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Reviews > Footwear > Sandals > KEEN Newport Hydro Sandals > Test Report by joe schaffer

Keen Newport Hydro Sandal

Test Report by Joe Schaffer

INITIAL REPORT - May 15, 2018
FIELD REPORT - July 6, 2018
LONG TERM REPORT - September 6, 2017
NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 70
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

     I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.

Product: Newport shoesHydro Sandal

Manufacturer:  Keen, Inc
        Features: (from website)
            •Secure-fit lace-capture system
            •ESS shank offers lightweight support
            •Multi-directional lug pattern
            •PFC-free durable water repellent
            •Cleansport NXT™ for natural odor control
            •Quick-dry lining and PFC-free water-repellent webbing that's completely washable
            •Metatomical Footbed Design
            •This internal support mechanism is anatomically engineered to provide excellent arch support and cradle the natural contours of the foot.
            •Non-marking rubber outsole leaves no trace
            •Compression-molded EVA midsole for cushioning

            Small amount of detergent, wash on gentle cycle and air dry.

             Steel Grey/Paloma (requested and received)
             Dress Blues/Steel Grey
             Mulch/Dark Earth
             Antique Bronze/Safari
             Duck Green/Darkest Spruce
       Sizes: US Men's 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 11.5, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

My Specs:  US Men's 9
        Weight:  L: 13 3/4 oz (397 g)
                      R: 14 oz (397 g)
                      Both: 1 lb 11 3/4 oz (787 g)
             Length: 11 in (27.9 cm)
             Toe box width: 4 15/16 in (12.54 cm)
             Max Height: 4 1/2 in (11.43 cm)
MSRP: $100 US

Received: May, 2018

My Description:
    The Newport Hydro is a webbing sandal with an industrial-strength toe boot. The ankle collar is one piece with a slight amount of elasticity built into the front part of the collar. The collar anchors to the footbed in line with the ankle bone. Three webbing straps attach to the forefoot. Three smaller fabric straps connect to the toe, under a heavy rand covering the front of the shoe. All webbing has an inner liner. This liner crosses over the top of the foot to form a fixed tongue, onto which is sewn an outer fabric extending from the top of the sandal to the three toe connections. The toe has a small webbing loop at the center to anchor elastic cord that runs through the four main webbing loops on each side, terminating at the top with a cord lock for adjustment. The top of the tongue has a pull loop, as does the center back of the ankle collar. The tread is heavily lugged, with a special feature of cross-width lugging at the toe and heel.

   Wearing them around the house for an hour or so they feel pretty good. This almost surprises me as I NEVER wear shoes without socks and I expected my tender skin would get upset. Evidently the soft liner behind the webbing does the job. I tried to slip a socked foot in one and could not, so I'm glad it appears I don't need any. (No, I don't tuck in my tee shirt.)
    I don't see backpacking in them. For camp shoes they are heavy and require focus and both hands to get on. They look perfect for swift water crossings. I am particularly keen to the massive amount of toe protection. The designer has evidently discovered how much it hurts, especially in cold water, for the foot to slip and smash toes in between two rocks. (Pains me to think about it!)
   My foot finds plenty of room in the sandal. I would say the size runs large. I like the wide toebox. The heel seems to fit my foot very nicely. The ankle collar makes for a snug squeeze to get the foot in, such that I will be testing how much use the stretch laces can be. The soft lining feels good--I'm eager to see how quickly it dries.


Field Conditions:

