Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid
A comfortable, mid-weight hiking boot with a waterproof-breathable liner that works well for wet terrain.
- All-day comfort
- Snug fit but with plenty of toe room
- Waterproof, as advertised
- Some condensation from sweat
I was so impressed by the fit and performance of my Targhee Vent boots that I decided to buy a pair of waterproof Targhees for use in wet Norwegian conditions. I found an older model on sale and went for it partly for price but also because it has less exposed stitching in the forefoot. My Vents are the Targhee III model and have a similar design and fit. I haven’t put a lot of distance on them, but I’m impressed enough to go ahead and review.
Most Norwegian trails are just marked, cleared if there happens to be any trees and shrubs in the way, and then worn in over time, and many of them involve crossing wide, squishy bogs where water wells up around the feet at every step. I’ve worn these boots on a couple of all-day hikes on these wet trails and finished feeling reasonably dry. Since any waterproof-breathable barrier is a compromise, they sweat up a little faster than more breathable boots, but that’s better than coming away completely soaked from the outside.
Both the Vent and Waterproof versions are the most comfortable boots I’ve had in quite a while, with plenty of room for the toes and a snug heel cup. My older model boots do not have the nylon strap that the laces pass through to snug the heel, but my experience with the Vents suggests that it doesn’t do much of anything anyway and I don’t notice any difference between the older model Waterproof and newer model Vent in foot movement in the boot. The laces close the boot up around my foot well enough to prevent the foot sliding forward on steep downhills and there are none of the rubs and pinches that somehow seem come out of nowhere toward the end of a long day’s hike.
The soles grip well on dry and wet rock, and on the Vents are holding up well after about 300 km (100 miles), some of it on abrasive volcanic rocks and cinders in Iceland. The wrap-over rubber toe bumper provides a little extra protection and is holding up well on the Vents, with no sign of delamination. I’m very impressed by the fit and waterproof performance, and for a mid-light boot these are about as good as any I’ve found.
I have used this pair of boots on a couple of all-day hikes on wet trails, and the similar Targhee III Vent for about 300 km, including two multiday hikes in Iceland. In over 50 years of hiking, backpacking, and some mountaineering, I have worn out dozens of pairs of boots of just about every description within those categories.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: NOK 1169, about $125
Very comfortable and not too narrow in the toe box. Lightweight boot and still completely waterproof after years of wear.
- long lasting
- midheight or longer socks needed
Fit: I like a roomier toe box but with a narrow heel. These fit great and even after hiking all day the fit was still great.
Comfort: No break-in needed. These are mid-height so you will need socks that are long enough to prevent chafing on the heel/ back of calf.
Support: Seems pretty normal, comfortable throughout range of motion. The rubber toe means that even if stubbed (hard) against a rock I can't feel any pain.
Water Resistance: Even after 5 or so years of wear and tear they are still completely waterproof
Traction: Good, better than some other boots.
Temp Control: These are kind of warm; because of the waterproofing they don't breathe well.
Construction & Durability: Very durable and constructed well, have lasted years and miles.
I have tried the Keen sandals and found them to fit true to size and be comfortable. These have a better fit than other brands of hiking boots for my feet right out of the box.
Source: bought it new
"Hiking boot" with zero toe protection? Buy something else if you intend to actually hike.
- No toe protection
- Leaky (not waterproof)
- Lugs and sole come unglued
I have had my old pair of Durand 2 waterproof boots for something like four or five years and have been happily hiking in them all over the US. The bottoms have finally worn down to nothing and I needed to replace them. I went to my local outfitter and purchased a brand new Keen hiking boot, which is listed on their website as a best seller, and was excited about everything including fit and looks.
It turns out I purchased the Targhee 3 waterproof mid. Happy walking around normally with them at the store, but on my very first actual hike I managed to kick a rock (an extremely common occurrence) and experienced an amazingly sharp pain in my toe. Upon inspection, I discovered that there is absolutely no toe protection in the new boot. This is something I could barely understand, as these were hiking boots that cost nearly $200. To leave out such a vital feature was just unthinkable. I made my way back to the car, having no desire to continue the hike, and inspected the boot.
I found that I could easily push my finger into the toe of the boot, as if it were a slipper. I had purchased a pair of trail running shoes on the same day and had them with me, and found that even the lightweight shoe had a much more rigid and protective toe box.
To add to that, the boot now has an indent on the inner liner that constantly rubs my toe in the spot it was kicked, and won't stay popped back out. Both the retailer and Keen directly will do nothing about this in terms of return or exchange, which makes me sad as someone who's worked in retail and customer service for over a decade.
I will unfortunately not be purchasing another pair of Keen boots, as they seem to have greatly declined in quality and credibility since I last purchased their products.
Decades of long distance hiking all over the US
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $175
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