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Keen Utility Pittsburgh Work Boots: How good are they in 2024?


Ever observed loyalty of cult members? Aha! That’s something we find in a bunch of hard working world changing tough guys when it comes to their job outfit and Keen Utility boots.

I agree with your colleagues whenever they say something like, “Best boot in 30 years of industry. BEST OF THE BEST!” and most probably your sixth sense says the following:

Pittsburgh is sitting in the dependable class. And you know what? If some of them say that these are the best ones… nope, I won’t disagree!

But wait, exactly how are they one of the best ones? That’s what we are going to discuss here, inside out.

January 2024 Update: These are in the best seller list. The recent user comments contain more and more 5 star ratings and we still love them. 

There are only two types and they are not significantly different in features. There’s just one difference:

Steel Toe.

Protective toe (soft though) but not steel toe.

That’s it, no other differences.

These are waterproof as well as breathable. Yes, these two particular features are somewhat contradicting but not for Keen UTILITY boots. The footbed you are going to wear provide the best possible comfort and support for the feet. The forefoot is flexible where the underfoot part is solid.

I wonder exactly when can someone say:


Let us go through the analysis:

ShoeAsk points: 93 out of 100

Editorial Recommendation: Very high. Top of the class.

(Our rating and recommendation system)

Are you in masonry, HVAC, maintenance, industrial plants, fields, airports, carpentry, brewing business, survey, shipping, power station or any other job that requires extra safety for the feet?

Well, the job may require steel toe or may not- you got both from Pittsburgh.

Whether you are a technician, supervisor or the boss in a factory, Keen covers you from every aspect related to foot safety. These are the types meant to minimize stress on your feet and maximize productivity at ease.

Points 5/5

Whenever you find a satisfied buyer of Pittsburgh, their reviews begin to get somewhat unfathomable like these evaluations:

“10 stars out of 5.”

10 out of 5? Really? That’s called cult-like loyalty.

Maybe that loyalty comes from a non-agonizing experience when you work, “all day, ranging from 12 -14 hours shifts, up to 7 days per week.”

A huge number of guys wear one after another pair, and eventually do not change brand or product. Why? ‘Cause they don’t regret buying these.

Thirty years, thirty years and thirty years!

All those senior workmen somehow managed to stop here at ‘Pittsburgh’ (with respect).

Foot difficulties are already a major issue at work: “I also suffer from plantar fasciitis in both feet. These boots by far are the best.”

Points 5/5

Some users are saying that their pairs last for a couple of years. Some of them are working for- “LAST 6 MONTHS in mud and chemicals for 12 hrs a day.”

Yes, these are not unlike every other pair, everything falls apart after a certain period of time and usage. And every product’s lifetime varies as everyone wearing the boots are different and there are some unsatisfied timespans. End verdict?

Expect something like 7 to 14 months of rough use. You can easily get more. These are worth every penny.

Points 5/5

The problem is, comfort is not a single technology like slip resistance or waterproofing. Comfort is the summation of every feature tested over time. It is a state of feelings rather than features. Whenever we see reviews like:

“I have worn Red Wings, Danner, Timberline, Wolverine, Caterpillar (fill in the blank…). Pittsburghs are hands down, the most comfortable boot I have ever worn.”

Or, “My days on my feet have ranged from 10-20 hours at a time. I worked in these for two years on concrete, around broken glass and metal pallets. They held up, my feet were safe and secure and maybe most importantly I was comfortable.”

We do not stop there. Here at ShoeAsk we dig deeper constantly. And then we tend to give the highest points. But you know what? We are kind of tired analyzing these comments on these pairs. Do you need to be ensured in extreme hard jobs?

That’s something extreme when a worker says that he spends:

  • 11-12 hours a day
  • making it 65-70 hours per week
  • walking 20 miles per day
  • and finds these boots comfy out of the box (and the legacy continues).

Points 5/5

These are more than enough waterproof. Keen would not let their KEEN.DRY feature down. By the manufacturer’s proprietary KEEN.DRY we understand that they are more waterproof than the standard waterproof boots. Like Gore-Tex, these are waterproof as well as breathable. They were able to do that by lining the boots with both hydrophobic and hydrophilic 2-zone comfortable technology.

Points 4/5

These are both oil and slip resistant. But unfortunately, we did not find their KEEN.GRIP feature in this boot’s description on their official site. Whether or not mentioned as KEEN.GRIP, these are slip resistant.

Points 5/5

When it comes to toes, these boots are miles ahead. Whether you choose the steel toe boots or not, the toe box is roomier which is more than healthy and comfortable. And then comes the outsole covering up to the toes. That is more or less unique; found mostly in UTILITY boots. Steel toes are not the same for both foot. That feature is anatomically correct. Safety toes also meet ASTM F2412-11, F2413-11 I/75 and C/75 Standards.

