KEEN TARGHEE BOOTS
TEST SERIES BY BRIAN HARTMAN
November 08, 2015
HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT
bhart1426ATyahooDOT com |
||5' 9" (1.75
||145 lb (65.80
I have been backpacking for over
20 years throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and most recently in Western USA.
In addition to backpacking I enjoy family camping with my wife and kids and
being outdoors in general. I would describe myself as a mid-weight backpacker.
I use fairly light weight equipment and gear but still like to bring more than
the bare essentials with me while on the trail.
PRODUCT INFORMATION &
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Listed Weight: 17.4 oz (493.3 g) per boot
Measured Weight: 18.1
oz (513 g) per boot
Available Colors: Magnet/True Blue, Chestnut/Bossa Nova,
Black Olive/Yellow, Shitake/Brindle
Available Sizes: 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5,
10, 10.5, 11, 11.5, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
Available Widths: Medium,
Size Tested: 10.5, Black Olive/Yellow
Product Details: Waterproof
nubuck leather and textile upper
KEEN.DRY waterproof breathable
Non-marking rubber outsole with 4mm directional lugs
Removable dual density EVA footbed
Torsion stability ESS
Keen describes the Targhee II Mid boots (hereafter called
Targhees or boots) as "four wheel-drive performance for your feet". In fact,
they are lightweight, waterproof mid cut hiking boots suited for long distance
backpacking with light to moderate pack loads.
In regards to
construction, the Targhees have nubuck leather and nylon mesh uppers and a
proprietary waterproof membrane from Keen, called KEEN.DRY, which purportedly
allows water vapor to escape from inside the boots without letting water in.
The Targhees have several other features including a removable footbed made of
dual density EVA, an ESS shank which is designed to provide torsional stability,
a contoured heel lock, and a compression-molded EVA midsole. Finally, they have
non-marking rubber outsoles with 4mm (0.2 in) directional lugs for increased
traction on rough terrain.
The Keen Targhee boots arrived in
a tan and green shoebox with Keen's logo and website address prominently
displayed on the top lid. Upon opening the box, I was immediately greeted with
the wonderful smell of new shoes, yeah! The boots, as is typically the case,
were wrapped in tissue paper and hidden from view. After quickly removing the
paper my first impression of the Targhees was that they looked very sharp. I
really like their classic styling, high toe guard and aggressive treads. I also
like the color of the boots which is milk chocolate (I believe Keen refers to it
as Black Olive) with yellow accent stitching throughout.
The Targhees are
a full 7 in (17.8 cm) to the top of the tongue and 5.5 in (14.0 cm) to the rear
scree collar and yet they felt surprisingly lightweight for mid cut hikers. Not
wanting to dismiss this thought, I immediately got out my scale and weighed the
boots. Next I spent several minutes on the web confirming my suspicions: When
compared against two name brand low cut trail shoes that I currently own, the
Targhees weighed a mere 2.5 oz (70 g) and 4 oz (114 g) more respectively, and
that's for both boots. Next I compared the Targhee II Mid hikers to Keen's same
shoe in its low cut version. Unbelievably, the Targhee mid cut boots weigh only
2 oz (57 g) more than their low cut brethren. Given that they offer additional
support to protect my ankles from injury and will do a better job keeping out
trail rocks and sand due to their higher profile, the few ounces of additional
weight that they add is negligible. I may even be able to leave my gaiters at
home when wearing these which would negate the added weight
Moving on, the Targhees appear to be
very well made and have no loose stitching, frays, or material imperfections.
The uppers are a combination of waterproof nubuck leather and nylon mesh, most
of which is used on the tongue. I really like Keen's addition of nylon mesh to
the uppers, not only for its weight savings versus solid leather but it also
makes the boots more flexible and breathable. The tongue, by the way, is fully
gusseted to keep water and debris from getting inside the boots. The lacing
system consists of four pair of nylon webbing eyelets with lace locks at the
top. The lace locks are a really nice addition to these boots as they keep the
laces tight while tying them up and they also prevent the laces from coming
loose if they happen to get untied while trampling through brush etc. The boots
have pull loops at the tongue and heel to help with getting them on and off,
which always seems to be a problem for me on sub zero mornings or after a long
day on the trail when my feet are swollen. The toe guards are made of nice
thick rubber which completely envelopes the tip of the boots so I fully expect
them to do a good job of protecting my feet from rocks and tree roots. As an
added bonus, the rubber outsole wraps around the heel of the boots to protect
them as well. In conjunction with the footbeds, the midsoles appear to offer
quite a bit of padding and shock absorption. The true test of course will be
how well my feet feel after hiking all day on the trails.
