Ever since the mid-90s, when I saw a pair of river guide sandals for the first time, I’ve been a fan of adventure sandals. I’ve owned several Tevas, Chacos, Nikes, and others over the years. I just recently picked up a pair of KEEN Zerraport II sandals ($110) and used them for the first time on a little family fishing expedition this weekend.

The Zerraport II sandals were created at KEEN’s Tokyo Design Center and have a unique look defined by a strap system somewhat similar to some Chacos I’ve owned over the years. But the look is truly punctuated by the classic closed-toe design that KEEN is well-known for leveraging. This became incredibly handy as I traversed the small stream we were camped at to retrieve hooks my daughters lodged into limbs across the way. It was immediately obvious that the sandals’ grip on the slimy rocks was unparalleled. I always felt sure-footed and stable regardless of the current.

I’ve read comments on these comparing their looks to ballet slippers or Mary Janes, and I’ll admit that it took a moment to get used to their distinctive styling. But for me, the value proposition was there. The Zerraport II brought with them a feeling of serious safety, comfort, support, and stability. And once I channeled the charm of this design, I felt confident and more or less embraced its bold, keep-you-on-your-toes looks.

Snag a pair of Zerraport II sandals here and follow KEEN Japan on Instagram.