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Keen Arroyo II Review

These sandals are comfortable, but lacking in most other categories.
Keen Arroyo II
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Price:  $100 List | $99.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable
Cons:  Holds water, durability, lack of stability from laces
Manufacturer:   KEEN Footwear
By Tommy Penick ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 31, 2013
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71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 20% 7
  • Stability - 20% 7
  • Fit - 20% 8
  • Durability - 15% 6
  • Traction - 25% 7

The Skinny

The Keen Arroyo is yet another variation of Keen's archetypical closed-toe design, boasting the large toe cap, leather uppers, a shoe-like insole, and a closed heel, unlike its little brother, the Keen Newport H2.


Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Keen Arroyo II
Keen Arroyo II

Comfort


The Arroyo is a nicely built shoe and feels great right off the bat. In comparison to the rest of the tested sandals, the Arroyo resembles a shoe more than anything else, both in construction and in feel. The arch support and insole are almost identical to many full shoes. However, this cloth-lined insole becomes problematic when the shoe inevitably gets wet. The cushy, soft cloth becomes soggy and takes forever to dry. We used the shoes for a day in the water, and two days later they were still wet. The leather uppers don't help this problem either.

Besides the water issue, the leather uppers are comfortable when dry, thanks to a smooth lining. However, they tend to get sweaty and wet regardless of the conditions, and then lead back into the previous issues we've mentioned.

Stability


Similar to the Newport H2, the Arroyo is susceptible to a loss of stability due to the elastic lacing system. Under stress, rather than locking off, these continue to stretch. However, the backbone and uppers of the shoe are rather substantial. With a little bit of imagination, you'll notice they actually really resemble some of Keen's full shoes.

Despite the lacing issue, the leather uppers surrounding the foot do a pretty good job of keeping out feet locked in. The lug design of the sole tends to wobble a bit more than the flatter design of the Newport H2.

Fit and Design


As previously mentioned, we would've loved to see a more secure lacing system that didn't flex under stress. Also, the aforementioned insole is problematic during water use, in addition to the absorbent uppers and lining. However, if you can connect with your inner-self to have the confidence to rock these bad boys with socks, it might be a pretty sweet option.

Durability


With added features adds points of failure, and the Arroyo probably had the most "stuff" on it out of any of the shoes. Between the leather uppers, tons of unnecessary stitching, and a lug based traction design, the Arroyo makes us a little hesitant for the long-term durability, though we didn't have any problems while testing.

Traction


The lug based sole design seems solid in thought, but is actually less effective than the more simplistic block-style design Keen utilized on the Newport H2.

Best Applications


The Arroyo is a decent option for hiking in dry conditions, but we preferred the Newport H2 for most situations.

Value


At $100 list, the Arroyo sits pretty averagely in the field of shoes.

Conclusion


The Arroyo is a good design, but its flaws made us miss our Newport H2 sandals. Unless you'll be sticking to dry conditions all of the time, check out some of the other options unless you require the ultimate amount of plushy support and initial comfort.


Tommy Penick