Uneek perspectives

Meticulously crafted to compliment the shape of your feet – while providing balance and flexible movement – UNEEK has been a firm favourite with Ernest since its launch in 2016, accompanying the team on many an adventure. We check in with KEEN to find out how their one-of-a-kind hybrid shoe has evolved.

  Editor Jo explores the Galapagos Islands with her trusty UNEEK originals. Photo: Graeme Owsianski

Editor Jo explores the Galapagos Islands with her trusty UNEEK originals. Photo: Graeme Owsianski

UNEEK is the ultimate hybrid shoe: a versatile sandal, made from interlocking cords that adjust to provide custom fit for your foot, which is smart enough for urban rambles yet robust and ready for wilder adventures. Over the past year, this quirky piece of footwear has protected our feet from sea urchins in the Adriatic and accompanied us on rugged volcanic paths in the Galapagos and while springing for trains in the city. While the original design has found a firm footing with the team, and with its followers, there are now new styles, new colours and new materials to consider. Before we have a look, here’s a quick introduction…

Dynamic design: an introduction

It’s easy to recognise UNEEK for its disruptive aesthetics, but the form has always followed the function. Designed to create a custom fit on any foot, UNEEK provides unparalleled comfort and versatility for outdoor adventures. The interlocking cords adjust to provide custom fit for your foot, while the bungee entry system lets you adjust the tightness. Support, motion and flexibility are key design features in the shoe, with its lightly cushioned heel, flexible mid-sole and free-moving cord system – all and which work with the natural movement of your foot. On top of that, they’re lightweight and breathable – ready to ramble whether you’re roaming through the city or setting out into wilder terrain.

Your UNEEK. Your way.

This footwear is all about self-expression and this year there are even more styles so you can find the right sandal to suit your individual lifestyle and performance needs.

UNEEK Original

Back by popular demand – the classic design returns for another season in a fantastic new range of colours and a choice of flat or round cord. Featuring a free-moving cord construction, heel strap for stability and a durable but lightweight midsole for arch support, it’s a versatile shoe, which now boasts some special editions!

UNEEK Original: Leather (special edition)

This is the original style but upgraded with soft leather cords. A cushioned strap supports the ankle, while the midsole offers the support of a sneaker. Fancy.

UNEEK Original: Urban Trail Pack (special edition)

Premiering this summer, the special edition UNEEK Originals: Urban Trails Pack offers an eye-catching aesthetic with a distinctly athletic profile. A lightweight PU midsole in a bright sporty finish contrasts with tan gum rubber pods on the outsole for versatile traction and cushioning.

  U NEEK Originals: 79.99

UNEEK Originals: 79.99


Twenty five per cent lighter than its predecessor, this robust style – part sandal and part sneaker – has a lightly-cushioned enclosed heel as well as grippy rubber outsoles. It’s a pioneering, athletic design and the cords adapt to your foot so you’re assured a cosy and customised fit.

UNEEK curation

It’s not just new styles either, each month KEEN curates a special collection to show off key threads and themes within the UNEEK range. This month sees a collaboration with Zebu – a dynamic illustration and artist duo from Berlin, who take inspiration from abandoned spaces in the city and produce bold, abstract artworks through screen printing, drawing and mural painting. The collection draws on bold blues and greens as well as urban shades of aluminium, slate grey and bright white. Or perhaps you prefer the Camp Life Pack? Natural tones, perfectly suited to slipping on by the campfire after a day of climbing, hiking, paddling, or just chilling. Watch this space for the latest pack.

This is a sponsored blog post, created in collaboration with KEEN. Read more stories from the Ernest x KEEN partnership in our directory

Choose your style on the KEEN website.

Follow and share your UNEEK adventures on Instagram using hashtag #UNEEKPERSPECTIVES

Gone for a Burton

When a Second World War airman failed to return from a mission, his RAF comrades would declare grimly that he had gone for a Burton. The 'Burton' in this case was Burton ale - once as common as IPA is today. With this adapted recipe by Joly Braime, you can create this vanished ale at home...

