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

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Best Budget Hiking Boot

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

Price: $160

Weight Per Pair (Size 11): 2.38lb (1.08kg)

Boot Type: Lightweight/Day Hiker

Width Options: Regular, Wide

Waterproof Lining: KEEN.Dry Waterproof Breathable Membrane

Upper: Oiled Nubuck Leather

Shank: Torsion Stability ESS

Midsole: Dual-density EVA

Sole: Keen All-Terrain Rubber

Warranty: 1yr

Sizes: 7-16 US

Color Options: 7

What We Like: Light, comfortable, and durable at a great price

What We Don’t: Lacking in breathability, could offer slightly more stability

Keen once again appeals to the financially focused hiker with the Keen Targhee III Mid. These $150 lightweight hiking boots are supremely comfortable and highly durable, with excellent traction. The waterproofing is sufficient but could benefit from a bit more breathability. All in all, these boots are an excellent choice for short backpacking trips and day hikes. We found this boot to be a great bang for your buck, and we named it our Best Budget Hiking Boot.

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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The Best Hiking Boots: Keen Targhee III Mid - Gear Hacker
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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.

 

The Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid is a $150 lightweight hiker/day hiking boot that’s quite similar to the Targhee II Mid, but with a few key differences. For one, it has a more flexible outsole, designed with the intention of improving stability while trekking downhill. Although Keen may not say it, many reviewers have concluded that the Targhee III is constructed with hiking as more of the focus, whereas the Targhee II works equally well for casual use. Finally, the fit of the Targhee III is just slightly narrower. All in all, we found this boot to be a great bang for your buck and named it our Best Budget Hiking Boot.

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

Comfort & Weight

The midsole of the Targhee IIIs is made up of removable, dual-density EVA footbeds that provide excellent cushioning; there should be very minimal break-in required. In addition, they use a Cleansport NXT™ treatment for natural odor control, a feature that is sure to pay off in dividends after a long, sweaty day on the trail. 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 metal hook eyelets. Additionally, extra padding around the ankle is a very appreciated addition.

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

A pair of men’s size 11 Targhee III Mids weighs in at 2.38 lbs (1.08 kg), which is essentially identical in weight to the Targhee II Mids. This makes it one of the lightest boots in our review, which is especially impressive when one considers the comfort-focused features included.

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

Traction & Stability

Keen uses their proprietary all-terrain rubber for the outsoles with 4mm multidirectional lugs. The lugs are well-spaced and sticky, providing excellent traction over almost all-terrain, however, they are perhaps not quite rigid enough for rock scrambling due in part to a shortage of stability around the ankle.   There are several features included in the Targhee IIs to promote stability, such as a wide sole, an injected TPU heel-capture system, as well as Keen’s proprietary Torsion Stability ESS (External Support Shank), a nylon/resin-based shank that offers flexibility and torsional rigidity. That being said, the oiled nubuck leather upper falls just a bit short on stability around the ankle when stacked up against comparable hiking boots.
The Best Hiking Boots: Keen Targhee III Mid - Gear Hacker

Water Resistance & Durability

As with the Targhee II, Keen has elected to use their proprietary KEEN.Dry waterproof breathable membrane rather than Gore-Tex, like you would find with most waterproof hiking boots. While this waterproofing material saves the customer a few bucks off the purchase price, there is a lack of overall breathability. This can translate to a build-up of moisture inside the boot on warmer days, eventually leading to blisters for longer hikes. However, the Targhee III is advertised as a boot for shorter day hikes, so if used as intended, this shouldn’t be an issue. Another slight drawback of this boot is its flood height, which is only 3.75 inches, so we’d advise caution when splashing through any decent degree of water.

 

The Targhee III has several attractive features that add to its durability. For one, much of the boot is constructed from leather and rubber, which holds up better than most mesh-lined boots. In addition, the extra-tall toe cap protects the front of the boot (not to mention your foot) quite well; this is definitely a design feature where the Targhee III Mid excels.

Styles & Sizes

The Keen Targhee III Mids come in an impressive 8 color options, double the variety that you get with the Targhee II Mids. These colors include:

      • Black Olive / Golden Brown
      • Steel Grey / Captains Blue
      • Bungee Cord / Black
      • Canteen/Mulch
      • Chestnut/Mulch
      • Magnet/Black
      • Drizzle / KEEN Yellow

Sizes run from 7-16 US, with both regular- a wide-fit options available. The Targhee IIIs come with a 1-year warranty.

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

The Bottom Line

Keen once again appeals to the financially focused hiker with the Keen Targhee III Mid. These $150 lightweight hiking boots are supremely comfortable and highly durable, with excellent traction. The waterproofing is sufficient but could benefit from a bit more breathability. All in all, these boots are an excellent choice for short backpacking trips and day hikes.

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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!