Following three years of development and over five thousand miles of testing, KEEN unveils the WK400 ($200), a revolutionary shoe designed specifically to make walking more enjoyable and fun. People are walking more than ever before, and the benefits are expansive. Walking heals. It builds relationships. It improves health and reduces stress. It encourages creativity. Above all, it is a catalyst for change and standing up for what is right.
Four years ago, KEEN’s Global Product Innovation Creative Director, Rory Fuerst Jr., suffered a traumatic skiing accident that left him unable to walk for several months. Along his road to recovery, he found himself depressed and in a deep fog. As an accomplished athlete he never considered walking important, but four months into his recovery he discovered walking was much more than a means to get around. Walking brought him out of his fog and saved his life. This experience inspired him to share the power of walking with the world and has served as the catalyst for KEEN’s latest innovation, one that is revolutionising walking footwear.
With the help of a long-time friend, career footwear innovator and PhD in Physics and Environmental Science, Ciro Fusco, Rory Jr. started digging into the science of walking. In biomechanical lab studies, KEEN discovered that the body and legs act as a pendulum which cause the foot to move in a constant arc when walking — a pattern that is uniquely different from a runner’s stride, which is more like a spring loading — and one that existing shoes fail to facilitate. To enhance this constant arc, KEEN created its patent-pending KEEN.CURVE™ technology. This technology combines constant curve geometry, underfoot plate technology, and a high-energy midsole to create a unique feeling of forward momentum that makes walking feel like rolling. Additionally, a generous 30mm toe spring gives an exceptionally smooth and easy transition from heel strike through to toe off, making every step feel easier. A 10mm last drop between the heel and forefoot further promotes forward momentum in your gait, while also aiding stability.
“Before I wrecked my leg I never really thought about walking. It was just something you did to get places. It wasn’t until I couldn’t do it anymore and my whole life was turned upside down did I realize what walking meant to me – and us, as humans. My crash put me in one of the darkest places I had ever been. It was walking that got me out of it. This project was birthed from that tragedy. Sure, there’s a ton of great technology and research built into our walking shoe, but what I will remember most is my time spent working with a lot of great people all committed to improving something so basic – walking. Like my injury, this project hasn’t been easy, but it was everyone putting one foot in front of the other who got it done. So, while this shoe is cool, and I would love for you to try it, I don’t really care if you buy it. I would ask if you happen to read this, go for a walk.” – WK400 Creator and KEEN Global Product Innovation Creative Director, Rory Fuerst Jr.
Available for $200, the WK400 shoe comes in four colors across men’s- and women’s-specific fits. The WK400 will be available for purchase at www.keenfootwear.com and at select sporting goods retailers in February 2023. To coincide with the launch of the WK400 shoe, KEEN is on a mission to establish walking as a movement, focusing on raising awareness around walking clubs, charities, as well as debuting their very own walking-focused podcast.