KEEN Mckenzie Hybrid Water Shoe, $90,
The Good: The beefy tread pattern with siping is rock solid and very grippy on wet terrain.
The Bad: Too much extra lace,the footbed doesn’t stay put. Closed toebox traps some water.
The Ugly: Soggy toes. Nothing says awesome like that little “squish” noise while I strut past the cool kids.
Confidently stride into murky water, cruise over jagged rocks, or pop into the office sporting the KEEN Mckenzie hybrid water shoes. I was once told a man only needs two pairs of shoes – one set for work, and another for everything else. This man never had a set of hybrid shoes. We’re urban adventurers here, we stand-up paddle in the morning, grab a black coffee then head into work. Why take the time to change shoes? The Mckenzies have the comfortable style of casual footwear, with the performance of a water draining poly mesh sport shoe.
I wore these shoes to the office for a few days, then I took them out for a hike and a paddle in the Wiskeytown National Park. I jumped into every creek I could find, stepped into the mud, gravel and sand I even kicked a few boulders for the heck of it – yes, the thick rubber toe makes it almost fun to kick a boulder. I even helped guide a group of 20 new paddlers across the lake to a hidden cove and played on some slick boulders for a while to really finish off the day. The shoes dried quickly, and held on tight to most any surface. The full rubber toe bumper did provide a bit of water retention around my toes and it took quite a while for it to dry. Less of a problem while paddling due to the angle of the feet allowing for most of the water to drain, but if you jump into a creek then start walking, they’ll stay wet for a while.
The Mckenzie shoes are made for outdoor wear, with a tough and supportive shell, exceptional grip, and durable construction. The most notable features for me are the protective rubber toe guard, solid construction, and the burly razor siped tread pattern. KEEN is well known for a quality shoe, during my review I was asked frequently “are those KEENs?” When I answered yes, I would invariably be given a somewhat involved story of how they came upon their KEENs and about how the shoe seems to last forever. I actually grilled most folks on their experience with the brand, and it was 100% favorable for longevity, comfort, and protection. When there are people out there championing a brand, that says something great about a company.
The uppers on the shoe are made from a durable polyester and mesh material for quick draining fast drying performance and the toe has a durable rubber bumper for protection. Lacing is elastic with a single cinch that pulls on a heel strap for a very secure fit. I did find that there was too much extra lace when i really cinched them down and I had to trim the excess. The Midsole is compression molded EVA with excellent support and stability, and the rubber bottom has an aggressive lug pattern with razor siping for a nice sticky grip on slick surfaces. The lining and footbed is treated with an Aegis Microbe shield to keep the nasties at bay. Also, the footbed is listed as removable for cleaning purposes, but my main gripe is that it doesn’t stay put when I pull my foot out. The pad bunches up and is a pain to flatten back down. Keen has a slew of colors, including light and dark brown, black, green, and two styles of grey. Also keep in mind that the shoe runs about a half size too big, definitely a bit more room in them than the normal 10 I wear.
The Keen Mckenzie Hybrids are meant for the outdoor enthusiast that wants to have an all-around shoe that isn’t afraid of the water. They worked great on a quick hike, felt at home in my office, and I didn’t hesitate to step into the water along the way. This shoe is a bit less stylish, compared to some of the other hybrid offerings out there. But the beefy construction and solid traction really shine through in the end.
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Author: David Skinner