Testing the Keegan on a sandy Nevada climb
Even though Afton is a new kid on the block in the world of mountain bike shoes, they have made a bold entry by choosing their own sole material, the proprietary Intact Rubber. The Afton Keegan is built on this sticky, but-not-too-sticky foundation. Since we're always excited to give new options a try, just like with the Ride Concepts Livewire, we eagerly unboxed the shoes and checked out the new soles. The sole pattern is a consistent series of hexagonal shaped triangles that runs the entire length of the shoe. We noticed right away that the rubber did have a nice tacky feel. Afton says the soles have a Shore A rubber hardness score of 60. To put this in perspective, a pencil eraser has a score of 40 and a typical running shoe has a score of 70. A score of 60 is comparable to an automotive tire. So with all of those numbers and comparison in mind, what does that mean? Well, we put soles to pedals to find out.
Our initial impression was pretty good, the relatively soft rubber seemed to grip our pedal pins pretty securely. Once we started fine tuning our foot position on the pedal, we noticed how easy it was to move the soles of our test shoes around on the pins. After more riding and playing with foot position a ton, we felt the grip of this model was less secure than other tested shoes, like the Five Ten Freerider or the Shimano GR7. For the rider seeking the most solid connection to their bike, a shoe like the Five Ten Freerider Contact or Ion Raid Amp II would be more likely choices. Not everyone wants their shoe to pedal connection to feel that aggressive and for those riders, the Afton Keegan soles might be the right choice.
Racking up the miles testing our test shoes grip
With its more casual style, we anticipated a comfortable shoe and overall that's what we found. The uppers of this model are a softer suede-like material and have a more pliable feel than other shoes like the Five Ten Freerider Pro. Afton equipped the shoes with a generously padded collar around the opening of the shoe which prevented any pressure on the achilles. The tongue of the shoes is padded with a relatively thin and soft foam material which performed adequately unless we laced our test shoes on the tighter side. With tighter laces, the tongue padding was squeezed pretty tightly and we noticed some pressure on the tops of our feet. A quick side note on the provided laces: This shoe does not have a lace keeper, but the laces are by far the shortest in our test shoes. This does keep the laces out of the way, but made it tough for our double-knotting test riders to complete that second half of their knots. The antimicrobial insoles are made of a softer foam that feels good initially, but is easily bottomed out and didn't provide much cushioning or support. The Keegan has a lower volume fit than many of our other test shoes, and Afton actually recommends sizing up one size for wider feet. We did notice the forefoot of the shoe is pretty narrow and even a medium width foot makes for a pretty snug fit and some pressure at the ball of the foot. The mono-directional shank that Afton includes in the shoe is a nice touch that did perform as advertised, providing protection from pedal pressure and impacts while still allowing decent flexibility when we were off the bike walking.
Comfortable out of the box
Rigidity and Power Transfer
As we finished lacing up our Afton Keegans, we could feel the walk-friendly nature of the shoe. Unlike other, stiffer shoes, like the Five Ten Freerider Pro, the Keegan feels like a normal street shoe while walking. With this off the bike flexibility, we were surprised at how much rigidity we felt once we started pedaling. The mono-directional shank made its presence known quickly. This is a relative comparison in relation to the softer casual shoe feel. Although the Keegans pedaled better than anticipated, the shoe is still on the softer side.
Testing on the bike rigidity and power transfer
Good walking comfort
As we found with almost every pair of our tested shoes, the Afton Keegan tips the scales at 14oz. If weight is a concern for you, all of our test subjects are virtually the same weight and you can't go wrong with any shoe when it comes to counting ounces.
These shoes tip the scales at 14 oz.
When it comes to breathability, this model falls right in the middle of the pack. The Keegan is not the most breathable shoe in our lineup but is certainly more breathable than some. The Keegan utilizes venting slots on the sides and toe of the shoe which provides adequate airflow for keeping your feet cool on warmer days. Afton also thoughtfully backed these vents with a thin mesh to keep debris out of the shoe. We rode in a variety of temperatures this spring here in the Sierras and found the Afton Keegan performed well in both cooler and warmer conditions when paired with the right socks. The Keegan is an all-around performer with breathability on par with other shoes in our test fleet like the Five Ten Sleuth.
The Keegan is a great choice for riders in most areas, especially if you're looking for style off the bike too
Taking a break while testing the Keegans
After scraping our test shoes around on rocks, coarse pine tree bark, and chainrings, we found the uppers seem to be in it for the long haul. We can't tell the future when it comes to the long-term life of a shoe, but we can make an educated guess for you. With the abuse we mentioned above, the only signs of wear were some superficial scratches and no real damage. When it comes to the lifespan of Afton's proprietary Intact rubber soles, only time will tell since this is a new material. Initial testing does look good, with no signs of wear or damage from your our abusive testing. After a couple months of testing, the Afton Keegan looks like it will hold up as well as other tried and true models in our test like the Five Ten Freerider and Giro Riddance.
At $100, this shoe is a good value for riders looking for all-around performance and street style in a more affordable shoe.
The Afton Keegan is designed for riders who need an all-around performer no matter where the trail takes you, even if it's a casual day at work after a bike commute or out for an after-ride beer.