"We are incredibly lucky to have a very dedicated and talented team in place, from design to sourcing through production. The fact that the Braddock is American built allows us to address any issues early on, right here in Portland."
NED: What motivated KEEN Utility to introduce this work boot?
MR: From the beginning, KEEN Utility has built a brand of progressive safety styles with the understanding that the best work boots are innovative and multi-purpose, blending comfort and protection in unique silhouettes. As a company, KEEN Utility is steadfastly dedicated to building stronger communities and a healthier plane and, in recent years, began manufacturing in our state-of-the-art KEEN factory right in our own backyard of Portland, OR, using the finest materials from around the world. The Braddock combines both of these ideals, allowing us to take a hands-on approach to manufacturing, creating new jobs in the local community, and introducing a stellar, all-purpose safety style to the market.
NED: How is this footwear different from similar types on the market today?
MR: Crafted with waterproof Nubuck leather, the rugged, outdoor-inspired silhouette blends all the essentials needed for whatever the workday presents. Braddock features a KEEN.Dry waterproof, breathable membrane together with hydrophobic/hydrophilic two-zone comfort technology to provide a barrier to the elements, allowing moisture out but never in. Built for comfort, the boot features a proprietary direct-inject PU midsole construction, improving durability and longevity to a midsole that doesn’t compact over time. An oil and slip-resistant rubber outsole with a right-angle heel delivers additional support for workers conducting shovel work and going up and down ladders. The Braddock meets Mark II Slip standards providing superior traction and sure footing. The unique KEEN Utility asymmetrical steel toes provide ASTM-rated protection against impact and crush accidents while affording a roomier toe box and maximum comfort through the contoured toecaps.
NED: What problems needed to be addressed during the development process?
MR: We are incredibly lucky to have a very dedicated and talented team in place, from design to sourcing through production. The fact that the Braddock is American built allows us to address any issues early on, right here in Portland. Thankfully, the production process was smooth sailing and the style is being very well received both with our network of retailers and customers.
NED: How long did it take from conception to ultimate production?
MR: Our typical development timeline is about 18 months from concept to delivery. The Braddock boots fell into this same schedule. The one thing to note, however, is that by manufacturing this style here in our backyard we were able to be more proactive when it came to problem-solving any issues that popped up during the development process.
NED: What effect did cost factors have in changing the final design of this product?
MR: Paying attention to cost is, of course, a factor as we develop and manufacture our footwear, but never at the expense of quality or safety. Thanks to long-standing relationships with our vendors and suppliers, we were able to create a very unique and well-rounded style at a price point that is accessible to our customers.
NED: Who is your target audience and what benefits will they achieve from using this product?
MR: The Braddock is an exceptional, all-purpose safety style. The outdoor-inspired silhouette makes it extremely versatile and the signature KEEN comfort and performance enhancements allow it to satisfy the safety needs of many work environments. Our target audience ranges from construction to industrial and even DIYers and weekend warriors.