Not the highest scorer in our test, the KEEN Uneek is nothing if not true to its name. The Uneek was a mediocre scorer across the board, as testers were unsure of what to make of its unique webbing system. Although this system hugged users' feet and made for a comfortable strap-to-foot interaction, the Uneek failed to provide our testers with the support needed for long days on rugged trails. Despite this, the Uneek had decent traction and adaptability, making it a good sandal for varied activities. With that said, the KEEN Clearwater CNX is a far more versatile and sturdy choice.
Keen Uneek Review
Cons: Style, ankle strap
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Uneek is just that, with an interesting webbing system that mimics the shape of a shoe. Our testers were almost split down the middle over whether or not the Uneek was stylish or strange, so be sure to take a good look at the Uneek and decide for yourself. For a variety of low-intensity activities, this model performs well.
The Uneek's webbing upper provided adequate support across the upper foot and along the sides of the foot, although some testers felt that this webbing provided a false sense of security, as it was very thin and wouldn't protect well from toe jams or stick jabs. A soft footbed made for a squishy ride, which gave the Uneek points. However, a non-adjustable heel gave some testers issues, as it could rub and cause hotspots. For a more comfortable offering from KEEN, check out the Clearwater.
The Uneek performed near the bottom of the pack regarding stability. Although it seems adequate out of the box, the trouble lies in the webbing-sole integration. When worn, the webbing conforms completely to the foot and provides the footbed itself no support. This means that the footbed easily flattens out with the foot, giving the shoes a downturned look and causing discomfort on long days or while wearing a heavy pack. For a more stable model, we'd try the Teva Tirra or a Chaco model.
With a proprietary KEEN sole, traction was the Uneek's strong suit. Testers felt comfortable going up steep rock slabs and gravely terrain, and although the downhill was comfortable as well, the webbing strap system caused some instability. For a more traction-focused model, we recommend the Bedrock Cairn Adventure.
As with the other KEEN models in our review, the Uneek performed fairly well for adjustments across the foot and in the midfoot. A bungee adjustment also makes the process quick and simple. However, without an ankle strap adjustment, many testers found that the ankle was uncomfortable and on and off was slow. For a more adjustable model, see the Chaco ZX/2.
The Uneek was surprisingly adaptable, handling water sports well and traveling from well-groomed trails to rock scrambling with ease. While some testers felt that this was a good around-town shoe as well, others disagreed based upon its style. As with other closed-toe models, this shoe was prone to getting small pebbles stuck between the user's foot and the sole, and because of the design, they were difficult to remove. For a shoe that provides more versatility, look at the Bedrock Cairn Adventure.
In this category, our testers had a wide array of opinions. On one side of the spread, users felt that the Uneek's, well, uniqueness was an attribute and lent it a snappy style. On the other side of the scale, users felt that this same uniqueness was the product's downfall. Either way, it's a show you either love or you hate. For more universally accepted shoe style, we recommend the Chaco models.
The Uneek is best used for light outdoor activities like water play or short hikes to the local sunset spot.
The Uneek is on the more expensive side of the models we tested. Unless you love the look of the Uneek, we recommend going with a cheaper model, like the Teva Verra, or a higher-performing option, like the Bedrock Cairn Adventure.
There's no denying that the Uneek is unique. A relatively comfortable model with good traction that falls short in support, this is a shoe that you will either love or hate.
— Shey Kiester