When asked by Nature Shop if I’d like to review a couple of items for them, I popped over to their site, had a rummage, and nearly squealed a ‘yes’ in my response email. (You’ll see why when you look at their gorgeous selection of beautifully designed shoes and Merino wool performance clothing.) Their slogan says, “Works with nature” and I believe it. They also work with wildlife, charity, and children. A certified carbon neutral company, Nature Shop is spreading its joy around the world through bases in New Zealand and England.
OK, OK, you’re impressed already, but what about the review? I was given some options and my choices were based on my local environment here on the North Cornwall coast. It’s sunny, rainy, warm, cold, dry, wet, windy, calm… you name it. I chose Keen Whisper Sandals specifically for my love of clambering around on the beach rock formations. I needed a shoe that could get wet, stay grippy, and handle any terrain comfortably. My favourite rock-hopping shoe so far has been the oddly capable Converse All-Stars, but they’re terribly uncomfortable when soaked with water. Enter the Keen Whisper Sandals. They’re built to get wet and to tackle every surface I’ve encountered in them so far.
I first took them on a 5k hike/walk from home, to the Coastal Path, up rocky trails, onto public footpaths through woods and fields. We encountered light rain along the way and not once did they get slippy on wet grass. They were most comfortable walking level or downhill, as uphill seems to make my heels slip back a bit. I blame that on the heel strap, which could be improved in design by making it separate from the elastic adjustment that acts as laces in the front; I just couldn’t keep the heel tight enough to keep my foot in place for uphill walking.
The evening was shaping up to make beautiful beach sunset, so I threw on the Whispers to watch that orange ball sink into the sea.
They feel great in the water. Just like on land, they feel like a shoe made just for you in the way they hug around your foot. They don’t get heavy when waterlogged, and I found them as grippy as my All-Stars on the rocks. The bottoms are flexible and keep me feeling in control, but they’re also sturdy enough to leave me feeling protected.
Would I get them again? Yes… but… I’d love for Keen to redesign that heel strap so I can avoid kicking the toes of the shoes to get my foot back into place after some uphill trekking. It is a problem. I really like these shoes, and they’re going to get a lot more wear, but I may still be on the lookout for ‘the’ shoes for my coastal life. The Keen Whisper Sandals are close, and you should definitely try them, but until I can walk as comfortably uphill as down, I need to encourage you to try them around the house before taking them on the trails or beach. Perhaps your heels will fit perfectly, and if they do, you will no doubt have the best pair of wet-dry sandals out there. Get in touch with Nature Shop for a whole line of Keen sandals and shoes. It’s good stuff.
Keen Whisper Sandals provided for the purpose of review by Natureshop.com. I have not been paid otherwise.