Just like its name reads, the Uneek range of footwear by Keen is unique and incredible for a number of reasons. Not only is it unique in its aesthetics, its construction is incredibly one-of-a-kind too, even from a designer’s point of view!
The Uneek is a pair of sandals that is almost entirely made from cord. Rather than die-cutting shapes from pieces of leather/PU Foam, or injection molding an elastomer (Crocs), the Uneek is woven from a spool of cords by a rather talented set of robotic arms. Here’s why that’s so great.
The cord-based sandal firstly explores using robots (named the Uneekbots) for doing intricate and repetitive tasks (something humans aren’t good at). This A. sets a standard of quality that robots can match up to pretty easily, and B. makes it near impossible for humans to copy/counterfeit at the same speed or price. Keen’s sandals are unique and you won’t find cheap knock-offs because humans labor is expensive and doesn’t match a robot’s accuracy. Each sandal can also be manufactured in a dizzyingly rapid production time of 6 minutes! The closest a human’s gotten to matching that time is 12 minutes.
The sandals are woven from a tough cord whose woven design provides air-gaps, making the footwear breathable, besides cords are much more resistant to breaking/tearing, making the Uneek a long-lasting pair of sandals. The robots work with up to 4 spools of cord that can easily be mixed and matched for new designs. The cord-based construction also results in dramatically lesser wastage, making the Uneek not just a great example of stellar footwear design, but also of design for a sustainable environment!