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Choice of footware: Merrell Hiking Shoes or Keen's Newport closed toe sandals

I'm going to be in Athens, Lisbon, and on a Mediterranean cruise for 23 days. I've decided to use my Osprey Meridian rolling backpack, with wheels. It is 21" inches and holds 60 liters. So I have to be very economical about what I pack inside.

Given the choice of Merrell Moab hiking shoes or Keen's Newport closed toe sandals (not both), which one should I bring?

My concern is that the Keen sandals would not hold up well over the bad sidewalks and stairs (lots of rubble, uneven terrain) of either European capital.

Has anyone ever been in this situation of having to choose?

The Merrell Moab seems more sturdy and has a thicker, more solid sole. With thick wool socks, it is relatively comfortable though it doesn't breathe like the Keen Newport sandals.

Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

https://www.amazon.com/Merrell-Mens-Moab-Hiking-Walnut/dp/B01HFPP5C0/ref=sr_1_5?crid=39Y0WRIZ3PDAH&keywords=merrell+hiking+shoes+men&qid=1661190373&sprefix=merrell+hiking+shoes%2Caps%2C357&sr=8-5

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D7C8JYC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Posted by
498 posts

I'll be in Athens from Sept. 29 through Oct. 7. The cruise I don't worry about. it's pretty posh and the clientele skews older, so the excursions are about 4 hours in length. I'm in Lisbon for only 3 days, in the Alfama district.

Posted by
796 posts

You can be sure that the Keen Newport will hold up. I have used them for the last 6 years here in Colorado. You can hike in them if you want. You can get them wet. They work well on any rocks, sand, whatever.

Rest assured on the durability.

Posted by
58 posts

My wife and I both have Merrell Waterproof Moabs and have never had a problem with them breathing-wise. They are pretty bulky, so I'd advise wearing them rather than packing them while you're on the move.

Posted by
38 posts

Most of my 6 RS trips have been with Merrell. I wear them on the plane and love these shoes. They do not feel hot after 12 hrs of wear. My size is 8.5 and I buy size 9. The toe box is wide and feels comfortable. The description states they are lightweight, which is always what I'm looking for. I bought a second pair for my Italy trip last spring because my puppy enjoyed the originals too.
I have two pair of the ALTRA shoe. Designed by a family of runners. This is also light weight, waterproof with a with wide toe box. A bit pricey tho.

I wear my keen shoe any day I have chores around the farm and wouldn't wear anything else.
Hope this helps narrowing your selections. Have a great trip!

Posted by
498 posts

There's a lot of rubble, stones, debris everywhere in Athens and in Lisbon, so I'd expect to get some wearing the Newports. My bigger concern is the stability and durability of the sole. I do have Chacos sandals with the very heavy, thick bottom sole, which seems a lot more sturdy than the Keen Newports. But they are not closed toe, and I'm I'd stub my toes if I wore than as my main shoe/sandal when I travel.

The alternative for main shoe/sandals is the Merrell hiking shoe. I can't find a good lightweight sandal that I could wear while on the 14-day cruise. The Merrell hiking shoes have held up well except for the inner sole (which my cat may have eaten into), so I feel confident about them. I must have worn them (I have two versions, one waterproof)
the last half dozen or so trips to France/Italy/Greece/Nepal/Thailand and felt they offered very good stability over the uneven terrain, stairs and steps. The heavier waterproof Merrell hiking shoes I really don't wear at all otherwise.

Also, I must say that the Keens don't seem to offer as much foot (ankle, etc.) support as the Merrells, being, on the whole, a lot more lightweight. The advantage is that I wouldn't need to bring wool socks. Also, I would like to try them out on a trip abroad, although this may not be the trip. I bought them but have never really worn them (so I haven't broken them in). I assume the straps on top are strong. If the Keens took up less space, I'd pack them into my Osprey Meridian backback, but I have only maximum 60 liters to work with.

Posted by
336 posts

So many of the ancient sites in Athens have that dusty gravel for walking areas. I know that. for me, the gravel would get into the sandals and I'd have to stop every few minutes to clear out the sandal. If you are just walking the paved streets and sidewalks, I could see the sandals as being comfortable. But for me, I still prefer the closed shoe. I wear the Nike Pegasus Trail Running Shoe which is very comfortable.

Posted by
498 posts

So many of the ancient sites in Athens have that dusty gravel for walking areas. I know that. for me, the gravel would get into the sandals and I'd have to stop every few minutes to clear out the sandal. If you are just walking the paved streets and sidewalks, I could see the sandals as being comfortable. But for me, I still prefer the closed shoe.

Thank you, Jimmy, for pointing that out. I don't do well with having little rocks in my sandals. In Seattle, my open-toed Chacos sandals only occasionally get little rocks, etc. in them. I need to get on amazon, rei, etc. and look for a pair of light-weight sandals for the cruise.

Posted by
498 posts

Sorry, A Mann, I should have acknowledged your reply. Jimmy was simply seconding your opinion. My credit card was fraudently used, so my mind has been scattered, with a new smartphone that arrived only a few days ago.

