Great for lounging and a casual hike or two, but on beaches these all-rounders too easily collect water and sand
Any plans to travel light can easily be waylaid by footwear. Shall I pack a spare pair of shoes? Don’t even think about it. However, if you plan to hike, lounge and wander during a trip, that’s easier said than done. The answer, of course, is some hiking sandals like the Keen Owyhee.
Flawed near water
You can’t wear the Owyhee everywhere. They look faintly ridiculous with socks on; anyone can hack that for the flight, but they only really make sense if you’re headed somewhere hot. Great for casual hikes, a city walk and in beach bars, on a recent jaunt to southern Japan they proved flawed anywhere near water.
Great for a hike
They hike fairly well. On Yakushima Island the Owyhee more than coped with the muddy tracks up and around the mountains, and even the occasional downpour. The secure fit lace capture system was OK, though we would have preferred something more all-encompassing since the toe-end felt rather loose at times. Their heavy-duty soles and bulky toe-cap give good protection and are great for hiking, but the latter comes at a cost.
Soggy & sandy
Where the Owyhee falls down is on beaches. The design looks perfect for sand and water – the sole gives plenty of traction while the materials are all reasonably quick-drying. But go anywhere near the sea and the Owyhee collects water and sand, which makes them heavy, uncomfortable and hard to clean. Walking along the beach at water level is one of the joys of a beach holiday, but do that in the Owyhee and the rest of the day will be spent in soggy, sandy shoes.
Although their hiking prowess makes the Owyhee one of the more versatile sandals, you’d be wise to travel with a pair of pumps, too. Light enough to be fairly easily carried in a backpack while having a heavy-duty sole enough for the occasional hike, the Owyhee too easily collect sand and don’t dry as quickly as we’d hoped.