If you’re a fan of exploring the great outdoors, then you’re probably already familiar with, and most likely own a pair of, KEEN shoes. On June 1, 2016, KEEN’s UNEEK line of footwear was introduced at an event in Toronto. Keeping true to the shoe’s name, the company hosted a painting party at The Richmond where creativity, individuality, and vibrancy were encouraged to flow.
You might not have known that KEEN is a relatively young company. They started back in 2003 and set themselves apart as a more practical and functional sandal. KEEN introduced avid hikers and walkers to the “bumper” style toe box feature, which is meant to protect the toes, without compromising comfort or durability.
So let’s start by outlining how KEEN’s UNEEK line sets itself apart from regular sandals: The new design is created using two cords and a sole. Nothing more. The cord is meant to mold to your foot, allowing for more comfortable and breathable wear, while maintaining a protective guard for your toes. Keeping true to KEEN’s colourful branding, most of the UNEEK shoes come in a duo or tri-tone scheme. So I’m sure everyone will find a combination to their liking!
I happen to be more of a monochrome fan myself, so I was super delighted to discover that an all black or white model existed. For the painting party, our work space was surrounded by inspirational art work and colourful photographs. KEEN supports innovation and creativity so they partnered with Toronto’s own Robin Goodfellow of Bar Raval, and now Pretty Ugly Bar, to create a signature cocktail for the event. Nice to know that they’re supporting local talent!
We each received a complimentary pair of UNEEK sandals. After decorating my UNEEK sandals in a fashion reminiscent of my art school studio space (but definitely more conservative), I decided to test them out. I wore them during a day of torrential downpour, and then to an all-day musical festival where I knew I would be walking around and getting dirty.
I’m glad to report that they held up and did an amazing job! Spending twelve hours on my feet isn’t the norm for me, so I really put these to the test that day. My biggest concern was the two cord design and how it might rub against the top of the foot, but that was never an issue. There is arch support, as well as comfortable grooves for your toes, and the back strap that holds your foot in place is incredibly soft yet durable.
I have a tendency to walk briskly, so pebbles in my shoes are quite normal. If you’re the same, KEEN has the UNEEK 02 style, which offers full coverage at the back so the heel isn’t exposed. It comes in just as many colours, but looks less like a sandal and more like a walking or boating shoe. Whether you’re looking for a distinct sandal to enjoy events in Toronto this summer, a breathable hiking shoe, or just a comfortable addition to your shoe collection with a pop of colour, I would recommend taking a look at KEEN’s UNEEK design. Have fun!