My poor, broken, new Keen sandals.

Too Much Man for my Keens

If this was Hollywood, mine would be a story of triumph; of one man besting Big Business with nothing but his burly manliness, sweaty back, and slightly hairy feet.

Alas, this is Wistucky; Hear my tale of woe.

This love-story-gone-bad started in March with a trip to REI. I needed a new pair of sun-and-water shoes so that I could fully embrace my neon-whiteness on an upcoming trip to Florida.

Hey, look! Keens! I have friends who have those! They look neat! They’re expensive; they must be high-quality! I’m shopping in REI, and therefore must use exclamation marks!

The Keens came home with me. They were tight and hard to get on. Don’t worry, little buddy, I told myself. They’ll break in jus’ fine.

I wore my Keens around Disney World for a couple days. I’m pretty sure their comfy soles and bright blue straps are one of the few reasons you didn’t hear about my trip on the news. Then I took ’em to Cape Canaveral. They were right at home with the Shuttle Atlantis, but I think the Atlas rocket was a little jealous of my foot gear. Next, I plunged the ol’ Keens into the Gulf of Mexico, and followed that up with a little Atlantic Ocean body surfing. Gotta get those bad boys broken in right, you know?

Over the past couple of months, I’ve taken to biking in my Keens, too. Both on and off-road, up to about seven hours at a crack (hey, it takes a while to ride 100 miles, doncha know?). They’re just ridiculously comfy on the road, and grippy enough for the rough stuff, too. In fact, I’ve been seriously considering making my first pair of clipless shoes some SPD-compatible Keens.

Last week, though, I took my Keens to the B-dub. That’s the “Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness” for those of you not on the down-low with the backwoods parlance.  It’s 1.1 million acres of human-powered-only lakes, rivers, deep forests in northern Minnesota. It’s gorgeous. It’s bad-ass.

It kills Keens.

To be sure, I didn’t do a real close inspection of my Keens before I chose ’em as my only footwear for a week of trekking and fishing. I figured “Hey, they’re just getting broken in and feeling really good. They’re still pretty new. What could go wrong?”

Oh, how naive I was.
Keen stitching blowoutAfter five days of portages, mud, rain, and sun, the Keens have blown out. The stitching holding the toe box to the ankle strap on both sides of both feet has given up. The sandals are fraying and seem like they’re gonna let go at any point.

I know that REI will stand behind this sale and replace the Keens for me (after I drive 8 hours round trip to make the swap; boo!), but I really wish they didn’t have to.

Stitching on both sides of the Keens is goingI have friends who have put their Keens through the ringer for several years, and they’re just fine (the shoes; the friends are generally a little “touched.” That’s how I like ’em.).

I don’t know if I just got a bum pair of Keens, or what, but I’m pretty disappointed. I was hoping to have a pair of easy-to-wear, can-take-the-abuse adventure shoes. Instead, I got some namby-pamby suburban adventure-type loafers.

It’s fair to say I’m Keen-ly disappointed.

Sorry; I couldn’t help myself there.

One thought on “Too Much Man for my Keens”

  1. From my for what it’s worth dept… My keens are still going strong. The only problem I have had is that I shuffle my heals and they are wearing out on the bottom. Oh, and that strap that you pull on the back ripped out of one. Keens is a remarkable company. I have a set of their boots that I wear most of the year, do to having cold feet and living in Minnesota. One of the boots lost an eyelet. They couldn’t send me a replacement eyelet so they sent me a new pair of boots. Check your REI receipt, I know you kept it. If they are less than a year old, I believe Keens will replace them so you can save the drive. Send them an e-mail. Won’t cost you anything because we both know what our time is worth.

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