If you've been following our best work boot recommendations, you know how much we love the Keen Utility Cincinnati, and it sets a very high bar for trying and matching. Still, the Keen Utility Independence shows some real promise for those who prefer heels to wedges. I wear them all the time to help you understand what to expect when replacing your current boots.
Keen Utility Independent Work Boot Design
- wayfarer style
- Full grain waterproof upper
- Removable polyurethane insole
- Luftcell midsole
- Keen.ToughSole outsole
- direct connection structure
- waterproof breathable membrane
- Nylon Stabilizer
- 5/8" 90° heel
- EH class
- Oil and chemical resistant
- Cleansport NXT Odor Control
Independence is another addition to the Keen line of hiking boots. The look is more towards the recorder side, but without a pronounced heel.
The boot features a full-grain leather upper and Keen's Keen.ToughSole outsole. From there, the boot undergoes a direct connection process with the Luftcell midsole. This process creates a strong bond that is a step further than glue (cement) and out of the box more flexible than welding.
There are five options on a separate line. Both are men's models, and they are all waterproof. You can choose between 6" and 8" heights, soft or carbon fiber toes, and standard or insulated toes. Two of the styles are available in brown or black.
Wearing the Keen Utility Independent Work Boot
I wear a size 12 1/2 so I always choose between a size 12 and 13 since there are no half sizes at that end of the range. For Keen, I always go for a size 13 and it's exactly what I expect. Our recommendation is to order your normal work boot size.
If you've worn Keen Utility boots before, it should come as no surprise that they fit. The heel locks in securely, the midsection wraps my foot just right, and the toe box opens generously.
I mainly wear these boots on hard surfaces – concrete, asphalt and tile. Thanks in no small part to the air-infused Luftsole midsole, these shoes are surprisingly comfortable to wear.
This comfort is very noticeable on softer surfaces such as grass or bare ground. You get a solid footing thanks to the aggressive tread pattern and nylon stability shank.
Weight is in the low-to-mid range. 6" carbon fiber toe. Each boot weighs 25.3 oz. We've run a few lighter ones, and many heavier ones.
Boots cost $190 to $210, depending on the style you choose. The 6-inch carbon fiber toe model we wore for this review costs $195.
the bottom line
The Keen Utility Independence Work Boot has the potential to stand alongside the Cincinnati as one of the best boots Keen has ever made. They're comfortable, fit well, and have enough options to please most people. Best of all, they're built to last all day on both hard and soft surfaces, so they're a solid mid-size option for just about any work environment.