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Portland-based shoe company will expand cycling product line

Posted by on July 31st, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Keen’s Commuter, an SPD-compatible
sandal released last year,
was their first bike-specific product.

Keen Footwear, who moved their headquarters to Portland in 2006 (and didn’t waste any time featuring us in their product catalog), has just announced an expanded line of cycling products.

Keen unveiled an SPD compatible sandal (the “Commuter”) in early 2007 and now plan to offer a more substantial shoe along with a bike-specific pack and socks in Spring of 2009.

According to a company press release, Keen will offer a new, closed-toe, SPD-compatible cycling shoe they’ll call the Springwater (likely after the popular rail-trail that runs along the Willamette River just south of downtown Portland).

“The cycling category is a natural fit for Keen and our customers…. the products will exceed expectations during the ride and beyond.”
–Keen’s Brad Bischel

A hydration pack named the Newport Pack will be “the perfect pack for a day on the trail.” In addition to a hydration bladder sleeve, water bottle pockets, and a mesh back, it will have a laptop sleeve and will utilize recycled rubber (for the bottom) and aluminum components.

Keen’s new Mt. Airy socks will have a “vent-release system that improves air flow and facilitates heat release”. They say it will also have an “oxidized surface” to reduce odors making it the, “perfect sock for long stints in the saddle.”

Brad Bischel, Keen’s bicycle product category manager says bike stuff is, “a natural fit for Keen and our customers…. the products will exceed expectations during the ride and beyond.”

These new products will be displayed to the bike industry at the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas this fall.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Mike July 31, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    I\’m not ready to give up my Chacos, but this is undeniably great news for those of us who like to ride, and don\’t feel like wearing tap-shoes. Three cheers for Keen!

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  • Icarus Falling July 31, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    At least they appear to be closed toe sandals…..

    Open toed shoes on bikes are moronic…To say the least.

    One question..

    Where are these \”Keen\” products actually made?

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  • Cecil July 31, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    I have been wearing the Keen cycling sandal on all my rides, ranging in distance from 10 miles to 375 miles, since early May – about 1500 miles total. They are by far the best cycling shoes I have ever owned. No hot foot, no cramps. Best of all, they are practically weightless until you bolt on your cleat of choice (Frogs fit perfectly). Of course, there was that incident when I forgot to apply sunscreen to the top of my foot when I went sockless for Reach the Beach, but I have to admit I like the residual stripey pattern my left foot now sports . . .

    The sole is not as stiff as some road racers may like, but they\’re stiff enough for me

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  • J. July 31, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    I hope the laptop sleeve is somehow protected from the \”hydration bladder sleeve\”. Otherwise: disaster. The others sound like keen additions. (Ho-ho!)

    (\”Utilize\” recycled rubber? \”Use\” was insufficient?)

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  • Pete July 31, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    I picked up a pair of cheaper 661 sandals a few months ago but must say I really liked the Keen sandals very much. Have seen people tear the Shimano sandals and the 661\’s are OK for the price, but the Keen\’s seem more comfortable and durable. And the closed-toe option may be more compatible with some workplace environments!

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  • woogie July 31, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Happy to see another choice in the market. Don\’t know why cycling shoes run so narrow, but Keen should offer up something for those of us with wider feet.

    Glad to see something offered over and above the sandal style to meet year round cycling needs.

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  • Steve (not steve) July 31, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Hey Brad !!,

    How about a cycling shoe with a fit akin to your other \”regular\” sandals. Those of us with wide feet would love to hav a sandal that actually fits. I sport a 14 4E and love my Keen collection but the Commuter is as narrow in the toebox as most cycling shoes. And no, I don\’t buy the \”if they were wider (like the Newport sandal they mimic)they would contact the crank arm\” b.s., my Sidi Megas have no prob.

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  • Metal Cowboy July 31, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    I really like touring in sandals so I\’ll probably try these out. The good thing about a bike sandal with clip in capabilities is it reduces the number of shoes you have to bring with you on tour or even on the commute depending on your company\’s dress code – my company (me) has a liberal dress code ( pajamas after noon in the winter). As for the winter or rain rides – I wear a good waterproof sock with them and use them year round.

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  • Pete July 31, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Oh and thanks Jon for linking to the old article; I needed a good laugh (from those comments – OMG!). That dude Chris Millman has some AWESOME shots on his web site!

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  • KJ July 31, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    My favorite shoes, oh yes. And I usualy wear Danskos,(like exclusivly for the last 10 years) so for me, that\’s saying a whole lot. I

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  • mmann July 31, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Got the sandals for my birthday and they absolutely rock – and I ride in them all the time, including long rides. They have closed toes and for those who are familiar with Keens regular sandals these are designed a little different (to be more cycling specific.) First, they are narrower than their regular sandals, so there\’s less lateral movement as you pedal. Second, the \”bungies\” are NOT elastic in the cycling sandals, so once you cinch them up, they stay snug. And the cleat is fairly recessed so you can walk around off the bike without much click or worry about scratching floors. Highly recommended, and I look forward to seeing their hydration pack.