  Illustration by Louise Logsdon

Illustration by Louise Logsdon

In The Home Brewer’s Guide to Vintage Beer (2014), Ron Pattinson observes that: “Burton, as consumed in London, is a puzzle – for the way it so quickly disappeared physically from the bar and virtually from people’s memories. In 1950 it was on draft in every pub in London.Twenty years later, few could even remember what it was.”

Though occasionally confused with IPA – that other famous Burton-on-Trent brew – Burton ale was a different beast. Broadly, it was strong, sweetish and quite heavily hopped and was distinctive for the fact that it was meant to be stored and matured. 

There are still a few Burtons left, living quietly under assumed names. If you want to try a 20th-century Burton ale, one is still produced seasonally under the Young’s brand, only they changed the name to Winter Warmer in 1971. According to Protz, Fuller’s well known ESB developed from its former Burton, while Cornell reckons Theakston’s Old Peculier “has all the hallmarks of a Burton”. And the original, supercharged stuff is very occasionally available as Bass No 1 Barley Wine. 

Or, you can have a go at brewing your own. This simple recipe is adapted from an 1850 Whitbread and an 1877 Truman, and inspired by The Home Brewer’s Guide to Vintage Beer. It comes out full of flavour and body, and makes for surprisingly easy drinking, although at 7.5% it hits pretty hard. 

1. Heat 26 litres of water to 76°C, then stir in 8.5kg of pale malt (Maris Otter).

2. Mash (steep) the grain for an hour and a half. Keep the temperature as close to 66°C as you can, either by insulating or very gentle warming.

3. Collect the wort (liquid). Sparge (rinse) the malt with another 10 litres of water, heated to 76°C. Do this slowly to extract the maximum amount of sugar.

4. Bring the wort to the boil, then add 150g of East Kent Goldings, 1 teaspoon of carragheen (to help it clear) and 2 teaspoons of Burton salts (to replicate the mineral-rich water of Burton-on-Trent). Boil for an hour and a half, adding 150g more Goldings after an hour. There will be a lot of steam.

5. Cool the wort as quickly as you can, bringing it down to about 22°C.

6. If you have a hydrometer, check the specific gravity (SG). It should be around 1081. You can adjust it up by adding sugar, or down with water.

7. Put the wort in a fermenter or large bucket then whisk vigorously for a few minutes to aerate it. Add a high-tolerance yeast (I used Mangrove Jack’s M15 Empire Ale). Whisk again, then fit a lid and an airlock (or drape a clean tea towel over the top).

8. Make a bonus batch of ‘small beer’ by repeating steps 3-7. Because the Burton ale uses so much grain, there will still be plenty of sugar left in the malt. Sparge slowly, keeping an eye on the SG of the wort to make sure it doesn’t drop below 1035. I got about 20 litres, which I brewed with 75g of Fuggles hops to make a gentle 3.5% pale ale.

9. Leave to ferment for about five days – or until the gravity is down to around 1024 – then rack (siphon the beer carefully off the sludge) into a clean vessel.

10. Bottle after a few more days, adding half a teaspoon of sugar to each 500ml bottle (you should get about 35 bottles). Set aside for at least six weeks if you can bear it, and no less than two if you can’t. 


Joly Braime is a writer and a home brewer. His workload is fairly eclectic, from outdoor magazines and a book on Sherlock Holmes to erotic fiction. He spends his leisure time tramping the moors or filling his coal shed with homemade alcohol.



This recipe features in issue six of Ernest Journal, on sale now. 

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Pressing seaweed

Following in the bootsteps of intrepid Victorian seaweed hunters, Melanie Molesworth and Julia Bird collect and press specimens along the Cornwall and Dorset coast 

As natural history was coming into its own in the 1800s, the biggest clubs for the ‘gentlemen sciences’ still banned women. While hunting was seen as too dangerous a pursuit and digging up plants too sexually loaded, gathering seaweed was deemed relatively safe. A popular pastime for both Queen Victoria and George Eliot, it was not, however, without risks. Margaret Gatty advised wearing men’s boots and, due to the dangers involved (especially on low-water mark expeditions), the protection of a gentleman companion may be necessary. She warned he might require some enticing by proposing he “fossilize, or sketch, or even (if he will be savage and barbaric) shoot gulls”, while his lady collect her crop. 

