Some time ago I reviewed Keen Utility’s Milwaukee work boots and I liked them a lot. Although heavy, they are built for extreme and harsh conditions like concrete and asphalt paving—and their prices are competitive.
So it was interesting to see at the World of Concrete this year that Keen Utility is expanding their offerings to include more lightweight workwear. The new models are almost running-shoe like in their weight and breathability—but with a few extra features that make them legitimate work boots and shoes. For tradesmen like mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, drywall finishers, the lighter footgear is usually a better choice that a full on, bomb-proof boot.
In keeping with the company’s tradition of naming boots after cities, the San Antonio model for men is the lightest safety toe model in the Keen Utility lineup thanks to a synthetic upper. It also has an odor-fighting lining, dual density/compression molded EA midsole, and a removable PU (polyurethane) footbed. The non-marking rubber outsole is oil and slip resistant. MSRP $130.
Even lighter is the Springfield with the look of a cross-trainer athletic shoe, a breathable mesh and suede/synthetic upper and moisture wicking lining. Designed to keep your feet cool on hot days, it has an aluminum safety toe, the PU footbed for comfort and arch support and a wedge-type outsole that protects against electric shock. Available in men and women’s sizes, the Springfield retails for $100.
The company describes its women’s Sedona Pulse boot as a “work hiker.” It has the same basic elements as the other boots: odor protection, PU footbed, dual-density EVA midsole and roomy, asymmetric aluminum safety toes. Available in low and mid-height silhouettes for $125 to $140.
But if you do need a full-on, bomb-proof boot, new for Spring 2018 is the Baltimore. In the style of a classic workboot, the Baltimore has a thermoplastic (TPU) shank to stiffen the sole, full grain leather upper and a breathable liner that lets vapor out without water getting in. The multi-directional, lugged rubber outsole meets ASTM F2412-11 and F2413-11 M I/75 C/75 EH safety standards for stability and grip on a variety of ground conditions. Available in soft- and steel-toe versions for $140 to $150.