Good pedal feel, great fit but lacking adhesion
Afton Keegan looks like a skate shoe, but dig deeper and there’s technology: extra toe protection to a specially designed, mono-directional interior shank.
The shank bit means the mid-sole can flex lengthways for walking, but is stiffer laterally to better load pedals and stop feet clawing over platforms on extended downhills. The Keegan also uses a shock-absorbing foam layer between the foot bed and outer sole. This extra tier of softer padding really takes the edge of little vibrations and is super-comfy on and off the bike.
There’s good pedal feel, and a great fit with a supportive heel collar and comfy, vented tongue. The upper is effective at shrugging off splashes and rain too. The re-inforced toe box is tough at the end, although it doesn’t extend as far back over the top of the toes as some, and there’s no lace bungee to stop flapping.
Afton uses a Vans-like waffle sole design that meshes very tightly with platform pedal pins. Its ‘Intact’ rubber is 60a durometer, which is firmer than blends like Vibram’s MegaGrip or Five Ten’s Stealth, but grip is still pretty locked-on in the dry on smoother trails.
In damp greasy conditions, this rubber compound has reduced damping and friction compared to the two blends mentioned, and the sole feels more plastic-ey, causing feet to wriggle too much, even on the most aggressive pedals. On the roughest tracks the underneath also lacks rebound control and bounces and vibrates out of position on platforms more than class-leading shoes.
The stability in Afton’s upper, the comfy lining and fit is excellent, plus the price is a solid £20 less than rivals. Flat shoes live or die on pure grip levels though, and the Afton doesn’t quite cut it for me when riding hard in all conditions.