KEEN Utility Provides a Fresh Look
and Feel in Construction Footwear
Back in the day, steel-toe construction boots provided safety, but didn't offer much in the way of comfort or style. The KEEN Utility line of industrial footwear was designed to be something quite different: a pair of safety boots that you can not only wear to work but wear when you go out after work.
"We really kept within the KEEN DNA… that cool hiker look, which is what the younger market is looking for," said Kevin Kious, KEEN's National Sales Manager. The result is a line of footwear stylish enough for an architect to enjoy wearing on visits to the jobsite.
The shoes were designed around a customized last that is broader at the forefoot and narrow at the heel. "You can lock you heel into place but there’s room for your toes to spread," said Kious. "And then we created our own asymmetrical steel toe. When someone puts our work boot on for the first time, you’ll hear them ask us, ‘This is a steel toe?’ And that’s really what you want from your work boots. Superior fit and comfort all the way around."
You won't collect any LEED points for wearing KEEN shoes, but the company can boast some serious sustainability initiatives. In their Portland factory, for instance, shoes are manufactured using a direct injection system that eliminates the need for glues. Even the packaging is more sustainable. "The inks and glues we use in our boxes are either soy based or water based," said Kious. "It’s all designed to reduce our emissions and reduce our carbon footprint as we bring new things to market.
KEEN's Utlity line consists of nine models of men's industrial shoes, three models of men's service shoes, and four models of women's service shoes. According to Kious, the shoes and boots are priced with the upper 1/3 of work shoes. Dealers can cherry-pick their product choices; you don't have to be an existing KEEN shoe dealer to become a Utility dealer. The KEEN website helps visitors find their nearest dealer, but also allows direct purchasing online.