The choices we make to make shoes

Consciously Created: The choices we make to make shoes

We don’t like using the word “sustainable.”

Because the most sustainable choice would be to not make anything at all. But products make it possible to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, connect with the world and each other, and do some good while doing all that. And we believe in all of those things, too.

So, for us, it’s about being more conscious of all the choices that go into making a shoe and doing everything we can to minimise our impact on the planet. It’s rethinking the way things are usually done and acting on our values by doing things differently. Even when it isn’t the easiest path to take.

That’s what we mean when we say our shoes are “Consciously Created.”

Behind every KEEN shoe are dozens of responsible choices. Some of these choices are small, like using recycled aluminium eyelets or webbing made from recycled plastic bottles, or harvesting the waste from one shoe to make something new. And sometimes those choices are big, like building our own factories. We’ve been on a detox journey to eliminate everything that shouldn’t end up in our products and to do things better.

Every step is a step closer to “sustainable.” A few of our favourite milestones along the way include:

PFC-Free Water Repellency for a Safer Environment

  • We started taking steps five years ago to eliminate this “forever chemical” from our supply chain and work with suppliers on a safe, durable alternative. By 2019, we were sourcing only PFC-free water repellency. So far, we have eliminated 150+ tons of fluorinated chemicals from being released into the environment. 

Pesticide-Free Odour Control for Healthier Ecosystems

  • By using a natural alternative to control odour, we eliminate 7 tons of hazardous chemicals from going into the environment every year. All KEEN insoles (and replacement insoles) are infused with Eco Anti-Odor that uses probiotics, not pesticides. (That’s good news for feet, too.)

Certified Better Leather for Cleaner Water

  • Tanning leather is a dirty, resource-intensive process. Our Leather Working Group-certified tanneries are making it much cleaner with solutions that reduce chemicals, energy usage, and water pollution. KEEN only sources environmentally preferred, LWG-certified leather. 

Recycled P.E.T. Plastic for Happier Oceans and Less Waste

  • By 2050, some experts say there could be more plastic in the ocean (by weight) than fish. Using recycled plastic fibre saves energy and resources, and helps keep millions of P.E.T. bottles out of the waste stream. In 2020, we’ve started using recycled plastic in webbing, lining, and laces in select shoes. In some KEEN styles, up to 9 plastic bottles are up-cycled per shoe.

Water-Based Solvents to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

  • We’ve been testing this for the past year and have just started integrating this into our supply chain. Look for water-based solvents coming to your KEEN shoes soon!

These are a few of the steps we’re excited about. Every step makes an impact, and we’re not stopping anytime soon!