    1. May 16, 2018: Garin Regional Park, Bay Area, California. 3 mi (5k) walk on mostly dirt and gravel. Dry, 70 F (21 C).
    2. May 18, 2018: Coyote Hills, Bay Area, California. 3 mi (5k) walk on mostly paved trail. Dry, 70 F (21 C).
    3. May/June;July, 2018: Local sidewalks/parks. Dry. 70 F (21 C).
    4. May 23-29, 2018: Emigrant Wilderness, California, USA. One night car camping and 5 nights backpacking. 10 mi (16 km); leave weight 40 lb (18 kg). Temps 40-70 F (4-21 C), partly sunny to cloudy and raining, light wind. Six stream crossings.water crossing
    5. June 6-9, 2018: Stanislaus National Forest, California. Four days/20 hours as camp shoes on 10 mi (15 km) backpacking trip. 5,000 - 5,200 ft (1,525 - 1,585 m). Leave weight 36 lb (16 kg). Temps 45-70 F (7-21 C). Dry, no wind. No water crossings.
    6. June 15-21, 2018: Emigrant Wilderness, California. Six nights/mornings/40 hrs of camp wearing during a 28 mi (45 km) backpacking trip. 7,150-9,300 ft (2,180-2,835 m). Leave weight 36 lb (16 kg)/return 30 lb (14 kg). Temps 35-75 F (2-24 C). No wind or rain. One water crossing.
    7. June 23-29, 2018. Emigrant Wilderness, California. Six nights/mornings of camp use with 52 hrs wearing. 12 mi (19 k) backpacking trip. Camping at 7,100-7,600 ft (2,160-2,315 m). Leave weight 41 lb (19 kg), return 31 lb (14 kg). Temps 45-80 F (7-27 C). No wind or rain. No wet crossings.

    It seems only fair to note the closest I ever come to sandals in backpacking gear (or at all) is flip-flops for summer camp shoes.

    1. On this maiden voyage for the sandals, probably exceeding the combined total of all other sandal hikes I've ever done, I found the footbed exceedingly comfortable to stand in and fully satisfactory for isolation from rubble intrusion. The lining was smooth and comfortable, causing not the slightest bit of irritation in the sockless two hours I had them on, including an hour of hiking. My foot felt completely stable. (But not entirely safe when I encountered a small rattlesnake.) Cattle run in the area, making trails lumpy, but I had no ankle strains. I hosed the shoes down at home; lining took a day and a half to dry inside the house at about 66 F (19 C).
    2, 3. The most noticeable part of these hikes on asphalt and cement is how much cushioning the footbed/sole offers. The shoe is very comfortable to walk in.
    4. Of course my key trait for a water sandal would be reliable wet footing. Lily Creek was no raging torrent, but running robustly and cold, about 30 ft (10 m) across and shy of knee deep at the maximum. Sierra streams are typically clear, making it is possible to see where the feet are going. I made three crossings going and three coming to ferry my pack and then return for my partner and her pack. The stream bed is rocks from about the size of oranges to watermelons with fairly clean surfaces, most not very attached to their surrounding; and in water that was snow about ten minutes earlier. At my age and disposition I would be reluctant to wade a stream running any more aggressively. I found the grip satisfactory. I felt no worry about losing a sandal. No bruises, scrapes, torn nails or ankle strains. I have a few times encountered faster, deeper water, but I feel this was a good test to form a reasonable conclusion that the sandal stays put on the foot and provides reliable traction in swift current.
    On lesser matters, I'd worn the sandals all day driving, meeting familial obligations along the way and at last lounging in car camp in the evening. I didn't wear socks, and found the sandals very comfortable.
    An earlier impression formed that the sandals are hard to get on. The one-piece stretchy ankle collar does make foot ingress a little cumbersome, though there is no strap to buckle or pull and that's some formidable compensation. I also discovered in my nighttime sorties from the tent that the foot can be stuffed into the sandal, leaving the heel to smash down the back part of the heel strap.
    I am given to a curious overall impression, though. These are water sandals. I rate them highly for that. But then in camp they are wet and stay wet for the evening. That is not so good as my feet get cold. I would prefer less comfort in the sandal upper in exchange for faster drying. I believe that means having no liner on the webbing. I don't want sandals for trekking, only for crossing streams and as camp shoes. So I wish they were lighter and dried faster and could be opened up to slip on and off easier.
    Backpacking in sandals has never seemed a good idea to me. My partner used to all the time. She averaged a spill a trip. Most of these were caused by a root or vine or stick getting caught under her toes. She once went down so hard, smacking her head on a rock, that she still wasn't moving in the time it took me to run back to her. Now when she reminisces about how much she misses her sandals, I tell her to look in the mirror and contemplate how many more scars like that she'd want on her cheek. This speaks to the importance of the closed toe, and I have mandated that if she wants to go back to sandals, we need to get her the Hydro.

