Keen redefines durability with heavy duty construction boot.
KNOWN FOR ITS hybrid outdoor performance products and a signature bump-toe design, Keen is venturing further into the work category under its Utility label for Fall ’12, looking to redefine durability in a work boot with the introduction of a patent-pending welt construction in its Wenatchee boot.
“Like all the products we design, we try to identify needs and problems our customers have in the field, and we look to our footwear to solve that problem or fill that need,” says Mark Cohen, field service rep for Keen. Traditional welted products can separate from the forefoot after repeated bending and flexing of the foot, thus wearing the welt stitch and pulling away from the shoe’s upper. Wenatchee’s welt construction is one continuous piece, protecting stitching and offering unbroken support.
“The front portion of a work boot normally takes a ton of pounding and abuse, and typically the welt goes 360 degrees in the product,” Cohen explains. “With the Keen welt, it goes all the way around but dives underneath the toe. This allows for a seamless transition between the toecap and outsole, which makes for a much more durable and better bond.”
Though the new welt design differs from Keen’s traditional products, the Wenatchee retains the comfort and performance features the brand is known for, Cohen maintains. Made with a waterproof nubuck leather upper and membrane, the boot offers breathable protection from the elements, while a contour heel lock, oil- and slip-resistant non-marking rubber outsole and asymmetrical steel toes add to the boot’s protection and functionality. “Different professions, like someone framing a house or working on a road crew, put different stresses on the product,” he says, and for that reason various workers have put each style to the test well in advance of the shoe hitting shelves. The Wenatchee will retail from $190 (plain toe) to $200 (steel toe). “These guys are on their feet up to 12 hours per day and footwear is just as important as a hammer or tool,” Cohen says. “You have to look at your footwear that way, and we do.” —L.M.