Thanks to a contest I entered earlier this year, a ruby-red pair of KEEN CNX sandals landed on my doorstep last week. I’ve worn KEEN Newport H2 sandals for years. I have three pairs – one blue, one black and an old blue pair that I’ve stretched out enough that they fit over the feet of the hip waders I carry along when I know I’ll be fording a river. I’ve always loved the way the large toe cap helps keep sand and pebbles from slipping in between the bottom of my feet and the footbed. And I really appreciate that I can wear them to ford a creek and then hike for 8 or 10 km without getting blisters!
The new CNX line is considerably lighter (weigh in at 500 grams for the pair, as compared to 740 grams for my Newport H2 sandals – about a half pound difference). The lighter weight is partly due to the toe cap, which is a little narrower and doesn’t wrap as far over the toes. It’ll be interesting to see whether the new streamlined toe cap is as effective at keeping out sand and pebbles. The smaller toe cap makes the CNX a lot more “dressy” than the Newport H2. I think most of the rest of the weight difference is due to the thinner footbed/sole. The new design is very comfortable. I know this ’cause I’ve been wearing them around the house from morning ’til night. Once the snow melts and I can wear them outside for more than 5 minutes at a time, I’ll be able to assess the durability of the thinner profile, as well as how comfortable it is walking gravel and scree covered hiking trails.
The first time I took the short series of mostly black & white photographs included in this post, something along the lines of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, when she clicks the heels of her ruby slippers together and is transported somewhere wonderful. I landed in beautiful Canmore!
The second time, I did walk in the snow. A little crazy, I know! But I really wanted to try them out. As the snow trapped under my instep compressed to ice and slowly melted, my rapidly freezing toes convinced me to head inside and wear them indoors only ’til spring arrives in the Bow Valley. Since it’s snowing again today, it’ll probably be a couple of months before I wear them outside again.
Who knows – maybe by then I’ll have designated this pair as my “indoor shoes” and I’ll be off to my favourite local outfitter to buy another pair!