KEENovation: UNEEK Robotic Cell

From its inception, UNEEK was never about a single shoe but rather the idea of establishing an entirely new platform within the footwear industry. Instead of building footwear out of flat materials that don’t naturally conform to the shape of the foot, the UNEEK upper was made from two completely independent interlocking cords. The combination of 2 cords and the interlocking junction created an entirely new footwear experience that allows for unmatched levels of comfort.

Automation was always part of our thinking. The UNEEK platform was designed around the idea of a highly repetitive process, with the goal being to apply automation and robotics but at the same time never loosing site of the ability to deliver quality products to consumers. The resulting idea was a highly repeatable series of cord junctions that would allow for superior fit as well as the ability to automate the platform in future phases.

“Robotics lends itself to UNEEK as robotics applications are best suited to highly repeatable and precise tasks.” – Rory Fuerst Jr.

Automating the manufacturing process through robotics was seen as too complicated by nearly all potential partners. Enter House of Design LLC in Nampa ID. Through this on-going partnership, we’re able to pioneer new approaches to footwear manufacturing through the use of ABB robots and creative engineering. Given the programs flexibility and speed, we will continue to explore future applications in what is an exciting next step in the UNEEK platform.

There are no plans at this point to roll out the UNEEK automation program on a bigger scale. The program exploration is about how we as a brand continue to innovate, push new boundaries and disrupt the industry.