Verdict from 7 experts and +100 user reviews

6 reasons to buy

  • The KEEN Targhee II hiking shoes get rave feedback for being amazingly comfortable.
  • Many are in love with the wide toe box that entails more freedom of movement.
  • Several users with issues like plantar fascia, bunion feet, and overpronation find this footwear very supportive despite being a low-top hiking shoe.
  • Lots of verified buyers like the Targhee II because it doesn't need much breaking in.
  • Several avid hikers give it high ratings for its protective features, such as the Gore-Tex membrane, the mesh upper, and the rigid sole.
  • While these shoes are heavier than trail runners, they are much more lightweight than traditional hiking boots, according to some.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Some KEEN Targhee II reviews doubt its durability.
  • A few customers note that their heels seem to slip if the laces aren't tightened well enough.

Bottom line

A well-rounded hiking shoe you can use for hiking, trekking, or running, the KEEN Targhee II seems to tick an impressive number of boxes: comfort, support, protection, waterproofing, versatility, and lightness. It's no wonder why it has become a favorite among avid hikers and backpackers. Even more impressive is the fact that it doesn't need to be broken in.

This shoe also boasts of a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane and a grippy outsole. But since it's a wide hiking shoe, just make sure to keep the laces tight and right to achieve a snug fit.

Tip: see the best hiking shoes.

Good to know

  • KEEN's award-winning hiking shoe now comes in a wide fit.
  • It features the KEEN.Dry waterproof membrane that offers protection against rain or water and a grippy outsole that bites into different types of terrain.
  • This hiker still has the premium, good-looking leather upper that many people loved about the Targhee collection, along with a hydrophobic mesh lining for some breathability. 
  • Resting between the outsole and the upper is a dual-density EVA midsole that offers shock absorption, impact protection, and cushioning without the added weight.

The KEEN Targhee II men's and women's is a low-top model featuring a wide fit. This means it has a toebox with ample room for the toes to move, thereby promoting the natural gait pattern. Inside the shoe is a metatomical footbed that cradles the natural contours of the foot and provides great arch support. 

This shoe has a four-eyelet lacing system, three of which lace the shoe over the fore-and- midfoot. Despite being a "wide shoe", the broad spacing between the webbing eyelets allows people with narrow feet to snug the upper down. Meanwhile, the fourth eyelet extends down and around the heel so the wearer can keep his or her heel pressed into the heel cup for an even snugger and secure feel.

The shoe outsole is made of a high-traction rubber exclusively designed and manufactured by Keen. It features an aggressive lug pattern with a depth of 4 mm. It may not be as deep as the lugs of mountaineering boots, but it isn't too shallow either which means it can still bite into rocky surfaces, loose soil, soft grass, or mud. 

Furthermore, these lugs are multidirectional and feature a large surface contact area for enhanced grip and traction even on slick and slippery surfaces. Lastly, this outsole is non-marking which means it can be used indoors as well.

To keep the shoe lightweight, KEEN has used EVA midsoles for the Targhee II. EVA stands for ethyl vinyl acetate - an artificially manufactured foam that has many great advantages for the feet. These are stability, versatility, durability, flexibility, and lightness. While the midsole primarily provides cushioning for the feet, the EVA foam goes a long way in protecting the feet against impact.

Reinforcing the cushioning system of the Targhee II is a metatomical footbed that is anatomically engineered to provide arch support. It also conforms to the foot for that secured, hugging feel.

The protective upper of this low-cut hiker from KEEN combines Nubuck leather and mesh. Since the majority of the upper is covered by leather, it offers a good amount of warmth and coziness in cool weather hikes. Nonetheless, since there's mesh lining, particularly in the tongue and collar, the shoe does maintain some breathability so it doesn't "overheat" especially in the summer.

Inside the shoe is a propriety waterproof fabric to keep the foot dry and comfortable. But since it's a low-cut shoe, it doesn't guarantee moisture protection from deep puddles. Additionally, water can penetrate through the parts where the synthetic mesh meets the leather of the upper.

The other protective features of the KEEN Targhee II are the Torsion stability ESS shank for stability and support, and the rubber toe cap for impact reduction.

The KEEN Targhee II and the Merrell Moab 2 are two highly popular low-cut hiking shoes today. While they have many similar features, there are a few notable differences that are worth checking out to see which one is best suited for you.

Weight. The Moab 2 is slightly heavier than the Targhee II. While it doesn't make so much difference on the short day hikes, wearing a lightweight shoe is really advantageous if you're not carrying a heavy load as it puts less strain on your feet.

Traction. While the Targhee II does a great job on the trail with its 4 mm-deep lugs, the Moab 2 Waterproof goes much deeper. It features 5-mm lugs which are really aggressive and therefore, more suitable in challenging terrain. The Vibram sole used in this shoe feature curved V-shaped lugs, ovals, and swooping grooves which offer great traction on loose dirt and mud.

Upper materials. The Moab 2 has an upper made of suede leather and mesh. In comparison, Nubuck leather is more durable than suede and is more resistant to scuffing and abrasion. Thus, in terms of protection, the KEEN Targhee II may have more advantages over the Moab 2.


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Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Paul loves adventure. Over the past 20 years, he has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He’s summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races. He has worked in the outdoor industry as a whitewater and hunting guide, gear tester, copywriter, and outfitting specialist at places like The National Outdoor Leadership School, No Barriers USA, and Sierra Trading Post. He has been quoted in NYMag, NBCNews, and Business Insider to name a few.