New lighter and lower KEEN.CNX collection combines KEEN's fit with new streamlined chassis.
One of the more interesting developments at the recent OutDoor European trade show in Germany was the launch of KEEN's new CNX collection of lighter, lower footwear designed, says KEEN, to 'feel like a natural extension of the foot'.
Classic Fit But Lighter
The new shoes - there are 20 styles in the range, yep, that really does say 20 - are based on KEEN's classic last for familar fit, but things have been freshened up underfoot to reduce weight and give a more flexible feel. The end result is that each of the shoes in the range weighs less than 285g per foot.
First off, the sole units are lower profile than existing KEEN shoes and use a proprietary PU mid-sole and with a 4mm drop between heel and toe to give a more natural feel. The classic KEEN fit is retained along with features like the metarsal ridge, contoured arch and secured heel. There's also an underfoot structure to give some support and protection to the foot.
On top of the changes underfoot, the uppers have also been streamlined and simplified. The distinctive original KEEN toe protection bumper is present and correct, but a simplified upper construction strips away excess material to reduce weight and improve fit.
A Quick Try On...
All of which sounds great in theory, but we also had the chance for a quick wander round in a pair of pre-production CNX shoes - sample-sized feet - and in between guzzling ice cream from KEEN's on stand stall, we can tell you that the shoes felt instantly neater, closer to the ground and more flexible, less clumpy than the original KEEN sole unit.
Underfoot they felt very flexible and natural, but with significantly more support than you'd get from a full-on barefoot shoe. Obviously those are just rapid first impressions and the terrain inside the show wasn't exactly rugged, but they definitely do feel more flexible, ergonomic and natural.
From The Waterfront To The Trails
Like we said there are no fewer than 20 styles in men's and women's versions, with distinctive looks. Categories include 'Waterfront', a collection of hybrid designs intended to work well on the shoreline or river bank as well as on the trail.
Then there's 'Multi-sport', which are designed for lighweight hiking and scrambling - the two models in the collection, Tunari CNX for men and Haven CNX for women look ace and use something called a 'reverse strobel construction' for a closer connnection to the foot and static 2mm laces for a secure fit.
Kids And Casual
Finally there are also Casual and Kids styles - same chassis for the Casual stuff, but more, erm, casual uppers, while the Kids version look for all the world like miniaturised adult CNX styles, which is brilliant.
And as above, all the shoes are properly light, with none weighing more than 285g per shoe, and the women's versions weighing even less. Think 232g for the women's multi-sport Haven for example.
We reckon they look great and if our quick try is anything to go by, feel light, flexible and nimble with no clumpiness. The KEEN.CNX collection is due out early in 2013, until then you'll just have to be patient.
More KEEN info at www.keenfootwear.com.