provided by the sandal’s non-marking rubber outsole. It features low-profile, multi-directional lugs that allow the footgear to bite into uneven terrain and urban surfaces, whether wet or dry. The outsole also underwent razor siping. It is a process by which the sole is given precise incisions that provide extra grip when the footwear flexes during transitions and maneuvers. Additional traction during lateral movements is also possible as the designers placed extra lugs on the sides of the sole.

Acting as the sandal’s toe bumper is a reinforced rubber cap called KEEN. Protect. This patented toe guard gives forefoot protection and prevents toe injuries. The outsole wraps up, giving the sandal its streamlined front profile.

Giving wearers underfoot cushioning, shock absorption upon ground contact, and stability when navigating challenging terrain is the Newport H2’s compression-molded EVA midsole. This piece of rubber-like material has a decent amount of flex, allowing users to negotiate demanding trails with confidence. It also comes with a TPU stability shank—an embedded component that provides extra support and adds to the sandal’s flexibility.

The sandal’s Metatomical footbed—a KEEN-patented insole—cradles the foot with its contoured design and provides ample arch support. It is engineered to be odor-resistant. Its textured surface also prevents underfoot slippage.

Thanks to its polyester webbing upper, the KEEN Newport H2 is lightweight and flexible. Its quick-dry lining helps maintain the wearer’s mobility even after wading through shallow waters. Ankle lockdown is made easy by the sandal’s Secure-fit Lace Capture system. The laces are made of elastic cording which allows users to achieve a personalized fit. There’s a pull tab stitched at the top of the tongue and to the back of the heel strap that makes on and off convenient.

The Newport H2 uses the silhouette of the KEEN Newport sandal (the model which was officially launched at a Fall 2003 trade exhibition). The main difference between the two mentioned models is the upper material. The H2 version features a polyester webbing while the origin sandal’s upper is made of leather. The material choice renders the leather sandal more expensive (priced at $110) than the polyester webbing one.

Both models can perform in wet encounters. But according to KEEN, the H2 version is a better choice than the leather one if the user intends to submerge his or her feet in the water. This advice is also true for KEEN’s Venice line.

KEEN offers a wide range of multi-sport sandals and it can be confusing for online buyers to take their pick. This section focuses on the comparison between Newport H2 and Whisper features to help online buyers make a decision on their next hiking sandal purchase.

Product design. Both sandals are specifically built for adventures with water encounters. The main difference is that the Newport H2 is offered for both men and women, while the Whisper is just for female wearers. From this point on, only the women’s version of the KEEN Newport H2 will be compared with Whisper.

Upper. These sandals for hiking carry a feminine touch in their colorways. The Whisper, however, has a slimmer strap design than the KEEN women's Newport H2. Tabs for easy donning and doffing are found on both offerings. The KEEN logo can be seen on the lateral side, in the ankle area of these sandals. The materials used on the uppers of these products are washer-friendly.

Lining. KEEN markets both products for active use. Therefore, they went with a quick-dry lining. Even after water encounters and in case the users’ feet sweat, the interiors of these sandals are designed to dry fast.

Fit. Since KEEN Whisper is only offered to lady hikers, it is designed with a women-specific fit. However, both models are incorporated with a single-pull elastic cord (with a plastic lock) which permits customization of fit for optimized performance.

Midsole. Both sandals feature a compression-molded EVA midsole that’s complemented by a TPU stability shank. Buyers can expect the same amount of flexibility from these models.

Footbed. The KEEN Newport H2 and Whisper footbeds are non-removable. Both are incorporated with a Metatomical design so online purchasers can feel just about the same quality of underfoot support. Both are treated with the Cleansport NXT, an odor-fighting agent.

Outsole. The outsole patterns of these hiking sandals are completely different. The Newport H2 is noticeably blocky. It also has lugs designed for ground stability. Both ends have a wavy pattern designed for uphill and downhill trails. The Newport H2 also went through razor siping which makes it suitable for wet terrain and adherent on boat decks. On the other hand, the Whisper’s lug pattern is not as aggressive as the Newport H2. This design makes the Newport H2 more capable of tackling challenging terrain than the Whisper sandal. The common feature shared by these two products is the KEEN.Protect, the brand’s patented toe protector.

Another product that’s popularly compared with the Newport H2 is the KEEN Newport Hydro sandal. Since they use the same silhouette, most features and material placements are the same. In this section, we determine the difference between the two models.

Target market. Although both are known as water sandals from KEEN, the brand highlights the Hydro version for water sports such as boating, rafting, and kayaking. The Newport H2 is for users who expect water encounters during their walks, hikes, and other outdoor adventures. Both products are offered to male and female sandal wearers.

Upper. Unlike the Newport H2, the Newport Hydro is treated with PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR). This is a type of finish applied to footwear and clothing to make them hydrophobic. As a result, water will not saturate the fabric. Drops of water will just bead up on the surface and eventually roll off from the item. KEEN opted for a PFC-free coating to make the product safer for both the wearer and the environment.

Support system. The Newport H2 has a TPU shank which emphasizes stability. On the other hand, the Hydro version of the Newport is fixed with an ESS shank to grant lightweight support.

-The KEEN Newport H2 is washer-friendly. Wash the sandal with a small amount of detergent on gentle cycle. Let it air dry. If the pair will be washed by hand, use a mild soap and cold water. In case spot cleaning is necessary, the use of a soft cloth or stiff brush is recommended.

-The Metatomical footbed is a feature exclusive to KEEN. The company coined this term by combining the words metatarsals (the five long bones in the foot) and anatomical. Their designers built the insole on a last that takes the overall foot shape with greater emphasis on the first metatarsal joint.

-In case the closure system gets damaged, KEEN is offering their Bungee Lace Replacement Kit 3MM. The colors include black, light grey and brown. It is packaged in a yellow box with two laces, a set of hardware and an easy-to-follow illustrated guide.

-If some parts of the Newport H2 need to be fixed, the footwear company recommends looking for a reputable outdoor gear repair shop or cobbler because they don’t have a repair facility.

-Some users might wonder if the KEEN Newport H2 can be used for backpacking and thru-hiking (a hike that takes a long time to complete). According to Keen, backpackers pack these sandals for wet encounters and camp use.

-According to KEEN, although the Newport silhouette generally fits small since its conception, they only officially started suggesting going half size up when they changed manufacturing locations in the year 2003.


How KEEN Newport H2 ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 14% hiking sandals
All hiking sandals
Top 22% KEEN hiking sandals
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Top 15% water hiking hiking sandals
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The current trend of KEEN Newport H2.
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Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.