Oxford Leather Shoes from Keen (part of 'Minimal' line)

Formal, “oxford”-style shoes that have gone minimal? That’s perhaps a new frontier KEEN has bridged with two models slated for release next year.

The minimalist craze has impacted footwear in virtually every realm over the past few years. It appears the workplace is no exception.

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Keen Delancey Lace for women

As part of its CNX line for spring 2013, Oregon-based KEEN has a number of minimalist models that, depending on dress code, would seem passable in even a more formal place of work.

The Delancey Lace for women and Bleecker Lace for men are both casual leather oxfords that weigh 9 ounces or less. A handsome, subdued design would allow these to work with a suit or other dressy clothes.

But like the rest of the company’s to-be-released CNX line, these shoes also feature a flexible sole and 4mm heel-to-toe drop. The light weight and other traits qualify the shoes as “minimalist” by some standards.

Keen goes a step further, too, citing that you can hike, run, or ride in the shoes with comfort and performance. This is because the chassis under the oxford-style uppers is the same one seen in the company’s multi-sport shoes.

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Bleecker Lace for men

The protective, rubberized toe cap that KEEN is known for is present. But the Delancey and Bleecker, as well as the rest of the CNX line, are sleeker and more slimmed-down than almost anything else the company has built. They are narrower, lighter, and they have a cup-heel design to keep the foot in place.

The CNX line is slated to hit stores February 1, 2013, with 20 shoe types. It includes minimalist water shoes, multi-sport, sandals, and kids shoes as well as the dressier shoes you can wear stealthily to work during the day.

—Patrick Murphy is an assistant editor.

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Side view: Two color options for men’s Bleecker Lace

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