A little while ago now I won the KEEN Playtime Tester competition over on facebook (thanks again to everyone who voted for my photo!). My prize was four pairs of KEEN shoes of my choice (along with a waterproof digital camera and a subscription to Trail magazine) – two from the Spring/Summer range, and two from the Autumn/Winter range. It wasn’t part of the deal, but I thought it would be rude not to give the KEENs I chose a mention here on Splodz Blogz… so here’s the first one.
Something I’ve never been and bought myself is walking sandals. And as it’s what KEEN seems to do well I decided to go for a pair of the KEEN Turia Sandals as my first free pair.
I’ve had these a little while now and have worn them a fair bit, but it wasn’t until today that I actually managed to take these where I really wanted to – the beach. I mean they are pretty much made for the sea and the sand, I just had to take these to their natural environment! I had a day off work so I took a drive over to Mablethorpe for some fresh air and exercise; I got some funny looks from others on the beach for taking loads of photos of my feet but never mind. I walked from Mablethorpe south along the beach to Sandilands and back. I walked just over 15km in them today – a combination of soft and hard sand, walking in the sea, and walking along the promenade.
On the sand on the beach (which gives your legs a really good work out – I can really feel it now) and concrete on the promenade, the sandals acted like any other good quality walking shoes. They were stable, had excellent grip, and felt like they were supporting my feet well. They have a number of KEEN technologies embedded within the design that help them here, such as the S3 support structure is engineered to support the foot on impact, dissipate shock and reduce your odds of twisting an ankle.
The benefit of these sandals over walking shoes, though, was that I could happily go paddling without taking these off! And so I did. I was really impressed with how the shoe let the water in and out, but never got squelchy, and how despite the addition of waves, my feet stayed secure inside the shoe without any slipping on the foot bed. These sandals gave me freedom to walk wherever I wanted.
Once back on dry land again the shoes remained comfortable as they were drying out, which thankfully didn’t take too long. Mostly, that is. I admit that I have a little sore patch on the side of my left foot, caused I think by some sand getting stuck and rubbing (and rubbing and rubbing). I believe it happened once the shoes were wet and I was walking along the promenade – I certainly couldn’t feel it while I was walking in the water. After a short while I didn’t notice it any more, but now I’m home I can feel a blister – rubbish. It is only a little one though and it won’t put me off wearing these sandals for a similar day out again, just not this week!
Another bit of tech in these shoes is Aegis Microbe Shield, which controls the bacteria and fungi that cause odors, stains and product deterioration. This is particularly important for a pair of shoes that is likely to get wet with your feet in them, and then dry out again still with your feet inside them… I, of course, have clean and sweet smelling feet (no comments please!), but I’m sure this means I don’t have to worry about turning anyone’s noses after wearing these all day.
What do you think to the looks? I really like the rugged utility look (I did choose these myself after all), and they totally look the part when by the water’s edge. But there is something a bit lop sided about them. They don’t look quite right, they’re not symmetrical, the lines seem a bit skew. Agree? Just me? There is almost certainly a reason the middle section of the sandal (looking down from above) doesn’t round off nicely at the end isn’t there? I expect so.
Oh, and for the record, that toe section is genius – I’m always stubbing my toes (which is probably why they’re pretty ugly and I have rubbish toe nails!) and I’m really well protected in these. Fantastic. Also very good is the locking elastic lacing system – I’ve not had shoes with this before and it really works. There’s some flex as you walk but they keep the sandals from moving about, and there are no cotton laces to get soaked through.
You’ll just about make out from this photo that I did give the sandals and socks thing a go too… my sincere apologies! I have been told by more than one person that KEEN sandals, because you don’t actually see much of the foot, can be worn with socks, and that they can be incredibly comfortable for day hikes with decent socks. I chose to add my pink walking socks to my outfit because after 15km in the sea and on the sand my feet needed some extra cushioning (actually they mainly needed warming up!) – I dried off my feet and donned my socks and sandals combination, and while I’m not sure I got away with the way it looked (if anyone noticed I’m sure they sniggered to themselves), it was an incredibly comfortable way to end my trip to the seaside.
These aren’t the sort of shoe I would choose for a casual wander around town, they have a purpose, and I honestly can’t wait to go back to the seaside and make use of them again.
The KEEN Turia Sandals are £79.99. If you are looking for a rugged trail sandal good for land and sea, definitely give these a try.