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Hands-on Gear Review
Keen Targhee II Mid - Women's Review
Cons: Low ankle shaft height, low durability
The Keen Targhee II Mid hiking boots earn our Best Buy award for being a very comfortable yet inexpensive product. They are an incredible value for a boot with a fit resembling that of a hiking shoe, and they provide excellent toe protection. Weighing in at 1.8 pounds per pair for a women's size 8, they are one of the two lightest pair of hiking boots in our women's review. An aggressive sole with 4 mm lugs keeps you upright and moving forward on the trail. With a proprietary waterproof/breathable lining, the water resistance is akin to any of the other women's boots in our test and only rated lower as a result of having the lowest ankle height. These boots are an all around value.
RELATED: Our complete review of hiking boots - women's
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
For hiking boots that resemble the price point, fit, and comfort of a hiking shoe but have the tread, water resistance, and support of a hiking boot, look no farther than the Keen Targhee II Mid lightweight boots.
At 1.8 pounds per pair, the Keen Targhee II are one of two pairs in our test weighing under 2 pounds. They feel as light on the trail as they do on the scale. The weight is comparable to the weight of many top women's hiking shoes. Light weight is appreciated during long trail days spent hiking or trail building. The less weight on your feet, the longer you can hike without tiring.
These boots have stiff rubber soles that stabilize and support. Although the ankle height measures within a ¼ inch of all the other women's hiking boots, the ankle shaft feels shorter while hiking and in stream crossings. The ankle shaft height adds support, particularly on steep and slick surfaces. Although this boot offers decent all-around support, we found more ankle support in the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid - Women's and La Sportiva FC ECO 3.0 GTX - Women's. The Targhee II also features dual density compression molded midsoles with torsion stability ESS shanks and a metatomical foot bed design for a women's specific arch support. The forefoot is flexible and unrestricting with each step.
While building trails in Tuolumne Meadows, we found ourselves in demanding terrain, lifting downed tress up and down loose slopes, and shifting large granite boulders while holding our footing on the a granite step below. This boot impressed! After a day of hard, manual work, our feet felt comfortable and well supported. In fact, taking our boots off was not the first thought when the work day ended.
An aggressive tread pattern and lug depths of 4 mm hold these boots on the trail while traversing granite, steep slopes, and on wet rock. We tested the traction in a variety of conditions with and without a backpack to find out how gripped we could remain. Theys kept us on our feet.
Initially, we experienced slight discomforts while wearing this boot. The rubber toe protection pressed into the tops of our toes and the sides of the tongue pressed down on our feet. But like magic, within a day or two of wearing the boots on the trail, they form-fit to our feet. The slight discomforts became unnoticeable and the comfort increased as we broke in the boots. If a break-in period deters you from hiking boots, consider the Ahnu Montara - Women's boots that are comfortable straight out of the box. Please note that the break-in period for the Targhee is far less than a mid weight or heavyweight leather boot that may require several hikes to soften up.
Water Resistance and Breathability
We tested these boots through 4+" of moving creek water explore the limits of the Keen Dry waterproof/breathable membrane. Feet remain dry and the boots remain comfortable for continuous hiking after getting wet. The interior doesn't absorb moisture unless the boots are submerged in standing water for a prolonged period of more than a minute or two. The low ankle shaft does not work to keep our socks dry, so the low rating is a result of a low ankle height. Hiking boots like the Ahnu Montara and Lowa Renegade are capable of withstanding an additional half-inch to a full inch of water while crossing or briefly standing in water.
Breathability is not notable with these boots. The leather uppers with little mesh inlays keep feet nice and warm on cool fall mornings, but the breathability does not excel in summer temperatures exceeding 90 degrees. For hot weather hiking, we recommend the Ahnu Montara hiking boots or the La Sportiva FC ECO hiking boots.
After a couple uses, the Keen Targhee II began to show wear from abrasion on the forefoot. The leather construction is not a single large piece or of material to minimize stitching and gaps in the leather, but rather several small pieces. This leaves weak spots where abrasion and impact can loosen the stitching or wear down the leather. Hiking boots like the Lowa Renegade, La Sportiva FC ECO 3.0, and Timberland Chocorua Trail Mid GTX - Women's all have fewer creases and gaps between material. This increases their durability against abrasion, creasing, and showing wear.
Ideal for day hiking yet suitable for backpacking, theses boots are both lightweight and comfortable. They have 4 mm deep lugs on the soles for handling loose and rough terrain, water resistance for keeping your feet dry in creek water or rain water, and provide support adequate for carrying 20-30 pounds of weight on your back while backpacking.
The Keen Targhee II are awarded the Best Buy for their incredible value. Unsure about whether you prefer boots or shoes? The Targhee II Mids are the best of both. Not ready to make an investment of $200 on hiking boots? Consider these for $135. Prefer a lower ankle height on a hiking boot? Yep, the these boots are a great option. They are wallet friendly, trail strong, and water resistant in up to 4" of moving creek water.
Best Buy awarded, the Keen Targhee II Mid are water resistant, comfortable, and lightweight. The Keen toe protection is unparallel and keeps toes feeling strong and secure in rough terrain. For a hiking boot that fits like a hiking shoe, with the added benefits of a hiking boot sole and ankle support, these boots fit the bill!
Targhee II - Women's
⁃ Cost- $125.00 ($10 less than the Mid)
⁃ Weight- 1 lb 10 oz (4 oz less than the Mid)
⁃ Style- low-cut shoe
⁃ Men's version : Targhee II
We also reviewed the men's version of the Targhee II Mid.
— Briana Valorosi
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: December 27, 2014
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