Gear Review: Keen Evofit sandals

RRP: £100
Weight: 300g (per sandal size 5.5)

Keen are no strangers to making comfortable footwear designed around the actual shape of people’s feet. The Evofit is no exception providing a high level of comfort and support making them suitable for longer walks in hot weather than you might normally associate with a sandal – think of them more as an trail shoe with extra ventilation.

The Evofit has a substantial sole with a lot of arch support, fitted with Keen’s trademark rand going all round the front toe box. This means there’s less issue with grit and sand getting under your toes, which are protected from stubbing on rocks. The top fabric is a knitted design which fits very closely and moves with your foot providing an instant level of comfort. It is reinforced at key points with TPU, including round the back of the heel where I’ve found previous sandals to wear. A bungee-style lace allows the sandal to be tightened if necessary.

I normally use sandals for kicking about camp, for short walks, or for river crossings. However this year’s unusually hot weather in Scotland has meant I’ve worn them for day long mountain walks on good paths in dry conditions as well as numerous short walks and road rambles. I found them to be more supportive than other sandals I’ve tried, the removable footbed (held in place with velcro so you could replace with an orthotic or other insole but you’d need to check the fit as the one supplied is deep) provides a high level of cushioning on hard surfaces and supports well under the arch and with a small ridge to fit under the toes. Here fit is everything, I can see if the arch support isn’t quite in the right place the design would be problematic but with half sizes available (Keen recommend trying a half-size up from your normal shoe size) it should be possible to get a good fit. I spent a whole day walking just under 18 miles on roads on Cumbrae and in Ayrshire but had no issue with “burning” on the soles of my feet as the foot does not slip at all within the shoe. Walking action feels natural and comfortable with a nice balance between a supportive sole and being able to feel the rocks and path beneath. The only issue for me was that after about 12 miles one of my little toes started to get slightly rubbed at one of the side ventilation gaps, just something to bear in mind when you’re trying them on. The all-in-one nature of the fabric upper mean there are no strap fastenings or bulky seams to rub, the only issue for some people might be the relatively high position at the ankle which may rub on some people’s achillies. I found it very comfortable on my achillies and the snug fit around the ankle is reassuring.

The uppers are relatively quick drying and the grip on the soles is good when wet for river crossings and adequate for dry stony paths. Sand and grit does sometimes get in from the sides which usually means having to take the sandal off but this happens alot less than with the more open designs. Not normally a problem in Scotland, I’ve found these almost too hot in recent weather (26 degrees on the hill) and my feet have been slightly sweaty at times, but still a huge improvement on my usual boots and trail shoes – it’s something to consider if buying these for use in hotter climates. In dry and hot weather conditions I will continue to wear these for daywalks on good paths such as on the Cairngorm plateau as well as on lower level short walks; for everyday summer activities these will be my go to footwear. Despite intensive use over the last couple of months there is no sign of wear and tear even on the sole and no loosening of the stretchiness of the fabric around the ankle which I was concerned about. Keen says they are machine washable.

These are never going to be the prettiest looking shoe, the bulky Cornish-pasty shaped toe box and high rand ensure that, but for the sheer range of activities you can wear them for – and the added bonus of not having to worry about the state (or even existence) of your toenails – a little ugliness seems a small price to pay. And on that matter, they are expensive, however from performance to date I would expect them to last well and they are currently available below the RRP at a number of retailers. At 300g per shoe (for UK size 5.5) these are not the lightest sandal but I genuinely haven’t felt it’s been a problem as they have proved to be so comfortable. I’d think twice about packing them just for river crossings if they were going to sit in my pack most of the day.

Available in a wide range of colours (some more in-your-face than others) and in UK sizes from 2.5 to 9 (womens) and 6 to 16 (mens) with some half sizes.

Pros: comfort for longer walks, toe protection, durability.
Cons: weight

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