Expert Review: KEEN Women's Targhee II Waterproof Mid Hiking Boots

Published on 03/24/2023 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the hiking boots, which I purchased with my own money in October of 2019.
Nicole O, Camping Expert
By Camping Expert Nicole O

Photos courtesy of Nicole O.

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the hiking boots, which I purchased with my own money in October of 2019.

My take

The KEEN Women’s Targhee II Waterproof Mid Boots are a really lovely option for people looking for a great bang for their buck. They’re reasonably priced, durable, waterproof, and comfortable. These boots perform well on rainy and icy/snowy trails or any hiking where it’s pretty chilly and when one doesn’t want to wear lightweight mesh shoes.

About the gear

  • Model: 2019 KEEN Women's Targhee II Waterproof Mid Boots
  • Size: Women’s 7.5
  • Width: Regular
  • Fit: Runs true to size

Test conditions

  • When I bought these: October 2019
  • Days tested: 100
  • Terrain: Muddy, rocky, bushwhacking, sandy, snowy
  • Used for: Used for day hiking and backpacking trips
  • Where I’ve used it: Washington, Alaska, California, Utah, Oregon
  • Seasons I’ve used it in: All four seasons

About me

  • Height: 5’4”
  • Weight: 135lbs
  • Usual shoe size: Women’s 7.5
  • Foot width: Regular
  • Foot arch: Regular
  • Experience: I’ve thru-hiked, made plenty of backpacking trips, and taken more day hikes than I could ever count. I’ve been into hiking and camping for nearly a decade now.

How they perform

Comfort
5/5
Durability
5/5
Support
5/5
Traction
4/5
Waterproofing
4/5
Weight
4/5
Versatility
3/5
Breathability
2/5

What I was looking for

I was gearing up to spend the winter in the second rainiest part of North America, so I needed to find a pair of solid waterproof hiking boots. I usually wear more breathable, lightweight shoes, so I wanted to ensure they were comfortable and fully waterproof.

Why I chose this gear

I chose the KEEN Targhee II boots because of how comfortable and lightweight they are for boots and the price. I considered some boots from Columbia but didn’t find them as comfortable.

What I love about them

  • Durability: The durability of these boots cannot be overstated. I have put many miles on them, a fair bit being rough terrain/bushwhacking, and they still look practically brand new. I’m really impressed by their durability. They’re made out of leather which helps them last longer.
  • Break-in period: The shoes didn’t take a long time to break in. The Targhee II boots are made of leather, often taking a while to break in, but mine broke in within the first couple of wears. They’re very cushy, which makes them immediately comfortable.
  • Comfort: These boots are super comfortable. I can wear them for long backpacking trips and never had any issues. Even at the end of double-digit mile days, they still feel comfy.
  • Fit: The fit seems very standard. The boots are a little roomy, so they are a good option for those with wider but not quite wide feet.
  • Weight: Weighs 2.4 pounds for the pair, so not quite heavy but not quite ultralight. The less a shoe/boot weighs while hiking, the less effort one has to exert, so getting the lightest weight shoe that is still comfortable and functional is important. If someone is looking for fully waterproof, mid-height hiking shoes, these are very light for the style. Their new model, which I have not personally tried yet, weighs two ounces less.
  • Waterproofing: I have never had issues with them not being waterproof. However, if it is particularly rainy or dewy on the ground, one will want to ensure they wear wide-cut rain pants to cover the top of the boots.
  • Insulation: While the Targhees are not marketed as winter boots, they stay warm if I wear them with a nice pair of wool socks. I have worn these boots on hikes in the low teens and have been fine.
  • Ankle support: The boots have a mid-height. They are made of stiff enough leather to support my ankles comfortably.
  • Toe protection: The boots have a solid rubber toe box to keep me from smashing my toes into anything. It’s also relatively roomy.
  • Backpacking: These shoes are great if someone backpacks in cold/rainy environments since they are waterproof and warm.
  • Day hiking: These boots are great if someone is day hiking in a cold/rainy place since they are waterproof and warm. Also, they keep sand out pretty well compared to lighter shoes with mesh since they don’t have mesh and the ankles are higher.
  • Traction: These boots get really good traction. I have worn them on slippery wet moss, ice-covered trails, and slick rock and have been fine. I appreciate the grippy Vibram soles because having good traction makes hikes more enjoyable.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Breathability: My only real issue is that the shoes aren’t very breathable. I can’t comfortably wear them if it is above 40 or 50°. To be honest, my feet have sweat so much in them that they smell pretty bad by now. But that’s expected with hiking boots if one wears them enough.
  • Versatility: Their lack of versatility is directly connected to their breathability. Due to their warmness, they aren’t a good option for hiking on warmer days.

Favorite moment with this gear

One of my favorite memories with these boots was strapping some microspikes and hiking up to some hot springs with a friend. The trail was thoroughly covered in ice and was freezing out, so having sturdy, warm boots let me enjoy my experience.

Value for the money vs. other options

For the price, it is hard to beat the Targhee II boots. They’re very reasonably priced and are often on sale. These boots have held up in such a way that I think they are a great bang for one’s buck. I considered other options, such as Oboz Bridger boots or Lowa Renegade GTX boots, but chose the KEEN boots since they were significantly cheaper.

Final verdict

The KEEN Women’s Targhee II Waterproof Mid Boots are a great option for anyone looking for reasonably priced, durable, comfortable waterproof boots for hiking in cold or very rainy places.

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