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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Keen Targhee II Mid > Test Report by Michael Mosack

November 12, 2015



NAME: Mike Mosack
EMAIL: mosack(at)earthlink(dot)net
AGE: 51
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 240 lb (109.00 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, doing day trips, weekenders and week-long or longer trips throughout the year. I backpack in all climates and seasons, from summer desert trips to Spring/Winter camping in Michigan, California and Grand Canyon, Arizona and I worked in Afghanistan for 4 years and rely on my equipment constantly. I prefer to go lighter when possible and am always trying new items. Quality and reliability of items are paramount to me over price and weight.



Manufacturer: Keen Footwear
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US $135.00
Listed Weight: 17.4 oz (493.3 g)
Mfg states, "measurements were taken using a men’s size 9 US (EU 42)."
Measured Weight: 24.5 oz (694 g) each shoe
I am testing the Shitake/Brindle color in Men's size 15 (EU 49)

Other details:
Sizes available:
Men's - half sizes from 7 - 11.5 and whole sizes 12, 13, 14, and 15
(EU 39.5 - 45, 46, 47, 48, 49)
Women's - half sizes from 5 - 7.5 and whole sizes 8 and 9
(EU 35 - 38, 38.5, 39.5)

There are four men's color options, which include:
Magnet/True Blue
Chestnut/Bossa Nova
Black Olive/Yellow
There are five women's color options which include:
Mineral Blue/Ceylon Yellow
Raven/Bossa Nova
Black Olive/Slate Rose
Gargoyle/Caribbean Sea
Slate Black/Flint Stone

Manufacturer states, "Fit Tip: This style is running a 1/2 size small. We suggest ordering a 1/2 size larger than your usual size!"
Warrantee - Pretty standard 1 year manufacturer's warrantee which can be viewed via the customer service link on Keen's website.

Construction -
Upper: Leather and textile
Lining: KEEN.DRY™ waterproof breathable membrane
Rubber: Non-marking rubber outsole

Features include:
4mm (5/32 in) multi-directional lugs
Contoured heel lock
Dual density compression molded EVA midsole
Removable metatomical dual density EVA footbed
Torsion stability ESS shank
Waterproof nubuck leather upper


A couple of descriptions from the manufacturer include:
KEEN.DRY - A proprietary waterproof, breathable membrane that lets vapor out without letting water in.
METATOMICAL FOOTBED DESIGN - This internal support mechanism is anatomically engineered to provide excellent arch support and cradle the natural contours of the foot.

The Keen Targhee II Mid Boot, hereafter called the boot or boots, are mid-height, feature-dense, lightweight, hiking boots. They are constructed with the KEEN.Dry waterproof breathable membrane, designed to allow the feet to breathe, yet also keep them dry and comfortable. There is an aggressive outsole designed to provide excellent traction. The ESS shank to help provide stability, while the mid cut height increases ankle support while hiking. The tongue is well padded and the boot has a pull loop, both, on the tongue as well as on the heel to ease in pulling the boot on.


I am pretty optimistic about these boots. They seem to be a high quality product. The upper, made from nubuck leather has a very smooth feel with solid construction and durability, throughout. The weight of the boot feels deceptively, incredibly light. I'm holding up my ridiculously large boot and it is quite possibly the lightest boot I have owned. There is a smudge of something that looks like glue on one of the uppers (see photo) that doesn't seem that it will impact the effectiveness of the boot and except for that, I can not identify any flaws with these boots at this time.



The only instructions reference cleaning of the boots, which can be found on the manufacturer's website as well as on the underside of the boots tongue via international symbols.
For cleaning the boots, the manufacturer recommends using a leather cleaner and conditioner, found at most footwear dealers and/or shoe repair shops.



These boots are very comfortable right out of the box and it doesn't seem as if the break-in period will be very long at all. They are easy to lace up and tie. The laces seem to stay tied as I walk around and the boots seem very well padded. I have a normal width foot and the toe-box is a little wider than a lot of my other brands of hiking boots. I'm loving this as it allows my feet and toes to have a comfortable spread as I walk. This gives me more of a natural step and my foot is not continually squeezed.




Three night backpack trip in the area of Gunnison, Colorado USA; elevation was approximately 7600 - 8050 ft (2310 - 2450 m). Weather included sunny days mixed with rain showers. There were foot trails, open grassy fields and rocky climbs.

Two day-hike trips in the area of Crested Butte, CO USA; elevation was approximately 8900 - 10000 (2700 - 3050 m). There were foot trails, open grassy fields and rocky climbs.


Insoles -
I should note that I am only using the original insoles that came with the boots. There are many optional aftermarket insoles available and this could definitely affect the comfort and performance of the boot, both good and bad. There are many options out there to help find a personal fit. I have pretty healthy feet with a normal arch so specialty insoles have never really been a priority for me. These insoles are comfortable and do not slip inside the boot. They allow me to walk without my feet getting blisters and at the end of my day, I do not feel the need to soak my feet in ice water. For me, these are great insoles.

Good grip!

