These shoes are definitely eye catchers. Not since Crocks have so many questions been asked about sandals. GearChase is here to set the story straight with our review of the KEEN UNEEK sandal in an in depth review.
We were sent a pair of the UNEEK sandals from KEEN footwear to write up an honest review of what we thought of the sandals. We were not paid or are we endorsing KEEN, just giving our honest opinion of the UNEEK sandals.
The first and most noticeable thing feature on the UNEEK sandal is the paracord outers lacing. If you’re familiar with paracord, it’s soft, and comfortable flat cord that is super strong and provides a very breathable and flexible upper to the sandal. The cord is looped and tied in a way to attach the sole of the shoe to the tongue. It’s all done by looping and tying the paracord around the sandals. It creates a stable outer for the shoe. It’s surprisingly soft, flexible and comfortable.
Secondly, having worn KEEN shoes and sandals in the past, I noticed a familiar feel to the sole of the shoe when I first slipped them on. As a sandal they have the solid sole that gives confidence for hiking or doing a little more than just running around town. The sole as a solid platform is built with high quality we have come to expect from KEEN.
KEEN as a company is no stranger to making sandals. They make one of the most notorious sandals on the market, The Newport which is arguably one of the best outdoor/hiking sandals on the market. The UNEEK offered a new option for a more casual sandal with a KEEN spin on them.
Let’s be honest, these sandals are either the funniest thing you have ever seen, or you love them. I can’t believe the amount of comments we attracted walking around in them. The “Unique” design is an eye catcher for sure. We were made fun of for wearing something that looked so weird. We were also questioned, and had a lot of on the street conversations about the UNEEK sandals. To be truthful, we thought they were a little silly looking to start with, but the comfort won us over.
Our first impressions of the sandals is that they are really comfortable, in fact surprisingly comfortable for the design. At first glance you might think that blisters or rope burn would be inevitable with the shoes, this was not the case. The shoes move with the foot, and flex and gap with your foot as you move. Heat doesn’t have a chance to fill up in these with the breathability provided by the open design. Additionally, paracord is very soft and mends well with your foot. We choose to not wear socks with these sandals (as you should do with all sandals) but socks would work well with the UNEEKs if you must.
Wearing them around town was great, better than flip flops for summer time. However, we took them hiking and quickly found they are a trap for rocks, dirt and sand. They seem to get the net, and don’t want to get out. We recommended leaving these at home for hiking off road. Another, issue we had was with the stiffness of the sole. While it provides a solid and stable platform for walking it feels a little harsh for everyday use. It would be a great hiking on rocky terrain, however we didn’t like constantly emptying rocks out of them as we mentioned above. Just stay out of the dirt and small rocks and you’ll be OK with the UNEEKs.
The design is almost a piece of art. The crochet work on the outers is pretty cool to look at. It seems so simple we wondered why someone else hadn’t thought of it before. The design just seems to work in the end. The lengths are just right, the shoe fits great and stays in place. The sandals nicely hide your feet from public. If you’re self conscious about your hangnail or ingrown toenail, the Shandals (shoes + sandals) cover them up nicely.
The sandals also have an elastic cord with a pinch lock for lacing on the top of the shoe, that also loops around the back for a snug fit. Personally, I liked wearing them loose as a slip on and off sandals.
I have put about 75 miles on the KEEN UNEEKs and they are holding up solid. There is almost no signs of wear on the bottom, and the top is just a little dirty. We have tossed them in the washing machine few times (not sure if that is recommended) and it cleaned them up like new.
As you can see, the UNEEKs weigh in at 12.35oz or 0.77 lb for a size 10.5 USA. A bit heaver that you might expect for a sandal made of some rope. This is because of the KEEN sole, it’s extremely durable for a sandal, and will long outlast the rest of the shoe.
For a sandal that stands out among the crowd and is as comfortable as it is different, we recommend trying the UNEEK Sandals from KEEN. We understand the look isn’t for everyone, but they are worth a try.