Festival Gear Guide: KEEN Newport Sandals Review

Vito Valentinetti Electric Castle 2016-31

Editor-in-chief, Vito Valentinetti, recently returned from a 15 weekend, 15 country, 15 festival, tour of Europe. In this column, he shares his thoughts and reviews on the gear that accompanied him all summer. This article originally appeared on 100 Nights of Summer. Read more gear reviews here.

One of my all star picks for the last two 100 Nights of Summer tours have been a pair of trusty KEEN Newport Sandals. These sturdy workhorses have saved my toes more times than I can count and feature plenty of support for extended hikes around the festival grounds. Let’s take a look at how at how my decade old stalwarts stacked up this summer.

Air Conditioned Shoes
Here’s a fact that will shock you — it’s hot in the summer. My hiking boots with socks turn into a swamp during blazing afternoon photo sessions. I would love to go shoeless like some of the fans, but that’s just not feasible for a festival reporter. The Newports really stepped up to the task allowing me the freedom of sandals with the protection of a shoe.

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Singing (And Dancing and Drinking) in the Rain
The default fashion of the rain drenched festie is a pair of Wellington Boots, preferably in an adorable color. Wellies are fantastic, but they’re too bulky for flights and take up too much space in the pack. KEEN sandals have turned out to surprisingly capable rain shoes, even during torrential downpours. My feet do get wet — there’s no getting around that even with Wellies — but these sandals dry out quickly.

Taking One For The Team
Like a hero taking a bullet for a best friend, I use the KEEN sandals during massive rain events to protect my day-to-day shoes from certain destruction. It worked out brilliantly this summer, and I never had to deal with WSS (Wet Sneaker Syndrome).

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Ditch the Flips
Even your festival reporters need a break from all this hard work, so I head to the sea during my down time. Between sea urchins, razor sharp rocks, and general rough terrain, you need to protect your feet while exploring the hidden beaches of the Adriatic Sea. These sandals are ideal for long days of hiking, swimming, and light cliff jumping. Unless you’re staying beachside at a sandy resort, I recommend leaving the flips back at the hostel, and wearing a pair of closed-toe sandals.

Hitching and Hiking
For day trips and kicking around local towns, I usually wear these sandals, especially during the summer heat. They have a firm enough sole, so that the small load of electronics in my day pack doesn’t put too much strain on my feet. Also, works out well on laundry day when I can wash all five pairs of socks.

Oh, That Smell
All that function of the comes with a price. I won’t mince words here. They smell. The stretchy Neoprene tends to hold odor so if you don’t let them dry out completely, they may start smelling like wet garbage. There’s a few different ways to get around this though, like washing them in a laundry machine or using a vinegar based cleaning solution.

Final Thoughts
No joke, I have owned this footwear for over a decade and have not been kind to them in the least. From river trips to mud bogs to beaches, this is an incredibly functional travel sandal that has held up tremendously to my beatings.

Vito Valentinetti Down the Rabbit Hole-83