Tuesday, June 15, 2010




Words/Images Judith Ecochard

Outdoor brands…and athletic lifestyle footwear (and apparel)…are more functional, thanks to meaningful technical innovations…and more fashionable…than ever. With major nods to their nature inspired DNA…

KEEN--- in particular, takes the concept of environmental stewardship, and use of sustainable materials, very seriously…and has in place corporate practices providing monetary support of non-profits that make an eco difference. OR live the HybridLife™...

KEEN is an incredibly popular brand…with retailers and the press. We actually were part of one of several sessions for journalists…getting the 411 on kickers for Fall 2010.

With the cooler temps---the outdoors meets street styling seems to have been the design team's marching orders based on what we saw.

LIKE  full grain leather, mid size boots with heavy stitching and toe protection.

For the women’s specific offerings, we loved the GOLDEN i--- a luxurious leather slip on with natural rubber bottom …and memory foam for comfort.

And characteristic of all Keen shoes---an anatomically engineered footbed for the ultimate in support that cradles the natural contours of the feet.

ADDED PLUS:  The technical details…AND the finishes----

... the hand sewn stitches and high end materials like nubuck leather that make the Keen winter gear exceptional.

 Outdoor footwear is essential on snow or ice. Take the Red Rock mid or M/W with round edges, (“inspiration from a cat’s paw”)….a polyurethane heel and an EVA forefoot

Traction (via Keen Dual Climate Rubber that hardens in the cold for a better grip)

Warmth with an antimicrobial insulation made of charcoal bamboo or the triple layer thermal heatbed footbed with “wooly softness”, support cushioning, and “thermal foil barrier to harness the heat,”---like those space blankets handed out after marathons to reflect back the warmth

and a waterproof membrane via Keen.Dry a proprietary waterproof breathable membrane that lets the clammy vapor out.

And giving the modern styling  (chukka boot ) …the Hoodo with microfleece lining and street savvy contrast stitching,

And sleeker profiles ---eye catching slick---that city folks wear when hiking the subway steps…

NEW: Socks …a women’s lifestyle ped covering in cute patterns that can be rolled up or down---with left and right specific fittings!

CODA: Keen’s lively CEO James Curleigh, gave us the 411 on the company’s seven year history (environment, community and growth---three major themes)

 and am MO that “every season is a Keen season.”

As in--- embracing a lifestyle that focuses on recreation and the eco (reduction of glues…eyelets of recycled aluminum…)…with urban folks embracing the outdoors…

Weekend warriors want stuff to wear to work.”


COOL:  The innovation of the shoe box as a projector. Repurposed Materials 101 way more fun than middle school math.

INFO: DELIVERIES start in July. For E-commerce, tech info, store locators etc...