If you want to protect your toes at work, finding a pair of boots to get the job done isn’t difficult. With the introduction of composite materials and asymmetrical designs, most modern safety toes are barely noticeable.
If you want to protect your metatarsal bones, however, that’s a different story. Met guards have come a long way in recent years but most are still overly restrictive and cumbersome.
As a result, met guard boots are generally only worn by those who really need them i.e. miners, welders, and those who simply aren’t given a choice by their local health and safety department.
Today, I’ll be reviewing a met guard boot by Keen, the Mt Vernon. Is it possible to protect your met bones without sacrificing comfort?
If like me, you’ve never worn met guard boots before, the first thing that you’ll notice is that the lacing system is a little bit more complicated.
The good news is that’s actually pretty much it. There’s no noticeable addition to the boots weight. And there’s still plenty of room for your ankle to bend before the guard comes in contact with your shin.
In other words, the only time that you’ll notice the guard is when you’re lacing it up.
Like most Keen boots, break in time is minimal, slightly stiff the first day but nothing that will stop you wearing them immediately. Size wise, I ordered my usual size and they fit as expected.
The safety toe is made from steel rather than composite. But it’s cut asymmetrically so there’s still plenty of room in the toe box.
Below your feet, there’s a TPU stability shank, an EVA footbed (insole) designed to match the contours of your feet, and a PU outsole. I’ve worn a number of Keen boots with this combination and all I can say is that it works.
Shock absorption is some of the best in the industry. And this translates into a boot that should keep foot fatigue at bay regardless of the length of your shift.
Both the steel toe and met guard meet ASTM F2413-11 standards. This means that whether you feel it or not, your metatarsal bones are well protected. The sole/heel provides electrical hazard protection. And the outsole has enough slip resistance to pass ASTM F1677-96 Mark 11 testing standards. There’s also a well defined heel in case you spend time on ladders. Basically, they have everything except a puncture proof sole.
The uppers on the Mt Vernon utilize a waterproof membrane called Keen.Dry. It’s designed to repel water while still allowing your feet to breathe. The upside of this technology is that it will keep your feet dry in wet conditions without overheating them. The downside is that they’re not waterproof enough to stand submerged in water and they offer little to no insulation against the cold.
External met guards and casual wear obviously don’t belong in the same sentence. For on the job wear, however, they’re a lot more stylish than I was expecting. The met guard doesn’t change the overall shape of the boot. The leather looks high end. And the combination of cascade brown leather and cream stitching works.
The Mt Vernon Met has a score of 4.6/5 on Amazon but it’s only been reviewed 10 times. The original Mt Vernon, on the other hand, looks identical and has been more thoroughly tested. It’s been reviewed 93 times for an average review of 4.3 stars out of 5.
The Mt Vernon Met combines the comfort that you’d expect from a high end Keen boot with a met guard that’s barely noticeable. The uppers are waterproof but breathable. And even with the external met guard, it still manages to score a few style points.
It’s a little pricey. It’s a little light on customer reviews. But it’s still an easy boot to recommend for anybody who works in an environment that puts their metatarsal bones at risk.