Is the Keen Uneek a trainer, a walking shoe or a sandal? I’m not sure, but whatever this shoe is, we like it!
Aesthetically, they are quirky looking without being odd. The elastic cord construction is innovative and combined with the Velcro strap means that the shoe can be fitted well to individual children’s feet.
One thing I would mention is that the sizing does seem to come up a little small – we have the Children’s Keen Uneek 2.0 in a size 11, which looks to be about the same length as my 5 year old’s size 10.5 trainers from Clarks, so that’s something to bear in mind.
The stylish navy blue and pink colour scheme of our test version was pleasing to the normally fussy little one whose first comment was: “I LOVE the pink stripes!”, and the dark navy means that they don’t look too grubby too quickly, so that’s a tick from mum! (Other colours are also available)
Comments from my daughter suggest that she feels comfortable wearing them and that they are practical shoes for her. She put them to the test on walks in the wood, playing in the garden, visiting the play park and at Rainbow guides, and I have not heard one complaint about discomfort, or cold feet, or not liking them generally.
They seemingly have the practicality and flexibility that I’d expect from normal trainers. And on close inspection of feet and ankles after wear, I found no signs of rubbing or blisters that I might expect from some other shoes worn without socks. They don’t seem to have needed the normal few days to “wear-in” that most new shoes require.
They are obviously not waterproof, but the soles have more grip than normal trainers, so are well suited for walking on slightly damp ground, climbing in trees or on play equipment, etc and because the sides and front are partly enclosed, they are better than sandals for this sort of activity as there is some degree of protection around the toes and heels.
I’m not sure if these are intended to be worn with or without socks, but in my opinion they work well either way. Without socks I was concerned that the elastic rope might dig into little feet, but they seem not too. And unlike conventional trainers, the airiness of the sides and the anti-odour inner sole mean that they don’t start to stink of stale feet after a couple of non-sock wearing days. And unlike conventional sandals, I think that they do look OK with socks on (although some people might disagree with that!), so that extends their seasonality into colder spring or autumn days.
Overall, I have been happy with the Keen Uneek 2.0 and the feedback from my daughter has been all positive too. I’d recommend these as a practical and comfortable for active children, but do check the sizing and go bigger if in doubt!