Two cords and a sole — that’s the tagline and the construction details of a just-released sandal from KEEN. It’s called the UNEEK, and for sure most everything about it is unique.
In April, while on a visit to KEEN headquarters in Portland we got a sneak peek at the sandal. Then, last week, the company shipped us a pair to test.
Like the tagline notes, the footwear is really built upon a sole and an upper of intricately knotted and interlaced polyester cords.
The sole, which is a polyurethane construction, is sturdier than you think it’ll be — there’s enough protection and support to hike miles in the UNEEK sandals.
The tread is smooth but KEEN adds razor siping to give traction. I wore them on dirt trails hiking as well as through water.
I swam a fast-moving creek for fun, too, in the UNEEKs — they stayed on tight and were great for these multi-use activities.
Debris can get inside the sandal via the many openings in the cord. Sand and other small stuff gets stuck, requiring a dump-out after the swim. Also, the sandals take a while to dry once soaked.
You get interesting looks wearing the UNEEKs. They are unlike any sandal/shoe I have owned. But on the foot they are comfortable; the cordage wraps nicely onto and around the foot for a good fit.