Keen (KEEN) is a footwear and accessory brand originally based in Portland, Oregon. It was formed in 2003 by Martin Keen and Rory Fuerst as a private firm. The company’s goods are available in shops throughout the American market, as well as being exported worldwide.
KEEN is family-owned and based in Portland, Oregon, with offices in the Netherlands, Japan, and Canada.
They’re advocates of a “Consciously Created” approach to shoemaking. It’s all about being careful with every decision that goes into the production of their goods — a mentality that is at the core of everything they do. From the materials used and how shoes are built to steps that go beyond shoemaking to make a difference in the world.
Are KEEN Shoes Made in China?
No, Keen footwear products are made in the United States, Mexico and Thailand. Stated on their website: “Many KEEN shoes are built in one of our own KEEN factories in Portland, Mexico, or Thailand. We’re one of the few remaining global shoe manufacturers that own their factories.”
“We also partner with factories in Cambodia, Vietnam, China, India, and Europe, working closely with our suppliers to ensure our products are Consciously Created and made to last.”(source).
So, it does appear that at least some of their products are made in China but to what degree exactly is unknown. The fact that they own their own factories is a strong point to making to quality products, meaning that the factories are specifically designed around their own products and ways of crafting footwear.
The History of KEEN Footwear
In 1999, Martin Keen in Jamestown, Rhode Island, created the Newport Sandal. The first Keen sandals and shoes were produced in 2003 and came with a protective black toe bumper.
Keen initially specialized in sailing and other outdoor and water sports, offering goods for a number of outdoor activities as well as lifestyle shoes. It has since expanded to include casual and cold-weather boots, bags, and clothing, such as safety work footwear from the Keen Utility Tacoma work boots.
Since its inception, Keen has grown at a rapid pace. Footwear News named the firm 2003’s “Launch of the Year,” and Fast Company called it one of the world’s top 100 most innovative companies in 2010. In 2009, the business was expected to have sales of $130 to $140 million, and for 2011, revenues had reached approximately $240 million.
The firm relocated its headquarters from Alameda, California to a restored five-story structure in the Pearl District of Portland, Oregon, in early 2006.
In 2010, the firm established a plant in Portland, Oregon to produce some shoes using materials imported from across the world. The Keen footwear factory is less than five minutes away from their headquarters in downtown Portland, where their American Built collection is created. In 2012, Keen spent $10.8 million on the HQ Building in Portland’s Pearl District.
They used almost all existing materials in the old structure, and the remodeling was finished with less than one garbage truck of waste rather than the normal 20-25.
How Is KEEN Ensuring That the Materials Utilized in Its Goods Are Safe for Workers, Customers, and the Environment?
This is something they take extremely seriously. To guarantee that their goods satisfy all global criteria, they have a limited chemicals policy. They also go above and beyond industry norms by using environmentally responsible manufacturing techniques and products. PFC-free water repellency and pesticide-free odor control are two examples of this.
Does KEEN Have a Restricted Substances Policy or RSL?
Yes, they have a Restricted Substances Policy. Their Policy is based on the Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management Group (AFIRM) restricted substances list and aims to guarantee that our apparel and footwear comply with all global requirements.
There policy also includes four extra compounds that are subject to KEEN’s standards as part of our proactive use of more sustainable chemistry.
How Are They Measuring the Environmental Impact of Their Supply Chain?
The Higg Index is a yearly survey conducted by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition to evaluate KEEN and its key suppliers’ performance. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition manages the Higg Index, which is a tool that businesses all around the world use to promote sustainability in manufacturing by measuring outcomes and monitoring progress in reducing environmental emissions.
From materials selection, to shipment, to end-of-use evaluation, and employee input, the Higg requires that they look at everything in our company’s operations from the material up. Product engineers, operations managers, and product developers are all included.
The Higg is a critical tool for them to better understand our supply chain, assess performance, and drive improvement.