Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid

KEEN Men's Targhee 3 Mid Height Waterproof Hiking Boots, Black Olive/Golden Brown, 7 US

Great news: These are also available in women’s fit.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent comfort
  • Great durability

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • The looks are a little dated
  • Are relatively expensive outside of the USA

We’ve previously reviewed the Keen Targhee 3 hiking shoe and this is essentially that same shoe built-up into a mid-high boot. The Keen Targhee is an iconic hiking boot, well-known for its balance of comfort and durability. These may not be the most stylish hiking boots out there, but for many hikers, their solid reputation is all that’s needed to justify their purchase.

What’s more, we’ve found that the Targhee III Mid really does live up to its reputation and for many hikers, these will make a great, all-round pair of boots and, provided you don’t hike in extreme cold or heat, they could really be the only pair of hiking footwear you need.

Editor’s note: This article is part of our guide to the best hiking boots, be sure to check out the rest of this guide for our top buying tips:

Compare to Similar Products: 

Salewa Men's Alp Trainer 2 Mid GTX Boots
Hoka Trail Code GTX
Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid
Asolo Fugitive GTX
Scarpa Rush TRK GTX
Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid 2
Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry
Skechers Relment-Pelmo
Teva Grandview GORE-TEX
Timberland White Ledge Mid Waterproof
Salewa Men's Alp Trainer 2 Mid Gtx - Raw Green/pale Frog - 14
Hoka Men's Trail Code GTX Lightweight Hiking Shoes (Castlerock/Persimmon Orange, us_Footwear_Size_System, Adult, Men, Numeric, Medium, Numeric_8)
KEEN Men's Targhee 3 Mid Height Waterproof Hiking Boots, Black Olive/Golden Brown, 7 US
Asolo Fugitive GTX Hiking Boot - Men's Wool/Black 8.5
SCARPA Men's Rush Trk GTX Waterproof Gore-Tex Hiking and Backpacking Boots - Dark Anthracite/Black - 8.5
ALTRA Women's AL0A7R7J Lone Peak All-WTHR Mid 2 Trail Running Shoe, Black - 5.5 M US
Oboz Men's Bridger BDRY Hiking Boot,Sudan,7 M US
Skechers Men Relaxed Fit¿: Relment - Pelmo Chukka Boot, Khaki Suede, 6.5 US
Teva Men's Grandview GTX Hiking Boot, Chocolate Chip, 7
Timberland Men's White Ledge Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, Wheat, 7
Buying Options
Our Ratings
Best Overall Men's
Most Stylish
Best for Long Distance Trails
Most Breathable
Best for Winter/Cold Weather
Best Lightweight
Best for Backpacking
Pros
Excellent comfort. Great combo of breathability and water-resistance.
Excellent Grip. Excellent water resistance
Excellent comfort. Great durability
Tough and durable. Great water resistance.
Excellent durability (including ability to be resoled). Excellent ankle support
Very light. Extremely comfortable
Tough build. Great fit and comfort
Very comfortable. Reasonably priced.
Comfortable. Looks good
Often very inexpensive. Offered in a wide range of sizes.
Cons
Can be pricey. May be a little tight if you have very wide feet
The styling is not to everybody's taste. Some durability concerns
The loos are a little dated. Are relatively expensive outside of the USA
Some may find the upper too flexible. Can be expensive.
Can be pricey. A little heavy
Long term durability concerns. Not well suited to more technical terrain
A little heavy. Not the most breathable
Not suited to technical hiking. Styling is a little dull.
Some durability concerns. Not suited for more extreme trails
Low water resistance. Less ankle support than others.
Traction
Excellent
Excellent
Very Good
Excellent
Excellent
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good
Good
Breathability
Excellent
Good
Very Good
Good
Low
Excellent
Low
Low
Good
Low
Ankle Support
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Very good
Excellent
Good
Very Good
Good
Good
Average
Arch support
Regular to good
Regular
Regular
Minimal
Minimal
Regular
Good
Good
Regular
Regular
Fit
Fits true to size available in a single width
Fits true to size. Available in a single width
Fit true to size. Available in normal and wide fit and with a wide range of sizes
Fits true to size. Available in standard and wide fit.
Fits true to size. Available in a single width.
Fits true to size. Available in a single width
Fit is true ot size. Available ins standard and wide versions.
Available in a wide range of sizes with several width options. sizing may run large.
Fits true to size. Available in a single width
Runs small. Available in regular and wide fit.
Materials
Suede leather upper and synthetic
Full synthetic
Leather upper and synthetic
Suede leather and synthetic
Suede leather upper with synthetics
Full synthetic
Leather upper with synthetics
Suede leather upper with synthetics
Leather and synthetic upper
Leather and synthetic upper
Appearance
Modern hiking boot
Modern sports shoe inspired hiking boot
The design is a little dated
The design is a little dated
Modern hiking boot
Modern sports shoe
The design is a little dated
Regular hiking boot
Retro inspired modern hiking trainer
Traditional hiking boot
Durability
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Very Good
Good
Good
Water Resistance
Gore Tex membrane
Gore Tex Membrane
Keen.Dry' breathable waterproof membrane
Gore Tex Membrane
Gore Tex Membrane
In-house waterproof membrane
B-Dry Membrane
Water-resistant treatment and possibly a water-resistant membrane
Gore Tex membrane and water resistant treatment
Water resistant treatment and sealed seems
Weight (pair)
1.04kg/2lb 05oz
868g/1lb 14.6oz
970g/2lb 2oz
1.39kg/3lb 1oz
1.19kg/2lb 10oz
856g/1lb 14oz
1.08kg/2lb 06oz
964g/2lb 02oz
Insoles
Modular insole system to fine-tune fit
Padded removable insole
Padded removable insole
Padded removable insole
Padded removable insole
Padded removable insole
Shaped 'O-FIT' insole
Air Cooled Memory Foam Insole
Padded removable insole
Padded removable insole
Break-in Period
Minimal
Minimal
Very minimal
Minimal
Short break in required
Very minimal
Minimal
Minimal
Minimal
Minimal
Lacing system
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Regular laces
Toe Protection
Reinforced rubber rand on toe
Reinforced toe section
Leather reinforced with rubber toecap
Reinforced toe section with rubber rand
Reinforced rubber toe cap
Rubber reinforced toe
Reinforced rubber toe cap
Rubber rand at toe
Reinforced rand and rubber toe cap
Sole extended up to form a small toe cap

