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Hands-on Gear Review
Keen Targhee II Mid - Women's Review
Cons: Low ankle shaft height, low durability
Bottom line: For a fairly inexpensive hiking boot, the Keen Targhee II are both durable and comfortable all day on the trail.
The Keen Targhee II Mid has been one of our favorite choices for well-priced, all-around hiking boot for years. This year, we put them to the test once again to compare them to the latest in hiking boot design. The Targhee II did not disappoint and ended up ranking as one of our best value boots. They are comfortable and supportive and held up well during our weeks of testing on the mountain trails of California.
RELATED: Our complete review of hiking boots - women's
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
Weighing only 1.78 lbs, the Keen Targhee II Mid provides comfort and stability while achieving a lightweight feel and a moderate price tag.
For a lightweight day hiker, the Keen Targhee II ranked high in comfort. From the moment we put them on to the end of the day after a long hike, the Targhee II felt great on our feet. The contoured heel lock and the Torsion Stability ESS Flank kept our feet from moving around inside the shoe and provided cushion in places, like the heel, that can use extra support. We also found that the Targhee II had a wide toe box, which helped their quick break-in period and our initial impression of overall comfort. Other boots that accommodate wide feet are the Hoka One One Tor Ultra - Womens and the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid - Women's, which actually come in a wide version. The manufacturer does note that this version of the Targhee II is running a half size small and suggests ordering a half size larger than your normal shoe size.
One of the first aspects of this boot we noticed during testing was the stiffness of the sole and thick layer of rubber that protects the toe. The Targhee II has 4 mm lug depths that add to the stiff nature of the boot. That being said, we found that the thickness of the sole did not match the height of the boot. They did not provide as much support in the ankle as they did in the heel and toe box. The Vasque Monolith - Womens provided more consistant support throughout the boot. The Vasque Monolith - Womens provided more consistent support throughout the boot, but not as much support underfoot. A boot that was similar to the Targhee in this regard was the Oboz Bridger Mid, which has an extremely stiff sole and a similarly reinforced toe box. The Vasque Monolith is a lighter boot overall and is a less stiff choice than the Keen or Oboz.
These boots are our second lightest boot that we tested this year which made them some of the best for day hiking. They weigh only 14.2 oz, which is only 2 oz more than the Columbia Redmond, but they provide much more support. They weigh only 1 lb 12 oz, which is only 4 oz more than the Columbia Redmond, but they provide much more support. The Vasque Monolith as well as both of the Ahnu boots are right around the same weight and all perform similarly as a substantial day hiking boot. Once these boots were on, we never thought of taking them off and they never felt heavy on our feet, even after a full day of hiking.
The 4mm lug depths that we mentioned adding to the stability and support of these boots also contributed to their ability to hold traction on loose gravel and uneven terrain. The tread pattern on these boots kept us upright no matter the surface. The sturdy rubber toe cap, similar to that of the OBoz Bridger Mid, is nicely integrated into the sole, adding to the overall stability of the boot. The Salomon X Ultra Mid GTX - Womens also has rubber toe cap, which was a feature that stood out to us in both boots.
The boots themselves are very water-resistant; even in a few inches of water our feet remained dry. That said, the ankle height is short, so in very deep water or heavy rain socks will still get wet. The Keen Dry waterproof/breathable membrane worked well, but the Vasque Monolith - Womens, with similar ankle height and price, ended up being more water resistant than the Targhee II. Boots with a higher ankle shaft, like the Ahnu Montara or Ahnu Sugarpine are going to protect more of the foot than the Targhee, with its fairly low ankle.
While most of the boot is made of leather and rubber, there are portions of the Targhee II that are mesh. This allows the boot to be breathable, but it does mean that wear occurs more quickly in those areas. After a number of uses, the boots began to show a bit of wear on the seams and in the mesh panels on the sides. Other boots, like the Merrell Capra Bolt and the Columbia Redmond Mid, showed wear in similar areas along the sides of the upper. For a more durable boot, we found that boots with fewer seams along the widest part of the foot held up better. Boots that fell into this category were the Ahnu Montara or the Lowa Renegade Mid.
These are a great first hiking boot, since they are relatively inexpensive, very comfortable and easy to break in. They are an especially good option for those with wider feet, as the toe box is very roomy. The rubber toe cap protects the foot well, and the sole is thick, making them a good choice for rugged hikes with lots of rocks.
As the winner of last season's Best Value Award, the Keen Targhee II remains a great boot for the hiker who is looking to get a sturdy pair of boots for a reasonable price. With them found online for around $135, it is hard to beat the value of the Targhee II.
Based out of Portland, Oregon, Keen has been making quality footwear at reasonable prices for years. The Targhee II is a tried and true favorite. The boots are comfortable right out of the box, protect the foot with sturdy soles and leather upppers, and provide support through in the ankle and underfoot. They are also waterproof and held up well during the testing period. The Targhee II is a great all-around boot with a low price tag.
— Jane Jackson
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 27, 2016
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