KEEN-parison: Which Work Hiker Boot Is Best For My Jobsite?

KEEN-parison: Which Work Hiker Boot Is Best For My Jobsite?

Your favorite hiking boots have a lot going for them. Athletic fit for clocking miles on the trail, good ankle support for traveling over uneven terrain, multidirectional tread pattern for grip on varied surfaces, and (usually) some type of waterproofing…to name just a few. What if these benefits could also apply to a work boot?

Well, KEEN Utility has done it. We were the first to bring a “hiking-boot fit” to the work footwear market, and we’ve been dialing it in ever since. Our product lineup has grown over the years, and our technologies have evolved, but our work/hike footwear still provides an optimum balance of fit, safety, and performance.

What’s the secret to the KEEN Utility fit, you ask? A wide toe and a snug heel. Because our shoes and boots are made with more room around the toe area, they help your feet bend and move naturally. Our heel design provides a snug hold for a more stable, planted feel.

Are you interested in a pair of hiking-inspired KEEN Utility work boots but you’re unsure which one is right for your trade? Keep reading for a model-by-model breakdown of our jobsite-proven work/hike hybrids.

Hiking-Inspired Work Boots by the Features

The chart below breaks down five of our work/hike hybrids by profile, toe type, cushioning, waterproof materials, heel fit, outsole rating, and upper. 

Note: Just because a feature is indicated doesn’t mean every submodel in the series has that feature. (For example, some Flint II models don’t have a KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane.)    

 

WORK HIKER LINEUP KEEN.ReGEN cushioning KEEN.DRY waterproofing KonnectFit heel stability Leather upper Leather & synthetic upper
Lansing   X   X  
Flint II X X   X  
Kansas City X X X   X
Pittsburgh Energy X X   X  
Reno X X X   X

 

Now that you have an idea of what’s available, let’s do a deeper dive into the different series. 

Lansing work shoe supporting warehouse worker

Lansing

 Are you a driver who’s in and out of a step van all day, going up and down stairs, and putting lots of miles on your shoes? Do you work as a carpenter, framer, or electrician and need comfortable light- to medium-duty footwear that won’t wear you out? 

Available as a shoe and as a boot, the men's and women's Lansing excels at all kinds of trades. Durably built from water-resistant leather and a moisture-wicking lining, the Lansing has protective, steel safety toes and an Electrical Hazard (EH)-rated rubber outsole that’s oil- and slip-resistant—must-haves for long shifts in a shop, factory, or around live electrical circuits. 

Work outdoors rain or shine? The Lansing waterproof boot swaps out the moisture-wicking lining for a KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane, so your feet stay dry inside your boots no matter the weather conditions. 

Flint II work shoe

Flint II

Next up is the men’s and women’s Flint II series. Built with either steel safety toes or soft toes with a KEEN.PROTECT toe cap, Flint II shoes, mids, and boots are the choice of truckers, framers, carpenters, and construction workers looking for reliable, on-the-clock performance. The compression-resistant KEEN.ReGEN midsole returns up to 50% energy with every step. Given how much time you spend on your feet, that’s a benefit you’ll notice right away. 

Similar to the Lansing series, Flint II footwear is available with either a water-resistant leather upper or a fully waterproof, breathable KEEN.DRY membrane-equipped version. If you’re in landscaping or frequently encounter standing water, definitely go with one of our waterproof models, such as the men’s steel toe, waterproof Flint II mid.   

KEEN Utility fan says: 

“I have purchased this same shoe three times now. You can’t beat the comfort. If you have wide feet, just order the regular. The extra-wides are actually more narrow for some reason. It’s a great shoe, and I will buy them again when my current pair gets worn out!” — Shawn

Kansas City Mid work boot

Kansas City

Moving on, the Kansas City work shoe or mid does the job for roofers, carpenters, plumbers, and other tradesmen who want versatile, all-purpose work footwear with the look of a modern, technical hiking boot.

