By: Flip & Flop
My time spent reviewing the Keen Solr Toe Post flip flops put me in a reflective, almost nostalgic mood.
There are some things that I’d love to try. But never in public, never as an adult. Wearing a kilt, for example.
I think it could be a pretty neat experience to go through life feeling the breezes of life swirl through my loins. However, the fact that I am neither Scottish nor into 64-sided dice roll playing games make this impossible.
It is for similar reasons that I don’t wear capes, cowboy dusters (trench coats), or carry nunchucks…in public.
All of these have a legitimate appeal to the 12-year-old boy that I still am at heart. However, adulting prevents me from indulging these urges. Which, to be honest, is as it should be. A time and place for all things under the sun and all.
“There are some things that I’d love to try, but never in public.”
It doesn’t take much to recognize the Keen Solr Toe Post flip flop as a product of Keen. This brand embraces clunky, questionable aesthetic design choices with practicality and comfort – much like the slanket.
Now, to call them “unfashionable” would be both unkind and inaccurate. They are “alternatively fashionable”. Which the Keen fanbase seems to embrace. “Clunky, bulky, bulbous? Who cares?” they seem to say. “My toes are protected, my feet are snuggly strapped in, and the foot bed is the definition of comfort.”
So, it isn’t a surprise that the Keen Solr Toe Post flip flops are comfortable. In fact, it seems that Keen used the exact same footbed in these flip flops as they do in their supremely comfortable and iconic scrappy, strappy and very comfy Keen Sandals. Though it shouldn’t have been a surprise (more on that later) that these Keen flip flops have an insanely comfortable and well-fitting foot bed.
Let’s back up a bit though. The elephant in the room that I’ve yet to address is the strap. Strap is the most neutral word I can think of to describe it.
Imagine a flip flop: there’s the foot bed, there’s the toe post, there are the two straps or thongs that curve back from the toe post and fasten to the footbbed mid-foot. Now imagine over the top of this, just at the apex of the “Y” of the typical flip flop strap, a sort of seat belt mid-foot, complete with buckle.
It looks…weird. But it also looks snug, like all Keen sandals, like these suckers are staying in place snug.
Unfortunately, the extra strap is superfluous at best and a hazard at worst. It is placed over the narrowest part of the foot, at the arch, so in order to do any holding at all it has to be cinched really tightly.
This results in a long tail of strap dangling over outer side of each flip flop that drags along the ground collecting whatever ground muck is within reach. Double yuck.
But to make matters worse, the excess strap is long enough to actually get caught on stuff, like an untied shoelace. It is an awful addition to the simplest of footwear.
“The elephant in the room that I’ve yet to address is the strap.”
Because the footbed is so comfortable, I wanted to just remove (cut off) the extra strap and have just a normal, if a bit bulky, pair of flip flops. However, the engineers at Keen have made this impossible because the over strap is part of thong/toe post apparatus. It’s all one piece.
This is incredibly impressive and complicated however, totally unnecessary. It is the definition of overengineering a mouse trap, for the worse.
This is a real let down because the rest of the flip flop is amazing.
The traction is unsurpassed as is the case with all Keen footwear – however the untied shoelace aspect of the dangling strap impairs this.
The comfort of the footbed is outstanding – yet the strap that reaches over the instep hinders this.
The fit is perfect – except for that odd extra strap that digs in a bit at the sides of the arch.
These flip flops would tick every box, if only they hadn’t added that extra strap.
Keens will never win a beauty contest and to their credit they don’t even try. They’re clunky, bulky and odd looking. And that is just fine and expected.
However, this extra strap that does nothing but undermine the rest of the flip flop is one piece too many.