Analysis and Test Results

American brand Keen are one of the big names in terms of hiking shoes and boots and the Targhee family is one of their key product ranges encompassing these mid-high boots, shoes, open and closed-toe sandals and even a ‘semi-formal’ version of the shoe. The Targhee is one of those boots with an intensely loyal following and it’s not unusual to read accounts of hikers who’ve worn only Targhee’s for decades.

These boots are well-known for their combination of durability and excellent comfort right out of the box and when that’s combined with their water-resistance and often very reasonable price (especially so in America, less so elsewhere), it’s easy to see why they are so popular. On the downside, the styling may seem a bit ‘old’ to some. However, we think that the positives outweigh the negatives here and we can see why these shoes remain such a popular choice.

Performance Comparison

keen targhee

Traction

The Keen Targhee 3 uses an in-house sole. Keeping the sole unit in house – rather than using one from, say Vibram, is likely one of the key ways Keen can keep the price of these boots down, but it absolutely does not mean the grip or traction these boots offer is compromised. This sole has deep lugs and offers excellent grip on a range of different surfaces. If you’re hiking in the kind of mixed weather conditions these boots are intended for, it goes without saying that wet, slick rock, mud and, of course, ice will thwart the grip on any boot worn without additional traction aids.

Breathability

These boots are intended for hiking in mixed weather conditions, so they do not prioritize breathability. If you hike in the desert or some other very warm place and get particularly bothered by having warm feet, then a more specialized, heavily ventilated shoe or boot would likely serve you better.

However, that’s not to say these boots are not ventilated and they do make use of ventilated mesh material in their upper which helps keep air circulating whilst hiking. Your choice of socks can also make a big difference to how sweaty your feet feel after a long hike and we’d always recommend wearing a pair made from a naturally moisture wicking material such as Merino Wool.

Ankle Support

The mid-high version of the Keen Targhee 3 boot offers good ankle support from a combination of a chunky, well-padded cuff and a multi-zone lacing system that integrates with webbing straps that form a heel cup.

The ankle support is not as much as you’d get on more rigid mountaineering boots, but it’s definitely a step-up from hiking shoes. If you’re prone to twisting your ankles (like our reviewer is!), then mid-high boots make a lot of sense and are definitely worth the weight penalty over shoes, especially so on more uneven terrain.

Arch Support

The Targhee 3 Mid offers fairly neutral arch support out of the box. This won’t be an issue to most buyers, and these boots are pretty much in-line with most of their competitors in this regard. However, for some hikers, extra arch support can make a massive difference to comfort and in this regard, it’s easy to swap out the included insoles with something more heavily shaped to provide that extra support if it’s needed.

