True story. My buddy told his wife to break her shoes in before their trip to Israel but she didn’t. Once they were in country her feet hurt everywhere they went. They did a lot of walking in order to see the landmarks. Right about the third day of the trip her feet were in agony because of blisters. They decided to get her a new pair of shoes. Every store was closed but one. The only open shop in the city had a clerk trying to put away hundreds of boxes of shoe merchandise before sunset. He told them, “If you help me put these away I’ll help you find something.”A few hundred boxes later the only thing they were able to get her fitted for were kid’s shoes. You know the kind of shoes with baubles, shiny plastic and heels which light up red when you walk? Yeah, that kind, but at least her feet didn’t hurt any longer.

The Keen Targhee are good boots. They are a bit clunky looking in my book but for their reasonable price and the functionality it’s something many people can overlook when considering this model. To me, the boxy look reminds me of the old-style, white New Balance sneakers that old guys like my dad wears with slacks to Walmart and Costco. Never you mind, the boots are good to go, and the Keen Targhee II Mid will serve you well.For an affordable boot they will provide you comfort, cost savings, function and reasonable durability. That’s not bad for around $110.00-$130.00They are a bit stiff out of the box and need a little break in period but after that they are excellent for walking in. The boots will loosen up between the collar and heel and will create natural flex points. I’ve heard it mentioned the shoes irritate some user’s ankles. Try them on at a store if you can. I was undecided on the boot version or the shoe. I finally chose the boot.Because of their high traction rubber sole and the placement of the lugs the shoes are great for wet or muddy conditions. Keen makes good use of the bi-directional aggressive 4 mm lug design. Notice in the images the lugs placed at the outer edge of the outsole for good side control for the user; great for steady ascents and descents.The outsoles and the uppers are easy to clean. The lugs are not so close together or deep that rocks can get stuck between them. They are easy to wash with water and scrub with a toothbrush or bootbrush for a sprucing up. Leather cleaner and conditioner will help keep it in pristine condition. These are very new. Oddly, this month, I’ve noticed a half dozen people wearing this model and they all like it.

Notice on the image below Keen’s intelligent placement of fabric eyestays, lacekeeper, and an expanse of leather on the dorsal part of the boot to prevent the sturdy laces from cutting into the top of your foot. The combination of materials and placement allows the user to really cinch the laces down.The laces are long and durable. Nothing worse than weak laces that rip off the boot while you still have 10 more miles to go. Keen uses a nice lacing system with the addition of strong fabric eyestays to help you tie the boot firmly to your foot.Some reviewers have mentioned the boot is too roomy for them, even after re-lacing it during their trip. I recommend putting them on at a store and walking around in the socks you intend to hike with. You can sometimes remedy problems like roominess by wearing thicker socks or simply move onto other models and brands.

The ESS shank provides midfoot support for all-day comfort and torsional stability on uneven terrain as they say. You get comfort, stability and the support your feet need on the trail or elsewhere. The EVA midsole flexes with the natural flex of your foot.The nubuck is breathable. The upper is a mesh lining and is breathable and waterproof. They call their Gore-tex knock of Keen. Either way, it works, and the perspiration can escape while your feet can simultaneously dry. The toe box is particularly sturdy and the toe cap is thick. I like that. I’m told the boot may not last more than a few years but I expect this of a lightweight boot put to a lot of use.If you want a stiff or softer ride I recommend adding inserts of your choice. I think this is a good tough hiker.


  • Waterproofed nubuck leather and flexible nylon mesh uppers offer ample durability, flexibility and breathability for comfort on the go
  • KEEN.DRY™ waterproof breathable membranes keep feet dry while allowing perspiration to dissipate before it saturates the inside of the shoe
  • Mid-height cuff offers support to help protect ankles from injury
  • Secure-fit lace capture system, with sturdy nylon webbing eyelets and heel wrap, helps lock feet to footbeds for increased support
  • Webbing pull loops at heel and tongue allow easy entry/exit; padded, gusseted tongue keeps out debris and moisture while relieving lace pressure
  • Patented rubber Toe Guards protect feet and uppers from impacts and abrasion
  • EVA footbeds are shaped to provide ample cushioning and arch support; can also accommodate orthotics
  • Compression-molded EVA midsoles offer shock-absorption and padding for all-day comfort
  • Supportive nylon shanks provide torsional stability and protection from uneven terrain
  • Nonmarking carbon rubber outsoles with aggressive 4mm multidirectional lugs deliver durability and traction
  • Fit tip: runs about a 1/2 size small

Material DisclosureI received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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By Michael Kurcina

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for an agency within the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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