Review: Keen Commuter III SPD Cycling Sandals

Keen-Commuter-III-cycling-sandal-review

For this season, Keen introduced an all-new and all-better Commuter III SPD-compatible cycling sandal. It’s wider and more anatomically friendly than the Commuter II, with designs that are far more practical for its name.

For me, the Commuter III has largely been used to pull the kids to school on the Yuba or with the Trail-a-Bike, plus the occasional beverage run or social ride. All of these have been done on flat pedals and with happy feet. If you’re looking for something to easily take you on a ride that beats this summer’s oppressive heat, step past the break…

 

Keen-Commuter-III-cycling-sandal-review-and-comparison-between-old-and-new

Where the second generation Commuter sandal had aggressive tread lugs (right, both pics), the new one has a more urban (ie. commuter) friendly, soft rubber tread. It not only makes them more comfortable to walk in, but they hold onto flat pedals better, pins or not.

You’ll also notice the much wider, more shapely last. The II’s were a bit tight, not what you typically expect from Keen.

Keen-Commuter-III-cycling-sandal-review

Keen warns that they run about a 1/2 size big, and that seems about right. I usually wear a 13, and that’s what’s tested here.

Keen-Commuter-III-cycling-sandal-review

You can see there’s plenty of room in front of my toes, which makes them comfortable, but they didn’t feel too big and in no way clumsy. The covered toe box removes the mental block I had against riding a bike in sandals, keeping the piggies safe and sound.

Keen-Commuter-III-cycling-sandal-review

The inside is a neoprene-like mesh with Aegis Microshield antibacterial protection. The footbed is also anti-odor and non-absorbent, and they’ve been stink-free all summer. A bolt-on plate covers the SPD mount, and there’s a full length shank to make it stiff enough for decent power transfer…

Keen-Commuter-III-cycling-sandal-review

…but not so stiff as to make walking feel odd. They’re perfectly fine for walking downtown or wandering up and down the local market’s aisles trying to find something new and interesting to drink.

Oddly, these are no longer showing up in the Men’s Pedal collection for the US on Keen’s website, but they are for Women’s. Or just change your country selection (or hit up REI or another retailer) to find them. Retail is $110 USD.

And if you don’t care about the slightly stiffer sole or SPD-ness, just go with the Newport sandal, which is essentially the same style minus the bike-friendly features.

Comments

tc - 08/18/13 - 7:44pm

My wife has been spinning, road riding and mountain biking in her Keen SPD sandals for years and raves about how well they work. This summer, prior to a road biking vacation where I would be on and off the bike frequently, I ordered a pair of Keen Arroyos, as I could not find a mens’ sandal. The Arroyo is all but a sandal, a cut out shoe essentially. I’m sold on them. They work great on and off the bike. We run SPD on all our bikes, so it’s one pair of shoes for everything. On 40 degree colorado mornings, a mid weight wool sock paired well with the Keens. For everything except the most hard core hammerhead rides, the Keens are perfect.

pepo - 08/18/13 - 10:02pm

do these fred-boots come with a matching air attack?

Jim - 08/19/13 - 12:06am

Dd you even test rid them w cleats?

Pat - 08/19/13 - 2:07am

Kill me now…!
Only for wearing with khakis, bushy bears and wing mirrors on your crash hat.
tc…socks and sandals???? Are you for real, the police will arrest you on the spot for crimes against peoples sight.

Gringo - 08/19/13 - 2:12am

These will go great with my big ass beard, white socks and helmet mirror!

fakemind - 08/19/13 - 8:02am

Finger toes, or 3 sizes too big?

Wick - 08/19/13 - 8:43am

Do these come with a pink fanny pack ad pastel tank top?

Ant'ney - 08/19/13 - 9:42am

Perfect for the recumbent rider!

Kurt the Mechanic - 08/19/13 - 10:27am

You can call me a Fred if you want but I love these shoes. I wear them on my commute to the shop, all day in the shop, and then to the local pub. They are very versatile and keep me from having to carry another pair of shoes around with me. I might be a fred but I am the fred that will beat you up and down the single track and leave you in the dust on the county line sprints.

satisFACTORYrider - 08/19/13 - 10:36am

so you fred the gnar, kurt?
they are ugly as #*-t but if you can pin it more power to ya!

edubfromktown - 08/19/13 - 3:08pm

Overpriced, fugly and still too heavy.

Lake I/O SDL’s were an awesome alternative… too bad they discontinued ‘em (most likely due to high retail price and low sales volume).

Kurt the Mechanic - 08/19/13 - 3:08pm

“fred the gnar!”

I love it. I am going to start using that. You should copyright it. I see sticker and T-shirt making in your future.

While Keens are not the most fashionable of shoes, they are just as popular as beards, VW buses, and hemp made clothing here in Southern Oregon.

satisFACTORYrider - 08/19/13 - 4:11pm

feel free to use it, kurt. all my friends i ride with are old skool bmx and moto so as we’ve aged we constantly are fredding the gnar, the track, the skatepark…aka sack ‘n’ stack.

Willy - 02/27/14 - 1:48pm

I wear the Commuter II’s today, also in size 13. My biggest complaint is that they are too narrow, and to be comfortable my little toe has to ride outside the sandal. Do the Commuter III’s fix this, by offering a wider toe box?

John - 04/21/14 - 12:35pm

Yes. The Commuter III’s are much wider, more in line with Keen’s width in their standard sandals that are similar.

Szymon / Znajkraj - 06/16/14 - 11:15am

Is this shoe discontinued now? What is the alternative for it? I’m looking for a light SPD shoe for warm summer… Thanks for help :)

stephen a smith - 08/16/14 - 4:39pm

Don’t buy thees…it appears they are discontinued since they don’t appear on the Keen website now.

I was hoping this would be the perfect bicycle touring shoe…comfortable to walk in but with an spd cleat. I tested them for 500 miles on the bike and did a few long walks before taking them on an 800 mile trek to Eastern Canada. They seemed perfect. Halfway through the trip a cleat bolt fell out, making them useless on the bike. Two more cleat bolts eventually fell out. I had to buy non-clip-in pedals at a hardware store to complete my trip. This has never happened to me in about 50,000 miles of cycling with step-in cleats over the past 25 years. The cleat mount is apparently made from inferior material that cannot stand up to the rigors of actual cycling. Now that I know I can’t trust them on the road they’ll go in the trash…I won’t even submit them for warrantee since all they’ll do is send me another pair of inferior shoes, for which I have no need. Maybe they’re ok for around town but for real cycling, don’t bother. I guess it was a mistake to expect a quality cycling shoe from a footwear manufacturer…i’ll stick to cycling equipment company shoes in the future.

scotch - 11/06/14 - 7:20am

I’ve been using the Commuter sandals (have 2 pair) for around 5 years. I’ve had to take them in a couple of times to the local shoe repair store to keep them going but I love them. Have I had a cleat screw come out? yes, but not for the past 3-4 years. Have I had a cleat screw come out of regular SPD biking shoes? yes. I’ve learned to check the screws on occasion and to use loctite. They are the only biking shoes I own.
I ride primarily singletrack and have used them from 100 mile races on the CAMBA trails in WI to all day excursions on the North Umpqua in OR and many CO, MT, NM, AZ, etc. trails in between. I hate to see them discontinued.
Stephen Smith, if yours are a size 10-11 and you still have them I’ll take them off your hands, pay shipping and toss in a few bucks extra.

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