Grip -
The boots are comfortable and maintain a good grip on a variety of terrain conditions. The majority of my hiking has been on rocky terrain or on maintained trails. I have also hiked in areas of typical open desert conditions of rock, sand and dust as well as grassy forested areas. I have worn them on wet trails, rocks, and concrete sidewalks. In each case, the boots' grip was solid. I have not had any experiences where my boots were unable to maintain a reliable grip on many different surfaces. These boots seem to handle slick rock or smooth wet rock equally well.

Soft scramble up and down

Socks or barefoot -
I have worn these boots with a variety of sock options and include low-cut cycling or running (ankle-high) socks to mid-calf length socks and thin performance wicking socks to thicker standard athletic or sport socks. I have found that wearing the low-cut socks as well as going barefoot obviously allows direct skin contact with the boots' upper. I have not found any uncomfortable rubbing feeling against my feet or ankle areas unlike so many other boots I have owned. I am loving this! I normally prefer to wear longer socks and I double (fold over) my sock upper to provide my ankle a little additional padding. I do not experience any uncomfortable rubbing with these boots.

Waterproofing -
I should note here that I have not applied any waterproofing or leather treatment products to the boots prior to this testing period. I have not had any stream crossings on any of my hikes to date. I have been able to experience wet weather during this testing phase, but not to the level of water immersion. With the seemingly unending drought here in Southern California, maybe I'll have to resort to soaking the boots in my bathtub.

Lacing -
Lacing up the boots is quite easy and fast. The shoe strings hold their knots and do not untie themselves during long hikes. The eyelets are strong and smooth so as to not chafe the laces.

Construction -
So far, the rubber soles are not separating and I have not found any evidence of any obvious deterioration either. They seem to be holding up well. All stitching is like new and there is no evidence that the material is breaking down anywhere on the boots. I used to only hike with running shoes and only in the last couple of years have broadened my footwear to include boots. These boots are obviously heavier on my feet than the running shoes I am used to wearing, but the added ankle support and secure feeling of wearing the boots are sometimes worth the relatively minor weight difference.



Pacific Coast Trail section in Laguna Mountain region of Southern California, USA
Conditions: Ungroomed foot trails and forest access dirt roads. Temperatures ranged from 55 to 70 F (13 to 21 C)
Duration: Two trips, 2 and 3 days (and nights) respectively.

Numerous miscellaneous day hikes ranging from 2 - 5 miles (3 - 8 km) in the area of Eastern San Diego County, California, USA.
Conditions: Maintained trails, grassy areas, some concrete sidewalks and maintained roadway shoulders. Temperatures ranged from 70 to 80 F (21 to 27 C).
Duration: Day hikes only

Daily use as my regular footwear at home and at work, Lakeside, CA USA; elevation was approximately 425 ft (130 m).

Ocotillo Wells and Anza-Borrego, California, USA
Conditions: Typical desert including rocky, sandy, ungroomed, open, and dry terrain. Temperatures ranged from approxmately 70 to over 90 F (21 to over 32 C).
Duration: Four days, three nights.


I do not really have much I can add to this report having re-read my own Field Report above. I believe my write up to date, is spot on. I love these boots. Their level of comfort is almost unsurpassed to anything else I have worn. I often like to try to identify features I would like to see improved, but cannot find any this time. I always allow for a break in period at the beginning of a footwear test, and this one was no different, but I quickly found that this time, it was not needed. These boots were ready to go from the onset and despite my travels, I have had no hot spots or blisters and my feet have been quite happy.

Insoles -
I have still only used the original insoles that came with the boots. I have never experienced any slippage or other problems with them.

Grip -
I still have not had any experiences where my boots were unable to maintain a reliable grip on many different ground conditions. These boots seem to handle slick rock or smooth wet rock equally well.

Waterproofing -
I have been able to experience wet weather during this testing phase and I was able to immerse my boots in just under 4 inches (10 cm) of water and had no leakage.

Lacing -
Lacing up the boots has been quick and easy throughout this test. No chaffing or any other negative issues with regard to the lacing system have been found.

Construction -
Still no separating of the soles or rubber from the leather uppers. They have held up well. All stitching is like new and there is no evidence that the material is breaking down anywhere on the boots. The leather uppers are well padded and very confortable.


I am impressed by these boots, which are lightweight and yet have very solid construction. They are very comfortable and they provide a solid grip on a variety or terrain. The insoles fit well inside the boot and provide support for my normally arched feet. The only potential fault I have located, is that there is a smear of something on the side of the upper which can be seen in the photograph in my Initial Report above. I believe this is just glue and has had no effect on the performance of these boots, however, I would have swapped these for another pair if I had purchased them in a store. I'm pretty disappointed in their quality control in allowing these boots to pass with such an obvious visual flaw, but as I said, it is just a visual flaw. These boots easily pass my expectations and I have every anticipation of getting another pair once these eventually wear out.

I would like to thank Keen Footwear and for allowing me the opportunity to participate in this test.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Keen Targhee II Mid > Test Report by Michael Mosack

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