With their crop, which they gather along the shores of Cornwall and Dorset, Melanie Molesworth and Julia Bird create beautiful pressings and artwork. They kindly share their secrets with us:

1. Start by gathering your seaweed in a bucket – low tide is the best time.

2. Rinse well before placing them in a large plastic or metal tray dish filled with a couple of inches of fresh cold water. 

3. Place a piece of watercolour paper in, then float your chosen piece of seaweed on top. 

4. Swirl and arrange your seaweed over the paper until you are happy with it – you may want to snip a few bits off to make a cleaner shape. 

5. Slowly lift the paper out and lay it on kitchen paper or cloth to help soak up some of the excess water. Blot with kitchen roll or blotting paper. 

6. Place a piece of greaseproof paper on top and then a layer of newspaper, followed by a sheet of cardboard, before adding the next specimen and repeat steps 4 and 5. 

7. They will then be ready to press – you could use an old-fashioned trouser press or pile books on top. 

8. Check seaweeds daily and replace the newspaper layers and paper until dry. 

9. Carefully peel the paper off (some pieces are more fragile than others) and fix them in place, to display, using thin strips of masking tape. 

10. Seaweed identification can be tricky as there are hundreds of species. Try Seaweeds of Britain and Ireland published by Seasearch, £16.95. 

You can see more of Melanie Molesworth and Julia Bird’s beautiful seaweed pressing and artwork at MolesworthandBird.com and on Instagram.  

This originally featured in issue six of Ernest Journal, on sale now. 

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TrailFit adventures on the High Peak Trail

Terradora is a robust yet nimble boot that embodies KEEN's TrailFit philosophy – versatile footwear that promises to be just as comfortable for working out in the city as for a light run on wild, open terrain. Ruth Allen embarks on the 17-mile High Peak Trail in Derbyshire to put a pair through their paces. 

  Words and photos: Ruth Allen

Words and photos: Ruth Allen

Seventeen miles. Yes, I’ll take that. Those were the words in my head as I settled on the idea of running the High Peak Trail end-to-end last month. The Peak District has its fair share of county-crossing trails, but the High Peak’s biggest draw is that it offers plenty of history, big views across Derbyshire and ends a stone-throw from my house.

The plan was to test out KEEN’s new Terradora – a lightweight, waterproof boot designed especially for women that combines the support of hiking footwear with the flexibility and vigour of a trail runner. The boot embraces KEEN's TrailFit movement, which is all about finding your own path to fitness, however and wherever you choose to do so. The Terradora is aimed at women who live adventurous, hybrid lifestyles – whose exercise routines migrate between urban and wilder spaces. As I was planning to run, hike and seek headspace in the Peaks, I’d say this was definitely hybrid adventure territory! 

The length of the High Peaks Trail make it possible to fit into my work schedule, because whilst I love those long ranging, free-floating adventures that holidays bring, I’m always on the lookout for something interesting to do on the weekend that has the flavour of adventure (a story behind why you’re doing it, a feel for the unknown and the sense that it might not work out!) but in manageable proportions. 

The trail follows the former trackbed of the High Peak Railway, beginning – without fanfare – just outside Buxton and winding up in the historic mill village of Cromford. My decision to run its length was confirmed when I noted that the final stretch of the line was closed in 1967. Not only would my run be a new way of exploring my local area but it would also be a personal nod to the 50-year anniversary. 

Saturday morning. Having packed a bag of snacks and warm clothes for the day, I parked at the start of the trail and got on my way. I like to run like this: no start lines, no fellow runners, no deadlines and no noise. It’s just me and the trail, in a quiet agreement that I will show up and make an effort and it will provide me with something to notice along the way that will take my mind off my feet, my legs and my overworked heart. 

On this occasion, I had no reason to think of my feet at all. If I had departed with any concern about what it would be like running in boots with ankle support, I needn’t have worried. These were the comfiest shoes I have run in for a very long time. It’s fair to say I have a fleet of trainers for different surfaces – most with a fairly aggressive sole – so this was the first time I had ventured into hybrid territory.  

