Work boots and work shoes are two different animals that thrive in different environments. We had a video on the radar and the position was more suitable for a safety toe work shoe, so I put on a pair of Keen Utility Vista Energy carbon fiber toe work shoes for this and other projects.
- lighter than work boots
- Carbon fiber safety toes are lighter than steel
- comfortable on hard floors
- safer than sneakers
- stylish sporty look
- Fit to size
- My feet smell more than usual
Editor's note: Check out our best work boots review article to see our favorites for all applications.
Keen carries a wide selection of men's and women's Vista Energy work shoes. They all have right/left specific carbon fiber safety toes. Carbon fiber is great because it's 15% lighter than steel toes.
The men's low top we're testing comes in solid black, black with gray/white bottoms, and black with blue accents. These same colors, except for the blue tint, also have medium heights.
Women have several low height options, but no medium height. There are also ESD-specific drop-cut options for both men and women.
As work shoes, they have a more sporty feel to their overall style. This includes the outsole, which is markedly different from typical construction site work boots and uses a tread pattern better suited to concrete floors and other hard floors.
The entire shoe is 100% non-metallic and has an EH rating.
As a work shoe, it doesn't have an outsole/midsole that focuses on puncture protection. If you work somewhere like a metalworking plant, you might want to look for something with built-in puncture resistance.
Keen Utility Vista Energy Fit and Comfort
I wear size 11 sneakers and ordered the same size for Vistas. Even with the safety toe, the fit is exactly what I'm used to.
The heel features Keen's KonnectFit, which keeps your heel firmly in place and won't slide side to side.
The Vista Energy is a very comfortable work shoe. A quick glance from the side reveals the roomy midsole section. The KEEN.REGEN is more than just EVA foam, it's a cushioned midsole that helps you take your next step and claims to provide 50% energy return.
The upper uses mesh and synthetic materials, much like a sneaker. Inside there is a mesh lining that helps keep the shoe highly breathable.
Finally, Keen insisted on wrapping some extra cushioning in a removable PU anatomic footbed.
As I said before, the shoe is very comfortable and its cement (glue) construction makes it very flexible out of the box. However, my foot odor has visibly increased when I wear them. This isn't an issue I usually have with this type of breathable shoe, which is surprising considering Keen uses their anti-microbial treatment on them. It's not something we've seen other people mention, so maybe it's just my body chemistry.
- Nylon support handle
- No-mar upper and outsole
- Lace capture for a secure fit
- Oil-resistant and non-slip outsole
- Safety Rating: ASTM F1677-96 Mark II Non-Slip, ASTM F2913-17 Non-Slip
Keen Utility Vista Energy Prices
The Vista Energy is $120 to $125, depending on which style you choose. If you're used to buying cheap shoes, that might seem a bit high. However, the build quality is higher and the comfort levels are leaps and bounds higher than cheaper options.
the bottom line
Keen Utility's goal was a lightweight, secure-toed work shoe that felt like a sneaker, and they really nailed it with the Vista Energy. They're more comfortable and safer than my sneakers for extended periods of time on concrete floors, and the lightweight safety toe protects me on fields where I need extra protection.
Learn more on Keen's website.