Sr. Innovation Developer

KEEN Footwear

Portland, OR, USA

Full time



Aug 24

The Sr. Innovation Developer leads the technical development of footwear innovation for all innovation projects by working closely with internal and external groups to create designs that satisfy development, commercialization, and functional requirements.

Scope and Complexity

Works on significant and unique issues where analysis of situations or data requires an evaluation of intangibles. Exercises independent judgment in methods, techniques, and evaluation criteria for obtaining results. Creates formal networks involving coordination among groups.

Essential Responsibilities

  • Proposes innovation project concepts, product definitions, and tooling specifications.
  • Works with third-party inventors, material suppliers, and consultants to develop product concepts.
  • Partners with internal teams to refine innovation processes. Pursues best practices and continual process improvements.
  • Communicates to business units on project updates, status, expected outcomes, and delivery schedules.
  • Works with factories to develop alternative construction methods for innovative concepts.
  • Provides product specifications to factory development partners on product construction and material definitions.
  • Works with factories to create molds for midsole, outsole, and components that meet the products specifications and to produce prototypes for physical and aesthetic evaluation.
  • Ensures physical, functional, and wear testing is performed to meet quality standards.
  • Produces proof of concept prototypes and innovative concept exploration through sample making, 3D printing, CNC milling, etc.
  • Provides business units with detailed specifications, how-to guides, and innovation use guidelines.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in industrial design, engineering, biomechanics, physiology or related field.
  • Minimum ten years of footwear development experience leading the development of high performance and innovative footwear projects.
  • Working knowledge of 3D CAD programs such as Autocad, Solid Works, or Rhino 3D
  • Project management skills.
  • Demonstrated results-orientation.
  • Ability to lead a small team to success in multiple areas with multiple and varied projects.
  • Shoemaker skillset highly preferred with pattern making and stitching abilities desired.
  • 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 verbal communication skills, with an advanced ability to communicate new concepts and ideas.
  • Proficient in Adobe illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat. Proficient in Microsoft office programs.
  • Ability to anticipate how a decision made can affect our customers, partners, products, or other departments within the company
  • Ability to challenge conventional thought and propose creative solutions that are based in mechanical and scientific principles. 

Travel Required

☒ Yes, up to 20% of the time

☐ No


Base Salary: $136,500 - $150,000 yearly

This range represents the low and high end of the anticipated base salary range for this position. The actual base salary will depend on numerous factors such as: experience, knowledge and skills, and location. Our base salary is just one component of our competitive total rewards strategy which includes numerous benefits and perks as well as specific health and welfare benefits.

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.  

At KEEN, we believe in a more just and equitable future for all people. As a global brand, we acknowledge that our business, buildings, and daily lives exist within the traditional territories of indigenous peoples. We strive for a future that recognizes the knowledge, rights, and resilience of these peoples.

KEEN Footwear is an equal opportunity employer. We value an inclusive and diverse community. Qualified candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply and will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, or disability.

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