I have joined the merry band of Webtogs blogger gear reviewers. Webtogs is a company that I’ve bought a few bits and pieces from over the last year or so. They are amongst a select band of web-based retailers who have provided first class service, so I’m happy to review gear for them. As a reviewer I have full editorial control. My intention is to do two reviews for most pieces: an initial impressions, then an update after a few month’s usage.
The first piece of gear that they have sent me is a pair of Keen Venice Sandals. Keen is not a brand I’ve used before, but they seem to have a number of enthusiasts. The products are quite distinctive in an increasingly “me too” marketplace. I’ve been using them over the past week, so here’s my initial impressions.
I have quite narrow feet, so I was concerned that the fit might be a bit wide. However, it’s not so much of an issue with sandals and they are actually quite good. There are some comments that Keen shoes tend to be a bit wider than normal but the sizes tend to be shorter. I think I can confirm that this is the case. For normal shoes I take a size 8 (I usually go up to size 9 for boots). Webtogs sent me an 8.5. Lengthwise, they are just right with enough room for my toes.
In terms of looks, they aren’t going to win a prize for style. However, they would certainly win a prize for comfort. The footbed is slightly shaped and is made of a soft suede material. This is pleasant to the touch and grips well enough that my foot doesn’t slide around. Unlike a few sandals with rubber footbeds I’ve worn, it doesn’t seem to be prone to becoming sweaty.
The webbing is leather with a neoprene like fabric lining. The “neoprene” is soft to the touch and provides some elasticity to the straps. The straps are secured with a criss-cross piece of shock cord and cord lock. I was concerned that they might not feel secure and “flap”, but they can be tightened enough to be secure.
The sole has a nice grippy pattern (I’ve not tried it in the wet though). The midsole is cushioned but not overly soft. The pronounced toe cap protects from toe stubs and keeps grit out, even if it looks a bit clumpy. At 746g for a pair, they won’t be going in my pack on a trip, as they are a bit too heavy. However, the Venice sandals are a good choice for casual wear in hot weather.
So far I’ve used them for a few dog walks and for slobbing about the house and the garden. I really like them. My fashionista daughter is not impressed by their looks, but I like their comfort. I’ll give a further update in the summer, as I reckon I’ll be wearing them quite a lot if the weather is hot. They have piqued my interest in Keen. I quite fancy trying a pair of Targhee Mids and getting the more dainty Whisper sandals for my wife.