Keen Clearwater CNX Sandals Review – Perfect Low Profile Hybrid Sandal


Today, we’re going to be giving you the Keen Clearwater CNX sandals review.

High-tech fitness shoes may give you the support you need, but they often can’t take the tough terrain you put them through.

Then there’s the matter of water and mud that can damage, stain, and reduce their efficacy.

What you need is an all-weather, all-terrain shoe that won’t leave you short when it comes to comfort and technical support.

So, is the Keen Clearwater CNX the right shoe for you?

Let’s find out…


Some Keen sandals have really helped people suffering from Plantar Fasciitis issues. Make sure you read the article.

Make sure you check out this comparison of Keen, Teva, and Chaco.

Keen Clearwater CNX Sandals Review

Keen are a fantastic footwear company that have worked really hard to create footwear that says lightweight and comfortable as it can possibly be.

The Clearwater CNX is part of Keen’s new minimalist line that a lot of shoe companies do these days where you’re much lower on the ground.

This means you do get a much better feel of the trail or the ground as you’re walking in these sandals.

If you’re wearing the Merrell Trail Glove, this would be somewhat comparable for those who don’t want to wear those Five Fingers or those types of minimalist shoes.



Clearwater CNX Review in a Nutshell

The designers of these outdoor sandals ensured that you get the support you need, thanks to the contoured arch.

The bungee lace and stretchy lining give you a customized fit while the multi-directional grooves on the sole will keep you sure-footed on the path.

Combined with a 4mm midsole drop, which gives your foot a softer landing, and a contoured arch for superior midfoot support, your feet will be able to tackle even the most challenging terrain.

You’ll also be impressed with how easy it is to get these sandals on and off. Pull-on loops at the front and back of the shoe make this possible.


Let’s dive more into the sandals…


Activities you can do in the Clearwater CNX

The Clearwater CNX is perfect for walking around the town and also a great shoe for mountains, grass, and rocky terrain.

It’s going to give you great protection over any kind of loose stone or anything you bang your foot against.

This is also a great camp shoe after a full day of hiking in the backcountry. It packs really small in your bag.

It’s also great for paddle activities as compared to the more bulkier Keen Newport sandals and you’ve got the same amount of grip and traction.

You can take these sandals with you when you’re Kayaking or out on a SUP adventure because it’s going to protect your feet while getting out onto the water and getting back to shore.

Next up, there’s just a lot of innovative technology that comes with these sandals…

Upper & Lining

The outer fabric on this sandal is polyester webbing which is machine washable and it’s really easy to keep clean and as good as new.

It’s as simple as adding a small amount of detergent to a gentle cycle on your washing machine and letting them air-dry afterward.

And yes, they also float.

The inner lining is made from a hydrophobic mesh. Hydrophobic just means the lining won’t get any damage from water or any staining, but it’s quick-drying and nice and soft against your skin.

So the Clearwater has the same webbing top that you see on a lot of the regular Keen sandals.

This signature Keen webbing style is designed to allow the breeze to flow right through and keep your feet nice and ventilated preventing any discomfort or odor.

We also have nice suede detailing on the ankles and the top of the shoe.

Aegis Microbe Shield


The Keen Clearwater is designed to take a beating outdoors, but there’s plenty of breathing space between the textile which is treated with Aegis microbe shield hydrophobic mesh lining for a comfortable fit that wicks away moisture from your foot and make sure perspiration won’t hold you back.

The anti-odor anatomic footbed also eliminates odors which otherwise shorten the life of your footwear.

Footbed, Arch Support, & Midsole

The footbed itself has been molded in such a way that will give optimal support to your foot in its natural shape.

So, can the Clearwater CNX really handle a tough climb up a trail?


The contoured arch is tailored to the shape of your foot offering midfoot support.


This means it’s going to support the small bones that form the arch of your foot and serve as your foot’s shock absorber, which makes the whole thing more comfortable as you’re moving over any kind of terrain, especially when you’re walking over uneven unknown terrain.

The midsole gives you a 4mm heel-to-toe differential. The 4mm drop is a much more natural feeling that fits really well with your walking style as you move along, which means a softer landing and less potential for injury.

The midsole has been created using a polyurethane compound which is hard-wearing and gives incredible support and plenty of comfort.


A trail means stones and other items that may come across your path, which requires some protection from the elements…

Toe Protection


Coming to the front, we have Keen’s patented toe protection. This is basically a continuation of the sole that wraps up and around the toe to prevent any stubbing or injury.

