How We Wear It: UNEEK x PORTLAND
Urban. Funky. Outdoorsy. Comfy. Flexible. Adventure-driven. Laid-back. No, we’re not describing a shoe—okay, so we are. Kinda. We’re actually talking about the only place where the whole “two cords and a sole” concept could have been born: Portland, Oregon.
Our city attracts artists and musicians, foodies and techies, avid readers and action adventurers. Here, you’re just as likely to see shiny wingtips at the opera as a pair of water shoes. And it’s not hyperbolic to say that almost every Portlander lists “hiking” as a hobby.
Suffice it to say, the UNEEK collection of funky, architectural sandals and shoes feels right at home in this doer/maker/explorer mecca. But seeing as it’s both a shoe and a sandal, styling the bold UNEEK might feel a bit intimidating. How do you wear the UNEEK shoe? Worry not! Inspiration is at hand.
We recently took a handful of KEEN employees outside to show off how they wear UNEEK around Portland. From casual to preppy, office-friendly to night-out-ready, each look celebrates the versatility of this employee favorite. And honestly: once you step in a pair (they’re like wearing clouds) you’ll be brainstorming new ways to wear them—and places you can explore.
PORTLAND ALL OVER
Solomon Dawit, Retail Sales Associate
We live in a beautiful place surrounded by the Willamette River. Solomon loves to be out there where the nature and the people are—whether that's finding a boat launch or exploring a lightly beaten path, or going on an urban picnic. “I like that UNEEK sandals are super breathable. But I also like wearing them with colorful socks, letting them really pop. That way, I can endlessly reinvent them.”
“This look is great for evenings riding my bike to the park. I’d wear it to the Eastbank Esplanade, watching the Dragon Boats practice (and high-fiving passing cyclists!). I'd swap the jacket for a cut-off plaid flannel and then head out to enjoy soul music at Albert Street Pub or metal shows at Dante's.”
“I love this super light cotton button up for hot days spent people watching. It feels inspired, light, fun, and approachable. I'd wear this to window shop at Pistils Nursery or Thicket (I like "rescuing" plants but these places are great for inspiration), then cool off with a Sweet Green juice from Sip or get tacos and a margarita at El Nutritaco.”
MATCHED UP OR DRESSED DOWN
Katy Buchmueller, Materials Development Coordinator
For Katy, she likes the sneaker-y look that UNEEK offers, while still having the breathability element of a sandal, especially in Portland summers. “My style can be kind of eclectic, so I wear UNEEK at times when you wouldn’t expect it, like with a dress, or as a pop of color.”
"This outfit is my style to a T: color blocking and matching in unexpected ways. I would wear this for a bike ride or maybe a concert.”
“I love wearing dresses with sneakers, so UNEEK is a great transition for that dress-it-down look! I would wear this kickin’ around town, going to a farmer’s market, anywhere I want to be comfortable and cute.”
FAVORITE PORTLAND SPOTS
URBAN BIKE CASUAL
Evan Israel, Operations Specialist and Project Liaison
Evan is an avid bicyclist and so he loves how light and flexible UNEEK is. “I like to just throw stuff on and go, and UNEEK is great for that. It’s perfect for biking around town, cruising the coast, or just looking for something comfy to slip onto my feet when camping.”
“This is my favorite outfit to wear in front of graffiti artwork, murals, or on any trendy side-street. :) Also great for hanging out around town—happy hour, city travel, etc.”
FAVORITE PORTLAND SPOTS
“I love biking through the Springwater corridor and Mt. Tabor after eating some ¿Por Qué No? tacos. Another favorite past-time includes walking around Mississippi Street on the weekends or during the Mississippi Street Fair.”
THAT EXTRA EDGE
Alex Hogan, Sample & Development Support Coordinator
One of the things Alex says she likes most about UNEEK is how breathable and secure they feel, like wearing both a sneaker and a sandal all at once. “One of my favorite things to do is wear UNEEK with a dress or a wide leg pant. I’m totally on board with the dressy outfit/sneaker trend, and UNEEK adds a little extra edge to the overall look. I’m really inspired by the fashion pairings coming out of Asia and Japan in particular.”
“I’m all for simplicity when it comes to my day-to-day look. I primarily go for neutral colors, then rely on some kind of staple, i.e. a denim jacket and a simple necklace.”
"Something like this purple button-down is easy to throw on if I want to add a little funky edge."
FAVORITE PORTLAND SPOTS
“One of my favorite places in Portland is this awesome bar called Wilder in NE Portland. In a city known for its beer, it can be hard to find a good cocktail sometimes. Wilder, however, nails it on that front. It’s on the smaller side which makes it feel intimate, but it’s a really approachable place—not too bougie.”
We'd be remiss not to mention that GQ magazine recently called out the unconventional design of the UNEEK collection as part of this summer's “ugly sandal” trend.