Versatile sandals that can handle just about anything you throw at it.
Putting the Newport H2’s To The Test
As I started my planning for my Epic Summer 2012 trip, I knew that I’d be dealing with some hot weather and looking at all the shoes that I owned, I didn’t really have anything that would fit the bill. I had my Merrell shoes that I bought for my Australia and New Zealand trip but that was meant to be for colder and milder weather that wouldn’t provide a lot of breathing. Everything else I had were running shoes, formal shoes or flip flops. I had nothing in between.
I was looking for a shoe that would provide me with some flexibility. I needed the grip for activities like trekking. I needed it to be waterproof so that I wouldn’t be scared of getting wet. I needed something breathable for the hot weather in the summer. I needed something comfortable because I’d be walking a lot.
I did some researching and started off with what are some packing tips for a trip to Southeast Asia. There were several recommendations there to get sandals. I thought that was brilliant because I wanted something like a flip flop but solid enough to endure hard-core walking. From there I turned to Amazon and started looking up sandals and basically as I do with most of my searches on Amazon – figure out which products have the most reviews.
This is when I discovered the Keen Newport H2 Sandal. The reviews were stellar with people boasting it as being one of the best pair of travel gear they’ve purchased or being the most comfortable shoe they’ve ever bought etc etc.
So I decided to bite and did some shopping around Toronto to see where I could buy it. I checked out Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) and they sold these shoes but just didn’t have the color combination that I wanted. I crossed the street to check out Europe Bound and they surprisingly had a pair at a lower price and a color combination that I was willing to accept. I originally wanted to get the dark grey/orange combo but the black/yellow suited me just fine.
How Good are They?
So I got to use these pair of sandals extensively throughout my 3 month journey across Asia and here are a few summarized points that you can take away:
- Versatility wise these shoes are great. They were great for the every day city walking and also for the more extreme activities like trekking to the hill tribes in Chiang Mai. I wasn’t afraid to push these shoes on the more difficult terrain because I knew I had the Vibram grip. As well on a few occasions I had to cross a stream and there was no way around not getting wet. These shoes were fearless and just stomped on through. No problem. As I said, extremely versatile.
- Handling the heat: Way better than closed shoes that’s for sure. My feet never really got sweaty in these. Case closed.
- Comfort. For the most part these shoes were comfortable and this is where I was slightly disappointed. The start of the day would always be fine but if I was walking literally from dawn to dusk in these and constantly on the go, towards the end of the day I think it had something to do with my feet swelling up that my right foot would start chafing against right side of my foot where it is widest. I chalk it up to weird feet because I do have wide feet and I guess one foot is bigger than the other. That was the only knock I had with the shoes after an extremely long day of walking or if I walked with these two days consecutively. On other occasions it was totally fine and extremely comfortable.
- Other bonuses: They’re light. They’re compact so you can stack both of them on top of each other and squeeze them down to a smaller size. They also have hook points at the end so many times I would just use a carabiner and hook them onto my pack.
- Looks: Hey I thought these looked great. I never liked the old school sandals that had a strap for your ankle, your toes and one strap that connects the two.