If you were expecting more of the same from Keen Sandals this year, prepare to be surprised. Whilst the old favourites such as the Keen Newport and Newport H2 range have been tweaked again with a wider choice of colour schemes, there have been a plethora of new styles added to the collection which have surprised us all.
If there is one thing you can count on from Keen, it is that their sandals will provide exceptional protection for the toes. It was Keen’s toe protection system which revolutionised water sports sandals in 2003, when the Keen Newport was originally launched. Ever since the chunky rubber toe bumpers have been a permanent feature of the entire range. This year marks a daring departure for the brand that created the hybrid sandal, with new models leaving the toes wide open to abuse.
It has to be said, that whilst the beefy bumpers protect the toes, they are not everybody’s cup of tea, and if you do not like a robust look to your footwear; options have previously been rather limited. Even when Keen released their first toe-post sandal, the Women’s Waimea, they couldn’t resist curling the toes up and adding their famous bumper.
It would now appear that the designer responsible for incorporating this iconic feature to the shoes has been on long term sick leave, as not one, but 4 models have been released as part of this year’s collection without even a hint of thick chunky rubber to protect the toes.
The his and hers Keen Daytona and Sarasota use an open toe design, although they stick to the tried and tested formula which have made Keen sandals such a success. The waterproof leather sandals have the look of the very first Keen sandal, the Newport, with the chunky razor sipped soles, drawstring laces, and thick side panels. Keen have opted for an all leather look, right down to a burnished leather footbed, but its all change underneath. Keen have replaced the compression moulded EVA foot frame, with a metanomical footbed of cork and latex, which still provides the comfort and cushioning, but has less of an impact on the environment.
The Keen La Paz is a brand new addition to the women’s range, and too lacks the Keen toe bumper. In fact, that’s not all the sandals lack. Chunkiness has been replaced with sleek minimalist styling, thick protective side panels with g-string thin straps, and even the outsole is razor thin. Another brand new flip-flop also joins the collection, using a similar amount of restraint when it comes to beefiness. The Keen Cabo offers an ultra feminine style with bright multi-coloured patterns and an EVA foam rubber footbed.
If you have never been one for beefy sandals, or want to have Keen comfort with a little more panache, this year’s collection is certainly worth a look, and with now over 80 models in the Keen collection you will certainly spoiled for choice this year, whether you are a fan of the toe bumper or find it a turn off.