We Think Plaid is Pretty Rad
Ah, cozy, versatile plaid. It walks the line of preppy and punk—and it’s the badge of the great outdoors. So of course we try to work it in wherever we can.
And, by we, I mean a trio of women in our product team: Rachel Treinen, Monique Althoff, and Jessi Scofield, who work together to create each season’s color palette and pattern choices as part of their overall product development work. Thanks to them, our current collection of fall/winter shoes includes our biggest plaid offering to date. From Mary Jane to insulated boot, you’ll find this cozy pattern in FIVE different KEEN styles for women this season: Elena Mid boot, Elena Tall boot, Elsa sneaker, Howser slide, and Sienna Mary Jane.
“It’s not an accident that we have plaid across the women’s line in multiple styles,” says Rachel, KEEN Global Product Line Manager, Lifestyle. “Each season when we think about how we can bring in trend-relevant colors and materials, plaid is always a great go-to. Especially in the outdoor industry. In the fall and winter, it really reads comfort and heritage and cozy.”
Plaid is so Portland. Or is it?
Look around our hometown of Portland, Oregon, and plaid is EVERYWHERE. (Confession: I bought my first plaid shirt when I moved here. I am now up to 4.) This relaxed, utilitarian staple is so entrenched in Portlanders’ wardrobes and feels so Americana that you might think it was born here. But it actually comes from Scotland, and 3,000-year-old plaid pants were discovered in Egypt. So it turns out we may have all stolen the look from an ancient mummy.
It’s classic but also modern
The Elsa sneaker and Elena tall boot in red Buffalo plaid.
Anchoring the ensemble of KEEN plaids this season is the most iconic, outdoorsy plaid of all: Red Buffalo plaid. “It’s a solid nod to our outdoor heritage and has that timeless, cozy cabin feel,” Rachel says. “It’s both a bit nostalgic and fashion forward at the same time. It’s so versatile. It works with any look.”
It’s a pattern you can wear with everything
Layering is big with plaid. Perhaps that’s because it’s one of those patterns that easily mixes with whatever you’re wearing—which is an important quality for a shoe that will be worn with many different outfits. Rachel equates it to wearing a scarf with a print.
It has a warm, cozy feel. You just want to curl up with it.
Go bright or earthy
Rachel and team base their pattern selection on the types of outfits that KEEN fans wear and the overall KEEN color palette for the season. “We want some that have fun pops that are bright and stand out, and then really we want to make sure that we have options that are wearable with whatever outfit she’s going to wear,” Rachel says. Some color patterns, like blues, reds, and blacks, might look best with jeans, while earthy tones can tie in well with something that’s a little more organic and natural.
The ‘hygge’ vibes are strong
When it comes to the cozy factor of plaid, materials are important. Our felt blend is soft, durable, and naturally water resistant. “It has a warm, cozy feel. You just want to curl up with it,” Rachel says. That makes it an excellent choice for our Howser slip-on, which oozes warm and cozy, or an insulated boot, like the Elena.
Yes, we love plaid, and we especially love that it never goes out of style. This season at KEEN, there’s a plaid for every outfit and activity, and you can wear it for years to come. No doubt we’ll always look for ways to weave this Pacific Northwest staple into our shoe line-up.