Urban Velo

Keen Springwater II Cycling Shoes

Keen first entered the cycling shoe market with an SPD compatible version of their popular sandals. The Springwater II is Keen’s second generation closed-toe SPD compatible cycling shoe. The major changes over the original version are improved fit and a lower price point, but many of the features remain unchanged. They feature a three-strap Velcro closure system, a full-length support plate, moisture-wicking lining, a non-marking rubber outsole and uppers made from synthetic materials.

What interested me in these shoes was the desire for a slightly more performance oriented shoe for city riding, as well as a slightly more casual shoe for mountain biking. Because as much as I appreciate the styling of my urban SPD shoes, there are reasons that high-performance cycling shoes don’t have shoelaces. And as much as I appreciate my carbon fiber soled mountain bike shoes, if the whole point of riding is to end up at a bar or restaurant, it’s nice to be able to walk across a tile floor without sounding like a bad imitation of Gregory Hines. Besides, there are many rides that involve time off the bike, whether it be in the city or elsewhere. In those situations, these shoes excel, yet they’re still stiff enough to put power to the pedals and resist “hot spots” associated with riding in soft shoes.

In addition to commuting and general urban riding, I took these on a vacation where I spent several hours at a time riding mountain bikes in the desert. I never felt any noteworthy foot discomfort, and I found that they were not only sure-footed, but that the ample rubber toe cap offered additional protection while hiking over particularly rocky stretches of trail.

Interestingly, I typically find that Keen shoes run a little large, and Keen says they find that the Springwater II shoes run a little small. The result? A perfect fit for me. I also especially like the feel of the insole, which has a lot of arch support.

If I had to level any complaints it would be that the sole could have more space around the cleat. This could be solved with a utility knife, I know, but I personally hate hacking away at expensive footwear with a razor. And perhaps the top strap could be a little longer, though it makes enough contact to do the job. I do kind of wish that Keen would offer an even more subtle color scheme (or at least do away with the bright yellow accents) but I’m happy with the look of these as they are.

I’ve also been very happy with the wear resistance of Keen’s cycling shoes. The Coronado Cruiser shoes I reviewed two years ago are still going strong, with no sign of fading anytime soon. And that’s despite a legitimate amount of abuse on the bike polo courts.

The Springwater II shoes are available in black/yellow and grey/red. They retail for $110. Check out www.keenfootwear.com.

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  1. PatrickMarch 19, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    If only Keen would get serious about the UK cycling market! I’ve been wearing Keen Newport sandals for some years now and find them the most comfortable summer sandal I’ve ever worn. When I heard that there was an spd-compatible version available I searched everywhere for it – to no avail. Fortunately my son was living in Vancouver at the time so I picked up a pair when I visited him.. They attracted quite a few puzzled looks during my vacation in France last summer. What I like about Keen is the wide fitting; I find regular cycling shoes too narrow for my feet. I guess another trip to North America is on the cards!

  2. BenMarch 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    It’s unfortunate these look like old peoples orthopedic Velcro shoes

  3. TobinMarch 19, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    I wear a pair of first generation Springwaters for my daily commute – which I love – but the velcro on the top strap only lasted about a month before it ripped through the threading. I fixed with new adhesive velcro, staples and gaffer tape. Fix does the trick but hopefully Keen has put more attention into this stress point for their Springwater II.

  4. ReubenMarch 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    I own the originals. They are my favorite because they fit my wide feet well. I just wish Keen would make a more casual cycling sneaker. DZR shoes are just way too thin for my feet and don’t want to wear Keen’s other cycling shoe because it looks like I should be going to a job interview in them.

  5. BenMarch 20, 2012 at 11:40 am

    My Keen Austin shoes are butt.

    They aren’t particularly comfortable, especially for longer walks.

    The stock insoles are quite uncomfortable, get slippery, and make smells worse.

    They have a tendency to eat a pair of shoe laces every few weeks, even after I try to round out the eyelets with a chainsaw file.

    The cleat tends to rip the part of the sole where it attaches. This makes the cleat come loose so that my feet are hard to extract from the pedal. A friend of mine had the same problem.

    I’ve actually had two pairs of the same shoes because my wife bought me a replacement pair as a gift, after my first pair wore out. I was planning on getting different shoes, but it didn’t work out that way. I had all the same issues with both pairs.

    All very annoying. I don’t think Keen really has their act together with their cycling shoe offerings.

  6. Chris GoodmanMarch 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I have a pair of the original Springwaters. I wanted some wide shoes in which I could fit some orthotic type insoles in (flat feet) but which I could walk in properly off the bike – particularly for a 7 week long ride from London to (and around) Switzerland (on and off road). They’ve performed really well, both with that trip and with the daily commute. Nothing has fallen off and they’ve stayed comfortable – if anything though, I need to replace the insole that I added as its not giving me the same support that it was. The cleat is totally recessed so doesn’t clatter on the tarmac when you walk, and they look ok enough off the bike to be the only pair of shoes that I took with me on the long trip, except for a pair of flip flops. I did have to order them from Holland, and despite what Keen (and others) say about the sizing, I had to go a couple of European sizes up… I’m a size 10 UK which normally equates to 44.5-45 but had to get a pair of 47s in the Springwater for them to be long enough!!

  7. UrbanVelo.org – Featuring Springwater II – March 19, 2012March 25, 2012 at 1:25 am

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