Keen Hyperport H2 review: a water shoe that’s as happy on easy hikes as it is on the beach

A chunkier, yet lighter version of Keen’s classic Newport shandal, the Hyperport H2 is designed to take you from the trails to the water with a bounce in your step

Keen Hyperport H2 water shoes
(Image: © Future)

Advnture Verdict

The Keen Hyperport H2 is a bouncy shandal built for shoreline adventures, easy hiking and days on the beach. We liked the amount of protection they provide to the upper foot, the easy on and off lacing system and the chunky toe bumper. As with most Keen shoes, the Hyperports have a generous toe box that won't be ideal people with narrow feet, but if you have an average or wide foot shape then they should suit you well.

Pros

  • +

    Good grip on slippery surfaces and loose trails

  • +

    Fast draining and drying

  • +

    PFAS-free

  • +

    Easy on and off bungee fastening

  • +

    Lots of cushioning

Cons

  • -

    Won’t suit people with narrow feet

  • -

    Limited trail feel

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  Keen Hyperport H2: first impressions

Specifications

• List price: $120 (US), £95 (UK)
• Gender availability: Men’s & women’s versions
• Weight (per shoe): 317g / 11.18oz (women's US size 10, UK 8, EU 42)
• Materials: Washable polyester webbing upper, injected foam midsole, Aquagrip rubber sole
Colors (men's):  Yellow & Black / Scarlet Ibis & Naval Academy / Martini olive & Plaza taupe / Alloy & Legion blue
Colors (women's):  Yellow & Black / Birch & Plaza taupe /  Nostalgia rose & Daiquiri green
• Compatibility: Wild swimming, paddle boarding, easy hiking, beach walks

Having recently had a good experience with the Keen Targhee IV hiking boots, I was keen (sorry) to try the brand's new water/beach shoes, as my favorite outdoor pursuits are mainly water-based. The Hyperport H2 is a revamped, lighter version of the Keen Newport H2 shandal, with more sole cushioning and a touch of extra heel protection from the poly-knit lining, to save you from scraping your ankles on rock pools, stones and shingle.

So how did the Keen Hyperport H2s measure up to the best water shoes? Here’s how they performed on test:

Keen Hyperport H2 water shoes

The Keen Hyperport H2 shoes have some extra coverage at the ankle compared to the Newport, which gives extra protection against submerged rocks and trail debris (Image credit: Future)

 Keen Hyperport H2: Grip and protection 

I first put these shoes through their paces in north Devon, hiking easy trails between beaches along the coastline, stomping across the sand in them, and wandering between rock pools. 

Previously I’ve worn more traditional hiking sandals for these kinds of adventures, but have found them not quite up to the task, due to the lack of toe protection, heel slippage, and of course the incursion of trail debris. 

By contrast, the Hyperport design, with its enclosed toe and chunky bumper, did a fine job of saving me from painful stubs. The upper is made from webbing straps, stitched onto a stretch polyester lining, with a foam inner sole that Keen says is shock-absorbing. The lining does not enclose the foot fully so there's still the risk of trail debris getting in, but the gaps in the lining are fairly small and it didn't prove to be in issue when wearing them on rocky trails.

The midsole is injected foam, which provides a lot of shock absorption and a fairly bouncy ride. Between all these elements I felt confident that my feet were well protected. The downside was I found myself wanting a little more trail feel and flex, particularly when walking over uneven boulders.

The outsoles of the Hyperports are covered in a fairly flat lug pattern with siping designed to push water away, in theory enhancing your grip. In practice this worked well, whether I was clambering over boulders on the shoreline, or picking my way around the edges of seaweed-covered rock pools. I didn’t experience any slipping, which surprised me, given the low-profile of the sole. I also found the Hyperports lived up to their quick-drying claim.

Keen Hyperport H2 water shoes

The Hyperports H2s have a fairly flat lug profile, but the siping pattern helps to push water away and enhance grip over slippery surfaces (Image credit: Future)

 Keen Hyperport H2: Fit and comfort 

As someone with wide feet, Keen is a brand that suits me. The wide toe box, a hallmark of Keen designs, gives me plenty of wiggle room, and also allows me to spread my toes to grip better on slick or unstable surfaces. 

The Hyperport H2s are very easy to take on and off, with plenty of stretch in the polyester upper, a heel loop for extra help if you need it (I didn’t), and a quick to use bungee fastening system. 

I wore them with socks for hiking beach trails, and then sockless on the beach. While hiking I picked up a small blister on the arch of my right foot, which was placed exactly where my foot sat over the embossed Keen logo on the inner sole. I can’t be sure that was the cause, but it was the only part of the inner sole with a different relief pattern - the rest is a kind of scale design, presumably to stop your feet from slipping around inside when they’re wet. There are three other places on the outer where the logo is stamped, so this decision to put an embossed logo inside feels a little extraneous, particularly if I’m correct that it’s what caused my blister.

Keen Hyperport H2 water shoes

The quick bungee lacing system is easy and quick to tighten, and simple to release when taking the shoes off (Image credit: Future)

 Keen Hyperport H2: Environmental impact 

As with all shoes and boots produced by Keen, the Hyperport H2s contain no forever chemicals and have been given an eco anti-odor treatment to minimize the usual smell that comes from wearing synthetic shoes. 

These shoes are also sturdily made, giving me hope that they will last many years. And buying good quality kit that doesn’t constantly need replacing is one of the easiest ways to reduce your personal impact on the environment.

Keen Hyperport H2 water shoes

Foam injected midsoles provide a bouncy ride, although the amount of cushioning and relative lack of flex comes at the cost of trail feel (Image credit: Future)

 Keen Hyperport H2: Swimming and water sports

The Hyperport H2 is a fairly chunky shoe and, as such, wouldn’t usually be my first choice for long swims. Its sheer size means it creates significant extra drag in the water, and so for me this design makes more sense for casual swimming than for serious training sessions, where I’m looking to be as streamlined as possible. 

Where I think the Hyperport H2 really come into its own is on the days when you are exploring the shoreline, or searching for woodland streams to go wild swimming in. The grip provided gives a lot of confidence on stony trails, slippery rockpools or muddy paths. You also get a significant amount of protection for not a great deal of weight and can wade across a rocky seabed or riverbed without worrying about hurting your feet. 

Whether this shandal works for paddle boarding seems to me more like a question of taste rather than a clear line as to whether it's suitable or unsuitable. I’d personally want something with a lower profile like the Vivobarefoot Hydra ESC, as the chunky sole on the Hyperport makes it difficult for me to initially stand up on an unstable surface - the extra height (the heel is 45mm / 1.77in) requires more knee and ankle flex than a shoe with a flat sole. However, I have had surgeries that have left me with poor flexion in one knee. For someone without this issue I think they would still be a viable option.

Rosee Woodland
Senior Staff Writer

Rosee Woodland developed a taste for adventure at a young age, growing up in a home where camping was the default holiday, and good weather was a vacation bonus rather than a necessity. After bike-packing the length of France in her mid teens with her family, she started to undertake solo forays in her 20s, usually without the benefit of much technical gear at all. Happily, the years she later spent as a mountain biking journalist eventually gave her an appreciation of decent kit! These days she loves a water-based adventure, and is an outdoor swim coach, and a keen free diver. She has a soft spot for Northern Ireland's Mourne mountains, and can also be found hiking and kayaking in Pembrokeshire and the South West of the UK.