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Keen got its start by creating a sandal that protected the toes with a patented rubber bumper. This innovation skyrocketed the company and it was named 2003’s “Launch of the Year” by Footwear News, the industry’s leading trade publication. In the past 12 years, the company has expanded their footwear offerings and continues to deliver high quality, comfortable shoes.
The Keen Maupin is an open-toe water sandal made for the water but with all-terrain side trips in mind. The fully adjustable open design makes it your go to option in the water whether you’re on a lazy river or a kayak trip with a contoured sole for plenty of support. Underneath, you’ll find solid traction for easy hikes and the occasional portage, and a sole support reminiscent of a shoe.
The upper of the Maupin is fully adjustable. There are two main straps made of polyester webbing that can be adjusted with just one hand. Both straps loop through textile supports cushioned by microfiber for minimizing abrasion and are lengthened or shortened with Velcro pads. The top strap is rapidly clipped with a plastic squeeze buckle and has a small elastic band that the end can tuck into to prevent accidental openings. For your pleasure, the materials are treated with Cleansport NXT™ for odor protection.
The midsole is designed like a shoe. The area just under the bare foot is Keen’s Metanomical EVA Footbed Design that is contoured for your foot with plenty of arch support. Along with the footbed the midsole offers plenty of cushioning thanks to integrated polyurethane. Because this is a sandal, sides of the midsole have a lip that helps keep loose materials out, with textured grooves that drain water without allowing it to puddle under the foot.
The amphibious outer sole is made to work in the water, but take you on dry terrain as well. The non-marking outer sole is made of rubber and features Keen’s performance design. This high-traction tread is made of large slightly concave contoured boxes with large water channel grooves in between. The concave boxes work like suction cups in the water and stick your foot to any flat surfaces like rock or a plastic deck, and the groves bite into dry trail to keep you balanced and provide traction.
I tested these shoes crossing streams and jumping around in rivers, then took them out on a walk in the rain on the trail.
The Maupins feel comfortable and secure. They are a bit more slender than wide in the toe box and Keen cautions to order them one size larger on account of them running a bit small. Initially, it takes a second to slip these on because the microfiber material tends to fold if you just try to jam your foot in; but once you have it on, it feels very secure. The straps are easy to adjust and pull the sandal taught over the right bony places without squeezing the meat of the foot for sustained comfort. The footbed has more cushion than you would initially believe and the textured sole keeps the foot in place while providing a way for water to drain out. The sole has a good deal of flex to it, and it bends smoothly without creasing; a big plus in my book.
The Maupin definitely behaves like a performance sandal, but takes a bit of getting used to. I did not feel these slip at all and, in fact, felt like I could take them on a run. In the water, they feel so sure against any surface you stand on that if they didn’t have the straps, I’m sure they would stay stuck as I lifted my foot off. However, the straps do their job well and manage to keep dirt, sand, small pebbles, and twigs out thanks to the microfiber sitting snug against the skin. One small drawback of having full open toes is that this provides a great opening for debris to come under, but you just have to twist your foot to avoid “opening the mouth.” The sole felt comfortable and supportive throughout testing and shed water rapidly in just a couple short steps. Now, I said that they take a bit of getting used to; and this could be because I don’t wear sandals often myself, but I developed hot spots on the area where the straps come together at the arch of my foot. It wasn’t anything too serious and a simple tape job would have fixed it, but I wouldn’t take these out on a multi-day adventure without spending some time in them.
If you’re planning a paddling trip and won’t be straying more than a day away from your boats, these sandals are a perfect option. They work extremely well in the water, and they can handle trekking over trails as well.
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