Keen shoes: Is it summer yet?

04/02/2008 at 07:00 AM ET

Keen_logo Our boys love the outdoors. If there is a tree in the yard, Owen is going to climb it.  If there are puddles nearby, Sammy is going to jump in them.  Finding shoes that have staying power is often tough for us, since the boys are so tough on their shoes.  But this summer’s backyard adventures for Owen and Sam will be taking place in shoes that are the perfect combination of durability and style, shoes that are sure to stand up to the task at hand.  We recently received two pairs of shoes from the spring/summer 2008 collection by Keen — the Newport H2 and the Tremont — and the boys have been climbing and jumping ever since.

Click continue reading for the full Keen shoes review.

Keen_newport_h2_youth_navy1_2 You’ve probably seen a friend or family member walking around in Keen’s Newport H2 at some point, but did you know that there’s a kids version to match?  The Newport H2 (MSRP $40 sizes 4-7 infant, $45 sizes 8-13 toddler, $50 sizes sizes 1-6 youth; Shown at left) is secured with an elastic cord lace and Velcro strap over the instep, which is great for preschoolers and toddlers who haven’t quite mastered the art of putting on and taking off shoes.  If your child is always returning to the house with wet feet, whether its from traipsing through the muddy woods or simply playing at a water table on the deck, the Newport H2 is perfect. Not only does it feature a quick-drying polyester webbing upper, the hydrophobic mesh lining of the shoe’s interior reduces water absorbency. 

The non-marking rubber outsole of the Newport H2 is super grippy, and just chunky enough to give great traction for climbing and running on all sorts of surfaces.  The closed-toe sneaker/sandal style is a big hit in our household, not only because it protects our boys’ toes from being stubbed but also because Owen’s daycare disallows open-toe sandals.  Since I hate putting my kids in socks and sneakers in the summer, the Newport H2 presents a great alternative.  And, at 7.4 oz, the shoe is light enough that it won’t weigh tiny feet down.  It comes in practically every color in the rainbow — eight in all, including crocus, mandarin red and aqua haze.  Owen took to wearing his Newport H2’s (in navy) instantly; He offered up no complaints about the fit or the feel, and I can tell by inspecting them that they’re going to handle whatever he dishes out.

7229_tremont_pncn_p1_2 The Tremont (MSRP $45) is an infant sandal available in sizes 4-7.  Made of waterproof nubuck and lined with a moisture-wicking textile, it also offers exceptional protection from the water.  The rubber outsole is a little more flexible than that of the Newport H2, which is exactly what new walkers need. It has a closed-toe and velcro closure for adjustability.  The Tremont comes in three colors — Moonlight Mauve, Black Plum and Pinecone, which we sampled and were really pleased with.  If the leather scuffs, you can use a nubuck cleaner and conditioner on the Tremont to have them looking like new.  But if you don’t have time (and who does?) the leather wears really nicely; After just a few weeks of use Sam’s sandals look just like my own favorite pair — broken in and comfortable.  And speaking of comfort, while he’s too young to communicate to us just how good his Tremont’s feel, Sam putters around the house and backyard in these sandals all the time, quite happily.  And that’s good enough for me!

In terms of sizing, the Newport H2’s seem a little squat to me; A side-by-side comparison of all Owen’s current shoes show that the Newport H2’s are a tad shorter and wider than the rest.  Because he has wide feet, we were thrilled with the width … but had I the opportunity to order his Newport H2’s all over again I probably would have chosen the next size up just so he could get longer use of them.  They’re such fantastic shoes, I want him to wear them as long as possible!  We did not have the same experience with the Tremont’s however.  A side-by-side comparison of Sam’s other shoes in his current size showed no discernible difference between the Tremont and the other shoes.  They also don’t strike me as being as wide as the Newport H2’s.  All in all, we’re thrilled with both pairs of shoes.  If you know your little one is going to be logging some serious hours this summer in the great outdoors, you can’t go wrong with Keen. 

For a list of retailers who sell Keen footwear, visit their website

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