Made with carbon-fiber safety toes that are 15% lighter than steel toes, the Kansas City uses an abrasion-resistant, synthetic upper with a breathable mesh liner—nice to have when you’re on a roof all day in the hot sun or working in an unventilated crawl space. Need something that’s waterproof? Go with the men’s Kansas City waterproof mid, which brings a KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane into the mix.  

Prefer leather to synthetic materials? The Kansas City+ offers the rugged feel and abrasion resistance of a leather work boot but with the athletic fit of a sneaker.  

In addition to its KEEN.ReGEN midsole and Electrical Hazard (EH)-rated rubber outsole, all Kansas City models feature KonnectFit technology that provides a locked-in feeling for your heel. Another standard feature is KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX, the accordion-like component between the laces and the toe that improves the boot’s flexibility in the forefoot. If you frequently crouch, squat, or kneel on the job, you’ll notice the difference right away. 

Kansas City footwear with carbon-fiber safety toes makes a great fit for plumbers, electricians, mechanics, and construction workers. Alternatively, the Kansas City+ waterproof mid with a soft toe works for lighter-duty jobs in delivery, landscaping, or working in a warehouse, as well as for DIY projects around the house. 

Pittsburgh Work boot

Pittsburgh Energy

From its full grain, waterproof leather upper with burly metal lace hooks to its thick-lugged rubber outsole, the Pittsburgh Energy 6” work boot combines the look of a classic hiking boot with an athletic fit and all-around jobsite performance. 

The Pittsburgh Energy with carbon-fiber safety toes is worn by road construction workers, landscapers, framers, mechanics, and other skilled tradesmen who want the higher ankle support of a boot but not the extra bulk or weight. The KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane provides all-weather reliability, and the KEEN.ReGEN energy-returning midsole helps soften your steps and reduces fatigue.  

Note: The Pittsburgh Energy waterproof 6” soft toe work boot is suitable for light-duty work, but it’s also a favorite among DIY builders, home improvers, and anyone else who wants a great all-purpose boot they can wear every day.  

KEEN Utility fan says: 

“I just bought a pair of the original Pittsburghs a month ago and love them, so I bought the updated ones and they’re just as good. Super comfortable, lightweight, and they look good. So far, KEEN is my favorite brand for construction work boots—better than any other brand I have used thus far.” — Greg

Reno Work boot on a ladder

Reno

Last on our list, the Reno KBF has proven to be up to the demands of the job, no matter the conditions. It’s designed for the people we call “industrial athletes”— working women and men who are constantly moving, crouching, kneeling, and climbing on the job and need footwear that won’t slow them down or restrict their mobility. 

Available as a shoe or a mid and built with either soft toes or carbon-fiber safety toes, the Reno is stacked with features and comes in men’s and Tradeswomen Tested women’s models. Inside the boot, a KEEN.ReGEN midsole with responsive cushioning returns energy with every step while the KonnectFit system keeps your heel securely in place. The engineered mesh-and-leather upper with a KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane lets you work confidently in the rain or in standing water, and the oil- and slip-resistant, Electrical Hazard (EH)-rated rubber outsole gives you safe, reliable traction in challenging conditions. 

Whereas other boots may crack and wear down over time, our KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX technology in the forefoot keeps the boots flexible where they need to be. 

Whether you’re running cable through a tight crawl space, installing a sprinkler system during the rainy season, or building and hanging cabinets, the Reno KBF gives you a strong foothold, whether you’re indoors or outside. It’s lightweight, flexible, protective where it counts, and is more than capable of keeping up with the demands of your fast-paced shift. 

KEEN Utility fan says: 

“I will probably never buy anything other than KEEN from now on. I love these boots so much as they are everything I was looking for. Lightweight, comfortable from Day One, and no rubbing during walking or when flexing my feet while kneeling. Keep in mind that I also wear additional insoles and wool-blend socks.” — Rich   

If you’re looking for a pair of work boots or shoes that could double as hiking boots, you can’t beat our work/hike hybrids. Like everything KEEN Utility makes, our hiking-inspired footwear meets or exceeds jobsite safety standards, performs to task, and takes care of your feet so you can take care of business.    

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