Keen Uneek Review
Keen Uneek Review
Aptly named Uneek sandals from Keen offer distinctive design and good performance in footwear that seems at home both at the beach and around town.
The Keen Uneek sandals I’ve tested have been a useful solution for beachside walks and other activities when “flip-flop” sandals wouldn’t provide enough support and athletic shoes would be overkill.
Keen Uneek Upper
The sandals are made from what Keen calls its innovative “two cord construction.” Although there is some non-cord upper material for added comfort and stability, the footwear is, as described by the manufacturer, nearly as simple as “two cords and a sole.”
The cords are a braided polyester exterior surrounding a nylon core, so they’re soft and lightweight yet sturdy. Woven through the sole and looped around one another, the cords offer enough flexibility and support for the sandals to be used for purposeful walking.
The materials are intended to adhere to the shape of the wearer’s foot. My experience suggests that is the case. However, the foot-shape molding that has occurred on my pair is not as pronounced as would be expected in shoes made of a material like leather. The shaping that has occurred is relatively modest.
A cord-based no-tie lacing system pulls the upper together. The system works well and fits with the overall philosophy of the footwear: simple and relaxed, with a nod to performance.
Keen Uneek Sole
The midsole of the Keen Uneek is formed of polyurethane that seems engineered more for durability than cushioning. That’s not to say these sandals are uncomfortable. Rather, one simply shouldn’t expect cushioning levels found in running shoes. The soles are stable underfoot and well-designed for typical sandal usage.
Microfiber material covers the footbed and provides a distinctive, high-end feel. The performance of the microfiber is excellent compared with other surfaces that might have been employed. My feet have stayed dry in these sandals at all times. Slippage on the footbed has never been an issue.
The footbed also features a “metatomical” design. The sole is meant to provide anatomically correct support of foot arches and contours. This design is a positive for Keen Uneek sandals. However, the contours and arch support seem a shade understated for my feet. The sandals are comfortable to wear, but they are not significantly more comfortable than similar footwear intended for comparable uses.
The Keen Uneek outsole is made of non-marking rubber, just in case you want to rain down some 3’s at the local gym in your sandals. The outsoles also feature a tread pattern benefiting from “razor siping,” which reflects treatment of rubber with tiny incisions to improve traction. I have not noticed any traction limitations in these sandals when walking around, but one should not expect athletic-shoe traction levels from the Keen Uneek sandals. All of which is to say that, if basketball is part of the plan, expect your game to be limited to the perimeter. The grip doesn’t seem made for driving the lane.
Keen Uneek Design
The aesthetics of these sandals are polarizing. To me, the sandals look like Pre-Columbian Mexican Huaraches that have been modernized to Information Age materials and performance standards.
But somewhere in that modernization process, the Keen Uneek sandals got a little too evolved, or maybe the rest of the world hasn’t caught up with them yet. In either case, these sandals garner plenty of looks – some intrigued, others quizzical. If traveling incognito, opt for subtler kicks.
Keen Uneek Performance
The Keen Uneek sandals perform very well in their intended role as easy-wearing beachside or around-town footwear. Because they’re over-engineered for simple strolling, they perform ably when called upon for a long walk at pace.
It is tempting to employ these sandals for more strenuous activities, but when I pushed too much in my Keen Uneek sandals, my feet were sure to tell me about it. Despite their athletic looks and a sole that outwardly resembles that of a running shoe, these sandals are not a first choice for anything other than light duty.
Who Keen Uneek Sandals Are For
If you’re looking for attention, Keen Uneek sandals will provide it in spades. The sandals offer comfort and good performance for walking beachside or in town. They are well-built and durable, made of good materials, and thoughtfully engineered. There’s no debating their high quality.
According to the Keen website, the Keen Uneek sandals tend to run a half size small. Keen’s recommendation is to purchase a half size larger than one’s normal shoe size. I followed this advice, and the fit is perfect.
Keen Uneek sandals are available in: Black; Black/Keen Yellow; and Magnet/Vapor.
MSRP: $100.00. For more information, visit www.keenfootwear.com.