They are not invited :(
As much as I love Keens, the Newport H2s were simply not a match for my feet. I'm a bit flat-footed, and used to thinner footwear with a bit more give. While the Newports offer great protection in their solidness, the firm plasticky interior with the "contour arch" was not a friend to my feet. By the end of a full day of walking in them, my aching arches were branded with a backwards "KEEN" logo. Not a good sign.
But I am not a quitter! Determined to bring eco-friendly and reliable walking shoes to Europe, I took the Newports back to REI and exchanged them for the much more flexible and cushy Keen CNX. As soon as I slipped my tootsies into those babies, I heard my feet sigh with relief and say "we're home."
Stay tuned as I take my CNXs for a testdrive in Louisville, KY, to determine if they will earn the coveted position of My Walking Shoes For Europe.
Should you buy Keens for your go-to travel shoe? Here's my rundown of your options based on my experiences.
Newport H2: The classic Keen. Most of my friends have this shoe and LOVE it. It has great arch support and is good for most feet (particularly wide feet). They are very solid and don't bend much with the foot as you walk, almost like a hiking boot. This would be a great shoe for rugged outdoor activities.
CNX: This incarnation of the Keen shoe is more flexible and has a more cushiony, forgiving interior that is good for flatfoots like me. It's a little bit more expensive, but well worth it for quality, ethical shoes from an amazing company with a more than reasonable return policy.
Emerald City Sandal: The blessed walking sandal that turned me on to Keens in the first place! SO comfortable, and NOT overtly athletic at all. Basic, cute, sandals that feel like walking on a cloud. A cloud with incredible, soft support, which I guess clouds don't have, so maybe it's not like walking on a cloud. Maybe it's more like walking barefoot on one of those playgrounds made of cushy recycled rubber. Yeah, that's it.
Do you have a preferred brand of walking shoe? Do share your secrets! And if you do the Google + thing, let's connect!