My feet loathe the confinement of shoes. I’m more a year-round sandal-wearing kinda gal. In fact, I first fell in love with Keen footwear when I found myself wearing their cushy Barbados sandal non-stop during a six-month stay in Mexico. Whether I was walking over crudely cobbled streets, beachcombing or wading into the surf, you can bet I had my Keens on. The color never faded, the sturdy soles withstood daily use like a pro and the unique Keen toe protector stood strong against dropped objects and the vagaries of uneven sidewalks.

At home in the mountains of southern New Mexico, where a slip-in won’t cut it on warm-weather trail hikes, I upgraded to the Keen Whisper. Its quick-draw elastic cord means no slipping and sliding. Better still, the Whisper is sturdy when the going gets tough and perfect for river crossings.

When I signed on for a walking vacation in France and terrain that clearly called for something more substantial than a sandal, again I turned to Keen. Enter the Keen Targhee II hiker shoe: The waterproof cross-training shoe delivered just what the trip demanded: tenacious traction, sturdy ankle stability and best yet, foot-lovin’ comfort.

Favorite feature: Compared to my Vasque hiking boots, these shoes are feather weight. That alone had my feet smiling. But I knew they’d passed muster when I started wearing them off-trail. They’re on my feet as I type, and I’m in Baja! It’s winter here, so the sandals come out for walks on the beach. But morning and night, I’m wearing the hikers.

Not-so-favorite feature: The only thing these puppies have against em’ is, well, they’re shoes - AKA not sandals. But other than that, they’re as good as it gets. I haven’t opted for my Vasque hiking boots once since I ordered these.

Bottom Line: Perfect for a French walking tour, a stroll around the neighborhood or wherever your multisport needs might take you.

Available for men and women at as well as the Adventure Traveler section of the Travel Store at powered by Amazon.


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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".