One of the coolest things I saw at this year’s Outdoor Retailer gear show was a sneak peek from Keen on their new option to build your own custom version of their classic Newport Sandals. In a cool behind the scenes demo, I got an early look at a website that would allow customers to choose colors for various parts of the shoe, including the laces, soles and even the individual straps. At the end of the demo we were told that the new website was in beta testing but would go live soon, and true to their word, Keen launched the “Build Your Own Keen” option last week and I was fortunate enough to get the chance to take it for a test drive.
The Newport is the perfect shoe for Keen to use to introduce this new option. After all, is the sandal that put the company on the map and has remained a mainstay in their line-up for the past ten years. This is a shoe that is durable, comfortable and versatile enough to go with you just about anywhere and my aging pair have been with me on many adventures. The close toed design makes them a great option for hiking trails, paddling rivers or just kicking around camp. They’re even stylish enough that you’ll enjoy wearing them on your urban adventures too.
Knowing what I know about these shoes and Keen’s new option for building your own custom designs, I was eager to see just what the new website would allow a customer to do. I was not disappointed. Choosing from numerous color options and patterns I was able to create a one of a kind pair of Newports that aren’t likely be matched by anyone who crosses my path. The colors options allow you to be as conservative or wild as you want and it is possible to select each and ever individual strap, giving you the ability to create some truly outrageous looking shoes.
The site is incredibly easy to use, but more than that it is also incredibly addictive. I hopped on to see what it could do figuring I’d spend 10-15 minutes putting together something that I liked. An hour later I realized that I was never going to complete my order unless I stopped playing around and made some tough decisions about which color combos to go with. I eventually did just that but not before lamenting the various choices that I had to reject in favor of my final choices
Building your own custom Newport sandals will set you back $130, which is $30 more than buying a pair off the rack. Not bad for a pair of shoes that is completely built to your specifications and expresses your own individuality. Keen says that it takes approximately 2-3 weeks to get your shoes after they’ve been ordered and my pair hasn’t arrived yet. Once they do get here, I’ll do a follow-up post with my thoughts on the final project. I suspect it will be indistinguishable from any other pair of Newports in terms of quality and comfort, it’ll just happen to be of a design of my own creation.
Try your hand at building your own custom Keen sandals by clicking here.
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