Fashions 502

Published on August 11th, 2009 | by Greg


Keen to Try New Things

I discovered KEENs when I moved to Hawaii and was looking for a sandal I could wear for everyday. They are perhaps best known for their previously-reviewed iconic sandals, sturdy enough to trek through backwoods trails, get wet and support your feet at the same time.

While most of KEEN’s product line is aimed at the “trailhead” for their day hikes in rocky places, they have also put their mind to designing a few product lines aimed at the laid-back, granola-eating trekker in their off-hours. They have shoes aimed at city-dwellers and also a lot of very nice bags in a variety of cute colors.

Perhaps they understand that the female trail-hiker isn’t necessarily your average girl. In a time when the fashion seems to be the “baby carrier” (complete with the hunch that sometimes accompanies it), KEEN has a nice, small utilitarian pocketbook you can wear across your chest, the Fremont. Having prided myself on avoiding getting a purse for years, I finally broke down after the purchase of an iPhone and searched for an appropriate carrying conveyance.

When trying to find a bag, I called upon my mother’s wisdom, who used to spend hours over days over weeks, ruminating over the appropriate purse. Her requirement? As many compartments as possible. It once stopped a man from pick-pocketing her. He couldn’t find her cash before she noticed him looking for it, but she had her purse organized exactly the way she wanted and could find anything on a dime.

KEEN fulfills this requirement in spades, especially for such a small bag. It is perfect for carrying a lot of small things in separate compartments, with places for credit cards, cash, coins, keys and cell phones. It was wider than I expected, with more room on the side than my iPhone needed.

KEEN’s Fremont bag uses magnets instead of clips. This is actually quite convenient as it is easy to snap and unsnap. The downside is that sometimes it comes undone of its own accord and even more so when you try to carry more than the bag is meant to handle. Additionally, though it’s quite light, it can have the tendency to chafe if worn for too long, especially if you’re wearing a tank top or something that exposes your shoulder. It’s an excellent size for a passport, which makes it ideal for world traveling in hot weather, and despite its slight security flaw, there are so many compartments that it is easy to hide cash, credit cards and traveler’s checks away from one another.

The other thing I love about this bag is the style. I think of it as a purse, but really it’s an advanced fanny pack in some ways. I’ve handed it off to my boyfriend a few times and while in San Francisco he wouldn’t get many looks anyway, the dark black strap and fairly utilitarian look doesn’t call immediate attention to it.

KEEN also has a variety of shoes that are catered towards city trekking and not backwoods hiking or adverse river conditions. Their “BLVD” and “Market” lines have a distinctly West Coast city look. I tried out the Coronados in the BLVD line. They’re vaguely reminiscent of a few other shoe types, including Converse sneakers. The shoes are made of canvas, which is not ideal for rainy weather, but has a very cute and distinctly old school look. The colors, like all of KEEN’s shoe colors, are also a good mix of trendy stand-out colors and muted blend-in colors.

The shoes do not have much support, which is rather typical of this type of shoe. Surprisingly, however, they’re quite comfortable. It’s like your feet are sleeping in bed instead of walking the streets. It doesn’t stop your feet from feeling sore after wandering around all day, but they’re always super comfy to put on. Perhaps the secret is in the soles, which are a combination of recycled polyurethane and cork, and create a very nice, bouncy feel.

The KEEN Fremont bag is about $40 on Amazon.com and the KEEN Coronado Shoes run about $60.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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