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Beach bound? Pack these instead of flip flops

When flip flops won’t cut it try Keen’s Clearwater CNX sandals.

Part walking shoe, part water sandal, Keen's Clearwater CNX goes the extra mile when flip-flops just won't cut it.

How it works

They look a lot like the sensible sandals my dad or four-year-old nephew would wear to the beach. Vanity aside, they're easy on my feet and the contours of the inner and outer soles cater to my arch, toes and heel like a good sneaker. The first time I wear them in the water and on less sandy parts of the shoreline, the ankle strap feels constrictive and I worry about blisters. But after navigating some wet rocks and jagged pebbles, I manage to conquer terrain that basic flip-flops couldn't have tackled (and no blisters).

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Pros and cons

These sandals would have been ideal for a trip to the Galapagos Islands. They're perfect for wet landings, when you're jumping off a dinghy, wading calf-deep in sea water, then hiking for hours in search of blue-footed boobies. And they're flexible, so packing is easy. When they're really soaked (I wore them in an outdoor shower) taking steps becomes sloppy and draining the water out from the slide slats involves some foot shaking. Three hours after I took them off, however, they're bone dry.

Final verdict

They won't be the most fashionable footwear in your suitcase, but you'll be grateful for the extra stability, support and fast-drying construction. $100.

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