I can remember while growing up as a child in the 60’s that on occasion I was permitted to stay up late on a Friday night to watch the late show creature feature. These were movies, primarily from the 30’s, that included Dracula, The Thing, The Mummy, and many others that are a far cry from today’s horror flicks. One of my favorites was the 1931 classic, Frankenstein, with Boris Karloff cast as the eponymous creature. I vividly remember the chase scene through town and the angry mob that put the poor misunderstood creature through hell, then burning him in the mill. The monster’s appearance was pure Hollywood, right down to the massive boots the creature wore. Given the advances in footwear, it’s not too much of a stretch to think perhaps the creature might have survived his ordeal if he’d been shod in a pair of KEEN Utility’s new heavy duty work boots, the Philadelphia, which, after all, are billed as being Hellproof.
Checking out KEEN’s Utility Latest Offerings
KEEN Utility recently sent two pairs of their newest work boots to this branch of Home Fixated, a pair of the Seattle women’s work boots which is reviewed here, and a pair of their mother of all work boots, the Philadelphia. The Philadelphia sits at the top of KEEN’s Utility line of footwear. Make no mistake; these are serious boots for serious work.
You will not be tempted to do double duty using these boots as hikers; KEEN has you covered there with an amazing lineup of purpose built boots for such endeavors. No, these boots afford a level of protection that, in my opinion, is unmatched by any other boot, but the cost of such protection is a little extra weight. A pair of these KEEN Utility Philadelphia boots comes in at just a little over a pound per foot, not svelte, but reasonable for the protection afforded by these boots.
First Impressions of the KEEN Utility Philadelphia Boots
The attention to detail is evident immediately upon trying the boots on for the first time. The speed lacing goes all the way to the foot arch, which allows the boot to open up and for you to easily slip your foot in or out. There is also a generously sized loop on the back to facilitate entry and exit, big enough for a gloved hand and is robust enough to easily last the life of the boot.
The laces were strong and grippy, not slippery, so no issues with having to double tie them or worry about tripping on an untied lace. I opted for the 8” boot and was a little anxious about the fit on my ankle but those concerns were put to rest as soon as I started moving. It took a few days to properly break them in, but once accomplished the boots were comfortable to wear and work in for extended periods.
The KEEN Utility line of footwear is purpose built for folks who work hard and have exposure to workplace hazards, while still providing a high level of comfort. Lets take a quick look at the features and safety ratings that KEEN lists for these boots:
• Left and right asymmetrical, non-metallic carbon-fiber toes offer unobtrusive fit and are 15% lighter than steel
• KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane
• Full-grain waterproof leather
• Oil- and slip-resistant non-marking rubber outsole
• Electrical hazard (EH) or Electric Shock Resistant (ESR) footwear provides a secondary source of protection in case of accidental contact with live electrical circuits
• 3/4 Goodyear welt construction for enhanced durability and flexibility under extreme working conditions
• KEEN Luftcell dual-density PU midsole, infused with air for weightless comfort
• Heat resistant, rubber outsole rated up to 572° F / 300° C
• 90° heel (5/8″ Height) provides stability and helps “catch or lock” the foot in place
• Contoured heel lock helps “lock” is anatomically shaped, “locking” it in place and reducing heel slip
• Meets ASTM F1677-96 MARK II Non-Slip Testing Standards
• Meets ASTM F2412-17 and F2413-17 M I/75 C/75 EH Standards
• Meets ASTM F2913-17 SATRA Non-Slip Testing Standards
Philadelphia In The Field
I am currently running a small vegetable and sheep farm with my wife, both of us having recently retired from our respective full time paying jobs. I find that farm life presents the full spectrum of exposure to daily wear and hazards that most any other industry might offer. I need protection because changing implements on the tractor, cutting and splitting firewood, handling animals and building projects all present potentially dangerous exposures to my feet.
In addition, I find myself also doing electrical, plumbing, welding and mechanical repairs that also require a certain measure of protection. I have spent the last few months wearing these boots across a variety of activities and found them to be everything KEEN Utility has claimed them to be.
The Winter of My Content (Footwear-wise)
Even though we are at the tail end of a relatively mild winter, at least by Upstate NY standards, I have had more than enough opportunities to test the KEEN Utility Philadelphia’s weather resistance. Caring for livestock is a daily chore performed multiple times a day. Having added a pig and an orphan lamb to the menagerie has required at least 4 trips a day out to the barn for feedings, in all weather.
My feet were as warm and dry in 10” of snow on sub zero days as they were in the torrential rains that followed shortly after. Even submerging my feet in ankle deep water presented no challenge, my feet stayed warm and dry. The barnyard environment is not usually friendly to footwear, but again, after months of exposure the boots, aside from being a little dirty, are not showing any wear.
Always After Firewood
We heat both the shop and the house almost exclusively with wood, the only exception being if we’re away for a number of days. We are fortunate to have about 40 wooded acres on the property and so we are able to cut all our own firewood. It’s one of those chores that fit in around everything else we do, there really is no set time, but the best time seems to be in winter when we get a rare combination of low temps and light or no snow cover. I’ve been fortunate over the years to have avoided serious injury while cutting and splitting wood, and will take every measure to continue this record. That means personal protective equipment that is up to the task at hand and these boots fill the bill.
I have to admit to being a bit biased towards KEEN Utility as a brand. If you were to look in my closet you would find the majority of the footwear was emblazoned with the KEEN logo. I spend a lot of time on my feet, across a wide spectrum of activities, and have found that for my personal comfort no other brand has the comprehensive coverage KEEN offers. The KEEN Utility Philadelphia is no exception. As previously mentioned, this is a serious boot for serious work. I would recommend them for anyone in the trades, doing farm work, or for any activity where comfort and safety are a priority. The KEEN Utility Philadelphia can be purchased from KEEN online or wherever quality footwear is sold for around $ 215.00 for the 8” model.