OMAHA! Seeeeeeet, hike! Okay, I couldn’t help myself. Omaha brings with it (for me) visions of a Peyton Manning Super Bowl. I first set eyes on the Keen Omaha Work Boots at a World of Concrete event. While they don’t really have anything to do with football, they are light enough to wear for a game in a pinch.
I got my hands, er, feet on the Keen Omaha Work Boots partly because I need a new pair of work boots and partly because I’m heading off to Europe next month on a hiking trip. I wanted to see if I could find a boot to pull some double duty. This is a new style in Keen’s work boot lineup focused on soft toe options.
A lot of people think that going with a soft toe over steel or composite safety toes means an automatic drop in weight. That’s not exactly true. There is very little weight in those safety toes and the overall weight of the boot has much more to do with the rest of the construction, particularly in the sole. That said, the Omaha is a lightweight boot with the looks of a hiking boot but the feel of a performance work boot. Have I found the perfect hybrid?
Editor’s Note: Check out our best work boots review article for our favorite products for all applications.
Keen Omaha Work Boots Features
The Keen Omaha Work Boot is a medium-duty work boot. Not everyone is going to be able to wear a soft toe boot, but those that can usually do. As soon as I picked up the first boot, I realized these are much lighter than the heavy-duty boots I’ve been wearing around. That should immediately translate into reduced fatigue late in the workday.
Getting a little personal here, my feet sweat a whole lot more than I like to admit. I have a couple of pairs of boots that I really like, but they don’t allow the moisture to escape. It’s not pleasant at the end of the day. Keen.Dry is a proprietary technology that lets vapor out without letting water in. I’m hoping it will help whether the moisture is from sweat or water that found its way in.
Keen’s tough-tec leather upper offers abrasion resistance to keep the boot looking nice longer. A compression-molded EVA midsole and metatomical dual-density EVA footbed combine to offer comfort to your feet during long days. The footbed is removable, so those that need a specific orthotic for foot support have the room to do so.
If you’re looking for specific certifications, the Keen Omaha carries a couple. Mark II slip resistance is based on ASTM F1677-96 and Electrical Hazard certification is based on ASTM F2892-11. The rubber outsole is also oil-resistant and designed to avoid marring work surfaces.
Keen Omaha Work Boot Specifications
- Style: Mid height, medium duty
- Safety Toe: Soft toe
- Waterproof: Yes
- Certification: Mark II Slip Resistance, Electrical Hazard (EH)
- Upper Material: Leather
- Lining: Keen.Dry waterproof, breathable membrane
- Rubber: Oil and slip resistant
- Color: Charcoal
- Sizes: Half sizes 7 – 12, 13, 14, 15
- Price: $130
Keen Omaha Work Boot Fit and Feel
I am right in between sizes, so on the recommendation of our Keen rep, I went a size down. Typically, there is no actual sizing difference between a safety toe and soft toe model, so there’s just a little bit of extra room in the soft toe. It is a near-perfect fit for me.
Did I mention the light weight?
Like everyone else, I couldn’t wait to put my new boots on. Also like everyone else, I didn’t really want to slowly break them in before wearing them around. So I laced them up the next morning and wore them all day. The lighter weight was noticeable when I put them on and so much more by the end of the day. I’m used to having some leg fatigue at the end of a long day. However, after several days of wearing these without that feeling, I’m pretty excited to be taking them on my European adventure.
It’s been a while since I’ve worn mid-height boots (I got spoiled with low), so I’m noticing the rub on my ankle. It’s really not a big deal and isn’t chafing, just something to note if you’re going from low to mid-height like me.
I really wanted to see how well the Keen.Dry technology works. My feet sweat, so a traditional waterproof boot usually leaves me with wet feet at the end of the day because the moisture can’t get out. In my testing so far, they really are breathable. My feet still sweat as usual, but the moisture escapes, leaving my feet drier than I realistically hoped.
Managing Editor Kenny Koehler is a runner who feels the frustration of finding a pair of running shoes he really likes. Every year, companies change the model just a little bit to update it, so he will snag an extra pair or two when the perfect pair go on sale. Honestly, that’s sounding like a pretty good idea with the Keen Omaha Work Boot right now. I don’t know if these are the perfect soft-toe work boot—I’ve only had them a few weeks. I do know that my feet are very happy.
For my feet, the Omaha Mid is a near-perfect fit. The feel is outstanding thanks to the lightweight and solid support. The only question I can’t answer for you right now is how they will do over the long haul. The build quality looks solid and I get the impression that I’ve got a good long while before I need to think about a replacement.