Hello there, I’m Tim and I want to welcome you to my KEEN Fort Wayne composite toe work boot review.
Buckle up cause it’s quite a long review. For your convenience, I’ve created a menu for this page that’s helpful to jump to a specific section. Just click on the “What’s inside” below to open it.
Let’s get into this!
- Overall, A Great Work Wedge Sole Work Boot
- The environment in which the boots are tested in
- Unboxing the KEEN Utility Fort Wayne work boots
- Features of the KEEN Utility Fort Wayne safety boot
- First impressions of my KEEN Fort Wayne work boots
- The KEEN Utility Fort Wayne boot on the outside
- Inside the KEEN Fort Wayne work boot
- Where are the boots made?
- Will KEEN Fort Wayne work boots fit wide feet?
- What do the letters stand for when it comes to the width of the boot? (W,M,D,E,etc)
- Are KEEN Fort Wayne work boots waterproof or not?
- Are they lightweight? How much do they weigh?
- Are they comfortable?
- Do they provide support? (ankle, arch, heel)
- Are they true to size? Do they run small or large?
- Heel height
- Heel-to-toe drop
- How tall are these KEEN Utility Fort Wayne safety boots?
- Break-in period: Do they need breaking in?
- What color do they come in?
- Price: how much do they cost?
- Where to buy a pair of KEEN Fort Wayne work boots?
- Who do I recommend these Fort Wayne composite toe work boots to?
- Last notes on these KEEN Utility Fort Wayne safety boots
- Overall, A Great Work Wedge Sole Work Boot
- More pictures of the KEEN Fort Wayne composite toe boots
- Update: 1 month of wearing these KEEN Fort Wayne
- Update: 6 months of wearing these KEEN Fort Wayne
Who’s working on this page
Tester & Editor
Research & Editor
The environment in which the boots are tested in
I work in the residential HVAC industry. I do both service and installation with the occasional light commercial job.
I will be in a basement on concrete standing on the floor, on my knees with my toes rubbing the concrete floor to standing on a ladder.
Other times I may be crawling around an attic full of insulation on plywood or working on an outdoor unit in the mulch, grass, or decorative stone.
I do a lot of walking and have the toes of my boots in contact with something a lot of the time.
My boots are subject to morning dew, the spray of a hose, refrigerant, coil cleaning chemicals, and different oils.
I walk on all kinds of surfaces and inclines. Having a boot that is tough in the toes, resistant to different chemicals, has enough traction, all while being comfortable is key to keep me going for my job.
Unboxing the KEEN Utility Fort Wayne work boots
Features of the KEEN Utility Fort Wayne safety boot
|Electrical Hazard Protection
|Safety Toe Cap
|YES – Composite toe cap
|YES – KEEN.DRY membrane
|Ful grain leather
|Boot construction type
|Injection molded construction
|Oil and slip-resistant
|Anti-scuff toe bumper
|Toe box options
|Composite toe cap & Soft toe cap
|YES – Nylon shank
|Dark Earth/Gum & Tortoise Shell/Gum
|7US – 15US Men
|D (regular) and EE (Wide)
First impressions of my KEEN Fort Wayne work boots
Upon opening the box I was greeted with what I think is a very good-looking boot. That is what I look for first.
We aren’t having fashion contests at work but who doesn’t want to be proud of their boot? First thing that caught my eye was the great-looking leather used to construct this boot.
The only thing appearance-wise that I was kind of skeptical about was the toe cap bumper. I tend to like the classic moc toe look but that’s usually the first thing to go on my boots.
The toe cap on this particular boot does seem a little big but with wearing daily I hope it becomes something I notice less and less.
I wanted something with a toe cap bumper to prolong the life of my boots. It seems to me at least, this is the way the boot market is going. I see a lot of companies adding this feature to some of their boots lately.
Tuff toe has never looked good to me but the way boot makers are incorporating a toe cap or rubber toe is starting to grow on me.
This feels like a solid boot when handling but without feeling too heavy.
The KEEN Utility Fort Wayne boot on the outside
Let’s have a look at the outside of the boots and see what we can learn.
1. Upper’s material
The leather seems to be of an excellent quality and made from Keen’s “Barnyard Resistant Leather” which is an environmentally preferred premium leather from a LWG-Certified Tannery.
The leather is also very soft and supple which means you won’t have to deal with breaking in stiff leather but this also means it won’t be very abrasion and puncture resistant, but hey, no leather really is.
