KEEN Utility Sparta Aluminum Toed Work Shoes Review – Chariot Not Included

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keen sparta

In all the jobs I’ve held over the years, there’s a common theme: No one ever wanted to let me sit down. And I’m OK with that; I figure that’s probably why I’m still relatively healthy at my advanced age, despite a lifetime that may have included a few dubious habits. All that time on my feet taught me long ago the value of quality footwear. The right pair of shoes can make the difference between feet that are tired, sore and blistered at the end of the day, and feet that are ready to go out and kick it. A pair of new KEEN Sparta work shoes just hot-footed it into the HomeFixated dressing room. Put your feet up, and join us as we check ‘em out from heel to toe.

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KEEN Utility Sparta aluminum toed work shoes, ready to kick off your work day.

Aimed at men and women doing automotive or light industrial work, KEEN Utility Sparta Aluminum Toed work shoes have a pretty nice combination of features for a non-heavy-duty work shoe. The most obvious is probably the toe protection. The same as those used in KEEN’s heavier duty footwear, the toe caps are made of very strong, lightweight aluminum. The “kicker?” The toe caps are asymmetrical. Unlike the caps used in some manufacturer’s steel-toed shoes, the caps in KEEN Utility’s line of utility shoes are left and right-foot specific, making for a much better fit.

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Asymmetrical aluminum toe caps provide comfortable, lightweight protection.

In addition to keeping your tootsies from being crushed, the shoes have some other safety-related features. KEEN Sparta work shoes have been tested to meet ASTM non-slip standards, with an oil-resistant rubber outsole. That same rubber outsole also helps the shoes meet ASTM standards for electrical hazards.

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The sole of the KEEN Sparta – slip-resistant and meets EH standards.

They’re also available in an ESD (electro static dissipative) version (women’s Spartas are ONLY available in the ESD version) that helps reduce excess static electricity. Not getting zapped, while falling down in a shower of sparks? Triple bonus! Here’s the full feature list from KEEN:


• Left and Right Asymmetrical Aluminum Toes
• TPU Shank for Midfoot Support
• KEEN.REGEN: A Lightweight, Compression-resisting Midsole
• Oil- and Slip-resistant Non-marking Rubber Outsole
• Non-mutilating Upper Reduces the Chance of Marking or Scratching Surfaces
• Removable Metatomical Pu Footbed
• CLEANSPORT NXT™ For Natural Odor Protection

Safety Rating:

• Meets ASTM F1677-96 MARK II Non-Slip Testing Standards
• Meets ASTM F2412-17 and F2913-17 M I/75 C/75 EH (Electrical Hazards) Standards
• Meets ASTM F2913-17 SATRA Non-Slip Testing Standards


• Mesh/Synthetic
• Oil- and Slip-resistant Non-marking Rubber Outsole
• Keen.rebound: a Lightweight, Compression-resisting Midsole
• Moisture-wicking Textile
• Removable Metatomical Pu Footbed

KEEN Utility Sparta Shoes: Light On Your Feet

When the package with the KEEN Sparta shoes arrived, I swapped them out for the KEEN Braddocks I was wearing at the time. The Braddocks, along with my pair of KEEN Omaha steel-toed shoes, have shared the honor of cradling my dainty digits for quite a while. Together, they’ve been my daily drivers for most of the indoor work I do. Both models are very comfortable, and give my feet decent protection and support. I’ve had the Braddocks for about a year and a half, and the Omahas around 2-1/2 years, and both pair have held up very well. The KEEN Utility Sparta shoes were easy to slip on, even without the tugging loop on the back.

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The KEEN Sparta shoes go on easily without the tugging strap…

The first thing I noticed as I put the KEEN Sparta shoes on was the weight difference. I weighed the two pairs of shoes, and the Braddocks weighed a fraction under 3 lbs. The Spartas came in a shade over 10 oz. lighter, despite the addition of the aluminum toe caps. The Spartas were comfy right off the bat; like all other KEEN shoes I’ve had, there’s no blister-inducing break in period required.

