The Keen Utility Kansas City Work Boot successfully blends comfort and durability
Over the years, my feet have come into contact with the soles of many shoes… that is, insoles. Work boot technology has come a long way over the years, however, they weren't always known for their superior comfort. The Keen Utility Kansas City Work Boot combines the durability of a traditional work boot with a lightweight wedge shape and a slightly different design approach for added comfort. I gave it a try to see if they were.
- extremely flexible toes
- Cushioned footbed for extended wear
- Aggressive tread for loose terrain
- a bit bulky
Editor's note: Check out our best work boots review article for all of our favorite products for applications
Typically, I wear a size 10.5 to 11.5, depending on the brand. I ordered size 11 and the size and width are on the money. That said, if you're not sure which to order, Keen offers a comprehensive sizing guide based on other boots you've worn, including boots from other brands.
My first experience with Keen's bellows system was on the Utility Troy work boot, and let me tell you, it was an eye opener. Personally, I'm a huge fan of the Red Wing boot, but one of the big advantages of the bellows design is its integrated flex point. The main advantage is that the toes are easier to bend. Second, it removes the leather in places where other boots can crack or weaken over time.
Built-in multi-directional flex points allow the toe box to collapse while kneeling, reducing the pressure felt on the instep. This design works with the rest of the build, but eliminates any kind of break-in period like some leather boots, right out of the box. They do take a few days to loosen, but nothing like traditional work boots.
Keen's removable polyurethane insole provides a soft and supportive base for this boot. There's a fair amount of arch support throughout the midsole for all-day comfort for most. It's removable, so if you're not "most people", it's easy to swap out the insoles for ones that better suit your needs.
KonnectFit technology locks your heel securely in place, helping prevent you from slipping out of the boot. This is important if you're working in mud or softer terrain, as these can cause excessive fatigue, especially if you don't want to lose your shoes!
The Keen eschews the traditional leather upper of its Kansas City design. Instead, they use a synthetic mesh material. It's highly breathable, with a breathable waterproof membrane hidden underneath.
Outsole and Tread
The boot features a wedge-designed outsole that distributes your weight over a wider area and helps improve comfort. It has a slightly aggressive tread pattern, similar to a hiking boot, while providing the oil and slip resistance properties you need in a work boot.
From there, you've got a soft KEEN.ReGEN midsole made from a lightweight, compression-resistant material that's claimed to return 50 percent more energy than standard EVA foam. It is attached to the outsole by a cement (glue) connection.
These boots have a very soft feel, especially compared to traditional work boots. While it's not as comfortable as Keen's LuftCell midsole, it takes a lot of fatigue and soreness off your legs and knees.
Internally, the Keen's asymmetrical carbon fiber safety toe cap meets current ASTM safety standards and provides protection for your toes while weighing 15 percent less than steel alternatives. This design also provides some extra protection from side impacts on the outer edge to keep your toes safe.
- KEEN.Dry waterproof
- Moisture Wicking Liner
- Removable ergonomic PU footbed
- Nylon mid foot handle
- EH/ESR rating
- Synthetic/textile upper
Keen Utility Kansas City Job Boot Prices
You can pick up a pair of these boots for $180 online or at your local Keen dealer or online. This is somewhere between Keen's lightweight shoes and the more expensive heavy-duty shoes. It's a bit on the high side for a cement construction boot, but that's not surprising given its unconventional design.
the bottom line
The wedge sole design of the Keen Utility Kansas City Work Boot is perfect for long days on hard surfaces. Its aggressive tread pattern and secure lace capture system make it ideal for working on loose terrain where traction is essential. These qualities combine to give you a versatile boot ideal for a variety of tradesmen and challenging environments.
Keen Utility Kansas City Work Boot Specifications
- Height: 7 inches
- Color: Black/Gun Metallic
- Sizes: 7 – 15 (Half Size to 12)
- Width: regular or wide
- Safety Toe Cap: Carbon Fiber
- Safety Rating: ASTM F1677-96 MARK II and ASTM F2913-19 SATRA (non-slip), ASTM F2412-18 and F2413-18 MI/75 C/75 (electrical hazard)
- Responsibility Level: Medium Responsibility
- Weight: 26 oz (Size 11)
- Price: $180
To see the full Keen lineup, click here.