I can honestly say that I have never stubbed my toe with these sandals on.

The toe cap works really well and it won’t make your feet feel cramped, which is why it’s a recognized feature of Keen footwear.

The smart bungee lacing system across the top of the shoe is another great feature that really got our attention…

Lacing System


Having a look at the top of the shoe, you can see we have a nice Quick Fix lace capture system which uses a 2-millimeter bungee cord so you can easily adjust the fit of the shoe without adding any bulk.

So, however tight or loose you want the shoes on your feet, all you have to do is pull this lacing system and it will attach firmly to your foot. There’s a handy clip which allows you to keep the adjuster out of the way.

The bungee lace really helps keep the sandals fitted to your feet especially when they are underwater or when you really don’t want them to fall off.


The rear pull-on loop makes it easy to slip the walking sandal onto your foot while the toggles keep the bungee laces firmly in place when you’re on the move.

The back loop can be used as a hook for a carabiner if you want to hang them onto your bag.



The outsole on these is just awesome because Keen are using a super lightweight PU compound for longer life.

You’ve also got a very good non-slip traction on the outsole just like their best-selling Keen Newports.

The outsole features Keen razor siping which is these little lines that look almost like little mountains. When you actually flex the sole of the shoe, these lines extend to give you great traction.


So, when you’re out beach exploring, beachcombing, and doing all those kind of outdoor activities, you’ve got multi-directional flex grooves which really allow for natural flexibility of the foot while not sacrificing traction on slippery and wet surfaces.

This is also pretty helpful when you find yourself doing some treetop trekking and you want to enjoy every step you take rather than worry about your shoe.

The flexibility offered by the sandal means that your foot can move, especially if you are on uneven ground. It’s going to actually give you that opportunity to ben and move without being constricted.

Last but not least, the sole is made from non-marking rubber.


Keen do have a fit guide on their website if you need to take a look at it.

The Clearwater fits true to size compared to the Newports where you have to go up a half size.

If you’re ordering online and you don’t quite know your sizing for Keen shoes, you may want to go to the store to make sure you’re grabbing the right size.

The Clearwater is versatile

Being able to use sandals on the beach that are also good for walking is fantastic. These are fab for a lot of things, especially jumping in the water.

Even if you need to go into the water, they dry out pretty fast because most summer activities usually involve water. The Clearwater CNX is truly a sandal designed to take on summer.


There’s no reason to scrimp on style when you purchase a good walking sandal. The Keen Clearwater CNX sandals come in a great range of shades – from hot pink and turquoise to sophisticated brown and black.

But it’s function, not fashion you’re concerned about, right?


The CNX is mid-priced, but it’s worth every penny, especially when you’re out walking. It’s about the same as the Keen Newport, but you do have more flexibility.

You can check today’s price on:



Keen Footwear


  • Lightweight
  • Durability is excellent
  • Great for narrow & thin feet
  • Waterproof
  • Excellent fit
  • Offers good arch support
  • Traction is good on wet rocks


  • Not good for “rooty” or “pebbly” terrain
  • Lacks ankle adjustment
  • A bit expensive
  • Keen Whisper and Newport are better options 

Wrap Up


Again, the Keen Clearwater is part of the CNX line of footwear known for being super lightweight (8.4 oz for men and 7.6 oz for women), comfortable, and robust all while keeping your toes protected through pretty much any summer activity.

I can honestly say the Clearwater is one of the most functional and protective shoes you can get.

There are just so many features to this fun yet tough pair of sandals, but what I love most about them is that I can confidently put them through pretty much everything I do.

They are definitely a pair of sandals that can get out there and let brave new toes explore boldly.

It’s a winning combination – your feet are supported and safe, but still have a natural feel that makes the experience of being in the outdoors more real.

The Clearwater is a sandal that will literally take you anywhere – comfortably, safely, and looking good

If you are into the minimalist approach, give these sandals a try.

What to consider when choosing a summer sandal like the Clearwater CNX


When choosing a sandal for your summer adventures, make sure you put the following on your checklist:

  • How much arch support the sandal has.
  • How much it weighs.
  • How it fits your foot.
  • How much it allows your foot to move.
  • Does the outsole have enough traction to deal with slick surfaces?

That’s it for this Keen Clearwater CNX review. I hope you enjoyed it and see you in the next one 🙂

About Eric Barber

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

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