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KEEN UNEEK: “Open Air Footwear”

If you’re a fan of KEEN sandals like the classic Newport, you may have seen this crazy shoe-sandal hybrid in our stores or online recently. It’s a new “open air footwear” concept from designer Rory Fuerst, Jr. and they’re called KEEN UNEEK. That’s right, like it’s unique… The radical innovation here is that the upper of the shoe uses paracord to form to the shape of your foot instead of having a flat piece of material with folds and seams to conform to your foot. The sole provides shoe-like protection and support, while the upper gives your feet plenty of breathing room like a sandal. Several of our staff love these hybrid shoe-sandals.

See more from our friends at Gear Junkie in the video below with Fuerst. He calls these “love or hate” shoes that cause a polarizing reaction. We’re okay with that, as we’re used to being a bit outside the mainstream here at Rock/Creek. Let us know in the comments which side of the love/hate divide you fall into when you first see them, and then if you’ve ever tried them on we’d love to hear your experience.

We have the men’s UNEEK and women’s UNEEK at R/C. The men’s is already rated 4 of 5 stars and the women’s doesn’t have any reviews right now. And of course, we still have all the classic KEEN shoes you love.

KEEN was founded by Martin Keen and Rory Fuerst, Sr. in 2003, and these guys have never been afraid to innovate. The classic bumper toe with the little yellow caution symbol now only makes up one part of a multi-faceted business that includes full leather casual shoes (like the Chelsea boots I’m wearing as I type this) as well as this new experiment in paracord shoes. The Newport came from the simple question of whether they could design sandals that also protected your toes. Clearly the answer has been a resounding yes ever since that first shoe came out in 2003.

Who knows what the Fuerst family might come up with next. Interestingly, Martin Keen has sold his part of the company and now is working on a stand-up desk company, called Focal Upright. In fact, Mr. Keen reveals in the Q&A there that the idea for this workstation predates the Keen Sandals we all know.

Stay tuned for more from KEEN. We have some great American-made boots called the Durand that we’ll highlight soon. Meanwhile, for the ladies, we have the Bern Baby Bern boot on clearance at 30% off. If you can find your size, get ’em while they last!