Verdict from 14 experts and 100+ user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • A majority of sandal-loving hikers praise the KEEN Whisper’s satisfactory comfort. 
  • The sandal has received aces from a large percentage of reviewers for its lightweight build.
  • Its quick-drying upper is a definite plus for many wearers.
  • A couple of experts commend this sandal’s durability, and many consumers couldn’t agree more.
  • The KEEN Whisper requires minimal-to-zero break-in time, based on a number of user reviews.
  • Many hikers find the sandal’s grip on inclined surfaces quite impressive.
  • According to the testers of a reputable gear review website, they feel mightily secure with the Whisper’s sturdy toe cap. 
  • According to a lot of impressed verified purchasers, putting it on and taking it off is effortless.

3 reasons not to buy

  • A good number of buyers were left in disdain after discovering the sandal’s narrow width.
  • Many loyal KEEN patrons were not too thrilled about the Whisper’s insufficient arch support.
  • Some owners didn’t like the performance of the heel strap. They said that their heels slipped through the vent hole below the strap numerous times.

Bottom line

The KEEN Whisper is an undeniably comfortable hiking sandal that excels in durability. It’s a lightweight footgear with a fast-drying upper and grippy outsole. Its almost non-existent break-in time and protective toe box make it even more praiseworthy.

It’s not all hits for the Whisper, however, as issues with its width, arch support, and heel straps are misses that cannot be ignored. To summarize, this lightweight hiking sandal from KEEN seems to scream a lot of advantages.

Tip: see the best hiking sandals.

Good to know

-The KEEN Whisper is a hiking sandal that, at its core, is built for comfort and mobility. The upper’s polyester webbing with hydrophobic lining has numerous vent holes that promote breathability.

-It has a quick lacing system that comes complete with a clip mechanism. The elastic cord goes through loops which are directly stitched to the upper’s polyester webbing.

-Regarding extra protection, KEEN designed the Whisper to have a sturdy toe cap. This protective bumper shields the toes from stubbing and injuries.

-Comfort and stability are provided by the midsole which also gives the sandal its sleek profile. Sitting atop this unit is a Metatomical EVA footbed which offers arch support.

-The Whisper’s outsole, on the other hand, is a single-build construction that grants the footwear traction on various surface types. It is also non-marking.

KEEN’s Whisper is a sandal that is designed for the female hiker. The designers constructed the sandal using a female-specific last. The forefoot zone is spacious which gives the toes ample wiggle room.

Custom fit is made possible by the closure system’s elastic laces. When users adjust the tension using this system, the loops across the foot tighten. This mechanism comfortably hugs the foot, especially in the ankle area. It also prevents heel slippage.

Giving the KEEN Whisper traction on rugged terrain and urban surfaces is its non-marking outsole. It’s a grippy, single-piece rubber that features multi-directional lugs and extends all the way to the upper’s forefoot zone. This extension of the outsole acts as a protective barrier against forefoot injuries and toe bumps.

With its compression-molded ethylene-vinyl acetate or EVA midsole, the Whisper renders cushioning and stability at the same time. It runs thick, especially around the heel zone for added comfort and comes with a TPU stability shank for extra support. TPU or thermoplastic urethane is a rubber material characterized by flexibility, high resilience, and wear and tear resistance among other things.   

Providing comfort alongside the cushy midsole is the sandal’s non-removable, Metatomical EVA footbed. This insole is engineered with Cleansport NXT—a technology that fights odor on a micro level. It is also textured for extra underfoot grip.

The KEEN Whisper’s stitched upper is a combination of polyester and hydrophobic mesh materials. This combination makes the sandal breathable, lightweight, and washer-friendly. Breathability is also achieved through the upper’s numerous vent holes.

KEEN’s secure fit lace capture system is the footwear’s primary source of ankle lockdown. It makes lacing up a smooth experience, thanks to its elastic speed laces, loop eyelets, and an adjustable locking clip.

On the back of the heel, the sandal comes with a pull tab for easy on and off. Reinforcing the forefoot zone of the Whisper, on the other hand, is a toe guard.

Both the KEEN Whisper and Newport sandals are great options for people looking for sturdy lightweight sandals. Below are their major differences.

Upper. The Whisper has a polyester webbing upper while the Newport has leather. Nevertheless, both models are waterproof and are machine washable.

Lining. These lightweight hiking sandals from KEEN come with a lining. Whisper is designed with a hydrophobic mesh which means it does not absorb water easily. On the other hand, the quick-dry lining of the Newport enables it to tackle a range of outdoor activities.

Lacing system. The brand’s very own secure fit lace capture system is incorporated on both models. This feature allows easy on and off and permits quick adjustment of fit.

Midsole. To provide lightweight cushioning, both hiking sandals wear a compression-molded ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole. It cushions each step to give wearers a comfortable ride.

Footbed. Underfoot, these sandals for hiking carry a metatomical footbed design. This element conforms to the shape of the foot and provides arch support. With the Newport, it has a microfiber footbed cover which enhances comfort.

Outsole. A non-marking rubber outsole makes these sandals from KEEN grip on a variety of terrain. With the Newport, its outsole has razor siping which comes in handy during water activities. It optimizes grip on wet surfaces, preventing slips.

Availability. The KEEN Whisper is a women’s-only hiking sandal. On the other hand, Keen’s Newport has options for men and women. Both models are offered in standard width only.

-The KEEN Whisper may be machine washed with a small amount of detergent. Wash the footwear on a gentle cycle then air dry.

-The brand engineers developed the Metatomical footbed which adapts to the anatomical design of hiker’s foot. It puts emphasis on the metatarsal joints which are more prone to pressure. Also, the term Metatomical is coined from the fusion of metatarsals + anatomical design.

-The brand’s name is visible on the lateral side of the sandal, mid-portion of the outsole and at the locking clip of its lacing system. Its logo is embossed on the triangular plastic end of the cord.

-In one article published by KEEN (the tips for choosing the best water sandals), experts recommended the Whisper as an overall good choice for extreme paddling which also includes whitewater kayaking and rafting. They indicated that its sensitivity to the ground could help outdoor enthusiasts find a stable footing.

-KEEN offers replacement laces that are available through their website. The bungee lace replacement kit (3 mm) is a set that replaces the secure fit lacing system (used in the Whisper hiking sandal). This package includes two laces, hardware that holds the cord in place, and how-to instructions.

-On the other hand, those who can’t find the replacement lace they need, may send an email to and indicate “lace request” on the subject line. The brand also instructed to include a photo of the shoe with the needed lace type.


How KEEN Whisper ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 12% hiking sandals
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Top 18% KEEN hiking sandals
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Top 10% water hiking hiking sandals
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The current trend of KEEN Whisper.
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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.