If you’ve been staying up to date with our best work boot recommendations, you know how much we love the Keen Utility Cincinnati and that it’s set a very high bar to try and match. Still, the Keen Utility Independence shows some real promise for those who prefer a heeled boot over a wedge. I’ve been wearing them to help get an idea of what you should expect when it’s time to replace your current boots.
Keen Utility Independence Work Boot Design
- Hiker style
- Full-grain waterproof upper
- Removable polyurethane insole
- Luftcell midsole
- Keen.ToughSole outsole
- Direct attach construction
- Waterproof, breathable membrane
- Nylon stability shank
- 5/8-inch 90° heel
- EH rated
- Oil and chemical resistant
- Cleansport NXT odor control
The Independence is another in Keen’s line of hiker-style boots. The look is a little more on the logger side of things, but without as pronounced of a heel.
The boot starts with a full-grain leather upper and Keen’s Keen.ToughSole outsole. From there, the boot undergoes a direct attach process with the Luftcell midsole. This process creates a strong bond that’s a step up from glue (cement) and is a bit more flexible out of the box than welting.
There are five options within the Independence line. All of them are men’s styles and they’re all waterproof. You can choose between 6-inch and 8-inch heights, soft or carbon fiber toes, and standard or insulated. Two of the styles are available in brown or black.
Wearing the Keen Utility Independence Work Boot
I wear a 12 1/2, so I’m constantly stuck deciding between a 12 and 13 since half sizes aren’t available on that end of the range. With Keen, I always go with the 13 and the sizing is exactly what I expect. Our advice is to order your normal work boot size.
If you’ve worn Keen Utility boots before, there are no surprises in the fit. The heel locks in securely, the midsection hugs my feet appropriately, and the toe box opens up generously.
I’ve primarily been wearing these boots on hard surfaces—concrete, asphalt, and tile. Thanks in large part to the air-infused Luftsole midsole, these are very comfortable to wear.
That comfort is very present on softer surfaces such as grass or bare ground. Because of the aggressive tread pattern and nylon stability shank, you get a secure footing to go with it.
The weight is in the low to mid-range. The 6-inch carbon fiber toe lists at 25.3 ounces per boot. We’ve worn several that run lighter and plenty that are heavier.
Keen Utility Independence Work Boot Price
Depending on which style you choose, the boots run $190 – $210. The 6-inch carbon toe model we’re wearing for this review is $195.
The Bottom Line
Keen Utility Independence work boots have the potential to sit alongside the Cincinnati as one of the best Keen has made to date. They’re comfortable, the fit is great, and there are enough options to please most folks. Best of all, they cross over both hard and softer surfaces for all-day wear, so they’re a solid medium-duty option for almost every work environment.