In February the editor of Tools of the Trade called and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing some work boots from Keen. I said sure, I wear that brand for hiking and biking so why not try some that are designed for work.
Keen sent me a list of boots from their Industrial Line and I ordered a couple of pairs each for myself and one of the guys I work with. All four models have steel or composition safety toes. The Lexington and Albany boots were new this spring; the Flint and Detroit have been out for a while.
I chose this low top boot because I prefer that style in the summer. The Lexington has a flatter sole with very slip-resistant tread. According to the manufacture they meet or exceed ASTM F1677-96 Mark II non-slip testing standards, which is another way of saying they grip better than most other shoes. I found them to be very grippy on roof sheathing, and I was glad of it because I have no desire to slip or fall.
The Lexingtons have a composite safety toe so they're lighter than they would be if the toe was steel. They look more like hiking shoes than work boots though the toe is larger and more bulbous than that of a hiking boot. It's not that pronounced and I doubt most people would notice. I just knew they looked larger than the toes on Keen's hiking boots.
I like wearing these shoes. To test comfort, I worked in them all day, took the dog for a long walk after, and then mowed the lawn. This was the first day I wore them so they weren't broken in. And yet the next day there were no sore spots anywhere on my feet. The only negative thing I can say about these shoes is that I can't lace them as tight as I'd like; I can get the snug but can't really cinch them. This is only noticeable when I don't wear thick hiking socks – as would be the case in hot weather.
In summers past I have alternated between wearing skate board style shoes (which grip very well) and mid-top light hiking boots because they're lighter and cooler than the boots I wear in the winter. Mid-top Flints are designed to be light and ventilate well. The sole is slip resistant and the boot has a steel toe. I found that I instantly liked this boot a lot. It is very lightweight and I can lace it nice and snug. After wearing boots all winter is just feels good to be in a lightweight shoe. I wore it all over the jobsite and on the roof and in the woods and mowing the lawn and I just love this shoe. It ventilates extremely well and I know that this will be my summer boot.
I don't normally wear steel toe boots and thought I might not like having steel toes in these. The fact is I can't tell by wearing these boots that the toes are steel. The boots aren't any heavier than normal and the toes don't look any larger. I like this boot a lot and would recommend it to for dry weather use by anyone in the trades.
These low-top shoes have a composite toe and feature a sole designed to provide traction. Like he Lexingtons, they meet or exceed ASTM F1677-96 Mark II non-slip testing standards. The Albany's have composite toes, which make them lighter than they'd be with steel toes. To me, these shoes don't feel any heavier than the skateboarding shoes I wore in the past. The Albany shoes are comfortable though they look a little large. This bothered one of the guys on the crew, but being that these are designed for the jobsite; I didn't mind the bulkier look.
This is a light hiking style boot that has been upgraded for the jobsite with the addition of steel toes. This boot is waterproof, and has a grippy slip-resistant sole and wicking inner lining. They are comfortable but being waterproof, they don't breathe as well, so I would not want to wear them in hot weather. In our climate this is a great boot for spring and fall weather, where it rains on and off and we have to walk through puddles.
All of the boots we tried are super comfortable. I think this is because Keen based this line on their experience making hiking shoes and they already had the comfort part down. Beefing up the soles and adding safety toes was probably no big deal for them. I recommend these boots to other tradesmen. Go to your local store to try them on and find the model that's right for you.