Yes, I see "some of the writing on the wall" if I only go with the Keens Newport sandals as my main shoe gear without any other shoes to wear as street shoes. I don't recall if I mentioned this but the Merrells did very well during my 20 days in Rome, with its difficult cobblestones.

I'm so glad I posted and that I got feedback from all of you, as shoes are so important. I will still need a pair of sandals but not the Keens, as they are practically shoes insofar as they take up as much room as a pair of loafers or sidewinders would.

Maybe I should create a separate posting for lightweight (not Chacos!) sandals. I find going through, "cold turkey," amazon.com pretty exhausting, i.e., one feels overwhelmed by the choices and having to go through dozens and dozens of reviews, many of which contradict each other (certainly true for the Pixel 6B, which I went ahead and bought anyway; and the Pixel 5, which I also bought, not being able to decide which would be better for my purposes).

Shopping is "a necessary evil," especially in our consumerist society.

Amen.

Posted by
267 posts

I have A pair of New Balance 990 V5 "sneakers" that I have worn for 17-20 day trips to Greece, Ireland and Italy most recently. They are a medium brown in color - I wear them almost everywhere, including here locally, walking in the Smoky Mountains, etc. - because I know they are comfortable and durable. The only pair of shoes I take on a trip along with multiple pairs of black cotton crew socks. .

As yet I have noticed no one pointing at my shoes and snickering - and I for one would not care if they did !Celebrity Cruise lines did not eject me from the dining room for my footwear in Norway We walk on average 7-9 miles a day while sight-seeing. Comfort trumps all. Not sure why one would elect to experiment with footwear for a "special' trip.

If something should happen to that "only" pair of shoes while traveling, there are good footwear stores almost everywhere. Replacement would be easy-peasy!

Posted by
30 posts

I have my Merrell Moab 2 Mid for wide feet, they are very comfortable and sturdy, I am not familiar with the Keen's.

Posted by
159 posts

😂Ha…you caught my attention at shoes 👟🥾🩴
I apologize I didn’t have a chance to read all the replies. But I also would ask…when are you leaving? I think you will be fine with the Keen if it’s going to be hot when your there. I also saw someone mention Chaco. 👍❤️They are the best.

Also Hoka now has trail shoes that are nice & sturdy.

I know your request was to vote on one you already have. 😂 so I vote Keen. Not a fan of their aesthetic design though 🫣

But if your Merrill is not too clunky then I chose those.

Posted by
498 posts

Athens in early October should be mild/warm and sunny, if I am not mistaken. I've decided on the Merrell hiking shoes as they will offer more support and protection. They seem to be quite breathable. They are, however, clunky but at least they're not hiking boots! The Keens would be O.K. if the sidewalks and roads of Athens weren't so rocky, uneven. Really, there are gigantic ledge-type drops from stair to stair or large pits in the roads.

Posted by
3961 posts

Denny, my experience with Keen Newport sandals was many years ago in Tuscany. It was the "shoe of the tour" so to speak. Out of 24 people I guess that 20 of us wore this shoe! We did a lot of walking in hill towns, cobbled streets, etc. That said, when we toured Greece years later I wore my Asics. It was ok, but if I were to return I would probably bring a low hiking shoe like Merrell or similar. The uneven terrain, slippery marble can be a disaster waiting to happen. We saw so many injured people during the month we were in Greece. Fractured legs, arms... Just to add: My Keens are 16 years old. They just don't wear out! Over the years I have worn them walking the beaches of Maui as well. Enjoy Greece and Portugal!

Posted by
993 posts

You should bring the Merrell Moab hiking shoes.

The Keen's Newport closed toe sandals look like they wouldn't protect your feet from the environment good enough. Rain, dust and dirt could get onto your feet through the openings in the upper part of the sandals.

Choice of shoes is not specific to only Greece.

I only wear thick insulating socks outside when the weather is close to freezing or colder. Otherwise I am fine with my normal socks - dress socks that are high in rayon or cotton.

Posted by
498 posts

if I were to return I would probably bring a low hiking shoe like Merrell or similar. The uneven terrain, slippery marble can be a disaster waiting to happen. We saw so many injured people during the month we were in Greece. Fractured legs, arms...

I am so grateful for the feedback for my post. I definitely will be taking the Merrill hiking shoes. I will never forget 8 years ago fracturing my ankle in Assisi when I stepped over a parapet on the hill above the town, thinking it was only a few inches (and not really looking down). It was more like 4 feet. It ruined the rest of my Italian trip. I was amazed at how bad the sidewalks in Athens just down from the Acropolis were. Every few inches there was a deep hole or crevice or mounds of cement or rubble or stone. I've never really worn the Keen's Newports except for short distances. And in Seattle, I'm constantly tripping over uneven sidewalks when I wear my Chacos (the toes get stuck and I almost trip and fall if I'm not constantly looking down--plus I'm pretty myopic).

Posted by
498 posts

The Keen's Newport closed toe sandals look like they wouldn't protect your feet from the environment good enough. Rain, dust and dirt could get onto your feet through the openings in the upper part of the sandals.

The front (toes) section is covered but the sides are semi-open. After a while, I'm sure I'd start to feel the gravel, dust, and stones. Not that much rain in early October, my guess. It's nice to have the breathability of sandals, but not in this case.