Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on March 18th, 2010 at 10:13 am
Portland’s bike-friendly vibe continues to wear off on Keen Footwear. When they moved their corporate headquarters here in 2006, they wasted no time in putting bikes in their product catalog. Two years later, they promised to expand their cycling-oriented product line.
They’ve kept their promise.
They started by putting an SPD-compatible sole on their well-known sandal design. Then they came out with a closed-toe, cleated bike shoe dubbed the “Springwater“. Now they’ve added two more models to their “Pedal” line — the “Coronado Cruiser” and the “Austin“.
I’m currently wearing a pair of Austins (which, for the record, were given to me free of charge by a Keen rep).
I go back and forth between using cleated pedals and big platforms on my daily commuter bike. I like the efficiency (and option to go fast when I want to) SPDs give me. Also, I’m constantly on my bike and going in and out of meetings of varying formality, so I like to wear something a bit more classy than tennis shoes. Also, waterproof material is key for me.
The Austin delivers on many of those fronts. I’ve been wearing them a week and so far I’m pretty impressed. The shoes are very well-made, they’ve got a stiff, yet comfortable sole and insole, and they look pretty sharp. The SPD cleat is nice and recessed and I only know it’s there when I stomp into my pedals.