Gadling Gear Review: Keen Emerald City Sandals For Summer

Keen Emerald City Ankle Wrap SandalI like my sport sandals a lot. I’ve tried a few different brands – Chaco, Keen, Ahnu – and truthfully, they’re all great for what they do. I’ve yet to develop a brand preference. But when you pair them with something dressier for those beach side cocktail hours, they still look like sport sandals.

Keen makes a whole line of sport sandals. I’m a fan of their footwear; it’s comfortable and sturdy. But they’ve got a new line that’s cuter and dresses up nicely, plus, they are comfortable enough for long walks. The Emerald City Ankle Wrap Sandal packs away nicely too, taking up less space in your bag than a pair of flip-flops.

I struggled with getting the straps wrapped correctly at first; if you go this route you’ll probably need to find the way that feels best for you. On my first wearing, I wasn’t sure at all that they would be comfortable. I knocked around the house in them for an afternoon before I was convinced. But after just a few hours and a few times fussing with the straps, I got them just right and hey, cute new sandals for traveling! Here’s to that.

The sandals are leather with a padded foot bed. You’re not going to want to go beach combing in them, as they’re not designed for water, but they’re perfect for those city picnics, museum dates and dressing up to go for umbrella drinks after your day at the beach. I’ve walked around my fine city in them and they lost that stiff new leather feeling almost immediately. The other Keen shoes I have are built to last – I’d expect nothing less from these sandals.

Shoes are, for me, the hardest part of the packing equation. I’m not a slave to fashion, but I like good shoes, and I see the value in the right shoes for the job. Lately, I try to limit myself to two pairs, but I want to take them all. I’m probably going to toss the Emerald City sandals in my bag for all my summer trips. They’re cute, lightweight and comfortable – all good qualities in a summer travel sandal.

Get them from Keen for $85.

Five stylish items that save time in a security check

We’ve all been there. A security check procedure goes something like this – untie and remove shoes, unbuckle and remove belt, take out wallet, drop keys in the bowl, dig into your bag for your laptop, then step through the metal detector only to discover you had change in your pocket.

It’s an annoying process but one set in place to keep us all safe. So we deal with it. Seasoned travelers know there are shortcuts for the security hubbub and travel goods manufacturers are constantly innovating new products that help us get to our gates a little quicker. Here are five products that fit the bill.

Jimi Wallet
The beauty of the Jimi lies in it’s simplicity. The basic clamshell design and minimalist approach are ideal for those who know how to pare down to the essentials when traveling. With room for a few credit/debit cards, an ID, an insurance card, and a few bills the Jimi forces the user to keep it simple. Its translucent water resistant casing is versatile enough for a trip to the beach or a hike in the hills. The included money clip is also made of plastic and won’t set off the sirens as you breeze through security. All this coolness comes in under $15. The Jimi shows us that plastic wallets aren’t just for kids.

Kavu Burly Belt
Belts are often forgotten as a flier strolls into the metal detector. Then it’s back through the scanner or into the dreaded plastic booth for a pleasant wanding. Kavu has taken a similar approach to our friend the Jimi Wallet. The Kavu Burly Belt uses a plastic fastener for a buckle and doesn’t incorporate metal anywhere in the design. The trippy designs on the webbing that makes up the strap will make your more outdoorsy friends jealous.


Chaco Flip Pro
“pictured above”
This uber-cool flop, available in men’s and women’s models, sports a webbing upper and a rubber lower. The sole is Vibram and is designed to grip all types of terrain. Unlike many flip flops the Flip Pro also keeps feet comfy for the long haul by including an arch. The advantage to flops in the security line are obvious; simply slip out and slide through.Kelty Platform
This day pack is a workhorse in disguise. The rugged exterior gives the Platform a casual appearance but hides some handy features. The ventilated back panel deters a sweaty back when traveling in hot or humid conditions. The strap-to-sling carry configuration allows two ways to carry the bag. But the feature that will help you get past security with lightning speed is the laptop side zipper. This long zipper runs down the side of the pack and accesses only the laptop compartment to allow for a quick grab as you enter the line.

Tech4o Traileader Pro
Who says a plastic watch can’t look professional? The Traileader Pro boasts not only the ability to slip through security without removal but is also packed with features that could prove useful if your destination includes outdoor activities. The Traileader Pro has a built-in compass, barometer, altimeter, and weather forecast for the more adventurous trips.

By upgrading a few items in your travel kit to non-metal accessories and items designed for quick action you will be through security quicker and on to the coffee shop on the other side to check your email. With that said, there are never any guarantees that the guy in front of you won’t have a pocket full of quarters.