REVIEW: Keen Solr Sandal
Despite the fact that Keen practically invented the outdoor sandal when it introduced its venerable Newport model nearly two decades ago, the company continues to refine and innovate with its design. This is abundantly clear with the Solr Sandal, a shoe that was specifically designed for use in and around the water. Built with paddlers, rafters, and anglers in mind, the Solr (Which stands for sea, ocean, lake, river) uses materials that perform well in wet conditions, dry quickly, and remain comfortable to wear at all times. And unlike a lot of other water shoes, they blend right in when you’re away from the river or lake too.
Sticking to Keen’s “consciously created” approach to designing footwear, the Solr Sandal also happens to be easy on the planet. The shoe’s upper is made from webbing that was created using recycled plastic bottles that were reclaimed from the ocean. That same material is incorporated into the Solr’s lining and laces too, making this a shoe that provides a high level of performance while remaining environmentally friendly. Keen—along with other outdoor brands that are increasingly using recycled materials in their gear—deserve some recognition for adopting these forward thinking methods of production.
Comfort (4) ★★★★
Keen footwear is known for producing comfortable shoes for use in the outdoors and the Solr Sandal is no exception. The shoe offers a snug fit that feels natural without being confining. More importantly, the Solr remains comfortable to wear when transitioning to and from the water, without chafing or irritating while it’s drying. So why are we giving it a four-star review instead of five? Because the snug fit can make it challenging to get the shoe on and off, which can feel a bit uncomfortable at times.
Performance (5) ★★★★★
Considering Keen’s history for making sandals, it should come as no surprise that the Solr performs exceedingly well in and around the water. The company’s proprietary Aquagrip sole holds firmly on wet surfaces, while remaining flexible enough to allow the foot to move freely while paddling, rafting, and fishing. Better still, the recycled fabrics we mentioned above dry very quickly, which is much appreciated when transitioning from the ocean, lake, or river. There is nothing worse than walking around in soggy shoes, but fortunately this isn’t a problem.
Design (5) ★★★★★
Other than the aforementioned issue with getting these shoes on and off, the overall design of the Solr is exceptional. It features a signature look that resembles the iconic Newport, while still managing to carve out an identify that is all its own. Lightweight, durable, and versatile, this is the only pair of shoes you would need to bring for a day of kayaking, fishing, and light hiking. There aren’t a lot of other sandals that could pull that off.
Overall (5) ★★★★★
As you can probably tell, we’re pretty impressed with what the Keen Solr Sandal brings to the table. If you’re in the market for a new water shoe, this model should be on your short list. It not only offers excellent performance and comfort, it happens to look great too. Add in the fact that it is made from recycled materials and you have a winning combination. Priced at $110 it also happens to offer a great deal of value when compared to other outdoor sandals, making your wallet—and feet—very happy in the process.
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