Fast Company: KEEN's Kicks Go (Really) Old School With Vintage Vulcanization Machines

“The rubber vulcanization process involved with making shoes can be smelly and inefficient. Vulcanization with sulfur requires high temperatures, long heating periods–and that nasty chemical smell. So Portland, Ore., based footwear company KEEN decided to try something new with its Santiago Collection of shoes: they’re bringing back Desma’s hand-operated direct vulcanization machines. The only catch is that these machines haven’t been made for 60 years.”

Desma’s German-made machines stopped being manufactured because of the arrival of quicker chemical vulcanization processes. But KEEN CEO James Curleigh went on a worldwide hunt to find them–in part because the hand-cranked machines make for a healthier environment for workers.”

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