FAQ: Is KEEN’s Wool Ethically Sourced?
Like you, we love that wool is naturally moisture-wicking, durable, temperature-regulating, biodegradable, and renewable. But the way it’s produced can be very hard on nature — from the treatment of the sheep to the use of resources and land. We absolutely don’t love that.
Although we don’t use a ton of virgin wool in our shoes (more and more is recycled), when we do, we need to make sure it’s ethically sourced. That’s why all of our virgin wool comes from Responsible Wool Standard-certified farms that ensure the welfare of sheep, workers, and environment.
Why (or Why Not) Wool?
Wool is a renewable resource. One sheep can produce up to 30 lbs of wool in a year, and their fleece keeps growing back. And, when done right, well-managed grazing can be good for soil health and help mitigate wildfire risk because sheep reduce fire fuels.
But, wool uses more land than other fibers, like cotton. And, when not well-managed, it can lead to erosion, loss of biodiversity, and soil compaction. Plus, sheep are at risk of being injured during the shearing process.
As with all materials that we use, there are many factors to consider when it comes to their impact on people and the planet. That’s what Consciously Created is all about at KEEN, and why we made the choice to only use Responsible Wool Standard-certified wool.
What’s the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS)?
RWS farmers and ranchers must meet animal welfare, land management, and social requirements. For example, all farmers must uphold the 5 freedoms of Animal Welfare: Freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, injury, or disease, freedom to express normal behavior, and freedom from fear and distress. Responsible land management at the farm level includes preventing land degradation from overgrazing, conserving biodiversity in and around the farm, and closely monitoring the inputs to the land. Additionally, the RWS ensures social welfare standards are met, including fair hiring, safe working conditions, and non-discriminatory pay practices.
100% RWS-Certified Wool Since 2021
In mid-2021, we switched all of the virgin wool we source to RWS-certified wool. So our Greta boots, Howser slip-ons, Elsa and Eldon sneakers, and Mosey shoes — and any shoe we’ve made with wool since — uses wool that’s grown in a better way.
Every step matters.