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The KEEN Braddocks tip the scales at just under 3 lbs…
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Instant weight loss with the KEEN Spartas.

Wearing the KEEN Sparta shoes feels more like having a pair of sneakers on than a pair of work shoes. They still provide decent support, and I didn’t feel the aluminum safety toe at all. The shoes have a removable insert, which KEEN calls a Metatomical PU Footbed. And no, the PU doesn’t refer to the odor wafting from the shoes at the end of the day. In most cases. It’s actually KEENspeak for a nice Polyurethane cushion for your foot, and it’s a welcome feature in most of the other KEENs in my footwear lineup.

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Comfy Metatomical footbeds. Yes, they talk different on the west coast…

I’ve been wearing them all day for several days since they arrived, doing a variety of interior work: drywall work, painting, trim installation, and some electrical work. The KEEN Sparta shoes were very comfortable; I think the highest compliment I can pay is that I didn’t even think about them, other than when it was time to take ‘em off or put them on.

A Few More KEEN Observations On The KEEN Sparta Work Shoes

As I mentioned, I have other KEEN Utility shoes and work boots. I first stumbled across the brand a few years ago, and now it’s the only brand of work shoe I wear. Their quality control is excellent, and the attention to detail is obvious, and the KEEN Sparta shoes are no exception. All the seams and joinery are expertly done, and should hold up very well.

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Quality control and attention to detail is excellent, as usual…

For anyone working in an environment where damage to the flooring or other surfaces is a concern, KEEN Sparta shoes would be an excellent choice. The outsoles are non-marking, and the uppers are “non-mutilating” (Yikes!), which simply means they’re less likely to scratch or damage delicate surfaces.

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The uppers are breathable mesh. And non-mutilating!

Color choices for the KEEN Utility Sparta are somewhat limited. Okay, VERY limited: They only come in black/grey flannel. But hey, you’re here to work, not to impress Imelda Marcos, and besides, black is always in style! Size options are more wide open. Men’s shoes are available in full and half sizes ranging from 7-12, and full sizes for the big boys from 13-15. Women’s come in full and half sizes from 5 – 10, plus size 11. In both men’s and women’s versions, you can also choose between regular and wide versions in every size.

It’s February at the moment, and there’s a distinct lack of warm weather here in Pittsburgh. If and when it ever does warm up again, I would expect the KEEN Sparta shoes to be very comfortable in hot weather. A good portion of the upper is made from a breathable mesh and a moisture-wicking textile, so the shoes should breathe very well.

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KEEN Sparta work shoes would be a great option where heavy-duty protection isn’t required.

If you work in a setting where you need toe protection, but otherwise don’t need a heavy-duty shoe or boot, check out a pair of KEEN Sparta work shoes. They’re lightweight, comfortable, well-made, and should hold up very well. If you’re looking for something different, KEEN has a full line of KEEN Utility work shoes for both men and women. KEEN footwear is available from numerous local retailers, or get instant gratification by ordering directly from KEEN.

Buy men’s KEEN Utility Sparta shoes from KEEN:

Buy Now - via KEEN

Buy men’s KEEN Utility Sparta ESD shoes from KEEN:

Buy Now - via KEEN

Buy women’s KEEN Utility Sparta ESD shoes from KEEN:

Buy Now - via KEEN

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About Phil

Phil’s path to the pinnacle of success as HomeFixated’s Senior Writer was long and twisted. At various stages of his life, he worked as a framing carpenter, attended motorcycle mechanics school, served as an Army MP, did a hot and itchy stint installing insulation in Phoenix, owned and operated a small contracting firm doing residential renovations, and worked as an employee of a major airline (Motto: We’re not happy ‘til YOU’RE not happy). He is currently semi-retired, but continues to take on little projects, such as the total renovation of an old farmhouse. Yes, he is a slow learner. Future projects include a teardown restoration of his 1965 BMW motorcycle, and designing and building a kick-ass playhouse for his grandsons. Phil loves spending time outdoors, hanging out with family and friends, cool tools, and a cold IPA when beer o'clock rolls around.

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