Colorwise the leather is brown and very similar to the color of Crazyhorse leather, maybe a tad darker but similar.
On a side note, Adrian our editor just reviewed a Thorogood boot in Crazyhorse if you would like to check it out. (editing at the moment, I’ll update you here with the link when it’s ready).
One of the interesting features of Keen’s “Barnyard Resistance Leather” is that it’s resistant to the damaging effects of oleum acidic, urea, sodium chloride and ammonia hydroxide.
2. Rubber toe cap reinforcement
One of the main features of the Fort Wayne is the toe cap bumper.
There is a rubber guard to protect from blown out toes. I can’t think of a construction job that wouldn’t benefit from this kind of protection.
This feature is great for a person like myself working with HVAC for the reasons I’ve mentioned earlier.
I often find myself crawling in an attic or crunching, flexing, etc and I’m sure you can imagine how easy it is to scuff the leather around the toe cap so I value quite a lot the toe cap bumper in this boot.
There are durable eyelets the whole way up until the top which has a speed hook for ease of use.
Honestly, it depends on what I’m doing that day if I even use the speed hooks or not.
It is nice to have and lace the boots tighter and higher up for those days when I know I want my boots to be secure.
4. Boot construction type
This KEEN Fort Wayne boot fuses the upper to the sole using Keen fusion which provides a strong bond without glue or solvents.
This is different than many other wedge-style work boots that use a Goodyear welt to attach the upper and sole of a boot.
Due to this, it is unlikely a cobbler would be able to resole the boot. Or if they could, they might charge you a lot of money so it’s not worth it.
Nothing is lost though, This doesn’t mean the boot is bad just because it’s not a Goodyear welted work boot.
There are some pros to this as well. For example, this type of boot construction makes the boot a little lighter and more flexible. Perfect for what I need for my HVAC related work.
Not sure what KEEN refers to when they say KEEN.FUSION. It’s not a cemented sole but they don’t say it’s a direct attach method either (injection molded). I’ve asked KEEN about it. I’ll update this post when I have a response.
UPDATE: So I asked KEEN on IG if KEEN.FUSION is injection molded boot construction and they replied with: That’s correct! (screenshot below)
5. The sole
The midsole is made from what Keen calls their Luft Cell technology. Luft Cell is a dual-density polyurethane midsole that’s been infused with air for weightless comfort.
The Luft Cell midsole has 100,000 tiny air bubbles per square inch! Talk about comfort!
For the outsole, the KEEN Fort Wayne uses what is called the Keen Toughsole which is oil and slip resistant while being lighter weight and more durable than rubber.
The tread pattern is aggressive with deep lugs for a wedge-style boot so it’s a good boot for a mixed type of work environment.
Most of the time I’m working indoors but when I work outdoors the sole in this boot will provide me with some decent traction thanks to those deep lugs.
The downside is that it will track mud and all that. Can’t win them all!
After wearing the boots for a couple of days at work I haven’t felt unsafe walking in any environment. I was on a grassy slope and had excellent traction wearing these work boots.
6. Moc toe construction?!
It looks like a Moc Toe boot but it’s not a Moc Toe in the traditional sense with a raised moccasin stitch.
The stitching rather, is flat and doesn’t create a ridge that runs around the perimeter of the toe box like a normal Moc Toe.
The stitching seems decent and after my first inspection, it seems to be good quality.
There were no frayed or weak spots in the stitching from what I could tell. We will see how they hold up in the coming weeks or months.
Inside the KEEN Fort Wayne work boot
Now let’s see what can we discover by looking at the inside of the boot…
1. Tongue construction
There is a gusseted tongue which I would almost say should come standard on any work boot to help keep debris and moisture out.
2. Waterproof membrane
It has a breathable waterproof membrane which is called Keen Dry. To be honest I have worn other boots with the keen dry membrane and have yet to get wet feet.
I’ll put it to the test and see if the waterproof is actually working. Please check the below sections for updates.
The padding at the top of the boot was semi-stiff but nothing a few weeks of breaking in shouldn’t take care of.
It’s not enough to hurt by any means, just a little discomfort which is something you’ll experience in the majority of work boots when they’re brand new!
4. Removable insole
The removable insole from KEEN is one you want to keep. I usually wear a secondary Dr. Scholls gel insole but I do not feel the need to with this.
I haven’t been able to wear the boot long enough to see how well it holds up, however, a replacement insole can be purchased, especially if you need some arch support.
