Keen Targhee III Low Review
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Keen Targhee III Low
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|Pros||Durable, comfortable, great option for those with wide feet||Excellent performance, lightweight, great traction, water resistance, support||Super comfortable, durable, stable||Supportive, great traction, lightweight||Supportive, versatile, well-cushioned|
|Cons||Average traction, sloppy fit for narrow feet||Cuff can be uncomfortable on ankle for some, Quicklace lacing not everyone's favorite||Not great for off-trail, average traction||Stiff, lacing is hard to tighten||Average traction, regular width is relatively wide, hard to lace tightly|
|Bottom Line||This riff off a classic model is a good all-around hiking shoe for day hiking and light backpacking||This is a rugged hiking shoe that can do everything from day hikes to tackling long multiday backpacking trips||These super plush hiking shoes feel like you are walking on clouds, perfect for long days on hard surfaces||This is a burly hiking shoe capable of getting off the trail and onto rugged terrain||A comfortable and versatile pair of budget-friendly hiking shoes with a casual look that's great for both the trail and the town|
|Rating Categories||Keen Targhee III Low||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||Hoka Anacapa Low GTX||Salewa Mountain Tra...||Columbia Facet 60 O...|
|Water Resistance (15%)|
|Specs||Keen Targhee III Low||Salomon X Ultra 4 G...||Hoka Anacapa Low GTX||Salewa Mountain Tra...||Columbia Facet 60 O...|
|Weight (per pair)||2.26 lbs (size 11)||1.76 lbs (size 11)||1.79 lbs (size 11)||2.16 lbs (size 11)||1.78 lbs (size 10.5)|
|Upper||Full-grain leather||Synthetic, textile||Nubuck leather, GTX Textile||Synthetic||Seamless mesh|
|Waterproof Lining||KEEN.dry waterproof membrane||Gore-Tex membrane||Gore-Tex||Gore-Tex Extended Comfort||OutDry|
|Flood Level||4.5 in||3.25 in||3 in||3.5 in||4.25 in|
|Last Board/Shank||Lightweight ESS shank||ADV-C chassis||Not specified||Nylon||Not specified|
|Midsole||Dual-density EVA||EnergyCell||Compressed EVA||EVA||Techlite+|
|Outsole||Non-marking rubber||Contagrip MA rubber||Vibram MegaGrip||Pomoca MTN trainer Lite||Omni-Grip rubber|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This popular shoe has remained a favorite of our review staff over its many iterations and updates thanks to its comfort, support, and long-lasting durability even in the face of some serious mountain miles. We think it is one of the best choices for those out there with wider feet who will appreciate the wider sizing.
The Keen Targhee III Low offers a comfortable fit right out of the box, with a little break-in period compared to the competition. Thanks to the softer, more pliable nubuck leather used on this model, it was easy to walk several miles in with no discomfort. Other shoes with more synthetic materials allowed ease of use but without the bulk of the leather outer.
A lightweight ESS shank gives the Targhee III its support, though we felt a noticeable loss of stability from previous iterations. The addition of the shank does give some protection from sharp and pointy rocks poking into the sole from the trail, though this shoe only offers average performance in overall trail comfort.
We like the well-thought-out traditional lacing system used on the Targhee III, as it employs an additional strap that locks the heel in place for a snug fit around the ankle. While the ankle is well-secured, though, the rest of the foot moves around quite easily, as it has one of the roomiest fits of any shoe we tested. This is not a problem for wide-footed individuals who often struggle to find a fitting hiking shoe but should be noted by those with narrow to medium feet.
Keen has updated the Targhee III Low with a soft and supple nubuck leather outer which is softer and less rigid. This improves the break-in period for these shoes but decreases their side-to-side support. This shoe is also one of the widest in our review, so despite the inventive wrap-around heel lacing system that snugs up around the ankle, we could not get a very good fit with medium-volume feet. No matter how tightly we secured the laces, we ended up with a sloppy and insecure fit - a poor combination when hiking on anything but easy to moderate trails.
The included footbed is quality, with dual density materials used and a good supportive arch, so those who fit this shoe will undoubtedly feel better support than we were able to.
For the Targhee III Low, Keen uses a proprietary non-marking rubber compound, a blend that has remained the same across the Targhee line. This outsole performs well enough on wet and dry trails, with average traction thanks to its medium-sized lug pattern. Those who venture far off the trail may find the traction of these shoes lacking in rocky scrambling situations or smearing on wet slabs of rock.
With a verified weight of 2.26 pounds for a US men's size 11, the Targhee III Low is not the heaviest shoe in this review but is far from the lightest. Keen is not claiming that this is a lightweight hiking shoe; rather, it is a rugged hiking shoe designed with durability in mind. That has been achieved to a large degree, and so the almost half-pound weight difference between this pair and the lightest hiking shoes in our review is not nearly as much of a red flag as it may seem at first glance.
Keen has long used its proprietary in-house waterproof membrane called Keen. Dry in their shoes and boots, we found it works reasonably well in test conditions. Sloshing through puddles and streams, our feet stayed dry as long as we respected the 4-inch water resistance height. Many shoes have higher flood heights; the Targhee is average in this metric. Prolonged exposure to water allows seeping water into the toe box, though this was after the 5-minute water submersion test was completed. For the best waterproofing, continue to apply aftermarket treatment to the nubuck leather.
Keen touts the Targhee III Low hiking shoe as a bold, durable hiking shoe suited to all-terrain adventures. We feel that this is a bit of hyperbole, though the nubuck leather and heavy-duty toe cap certainly add to its durability. We hiked on and off-trail in these shoes for several weeks without noting any major concerns. However, other reviewers did submit long-term reviews noting failing rands, soles delaminating, and loss of structure within several months of use.
Should You Buy the Keen Targhee III Low?
With out-of-the-box comfort and an updated look, the Targhee III is a day-hiking shoe that offers good performance, especially for those who have a hard time finding a pair of shoes that will fit wider feet. These shoes are one of the more budget-friendly shoes we reviewed, and with quality materials and a stylish look, we feel that they are a good value.
What Other Hiking Shoes Should You Consider?
The less expensive Columbia Facet 60 Outdry offers slightly better comfort with similar test results in other metrics. The Facet can save you money, and it weighs less, potentially giving you a little more pep in your step. If you're looking for the best of the best, the Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex will also save you bucks and has better test results across the board. If you're not married to the Keen brand, you will be happy with the impressive performance overall of the Salomon.
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