A rare look inside Keen's Swan Island shoe factory (Photos)
- Matthew Kish
- Staff Reporter- Portland Business Journal
Free shoes for life. All I had to do was rip the sole off a shoe.
That's the offer Nikolai Christensen made me on a visit Wednesday to Keen's Swan Island shoe factory.
It was a safe bet.
Keen uses polyurethane to make shoes at the 32,000-square-foot plant. The world's strongest man probably couldn't rip one off. The polyurethane binds better than glue, said Christensen, the company's vice president of product.
I toured the factory as part of my effort to learn more about Keen, one of the stars of Portland's robust footwear scene since it relocated here from California in 2006.
There's a good story at the factory.
Since 2011 it's made about 100,000 per shoes annually. This year Keen will triple that to 300,000.
And that's just the beginning. The plant has the capacity to make 1 million shoes per year.
"There will be a lot more coming from here," Christensen said. "The idea is to get this whole thing turning."
Click through the slideshow for a step-by-step look at how Keen makes shoes. And read next Friday's weekly edition for more about what the factory means for Keen.