5. Heel counter
There is a heel counter installed. Finally. A waterproof pair of work boots that come with a heel counter.
This is a great feature especially in this type of boot since the heel counter will help avoid damage to the waterproof membrane due to constant rubbing while wearing the boots.
I’m sure you don’t want to see this happening to your boots after 6-8 months of wearing the,…
For the little bit that I have worn them, the laces seem to stay tight and I feel secure the whole time wearing the boot, so no heel spillage which is yet another benefit of a heel counter in work bots.
Check out some of my older work boots that cut in half if you want to learn more about them.
6. Toe box
The toe box is huge. I ordered a wide toe as I do with most boots, but usually wear a soft-toe work boot.
I typically don’t like a steel or composite toe. With the keen Fort Wayne in wide width (EE) you can’t even tell there is a carbon fiber toe in these boots.
It doesn’t even touch my toes! This is huge for me as I don’t know how many times I wished I had a safety toe cap when at work.
There is room for days in this boot. So if you’re after a pair of roomy work boots with a composite toe cap, add these to your list.
Where are the boots made?
According to the tag inside the boot, the KEEN Fort Wayne comp toe boots are made in Thailand.
This doesn’t mean it isn’t a quality boot, but for those who like work boots made in America, this can be a deal breaker.
As far as I understand, KEEN Utility pride itself on being an American work boot brand.
Whether that is designed in America or built in America I am unsure. We’ll do some more digging and let you know!
Will KEEN Fort Wayne work boots fit wide feet?
I ordered the wide version as I do with most boots. This might have the most room I have felt from a boot, let alone a safety toe boot, I have ever experienced.
This is a good thing if you plan to wear the boot with a thicker sock in the winter.
This will be my go-to when I know it’s going to be cold and have thick wool socks or double up to keep my feet warm.
So if you’re looking for a pair of good work boots for wide feet, these KEEN Fort Wayne is a good option.
What do the letters stand for when it comes to the width of the boot? (W,M,D,E,etc)
There’s a lot of confusion about these among people looking to buy a pair of work boots. Hopefully, the little table I’ve put together might help you understand what’s that all about!
The letters simply represent how wide the work boots are.
|N or A
|M, or D
|W or 2E
|XW or 3E
Are KEEN Fort Wayne work boots waterproof or not?
I filled a container with water and had the boot in it for over five minutes and the inside of the boot stayed completely dry.
Definitely looks like the Keen Dry waterproofing system works based on this boot and my previous experiences with wearing KEEN work boots.
Here’s what you can do to further protect the leather and help the boots to remain water-repellent over time: Step by step how to waterproof your work boots.
Are they lightweight? How much do they weigh?
The boot weighed in at 33.75 ounces, or 2.109lbs, on my scale.
This KEEN Fort Wayne is lighter than the boots I was previously wearing so it was a pleasant surprise to have such a light boot even with a safety toe.
Are they comfortable?
Out of the box they are sneaker comfortable and can be worn all day without any discomfort.
The padding at the top of the boot does need to be broken in. I can only imagine how comfortable these boots are after wearing them for some time.
I would think they get more comfortable every day you wear them and you don’t want to take them off first thing when you get home.
After wearing the boots for a few weeks now, they are even more comfortable than when I first tried them on, and get more and more comfortable every day.
I would expect them to be at peak comfort once fully broken in.
Do they provide support? (ankle, arch, heel)
The Keen Fort Wayne was snug and secure. I don’t typically wear my boots the tightest I can make them, but rather just snug enough to feel secure.
Very little heel slip when tied right and plenty of arch support from the removable footbed. It honestly felt as though someone stood in the boots for hours just to get them ready for me.
This is a great 6” version of the boot. I am not aware of an 8” version. When tied to the top utilizing the speed hooks, I felt the necessary ankle support.
I live on a hill and mowing the grass makes for a workout on my ankles. The support felt from these boots made it a breeze.
Are they true to size? Do they run small or large?
In my opinion, the boot runs true to size to a little big. I typically wear 10.5 in anything I buy.
The 10.5 wide is big enough to have enough room to wiggle your toes or wear extra socks in the bitter cold. If you like a more snug fit I would probably recommend a half size down.
The heel height in these KEEN Fort Waybe work boots comes at around 1.5 inches high.
You can certainly feel the heel is higher than where the balls of your feet are but it is what I would compare to a sneaker.
It’s a good stance and one I could stand in for a long period of time should my job require it.
The heel comes in at 1 ⅝ thick while the ball of the foot measures in at 1 ⅛ thick.
