Portland-based Keen is best known for its role as a purveyor of dadwear. But recent tech innovations have pushed the unwitting fashion muse beyond its base of crunchy outdoorists and organic lifestylers. Now, the first name in splash sandals has its own bonafide cool check.
Launching this weekend, the Keen x Engineered Garments Uneek II Slide sees designer Daiki Suzuki’s famed New York brand redo Keen’s new webbed-up slide in a sleek neutral palette, marking the first collaboration between the two brands. Keen’s latest in the venerable Uneek line puts the emphasis on breathability and sustainability. Black paracord made from recycled PET plastic bottles forms the shoe’s minimalist upper. An EVA foam footbed provides plush comfort.
Unlike many Engineered Garments collaborations, which tend to rely heavily on asymmetrical applications of color and texture, this clean campaign applies EG’s signature touch in the form of logo-dipped cordage, draping the front of the shoe in EG’s text mark. On the inside, a co-branded insole bares both logos.
Styling-wise, the EG’s take on the Keen Uneek II looks to be quite unique, indeed. Worn with the brand’s redone workwear, it’s an eye-catching mule that’s techier than your Birks but still firmly granola. At first glance, the shoe straddles the worlds of outdoors fashion and techwear—half Errolson, half Organic Lab, one hundred percent for the heads. Time to step aside, Merrell Jungle Moc.
The EG x Keen Uneek II isn’t the first time EG has touched the outdoors space—twice Mr. Suzuki has turned out unique takes on Hoka One One runners, for example. Given this, and EG’s presence in Japan (and Keen’s hard push of the OG Uneek there since 2014), this new lock-up is, if anything, overdue. Though we won’t hold it against them, especially if it turns out more cool footwear is still to come.