The Tunari CNX is Keen’s take on the minimalist, ‘barefoot’ style of shoe. The Tunari is not quite ‘fully’ barefoot – more like ‘skimpy’ foot – but is likely to inspire the same sorts of reactions. It’s a bendy, malleable shoe with a very thin PU sole that does indeed let you feel every pebble. This can be unnerving at first but quickly starts to feel light and liberating if you can set your qualms aside. It’s extremely comfortable and feels disarmingly like sliding on a slipper. Yet, despite the lightness, there is protection; a rubber-enforced toe bumper guards the front and the sole is deceptively tough.
My main qualm concerns the outsole – it lacks ‘bite’ and on wet or muddy surfaces it felt somewhat insecure. This may be less of an issue on the sun-kissed, sandy trails of Keen’s birthplace of California, but it becomes more of one in rain-drenched Blighty. That said, as a lightweight, breathable shoe for trekking in kind climates or a comfy camp shoe, it works well.
First published: June 2013