Keen Targhee III Mid Hiking Boot Review


2 lbs. 2.8 oz. (men’s)


Yes (Keen.Dry)

What we like:

A well-built and comfortable boot at a good price.

What we don’t:

Lacks stability for steep or rocky terrain.



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Keen’s Targhee collection has been a major force in the world of day-hiking for a long time with the “III” maintaining the same level of comfort and quality that earned the line such a cult. It’s not your typical hard-core shoe for rocky or steep trails or long, strenuous days carrying heavy loads however, it’s a comfortable option for moderate-to-easy day-hiking and occasional overnight hikes. At $150, we think the Targhee is an outstanding value for all-around use. Here we discuss our experience using this model, the Targhee III. To find out how it compares against the competition, check out our review of the top trekking boots.



One of the main advantages of this model Keen Targhee 3 WP mid is the comfort. From the moment you open the box, the boot is comfortable on your feet. It has a minimal break-in time this is a rare combination of hiking boots. The footbed that is removable has a good feeling and scores high for its users across the range. If you stick to the trails that are established and do not push the boundaries this is among the most comfortable shoes we’ve ever tested. It’s worth noting that Targhee III still is a broad boot, especially on the inside of your toes. It’s not as big as the original Targhee II, but those with narrow feet are likely to be able to swim in all of the room, and it’s likely to affect comfort in time.




At just 2 pounds 2.8 pounds The Keen Targhee III falls into our “lightweight” hiking boots category. While in usage it feels comfortable and light. Targhee III feels light on the foot and we did not experience any discomfort or sluggishness which is often experienced with heavy boots. To give you an example with you can compare the Merrell Moab 2. Mid WP is slightly heavier, at 2 pounds and 4 ounces however, it offers greater stability (more on that later). Other models in this category include the Bridger Mid BDry from Oboz (2 2 pounds. 6 oz.) in addition to Vasque Talus AT UltraDry (2 3 lbs. 3 oz.) Also, it is slightly lighter than Keen. The Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX is lighter , at 1 pounds 15.7 ounces, however the boot is not as protective underneath. For a more powerful choice for trails that are challenging and long days the midweight class has massive hitters, like Lowa Renegade. Lowa Renegade (2 lbs. 7 oz.) in addition to Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX (2 pounds. 13.2 oz. ) and both are significantly more expensive than Keen.





Like similar to the Keen.Dry waterproof membrane that we have described below the Keen Targhee III WP Middle makes use of in-house rubber to provide traction. In comparison to the more common Vibram outsoles We didn’t see the drop in. The lugs with multi-directional design are massive and grippy. This is a major improvement over the Targhee II’s outdated design. The sole was not stuck in mud and we experienced no issues with slippage caused by traction. But, we have difficult time distinguishing the stability and traction. Since the Targhee IIIs do not provide the rigidity or support for a gruelling hike over rough terrains Our slips were caused by the ankles, not from the soles. However, if you use the Targhee IIIs in your hiking shoes they’ll offer plenty of stability over all the standard rock and roots you’ll come across along the trail.



Stability and Support


Stability is the most important aspect that it’s the main area where Targhee III falls short of numerous other models of hiking boots. It’s designed for moderate-to-easy trails, but fails on rocky or steep terrain. In our testing of the Targhee IIs we went on a moderately difficult backpacking trip to two isolated lake in the Washington Cascade Range, and they were simply not up to the task. The boots performed admirably in the beginning on well-established trails and was very comfortable in the more easy conditions. However, once the terrain got more difficult and the terrain became more challenging, the Targhees were shaky and uneasy. The same is true in those who own the Targhee III: they are an excellent choice for excellent terrain, but they aren’t designed to be used for off-trail hiking or carrying full backpacking bags.




