Keen Targhee II
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $99
These are great shoes for hiking and really protect your feet if you are hiking in rocky terrain. They breathe well, and dry quickly. The soles grip the ground well, even on rocky slopes.
- Protected toe
- Strong gripping soles
- Will let deeper water in
- Little ankle support
I've been hiking in these shoes for over a year and I've really liked them. There's virtually no break-in time. They never gave me blisters and are comfortable even after big miles.
The laces are a little short so if you use custom lacing methods, purchase longer ones. I do find that really fine gravel sometimes finds its way in and needs to be emptied which is a little annoying. This is a low cut trail shoe, so if you are an easy ankle roller, perhaps the Targhee II Mids would be better for you. My ankles are usually pretty stable, so these have worked well for me.
The sole goes up a ways on the sides, which helps keep water out. They are relatively water resistant when walking through small puddles or mud, but expect to get wet feet if you miss-step in a stream crossing. They do dry pretty quickly, though.
My favorite part is the toe protection — it is really great when you're worn out at the end of a hike and keep kicking rocks. The soles are very grippy and are very stable even on steep slopes. I have been using them for over a year, and they have held up very well. They are well constructed and feel very durable.
Even in chillier weather, they work pretty well. I've used them in light snow with a good pair of wool socks. Obviously they won't protect you from deeper snow, as they don't go up past the ankles.
Use: short dayhikes, dayhikes over rough trails, wet weather
Break-in Period: almost none
Price Paid: $120
The wide toebox is perfect for my foot, and the arch support is very comfortable. I wore these boots around town for several days to be sure they were broken in, but they didn't really need any breaking in at all because they fit great.
My first day hiking in them consisted of two short hikes; I wore them with Smartwool socks and had no blisters, I also walked through some mud and puddles and my feet didn't get wet. I couldn't wait to get them off, however, because my feet were getting pretty warm.
The second day hike was quite a bit longer and over much rockier terrain. I felt like Spiderman on the rocks! I didn't slip at all and the only problem was that the downhill return trip was a little tough on my toes. I do, however, have knee problems and wasn't walking well anyway. Near the end of the hike we were caught in a hard rainstorm and were soaked completely through, except my socks weren't totally wet.
My only problem with these boots is that the ankle support comes up to an awkward height for me and digs into my Achilles tendon a little while walking down steep hills. It did prevent me from twisting my ankle twice, though. All in all, these boots were definitely worth the price based on my first couple of hikes in them.
Update: April 20, 2009
I have hiked several times in these boots and I refuse to do it anymore; I've moved into hiking in either Teva Aravallis or sandals. I hiked the AT on an overnight trail and my feet got so beat to hell in these boots that I lost the big toenail on my left foot and damaged my big toenail on my right foot, as well as the second toes on both my feet.
This is, of course, partially my fault for not using hiking poles and wearing socks that were too thick because the weather was cold. However, I don't find there to be enough cushion in these boots to do anything but wear them around town.
Also, I wore them in the rain today and my socks were a bit damp after a 30 minute downpour, so use an extra sealant if you're going to be in wet weather.
Materials: leather upper
Use: Oregon segment PCT - CA to WA
Break-in Period: on the trail - replacement for other shoes
Weight: 14 oz.
Price Paid: $110
I bought these shoes to replace another pair on my PCT Oregon segment hike. Within the first week I had a nasty blister on my heel and under both front toes. After 300 miles the stitching at the toe came loose on both shoes. The soles did not offer enough cushioning on the lava. I couldn't wait to get these shoes off at night. The waterproofing wore off when it came time to ford streams and rivers.
I contacted Keen when I returned. My recourse is to return the shoes where I bought them (very inconvenient since I bought them in Ashland and I live in Eastern Oregon) or get a replacement of another Keen footwear product from the company.
Unfortunately, I don't see anything that's comparable in price that I want.
Price Paid: $100
This is an amazing hiking shoe! I was nervous to hike very far in these just because they are low-tops, but they're awesome! I hiked Mt. Whitney in them, with a 22lb. pack - did 21 miles in a day without blisters! I did try wearing them backpacking, but the weight of the pack was too much for these shoes.
The most amazing thing is that the Targhee 11's do not need any breaking in time; they fit great from day one! I wear them to hike in 3-4 days a week (purchased them a year ago), and they're still going strong. Thank you Keen!