See the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid in more detail: 

Fit

The Keen Targhee 3 Mid is available in sizes from US 7/UK 6/EU 39.5 all the way up to US 17/UK 16/EU 49. It’s also offered in both normal and wide versions and sizing is generally regarded as being true. We think it’s great to see such a wide range of sizes offered – especially so at the large end where traditionally, choices have been very limited.

Materials

The Keen Targhee 3 Mid uses a combination of tough, smooth-finished leather and synthetic materials in its construction. The largely leather upper will certainly appeal to many buyers as leather is still regarded as a great choice for durability – something these boots are well known for. The synthetic materials help with padding and also allow for a good degree of breathability in the boot.

keen targhee materials

Appearance

Whilst these are not traditional hiking boots, they are also not at the cutting edge of outdoor footwear design. One complaint we’ve heard about the Targhee’s is that the design is looking more than a bit dated and that probably isn’t helped by the fact that the boots are only offered in earthy color ways (though there are a good few options here).

Looks shouldn’t be your key concern when choosing hiking boots, but it’s also fair to say that many hikers want good-looking kit and we think a few more vivid color options would be a great way for Keen to broaden the appeal of these boots.

Durability

Durability is one of the key factors on which the Targhee 3’s reputation is built and we’re happy to report that they live up to expectations. The thick leather upper and robust synthetic materials used elsewhere give us no cause for concern about the durability of these boots and we have no reason to doubt that these boots could give many long years of service.

Sustainability

Like pretty much every other outdoor gear manufacturer, Keen is working to reduce the environmental impact of their products. The brand has eliminated PFAS (‘forever chemicals’) from their products since 2018 and has also eliminated toxic chemicals from the anti-odor treatment they apply to their insoles.

They also source their leather from Leather Working Group (LWG) accredited suppliers, who are committed to ensuring better welfare and environmental standards in leather production. Keen have also financially supported a range of environmental, conservational, educational and disaster relief projects around the world since 2003.

Water Resistance

The Targhee 3 Mid is marketed as a waterproof boot and features Keen’s in-house ‘Keen.Dry’ technology. This is a waterproof, breathable membrane – essentially similar to Gore Tex and it prevents water from entering the boot whilst still maintaining breathability.

The Keen.Dry layer will help keep your feet dry in the rain and even if you need to cross shallow streams – though do bear in mind that water can still enter the boot around the ankle cuff.

Weight

The Keen Targhee 3 Mid weigh-in at 970g/2lb 2oz for a pair. Whilst that’s heavier than many hiking shoes, that’s a respectable weight for a pair of mid-high hiking boots – especially so a pair that isn’t specifically marketed as lightweight and which features a traditionally heavy leather upper.

Insoles

The Keen Targhee 3 Mid come with a pair of fairly unremarkable padded insoles. These have an anti-odor treatment which Keen point out is free from toxic chemicals. The insoles are fairly unremarkable, but we think that most buyers will be perfectly happy with them. If you do need extra cushioning, arch support or wat to fine-tune the fit of your boots, then, of course, the supplied insoles can be easily swapped out for a third-party alternative.

Break-in Period

The Keen Targhee 3 Mid has a reputation for out of the box comfort – indeed this is one thing you’ll hear over and over again if you do any research on these boots. The good news is that they live up to this reputation and these boots are indeed very comfortable and feel like they could be worn on a long hike straight away.

Now, despite this, we don’t think that any footwear is completely without a breaking in period, and we’d always suggest wearing new shoes or boots on a few shorter walks – or simply around your home for a while – before taking them out on a longer hike.

Lacing System

The Keen Targhee 3 Mid uses regular laces. Most hikers don’t realize just how versatile lacing is as a way of adjusting the fit of their boots, and the multi-zone lacing system on these boots allows a good dela of control of fit in different parts of the boot. Taking things a step further, you can experiment with different lacing patterns to further refine the fit of your boots.

Toe Protection

The leather upper of the Keen Targhee 3 Mid is reinforced with thick rubber around the toe, offering great protection from knocks and bumps on the trail. This isn’t the same level of protection as you’d get on a more heavy-duty mountaineering boot, but it’s certainly enough to save some stubbed toes and broken nails.

toe protection

Conclusion

Spend any time with the Keen Targhee 3 Mid boot and you’ll quickly understand why they are such a popular choice. They strike a great balance between weight, durability, comfort, water resistance and value and this surely makes them a very attractive proposition to many potential buyers. We’d go as far as saying that if you hike in more temperate conditions – essentially avoiding very extreme heat and winter conditions, then these could well be the only hiking footwear you need.

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