Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $95 - $120 | Compare prices at 7 resellers
Pros: roomy toe box, good features
Cons: some fit issues
Best Uses: Hiking, backpacking, day hiking
The Keen Targhee, in our opinion, is the big brother to the nimble, lightweight, and delicate Keen Ambler. With a bit more stiffness, a taller cut, a roomier toe box, and a wider fit, the Targhee may resemble the Ambler, but with just more. The Targhee boasts some features that are very unique to Keen’s brand, such as the wrap-around toe box, the unique folding point above the toes, and a very wide based lacing system that allows for a lot of adjustability in the tightness.
We unfortunately had a few fit issues with this shoe, so be sure to buy from a retailer with a great return policy, or get to your local outfitter and make sure it works for your foot. Here at OutdoorGearLab, we can only give you the facts to help make decisions, but you are the only one who can get an idea for fit. This should be the rule of thumb for all shoes, as quality control and unique fit patterns can be an issue with every shoe, and every foot.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Targhee comes about right in the middle at 2.1 lbs per pair. This isn’t significantly heavier than anything else, nor is it significantly lighter. However, Keen packed lots of punch into this shoe for the amount of weight. There are definitely spots that Keen could have saved weight—they could have eliminated the wrap over toe box, but then they would lose their unique, toenail saving protection. They could have had a narrower lacing system with less tongue material—but then they would lose the genius precise lacing. We feel as if the Targhee is heavier, but not without reason.
The Targhee is a very comfortable shoe, with a wide fit through the toe box and a slightly deeper than average cut in the cuff. We would’ve liked the footbed to have a little bit more arch support, but otherwise it is a comfortable shoe. The fit was a bit wide for our testers’ feet, but would work great for those with wider feet when shoes like the Patagonia Drifter or the Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX would not because of their snug fit.
While the Targhee wasn’t as supportive as the Salomon Exit Peak Mid 2 GTX or the La Sportiva FC ECO 2.0, it has a much stronger back bone than its little brother, the Keen Ambler, and held weight much better. It fits right in the middle of the hiking shoe category, leaving it as a good choice for average weights, average distances, and average trails.
The Targhee’s lug pattern is pretty impressive, but it just for some reason didn’t seem to stick to surfaces as well as some of the competition, such as the Patagonia Drifter. The shoe’s overall width distributes the weight, and leaves less pressure to gain purchase in slippery conditions. Keen’s proprietary rubber compound, however, did just fine on dry rocks.
The shoe’s clunky appearance looks a bit goofy at times, but the shoe can be used in about any outdoor situation without much fuss. Take a look at the La Sportiva FC ECO 2.0 for a more casual shoe, or if you want to stick with Keen and don’t mind forgoing support, take a look at the Keen Ambler.
Keen's water resistance applied to the fabric of the shoe wasn't quite up to par with the remainder of the field, but it did pretty well. However, the secondary protection of the membrane kicked in and saved our feet from being too terribly wet.
While we did not have any issues with durability of this shoe, there have been some reports of broken eyelets. Wrenching on them through our durability tests, however, did not produce any results that made us think the shoe isn’t durable.
Day hiking, light backpacking
At $120.00, this shoe comes in on the lower end of the pricing spectrum for the category, and is a great value for the features provided in the shoe.
If you’re looking for a shoe pretty much smack dab in the middle of every category, this shoe bridges the gaps between the burly end of the spectrum like the Salomon Exit Peak and the light weight and support-less Merrell Moab or Keen Ambler. Though we had a few fit issues that may or may not be repeated, we found the shoe to be a pretty solid contender amongst its competition.
— Tommy Penick
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: June 28, 2013
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