• Comfort 80% 80%
  • Stability 60% 60%
  • Traction 70% 70%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Water Resistance 60% 60%
  • Durability 70% 70%

Price: $140

Weight Per Pair (Size 11): 2.37lb (1.07kg)

Boot Type: Lightweight/Day Hiker

Width Options: Regular, Wide

Waterproof Lining: KEEN.Dry waterproof breathable membrane

Upper: Waterproof nubuck leather

Shank: Torsion stability ESS shank

Midsole: Dual density compression molded EVA

Sole: Non-marking rubber outsole

Warranty: 1yr

Sizes: 7-17 US

Color Options: 4

What We Like: Good comfort-to-weight ratio, well-priced, superior toe protection

What We Don’t: Could use more ankle stability and breathability

If you’re looking to break into the hiking game without breaking the bank, the Keen Targhee II Waterproof Mids are a very economical choice. This $140 lightweight/day hiking boot does an excellent job illustrating Keen’s ability to craft a high-quality hiking boot without outsourcing features to companies like Vibram and Gore-Tex. It includes some unique features like a secure-fit lace capture system, but these boots are not without their flaws, including several vulnerable seams on the upper.

We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!

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Based in Portland, OR, Keen (or KEEN) was established in 2003 and quickly found a foothold in shoes constructed for sailing and water-centric outdoor activities, including the highly popular Newport Sandal. They’ve grown very quickly over the last few years and now offer a wide variety of footwear, ranging from casual shoes to work boots and, of course, hiking boots.   Among their many popular offerings is the Targhee II Waterproof Mid, a $140 lightweight/day hiker boot that does an excellent job illustrating Keen’s ability to craft a high-quality hiking boot without outsourcing features to companies like Vibram and Gore-Tex.
The Best Hiking Boots: Keen Targhee II Mid - Gear Hacker

Comfort & Weight

The boot’s midsole is made of a dual-density compression-molded EVA foam, which is quite capable when it comes to cushioning and absorbing shock. It is paired with the cushioned ankle collar, and any hiker could quite easily strap these on and take them hiking right out of the box. Best yet, the boot can also accommodate an orthopedic insole if necessary. Lacing is achieved via a secure-fit lace capture system, with 3 nylon webbing eyelets at the bottom and a nylon heel wrap above; this is followed by a pair of metal hook eyelets. The nylon heel wrap is a feature entirely unique to Keen, and some hikers even utilize two sets of laces, one for the bottom three eyelets and another for the heel wrap and metal hook. This enables them to keep the lacing looser at the bottom but more secure at the top.

 

The weight of a pair of size 11 Targhee II Mids comes in at 2.37 lbs (1.07 kg), which is not the lightest boot in our review but it’s very decent when considering the bulkier features on this boot, such as the toe box, midsole, and outsole.

The Best Hiking Boots: Keen Targhee II Mid - Gear Hacker

Traction & Stability

The Keen Targhee II Mids sport a non-marking carbon rubber outsole with multidirectional 4mm lugs, another proprietary feature that helps it stand out from other brands that rely upon Vibram. Although the outsole is reasonably sticky and quite capable of gripping most terrain, the Targhee II would benefit from less rounded edges, which could tend to slip when rock scrambling, and the tread pattern could be more aggressive.

The Best Hiking Boots: Keen Targhee II Mid - Gear Hacker

The upper on this boot is made of nubuck leather, which adds to its overall comfort as well as waterproofing, while the shank is what’s called a Torsion Stability ESS (External Support Shank), a nylon/resin-based shank that offers flexibility and torsional rigidity without using metal. It is fastened in the arch on the outside of the shoe. The flexibility is excellent, but the boot could be a bit stiffer. The forefoot width is very decent, but unfortunately, the collar height is only 4.5 inches, which is relatively short for an over-the-ankle boot. That’s a whopping 2 inches shorter than the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX.

The Best Hiking Boots: Keen Targhee II Mid - Gear Hacker

Water Resistance & Durability

Unlike the vast majority of bootmakers, Keen does not utilize Gore-Tex for their waterproof lining. Instead, they have produced a proprietary waterproof breathable membrane known as KEEN.Dry. The major draw of this material is that it makes the shoe cost much less than its Gore-Tex counterparts. While it is relatively breathable (the toe box is quite roomy) and works well with a pair of thin socks, your feet can get a bit more stuffy when donning thicker socks. Unfortunately, merino wool is an essential accessory for many hikers. Inside the boot is a hydrophobic mesh lining to wick away sweat.

The Best Hiking Boots: Keen Targhee II Mid - Gear Hacker
Flood height for the Targhee II Mids is 3.75 inches, which is quite low compared to several of the other boots in our review and does not instill confidence when trekking through streams of any considerable height. Also, there are several seams at the bottom that could wear out and become vulnerable over time, but this could be rectified with Seam Seal.   Although the upper is made of durable nubuck leather, it also has a large handful of seams, which could potentially wear out over time faster than competing hiking boots. We’d recommend countering this degradation with regular applications of Seam Seal. The patented rubber Toe Guards are pretty beefy and do an excellent job of protecting your feet and the uppers from impacts and abrasion; they wrap above the toe higher than several of the other boots in our review.
The Best Hiking Boots: Keen Targhee II Mid - Gear Hacker

Styles & Sizes

Keen offers four color options for the Targhee II Mids, including: Steel Grey/Mykonos Blue, Shitake/Brindle, Black Olive/Yellow, and Shadow/Burnt Ochre. Sizes run from 7-17 US (tip: most retail sites state that these shoes run about a half size small), and width options include both regular and wide. The lacing system does an excellent job of accommodating both wide and narrow feet. The Targhee II Mids come with a 1-year warranty.

The Best Hiking Boots: Keen Targhee II Mid - Gear Hacker

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to break into the hiking game without breaking the bank, the Keen Targhee II Waterproof Mids are a very economical choice. Using a proprietary waterproof system rather than Gore-Tex, they can keep the cost down without compromising quality. That said, these boots are not without their flaws.

The Best Hiking Boots: Keen Targhee II Mid - Gear Hacker

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