The Terradora bridges the gap between hiking boot and trail runner, offering the support and grip of the former with the vigour of the latter; it was flexible enough for my pounding feet, while providing the ankle support needed for such rugged terrain. It’s also designed specifically for women’s feet: narrower through the heel, cushioned panels to reduce pressure on the Achilles tendon and a low-density midsole to give lightweight support for steep descents.

Given that I’d not so much as broken them in around the house, I was amazed to realise that I had barely been thinking of my feet at all. I kept expecting the rub to come but the Terradora handled the trail perfectly. I suspected they would be good on either the undulating gravel paths or on the steep, damp descents through woodland. To my surprise, I didn’t need to adjust my approach to either terrains. The soles were grippy, the insides cushioned and the foot-bed wide enough to accommodate warm feet all day. 

Having no shoe concerns made the whole thing a joy and as the miles flowed quickly beneath me, I found myself with plenty of time to take in my surroundings, have a think about the coming week and enjoy the day with a sense of playfulness. After all, who doesn’t love the nostalgia of messing around on railways sidings, whistling in damp, deserted tunnels and hopscotching over limestone boulders?

The Terradora is robust and durable footwear that ties into the TrailFit movement, inspiring women in their quest to challenge themselves mentally and physically. It’s all about finding your own adventurous ways to keep fit and not complying with standard ideas of a what it takes to be a cyclist, a runner, a hiker…

This definitely ties in with how I connect with outdoor fitness. I am not a runner, I am a person who runs. For me, this is an important distinction. I suspect many of us hold back from things we fancy trying in life because we don’t feel that we fit the brief or meet the definition. Perhaps we imagine a runner should be fast, full of energy and endlessly charting their interval times. Perhaps we have an idea of how we think they should look, what gear they wear and the things they eat when they’re not running. We might also think they’re highly disciplined people who wouldn’t dream of stopping to talk. I’m none of those things. 

For me, moving our bodies how we can and when we can, should be a joy. Sometimes it might feel like a punishment, but it’s actually kind to ourselves to celebrate our bodies and what they can do. We might do well to spend more time moving intuitively – running when we want to, walking when we choose to and not being afraid to sidle up to the kiosk for an ice cream at the end. This is the freedom of the trail. This is the freedom of having a body that can run if you ask it to.  

Terradora: the tech part

  • Specifically designed for women’s feet 
  • Cushioned panels reduce pressure on the Achilles tendon
  • Low-density EVA midsole provides lightweight support for high intensity workouts and steep descents
  • KEEN all-terrain rubber outsole for high traction grip
  • Dual-density PU foam footbed
  • Lightweight mesh upper
  • KEEN.DRY Waterproof breathable membrane. 

KEEN’s Terradora comes in a mid (£109.99) and low (£99.99) style. Head to keenfootwear.com/trailfit for more information, watch the Terradora video at bit.ly/ErnestTerradora and check our online directory for more stories from KEEN.

Leicester Balloon Riot

On a summer's day in 1864, 50,000 people gathered at Leicester racecourse to see a balloon display of gargantuan proportions. It didn't go as well as hoped...

Come the late 1700s, Balloonomania was in full flow. The French Montgolfier brothers’ inaugural flight in 1783 started the craze, and before long, fierce competition spread throughout France and across the Channel, with people constantly striving to break last week’s record. Some flights ended a little more destructively than planned. Jacques Charles’ attempt to rival the Montgolfiers ended in his balloon crash landing in a small village, where it was torn apart by petrified locals. 

But it wasn’t always fear that induced riotous scenes at ballooning events, as witnessed in Leicester during the flight of Henry Coxwell’s new state-of-the-art flying machine. Coxwell, founder of The Balloon magazine, climbed to an altitude of 35,000 feet in a vessel of his making, named Mammoth. In 1864, Britannia, his largest balloon to date, attracted tens of thousands to witness its ascent. Alas, before it could leave terra firma, an onlooker claimed the balloon was a smaller, older model, and great swathes of disgruntled spectators turned on Coxwell, some even attacking the pilot. Before long, Britannia was reduced to little more than shreds and scraps. From this day, the people of Leicester gained a new moniker: Balloonatics. 

Words by Lewis Coupland

This originally featured in issue 6 of Ernest Journal, on sale now.

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