Monday, April 5, 2010

Product: Keen shoes

While this has nothing strictly to do with massage, doulary, birth, or any of the other topics I typically cover in this blog, Keen shoes and bags are typical parts of my daily wardrobe and my equipment as a massage therapist and doula, and I can't say enough about them.

I don't remember how I first discovered Keens, but I'm fairly sure it was while I was shopping for a comfortable, durable pair of everyday shoes that I could wear for a long time.  I've tried a lot of very expensive shoes in the past six years to fill this role, some of which apparently are no longer made.  The Berkeley by Keen is the most recent entry in this list, and I'm about ready to kill my second pair.  Each has lasted in excess of a year of daily wear without socks.  I've had a Brooklyn purse (in a discontinued brown/orange scheme) for about two years as well, and it fits almost anything I need to carry: wallet, lips balms/rouge, keys, business cards, checkbook, pens, cell phone, point-and-shoot camera, iPod shuffle in carry box, notebook, small calendar planner, and various knick-knacks.  I even have room leftover for a handful of small groceries.  My doula bag is an Alameda, which holds my folded rebozo, birth ball and pump, 1/2" binder for client paperwork, a couple books, water, cell phone, etc, with room to spare, in a shape that doesn't take an extra arm and can easily be shoved out of the way.

I hate socks only a little more than I hate wearing shoes (which is just ahead of how much I hate to wear a bra) so if I'm going to be stuck in them everyday, you can dang well bet anymore that they're well made, they fit me, and I'm comfortable.  Most of the shoes linked above have fallen short on one or both of those last two criteria for me, I bought them anyway, and resumed the search shortly thereafter.  My biggest problem is that I have wide feet, so many brands that don't carry wide widths just don't work for me.  Also, living on the Rubenesque side of life puts a lot of wear and tear on my feet and legs if I stand for a long time.  It's been a challenge to find good shoes.

Now I've found Keens, I've been wearing them almost exclusively for over two years now, and I love them.  The only shoe need Keen doesn't fulfill for me is dress shoes.  They do not come in wide widths, but many styles are built wide regardless.  Many of the materials used are recycled and/or sustainably sourced.  The styles and colors are attractive, modern, and functional.  The footbeds are smooth, supportive, and springily comfortable, so I can walk or stand for hours with almost no discomfort compared to even my Ecco sneakers.  I'm a big fan of the toe protection, especially on the sandals.  This makes them versatile for everyday, water, and even some hiking.  Another advantage of Keens, especially in the Waterfront collection, is the great traction.  I can plant my feet and not worry about wasting energy because they're sliding to the side.  I also worry less about oil/lotion spills and migratory hair trimmings from the salon slipping me up.  My Venice H2s are especially useful on this front and I've been wearing them a lot lately in lieu of my Berkleys that are ready to give up the ghost. 

I've been living in slip ons for years (another correct-shoes-finding challenge) and plan to continue to do so as much as possible.  For this reason, I'm looking at the PTC slip on and the Cimarron.  I'm leaning toward the latter for the lower heel and breathability, but I like the Keen.Cush insole on the former.

Whichever I choose, Keen Footwear is the "official shoe/bag of Abundance Massage", and I am proud to be a Keen girl.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

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