Last Updated: November 18, 2022

Keen Targhee II vs Keen Targhee III: Which Should You Buy?

PRODUCT COMPARISON

KEEN Targhee II

  • Height: Over-the-ankle
  • Closure: Lace-up
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Waterproofing: KEEN.Dry waterproof breathable membrane
  • Upper: Nubuck leather/nylon mesh/webbing
  • Lining: Nylon
  • Midsole: EVA
  • Support: Nylon shank
  • Outsole: Carbon rubber
  • Weight (Pair): 2 lbs. 2 oz.
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KEEN Targhee III

  • Height: Over-the-ankle
  • Closure: Lace-up
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Waterproofing: KEEN.Dry waterproof breathable membrane
  • Upper: Oiled nubuck leather and performance mesh
  • Lining: Mesh
  • Midsole: Dual-density EVA
  • Support: ESS shank
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Weight (Pair): 2 lbs. 2.8 oz.
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If you are in the market for some affordable hiking boots that are worth their salt on the trail, you have probably been looking at the Keen Targhee range of hiking boots.

They are, without a doubt, some of the best value hiking boots on the market that still delivers performance on the trail. But, there isn’t just one model to choose from, you have to make a decision between the Keen Targhee II boots and the Keen Targhee III boots.

Now, generally speaking, some hikers prefer the Keen Targhee II mid and others prefer the Keen Targhee III mid. So what are the key differences between each pair of hiking boots? That is what we are here to unravel so that you can choose the right hiking shoe for you.

Keen Targhee II vs III: General Information

The Keen Targhee II mid-hiking boots were the originals and the Keen Targhee III mid-hiking boots were the upgrade of the Targhee II.

These are both excellent pairs of hiking shoes that provide you with immediate comfort from day one and have enough support and durability to handle a serious hike. They are so comfortable that people wear them around the house, on short hikes, and long ones too.

You will get excellent traction from both Keen Targhee hiking shoes, great toe protection and they are both breathable and fully waterproof too. Both have excellent midsoles with ample cushioning for all-day comfort and provide solid support on the trail too.

Now, it is hard to imagine getting such a great pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots for such a great price, which is a major part of why they are so popular. So, let’s dig into the details so you can decide whether the Keen Targhee II Mid or the Keen Targhee III Mid hiking shoes are best for you.

KEEN Targhee II
KEEN Targhee III

Keen Targhee II Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very affordable for the quality
  • Incredible comfortable out of the box
  • Good traction
  • Solid toe protection
  • Fully waterproof
  • Nice cushioning
  • Great ankle support
  • Very durable for a lightweight model

Cons

  • The breathability could be better
KEEN Targhee II
KEEN Targhee III

Keen Targhee III Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comfortable even when you first put them on
  • Excellent traction across most terrains
  • Great toe protection
  • Solid waterproofing
  • Supple and pliable on your feet
  • All day comfort cushioning
  • Solid ankle support

Cons

  • Durability is lacking compared to the II
  • Stability is lacking compared to the II
  • More expensive than the II
KEEN Targhee II
KEEN Targhee III

Keen Targhee II vs III: What They Have in Common

Comfort

Both the Keen Targhee II Mid and the Targhee III Mid offer amazing comfort the first time you wear them. It is like putting on a pair of hiking shoes that you have broken in for months and this comes down to a few things.

The fit is excellent on both the Targhee II and Targhee III as they are both anatomical and mold to your feet. They secure your heel and leave enough space for your toes to spread out.

Lacing System & Shank

Both the Targhee II and Targhee III have the same lacing system which provides excellent support and stability.

The intelligent design runs the middle webbing eyelet around the heel which when laced up provides excellent support along the trail.

The Targhee II and Targhee III also come with a torsion stability ESS shank that ensures you don’t slip and slide or get any blisters on rugged terrain.

Waterproofing & Breathability

Both the Targhee II and Targhee III are waterproof hiking shoes and they both use the Keen.Dry waterproof breathable membrane.

While they are not 100% waterproof they both have a water resistance rating of 3.75 inches flood height.

This means that crossing streams is a no in terms of water resistance but the boots will keep water out when walking through puddles and wet grass.

The Keen.Dry waterproof breathable membrane also does a good job of letting moisture and heat out on both the Targhee II and Targhee III.

They do well with thin socks but don’t breathe as well with thicker merino socks on.

Toe Protection

Both the Targhee II and Targhee III have a reinforced rubber toe box which means both pairs of hiking shoes provide excellent toe protection.

You can walk through rugged terrain without any concern about stubbing your toe.

