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From Mount Whitney to the Appalachian Trail: Oh the Places We Go with KEEN!

“These KEENS are made for Hiking

And Biking and Kayaking too

With or without socks, these KEENS will play all day with you”

Written By National Program Director Zoë Polk

Like most outdoor enthusiasts, we love all things gear! We love researching and then buying a new product at our local REI store. We love breaking it in on the trail. We love talking about how footwear keeps us safe and encourage all our participants to invest in a good pair of shoes that protect you during your adventures, We also love cleaning and maintaining our gear so that it can stay with us for years of explorations.  

Our KEEN footwear has been good to us since we founded the Outdoor Afro Leadership Team in 2012. An early supporter of our mission to reconnect Black people to nature and each other through outdoor activities, KEEN has consistently been both a partner and a friend in this work.

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When KEEN was founded in 2003, they made a commitment to act on inspiration quickly and now have a history of supporting good causes. They have given more than $7 million in cash and resources to nonprofit organizations around the world, including Outdoor Afro.

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KEEN shares Outdoor Afro values of building stronger communities and a healthier planet. They have stood behind us and other partners,  as we have worked to inspire responsible outdoor participation, and land and water conservation. We have witnessed the KEEN Effect, the company commitment to preserving and the places we play around the world, firsthand through our networks from California to Florida.

We asked some of our 2016 Outdoor Afro Leaders to share the adventures they have had in their KEENS.  Whether backpacking on the Appalachian trail, urban hiking, training in Yosemite, crossing water or vacationing, our team finds it easy playing in KEEN:

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Outdoor Afro Los Angeles Leader Ivan Guillory wore his Voyaguer Mid Boots to lead a group to the summit of Mount Baldy. When leading kayaking expeditions, Outdoor Afro Afro Austin Leader Starla Simmons wears her Newport H2 Sandals While scouting Myakka River State Park for an upcoming Outdoor Afro event, Orlando Leader Hillary Van Dyke wore her Voyaguer mid boots because she needed ankle support and low arch boots that could handle any kind of terrain.
Whether hiking with his son on a sunny day in the Bay Area or trekking 40 miles in the rain on the Appalachian Trail, Cliff Sorrell relies on his Summit County boots. When climbing on rocks on the White Oak Canyon Trail in Shenandoah National Park, Outdoor Afro Baltimore Leader, Brittany Leavitt wears her Koven Mid WP. On a family hiking in Castlwood State Park,St. Louis Leader Mario Charles, found his  Logan Mid WP  to be perfect for a hot day hike with challenging terrain with numerous elevation changes. His Dad found the same comfort in the Durand Low.
Because of their breathability and style, the Skyline Ankle Wedge are perfect for day of wine tasting in Sonoma for Outdoor Afro Founder and CEO, Rue Mapp Atlanta Leader Stefan Moss likes the freedom of movement, security and adaptability of the KEEN Uneek for lounging on the beach or ziplining through the rainforest. When climbing the San Francisco hills to reach local city parks,  Leader Zoe Polk prefers the versatility of the Santa Cruz Canvas
When hiking the Taum Sauk Mountain potion of the Ozark Trail St. Louis, Leader Duane Williams wears his  Durand Mid WP. According to Duane,
“My Keen Durand Mids give me the comfort, durability, and keep my feet dry so I can conquer the mountain!”
While crossing streams, basking in the spray of the waterfalls, and tromping through the steep mountainous trails in Pisgah National Forest,  Outdoor Afro Miami Leader Ta-Shana Taylor wore her  Maupin and  Outdoor Afro Charlotte Leader Yanira Castro wore the Newport H2. At Rocky Mountain National Park, Outdoor Afro Boulder Leader Roz Katonah wore their Durand Mid WP, which were perfect for the rocky, wet ascent to a waterfall.

 

Thank you KEEN for being trusted ally in our outdoor movement!

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  • Dalila Jones

    Hello,
    I have been hiking and enjoying the outdoors on and off for years. It started when I was in the outdoors club while attending Oakland High School in Oakland, CA. I remember buying my first pair of Reebok hiking boots, through the years I have always noticed not really seeing African-Americans truly enjoying the outdoors. Since having kids and being married my husband has taught me to camp. We even took a year off and rode around in an 1981 Toyota Dolphin which allowed us to see some pretty cool places up and down the west coast. My oldest son climbed to the top of Mt Whitney at only 15 years old with my husband. Very proud mom. Now we have relocated to North Carolina and I have trying to find groups to hike with or camp with which has been hard. We also lived in NM which allowed for some wonderful camping, hiking, and kayaking experiences. Hope to get some great information from this site.

  • Rue Mapp

    Hi Dallia- We have two networks in North Carolina- Charlotte and the Triangle. We hope to connect with you and your family!
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1705831066352634/
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/OutdoorAfroTriangleNorthCarolina/