I’m a disliker of shoes, at least shoes that I have to actually waste energy tying, go ahead call me lazy, you might be right. As soon as weather permits I wear sandals and flip-flops every single day. While the Keen Bali is a great shoe, it is nothing compared to the old Waimea H2, which has since been discontinued under the women’s line. There is still a men’s version though (review coming soon). Keen if you are listening, bring it back for women!! But until they do, the Bali is a good alternative on the female side. Men, they don’t have a Bali for you, but trust me, you want the Waimea H2 anyway. While I do love the Bali, there are a few things to think about before you make your purchase. So sit back, grab a coffee, and check out our Keen Bali review:
In general, I find Keens to be very diesel, well crafted shoes. There is no exception for the Bali. The straps are very secure and don’t rip or stretch when you yank on them. You can beat these up and they keep on trucking. The synthetic straps are thick and rugged. Unlike other shoes, the glue holding the bottom sole to the cushy part on top seems indestructible – never once have I had a separation between sandal layers. Even when I make the terrible decision to put my feet too close to the campfire, still no melting glue. I have heard of a few people who’ve had a minor separation, but called Keen immediately, and Keen handled it quickly with a warranty.
The bottom of these shoes are incredibly comfortable. They are soft, cushy, and after a few uses, will begin to mold to your foot – not a lot, but just enough to improve comfort. The cushion is thick and contoured. The fabric straps are “quick-dry”, and while they do get wet, they don’t stay wet very long which keeps the chaffing down, and controls smells that can form when sandals stay wet for an extended period of time. After you wear them a few times, they fit like a glove. One con to note though is that this sandal, unlike my old favorite the Waimea H2, it does not have a thong that goes between your toes. I was a huge fan of this feature because it helped you keep the shoe on your foot when you were off-roading. The Bali is easy to step or slip out of. If you aren’t a fan of the thong style, then the Keen Bali or Bali Strap might be right up your ally.
Some people think Keens look strange and aren’t that stylish because of the honky toe guards they put on the front of their shoes. I, as a clumsy person, find this to be a fine trade off for not stubbing my toe on the regular. Additionally, this toe guard does add a bit of uniqueness, as only Keen brand shoes have this patented feature. The fabric straps come in a wide selection of colors and patterns, so you can pick a design that fits you, your style, and your wardrobe – if that is your thing. I can’t tell you how many times people compliment my Keen Bali’s when I’m out and about. Strangers will stop me in lines, or at restaurants to ask me what they are and where to get them. Who knew an outdoor dirt-bag could be such a fashionista.
Ahhh, the patented toe guard. I often wear sandals in areas where they are not the ideal shoe. Camping, hiking, along rivers when I kayak, all day everyday. I run into rocks, stub my toe, trip, what-have you, and the Keen Bali saves me from pain by covering my toes, even in flip-flops. Your toe strap is much bigger and move involved on the Keen Bali. When you have your foot in the flip-flop, the front of the shoe, and your first few big toes are closed off from all the mean rocks and curbs you could kick. The “light-weight rubber out-sole” as Keen describes it on their website, is tick and sturdy, has two layers, what touches your foot and what touches the ground and it is designed to absorb shock. You can walk over rocks, uneven ground, and for the most part, you won’t feel it on your foot. They do a great job of protecting your foot from below.
Version 2: The Strap
If you need a shoe that is a mix between flip flops and some sort of old Teva, there is a Bali Strap. The Bali Strap shares the orgininal Bali’s same front strap and toe area with a little bit of added coverage, and has an addition set of straps that go across the top of your foot and around the heel. Both of which are velcro. These are a bonus if you don’t want that flop sound, or plan to do some off-roading. They fit well and are comfortable. At first, I thought the front strap part of the shoe could have been longer, but now I have adjusted and it no longer bothers me. They do create a little bit more foot sweat than their sister shoe, but nothing like a Croc or anything.
You can check out both of these shoes by visiting the Keen website. You can also find out who is your closest local retailer (support small folks). For women, this shoe is amazing and a perfect blend of style, comfort, and durability. I’d recommend this sandal, until of course they bring back to the Waimea H2.
Hope our Keen Bali Review was helpful, if you have any questions or need more info, please feel free to comment and we will get back to you!