Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $130 - $135 | Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros: Extremely comfortable, lightweight, great toe protection.
Cons: Soles wear out quickly
Best Uses: Dayhiking, light backpacking, canyoneering.
Known for its sandals, the Keen company does surprisingly well with its hiking boots. The Keen Targhee II wins our Best Buy award for being the most comfortable, high functioning boots for the least amount of money. They are waterproof, supportive, and offer tons of toe protection. Their main downside is that the foam on the soles may not last through multiple seasons of hiking, but if you are looking for unmatched comfort in a dayhiker at an easily accessible price, the Targhee II fits the bill. If you love this boot but don't need protection from water, check out the Keen Voyageur, which has the same sole and toe-box, but has a meshy upper and lacks a waterproof membrane, making them more breathable. These boots are a similar weight and comparable in features to the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid - Women's, which is comfortable, supportive, and waterproof, but are much less expensive. If you need a heavier boot for backpacking, look into the Scarpa Kailash or the Asolo Bullet GTX - Women's.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Available in a mid and low-cut version, The Targhee II can offer more ankle range of motion or more ankle support, whichever you prefer. The toe bumper adds extra support around the front of the foot.
The multi-directional lugs on the sole provide great traction for multiple types of terrain.
Keens have a very unique toe box. It may look a little goofy, but it provides the least restricting fit. The toes have room to move, yet the heel cup is secure enough that the foot does not slide around.
We find the look of Keens to be a bit funky. However, the looks are dictated by function, providing an especially comfortable and protective toe-box, so it makes the unusual looks excusable. The color choices on the Targhee II are fun with bright accents.
Overall, Keen boots seem sturdy and durable. The extra rubber on the toe holds up to as much toe-stubbing as the sloppiest hiker can manage. However, the first thing to wear out would be the exposed EVA foam on the sole. We polled other tough women hikers to see what they think of the hiking boots in this review, and one female Forest Service employee got out her pair of Keens that she wore continuously for one summer, and showed us how the sole was deteriorating. The EVA makes them light and cushy, but the sole will not last as long as burlier boots with Vibram soles such as the Asolo TPS 520 GV or the Asolo Bullet.
Water Resistance / Breathability
Keen's proprietary waterproof membrane, KEEN.DRY, stood up to our water resistance test. We wore them into ankle deep water, and none at all crept inside. The coldness of the creek water could be felt, but the feet themselves stayed perfectly dry.
A retail associate at Mammoth Mountaineering in Mammoth Lakes, California, a frequent stop for PCT hikers, reported that Keen hiking boots are very popular with customers. One couple returned to the store and raved about how amazing and comfortable they are, both of them buying a second pair to save for when their first pair wears out.
Because of their light weight, great protection, and waterproof membrane, these are perfect for day hikes, short backpacking trips, and even canyoneering where you will be romping through wet pools.
At $130, these are among the least expensive boots in this review, as well as being among the most comfortable. If you are looking for an inexpensive waterproof boot to get you through some hiking or canyoneering adventures, these would be an excellent choice that would not disappoint.
The Keen Targhee II Mid is the men's version of this shoe. You can also purchase this shoe in the low top version, for both women and men: Targhee II - Women's, $125 and Targhee II, $130.
— McKenzie Long
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: April 10, 2014
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