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Hiking sandals are a fairly recent obsession among those who don’t like to wear hiking shoes, myself included.
You will rarely find me hiking in anything other than a sandal. And lucky for those like me, sandals have come a long way since the flip flop, and today, many brands design their own take on what an outdoorsy sandal should be.
One of those brands is Keen, a well-known name in the outdoorist’s footwear arsenal since its inception in 2003. The company was created out of the need for a sturdy but comfy, heel-strapped and closed-toed sandal that was ideal for sailing. Thus, the brand’s iconic hybrid shoe was born.
Keen takes their hybrid creation to the next level with the new Astoria West Sandal. The Astoria West was built to go from the trail back to the city and hit everything in between. The upgrades include an upper made with recycled plastic, a small heel lift to add style and some extra cushion, and some snazzy new color options.
WOMEN'S ASTORIA WEST SANDAL
Keen's hybrid sandal gets a heel lift
One of Keen's newest sandal styles is perfect both for the trailhead and grabbin' grub afterward, with eco-friendly materials and a comfortable build designed for whatever the day sends your way.Shop Now
Bungee cord and lace lock system ensure a snug, custom fit
Superior stability on wet surfaces
Lots of cushion and arch support
Non-marking sole to leave no trace
Stylish color options
Upper webbing and cord system contain recycled plastic
Anti-odor and quick-drying technology help you go all day!
Difficult to wear with socks (for use as a camp shoe at night)
Stability shank for lightweight, but strong support
Aquagrip rubber provides superior traction on wet surfaces
Easy slip-on design
EVA insole with contoured arch support
Non-marking rubber outsole
Quick-dry lining for active, everyday use
Nothing on the market comes close to the level of comfort, cushion, and support found in the Keen Astoria West sandal.
The shoes’ cushion is unparalleled to other outdoorsy sandals; it is this factor that I am forever grateful to Keen for making such a comfy sandal. This abundant cushion might look bulky, but it is made from lightweight foam so they’re way lighter than they look.
For traveling, these shoes are as versatile as they come. I like to get away with bringing the least amount of things on a trip, and these shoes can be both trail/activity and town shoes.
The only thing holding these shoes back from being the most versatile shoe I own is also a silly one: it was hard to wear them with socks when the sun went down and I wanted to be cozy around camp. Then again, if it’s going to be that cold, I could just wear warmer shoes to begin with.
Wearing the Keen Astoria West Sandals
Just after I got these shoes, our friends wanted to go on an impromptu overnight backpacking trip. The trail was about 3.5 miles in, 3.5 miles out. The trail ended at a lake and contained a few creek crossings – a perfect trail for sandals!
We got to the trailhead, I slipped the Astoria West sandals on, and off we went. I was immediately blown away by the cushion in the footbed, as well as the arch support. I have higher arches and a narrow foot, and the footbed seemed custom built for my foot. The webbing and lining also favor a narrower foot.
The heel lift adds quite a bit of cushion, but it took the first mile to get used to the extra height. I kept hitting the bottom of the heel lift on rocks as I hiked, but my legs quickly learned to pick my feet up a bit more.
Every creek crossing was wonderful, as I got to watch my friends struggle to rock-hop while I walked through the water past them (my favorite part about hiking in sandals). One thing I noticed immediately after the first water crossing was the lack of small rocks or sand wedged between my foot and the sandal.
In my Chacos, my feet sit a bit looser in the shoe, and I easily get “rocks in the Chacs” after my feet get wet. This also happens while they’re dry on the trail, but the wetness definitely makes the rocks and sand stick more. However, in the Astoria West sandals, my feet were more fitted into the shoe so there were no spaces for small rocks or sand to hide and hurt. This was an awesome surprise!
Hiking out the next day was just as great in the shoes; there were no “hot-spots” or rubbing points after two days and my feet felt great. We drove out of the canyon, stopped for dinner and brews, and the shoes stayed on the whole time.
I’ve since worn these shoes around town and on some shorter trails around where I live. As much as these shoes are great for easy-going hiking and walking around town, I can only imagine how amazing these shoes would be for rafting or multi-day canoe trips. I can’t wait to test out the all-day comfort and stability combo on a long canoe trip!
Construction And Design
My favorite part about these sandals is that the webbing and cord lace-lock system is made from recycled plastic. Not only are these parts of the shoe built sustainably, but they are just plain comfy!
The webbing is lined with a soft and flexible quick-dry lining built to move with you. The bungee cord system goes all the way down to the toe box, allowing you to create a completely custom fit.
Inside the shoe, there’s a stability shank to create long-lasting support. This is a huge factor when talking about sandals since many offer limited support, or support that doesn’t last.
The Astoria West footbed is the icing on the cake when it comes to support and cushion. It’s made with Keen’s signature lightweight anti-odor foam material, and the arch is perfectly contoured for even more support.
Have you ever noticed rocks on the trail covered in black rubber marks? The outsole is made with Leave No Trace principles in mind, and are non-marking. The outsole is also made with Keen’s Aquagrip material and Aqua Stop zonal siping technology to ensure stability on wet surfaces.
In short, every detail about the Astoria West Sandal has been carefully and mindfully crafted with the discerning outdoorist in mind.
Astoria West vs. The Competition
As far as hybrid, closed-toed sandals go, Merrell’s Hydrotrekker and Choprock Sieve come close to the Astoria West’s build and performance. However, their features don’t quite match up to Keen’s sustainable and high-tech features.
Xero, a Colorado-based brand that creates minimalist shoes, has a popular closed-toed sandal called the Colorado. This shoe is about the opposite of the Astoria West when it comes to cushion and support, and if you’re not quite ready to wear minimalist footwear, I highly recommend the Astoria West.
Teva Hurricanes, and Chaco Z Sandals are probably the most well-known outdoor sandal. These are tried and true outdoor favorites, but they are not closed-toed. For rockier hikes, or for handling heavy equipment while rafting and boating, a closed-toed shoe is preferable.
Keen Astoria West Rating
I rate the Keen Astoria West sandals a 4.8 out of 5 stars. As much as I enjoy the amount of cushion these sandals offer, the heel lift adds a bit too much bulk for more intense endeavors. The lift and stylish color combinations are great for any water or boating activity, easy-intermediate trails, and the post-trail downtown evening.
I love how intentional every detail in this shoe is. From the recycled plastic materials, anti-odor footbed, and non-marking sole, every single detail makes this a shoe I am proud to own, crafted by a company I am proud to support.
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This post is sponsored by Keen – learn more about their Astoria West Sandal here.