Afton Shoes is one of the youngest and most progressive riding footwear brands in the mountain bike scene. You will see top level riders like previous Crankworx King Adrien Loron and World Cup rippers Neko Mulally and Reece Wilson riding in Afton shoes. Afton is known for their modern urban styling mixed with technical features that combined are aimed to change the landscape of cycling footwear. Our guy Max Morgan has been riding in both the Afton Vectal clipless shoes and the Afton Keegan flat pedal shoes all year and so we thought it was a no brainer to get his thoughts on how the Keegan flat pedal shoes have performed.
The first pair of Afton shoes were released in the Fall of 2017. The shoes have been tweaked and improved at each release of new colorways in the Spring of 2018 and the Fall of 2018. The latest release of Afton shoes uses their second generation Intact Rubber compound and features a more accurate sizing fit.
Reinforced toe box with additional protective PU taping together protect your toes and shoes from rock deflections and impacts.
I've ridden the Keegan shoes mostly with a pair of Deity TMAC Signature pedals but also a few days with the Crankbrothers Stamp small and large pedals. The Deity TMAC pedals use a deep concave platform and 14 adjustable pins per side to keep your feet locked in. I run the pins at the stock height all the way around. They are grippy pedals for sure and pair up nicely with the Keegan shoes.
I've been wearing the Keegan shoes casually just as much as I ride in them. I ride clipped in most of the time, but when its time for some flat pedals, I grab the Keegans for any bike with no hesitation.
When you get the Afton shoes in your hands, they have a nice feel to them. The construction in the toe box is sturdy and the taping around the toe gives the shoe a nice finish. When you tighten up the laces, the shoe snugs up nice without any pinching. The laces on the older shoes are waxed and also a bit wide keeping them locked in, while the laces used on the latest models are a bit narrower and run smoother through the eyelets.
Before I got out to ride, I swung my leg over the bike and set my feet down on the TMAC pedals. My first impression of the Keegan felt like they were going to be sticky enough to grip the pins but also give you the freedom to adjust your feet if you needed to.
I am wearing a US size 9.5 Afton and for comparison, I also wear a US size 9.5 Vans shoe. When I first slid the shoes on, my first impression on the fit was good. There weren't any uncomfortable pinch points anywhere on my foot and the shoes were comfortable to walk in. When snugged up, the laces keep everything nice and tidy, and the Keegans didn't feel like a big clunky shoe.
The Keegan shoe was given the 2018 Design & Innovation Award for its one directional flexible sole, never seen before in flat pedal mountain bike shoes. The flex pattern of the sole is designed to give you both no-compromise walkability and no-compromise shoe stiffness for foot impact protection and efficient power transfer. What that translates to in the real world is you can be comfortable hiking and climbing off your bike all day long, and have a stiff enough shoe underneath you so that if you do land flat, ride through a really rough section, or have a big impact, the Keegan will still support your foot. That's pretty amazing! I wear my Keegans all day as a casual shoe and then hop right on my bike with what feels like a technical shoe.
Probably one of the most important aspects of a flat pedal shoe is the rubber compound on the sole. The Afton Keegan uses what they call their Intact Rubber and for me was grippy enough to keep my feet planted on the pedal and also not tear or get chewed up. Most flat pedal riders are familiar with FiveTen shoes and the Stealth Rubber they use. The rubber sole on the Keegans feels like it is just one tick harder than the Stealth Rubber but for that same reason they still look brand new after a year of riding. I think it's a perfect balance.
One of the only negatives with the Keegan shoes is that they do take a little bit of time to dry out. If you are riding in terrain where your shoes get splashed occasionally, the toe box on the Keegan will keep you dry, but if you get completely soaked, the same materials that keep the Keegan nice and comfortable also keep it from drying super quick. I've found that setting the shoes in front of a box fan for a few hours does the trick!
If you are looking for a mountain bike shoe that looks great without giving up any performance features, the Afton Keegan shoes need to be on your radar. The low profile aesthetic is paired with urban styling and one of a kind shank technology. The mono-directional shank design gives you the best of both worlds; being able to support your foot on the pedal during big impacts while still being comfortable enough to walk around in all day. The Intact Rubber grips very good and isn't too chewed up, even after one year riding in the same pair. The rubber on the sole isn't as soft as the Stealth Rubber used on FiveTen shoes but has been much more durable. The materials used throughout the shoe are anti-microbial but do hold moisture so they don't dry out as quick as some other shoes on the market.
Max Morgan is 26 years old, and lives in Brevard, North Carolina. Max grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and started racing downhill at the age of 15. He has now been racing professionally for the last 8 years, competing in the UCI World Cup series and U.S. Pro GRT series. To learn more about Max, check out Max's rider spotlight here!