While researching Keen shoe manufacturing, I stumbled on what they did in their starting days that stole my heart. The Tsunami struck the communities in the Indian Ocean in 2004. KEEN was about to spend $1 million in advertising their shoes, but after knowing this devastating news, they spend the same amount on Tsunami relief. Just reading these lines, I am even more inspired to know where keen shoes are made, along with how involved they are with the manufacturing process.
Let’s start this journey together!
Where Are Keen Shoes Manufactured?
Keen shoes are made in 7 different countries: USA, Thailand, Mexico, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, and Europe. About 31% of KEEN shoes and other footwear are made in the company’s 4 owned factories located in Portland (USA), Chon Buri (Thailand), Phimai (Thailand), and Santiago (Dominican Republic). The remaining footwear manufacturing, which is about 60-70% happens in 21 contract factories located in 7 mentioned countries.
They scrupulously chose these factories to meet the KEEN goal of PFAS-free shoes/footwear. It may surprise you that to make sure the PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals don’t end up in their shoes, KEEN hired a full-time restricted substance expert who can be on factories ground to make sure these harmful chemicals are not ending up in shoes due to the manufacturing process. It took 4 years or 10,000 hours to be precise for the company to remove PFAS from its supply chain. Now we can say that all 25 factories (owned + contract) are working in line with the sustainable approach of the KEEN. According to the KEEN Impact report, the brand is successfully selling 98+% PFAS-free shoes since 2018.
Related: Where Are Olukai Shoes Made?
How Was Keen Footwear Founded?
Martin Keen and Rory Fuerst founded KEEN back in 2003. Not to say that the idea of starting KEEN first arrived in the mind of Martin Keen in 1999 with one question in mind – can a sandal protect toes? The solution to this problem is responsible for the value Keen continues to offer. In 2003, this idea stepped into the production of shoes by making a sandal/shoe hybrid by having the protective black-toe bumper while keeping the aesthetics of sandals in mind.
Later on, this private company diversified into new styles of casual and cold weather footwear, clothing, and bags with pairs meant for the workforce with styles like Keen Utility Tacoma work boots.
Keen undoubtedly is a fast-growing company since its inception and, to further accommodate its vision, the company shifted its headquarters from Alameda, California to Portland, Oregon. Interestingly, the Keen headquarters is 5 minutes away from the Keen-owned factory. This was a precise glimpse into Keen’s story. Let’s see what future the brand holds.
Market Served By Keen:
Currently, Keen footwear is sold in over 85 countries located in North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, South America, and Africa. To successfully facilitate the distribution, Keen has over 600 employees in offices located in Oregon, Canada, Netherlands, Japan, and Kentucky.
Furthermore, the 2021 Keen report revealed that they have 9 owned garages (2 in the US, 7 in Japan), and 7 Distributor owned and managed garages (1 in the Netherlands, 5 in the Czech Republic, and 1 in Hong Kong). The company also has 5 keen outlets in Japan.
You can buy Keen products from 22 authentic online retailers and they have 33 trusted dealers worldwide. You can read all the updated data about stores and dealers on the official page of Keen.