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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.

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.

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.

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

For fun: An even more minimal option…

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