Keen Brand Spotlight: True Commitment to Sustainability and Chemical Reduction

Keen Footwear has carved a niche for itself in the sustainable footwear industry with its unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship and chemical reduction in its products. Since its inception in 2003, Keen has been on a mission to not only create durable and comfortable footwear but also to ensure that its production processes and materials have a minimal impact on the planet.


Jason Solomon

4/15/20242 min read

Keen Shoes: Pioneering Sustainability in Footwear

Enter the world of Keen Footwear, a brand renowned not just for its innovative and comfortable designs but for its profound commitment to environmental sustainability and chemical reduction. Since stepping into the scene in 2003, Keen has been at the forefront of ethical manufacturing, championing the cause of "Detox the Planet" and ensuring their products are free from harmful "forever chemicals." This spotlight delves into Keen's journey towards sustainability, showcasing their efforts in chemical reduction, ethical manufacturing, and innovation, all while striving to make a positive impact on the planet and its people. Join us as we explore how Keen Footwear is not just crafting shoes but forging paths towards a more sustainable and responsible world.

Sustainability Efforts

Keen's sustainability efforts are comprehensive, encompassing initiatives aimed at reducing environmental impact, engaging in community support, and promoting outdoor and trade accessibility. A significant highlight of their sustainability journey is becoming PFAS-free since 2018. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of chemicals often referred to as "forever chemicals" due to their persistence in the environment and the human body. Keen's decision to eliminate these chemicals from its supply chain marks a pivotal step towards reducing the ecological footprint of its products.

Chemical Reduction and Ethical Manufacturing

Beyond its PFAS-free milestone, Keen has invested over 11,000 hours and more than $1.2 million in its detox journey, striving to remove or avoid the use of six classes of toxic chemicals that are of concern for environmental and human health. The brand has successfully avoided or removed five of these classes from its products and is currently focused on tackling solvents by rethinking construction techniques and finding safer alternatives.

Keen's manufacturing processes also embody its commitment to ethical and sustainable practices. The company operates manufacturing facilities in the US, Dominican Republic, and Thailand, adhering to local and ethical manufacturing principles. These facilities support Keen's "Detox the Planet" initiative, reflecting the brand's holistic approach to sustainability that spans its entire supply chain.

Innovation and Future Directions

Innovation is at the core of Keen's sustainability and product development strategies. The company has introduced proprietary technologies like KEEN.FUSION, which bonds the upper to the sole without glues or solvents, enhancing durability and reducing environmental impact. Keen's commitment to innovation extends beyond product design to include efforts to minimize transportation distances and contribute to decarbonization efforts, aligning with its broader commitment to sustainability.


Keen Footwear's dedication to sustainability, chemical reduction, and ethical manufacturing sets it apart in the footwear industry. Through innovative product design, rigorous efforts to eliminate harmful chemicals, and a commitment to environmental stewardship, Keen is not just making shoes; it's making a difference. As the brand continues to grow and evolve, its focus on making great-fitting, long-lasting goods that positively impact work, play, and the environment remains unwavering.

Keen's journey is a testament to what a values-led, family-owned business can achieve in the realm of sustainable and responsible fashion. By prioritizing the health of the planet and its inhabitants, Keen is inspiring both consumers and other manufacturers to join in its mission for a greener, cleaner world.