KEEN marks a decade of UNEEK open-air innovation

Eschewing any urge to pander to footwear fads, UNEEK’s open-air sneaker stands out not its hype or influencer endorsements, but for a quiet revolution in design and functionality.

Its innovation comes courtesy of KEEN, a brand built on the foundations of thoughtful design and purposeful action. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, KEEN has spent over two decades consciously crafting footwear that prioritises comfort, durability, and minimal environmental impact.

Now celebrating a decade of innovation, the UNEEK wasn’t born of a fleeting aesthetic but from a deep dive into biomimicry. Characterised by a cord-construction and web-like upper, what makes the UNEEK so fittingly unique is not its distinctive appearance, but the meticulous process behind its creation. Director of Innovation, Rory Fuerst Jr., embarked on a mission to reimagine traditional shoe construction, mirroring the adaptable form of the human foot. The result is a silhouette designed to feel like an extension of the wearer’s foot, with an adaptable upper that conforms to individual shapes and movements.

UNEEK’s story runs parallel to the rise of normcore—a rejection of the ostentatious and a return to practicality.  With its two-cord system and adaptable fit, the UNEEK is the footwear equivalent of swapping a skinny jean for a baggy boyfriend—a move that prioritises function over form. It’s an ethos that continues to resonate with a generation increasingly seeking a deeper connection with the physical world. The shoe is crafted with recycled materials, aligning with a growing cultural shift towards conscious consumerism. 

As the UNEEK celebrates its 10th anniversary, with activations and collaborations from Tokyo and New York to London, it does so with fresh variations—the Convertible, featuring an adjustable heel for urban nomads, the UNEEK Flat, and the UNEEKO3, a lightweight option for everyday wear—all testament to the shoe’s adaptability. Its core, however, remains unchanged: a dedication to defying expectations and crafting a shoe that moves with you, both literally and figuratively.

The UNEEK re-edition is available online.
Paid partnership with KEEN.

Loading next Article