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  • revphil July 31, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    I rock the \”Richmond\” model. It has held up pretty well.

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  • Ethan July 31, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    Be advised, their SPD sandals are VERY narrow compared with the standard version . . . which may be needed for the cycling application, but it caused me to not purchase them since they no longer felt much different from my touring shoes.

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  • Tony Fuentes July 31, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    #2 – Keens are made in China. As far as I know, Chacos are the only sandals made in the USA. But two caveats on that assertion…

    I don\’t think all Chaco products are made in the USA and I believe that – like New Balance – some of their labels now also say \”Assembled in USA\”. This means that some of the sandal components are made elsewhere.

    Anyhoo, call me cranky but having Chinese made items \”designed in Portland\” doesn\’t really move me…

    We can design and MAKE things here, just look at all those wonderful Leatherman tools…

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  • bDave August 1, 2008 at 1:23 am

    I won a pair of free Keen shoes during the (totally rad) bikeportland benefit raffle and got the spd sandals. My only complaint is that the rubber is really soft and sticky so doing the zoobomb century without any brakes kind of burned a hole in the heel. Otherwise they are my mainline mtn bike shoes as long as I avoid minis.

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  • Franky August 1, 2008 at 6:11 am

    I got the open toed $30 Sette sandals and love them. Perfect for the few month of warm weather. Over $100 for sandals…are they made out of gold or what?

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  • dillon August 1, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Chacos are no longer made in the USA. They moved their operation to China last year.

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  • Paul Souders August 1, 2008 at 9:52 am

    @woogie — I feel your pain, my shoe size is 42EE (Eur). You can get Sidi shoes in variable widths. Also Shimano shoes are wider than other brands IME.

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  • Icarus Falling August 1, 2008 at 9:58 am


    China, that is what I thought….

    Let\’s jump on the Portland bandwagon by having just a headquarters here…. We\’ll show those suckers!

    Also makes these shoes less interesting to me. Even beyond the irresponsibility of encouraging riding in sandals.

    I guess some of you have never seen a toe ripped open/off before………

    I wear italian made shoes, as finding quality American made cleats is near impossible. I mean, finding even non quality examples is hard enough.

    I wish I could get some though…….and no, a pair of dance shoes with cleats mounted on them will not suffice…….

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  • Torfinn August 1, 2008 at 11:47 am

    A request to the community of cycling shoe makers.

    Can we please have a cycling shoe that doesn\’t look like something a birkenstock or clog fan would be enthusiastic about?

    Perhaps something that doesn\’t look lame?

    I\’m sure there\’s a market.

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  • Icarus Falling August 1, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    I have very narrow feet. Very narrow.
    Even Sidi narrow specific are a little too wide. But still my past and only choice for cycling shoes.

    I recently got a pair of the Mavic made Adidas XC Race shoes.
    What a great fit! Even with my narrow feet, there is no concern about having the ratchets and fast straps tight. I recently rode 82 miles with racks and bags with the ratchet fairly loose, and couldn\’t even tell the difference. The shoe is designed so well, the straps are almost uneeded. And the heel cup sucks your foot in like a dream.

    Sadly Adidas has quit making cycling products. On a brighter note, their top of the line mt. shoe is available for 41% off at Blue Sky. I recommend buying two pair.

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  • Tracy August 2, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    I second the sentiments about the width of the Keen cycling sandals. I love all of my Keen shoes (I have multiple pairs) and especially the sandals. I was so disappointed with the narrow fit of the Commuter…I have hopes that they\’ll heed the comments and make something for us wide-footed folk.

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  • Myra August 4, 2008 at 8:41 am

    ***Comment deleted for inappropriate content***

    [Editor: Myra, if you have a point to make, please do it with class and intelligence. I have no problem with you being so anti-bike, but please realize this is my business and I reserve the right to delete/edit comments as I see fit. You\’ve got an entire blog devoted to your hateful attitude about bikes, you can write whatever you want there, but on BikePortland.org I you need to tone things down a bit if you\’d like to continue to leave comments.

    Thanks for understanding — Jonathan Maus]

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  • Steve Smith August 16, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    Any chance of making me a pair of these sandals size 17? I\’m desperate to find something, and I can\’t pay Sidi a million dollars for a pair.

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  • […] Portland’s bike-friendly vibe continues to wear off on Keen Footwear. When they moved their corporate headquarters here in 2006, they wasted no time in putting bikes in their product catalog. Two years later, they promised to expand their cycling-oriented product line. […]

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