Last but not least are the carbon rubber outsoles
which have substantial lugs and a wide tread pattern. I'm anxious to test them
on wet creek rocks and slippery boulders to see how well they perform. I'll
also be watching to see if they shed mud or clog up when hiking in thick, wet
No hang tags or instruction sheets were included with the boots but
Keen has some good information online. Regarding care instructions, Keen
recommends using cold water and a mild detergent along with a stiff brush or
soft cloth to remove mud or dirt. Afterward, they recommend applying a leather
cleaner and conditioner.
The Targhees are well designed
boots and their quality construction displays top notch workmanship. With the
Targhees Keen has incorporated many neat features into lightweight boots that
are quite sturdy yet still feel comfortable. I look forward to logging lots of
miles with them this summer and beyond.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I wore the Keen Targhee's for a
total of nine days during Field Testing while logging approximately 30 mi (48
km) in the boots.
Brown County, Indiana: This was a
three day backpacking trip of approximately 11 miles (18 km). The weather was
warm and wet with temperatures in the upper 70s F (26 C) and rainfall of 2.1
inches (5.3 cm). The terrain was heavily forested and quite rugged. I spent
most of my time trying to stay dry amid nearly constant rain
Hoosier National Forest, Indiana: Daytime temperatures reached
98 F (37 C) on this backpacking trip through the Charles Deam Wilderness Area.
I hiked approx. 5 miles round trip (8 km) in the Targhee's on this trip, mostly
on trail with a brief bushwhack to our campsite in an isolated spot on the
wonderful shores of Lake Monroe. Even though it didn't rain while we were
camping, trails were quite muddy due to unusually wet weather leading up to this
trip. The terrain was forested and moderately hilly with elevations ranging
from 530 ft (161 m) to 780 ft (238 m).
Franklin County, Indiana: This
was a two-day backpacking trip through rolling fields and mature forests in
Southeastern Indiana. I hiked 5 mi (8 km) on the first day and 4 mi (6.4 km) on
the second day. The weather during this trip was much more comfortable with
partly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 70's (24 C).
Park, Indiana: I went on two day hikes / geocache searches at this park. The
total distance I covered while hiking through the park both days was about 4.5
mi (7.2 km). Temperatures were in the mid 70s F (24 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Keen Targhee boots performed
wonderfully during Field Testing. Below are some observations I made while
wearing them during the past few months:
Comfort and Fit: Keen is well
known for high quality, comfortable footwear and so I was very excited at the
opportunity to test the Targhees. Per the manufacturer's instructions I ordered
a half size larger than what I normally wear and found the boots to fit
perfectly. There was plenty of room for my toes so they didn't bump against the
front of the boots when I was descending steep hills. Having ordered boots that
were slightly too small before and not able to take them back after wearing
them, I was very appreciative that the Targhees fit properly from the start.
For me, selecting the correct size is not a simple task as some boots run large
and others small and it's nearly impossible to feel my toes when pushing down on
the heavy duty toe caps that most manufacturers have nowadays. The Targhees
were also wide enough so that I never felt discomfort in the toebox which is
where I typically feel tightness and rubbing with medium width shoes due to the
shape of my feet. Although a few manufacturers make EE wide boots I usually
can't wear them because there's too much room in the footbed. Not so with the
Targhees; so far I have experienced no heel slip, hot spots, blisters or pinch
points. In fact not only are the Targhees the perfect size for my feet but they
also required no break-in whatsoever. I simply took them out of the box, put
them on and started hiking. Very impressive Keen!
The Targhees were
easy to slip on because of their smooth interior lining and the laces were easy
to snug up for a tight fit. They also provided great arch support, so that I
didn't need to wear my orthotics with the boots. In addition they provided a
firm, stable base that made carrying my pack enjoyable. In fact, the Targhees
were so comfortable that I even found myself running in them while carrying my
pack at the Hoosier National Forest. No, I wasn't being chased by a bear; I was
simply playing a game of tag with friends on the trail and needed to pick up my
pace every now and then to keep from being 'it'.
Another nice thing
about the Targhees is that the outside of the boots are made with soft leather
and synthetics that flex as needed for a comfortable fit. This allowed the boots
to adjust with my feet when hiking up and downhill and it also allowed the toes
of the boots to flex when I squatted or knelt down.
Overall the Targhees
were very supportive while still being lightweight and comfortable. They
allowed me to hike for hours on the trail without feeling fatigued and were easy
to clean with water and a stiff brush after being caked in dirt and mud at the
end of a long weekend.
Traction: The Targhees provided excellent
traction and support while backpacking on wet, muddy trails in Brown County and
the Hoosier National Park. Surprisingly I never fell, although several times I
thought I was going to, given the conditions. I was really impressed that the
lugs never lost their grip and never clogged up with mud. The lugs did equally
well when I went hiking thru swollen creek beds and over wet creek rocks in
Franklin County. Creek rocks are notoriously slippery and so kudos to Keen on
very well designed outsoles!
Durability: The Targhee boots have
proven to be well constructed and quite durable. They've held up incredibly
well so far with only minimal scuffing to the toe caps and slight discoloration
to the nylon mesh from all of the mud I've trudged through. Despite the abuse
they've taken, all stitching is intact, the toe caps show no signs of peeling
away, and the laces are in excellent condition.
