The US$59 Keen Ventura Suede shoes are good enough for bike camping, grab-and-go errand riding, and night rides with the mates. The familiar Keen rubber outsole, found on the Portland, OR-based company’s popular sandals, provides protection, durability and a cool skateboarder-with-a-PhD look.
The fairly heavy (421g) Venturas are overbuilt, ideal for everyday practical use on and off the bike. Not everyone wants to clip in, and with the popularity of chic urban transportation, platform pedals are becoming more accepted.
Keen has expanded its rugged outdoorsy concept for its Blvd line. The smartly-designed Ventura’s jute and cork footbed is removeable, exposing a surprisingly clean latex insole. Like the popular Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers, the Venturas have reinforced breather eyelet holes in the instep uppers. Feet will stink if they’re trapped inside suede, so this will not only let your piggies breathe, it will extend the life of the shoes.
Unlike the Chuck Taylors, I found the Ventura’s soles are stiff enough for the pedals, flexible enough for walking, and comfortable enough for daily use.
If you’re looking for shoes for casual riding, consider the Keen Ventura Suedes. Practical cycling wear doesn’t need to always come from a cycling company, although Keen does pride itself part of the Portland cycling culture. I’ve spent several consecutive days in my test pair, both on road and off. My persnickety feet felt right at home, and no one in my household has complained of a strange odour.
© BikeRadar 2007