Kids Footwear Engineer


The Kids Footwear Engineer will lead the technical product development of footwear product within the Kids footwear category.  You will fully work within KEEN PLM system and ensure that all information and time lines are correct for the product.  You will also ensure that quality prototypes are developed in accordance to best practice and worked through to the agreed upon time-line and the agreed upon deliverables, including costing and KEEN fit approval.

You will drive and manage product development projects to the KEEN calendar and secure technical solutions are in place for last, sole and mold construction, etc.  Further, you will secure the documentation of fit and wear testing, engineering, grading and approval processes are in place and available in KEEN PLM system.  In addition, you will ensure that manufacturing samples are made in accordance with KEEN process and product standards before production starts.

Through critical thinking, you will drive the team to consensus and challenge the design and creative teams by proposing solutions on how to improve the product from a quality and margin optimization point of view. Through fact based decision making and expert level problem solving skills, you will provide options, recommendations, and solutions to problems.  You’ll actively influence and engage with the functional and extended product creation team members to ensure that category best practices are utilized to achieve product performance goals and consumer requirements.  You’ll act as a ‘progress manager’, highlighting critical paths to the team, and driving all aspects of meeting organization, communication, decision making, and information pertaining to projects, including project planning.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Lead and manage multiple product development projects throughout the development process and into commercialization in line with the agreed corporate calendar
  • Act as the lead contact/super user for the PLM system. Manage and approve tasks in the PLM systems in accordance with company calendar including production specification sheets
  • Drive project plans and manage progress accordingly. Ensure that decisions are made in accordance with agreed upon stage gates and that projects finish on time
  • Deliver prototypes on time and drive prototype meetings with the category team
  • Develop and maintain assessment reports through PLM system
  • To have full responsibility for all samples coming into the building with regards documenting and storage
  • Initiate and evaluate together with KEEN fit and wear team, last development and specifications
  • Coordinate and channel into Centric appropriate products in the category from ROFU development at Menlo Park and Fuerst Innovation Lab / Fuerst advanced development
  • Evaluate costing and propose optimization and engineering changes in order to maximize margins on a landed basis through out the development milestones
    • Drive the process to ensure product meets performance, aesthetic and margin expectations as you will be responsible for Costing/Margin for respective category at each stage of the development cycle
    • Ensure both the technical superiority and the product quality/integrity of all products
    • Ensure all models are fit and wear tested at the appropriate times
    • Initiate and evaluate fit and wear test reports together with the KEEN fit and wear team
    • Actively pursue best practices and continual process improvements
    • Contribute ideas for product design, construction, materials, compounds and components at an advanced level to achieve performance and margin targets
    • Mentor junior developers to help them increase their technical and project management skills
    • Responsible for approvel of last, LR samples, sales sample and production confirmation samples before production start-up
    • Work through correct channels within Rofu and contract manufacturing development centers to ensure on-time delivery of samples at critical milestones in line with product briefs
    • Align product development to supply chain in terms of product “buy readiness”
    • All other tasks and duties as assigned – or whatever it takes to get it done


    • Approximately 8+ years of footwear development experience leading the development of high performance footwear projects
    • Must have Kids Footwear background
    • Understanding of Canvas and Vulcanization – is of high regard
    • Shoemaker skill-set, highly preferred pattern making is desired
    • Proved skills in project management
    • Demonstrated results-orientation. You need to get things done
    • Technical expertise in the basics of pattern engineering and subsequent costing/quality implications, model making, part drawings, drafting, 2D documentation, mold making, materials, customs and basic manufacturing processes
    • Strong written and oral communication skills, with an advanced ability to communicate new concepts and ideas
    • Proven understanding and success of working within PLM is desired
    • Proficient in Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat (Adobe Illustrator, a plus)
    • Ability to anticipate how a decision made can affect our customers, partners, products or other departments within the company
    • In-depth knowledge of material applications, material costing, lead-times and MOQ implications
    • Be an active problem solver and critical thinker

    Why Work at KEEN:  
    Driven by a passion for life outside, KEEN is a values-led, independently owned brand from Portland, Oregon, that’s on a mission to create original and versatile products, improve lives, and inspire outside adventure. Founded in 2003, KEEN launched a revolution in the footwear industry with the introduction of the Newport adventure sandal, and has donated more than $18 million to non-profit organizations and causes around the world to promote responsible outdoor recreation, including conservation efforts to protect open spaces. KEEN strives to show the world through its products and its actions that a business for good can actually be good for business. By giving back, reducing impact, and activating communities and individuals to protect the places where we work and play, KEEN puts its values in motion and takes action to leave the world a better place.  Learn more about what we’re doing for a better planet here.

Product Development
Portland, OR