Keen’s rise in popularity has been due to its unique foot profile, which is based on a moulded toe bumper that rises from the sole to protect a very wide and spacious forefoot and toe box. While being best known for their range of sandals and low-cut shoes, Keen also makes the Targhee Mid, a remarkable boot that has become very popular with those in search of lightweight footwear.
The Targhee Mid is a mid-cut lightweight 3-season boot with a leather upper and fabric tongue, which should mean plenty of durability from the leather coupled with good breathability around the top of the foot. There is an eVent waterproof lining to guarantee dry feet (Keen Dry lining from autumn 2008). The ankle cuff is noticeably more padded with foam than most of the other shoes here for extra comfort. The wide sole profile is supported with a little more stiffness than most boots here, which should be ideal for rockier terrain. The outsole has 4mm deep lugs that are widely spaced for grip. Dual density EVA cushioning is moulded into the sole unit, and as with any Keen shoe you get that toe bumper moulding.
On the hill
Slip these on and the spacious toe box is immediately evident. The wide profile of the sole unit also gives incredible stability to every step. And the sole stiffness is better than most other boots here, which meant that walking over rocky paths on the Lake District’s higher fells such as Helvellyn was reasonably comfortable (and less tiring on the feet than when wearing the lightest boots here). The cushioning from the sole is great, and it made walking on hard surfaces very comfortable. The outsole lugs grip well on the mud, but as soon as the slope steepens they are not so good as I found out when going cross-country on Wansfell Pike. This may be because there is no heel breast or because each lug has slightly tapered sides. The biggest issue I had was their slow drying time and the fact the leather uppers look far more tired than other boots on test here.
Great boots for anyone with wide feet who wants to travel light on level paths and rocky terrain. The grip is not ideal on slopes or muddy ground. They are slow-drying too, so it’s best to avoid too much wet terrain. A full-weight boot would be far more durable, and anything with a heel breast will probably give better grip. But for the weight, these are very practical hill boots.
Value for money 4
Upper leather and synthetic mesh, eVent waterproof lining
Sole unit rubber, EVA cushioning
Sizes 8-13 (men’s); 4-8 (women’s)
Weight 1176g (pair, size 11)
Made in China
Contact – tel. (01572) 772500; www.keeneurope.eu
Pros a broad toe profile and very durable upper make this ideal for general walking, while the sole is good enough for hill paths and valleys
Cons slow drying and not the best grip in mud mean it just misses out on best in test
Overall a broad, durable boot that offers more stability than most and is ideal for rocky terrain, but it is slow drying and the grip is not ideal on muddy slopes.
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine December 2008