Comfort and weight are the largest contributors to the overall score we give each shoe, and the Keen Targhee 2 delivers in both metrics. The traction is great and the foot support is unrivaled for a shoe this light. This is our favorite dayhiking shoe and an excellent choice for long backpacking trips with light packs.
The Targhee, with impressive foot support, great traction in wet conditions, and good waterproofing, is a great choice for backpacking as well as dayhiking.
Check out the Overall Performance chart below to see where the Targhee 2 lands in our lineup of hiking shoes.
This is a very comfortable shoe with a wide fit through the toe box and a slightly deeper-than-average cut in the cuff. We would like the footbed to have a little bit more arch support, but otherwise it is a comfortable shoe. There is a lot of room in the toe box for wide feet, but with the nice lacing system some folks with narrow feet find a satisfactory fit.
This model's four eyelet lacing system is top notch. Three widely-spaced lower webbing eyelets lace the boot over the fore and midfoot. This wide spacing allows folks with narrower feet to snug the upper down. The upper webbing eyelet extends down and around the heel of the shoe, creating the ability to cinch your heel down in the heel cup. Many hikers praise this feature. With a little experimenting, the forefoot can be laced loosely for comfort, while the heel can be tightly cinched into the heel cup for security.
The two Keen models we tested are the only ones that use a proprietary waterproof membrane, KEEN.DRY, rather than GORE-TEX. We found the Targhee 2 quite breathable considering its mostly leather upper and the KEEN.DRY membrane help keep this shoe a bit more affordable than the other models with GORE-TEX liners.
The lacing system on this model is top notch. The top webbing eyelet that extends down and around the heel let's hikers cinch down the heel cup for a secure fit.
Our Best Buy winner comes in about right in the middle at 2.25 lbs per pair. Most of the our test shoes weighed in between 2.2 and 2.3 lbs; however, Keen packed lots of punch into this shoe for the amount of weight. There are definitely a few ways that the company could have saved even more weight. For example, they could have eliminated the wrap-over toe box, but then they would lose their unique, toenail saving protection. They also could have had a narrower lacing system with less tongue material — but then they would lose the genius precise lacing. All told, we're glad that this product has these features and think it's worth a few extra ounces.
Only two models, the Lowa Renegade II GTX Lo
and La Sportiva FC Eco 2.0, provide more foot support than the Keen Targhee 2, and they weigh considerably more. Check out the Support chart below to see how the Targhee 2 fared amongst its competition.
The Torsion Stability ESS shank combined with the dual density midsole create a surprisingly stiff shoe. Delivering this foot support without the weight is a big reason why the Targhee is so popular for thru-hiking and backpacking trips with light or medium loads. The North Face Hedgehog Hike GTX
is a similarly designed shoe that is a little lighter. The Hedgehog has a slightly stiffer forefoot, but less midfoot stiffness than the Targhee.
Evaluating the Targhee's support and comfort side by side with the Renegade. Comfort, support and great traction are strong points of both these shoes.
The lug pattern is pretty impressive, but for some reason it just didn't seem to stick to all surfaces as well as some of the competition, such as The North Face Ultra 109. The Targhee outperformed the others on wet granite slabs and the proprietary rubber sole handled dry rock and muddy slopes well.
For wet conditions, this shoe is a rockstar. However, we did slip and slide in the gravel a bit - the big central lugs seem to get the gravel rolling underfoot.
Keen's sole on this shoe delivers excellent traction is all the conditions we tested, except loose gravel. The large lugs seem to rolls and slip on pea and grape sized pebbles.
The shoe's clunky appearance looks a bit goofy at times, but it handles most terrain well. We loved it for dayhiking as well as backpacking.
However, models with a narrower toe like the Sportiva FC ECO and Salewa Wildfire GTX
are more suited to scrambling. This is not the shoe you want if you mix in some running on your hikes and the beefy look can be a bit much for casual wear.
The Venture is a great just in case jacket and the Keen Targhee boot is a supportive favorite. Here we've layered the Venture over an insulated jacket for a short hike to a favorite lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
The water resistant treatment applied to the upper wasn't quite up to par with the remainder of the field, but it did pretty well. This shoe will greatly benefit from a regular treatment with leather and fabric conditioner. That said, the KEEN.DRY membrane kept our sock bone dry when playing in the Poudre River.
Reasonably durable, the Targhee 2 has one main area of concern. The seams where the leather is stitched to the mesh on both sides of the forefoot are particularly prone to wear, and this flex point is a common place for wear and breakdown of the waterproof liner. These seams are prime candidates for Seam Grip application.
The chart above shows where each shoe landed relative to the Targhee 2 on our Durability scale.
Keen's large rubber toe caps are a feature appreciated by many hikers.
This model is an excellent choice for backpacking with light loads and is popular with thru-hikers. Overall, it provides more foot support than other shoes in its weight class, which will keep your feet happy over the long miles. Day hiking in the Keen Targhee 2 is cushy comfortable and this model handles wet and muddy conditions superbly. Finally, the toe box fits bunions and wide feet well.
Take me hiking and backpacking where it's muddy! The mid-cut boot version of this shoe is only a few ounces heavier, stabilizes the ankle, and will let you tackle deeper mud and water.
This product won our Best Buy award. If getting the most bang for your buck is important, it's hard to go wrong with this shoe.
This is a very popular shoe; dayhikers love it for comfort, and backpackers love it for the foot support delivered in a lightweight package. Thru-hikers swear by it for the combination of comfort and support. The roomy toe box with the distinctive rubber toe cap is the icing on the cake. Buy this product if you need lightweight support for the foot, and rain and mud don't deter you from getting out there.
The Targhee 2 is our favorite shoe for dayhiking, expecially in wet terrain.
Targhee II - Women's
- Cost - $125 (same as men's version)
- Weight - 1lb 10 oz (6oz less than men's version)
Keen Targhee II Mid
- Runs about a half size small
- Cost- $135.00 ($10 more than the low version)
- Weight- 2lbs 2oz (2 oz more than the low version)
- Best Buy Award winner for hiking boots