Giving the Keen Fort Wayne a heel drop of a half inch which is pretty common for boots with a flat/wedge style outsole.
How tall are these KEEN Utility Fort Wayne safety boots?
The boot comes in only a 6” version to my knowledge. It can be purchased in a soft toe or a carbon toe version.
Break-in period: Do they need breaking in?
Have you ever tried to break in a pair of work boots? It’s really a pain in the back, especially with those most expensive work boots that are made with thick, high-quality leather.
As with most things, there is a break-in period required. To me, the boot is comfortable enough to wear without fear of blisters or sore feet.
The only thing you need to do is break in the upper padding and form the leather around your foot to feel like a slipper.
Once the boot is fully broken in I think this would be a top-three boot comfort-wise.
What color do they come in?
I ordered my boots in the dark earth/gum colors.
It is also available in what Keen calls tortoise shell/gum configuration.
Which is essentially white and gum. I personally am not a fan of that color but to each their own.
Price: how much do they cost?
They’re not the cheapest pair of work boots out there. You can get them on Zappos for about $200 at the time I’m writing this review. They go for around the same price on Amazon.
As we know prices do tend to change every now and then and since I don’t know when you’re going to read this review, I rather leave you some links to the different boots, in different stores so you can check out the most up to date price and even compare.
|Comp Toe – Dark Earth/Gum
|Comp Toe – Tortoise Shell/Gum
|Soft Toe – Dark Earth/Gum
Where to buy a pair of KEEN Fort Wayne work boots?
There are many online and local stores you can buy these work boots from. Here are a few trustworthy sites you can buy the KEEN Fort Wayne composite toe work boots:
- KEEN’s website
Who do I recommend these Fort Wayne composite toe work boots to?
I would recommend these boots to anyone who works construction, who is up and down ladders, has their toes to the floor or ground and wants a boot that lasts.
When I look at other people’s boots in similar occupations the first thing that goes is the toe.
While not always the most pretty, the toe cap will save your boots and save you money in the long run.
Additional jobs and industries the boots might be an option for:
- Truck drivers
- Machinery drivers (forklift, cranes, excavators,etc)
- Light to medium-duty construction workers
- Warehouse workers
- Handymen and handywomen
- These boots are airport friendly (meaning you can easily wear them through metal detectors without setting them off)
Last notes on these KEEN Utility Fort Wayne safety boots
Overall I am ecstatic about trying the Keen Fort Wayne for the long haul. I am impressed with the comfort and quality right out of the box.
I will wear this boot for at least a month before I do any treating or coating to the leather.
I do not have any doubt I will be able to get at least a year out of these boots if not more. As I mentioned, the first thing to go with my boots is the toe.
The reassurance of a toe cap bumper makes me think this boot will last longer than my typical boot. I feel the price is on point for what you are getting from Keen.
To me, Keen has been a name in the outdoor recreation game but has come on strong in the work boot world. I feel they bring the best of both worlds into this boot.
After wearing the boot for such a short time and dirtying up the boot, the toe cap bumper has become less noticeable. While it is something to take note of at first, it quickly becomes just another great feature on a product you want to last.
After all, spending your hard-earned money on work boots, you expect the same quality and pride you put into your own work.
More pictures of the KEEN Fort Wayne composite toe boots
Update: 1 month of wearing these KEEN Fort Wayne
Stay tuned, it’s coming soon…
Update: 6 months of wearing these KEEN Fort Wayne
Team Members Working On This Page
My name is Tim Meyers. I reside in a small town in Pennsylvania. I am self-employed in the HVAC field. I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter at our beautiful home. I like making food on my smoker, drinking lots of craft beer, Philadelphia Eagles and Michigan Wolverine football, and of course boots!
Hey, I’m Adam. I’m a welder and metal fabricator. Primarily doing aluminum tig and sheet metal fabrication. Spend most of the day on my feet on concrete floors in the shop with the occasional job site visit. Additionally, I’m a boot nerd so you’ll see me around here a lot writing reviews, researching, and editing pages related to boots. I hope you enjoy it!
Construction Professional, driver, crane operator, cleaner, head chef … these are just some of the jobs I did in the past. Working in all these different environments taught me that having good footwear to protect your feet from different dangers at work IS PARAMOUNT for any worker! On this website, I aim to share all my knowledge and personal experience in dealing with different footwear and foot care issues, and hopefully, you can get something out of it. Enjoy!