It has been almost 2 years since using my The KEEN Utility Men’s Cleveland Soft Toe Work Boot out in the real world. Before you say anything, yes, I know my precious pair of boots have seen better days. That is the exact reason I chose to use them for this review instead of a shiny new pair. This way you can see exactly what happens when you put these work boots to the test.


Since using them I have been quite impressed so far, they have saved my foot from many situations that could have turned out nasty. But we will get into all that later…

Why Keens instead of other brands?

Simply put, my pair of Keens sandals sold me on the idea of sticking with this brand. They are my only pair that have lasted over two years, and still, look great up until today. In addition, I also wanted to save a bit of space in the closet by reducing the amount of unnecessary footwear. Overcrowded shoe closets just seem impractical when it comes to space management.

The Cleveland fits both these criteria, a quality pair of work boots that could just slip on before a hike.


You can spot a pair of keens from a mile away because they all look alike. Well, maybe not all, but you do not need to see the logo to know it’s a Keen. One obvious feature is the rubber outsole that extends all the way to the front section of the shoe. Embedded in it is little caution sign on the outsole which is an indication of Keen’s patented toe protection.

Besides adding to the uniqueness of the design, this extra bit of protective coverage is functional as well. Have you ever bumped your toe into something like a stump? If yes, then you know it is one of the most excruciating experiences you will encounter. For this reason, toe protection is one of the features that I look for in all my footwear.

The rubber outsoles on the Cleveland cover the front section of the shoe just like a bumper for your toes. The outsole also provides good traction without feeling too clunky. This especially comes in handy for working on a steep slope or hike up a trail.


The inside is extremely comfortable, and well-padded around the ankle area, making them ideal for long hikes or working extended periods of time.  The durable material encasing this shoe provides good breathability, moisture control, waterproofing.

I’ve cleaned out ponds, worked in mud, horse dropping, and anything else that moist. It is a great feeling to come home at the end of the day and have a dry pair of feet.


There is a dark greenish leather material on the outside that does a good job of hiding dirt, scuffs, adding overall protection. One time I was careless and accidentally jammed a garden fork into my shoe. The pain quickly put me in check. “I’m going to need stitches” was the first thought that came to mind, but to my surprise, it just left a small tear in the leather.

If you want them to last for a while, I recommend coating them with boot wax for added protection from the elements. I’ve also extended their use by pasting some shoe goo in places that were busted up. What can I say, I love squeezing every bit of usage out my footwear!

One thing that bummed me out was the durability of the shoelaces. After a while they start fraying out at the tip, making them near impossible to re-string. A metal or sturdier material for the end tips would have been a better option. Nevertheless, you can keep on using them since the top shoelace socket has slipped in buckles.


In summary, The KEEN Utility Men’s Cleveland Soft Toe Work Boot is ideal for both work and play. They are a great casual hiking shoe. At the same time, they are also a great light work shoe. If you are working a job like construction, then going with a steel toe option may save toe from getting smashed.