Reviews You Can Rely On

Keen Newport H2 - Women's Review

Not the best traction on a raft tube or slick rocks, but does well on sandy hikes
gearlab tested logo
Keen Newport H2 - Women's Review (The Keen Newport H2s are an excellent hiking sandal.)
The Keen Newport H2s are an excellent hiking sandal.
Credit: Monica Nigon
Price:  $125 List
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   Keen
By Monica Nigon ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 14, 2024
61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 11
  • Comfort - 25% 9.0
  • Traction - 25% 4.0
  • Warmth - 15% 5.0
  • Versatility - 15% 6.0
  • Sensitivity - 10% 5.0
  • Durability - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

We loved the Keen Newport H2 for a dry, soft side hike on the San Juan River but found a lack of traction when it came to navigating wet rocks and a raft tube. They're incredibly comfortable in bare feet and true to size, and feature a thick sole that, while a boon for durability, makes these shoes suffer in sensitivity. They were great to bring on a river trip for side hikes and sandy beaches but less so on slicker surfaces.
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable in bare feet
Great for side hikes
REASONS TO AVOID
Poor traction on hard wet surfaces
Not the best sensitivity

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $92.81 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$47.50 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$110 List
$82.46 at Backcountry
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$30 List
$29.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
61
79
78
75
65
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Bottom Line A great river sandal for casual boating and side hikes but not the greatest for proprioceptionWith stellar traction and comfort, we reached for the Xtratuf Riptides when navigating slippery terrain in all sorts of temperaturesThere's no match for the Salomons when it comes to comfort, whether in the water or hiking on landFor the avid kayaker, the flexibility and traction in this model is unparalleledThese shoes are an excellent beginner's water shoe, but probably won't hold up on rougher excursions
Rating Categories Keen Newport H2 - W... Xtratuf Riptide - W... Salomon Techamphibi... Astral Loyak - Women's DLGJPA Lightweight...
Comfort (25%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Traction (25%)
4.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Warmth (15%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Versatility (15%)
6.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Sensitivity (10%)
5.0
6.0
6.0
8.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
Specs Keen Newport H2 - W... Xtratuf Riptide - W... Salomon Techamphibi... Astral Loyak - Women's DLGJPA Lightweight...
Measured Weight (lb per pair, US size 8) 1.42 0.94 0.55 0.87 0.44
Drainage Features Drains out sandal straps Mesh on upper Mesh on upper, holes on sole Outsole is draining Mesh on upper, drainage holes on sole
Removeable Insole? No Yes Yes Yes No
Footwear Closure Bungee Lace Drawcord Quicklace Laces Drawcord
Available Widths Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium
Upper Materials Polyester webbing Synthetic mesh Synthetic, textile Hydrophobic canvas Synthetic mesh
Midsole EVA EVA, TPU EVA 7mm thick, 45C closed cell EVA foam None
Outsole Rubber Rubber Rubber Flexi-grip, G15 (Astral tech) Rubber

Our Analysis and Test Results

We reached for the Keen Newport H2s on a long sandy hike in the Grand Canyon where we worried about comfort over traction and warmth. While you could wear neoprene socks or a drysuit with these river sandals, you'd be better off looking toward a river shoe for warmth. Yet the H2s were excellent for our desert wanderings and wading, we just hesitated to trust them on slick surfaces.

Performance Comparison


keen newport h2 for women - the keen newport h2s scored high in comfort in bare feet.
The Keen Newport H2s scored high in comfort in bare feet.
Credit: Monica Nigon

Comfort


The Keen Newport H2s scored high in comfort due to their conforming footbed and solid cinch mechanism that seemingly molded to the form of our feet. They had nice arch support despite being a sandal, and a protective toe covering to avoid a bashed in big toe on all the plethora of sharp and dense things you might bring on a river trip or boulders you might encounter on a hike.

The H2s were incredibly comfortable lounging on the raft and walking around camp. We loved the durable cinch mechanism, which kept them from slipping off of our skinny heels, and the straps, which kept out rocks while hiking.

Traction


The Keen Newport H2s struggle with traction on hard, wet surfaces like rocks, boulders, and sticks. However, their outsole has adequate lug depth to power through sandy beaches without walking in place.

While the H2s did pretty well in sand, they were somewhat like skis when it came to navigating a cold Colorado stream where we scrambled over wet rocks of various sizes. We also found the rubber not tacky enough to make us feel confident while navigating a large gear raft.

keen newport h2 for women - the traction capabilities of these two shoes could not have been...
The traction capabilities of these two shoes could not have been more different.
Credit: Monica Nigon

Warmth


The Keen Newport H2s scored pretty low when it comes to warmth, but if you buy a river sandal, that's probably not what you're concerned about.

The H2s kept our feet cool in the desert and allowed water to flow in and out without pooling, but our toes were pretty frigid in a cold Colorado stream. They offer nice protection from the sun as opposed to a more open sandal, but you probably won't be wearing these shoes with socks or a drysuit on a colder day. These are hot day and desert sandals for sure.

Versatility


The H2s are middle of the road when it comes to versatility. Their sandal design makes them great for chilling at camp on an overnight trip or cruising around town, and their lug depth makes them suitable for side hikes on soft, dry surfaces.

keen newport h2 for women - the newport h2s have a shallow lug depth, which makes them great for...
The Newport H2s have a shallow lug depth, which makes them great for side hikes on dry surfaces.
Credit: Monica Nigon

Sensitivity


The H2s scored low in sensitivity due to a lack of flexibility and a rather thick outsole. They were unable to fold around a raft tube or large rocks very well, making us feel unstable when navigating terrain that required more proprioception.

We took the H2s creek walking in southwestern Colorado and found it difficult for us to trust our feet below us while on slippery underwater rocks. They weren't flexible enough to fold with one hand, one of our tests for assessing sensitivity.

keen newport h2 for women - the h2s have a thick outsole, which is nice for durability but not...
The H2s have a thick outsole, which is nice for durability but not so much for sensitivity.
Credit: Monica Nigon

Durability


Despite being a river sandal, the straps on the Keen Newport H2s performed admirably when it came to durability. The straps are thick enough to avoid abrasion or breakage from extended use. The outsoles are really thick, which is a boon for durability but compromises their sensitivity and flexibility.

The H2s performed well across sharp sticks and rocks and showed only a tiny bit of fraying after extended use in a sandy environment on the Colorado River. We stepped on pointy rocks and sticks and found the thick outsole to hold up well against the elements.

Should You Buy the Keen Newport H2s?


We found these river shoes/hiking sandal hybrids to be a great option to bring along on your multiday when you really need to get your feet out of those damp river sneakers for a side hike or have a day of flat water on a warm day. If you prefer a sandal, head on over to our women's sandals article and pick out a good pair.

What Other Women's Water Shoes Should You Consider?


For something with a lot more tackiness on hard, wet surfaces with the ability to layer for all sort of weather conditions, we prefer a proper river shoe like the Xtratuf Riptides or the Astral Brewess 2.0.

keen newport h2 for women - the keens were great for side hiking and had excellent drainage, but...
The Keens were great for side hiking and had excellent drainage, but aren't great for wearing with layers for added warmth.
Credit: Monica Nigon

Monica Nigon