    5. This trip I used the sandals as Cherry Xingcamp wear only, without much walking about.

    6. Cherry Creek was about 30 ft (10 m) across, flowing mildly and a foot (30 cm) deep. The bed was mostly gravel and sand with very little debris. The crossing was unremarkable, but unavoidably wet.
    One day on this trip I did a two-mi (3 k) scamper up a wonderful lump of granite from about 8,900 ft to 9,300 ft (2,700-2,835 m). I did not wear socks and crossed no snowdrifts or water. Sections were so steep that while the grip held to the granite, my foot slipped inside the shoe. I'm thinking these sandals run at least a half-size bigger than I'd expect, plus my right foot is a half-size shorter than the left. Consequently as my foot got sweaty on the footbed, on steep steps up my right little toe would pop out of the sandal between the webbing ribs and then get caught outside when the pressure came off the foot. I didn't like that very much. I also had the feeling that my well-being was dependent on the integrity of the heel strap alone. Admittedly the strap seems unlikely to give way, but if it did under such a circumstance my foot would squirt right out of the shoe.

    7. I carried the sandals expecting Pine Valley to be sloppy wet, but it was dry and dusty. I had no occasion to require the sandals in water crossings and used them only for camp shoes. I did have an exciting moment in them when I was standing in Lily Creek for the fun of it and a two-foot (2/3 m) snake slithered (can they actually slither under water?) by. Fortunately it did not seem interested in the sandals and my head was above water when I gasped. (A biologist buddy latter helped me ID the serpent in a photo lineup as an aquatic garter snake; more common at lower elevations but not venomous no matter how triangular the head may appear.)

As city walkers: I'd rate a grade of A. Terrific suspension, great comfort, lots of ventilation, no chance of toe-stubbing.

As granite scramblers: Not to suggest sandals make sense here, I'd give the Hydro an A-. Traction is gripping. Scrounging the granite for firewood I found myself taking stupidly steep steps down encumbered with an armload of wood. No slips. There is some give in the upper that a purposed scrambler would not have; enough to be concerning on the uphill.

As camp shoes: Not so hot here, D at best. They take a long time to dry and they're cold when wet. I packed them on the outside in warm and sunny weather for as long as two hours and the liner was still soggy. They're too heavy, and sometimes part of the weight (yes, piling on the grumping here) is water I can't even drink. It is possible to stuff the foot in, but I find it's actually easier to slip into a widely opened boot. With socks (I guess that's heresy) they are certainly comfortable enough for all camp use.

As water crossers: Because I really don't like the one-piece ankle collar, I'll rate the sandals B here. Wet traction is great and the sandal seems entirely secure--no concern the current might pull them free or wash my foot off a rock. But to make them secure requires tightening the lacing to max. That clamps the foot down on the sole so that gravel and grit cannot be flushed out, requiring removal of the sandal and that's a pain--it's really hard to get the wet sandal back on a cold, wet foot. I had absolutely no issues bumping or scraping my feet on rocks, but in the icy water the nerve endings seem to come alive ever more and resent intrusion of pebbles. To ford a creek and remove them, yes they work great for a safe crossing. To spend time cavorting in the streambed, insinuated grit just makes that too uncomfortable.

Wearing stats to date: 203 hours / 26 mi (42 km)

Field Conditions:
6. Aug 7-9, 2018. Loon Lake, California. Two nights car camping at 6,400 ft (1,950 m). Temps 90-50 F (32-10 C). Smoky and hot.
7. Continuing occasions of urban wear.

    6. This trip involved a lot of driving, a little bit of walking about and a lot of camp lounging. As previously noted, I find the shoes very comfortable to walk in; not so easy to slip on and off for nature calls during the night. I did a little bit of lake walking on rip-rap and boulders. They held grip well. They seem heavy, but did not pull me under.

Total wearing: 263 hrs / 34 mi (55 k)

SUMMATION: Safe sandal in fast water.

Quick shots:
    a) comfortable fit
    b) great traction
    c) hard to get on
    d) heavy
Thank you Keen and for the opportunity to test this product. The test is now completed.

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Reviews > Footwear > Sandals > KEEN Newport Hydro Sandals > Test Report by joe schaffer

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