By Lynne Fitzsimmons
The Keen Women’s Commuter looks just like the company’s regular sandals. It has a comfortable, removable “metatomical” foot bed, a bumper to protect toes, and it’s quick-drying because the mesh won’t absorb water.
The Commuter isn’t noticeably wide, yet it fits my wide forefoot very comfortably. It is much stiffer through the ball of the foot than non-cycling Keens, but it’s still slightly more flexible than my road shoes. I found the Commuter to be relatively comfortable for walking. In fact, this is the first cycling sandal or shoe I haven’t wanted to immediately change out of after a ride.
I bought a size 7 1/2, a half-size larger than normal for me because 7 was a bit short. The Euro size on the 7 1/2’s matches up with the sizing on my other cycling shoes, so that might be the best size predictor.
Like other Keen sandals, the Commuter has adjustable elastic laces. The pull loops in the front and rear are reflective.
The 2-bolt SPD-compatible sole let me easily install Speedplay Frog cleats. Like in walkable MTB-style cycling shoes, the cleats are recessed in the soles so they shouldn’t contact the ground. However, I can hear my Frog cleats touch just a bit when I’m walking on asphalt or concrete and down ferry ramps.
I wore my Commuters for commuting last winter. Covered by wool socks (no booties), my feet weren’t too cold even in the mid 30s (2C) — at least for my short 3.6-mile (5.8-km) ride to work.
At the other extreme, I wore these sandals in the mid 90s (35C) without socks for an hour. My feet got a little sticky toward the end of that ride. But the sandals won’t become too stinky thanks to Keen’s antimicrobial foot bed that prevents odor, staining and deterioration. If cleaning is necessary, the sandals are machine washable using the gentle cycle.
Also during sizzling weather, I wore my Commuters with summer-weight wool socks for a 10-hour century ride. There were brief periods when my soles felt hot, but all I had to do for relief was wiggle my feet. One instep was a little sore after that ride, but it was fine the next morning.
My longest ride in these sandals was 230 miles (370 km), completed in 24 hours. The temperature ranged from the low 40s to low 50s (6-12C) with occasional rain. I wore Sugoi Resistors booties part of the time and found that they fit easily over these sandals, which are a bit slimmer than Shimano’s popular version.
My feet got soaked and cold during a cloudburst when I didn’t have the booties on. But I had packed a pair of dry socks and all was good again after I put them on. Otherwise, my feet weren’t uncomfortable at any point during the long, chilly overnight ride. The sandals adjust easily to accommodate any sock thickness.
I found the Keen Women’s Commuter sandals to be comfortable for riding and walking, and stylish enough to wear in a variety of off-bike situations. I wouldn’t hesitate to use them for a ride or multiday tour of any length. In fact, I’ve worn regular cycling shoes only once since I bought these sandals about 8 months ago.