Buzzing factory machines made up the background noise as KEENs Kirk Richardson welcomed Senator Jeff Merkley to tour KEEN Footwear’s Portland based manufacturing center. As Richardson explained each step of the shoe building chain, Senator Merkley and his staff had the chance to see it all in action.
Since early 2011 KEEN has been building product about 10 minutes from it’s Portland, Oregon Headquarters. KEEN’s American Built line began with a few work boots and quickly grew to manufacturing everything from casual sandals to steel-toe construction boots. Roughly 300,000 shoes come out of the Swan Island facility, employing over 45 full time employees in the surrounding Portland area. The Senator walked around the 15,000-square-foot facility, looking in on the way that KEEN is utilizing a streamlined injection-molding process that actually attaches the sole of the shoe to its upper. He had the chance to see the product-development center and an on-site lab for testing new concepts and technologies, and was able to see what KEEN’s American Built product is all about.