Keen Utility Cincinnati combines styles for a comfortable, stylish work boot
We took a brief look at the Keen Utility Cincinnati work boot at World of Concrete 2020. The design is obviously very different, but wearing a size 13, they didn't let me try it on the spot. Luckily, a pair arrived shortly after and my feet couldn't be happier.
- Super comfortable design, even on concrete and asphalt
- Designed to combine the comfort of a wedge with the traction of a traditional work boot outsole
- good arch support
- Fit to size
- fashion appearance
- Welt structure
- no major disadvantages
In theory, the Keen Utility Cincinnati is a 6" wedge welt work boot with a carbon fiber toe. It goes much deeper than that simple description, though.
The wedge design gives you more ground contact area than high heel boots. Generally, it is better suited for working on concrete, steel, asphalt and other hard surfaces.
The tradeoff is a relatively shallow outsole tread that tends to wear out quickly. However, the Keen features a more aggressive worksite-friendly outsole that mixes both styles to give you comfort, durability and traction.
The lower part of the shoe is attached to the upper, and is welted all the way around the boot, with some extra reinforcement at the bottom of the toe. The welt may take longer to break in, but it's the strongest bond you can get and what we prefer.
Around the toe, the Cincinnati continues with the thicker welt-style stitching that holds together what we think is a very sleek look. There's no toe box, so keep that in mind if you're used to using a toe box to protect the front of your boot.
The side material is held together by more typically thinner double and triple stitches. All stitching is lighter in color compared to the medium brown boot we tried on.
additional design features
- Medium 6 inches tall
- Left/right dedicated carbon fiber safety toes
- Keen.Dry waterproof and breathable membrane
- Leather resists damage from chemicals found in agricultural environments: oleic acid, urea, sodium chloride and ammonium hydroxide
- Oil-resistant and non-slip outsole
- Conforms to ASTM F1677-96 MARK II anti-skid test standard
- ASTM F2412-17 and F2413-17 MI/75 C/75 EH Standards
- Conforms to ASTM F2913-17 SATRA anti-skid test standard
When you're working on most soils, you can trade some comfort for extra safety, as the softer ground will help you get out of trouble. However, I prefer wedges like the Keen Utility Cincinnati because their greater surface contact spreads my weight better and allows me to work more comfortably on concrete and asphalt.
In addition to the simple wedge design, Keen also uses their air-filled PU midsole. It's softer than other materials and really improves the overall comfort on hard surfaces.
It's also lighter than denser midsoles. While these boots don't feel weightless, they are noticeably lighter than my other 6" boots.
The Keen's removable insole is the final piece of the comfort puzzle. It is a dual density polyurethane material topped with an air pillow pad.
These are safety toe boots, so some weight is added for extra protection. Keen Utility alleviates a lot of this with carbon fiber as a material choice.
My size 13 weighs 40 oz (2 lbs, 8 oz) each. If you have a slightly average foot size, the weight is closer to 35 oz.
One last thing to note in terms of comfort: the Cincinnati has better arch support than other Keen Utility boots I've worn. Compared to other designs, I feel better support for my arch, which helps fight fatigue and foot pain later in the day.
As I mentioned above, I usually wear a size 13 work boot. My perfect size is 12-1/2, but almost no one does a half size after a size 12. This means I can choose between a size 12 and a size 13, which can be a hassle to order online.
The Keen Utility Cincinnati is true to size as most work boots. Reducing the size makes them too small. Going up was the right decision. When ordering, please choose your usual size.
Speaking of fit, the toe box is roomy while avoiding the bulbous look of Keen's earlier work boots, and the midsection fits snugly in the middle.
The heel has a little room for movement. However, I don't find it unsafe. Even with this exercise, I have had no issues with blisters in normal boot socks.
The Keen Utility Cincinnati work boots are loaded with premium features, and at $185, it's no surprise that the price is on the high side. You can also get moccasins for $180.
Given the fit and comfort we experienced, we think it can compete well with quality boots from other brands in the same price range.
the bottom line
The Keen Utility Cincinnati Work Boot is perfect for anyone who works long hours on concrete, asphalt, steel, and other hard surfaces. It has the comfort of a wedge, enhanced by a softer midsole and a more aggressive outsole design than most wedges.
In our opinion, the Cincinnati is Keen Utility's best work boot for working on hard surfaces.