Keen Clearwater CNX

9.2 score
[Editors rating (9.2)] = ( score (9.2)/10

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Editor rating: 9.2 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
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Editor’s Conclusion
Blowing the socks of an incredible number of explorers, Keen knows how to create a fantastic summer hiking shoe. The Clearwater CNX has been around for years, with its loyal fan base continuing to grow. As a versatile, hardy sandal that can travel the distance, this is the perfect, all-around adventure shoe.

The Keen Clearwater CNX impresses as a lightweight shoe that supports and fits well, so it’s no surprise these walking sandals come so well recommended. A wading shoe that transitions smoothly between striding through rivers or racking up the miles over rocky terrains, the Clearwater CNS does precisely what it’s supposed to. With bungee laces providing a personalized fit and further support from the contoured arch cradles, there’ll be plenty of security to keep you safe on the move.

Having been designed to make moving your feet as natural as possible, this Keen sandal should make trekking easy with the 4mm midsole drop. This drop allows for a closer foot to the ground feel, even almost a barefoot feel, with enough rigidity in the sole to prevent stones and rocks poking into your feet. Check out this shoe in more detail to find out if it’s for you.
Keen Clearwater CNX Review Facts
Editor's Pros & Cons




Superb traction

Very comfortable

Machine washable


Standard width

Limited high arch support

No ankle adjustment

Key Features


With lots of positives, this Keen shoe certainly passes the backpacker test and is perfect as a wading, hiking, and everyday use shoe. Being lightweight and easy to pack, you can easily pop them in your hiking backpack when swapping to your hiking shoes.

The crazy amount of traction that comes with the Clearwater CNX is a pleasant surprise. You’ll have no issues moving through fast-moving rivers, even carrying heavy packs, with the stability and integrity of this Keen shoe never compromised.

Camping is also a breeze with the Clearwater CNX; they are easy to take on and off and waterproof. Great for dirty shower floors!

It’s challenging to wade through rivers when heavy shoes bog down your feet, so it’s refreshing to find a sturdy sandal that is still lightweight. Moving over any terrain is easy with the Clearwater CNX. Keen has even used specific technology to shave their entire CNX line of footwear down to 10 ounces, keeping all the protection that keeps them famous. Less is undoubtedly more.

This Keen brand will grip the ground and balance your backpack even over rugged landscapes despite the lightweight design. In addition, a safer, closer to the ground feel is real with the 4mm drop and Metatarsal ridge.

You’ll also get natural foot flexibility and improved ground contact with the multi-directional flex grooves and non-marking rubber outsoles, meaning superior grip and traction no matter the surface. So, take these babies out on sailboats, over streams, across rocky terrain, or just for walking your dog.


The only place where the Clearwater could be improved is the adjustability. The fit is hard to adjust with only a single cinch strap at the top of the foot to tighten the cord in a shoelace-like pattern.

There is also limited adjustability with the lack of ankle adjustment, but many testers got around this by just stepping on the ankle strap when they wanted to slip the shoe on and off quickly.


The Keen Clearwater CNX is nothing if not comfortable. You’ll almost forget you’re wearing this Keen sandal with the lightweight EVA midsole, providing a soft and comfy feel. The polyester webbing upper sole also fits much different foot shapes superbly, with a rugged enough sole to support different arch types without compromising comfort, even on long days.

I love, love, love a lack of wear in time. Slip these babies on for instant comfort straight out of the box. Not only that, but the contoured arch and metatarsal ridge make your feet feel extra secure and comfortable with a personalized fit. Wear them all day long to find your feet still comfortable at the end of the day.

This Keen closed-toe model of water shoe protects the foot and makes for better travel across rocky and uneven terrain. Although you won’t get a wide fit with this swimming sandal, the toe box does come in an excellent, roomy fit that allows for much more comfort.


It’s the materials that make this shoe great. Keen is a well-renowned brand that sells long-lasting, comfortable shoes, and there must be a reason for this.

Keen chooses PFC-free materials to protect its customers (per- and poly-fluorinated entirely artificial chemicals which do not occur naturally). In addition, support and security come from a non-marking rubber outsole and a TPU stability shank.

Keen is well known for selling comfortable shoes, and the Clearwater CNX is no different with a lightweight EVA midsole. The washable polyester webbing upper and Hydrophobic mesh lining also provides waterproof security and extra comfort.


Reviewers have worn these shoes for years with plenty of security and comfort. Choosing durable materials like a TPU stability shank, non-marking rubber, and washable polyester webbing is clever; these are all durable and long-lasting materials.

KEEN also offers a warranty against manufacturing and material defects for one full year from the date of purchase, so if you’re concerned about the durability, this should ease your mind.

Comparison to Similar Sandals/Water Shoes

If your feet are on the broader side, and you need something with a wider fit than the standard fit the Clearwater provides, then why not try out the Keen SOLR sandal.

The SOLR is similar in style, comfort and security, and range at about the same price, but it comes in a D width. Keen also offer their widest sandal in the form of their Newport or Newport H2.

Many love these shoes, but the odd few recommend more arch for the Clearwater CNX, as you can’t use orthopedic insoles with this shoe.


Even at a slightly high price, Keen save you money with a perfect everyday shoe/sandal. This sandal could save you money from buying multiple shoes. Looking and feeling great, you can wear them over water, harsh landscapes or just out to dinner with friends without changing.

Steady, grippy, comfy and trendy, the Keen Clearwater CNX sandal is entirely worth the money, seen by the number of glowing reviews. They last for years and years, with comfort never compromised.

Being suitable for many activities, the Clearwater CNX should suit the needs of many adventurers and be on top of this year’s hiking shopping list.