Our verdict

With excessive amounts of comfort, support, and stability, we find the Newport H2 a KEEN's must-buy. This lightweight footgear also provides us with exceptional traction and requires virtually zero break-in time. It comes with a few misfires, yes, but based on performance alone during our wear tests, the Newport H2 is hard not to love.

Pros

  • Versatile for various hikes
  • Exceptionally plush
  • Incredible grip level
  • Stable and supportive
  • Day-one comfort
  • Easy and fast to lace up
  • Quick-drying
  • Stink-proof

Cons

  • Heavier than average
  • Traps debris

Audience verdict

90
Great!

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Who should buy the KEEN Newport H2

With the navigational freedom of hiking sandals and protectiveness mostly seen in trail shoes, the Newport H2 is a compelling product as far as versatility is concerned. It is a solid option if:

  • you're someone who likes boulder-hopping around streams
  • you want a sandal with that's cushioned like a shoe
  • you're after an amphibious sandal that doesn't get smelly

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Who should NOT buy it

If stitched uppers make you feel uneasy durability-wise, we advise skipping the Newport H2 and trying the stringy KEEN Uneek instead.

Also, we vouch for the Chaco Z/Cloud if you're looking for a more open hiking sandal.

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Comfy from day one and for many miles

Right from the get-go, we experienced the jaw-dropping comfort delivered by this hiking sandal.

With the amount of cushioning packed into it, the KEEN Newport H2 can easily compete with hiking shoes. We measured its heel thickness at 29.4 mm (6.7 mm thicker than average). For reference, the average heel height of hiking sandals is 22.7 mm, and of hiking shoes - 33 mm.

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Not only is the cushioning thick, but it is also heavenly plush. The midsole layer which comes in contact with the foot is made of softer foam. Based on our durometer measurements, it is 21% softer than the bottom foam and 35% softer than cushioning foams in sandals on average.

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Disclaimer: We repeat the durometer measurement four times and then calculate the average for our final result. The photo above shows one of the measurements.

The bottom cushioning layer, which comes in contact with the ground, is consequently firmer, to create a stable and protective platform. And yet, it also turns out to be softer than average (by 12%).

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This is the kind of sandal that could easily replace a hiking shoe for a long day of hiking and travelling.

No place for stink

We also discovered that this sandal performs well against foot odour. Despite being burlier than other sandals, the Newport H2 kept our feet very well aerated.

KEEN Newport H2 (left) vs. Merrell Moab 3 (right)

Won't let you slip

We are impressed with the sandal's high level of traction, whether on wet surfaces or dry terrain.

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We noticed that the razor-siped sole provides insane traction.

We must say, 4.1 mm is a serious lug depth for a hiking sandal! This puts the Newport H2 in a row with hiking shoes (average lug depth: 4.3 mm)

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Surefooted steps in the KEEN Newport H2

The sandal also provided us with great stability and arch support on uneven terrain.

The shockingly wide platform of this KEEN sandal plays a key part in making it feel so stable. Using a pair of callipers, we measured the widest parts of its sole in both the forefoot and the heel.

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The Newport ended up even wider than some of the winter hiking boots! It is 121.1 mm wide in the forefoot and 88.8 mm wide in the heel.

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In our roster, it is only second to the insulated Columbia Bugaboot III (124.6 mm and 97.5 mm respectively).

...but you have to make peace with its stiffness

Of course, you cannot expect the same level of flexibility from this kind of sandal when compared to the more minimal Teva Original Universal.

Whether you bend it or twist it, it feels stiff either way. In our manual assessment, we rated both parameters as 3 out of 5 (where 5 is the stiffest).

The same is observed in our controlled lab test of flexibility. It took 68%(!) more effort to bend the shoe to a 90-degree angle than the average, based on our resistance gauge.

Disclaimer: We take four gauge measurements in total and then calculate the average to get the final number. The video above shows one of such measurements.

Weight is the price to pay

Unfortunately, having such an abundance of cushioning and support has to be compensated for. In the case of KEEN Newport H2, it comes in the weight department.

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Tipping the scales at 13.4 oz (381g) in a men's US 9, it is among the heavier hiking sandals on the market (11.1 oz/314g is the average).

Once debris get inside, you have to take it off

We found that removing dirt and other foreign elements from the sandal without taking it off is a real nuisance.

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Good thing it uses a bungee lacing system which makes it quick and effortless to get the sandal on and off.

KEEN Newport H2 vs. Newport

The Newport H2 uses the same silhouette as the KEEN Newport (officially launched at a Fall 2003 trade exhibition). The main difference between the two models lies in the upper. The H2 version has polyester webbing confines, while the base model has a leather shell. The Newport is more expensive than the synthetic H2 by roughly £20.

Both models can perform in wet conditions. That said, KEEN sees the H2 version as the better choice since its synthetic upper is more hydrophobic (it flushes out moisture more effectively).

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