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Keen Kona Flip II Review

A great choice for eco minded individuals who appreciate a comfortable pair of flip flops.
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Price:  $50 List | Check Price at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  100% recyclable, comfortable, light, machine washable
Cons:  Poor traction and durability
Manufacturer:   Keen
By Brian Martin ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 19, 2019
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 14
  • Comfort - 30% 7
  • Versatility - 25% 5
  • Durability - 25% 5
  • Style - 10% 6
  • Traction - 10% 6

Our Verdict

Everyone has experienced the guilt of tossing out a well-loved pair of flip flops knowing the material was headed for a landfill where it would probably remain until the end of time or perhaps the eruption of the Yellowstone supermassive volcano. The Keen Kona Flip II, however, are not only comfortable, but they also help soothe the inevitable guilt when it comes time to ditch your flops. Made from 80% recycled material and being 100% recyclable themselves, the Kona's help close the loop. On top of being friendly to Johnny polar bear, they are comfortable and perform well in the wet. The drawbacks of the recycled materials are the lack of traction on smooth surfaces such as tile or hardwood flooring and how fragile the flip flops are when walking on sharp rock


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Keen Kona Flip II
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award   
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$74.95 at Amazon
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$55.97 at Amazon$49.93 at REI
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$85 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros 100% recyclable, comfortable, light, machine washableComfortable, durable, good in waterLightweight, great for hikingComfortable, versatile, stylish, great arch supportComfortable, durable, classy
Cons Poor traction and durabilityHeavyExtra straps can get in the wayHeavy, expensiveExpensive
Bottom Line Comfortable flip flops that are both made from recycled materials and are recyclable when you're done.Super comfortable and capable sandals as at home on the beach as they are at camp.Option heel and arch straps make this contender super secure and great for hiking.Take these flops everywhere and your feet will love you for it.More at home at the waterfront than high in the mountains, these flops still have great support and traction.
Rating Categories Keen Kona Flip II Olukai Hokua Astral Filipe Olukai Ohana Chaco Marshall
Comfort (30%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
Versatility (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
Durability (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Style (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
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9
Traction (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
Specs Keen Kona Flip II Olukai Hokua Astral Filipe Olukai Ohana Chaco Marshall
Weight (ounces) 15 oz 19 oz 14 oz 17 oz 16.6 oz
Footbed Material EVA ICEVA EVA ICEVA Leather
Sole Material EVA Gum rubber Rubber Gum rubber ChacoGrip rubber
Strap Material Polyester Leather Polyester webbing Synthetic Leather
Sizes 7 - 15 7 - 15 8-13 7 - 18 7-15
Return Policy 30 days free return One year warranty against manufacturer's defects Free returns One year warranty against manufacturer's defects Free returns if not worn/used

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Keen Kona flip flops are simple and comfortable but have some traction issues on hard surfaces. Overall we like them and have to admit that keeping the environment in mind by making them recyclable is highly appealing. Typically flip flops don't last nearly as long as lace-up shoes and thus create an unimaginable amount of waste. Keep in mind most flip flops are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which isn't recyclable and releases compounds that are toxic to humans and animals alike when they do slowly break down.

Performance Comparison


An overall comfortable pair of flip flops that are Johnny polar bear approved.
An overall comfortable pair of flip flops that are Johnny polar bear approved.

Comfort


While kicking the sustainability bar up a notch, the Konas retain a high level of comfort. The compression-molded EVA midsole felt like it was molded to our foot right out of the box. Upon initial viewing, the Kona appears to have excessive curvature and an odd amount of rise in the toe box. But, when you put the flip flops on, the curvature makes total sense. As you walk, the flip flop rolls with your step, which takes out a significant amount of audible flopping when compared to other flatter designs.

The molded footbed and solid arch support make the Kona as comfortable as it is friendly to the environment.
The molded footbed and solid arch support make the Kona as comfortable as it is friendly to the environment.

Versatility


The Konas are made to tackle the variable terrain of Island life, but they adapted pretty well to desert life too. The water-friendly non-absorbent materials dry extremely fast after fording across creeks, and they didn't seem to create any noxious odors over time. The recyclable and lightweight EVA and rubber translate to good packability for backpacking. Unfortunately, the materials are also a bit slippery on hard surfaces like granite slabs or wood floors, which detracts from overall versatility.

Pine boughs and leafy trails are a bit slippery in the Konas.
Pine boughs and leafy trails are a bit slippery in the Konas.

Durability


Throughout our testing period, we attempted to put ourselves in the mindset of the designers of the Kona. Working with recycled materials and making a flip flop that is completely recyclable relegated them to using certain types of rubber and foam. The result is a reasonably durable flip flop that does break down faster than some of its heavy-duty competition.

The airy rubber that comprises the outsole of this flip was visibly damaged by the end of our testing. Little knicks and chunks were taken out, but the overall shoe was still entirely usable with lots of life remaining. It is important to know that you may not get the same life out of these as other similar flip flops. On the upside, and it's a big upside, when you have worn through this flip, they are entirely recyclable, which trumps the extra few months you will get from another pair.

Apart from the relatively vulnerable foam material  the Konas are well made and didn't show any sign of delamination or flaws in construction.
Apart from the relatively vulnerable foam material, the Konas are well made and didn't show any sign of delamination or flaws in construction.

Style


The Kona is best suited for action, not for impressing. That's not to say it isn't a good looking flip flop, just that it looks more at home on the beach or hiking through the rainforest than it does as casual footwear around town. The nylon strapping gives it a "Chaco"-esqe look, which will surely gain some notoriety within certain crowds.

The distinct outdoor styling of the Kona looks good. Not only did we like the appearance of the curvy lines  but they also follow a very functional molded foot contour.
The distinct outdoor styling of the Kona looks good. Not only did we like the appearance of the curvy lines, but they also follow a very functional molded foot contour.

Traction


One of our biggest gripes with the Kona is its lack of traction relative to the more environmentally destructive brands of flip flops. The materials result in a lightweight/less dense rubber sole, which doesn't feel as tacky on a variety of surfaces. Traction on trails and sand is great, but smooth surfaces such as granite slabs, hardwood floors, or tile can be treacherous when wet.

The solid grey portion of the sole on the Kona is the culprit for our traction gripes. If the slippery grey foam was replaced with the grippier ribbed black rubber they may inspire more confidence underfoot.
The solid grey portion of the sole on the Kona is the culprit for our traction gripes. If the slippery grey foam was replaced with the grippier ribbed black rubber they may inspire more confidence underfoot.

Value


The Kona isn't super cheap, and several aspects leave a bit to be desired. That said, if you factor in the environmental component, this is probably the best value of any flip flop available as it is the only one to be completely recyclable. If we ignore the environmental factor, as many of us find it so easy to do, the price isn't as justified solely by the performance of the flip flops.

Conclusion


If you care about the environment and have realized, as we have, that flip flops are dumped into landfills by the billions each year, the Kona is a great solution. While they might not be the best performing flip flop on the market, purchasing something recyclable will send a message to corporations that we are thinking about sustainability and that recyclable flip flops are a positive step.

As the only environmentally conscious offering we tested  the Kona did pretty dang good throughout the various challenges we threw at it.
As the only environmentally conscious offering we tested, the Kona did pretty dang good throughout the various challenges we threw at it.


Brian Martin