Want one active summer shoe to do it all? The Keen Astoria West (RRP GBP£89.99 / USD $115), new for 2021, is a closed-toe ‘shandal’ you can wear both in the water and on the trail, and aims to be the best walking sandal around. This wedge-style sandal for women has a chunky, cushiony sole for added comfort, and wide adjustable straps and a protected toe box make it wearable pretty much anywhere you go exploring in the summer months.
The Astoria West is also available in an open-toed variant. If you're wanting something with more protection, head to our best women's walking shoe picks, or for a more casual shoe, you can consult our best flip flops for walking guide. Alternatively, read on for our Keen Astoria West sandal review.
Keen Astoria West sandals review: design and features
The Astoria Wests are described as a ‘wedge’ sandal, but this is a bit misleading – this isn’t a high heel by any standards, just a thick, bouncy sole that works well for walking. An enclosed toe and rubber toe cap offer good extra protection on rocky ground but mean that the Astoria West is naturally less breathable than an open-toe sandal – if you’re a keen walker these are a great pick, but if you just want a relaxed sandal for holiday strolls, you could pick something lighter and airier.
A bungee cord makes it easy to pull the shandal snug and tight around your ankle, and while the back strap isn’t adjustable, it is elasticated and stays put well, with no rubbing. Not everyone will get on with how chunky that comfortable sole is – it’s perhaps too bulky and high to work for more technical rocky terrain rather than easygoing trails.
While the design of the Astoria Wests puts them firmly in the ‘sensible walking sandal’ category, we think their looks are pretty versatile - they can be worn with jeans or shorts of a summer evening as easily as they can with walking shorts, and we like the navy and black colourways for versatile dressing. These makes Keen’s new offering a good backpacking choice when you’re only packing a few pairs of shoes that need to work for most scenarios.
The Astoria West is noticeably more expensive than more cheap and cheerful walking sandals on the market, but it does feel like great quality straight out of the box, with a sole that could grace a pair of walking trainers, and we think it’ll last longer than other flimsier models - if you’re going to wear it regularly, it’s worth splashing the cash.
Keen Astoria West sandals review: performance and comfort
Like most Keen sandals we’ve reviewed, the Astoria Wests stand out for comfort – we found this model felt supportive to wear all day long, especially thanks to that cushiony heel, which makes covering long distances far more palatable than a flat sole would. One favourable reviewer of the Astoria Wests recommends them for anyone with rheumatoid arthritis, and they'd also be a good choice for anyone who spends long hours on their feet for work or play. However, we wouldn’t suggest them to anyone with wide splayed feet or suffering from bunions, as the toe box feels on the snug and narrow side, and there’s no way to adjust the fit around the bottom of the foot, just around the top and ankle.
The Keens stand out when you’re exploring by the water, as they can effortlessly go from wet to dry. The closed toe box protects your feet from rocks when you’re in the water, the soles give good grip even when wet and the fabric straps dry fast when you’re back on land.
Keen Astoria West sandals review: verdict
A good quality summer ‘shandal’ with great toe protection and a close-fitting snug fit, the Astoria West does come close to being one sandal that can do it all, although not everyone will like that higher heel. If comfort and versatility are top of your shopping list, Keen’s new offering is a good choice that feels like it’ll last far longer than flimsier sandals on the market.