KEEN Targhee II
KEEN Targhee III

The Differences Between Keen Targhee II vs III

Sole Traction & Lugs

The Targhee II Mid comes with a different sole compared to the Targhee III Mid. The Targhee II Mid.

They both have 4 mm lugs on a sole made from nonmarking carbon rubber but the Targhee II Mid has a bigger tread pattern whereas the Targhee III Mid hiking shoes are more streamlined and provide a bigger surface area for traction.

The key difference this creates is that the Targhee III Mid is excellent on all terrains including scrambling on loose scree while the Targhee II Mid is solid on all terrains except for when you need to scramble.

Mid Sole & Feel

The Targhee II hiking shoes come with a standard EVA midsole while the Targhee III midsole hiking shoes come with a Dual-density EVA midsole.

Now, they both provide excellent cushioning and shock absorption but the Dual-density EVA midsole creates a different feel inside.

The Targhee II has a more elevated heel than the Targhee III which is more of a traditional hiking boot design. The Targhee III feels more like a normal trail running shoe with a lower heel.

Now, it totally depends on your feet and what you prefer as to whether the Targhee II hiking shoes will suit you better than the Targhee II hiking shoes.

The Upper

The Targhee II comes with a Nubuck leather/nylon mesh/webbing and the Targhee III comes with Oiled nubuck leather.

Now, the Oiled nubuck leather provides better waterproofing on the Targhee III but it requires consistent oiling to maintain its waterproof abilities.

The Targhee II on the other hand provides as much comfort and waterproofing as Targhee III but it comes without the maintenance hassle.

Style & Feel

The Targhee II has more of a classic hiker boot look to it whereas the Targhee III is a much more streamlined model. This doesn’t have much effect on the performance of each of the hiking shoes, but it does matter in terms of what kind of aesthetics you prefer.

The Targhee IIs also have a more classic hiking boot feel to them whereas the Targhee III has more of a trail running feel to them.

Overall, the choice is yours as to whether you prefer the classic Targhee II look and feel, or the more streamlined trail running look and feel of the Targhee III.

Pricing

Now, both the Targhee II and the Targhee III are of excellent value but there is a slight cost difference between them.

It is only $10 which is pretty much negligible in most cases but it is a difference nonetheless.

Durability

The Targhee II and Targhee III Keen boots have a durability issue which lies in the upper.

The Targhee II has a lot of seams that can easily unravel. Now, the Targhee III has the same issue, but the upper also requires oiling too, making it more susceptible to wear.

You can avoid these durability issues by using a seam grip to hold the leather seams together for longer, and if you remember to oil the leather upper on the Targhee III, then it will stay good for years.

The Targhee III does require more maintenance and care than the Targhee II though, so be aware of that when choosing.

KEEN Targhee II
KEEN Targhee III

Keen Targhee II vs III: Which Keen Targhee Should You Get?

Choosing between the Targhee II and the Targhee III boots is not an easy choice and having run through all the similarities and differences, do you have a gut feeling?

I would personally choose the Targhee II line as they require less maintenance, are more affordable, and I prefer the traditional hiking boot look and feel compared to the Targhee III.

KEEN Men's Targhee 2 Mid Height Waterproof Hiking Boots, Shitake/Brindle, 12 US
  • WATERPROOF & PROTECTION: KEEN.DRY breathable membrane keeps feet dry and comfortable by allowing vapor out without letting water in; Bruise plate for protection on uneven surfaces; High abrasion rubber toe guard for added durability
  • MATERIAL & CONSCIOUSLY CREATED: Durable premium leather and breathable performance mesh; Quick dry lining for active use; KEEN sources hides from Leather Working Group certified tanneries; Environmentally friendly DWR helps keep leather from drying out

The main benefit of the Targhee III is that they have overall traction on all terrains. The Targhee II doesn’t do well when scrambling on loose terrains whereas the Targhee III does.

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KEEN Men's Targhee 3 Mid Height Waterproof Hiking Boots, Black Olive/Golden Brown, 8.5
  • WATERPROOF & PROTECTION: KEEN.DRY breathable membrane keeps feet dry and comfortable by allowing vapor out without letting water in; Bruise plate for protection on uneven surfaces; High abrasion rubber toe guard for added durability
  • MATERIAL & CONSCIOUSLY CREATED: Durable premium leather and breathable performance mesh; Quick dry lining for active use; KEEN sources hides from Leather Working Group certified tanneries; Environmentally friendly DWR helps keep leather from drying out

If you like a streamlined, sneaker feel to your hiking boots and do a lot of scrambling, then perhaps the Targhee III will suit you better. Just remember to oil the leather upper often.

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