The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

KEEN Rose Review

This model is comfortable and simple, but it's not a top technical performer
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $90 List | Check Price at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable, extra toe protection, quick to adjust
Cons:  Bulky, non-adjustable toe box, slippery footbed
Manufacturer:   Keen
By Joanna Trieger ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 16, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 14
  • Comfort - 20% 7
  • Traction - 20% 6
  • Adjustability - 20% 4
  • Stability - 15% 6
  • Versatility - 15% 5
  • Style - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The KEEN Rose is a simple, comfortable sandal that, like most KEENs, features an enclosed toe box. While this model looks rugged, it performed toward the bottom of the pack in terms of traction, stability, and versatility, and its major downfall is that it can only be adjusted via a fairly narrow Velcro ankle strap. Since the rest of the sandal is non-adjustable, it either fits or it doesn't. Those looking for a comfortable, casual, around-town sandal may want to consider the Rose, but better technical performance can be found elsewhere.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Like its siblings, the KEEN Rose is one of the few close-toed models in our review. This provides more protection against roots and rocks on trails, but the lack of adjustment points and the general clunkiness of this sandal make it tough to love.

Performance Comparison


The Rose can handle light outdoor activities.
The Rose can handle light outdoor activities.

Comfort


The KEEN Rose is comfortable right out of the box and doesn't require any time to break in. With a squishy footbed and materials that (mostly) feel good against the skin, the Rose is a comfy option for hanging out around the house or campsite. The one exception is the ankle strap — this is the only point of adjustment on the sandal, but it sits high on the top of the foot and tends to dig into the skin when tightened with any real tension.

Like most of the KEEN models in our review, the Rose doesn't have an adjustable toe box, so the width of your foot will determine how comfortable you feel in this sandal. This model does run wide, but those with exceptionally wide feet may find the full-coverage, non-adjustable straps constricting.

While this might not be the fashion statement of the century  rocking this model with some toasty socks kept our tester's feet cozy in the backcountry.
While this might not be the fashion statement of the century, rocking this model with some toasty socks kept our tester's feet cozy in the backcountry.

Traction


The Rose is an average scorer in this category. The rubber outsole features funky multidirectional lugs that look like they might offer serious grip, but, unfortunately, the lugs are too shallow, and the sole material is a bit too slick to really deliver on this promise. The footbed also gets very slippery when wet. The Rose offers much better traction than a smooth-bottomed fashion sandal, but it can't compete with technical models in this review.

The irregular lugs on this sandal's rubber outsole don't provide enough traction to handle steep or very rocky trails.
The irregular lugs on this sandal's rubber outsole don't provide enough traction to handle steep or very rocky trails.

Adjustability


Are you sick of fiddling with a bunch of straps to get your sandal to fit just so? Then the Rose might be the model for you! It has a single adjustable velcro ankle strap, and that's it. On the upside, this makes adjustment very easy, and this sandal can be tightened or loosened one-handed in seconds. On the downside, the non-adjustable toe box means that narrow-footed wearers will be sloshing around in this sandal, while the very wide-footed may get their feet pinched.

The Rose (right) can only be adjusted via its Velcro ankle strap. In contrast  our Editors' Choice winner  the Bedrock Cairn Adventure (left) has two adjustment points on the top of the foot and an adjustable heel strap.
The Rose (right) can only be adjusted via its Velcro ankle strap. In contrast, our Editors' Choice winner, the Bedrock Cairn Adventure (left) has two adjustment points on the top of the foot and an adjustable heel strap.

Stability


The Rose has a thick sole that's fairly flexible, so it accommodates lumps and bumps in the trail while still feeling stable. However, because it is wide and largely non-adjustable, there's a lot of side-to-side play, especially for those with narrow feet. This is exacerbated when these sandals are worn with a heavy pack, which increases weight and instability.

Wearing a fully loaded pack makes this model feel unstable.
Wearing a fully loaded pack makes this model feel unstable.

Versatility


Provided it fits your foot shape, the Rose is a fine option for nature walks, casual bike rides, and hanging out around town. Given that it's not adjustable and doesn't perform well in very technical terrain, we wouldn't recommend this as a primary hiking sandal or a backpacking option. That said, it's more stylish and pared-down than its KEEN siblings, so wearers are more likely to comfortably transition this model from an easy trail walk to a restaurant patio.

This is a fine option for light hikes or around-town jaunts  but anything burlier will outfox the Rose.
This is a fine option for light hikes or around-town jaunts, but anything burlier will outfox the Rose.

Style


Here's the bottom line: we feel like dorks wearing these. They're just a little too bulky and a bit too cartoonish (looking at you, toe bumpers) to really go with anything, and the friends and family we surveyed generally agreed. We include style in our reviews because it impacts whether or not you'll actually wear a pair of sandals, and the look of this model made us pass it by often during testing. But hey! Use the photos in this review to judge for yourself, and if you like what you see, go for it. They are certainly more streamlined and feminine than many other KEEN models.

What do you think: cute or clunky?
What do you think: cute or clunky?

Value


The Rose is not a technical performer. Given that it costs almost as much as models that blow it out of the water in terms of performance, comfort, and looks, we don't think the Rose is a good value.

Conclusion


While it's comfortable enough to wear right out of the box and is suitable for light-duty outdoor activities, this sandal doesn't perform well enough in the traction, stability, adjustability, or style categories to stand up to most of the other models in our review. The KEEN Rose, by any other name, would still be mediocre.

Joanna Trieger