Work boots and work shoes are two different animals that thrive in different environments. We had a video shoot on our radar and the location was a better fit for safety toe work shoes, so I put on a pair of Keen Utility Vista Energy carbon fiber toe work shoes to wear on this and other projects.
- Lighter than work boots
- Carbon fiber safety toes are lighter than steel
- Comfortable on hard floors
- More secure than sneakers
- Stylish athletic look
- True-to-size fit
- I experienced more foot odor than normal
Keen Utility Vista Energy Style
Keen has Vista Energy work shoes available for both men and women in several styles. All of them feature right/left specific carbon fiber safety toes. Carbon fiber is nice because it’s some 15% lighter than steel toes.
The men’s low we’re testing comes in straight black, black with a gray/white lower, and black with blue accents. Those same colors, except the blue accent, are also available in a mid-height.
Women have a couple of options in low, but no medium height. Both men and women have an ESD-specific low-cut option as well.
As a work shoe, these are much more athletic in overall style. That includes the outsole that takes a clear departure from typical jobsite work boots and uses a tread pattern that’s better on concrete floors and other hard floors.
The entire shoe is 100% non-metallic and carries an EH rating.
As a work shoe, it doesn’t have an outsole/midsole that focuses on puncture protection. If you’re working somewhere such as a metal fabrication shop, you may want to look for something that has puncture resistance built in.
Keen Utility Vista Energy Fit and Comfort
I wear a size 11 sneaker and ordered the same size for the Vistas. Even with the safety toe, the fit was dead-on what I’m used to.
The heel of the shoe features Keen’s KonnectFit design and keeps your heels more secure so they’re not sliding around.
The Vista Energy is an incredibly comfortable work shoe. A quick glance from the side reveals a generous midsole section. More than just EVA foam, this is KEEN.REGEN—a cushioning midsole that helps push into your next step and claims to offer a 50% energy return.
The upper uses mesh and synthetic material very much like an athletic shoe. Inside that, there’s a mesh liner that helps keep the shoe highly breathable.
Finally, Keen sticks with their removable PU metatomical footbed to wrap up some additional cushioning.
Like I said earlier, the shoe is incredibly comfortable and its cement (glue) construction keeps it highly flexible out of the box. However, there was a noticeable increase in my foot odor when I wore them. That’s not something I typically struggle with on a shoe this breathable and it’s surprising considering Keen uses their anti-microbial treatment on them. It’s not something we’re seeing other folks mention, so maybe it’s just my body chemistry.
- Nylon support shank
- No-mar upper and outsole
- Secure fit lace capture
- Oil and slip-resistant outsole
- Safety Ratings: ASTM F1677-96 Mark II Non-Slip, ASTM F2913-17 Non-Slip
Keen Utility Vista Energy Price
Depending on which style you choose, the Vista Energy runs $120 – $125. If you’re used to buying budget shoes, that may seem a bit high. However, the construction is higher quality and the comfort is leaps and bounds above cheaper options.
The Bottom Line
Keen Utility is targeting a light-duty safety toe work shoe that feels like an athletic shoe and they really nailed it with the Vista Energy. They’re as comfortable and more secure than my sneakers for long days on concrete floors and the lightweight safety toes protect me on sites that require extra protection.
Learn more at Keen’s website.