Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid Review – Mastering Rugged Terrains with Ease?

Explore the Keen Targhee III Mid: a durable, waterproof hiking boot offering superior traction, comfort, and support for all your outdoor adventures.
Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid

Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid

Unveiling the Secrets Behind the Durability and Comfort of Keen's Latest Hiking Marvel
The Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid excels in waterproofing, comfort, and durability, offering great value for hikers seeking a versatile and reliable boot.


Design & Versatility
Comfort & Support
Durability & Performance
Waterproofing & Breathability
Value for Money


  • Superior waterproofing with KEEN.DRY membrane
  • Exceptional traction on varied terrains
  • Comfortable and supportive for all-day wear
  • Durable construction with environmentally preferred leather
  • Spacious toe box for natural toe spread
  • Effective moisture management for breathability


  • May feel warm in extremely hot conditions
  • Slightly heavier compared to lightweight hiking options

Introduction to the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid

Unveiling the Trail Champion

The Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid stands as a beacon of innovation in the realm of outdoor footwear, specifically engineered for the avid hiker who demands both durability and comfort on the trail. This latest iteration in the esteemed Targhee series builds upon its predecessors’ legacy, offering enhanced features that promise to elevate your hiking experience to new heights. Designed with the unpredictable nature of outdoor adventures in mind, this boot aims to deliver unparalleled performance across a variety of terrains.

First Impressions: A Blend of Robustness and Comfort

Upon first encounter, the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid immediately impresses with its sturdy yet inviting appearance. The craftsmanship speaks volumes of Keen’s commitment to quality, with every stitch and seam placed with intention. My initial impression was one of confidence; here was a boot that seemed ready to tackle miles of rugged trails without compromising on the comfort so crucial for long days out in the wilderness. Testing these boots under the canopy of ancient forests and across the undulating hills of my favorite local hiking spots, I sought to understand how well they could truly perform when pushed to their limits.

Setting the Stage for Adventure

As an outdoors enthusiast who has navigated through countless trails, from the misty mornings of the Pacific Northwest to the sun-drenched paths of the Southern Appalachians, my expectations for hiking boots are invariably high. The Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid promised to be a game-changer, offering not just protection against the elements but also the kind of support and comfort that can turn a good hike into a great one. With these boots laced up and my backpack shouldered, I stepped into the wilderness once again, eager to see if they would live up to their promise.

Technical Specifications of the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid

Innovations in Design

The Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid is a product of thoughtful engineering, designed to meet the needs of hikers who demand resilience, comfort, and protection from their footwear. Let’s delve into the technical prowess that sets this boot apart in the world of outdoor gear.

  • Waterproofing Technology: At the heart of the Targhee III’s design is KEEN.DRY, an innovative waterproof, yet breathable membrane. This proprietary technology ensures that your feet stay dry from external moisture while allowing vapor from sweat to escape, keeping your feet comfortable throughout your hike.
  • All-Terrain Outsole: The boot features an all-terrain rubber outsole with 4mm multi-directional lugs, providing superior traction that grips onto a variety of surfaces, from muddy trails to rocky inclines, ensuring stability and safety on your adventures.
  • Supportive Build: Enhanced support comes from the ESS shank and injected TPU heel-capture system. These elements work together to offer stability and protect your feet from twisting, without compromising flexibility.

Materials and Sustainability

Keen has a commitment to sustainability, and the Targhee III is no exception. The materials chosen not only contribute to the boot’s performance but also reflect an eco-conscious approach.

  • Leather Upper: The upper is made from environmentally preferred premium leather from LWG-certified tanneries, offering durability while also considering environmental impact.
  • Eco-Friendly Practices: The use of PFC-free water repellency treatment on the leather parts of the boot further showcases Keen’s dedication to reducing harmful chemicals in their production process.

Comfort and Fit

A focus on comfort and fit is evident in every aspect of the Targhee III’s design, ensuring that hikers can go longer distances without discomfort.

  • Anatomically Engineered Footbed: The removable, metatomical dual-density EVA footbed is designed to provide arch support and cradle the natural contours of the foot, enhancing comfort for all-day wear.
  • Breathable Lining: The interior features a breathable mesh lining that helps to regulate temperature and moisture inside the boot, adding to the overall comfort during extensive use.

The Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid is a testament to Keen’s commitment to innovation, sustainability, and the outdoor spirit. With its advanced waterproofing, superior traction, supportive design, and environmentally conscious materials, this boot is engineered to support hikers in their pursuit of exploration and adventure. Whether you’re trekking through wet conditions or challenging terrains, the Targhee III stands ready to deliver performance, protection, and unparalleled comfort.

Performance Evaluation of the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid

Conquering Varied Terrains

The Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid has been put through its paces across a spectrum of hiking scenarios, from damp forest trails to rocky mountain passes. This section delves into how the boot stands up against the core metrics of fabric performance, weather resistance, and hiking-specific features.

Fabric Performance

  • Breathability: The KEEN.DRY membrane lives up to its promise, offering an optimal balance between waterproof protection and breathability. Even during strenuous hikes, moisture management inside the boot prevents the buildup of sweat, keeping feet dry and comfortable.
  • Durability: The leather and textile upper, coupled with the boot’s rugged construction, demonstrates significant resistance to abrasion and wear. Even after continuous use on harsh terrains, the Targhee III shows minimal signs of distress, underscoring its durability.
  • Waterproofing: The waterproofing efficiency is remarkable. Crossing streams and hiking through wet grass, the boots prevented water ingress, ensuring feet remained dry. This feature is particularly beneficial in unpredictable weather, offering peace of mind to the hiker.

Weather Resistance

The Targhee III excels in various weather conditions. Its waterproof nature does not compromise breathability, a common issue in many hiking boots, thus maintaining comfort in both wet and dry conditions. The performance in cold weather is also commendable, with the boot providing adequate insulation against mild to moderate cold, though extreme conditions might require additional thermal layers.

Enhancing the Hiking Experience

  • Traction and Stability: The all-terrain outsole with 4mm multi-directional lugs ensures exceptional grip and stability on diverse surfaces. Whether navigating slippery rocks or loose gravel, the boots offer confidence with every step.
  • Support Features:
    • Ankle Support: The mid-cut design provides excellent ankle support, reducing the risk of twists and sprains on uneven ground.
    • ESS Shank: This element adds to the boot’s torsional stability, allowing for safe passage over complex terrains without sacrificing flexibility.
  • Comfort and Utility:
    • Dual-density EVA Footbed: The anatomically engineered footbed supports long-distance comfort, effectively reducing foot fatigue.
    • Heel-Capture System: This feature enhances the boot’s fit, securing the heel in place, which is crucial for maintaining balance and reducing slippage inside the boot.

The Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid is a robust companion for the dedicated hiker. It champions in breathability, waterproofing, and durability, providing a solid foundation for tackling various terrains. The thoughtful integration of traction, stability, and comfort features makes it a standout choice for those seeking a reliable boot that doesn’t compromise on performance. Whether facing the unpredictability of nature or the certainty of challenging trails, the Targhee III ensures you are well-equipped to embrace the adventure ahead.

Fit and Comfort of the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid

Tailored Fit for Diverse Trails

The Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid distinguishes itself with a fit that seems to understand and adapt to the hiker’s foot, promising a blend of snugness and space where it’s needed most. This section explores the boot’s sizing, fit, and overall comfort during various outdoor activities.

Sizing and Adaptability

  • True to Size: Keen’s approach to sizing with the Targhee III is on point, offering a true-to-size fit that accommodates a wide range of foot shapes. Hikers will find the sizing reliable, reducing the guesswork often associated with purchasing footwear online.
  • Roomy Toe Box: A hallmark of Keen footwear, the spacious toe box of the Targhee III allows for natural toe spread, which is crucial during long descents or when navigating uneven terrains. This design choice not only enhances comfort but also contributes to better balance and stability.
  • Adaptable Fit for Various Body Types: The boot’s design and lacing system allow for adjustments to accommodate different foot volumes and arch heights. Whether you have a high instep, wide feet, or narrow heels, the Targhee III can be snugly adjusted to meet individual needs, ensuring a personalized fit.

Comfort Across the Miles

  • All-Day Wearability: From the first step, the dual-density EVA footbed and padded collar offer a cushioning effect that translates into all-day wearability. Long hikes often lead to foot fatigue, but the supportive and comfortable build of the Targhee III mitigates this, allowing hikers to push further with less discomfort.
  • Breathable for Active Use: Even in warm conditions, the boot’s breathable membrane keeps feet cool and dry. This is especially appreciated during summer hikes or in regions with a warmer climate, where overheating footwear can quickly become a discomfort.
  • Ankle Support Without Restriction: The mid-height design provides ample ankle support, essential for traversing rough terrains. However, it does so without the rigidity that often accompanies high-top boots, offering a balance between protection and mobility.

The Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid stands out for its thoughtful design that prioritizes fit and comfort without compromising on the ruggedness required for outdoor adventures. Its ability to cater to a wide array of foot shapes, combined with features designed to support long hours of wear, positions this boot as a top choice for hikers seeking a reliable, comfortable companion on the trail. Whether you’re embarking on a short day hike or a multi-day backpacking trip, the Targhee III ensures that comfort accompanies you every step of the way.

Pros and Cons of the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid

In the quest for the perfect hiking boot, weighing the advantages against the drawbacks is essential. The Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid, with its array of features designed for the trail, presents a compelling case for hikers. Here, we delve into the main pros and cons based on extensive testing and use.


  • Superior Waterproofing: Thanks to the KEEN.DRY membrane, these boots excel in keeping feet dry in wet conditions without sacrificing breathability. This feature is invaluable for hikers who encounter streams, wet grass, and rain.
  • Exceptional Traction: The all-terrain rubber outsole equipped with 4mm multi-directional lugs ensures a firm grip on a variety of surfaces, from slippery rocks to loose dirt, enhancing safety and stability during hikes.
  • Comfort and Support: The dual-density EVA footbed, combined with a padded collar and tongue, provides all-day comfort and reduces foot fatigue. The added ankle support from the mid-height design also contributes to a secure and comfortable fit.
  • Durability: Constructed with high-quality materials, including environmentally preferred leather, these boots are built to withstand the rigors of the trail and demonstrate minimal wear over time.


  • Warm Weather Performance: While the breathability is commendable, in extremely hot conditions, the boots might feel overly warm due to their robust waterproof construction.
  • Weight: Some users might find the boots slightly heavier than other lightweight hiking options available in the market. This could be a consideration for those who prefer ultra-light gear for long-distance trekking.

Balancing the Scales

The Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid stands as a solid choice for hikers looking for a durable, comfortable, and reliable boot. While it excels in waterproofing, traction, and support, its performance in very hot weather and the slight weight penalty are considerations to bear in mind. Ultimately, the decision will hinge on personal preferences and the specific demands of your hiking adventures.

Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid vs. Competitors

When positioned against its contemporaries in the market, the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid distinguishes itself with a few key features that cater specifically to the needs of serious hikers. The most notable comparison often arises with the likes of the Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof, another favorite among outdoor enthusiasts. While both boots offer exceptional waterproofing and durability, the Targhee III edges ahead with its superior traction and more generous toe box, making it a better choice for those with wider feet or who prioritize comfort and stability on varied terrains. Additionally, the KEEN.DRY technology in the Targhee III provides a balance of waterproofing and breathability that some find more effective than the Merrell’s M Select DRY membrane, especially in maintaining comfort over long distances and in diverse weather conditions.

However, it’s worth noting that the Targhee III might come across as slightly heavier than the Moab 3, which could be a determining factor for hikers who prioritize lightweight gear. Despite this, the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid’s blend of durability, comfort, and protective features make it a formidable competitor, offering a compelling choice for those seeking a reliable all-rounder for their outdoor adventures. Its emphasis on foot support and environmental responsibility further accentuates its appeal, making it a preferred option for hikers who demand the most from their footwear without compromising on ethical standards.

Verdict: The Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid

After thorough analysis and testing, the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid emerges as a top contender in the realm of hiking footwear, striking an admirable balance between durability, comfort, and performance. Its robust construction, coupled with the innovative KEEN.DRY waterproofing technology, ensures that hikers’ feet remain dry and comfortable across a myriad of terrains and weather conditions. The boot’s superior traction and supportive design further enhance its appeal, providing stability and confidence on challenging trails.

While it may carry a slight weight premium and exhibit less breathability in extreme heat compared to some lighter options, these considerations are far outweighed by its overall performance and durability. Ideal for both seasoned hikers and casual adventurers seeking a reliable, all-weather companion for their outdoor exploits, the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid represents excellent value for money. Its commitment to comfort, protection, and environmental responsibility makes it a highly recommended choice for a wide range of outdoor activities.

Further reading