First Look: Sandals Made With 'Two Cords'

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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.

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Our test shoes

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.

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UNEEK sandals comes in men’s and women’s models

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.

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Close-up: UNEEK upper is laced and knotted cords

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.

KEEN sells a men’s and women’s model, and both cost $100. They go on sale today online and come in a few colors, each one, well, very “uneek.” —Stephen Regenold

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For fun: An even more minimal option…

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