Read Before You Buy: KEEN Targhee III Hiking Boots for Women Review
Finding well-fitting boots is crucial for the success of one's hike. No one wants to cut short an adventure because of blisters and discomfort.
We all have different feet, and it's important to know what kind of shoes or boots match our needs. My feet are wide and very sensitive - I can sense every tiny rock and root when I walk, even with traditional boots on. I know I need cushioning and wide toebox. I also like to have waterproof membrane for protection.
Just recently, I found out that some of feet sensitivity is related to plantar fasciitis which I need to address. Still, thanks to fibromyalgia, I am like the fairy tale Princess and the Pea. My body aches with any pressure and puncture.
Me and my KEENs
In January I bought KEEN Targhee III boots for my Portugal hiking trip in February. I'd read multiple positive reviews and was happy with the budget-friendly price tag. Over the past fifteen years or so, I've had at least a dozen different KEEN shoes and sandals. I like the toe protection and wide toe boxes, and I think they look cute. At the moment I have three different pairs of shoes from KEEN - two pairs of sandals and one hiking shoe. There is rarely anything negative I have to say about KEEN products, so this might the first.
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KEEN Targhee III in Portugal
During my Portuguese hiking trip, I walked for about 300 km on a variety of terrain, but mostly dry and rocky. There were just a few rainy days, some mud, and one stream crossing. It's hard for me to discern now what issues with feet pain I had there were related to boots and which to plantar fascitis. But I do know I could sense most of the small rocks I stepped on. The sole looked thick but wasn't particularly cushioning. It's worth mentioning that most of the time I hiked with them, I carried a big backpack, at times almost 18-20 kg.
I liked the way they hugged my ankle, and I had no issues with pinching or stress on the Achilles tendon. I felt stable while walking in them, no side movement for the ankle.
When I came back from Portugal, I was still happy with them. They did an OK job for the 300 km of hiking. If I was writing this review right after Portugal, I would probably recommend them as a fantastic option for budget-minded hikers.
KEEN Targhee III in Ireland
I took the Targhees with me to Ireland and already on the first day of hiking I realized it was a bad decision. I have no idea how I missed it at home, but that evening I saw there were tears in the material - check out the photos below. The biggest one was on the outer of the right boot. There were also smaller cracks on the inner left boot.
I was annoyed, as you can imagine, as I had a month of hiking ahead of me. I knew there would be rainy days and assumed the boots lost any protection.
My plantar fasciitis got much worse in Ireland (I had no idea that was what was wrong with my feet, I just thought they were "sensitive") so I couldn't walk as much as I wished. In the beginning, I had a few 20 km days, but later on, I could do maximum of 10 km. So over the month, I've hiked about 300 km.
When I walked on wet rocks and grass, the traction was sufficient. I know I am probably spoiled with the amazing Hoka One One's gecko-like sole, but I didn't feel fully secure when climbing on wet boulders and rocks. I never fell, though.
Another thing that I noticed, that surprised me, was an occurrence of a blister at the ball of my right foot. I hardly ever get blisters when I use the double sock system, so it really surprised me. I have no idea if it was related to boots or some other issue, though.
The crack I noticed on the first day only got worse with time. Soon there was a gaping hole and more cracks on the other boot. It not only failed to protect but also looked horrible. How could that happen after just 300 km (well, a bit more at that moment)? I didn't dry it by fire or a heater and did nothing that would damage the material. They were exposed to rain, sun, and some natural heat but no below-zero temperatures. I'm still annoyed with it, as I can't afford to buy new boots every trip I take.
You can see at the photos below how the boots looked mid-, and at the end of the Irish trip, the left one three weeks in, the two at the very end, so about 600 km of use in them.
The leather parts of the upper boot were aging beautifully and looked great. I’m sure they could last for a long time still.
KEEN Targhee III - Summary:
- The price
- The wide toebox
- Pretty good water protection up to the moment when the boots started to disintegrate
- Comfortable right out of the box - no need for break-in time.
- They look good.
- Keen has a very good record on eco-conscious production. Their leather is certified to be produced in a way that doesn’t poison the Planet.
- The quality of materials and durability
- Any water protection ended when the material started to break
It might be that I was just unlucky with that pair of boots, as I've seen only positive reviews until now. Who knows? I know I will be hesitant to buy another pair of KEEN hiking boots in the future. I still love their sandals, thought!
Below are some boots I have my eyes on now for the next season. Do you own and use any of them?