KEEN, Inc., Continues to Innovate with New, Custom UNEEK Footwear Robot

A first in the footwear industry, brand pioneers new approach to manufacturing through the use of ABB Robotics and creative engineering.

PORTLAND, Ore. (August 16, 2016) – Continuing the growth and success of its industry-disrupting UNEEK footwear platform, KEEN, Inc., a values led, independently-owned outdoor and lifestyle footwear brand, is taking on the next innovative challenge of automating the process of footwear manufacturing with the introduction of the UNEEK footwear Robot. The robot is the first of its kind to be introduced to the footwear industry and used in manufacturing.

“From its inception, UNEEK was never about a single shoe, but rather the idea of establishing an entirely new platform within the footwear industry,” said Rory Fuerst, Jr., KEEN's Director of Innovation.

Instead of building footwear out of flat materials that don’t naturally conform to the shape of the foot, the UNEEK footwear upper is made from two completely independent but engaged cords. The combination of two cords and their junction creates an entirely new footwear experience that allows for unmatched levels of comfort.

Partnering with Idaho-based House of Design LLC, KEEN is now able to automate the UNEEK footwear manufacturing process through the use of ABB Robotics, while keeping the consumer front-of-mind by creating versatile, quality products. The UNEEK Robotic Cell is capable of producing a UNEEK shoe in half the time of the current production process.

“The ability to automate opens up a world of opportunity for the UNEEK footwear franchise, and given the Robot's flexibility and speed, KEEN will continue to explore future applications in what is an exciting next step in the UNEEK platform for fans around the world,” said Fuerst, Jr.

KEEN's UNEEK Robot's technology and manufacturing process is the first to be introduced to the footwear industry and is breaking new ground in the way production is approached and executed. Currently, there are no plans to roll out the UNEEK footwear automation program on a larger scale. The program exploration is about how KEEN continues to innovate and push new boundaries that disrupt the industry.

About KEEN

KEEN is a values led, independently owned outdoor footwear brand from Portland, Oregon with a mission to responsibly create original and versatile products, improve lives, and inspire outside adventure. Founded in 2003, KEEN ignited a revolution in the footwear industry with the introduction of the Newport sandal, launching the concept of Hybrid footwear into the market and setting KEEN on a path of driving consistent product innovation that exists today. KEEN strives to live by its values, from its products to its actions, and by activating communities and individuals to protect and preserve the places where we work and play. KEEN passionately endeavors to live fulfilling lives, challenge the status quo, do good, give back, and inspire others. Learn more at:   

Media Contact: Keith Cozzens, Verde Brand Communications,, 970.259.3555 x122