Gear review: Keen Targhee III boots

Recommended Retail Price: £119.99
Weight (size 10.5): 575g per boot

I’ve bought many pairs of Keen Targhee’s over the last decade or so, which should tell you a great deal about how I find these boots. Firstly that I like them as I find no other boots quite so comfortable – both in the personal fit and the generous padding. The compromise, as is usually the case with comfier or lighter footwear, is that they are not the most durable. I’ve never reviewed a pair of Targhees on Walkhighlands, so the introduction of the latest model – the Targhee III – is as good a time as any.

As with all boots, fit is a personal matter. Keen’s are generally of a wide fit and have a roomy toe-box; this is great for me as I suffer from pronounced bunions, but have never had a problem with the bunions in Targhees. These are also extremely flexible boots, which adds to the comfort. On the other hand, the very bendy sole means you certainly couldn’t use the front-points if you wear flexible crampons on them – these are intended for 3 season use.

This year’s update sees a redesign of the upper. It has slightly more continuous tougher nubuck than the version it replaces, which can only help them last longer this time around. The sole remains Keen’s own with a fairly shallow tread, but I’ve always found them to offer good traction (and to outlast the uppers). The big rubber rand protecting the toes remains a welcome feature for otherwise less protective boots.

Targhees are available as shoes as well as the boot shape reviewed here. Generally in high summer I prefer to wear lighter trail-shoes without a waterproof lining – both to keep cooler, and to dry faster. For me the Targhees are at their best when conditions are that little bit cooler and wetter, or for bashing through deep heather; at these times, a lined boot comes into its own. Keen use their own brand of waterproof membrane which – as with competitors – is effective but will eventually start to leak. I find KeenDRY to be just as good as Gore-tex for footwear linings.

Outside of winter, I find Targhees ideal much of the time for Scottish hills. I doubt this will be my last pair.

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