Keen Utility Cincinnati Combines Styles to Make a Comfortable, Stylish Work Boot
We got a brief look at Keen Utility Cincinnati work boots at World of Concrete 2020. There was clearly something very different about the design, but wearing a size 13, they didn’t have one for me to try on the spot. Fortunately, a pair arrived not long after and my feet couldn’t have been happier.
- Super-comfortable design, even on concrete and asphalt
- Design combines the comfort of a wedge with the traction of a traditional work boot outsole
- Good arch support
- True-to-size fit
- Stylish look
- Welt construction
- No major drawbacks
Keen Utility Cincinnati Work Boots
On paper, the Keen Utility Cincinnati is a 6-inch wedge welted work boot with a carbon fiber toe. It goes so much deeper than that simple description, though.
The wedge design gives you more contact area with the ground than a heeled boot. Typically, it’s more comfortable for work on concrete, steel, asphalt, and other hard surfaces.
The trade-off is a relatively shallow outsole tread that tends to wear quickly. However, Keen goes with a more aggressive jobsite-friendly outsole, mixing the two styles to give you comfort, durability, and traction.
The lower of the shoe connects to the upper with a welt all the way around the boot and some extra reinforcement on the base at the toe. Welting can take a little longer to break in, but it’s the strongest bond you can get and it’s what we prefer.
Around the toe box, the Cincinnati continues the thicker welt-style stitch, pulling together what we think is a very stylish look. There’s no toe cap, so keep that in mind if you’re used to having one to protect the front of your boot.
The side materials are held together with more typical thinner double and triple stitching. All of the stitches are a lighter contrasting color to the medium brown of the boots we tried.
Additional Design Features
- Medium 6-inch height
- Left/right-specific carbon fiber safety toes
- Keen.Dry waterproof, breathable membrane
- Leather resists damage from chemicals found around agricultural settings: oleic acid, urea, sodium chloride, and ammonium hydroxide
- Oil and slip-resistant outsole
- Meets ASTM F1677-96 MARK II Non-Slip Testing Standards
- ASTM F2412-17 and F2413-17 M I/75 C/75 EH Standards
- Meets ASTM F2913-17 SATRA Non-Slip Testing Standards
When you’re working on most soil, you can trade-off some comfort for extra security because the softer ground helps you out. However, I prefer wedges like the Keen Utility Cincinnati because their greater surface contact area spreads my weight out better, making for a more comfortable workday on concrete and asphalt.
Going beyond a simple wedge design, Keen also uses their air-infused PU midsole. It’s softer than others and really improves the overall comfort level on hard surfaces.
It’s also lighter than denser midsoles. While these boots don’t feel weightless, they are noticeably lighter than my other 6-inch boots.
Keen’s removable insole is the final piece of the comfort puzzle. It’s a dual-density polyurethane material that tops it off with an aerated pillow-top cushioning.
These are safety toe boots, so there’s a little bit of a weight penalty for the extra protection. Keen Utility mitigates a lot of that with carbon fiber as the material choice.
My size 13’s are 40 ounces each (2 lbs, 8 oz). If you’re a little more average in foot size, the weight is closer to 35 ounces.
One last thing to note on the comfort side: there’s better arch support in the Cincinnati than other Keen Utility boots I’ve worn. I can feel the support against my arch better than other designs, helping fight fatigue and foot pain later in the day.
As I mentioned above, I normally wear a size 13 in work boots. My perfect size is a 12-1/2, but almost no one makes half sizes after 12. That means I get to choose between a 12 and a 13 and it can be a crapshoot ordering online.
The Keen Utility Cincinnati runs true-to-size just like the majority of their work boots. Going down a size would have made these too small. Going up was the right call. When you’re ordering, stick with the size you normally wear.
When it comes to the feel of the fit, the toe box is generous while avoiding the more bulbous look of Keen’s earlier work boots and the midsection conforms around the middle comfortably.
The heel leaves a little bit of room for movement. It’s not so much that I feel like it’s insecure, though. Even with that movement, I haven’t had any issues with blisters while wearing my normal boot socks.
Given the style and comfort we’ve experienced, we think it competes well against other brands’ premium boots in the same price range.
The Bottom Line
Keen Utility Cincinnati work boots hit it out of the park for anyone who works long days on concrete, asphalt, steel, and other hard surfaces. It has the comfort of a wedge enhanced by a softer midsole and combined with a more aggressive outsole design than most wedges.
In our opinion, the Cincinnati is the best work boot Keen Utility has made for working on hard surfaces.