I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but last summer here in southwestern PA was long and HOT. Plenty of 90+ degree days, with the occasional thunderstorm to introduce some extra humidity into the mix. My feet get pretty toasty after a day of being confined in my work boots, and apparently my tootsies have lost their usual minty freshness when they’re released at the end of the day, if my wife’s sudden desire to vacate the room is any indication. She may have begged for help from the folks at KEEN, too, because they obligingly sent along a pair of lightweight KEEN Flint II Sport work shoes as a treat for my feet.
Note the word “lightweight” in the above sentence. That attribute of the KEEN Flint II Sport work shoes not only makes them cooler, it makes them, well, lighter. As in less heavy. And toward the end of a workday that might include schlepping heavy materials, swinging a 16-pound sledge hammer, and holding a heavy reciprocating saw over my head, my weary body is ready for any lightening-of-the-load it can get.
Just because the KEEN Flint II Sport work shoes are lighter, don’t think they’re not serious work shoes. Among the features are asymmetrical carbon-fiber toes, an oil- and slip-resistant non-marking rubber outsole, and an Electrical Hazard rating. Here’s the full spec and feature list from KEEN:
• Weight: 20.4 oz / 576.9 g
• Calf Circumference: 2.0 in. / 5.1 cm.
• Collar Height: 2.5 in. / 6.3 cm.
• Toe Type: Carbon-Fiber Toe
• Duty Type: Light Duty
• Certified Slip Resistant (Mark II)
• Left and Right Asymmetrical Safety Toe
• Metatomical Footbed Design
• Meets ASTM F1677-96 MARK II Non-Slip Testing Standards
• Meets ASTM F2412-17 and F2413-17 F I/75 C/75 EH Standards
• Meets ASTM F2913-17 SATRA Non-Slip Testing Standards
• Electrical Hazard rated
A Top To Bottom Look At The KEEN Flint II Sport Work Shoes
Let’s take a look at some of those features listed above. Although the shoes are rated light duty, they still incorporate a set of carbon fiber asymmetrical safety toes. In addition to helping keep the shoes’ weight down, the use of carbon fiber means there’s no metal in the shoes that will set off those pesky TSA metal detectors as you dash for your flight to the next job site.
What’s the advantage of asymmetrical toe protection? Many safety shoes have a steel-toe insert that’s the same for both shoes. Since our feet (my feet, at least) aren’t both identically shaped, KEEN uses toe protection that actually follows the natural curve of the front of your toes, providing a more comfortable fit that doesn’t pinch your piggies.
In addition to keeping your toes from being flattened, the KEEN Flint II Sport work shoes have built-in EH (electrical hazard) protection. This provides a secondary source of protection in the event the outsole should come in contact with a live electrical circuit, helping to reduce the odds you’ll be nicknamed “Sparky.”
For those working in dimly-lit areas, or outdoors at night, KEEN added reflective webbing to provide a bit of added visibility. KEEN Flint II Sport work shoes also have an aggressive tread pattern, that helps disperse water and prevent slipping.
Slip Into Something Comfortable
Inserting your tootsies – minty fresh or otherwise – into a pair of KEEN Flint II Sport work shoes is a bit of a different experience. The opening where you insert your foot is surrounded by elastic that extends up about ¾” or so. It’s a rather snug opening, but a loop at the rear of the shoe, and another on top of the laces, helps you wiggle your foot in.
Once your foot is in, and the laces are snugged up, that elastic shroud forms a barrier that helps keep out the nuisances of the real world. Nuisances like sawdust, metal shavings, chunks of plaster during demo, dirt and gravel. It also extends around the front, where the tongue would normally be, and provides a nice, smooth surface over the top of your foot.
As with every other pair of KEENS I’ve owned – and I’ve owned a LOT of KEENS – the KEEN Flint II Sport work shoes are comfy and ready to get to work right out of the box. I’ve had painful break-in experiences with many other work boots in the past, but never with a pair of KEENS.
We Interrupt This Review For A Dose Of KEEN.SPEAK
This comfort is provided in part by KEEN’s Metatomical Footbed design. As KEEN describes it, it’s an anatomically-engineered internal support mechanism designed to provide excellent arch support, by cradling the natural contours of the foot. All I know is, the shoes are nice and comfy.
A further dose of comfort comes via a relatively new feature: KEEN.ReGEN. Being well aware of the prowess of KEEN’s engineering team, I was excited to hear about their ReGEN feature, hopeful that it would magically endow me with limitless energy. Or at least restore my thick, luxuriant head of hair. Alas, my hopes were dashed; turns out it’s a lightweight, compression-resisting midsole. KEEN claims the KEEN.ReGEN feature provides 50% more energy return than standard EVA foam. Any energy I can get returned, I’ll take!
Getting To Work With The KEEN Flint II Sport Work Shoes
My pair of KEEN Flint II Sport work shoes landed on my porch in late November. Luckily, by this time the weather had cooled substantially. This was good for my work comfort, but it meant I didn’t get to put the shoes through the Saharan torture testing.
When I popped the shoes out of the box, I immediately noticed how much lighter they are than the work shoes and boots I regularly wear. As I mentioned, the shoes are very comfortable, and the carbon-fiber toe inserts are totally unobtrusive; the only way to know they’re there is to have someone stomp on your toes.
After several weeks of wearing the KEEN Flint II Sport work shoes all day, several days a week, I’m very happy with them. Like all KEENS I’ve owned, the build quality and attention to detail is excellent. They provide great traction, and they’re comfortable even when standing on a ladder. I even wore them while shoveling a 4” accumulation of snow out of our driveway (yep, summer is definitely gone), and my feet were warm enough and stayed totally dry.
My only complaint with the KEEN Flint II Sport work shoes is very minor: The shoelaces refuse to remain tied. It’s weird, because the laces are fairly heavily textured, and seem like they’d lock in well. This is easy to overcome by double-knotting the laces, and when I do, they stay tied all day.
A final observation on KEEN Flint II Sport work shoes: They’re kinda sporty! They look good enough that you can wear them anywhere sporty, casual shoes are appropriate. Two color schemes are available, certain to complement any workwear wardrobe: Midnight Navy/Steel Grey (men’s and women’s), Magnet/Black (women’s), and Forged Iron/Black (men’s).
KEEN Flint II Sport shoes are available for men in full and half sizes from 7 to 12, and full sizes from 13 to 15. Women’s sizes range from 5 to 10 in full and half sizes, and in size 11. Both men’s and women’s can be had in regular and wide widths. You can order directly from KEEN, or look for a local retailer with their store finder. Try a pair, and lighten the load on YOUR feet.