When we saw these at last years Outdoor show in Friedrichshafen I got pretty excited and was all “wow, how cool and epic are these” whereas ‘im indoors was more “what the heck…!” and that has been my experience of the Keen Uneeks ever since.
I’ve nicknamed them the ‘Marmite shoes’ as they seem to divide opinion – even a quick poll on our Facebook poll had people split evenly down the middle in the love/hate camps.
So with that in mind, it’s probably just as well that they were sent to me to test as I love the styling, and thanks to an epic bit of parenting I long ago stopped giving a fluff about what other people think – certainly in the matters of my attire.
The tagline back at my demo in 2014 was ‘2 cords and a sole’ now I could be uber picky and say well what about the heel strap and tongue, but lets not let reality get in the way of some marketing spiel. The fact is, that these – on the surface at least – are a pretty simple construction, resulting to a unique/Uneek looking bit of footwear.
The first thing to note is that they are super light, making them the perfect companion on a hiking/camping trip when packing light/weight is an issue. They are robust and grippy enough to be worn as walking shoes on good, flat ground, but if your terrain requires a bit more protection then they are a great post trek option.
My wanderings here in the UK tend to be forestry trails, and my regular dog-walking loop takes in part of the Shropshire Way. On those these have been more than adequate and actually the Uneek’s sole grip outperformed a pair of walking boots on one particularly rubbly bit of path.
I’ve found them to brilliantly comfortable and I have not had single rub or pinch in the several weeks that I have been testing them. As mentioned above the rubber soles are super grippy – not something I expected, they really do seem to stick to the rocks. I have a feeling they would be great for water sports, certainly the non-marking nature of the soles makes them a contender for those with boats.
Now back to the construction – reality is of course always a little more complicated than the spiel and the two cords are a polyester braided cord with Polyamide core for increased strength, these combined with a simple, free-moving cord junction design allow the upper to move and adapt to the shape of your foot. This is attached to a ‘Metatomical’ footbed system – meaning its been engineered to give you arch support, and this is all finished with a ‘secure fit lace capture system’ meaning a simple toggle adjustment to loosen or tighten as you see fit.
A couple of minor gripes – my soles are a pale grey and they have got grubby rather quickly, but a wet-wipe or damp cloth removes the worst of it and darker soles are available if this is an issue for you. I also thought the weave of the cords would stop more stones etc getting into the shoe than they do, but a quick toe wiggle soon flicks them back out!
My test versions are a rather lairy yellow and grey, but tamer versions including a simple black are available and I can see me parting with some cash to invest in a second pair as I really do love them. They look quirky and fun, are super comfortable and they are just perfect for my summer walks, pottering on the beach and paddling about in rivers.
And, you know what, I quite like the fact that some people don’t get them. It makes me feel like I’m part of cool Uneek club!