Waterproofing and Breathability

Targhee III Targhee III uses Keen.Dry technology to waterproof it which does the job by keeping out moisture. The majority of hiking shoes at this price point use some kind of waterproofing that is proprietary instead of the more expensive Gore-Tex which in the end result is less breathable. If you’re hiking in hot temperatures for prolonged periods it’s likely that you’ll notice that your feet are heating faster when wearing the TRGHEE IIIs compared to an expensive Gore-Tex boots, which could cause dampness and even blisters. However, for what the Targhee is intended for – moderate day hikes and brief hiking trips, this isn’t a to us. It’s important to note that, like many other hiking boots the Targhee comes in the not-waterproof version to keep you dry and warm conditions.




Toe and Ankle Protection

Keen Targhee III WP Mid Keen Targhee III WP mid has a hefty rubber toe cap, which we enjoyed several times even though we didn’t pay enough pay attention to the path. It’s more robust over those of the Merrell Moab and most other lightweight boots, and extends all up to the bottom of your toes. For ankle protection The Targhee III is a mid-height boot. Keen put the extra padding to the ankle. In our boots we see some scratch marks on the ankle, which indicates that the padding was in a good spot and performing its function.




Build Quality and Durability

The entire Keen Targhee III feels well-built and sturdy, particularly when you consider the inexpensive price. The uppers made of leather show scratches from branches and rocks however, they’ve been able to stand up to the test over the years. Similar to the outsoles and the midsoles. Both feel durable and should last through multiple seasons of day-to-day walking. In contrast, different shoes for hikers such as Merrell Moab Merrell Moab are heavier on mesh — and mesh seems to be among the first things we take out on our hiking shoes–the Targhee III is waterproof. Targhee III is durable leather and rubber (note it is not waterproof, but the Targhee Vent does have a part-mesh upper).




Fit and Sizing

It is the Targhee range is known for its broad fit, especially within the toe area. In our tests of the Targhee II previously, we weren’t a huge fan of the design. Our test subject had a normal-sized foot, if not a bit towards the wider end. Despite the fact that the middle and heel of the boot felt comfortable but he was soaking in the instep. This definitely adds to the comfort of the boot . It might be a problem for a day hike however, if you’re challenging your footwear and want to maximize your space, then a lot of room isn’t a good thing.

Its Targhee III, however, is able to reduce the shape of the boot a bit. It’s still on the larger side of the spectrum, however, the size 12 felt more snug overall and the toe area was more proportional to the other parts of the boot. We don’t suggest this Targhee III for those with narrow feet, but it’s likely to be suitable for medium- to broad feet as well as those who aren’t afraid of having a bit more room. For those who have broad feet Keen Targhee III is the best choice. Keen Targhee III is available in a wide-footed version.




Other Versions of the Keen Targhee

We tried our experience with the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Middle. Keen also offers models of the Targhee III in a waterproof low-top model that loses the ankle support. But, it’s lighter, weighing 1 pounds 14.8 ounces and priced lower at $140. If you’re hiking primarily in dry climates or need shoes that are more breathable Both the mid-height as well as low-top versions are available with mesh-heavy Vent models that don’t have Keen.Dry technology for waterproofing. Its Vent Mid shaves off about one ounce from the model we tested and is priced at $10 less than $140. However, it is a matter of how you want to prioritize breathability and waterproofing. Each of these models is offered in women’s sizes as well, including Keen’s female Keen Targhee III WP Mid priced similar, but lighter than the men’s versions and come in a variety of color styles. Additionally, Keen makes an insulated snow-tolerant High Lace model ($170) in addition to some sandals.




What We Like

  • Super comfortable right out of the box and no break-in required.
  • A well-built boot with a quality feel.
  • At $150, the Targhee III is a nice value for casual hikers.

What We Don’t

  • Stability over rough terrain is very limited, and therefore we recommend keeping these boots on trail.
  • Still a fairly wide boot, and particularly in the toe box.
  • Keen.Dry waterproofing is serviceable but falls short of Gore-Tex. Therefore, moisture buildup can be issue when hiking for extended periods in warm conditions (the non-waterproof Vent model may be the better choice in those situations).

