Keen (shoe company)

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Keen, Inc
FoundedAlameda, CA (2003 (2003))
HeadquartersPortland, Oregon (2006), U.S.
45°31′36″N 122°41′05″W / 45.52672°N 122.6846°W / 45.52672; -122.6846Coordinates: 45°31′36″N 122°41′05″W / 45.52672°N 122.6846°W / 45.52672; -122.6846
Key people
Martin Keen, Rory Fuerst
ProductsShoes, boots, clothing, bags
Revenue(est) $240 million (2011)
Number of employees

Keen (stylized KEEN) is an American footwear and accessories company based in Portland, Oregon. Founded in 2003[1] by Martin Keen and Rory Fuerst. The company's products are sold in retail locations throughout the US and Canada and also are distributed worldwide.

What eventually became known as the Newport Sandal, was invented in 1999 by Martin Keen in Jamestown, Rhode Island. In 2003, the first Keen sandals and shoes were put into production and feature a signature protective black toe bumper.[2] Keen found a ready market in sailing and other outdoor and water activities, and offers products for many outdoor activities as well as lifestyle shoes.

Keen has been a fast-growing company since its inception. Footwear News, a leading trade publication in the footwear industry, named the company 2003's "Launch of the Year".[3] As Keen has grown, there has been addition of a variety of styles, casual and cold-weather footwear and a line of bags, socks, and clothing.

In reaction to the 2004 Asian tsunami, Keen joined the relief effort by pulling their $1M advertising budget and diverting it to disaster relief.[2][4] This gesture turned into their long-term Hybrid.Care program, where they partner with organizations whose vision they share, including The Conservation Alliance, 1 KG More, Leave No Trace, and Big City Mountaineers.

In early 2006, the company relocated its headquarters from Alameda, California to a restored five story building in Portland, Oregon, located in the historic Pearl District.[2]

In 2009, the company had estimated sales of $130 to $140 million. Expanding into safety work footwear, the Keen Utility Tacoma work boots were launched.[2] Since then, Keen Utility, through its non-profit partnerships within the Project Build program, has helped put veterans back on their feet, provided protective footwear for those in need, and supported conservation corps work across the country.[5]

The company opened a plant in Portland in 2010 to begin manufacturing some footwear in the United States using materials sourced from around the world.[1] Keen's footwear factory is less than five minutes from the Keen headquarters in downtown Portland. This is where their American Built collection comes from.

For 2011, revenue had grown to approximately $240 million.[6]

In 2012, Keen purchased the HQ Building in Portland's Pearl District for $10.8 million to serve as company headquarters and also host their retail store.[6][7] They re-purposed almost all existing materials within the old building, and the renovation was completed with less than one dumpster of waste instead of the normal 20-25 if approached the typical way.[2]


In 2006, Kirk Richardson joined the company as its president after a 27-year career in management at nearby Nike, Inc.[8] In 2008, Richardson began leading KEEN's corporate social responsibility efforts and James Curleigh became CEO[9] after 12 years as CEO at Salomon Sports North America. In 2014, Steve Meineke was named the company’s president. Meineke was previously CEO at Accell North America and president of Raleigh America, Inc.[10][9] In 2016, Casey Sheahan, former Patagonia CEO, took over as Keen CEO following Meineke's retirement.[11] In 2017, Rory Fuerst returned as CEO to replace Sheahan who served for less than a year.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Brettman, Allan (December 11, 2010). "KEEN counters conventional wisdom, returns some manufacturing to US". The Oregonian. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e
  3. ^ Rifkin, Glenn (March 4, 2004). "These shoes are really keen". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
  4. ^ "KEEN Footwear website". Archived from the original on 2008-12-05. Retrieved 2008-10-16. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Brettman, Allan (February 28, 2012). "It will be only five blocks, but Keen's new headquarters show how far the company has traveled". The Oregonian. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  7. ^ Culverwell, Wendy (February 28, 2012). "KEEN footwear to make Pearl Building its home". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  8. ^ Murphy, Todd (July 25, 2006). "Strength comes in numbers". The Portland Tribune. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved 2008-10-21. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ a b Julie Atherton McFadden (March 10, 2008). "KEEN, Inc. Appoints James Curleigh to the Executive Team As President & CEO". Outdoor Industry Association. Retrieved 2008-10-21.[permanent dead link]
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