Reviewers agree that the Keen Targhee II Mid hiking boot is absolutely tops in comfort. Its boxy looks hide a just-right toebox that's spacious without being too roomy. While it has great traction in dry conditions, a number of users say the Targhee II Mid can slip dangerously on wet surfaces.
Deceivingly boxy. The Keen Targhee II isn't known for its svelte look, but the box-like appearance disguises an incredibly comfortable boot, so comfortable that some owners purchase multiple pairs in spite of other shortcomings.
The toebox, which is spacious without being overly roomy, is a big hit with OutdoorGearLab.com among other expert sources. One review at REI.com that represents a good consensus reads: "I went on a 50-mile hike in 24 hours on the Appalachian Trail without breaking these in nearly enough, but they worked beautifully." Keen recommends sizing up at least a half size and users second this; some even go up a full size to get a good fit in this "ridiculously comfortable" boot.
A few women complain about heel slippage, but more users gripe about the laces sometimes coming undone on their own. The editors at OutdoorGearLab.com point out that the Keen Targhee II Mid gives a remarkable return on support for such a lightweight boot and also comes in a low-cut shoe (MSRP $120).
Great grip in dry conditions. The Keen Targhee II earned rave reviews pre-2009 for its eVent waterproof/breathable membrane. Since Keen switched to a proprietary KeenDry membrane, however, feedback has been somewhat more reserved. Experts at OutdoorGearLab.com say the Targhee II is tolerable in warm weather, but doesn't breathe well enough to wear in hot weather. Then again, not many waterproof boots fit those criteria.
On the upside, the Targhee II's rubber toeguard wraps around the front of the toe to provide ample protection when hiking over rough terrain. OutdoorGearLab.com editors report that although the Targhee II doesn't drain water so well, it was still comfortable during long, soggy canyon hikes and grips wet sandstone very well.
Others disagree, panning the boot's traction on wet rock but praising it on all other terrain. "They have NO grip in the wet whatsoever and both my wife and I fell several times just walking on a pavement (sidewalk)," says one Amazon.com reviewer who bought the boots for his honeymoon. Others had trouble getting to the trailhead because of the lack of traction on flat, wet surfaces.
The sole's great -- until it's not. The list of durability complaints for the Keen Targhee II starts with an annoying squeak: "Indoors they squeak something terrible!" notes one REI.com user who tried powder and spray lubricant to stop the noise. Nothing worked, and a fair number of others report having the same problem.
Next is a lengthy list of complaints about sole and seam durability. While there are a few happy users -- like one woman who wore her Keen Targhee II boots for more than 300 miles of rough terrain and river crossings, and says they're still waterproof -- stories of the sole delaminating and toe seams unraveling are much more common.
Sometimes the waterproofing on the boots simply fails for no apparent reason, straight out of the box or nearly so. The laces are a recurring problem, as well: A user posting to Moosejaw.com says the Targhee II's webbing lace loops tear quickly and easily, a complaint echoed by a number of owners at other sites.
Review Credibility: Excellent Editors test a dozen hiking boots and assign them comparative rankings; the Keen Targhee II comes in second and nabs an Editors' Choice distinction. Each boot receives a more extensive video and text review that provides a balanced evaluation of its performance.
Review: Keen Targhee II Review , Atherton Phleger, June 1, 2012
Review Credibility: Good More than 250 men and 150 women review the mid-cut Keen Targhee II boots here, giving them average ratings of 3.6 and 4.3 stars out of 5, respectively. Users like the boot's comfort, but it does accumulate some criticism for poor durability and waterproofing that leads to a below-average rating on the men's model.
Review: Keen Targhee II Mid Hiking Boots, Contributors to REI.com, As of March 2013
Review Credibility: Good More than 125 Amazon.com customers post feedback on the Keen Targhee II Mid, giving it 4.3 stars out of 5. Their comments echo those from other sites, with users praising the Targhee II's comfort in spite of numerous complaints about durability and waterproofing.
Review: Keen Men's Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2013
Review Credibility: Good Together, the men's and women's versions of the Keen Targhee II receive more than 120 user reviews and a rating of close to 4 stars out of 5 at Backcountry.com. Most owners are happy with their boots and call them extremely comfortable, but several women report slippage at the heel and a number of wearers complain that the sole isn't durable. Again, there's criticism that the waterproofing is substandard and fails quickly.
Review: Keen Targhee II Mid Hiking Boot - Men's, Contributors to Backcountry.com, As of March 2013
Review Credibility: Good At Moosejaw.com, the men's and women's versions of the Keen Targhee II get about 50 user reviews and 4.5 out of 5 together. Most customers rave about how comfortable the boots are, but several complain that the webbing lace loops tear quickly and easily.
Review: Keen Women's Targhee II Mid Shoe, Contributors to Moosejaw.com, As of March 2013