Press Releases

KEEN Sponsors Elements Playgrounds Re-Imagined Tour 2010

KEEN Inc. is joining the Elements Playgrounds Re-Imagined Tour 2010 on a ten-city, 70-day summer road trip with a former Japanese fire truck called Baby that has been converted into a one-of-a-kind, carbon-neutral vehicle.

KEEN Inc. — a leader in hybrid outdoor performance products, including footwear, socks and bags — is joining the Elements Playgrounds Re-Imagined Tour 2010 on a ten-city, 70-day summer road trip with a former Japanese fire truck called Baby that has been converted into a one-of-a-kind, carbon-neutral vehicle.

Created by KEEN HybridLife ambassador Seth Warren in 2006, the Elements Tour aims to connect the dots between outdoor recreation, conservation, and sustainable living; inform people about how to support local conservation efforts; and inspire people of all ages to experience nature through outdoor recreation and to actively work to protect our natural playgrounds.

As a professional kayaker, Warren explored and paddled rivers around the globe. Inspired by the world’s natural playgrounds and his passion for outdoor adventure sports, he built Baby and created the Elements Tour to spread ideas and information to inspire people to explore the world’s wild places, protect natural resources and live more sustainable lifestyles.

“Seth Warren is the ultimate example of living the HybridLife. Through his creation of the Elements Tour and Baby, Seth embodies our KEEN mantra to ‘create, play and care,’” said James Curleigh, president and CEO of KEEN. “Playgrounds Re-Imagined is an awesome road trip to spread that message to play and protect, and we’re glad to be along for the ride as a major sponsor.”

The star of the tour is Baby, a unique vehicle that has been retrofitted to run on any natural or waste vegetable oil. Baby also creates and stores energy generated from wind, solar, and kinetic sources for later use as electricity. As a science-experiment-in-action classroom, Baby helps to explain how renewable energy can work as well as inspire others to seek out solutions to capturing renewable energy.

Warren has shared ideas and given presentations to more than 280,000 people over the past four years including over 20,000 K-12 students in 16 countries. An intrepid filmmaker who uses his films as part of his outreach, Warren is the director of the award-winning documentary Oil + Water (2007), which detailed the longest-ever petroleum free road trip, as well as Nature Propelled (2010), which followed the complete life cycle of water for a year.

Baby Gets a KEEN Sidekick – The HybridLife Trailer
New to the Elements Tour is Baby’s sidekick: the HybridLife Trailer. The trailer folds out into a nine-foot by eight-foot stage that will be used by musicians and public speakers at the tour events. The trailer includes its own sound system, which is completely powered by Baby, as well as ample storage beneath the platform. It also features a two-burner stove that folds out from the tailgate and a small refrigerator unit.

Curleigh added, “We’ve literally and figuratively helped build a platform to share our message about how we should both enjoy and protect the great outdoors – which we at KEEN define as any place without a ceiling. This message is being broadcast on the HybridLife Trailer by harnessing the power of the elements.”

Baby and the HybridLife Trailer will truck to the following cities this summer to spread the tour messages:

• May 8–15 — Missoula, MT
• June 26–July 2 — Boise, ID
• July 12–18 — Jackson Hole, WY
• July 19-25 —Denver/Boulder, CO
• July 26-Aug 1 — Durango, CO
• Aug 2-Aug 8 — San Clemente, CA
• Aug 9-Aug 15 — Los Angeles, CA
• Aug 16-22 — San Francisco, CA
• Aug 23-30 — Portland, OR
• Aug 31-Sept 5 — Seattle, WA

Beyond Baby: KEEN Thinking Outside of the (Shoe) Box
In the spirit of the Elements Tour, KEEN is re-imagining its own footprint. From the inception of the business, a cornerstone to the KEEN philosophy has been to make each choice, large and small, a considered one–especially in respect to the outdoors. Now, the company’s commitment is getting deeper as they explore more earth-friendly designs and materials and adopt sustainable business practices.

Curleigh said, “Once we stopped and re-imagined what is possible, we realized that we could choose from all sorts of new options – everything from materials, manufacturing, and packaging. Even the bookshelves in our office are made out of wood reclaimed from Oregon rivers.”

KEEN uses natural, renewable materials whenever possible, such as cork and pesticide-free cotton. They also use recycled and repurposed materials in their footwear; for example, recycled aluminum eyelets and recycled polyester webbing. Plus, KEEN has adopted greener manufacturing processes such as direct inject and stitch and turn, which reduce or eliminate the need for glue.

Re-Imagined Products
The company’s commitment to make considered choices is more and more evident in its product lines. Knowing that cycling represents fewer exhaust-spewing cars on the road, KEEN offers the Pedal Collection, which meets the needs of cyclists with stylish, comfortable shoes, sock and bags that are ready to roll.

All KEEN shoes are carefully packaged in a 100% Hybrid Box, which is 30 percent smaller than KEEN’s previous shoebox and made entirely of recycled materials. This sturdy, ultra-light box requires less energy to produce and collapses easily for recycling.

KEEN has also re-imagined and re-engineered its Sox Collection using natural and renewable materials like merino wool, organic cotton and post-consumer recycled polyester. Plus, the anatomical design and seamless innovation provide optimal fit and endless comfort – the ultimate treat for the feet.

Also as an extension of the company’s commitment to reuse, repurpose and think sustainably whenever possible, KEEN offers the Hybrid.Transport bag line. Each stylish Hybrid.Transport bag features components crafted from materials repurposed or recycled from the manufacturing waste stream. The line includes the Harvest Collection, bags made from recycled rice sacks, haul bags and material scraps. This ultra-sustainable collection consists of 12 eye-catching styles including wallets, daypacks and shoulder bags. Every Harvest Collection piece is artfully constructed from scraps with varying graphics and colors, so each is truly unique.

KEEN Hybrid.Care: Supporting Social and Environmental Organizations
KEEN’s commitment to the environment goes beyond their products. Their giving program, Hybrid.Care, was created in 2004 to support social and environmental organizations that are working for the great good through community and education. Through Hybrid.Care, KEEN has partnered with more than 20 global environmental, conservation and social non-profit organizations, and has distributed more than $5 million. Current partners include American Whitewater, Big City Mountaineers, The Conservation Alliance, Leave No Trace and Waterkeeper Alliance.

“Step by step, we are making changes in our company to support the mission of the Elements Tour and promote the HybridLife. We make products that inspire people of all ages to experience the great outdoors and run a company that actively works to protect our natural playgrounds,” said Curleigh. “Since Baby and the Hybrid Trailer run on renewable energy, we hope this summer road trip spreading Seth’s message never ends.”

For more information about the tour, visit

About KEEN
KEEN Inc., manufacturer of hybrid footwear, socks and bags, is an outdoor brand that delivers innovative hybrid products, enabling outdoor enthusiasts to live an active lifestyle. Founded in 2003, KEEN was first recognized for its Newport sandal, which featured patented toe protection technology. Since then the company has been recognized for outstanding trail and casual products, and in 2010 was named one of “America’s Best Places to Work” by Outside Magazine.

The company strives to demonstrate integrity and leadership, especially on social and environmental commitments, while promoting a vibrant, inclusive community that attracts all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts. Through its giving program Hybrid.Care, KEEN supports a variety of social and environmental organizations around the globe.

Based in Portland, Oregon, KEEN products are available in more than 5,000 retail locations in more than 50 countries – including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Central America, South America and Europe.