Verdict from 4 experts and +100 user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • Based on most customer reviews, the KEEN Targhee III Waterproof worked well for light hiking as well as everyday activities.
  • Its tacky outsole was commended by some owners.
  • The majority were satisfied with the comfort provided by this hiking shoe.
  • The KEEN women's Targhee III Waterproof was appreciated by a female wearer. She lauded how well it accommodated her custom orthotics.
  • The breathability of this footgear was lauded by plenty of wearers.
  • The Targhee III WP from KEEN surprised a number of hikers with its stability even on bumpy grounds.
  • More than a handful were pleased as they did not need to spend a lot of time breaking in the pair.
  • A few fanatics mentioned that this version has a better fit than the Targhee II Waterproof.

4 reasons not to buy

  • A group of male product testers gave the KEEN’s Targhee III Waterproof for men a low score in water protection. They noted that they experienced water leakage after the 5-minute submersion test.
  • The minority did not like the length of its laces. They noted that it was too long.
  • The premature separation of the sole displeased a couple of outdoor lovers.
  • According to a bunch of annoyed brand loyalists, the Targhee III Waterproof runs smaller than the previous version.

Bottom line

Generally, the Targhee III Waterproof from KEEN's famous Targhee line-up is positively received by the hiking community. Its laudable combination of breathability and waterproofing can handle whatever the outdoors present. Add to that is its non-existent break-in period which also earned compliments.

On the other hand, the untimely separation of the sole and its inconsistent sizing were just a couple of reasons why its good standing was overturned. To conclude, the KEEN Targhee III Waterproof’s generous list of pros may be enough to give it a try.

Tip: see the best hiking shoes.

Good to know

  • The Targhee III Waterproof is improved to let users securely tackle rugged trails. It now has the new All Terrain rubber outsole from KEEN which is designed to bite into various surfaces.
  • American footwear brand KEEN has incorporated a resilient, internal shank to enhance underfoot support. This is in addition to the EVA midsole, metatomical footbed, and the ESS shank—features carried over from its predecessor.
  • The upper has shown significant upgrades too. Some of the changes include a different construction of the eyelets, a more contoured collar, an improved layout of the leather, and a mud shield.

The KEEN Targhee III Waterproof caters to men and women. Both versions are offered in standard width, with the men’s having a wide option too. It relatively runs true to size. Its lacing system enables the users to adjust the fit as desired.

The boot features reinforced eyelets that work with the injected TPU heel-capture system. As the user tightens the laces, the system securely holds the heel in place for added stability.

The All Terrain rubber outsole from Keen has 4 mm multi-directional lugs. It enables the shoe to grip on most types of terrain by preventing muck from building up. Steadiness on ascents and descents are handled by the increased surface contact in the heel and toe areas. Additionally, the KEEN.Protect acts as a toe bumper, shielding against accidental knocks.

To provide lightweight cushioning, the KEEN Targhee III Waterproof features a dual-density compression-molded EVA midsole. It has an internal shank which renders underfoot rigidity and support while the ESS shank, as visible on the exterior (placed in the rearfoot), promotes stability. A metatomical footbed is placed atop the midsole to provide arch support.

With a premium leather equipped with the proprietary KEEN.Dry membrane, the Targhee III Waterproof protects and prevents the foot from getting wet. The inside of the shoe is lined with a breathable mesh too. Also, to keep odor at bay, it is equipped with a Cleansport NXT antimicrobial technology.

This weatherproof hiking shoe has leather overlays which act as a mudguard and add durability. A pull tab is attached on the heel to facilitate on and off.

Remove loose dirt using a soft-bristled brush or hand towel. To take off stains, gently rub it with a gum eraser in a circular motion and brush it afterward. For stubborn stains, mix a small amount of water and vinegar in a damp cloth and apply it to the affected area. Note that this may cause a slight discoloration.

Clean the footbed manually using a soft cloth and mild detergent. Air dry it. Never machine wash. For leather care, the brand suggests using a nubuck leather cleaner which is also available on most footwear retailers.

The brands KEEN and Merrell are known for their vast offering of outdoor products. And, those who are looking for a new pair of lightweight hiking shoes may find themselves checking out the KEEN Targhee III Waterproof and Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof. Here are their differences and similarities.

Upper. The materials used in the upper of these hiking shoes use a combination of leather and mesh. This combo keeps its weight low without compromising its durability.

Waterproof lining. The Targhee III Waterproof uses KEEN.Dry while the Moab 2 Waterproof carries M Select Dry. Both are brand-exclusive membranes which protect the foot against wet encounters and render a breathable in-shoe feel.

Upper protection. With the brand-owned KEEN.Protect, the Targhee III WP is able to protect hikers against accidental bumps. The Merrell product, on the other hand, may not have an exclusive technology, but the brand’s engineers designed it with a rubber toe guard for extra security.

Cushioning. This KEEN offering has a metatomical bi-density footbed while the Merrell product uses the M Select Fit.Eco+ footbed. The main function of these two materials is to provide arch support and enhance comfort by following the natural shape of the user’s foot. Both shoes also use an ethylene-vinyl acetate or EVA for its midsole to give lightweight cushioning.

Odor Control. KEEN employs the Cleansport NXT to help ward off the development of odor. Merrell protects the foot against odor-causing bacteria through the technology included in their removable footbed.

Support. These day hiking shoes have a shank which takes care of the support needed underfoot. It prevents the unwanted twisting of the foot without limiting flexibility.

Outsole. The Targhee III Waterproof from KEEN uses a proprietary All Terrain rubber outsole with 4-mm deep lugs. The Moab 2 Waterproof, on the other hand, wears a Vibram TC5+ sole with 5-mm deep lugs. The distribution and shape of each stud used in these hiking shoes aim to provide traction on most types of terrain.

Availability and width options. For Targhee III Waterproof, men’s come in medium and wide widths while women’s version is only available in standard width. Those who prefer a higher cuff may look at the KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid.

The Moab 2 Waterproof is offered in medium and wide widths for both male and female hikers. The taller version of this hiking shoe is the Moab 2 Mid Waterproof. Below are some of the versions of the Moab 2.

  • Merrell Moab 2 GTX. It wears the same silhouette as the Moab 2 WP except its waterproof lining. It uses a Gore-Tex membrane instead. It is also available in a mid-cut version.
  • Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator. This variant optimizes breathability and comfort when hiking in dry outdoor conditions. Those who like a higher coverage may look at its mid-top version.

-The KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid can be considered if potential buyers prefer a higher cuff.

-KEEN offers replacement insoles and laces should the need arise.

-The leather used in the Targhee III Waterproof is sourced from an LWG-certified tannery. LWG or Leather Working Group is a multi-stakeholder group which aims to maintain the environmental compliance and performance capabilities of tanners. They also promote sustainable business practices in the leather industry.


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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.