Keen (shoe company)
|Founded||Alameda, California (2003 )|
|Headquarters||Portland, Oregon (2006), U.S.
|Rory Fuerst, owner|
|Products||Shoes and boots|
|Revenue||(est) $240 million (2011)|
Number of employees
Keen is an American shoe manufacturing company based in Portland, Oregon. Founded in 2003 by Martin Keen and Rory Fuerst, their shoes are now available in more than a thousand retail locations in the United States, and are distributed worldwide.
The first Keen shoes were invented to develop a sandal that could also protect the toes—they feature a signature thick black bumper covering the toes. They found a ready market in sailing and other outdoor and water activities. Keen Footwear now offers shoes for many outdoor activities as well as casual shoes.
Keen has been a fast-growing company since its inception. The company was named 2003's "Launch of the Year" by the shoe industry's leading trade publication, Footwear News, which also identified it as a hot brand to watch. As Keen has grown, there have been many changes, including the addition of a variety of footwear styles to their previous assortment, growing their casual business quickly, adding cold weather footwear, and a line of bags and socks. In early 2006, the company relocated its headquarters from Alameda, California to Portland, Oregon. At the same time, Kirk Richardson joined the company as its president after a 27-year career in management at nearby Nike, Inc. Later in the year, Tommy L, a well known advocate for casual sandal wearing agreed to sign a sponsorship deal with Keen and began to endorse the company. As of October 2008, Richardson is leading Keen's corporate social responsibility efforts and James Curleigh joined the company as CEO after 12 years as CEO at Salomon Sports North America.
In reaction to the 2004 Asian Tsunami, Keen took their marketing budget and donated it in total to relief efforts. 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 2009, the 100-employee company had estimated sales of $130 to $140 million. The company opened a plant in Portland in 2010 to begin manufacturing some of their products in the United States. For 2011, revenue had grown to approximately $240 million. Keen bought the Pearl Building in Portland's Pearl District for $10.8 million to serve as company headquarters and host a retail store.
- Brettman, Allan (December 11, 2010). "Keen counters conventional wisdom, returns some manufacturing to Portland". The Oregonian. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
- Brevetti, Francine (February 7, 2006). "Keen Footwear to leave Alameda". The Oakland Tribune. Retrieved October 16, 2008.[dead link]
- Rifkin, Glenn (March 4, 2004). "These shoes are really keen". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
- Murphy, Todd (July 25, 2006). "Strength comes in numbers". The Portland Tribune. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
- 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.
- "Keen Footwear website". Retrieved 2008-10-16.
- 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.
- Culverwell, Wendy (February 28, 2012). "Keen footwear to make Pearl Building its home". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
- Keen (official website)