Points 5/5

Ever wondered why the hiking boots fit so well? That’s because you don’t get hundreds of hours of wearing before you hike. It does not work that way. The other reason is, well, if you fall, you die or break bones if you’ve got lucky enough. That’s the sense Keen keeps while making shoes for workmen. Craftsmen don’t have the luxury of breaking in for a long time. After all, you’ve got a job to do! Thus, they should fit right out of the box and fit true to size. Everything can go wrong, right?

It is better to keep the expectations lower by giving it a period to mold around: two to three weeks at best (not exactly break-in period). Many prefer their work boots roomier. Yes, loose fit is the best fit if you do not want feel the boots. In that case, order a half size up.

Points 4/5

Pittsburgh are electrical hazard boots. Or at least the steel toe ones. Keen did not highlight the feature in the manufacturer’s website and just for that there is no definitive description in Amazon either. However, we did find this on the site: “C/75 EH standards” which means they are electrically safe and measured by the ASTM standards.

Points 3/5

As work boots, they look good, but overall? No, they do not look casual. They are not fit for a party or hang out. But they undoubtedly are somewhat good looking. Pittsburgh boots are designed to be providing your feet everything but the style. When the outsole wraps everything all the way up to your toes, they might not look sleek! We’ve found a good description from a user that fits here: “definitely look and feel more like a work boot with a hiking shoe twist instead of the other way around.”

Points 4/5

The breathable membrane, as we described in the previous waterproofing feature, can promote air flow while keeping the feet dry. Their membrane “lets vapor out without letting water in.” They don’t have much insulation for cold weather. There are other styles that have less insulation.

Points 5/5

The nubuck leather upper is better but they can hold dirt. The heel lock is contoured. On the upper you get locking metal hook and lacing eyelets. See this article for more on leather.

Points 5/5

Single boot weighing under 1KG means that they are OK. So, having 876 gms of weight, they are lighter. As you can see in the image, tongue is not larger or over-padded which will eventually make some of us annoyed. You know, sometimes it feels like the tongue has a life of its own; rubbing against the shin. The collar is nicely padded down to a long way which is very comfortable and breathable.

Points 5/5

Comfort of a boot sometimes refer to these things: insoles, arch support and the midsole. Keen got it right by launching ‘metatomical’ dual density compression molded EVA footbed and polyurethane midsole. The technology is called ‘METATOMICAL FOOTBED DESIGN’ by Keen. What they mean by that is, you don’t get foot ache after a long workday. Your feet don’t mold around the boots rather the thing goes the other way: the parts beneath your foot molds and takes shape as your foot would naturally want.

Points 5/5

The non-marking thick treaded rubber outsole provide awesome support for your work needs.  Cement construction is the best for flexibility. Top class stitching.

Points 4/5

Unfortunately, there is no info whether these are odor free by antimicrobial treatment or not. It’s a common feature now a days. But these are cleanable and breathable which reduces odor in a number of ways. Yes, these tend to accumulate dirt and won’t always be scuff as you can presume. What do they recommend to do while cleaning? It is better to use leather cleaner and conditioner.

Points 5/5

Keen Utility boots and shoes have free return. 1 year warranty on material and construction. They even have 30 day satisfaction policy.

Points 5/5

Keen is one of the very best brands. Moreover, you get UTILITY, which is by default better than other keen boots.

Points 5/5

Pittsburgh boots, like many other Utility series footwear have a unique technology called KEEN.PROTECT which can provide an extra layer of protection over the toes whether you are wearing the steel toe ones or not. And needless to say that there are more on top of this feature. Our Mt. Vernon review may help you compare and decide.

Points 4/5

“these are the best boots I’ve had so far compared to all others.”- there are very few cons.

No insulation, no nail puncture sole plate, some even have seen stitch-breaking.

Some may say that these are not as durable as they should have.

Points 5/5

We feel like the editors are somewhat bound to like this enigma. Take a look at their Portland factories:

KEEN Utility Men’s Detroit Mid Steel Toe Work Boot

(Waterproof, Breathable, Puncture Resistant, Electrical Hazard and Steel Toe)

Get it on amazon

KEEN Utility Men’s Flint Low Steel Toe Work Shoe

(WP, Breathable, No Puncture Resistance, Electrical Hazard and Steel Toe)

Check Price on amazon

KEEN Utility Men’s Milwaukee 6″ Steel Toe Work Boot

(Insulated, Water Resistant, Breathable, Slip Resistant, Electrical Hazard, Steel Toe and Welt Construction)

Explore Milwaukee

Yes, these are still in the best class, amongst 2024’s greatest ones.

Keen UTILITY would not let you down any sooner.

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