Comparison Table

Keen Targhee III WP Mid $150 Lightweight 2 lb. 2.8 oz. Yes (Keen.Dry) Nubuck leather / textile
Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP $135 Lightweight 2 lb. 4 oz. Yes (M-Select) Leather / mesh
Keen Durand II WP Mid $195 Midweight 2 lb. 12.2 oz. Yes (Keen.Dry) Leather / textile
Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX $165 Lightweight 1 lb. 15.6 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Suede leather / nylon
Oboz Bridger Mid BDry $180 Light/mid 2 lb. 6 oz. Yes (BDry) Nubuck leather
Oboz Sypes Mid $165 Lightweight 2 lb. 1.2 oz. Yes (BDry) Nubuck leather

The Contest

At the low portion of the hiker boot range the Keen Targhee III is in competition against that of the Merrell Moab Mid WP in a significant way. We prefer this model over the Moab when we do our roundup of hiking boots due to its superior stabilization over Targhee but is still extremely comfortable straight out of the box. Not to mention that it’s less expensive at $135. The drawback of the Moab is it’s very high in mesh and tends to degrade a bit faster than the leather-based Targhee. Both are excellent choices for moderate to easy day hikes, however we prefer the Moab due to its price.

Keen has a second shoe in its hiking collection that is The Durand II WP Middle. Both Targhee III and Durand II are mid-height leather models that both feature the similar Keen.Dry the waterproof liner. They share the same look and feel. However, the Durand is more bulkier and designed for tough terrains which adds an additional 8 ounces to the mix at 2 pounds 12.2 pounds and is priced at $195. In all, both are excellent choices, however it’s the Targhee III remains our favorite for hiking light due to its excellent levels of comfort. The most important factor for us is price. The Targhee is an excellent value for $150 and has the same design and feature that is similar to the Durand.

Keen Targhee III (day hiking)

For serious day hikes and backpacking, there’s many models that we prefer to the Durand like those from the Salomon the X Ultra3 mid GTX. At just 1 one pound 15.6 grams, this model is less then it’s predecessor, the Targhee III and includes a more comfortable and breathable Gore-Tex membrane. In spite of the lower weight it’s still a great shoe. Salomon remains a remarkably comfortable shoe with excellent comfort, toe protection and grip. However, we found that this means less protection for the underfoot particularly when walking on rough terrain (for thatreason, it’s definitely worth looking into the more powerful Salomon Quest 4D). It’s also necessary to shell more for this model, which retails at $165. X Ultra 3 Mid at $165, however we’ve discovered that it’s superior to the Targhee in nearly every way.

Similar to Keen, Oboz is another brand that is focused on comfort with the bridger mid BDry is similar to an upgraded variant of Targhee. We were impressed throughout our testing how solid and comfortable the Bridger was on trails. Additionally, we are pleased the fact that it comes with an excellent and well-sculped insole. Although the Oboz is lighter than it’s Targhee on weight and weight with approximately 3 ounces per pair it was noticeable uncomfortable and heavy beneath the foot. Also, we noticed that the B-Dry membrane of the boot was warm in even moderate conditions, which is similar to what we experienced using the Targhee III’s Keen.Dry waterproofing. Both are comfortable, well-constructed hiking boots, however the Targhee is the more affordable with a price that is 30 percent less in comparison to the Bridger.

The last but not least an updated Oboz design that is called Sypes Mid. Sypes Mid. In contrast to the more conventional Targhee and Bridger Sypes Mid, this version of the Sypes Mid is decidedly modernand sporty-looking. It still has a comfortable and durable leather upper. It is waterproof thanks to Oboz’s BDdry lining and has good assistance and grip. The Sypes does not have the cushioning or protection needed for serious miles or off-trail adventure. In the end neither the Targhee or the Sypes perform at the top of the performance side of the spectrum however, it is worth noting that the Keen offers a more reliable model and is priced at $15 less.

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