Targhees displayed excellent water resistance on the trail thanks to their
KEEN.DRY membrane. I felt no water penetration through the nylon mesh uppers,
nubuck leather or boot seams. The membrane also did a great job of letting
moisture vapor out as my feet never got wet from perspiration even when hiking
in 98 F (37 C) temperatures.
In summary, I have been very
happy with the Keen Targhee boots. They are well-designed boots that are both
durable and comfortable. They fit my feet well and I experienced no blisters or
hot spots during Field Testing. They kept my feet dry during many wet muddy
outings and were comfortable to wear for extended periods. The boots also
provided excellent traction and support while carrying a heavy pack and most
impressively, they required no break-in period at all. Overall, I consider
these to be excellent boots.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND
During the past two months I wore the Keen Targhee II Mid
Boots for a total of 7 days. Long Term testing took place in Central and
Southern Indiana with two backpacking trips to Franklin County, IN and three day
hikes at local parks in the area.
Temperatures ranged from 55 to 78 F
(13 to 26 C) with mostly sunny skies as Indiana experienced far less rain during
this test period then it had earlier this year. The elevations I backpacked in
ranged from 710 to 911 ft (216 to 278 m). Further details of my trips are
Trip One: (2 days, 2 nights) Backpacking in Franklin
Weather: Mild and sunny with temperatures ranging from 66 to
78 F (19 to 26 C)
Elevation: 710 to 860 ft (216 to 262 m)
Distance: I wore
the Targhees while backpacking through forests, open pastures and across several
creek crossings in the area. Total distance hiked was 8 mi (13 km).
Weight: 27 lb (12 kg)
Brief Comments: The Targhees provided excellent
stability on this outing as I hiked across hillsides and through several
Trip Two: (2 days, 1 night) Camping trip in Oldenburg,
Temperature: 55 to 72 F (13 to 22 C).
Elevation: 734 to 855 ft
(224 to 260 m)
Distance: I hiked approximately 12 mi (19 km) on this
Brief Comments: The Targhees provided great traction as well as
protection from the water as I hiked up a creek bed that was nearby my
Trip Three: I wore the Targhees on three day hikes in local
parks in the area including Cool Creek Park, Freedom Trail Park and Macgregor
Park, all in Westfield, Indiana.
Temperature: 65 to 78 F (18 to 26
Elevation: 833 to 911 ft (254 to 278 m)
Distance: 6 to 8 mi (9.5 to 13
km) per trip
Pack Weight: 4 to 7 lb (1.8 to 3 kg)
Brief Comments: The
trails were dry and well maintained while colorful autumn leaves made for some
great scenery while hiking.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Targhees provided excellent
stability while carrying a full pack on my trip to Franklin County, IN. I never
once worried about losing my footing or twisting an ankle, something that's
always in the back of mind when traversing steep hills or scrambling over rocks
while wearing low cut trail shoes. The Targhees were surefooted and never once
made me second guess my footing. I easily crossed slippery side hills covered
in leaves and walked across logs, through creeks and pretty much wherever I
wanted to go. The boots were flexible enough that they never felt awkward on
uneven ground. In fact they pretty much seemed to adapt to whatever topography
they were presented with.
The fact that the Targhees are so lightweight,
weighing no more than most low cut trail shoes, meant that my legs weren't
fatigued at the end of long days of hiking. On both of my backpacking trips
during this test period I didn't bother to take camp shoes and simply wore the
Targhees around the campsite. I simply unlaced them and any moisture that
hadn't yet escaped from my socks or the boot insoles from earlier in the day now
As for their waterproof properties, the Targhees had no
problems fending off water as I hiked through several creeks while my feet
stayed bone dry. The extra few inches of waterproof protection that the
Targhees offer over low cut shoes makes a big difference, especially since it
comes with no weight penalty. Keeping my feet dry allows me to be more
comfortable when backpacking. It also greatly reduces the risk of me developing
blisters. And finally, keeping my feet dry in cold weather conditions is an
important safety measure.
Finally, regarding durability, the Targhees are
in great condition after four months and many miles on the trail,
notwithstanding several mud stains. The soles remain in excellent shape, the
stitching is intact and shows no signs of fraying or coming loose, and the
rubber outsole wraps are still firmly attached to the boots with no signs of
I really like the Targhee boots!
Without a doubt they have become my favorite pair of mid hikers and my favorite
shoes overall when conditions are less than ideal. They are lightweight,
comfortable, waterproof, durable and provide great traction on all kinds of
surfaces. What's not to love!
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org
Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.
This concludes my Long Term Report for the
Targhee II Mid Boots and this test series. Thanks to Keen and
BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these boots.
Read more reviews of Keen gear
Read more gear reviews by Brian Hartman