Last Updated: October 12, 2020

KEEN Voyageur Vs. Targhee (Hiking Boots For Everyone)

KEEN Men's Voyageur Hiking Shoe, Magnet/Orange Ochre, 13 M US
KEEN Men's Targhee 3 Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoe, Bungee Cord/Black, 7

Hiking is the perfect activity for these warm spring days. You will not only get in a good workout, but you can also stumble upon some amazing landscapes and take some gorgeous photos. But, you need to equip yourself properly, which means that you need good hiking boots. And KEEN is one of the top manufacturer of hiking shoes.

I’ve already talked about their Koven boots, so it’s time to check out some other models. In this review we’re going to take a look at the Voyageur and Targhee hiking boots, and try to see if one of them is (significantly) better than the other. And all of that just to help you make the smartest purchase you possibly can.

So, if you are in need of new hiking boots, I think you’ll find this review very helpful. Let’s see which KEEN shoes are the better option in this detailed comparison –the Voyageur or the Targhee.

Features Of The Voyageur And Targhee Boots

Here’s a quick overview of these two KEEN hiking boots and some of their basic specs:

KEEN Men's Voyageur-M Hiking Shoe, Alcatraz/Legion Blue, 10 M US
KEEN Men's Targhee 3 Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoe, Steel Grey/Captains Blue, 7


15.6 Ounces

16.1 Ounces


Water-Resistant Leather And Mesh Upper

Leather And Mesh


Metatomical Dual Density EVA

Metatomical Dual Density EVA


Dual Density Compression Molded EVA

Dual Density Compression Molded EVA


Non-Marking Rubber

Non-Marking Rubber

At first glance, these boots are very similar, aren’t they? Especially if you are a newbie to hiking shoes.  And yes, they do have some identical features, like the EVA footbed and midsole that we’re going to talk about in just a few seconds.

But these shoes feature different technologies and materials, and that’s what we’re going to be talking about for the most part. Right after with check out what is going on with their footbed.

Metatomical EVA Footbed

Both KEEN boots are equipped with the same footbed, so whichever ones you choose you can be sure that you are going to be plenty comfortable. The metatomical dual-density EVA footbed is designed to provide you with maximum arch support, and also really cradle the contours of each foot.

But if you don’t like it and need something with even more support, then it’s a good thing that it’s removable. In addition to that, both boots also feature a compression molded EVA midsole, for great shock absorption. And there are other shock absorbing features that we are going to check out in the next few sections.

Waterproofing And Ventilation

The Targhee boots feature the KEEN.Dry membrane that covers the entire shoe. It makes the boots waterproof and breathable at the same time, as it allows moisture and vapor to leave the shoe, but not enter it. But they still won’t keep your feet fully dry if you step in a body of water, which is something to keep in mind.

KEEN Men's Targhee 3 Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoe, Bungee Cord/Black, 11

The Voyageur’s membrane has been stripped out. The shoes are still waterproof, as they are made from water-resistant leather and mesh in combination with moisture wicking textiles. And they also feature several ventilation inserts. Those features are what make the Voyageur boots one of the most breathable KEEN boots ever.

KEEN 1002570 Men's Voyageur Hiking Shoes - Black - 10.5 - M

It’s hard to say which boot is the better choice in this respect. The Targhee has the upper hand in the waterproofing features, as it is equipped with the KEEN.Dry membrane. On the other hand, the Voyageur boots have a better ventilation system, which means that your feet will sweat less even in scorching heat. So choose wisely, depending on what is more important to you.

The Heel Of The Boots

You can probably notice from the photos of the shoes that the heel is different on them. The Voyageur boot (left) offers a contoured heel lock with an S3 heel support structure. That stands for Shock, Stability and Suspension.

What that means in that the heel is shock absorbent, and that you will feel more comfortable with each step. Additionally, it will provide better stability and support, which will ultimately result in less sprained ankles.

KEEN Men's Voyageur-M Hiking Shoe, Alcatraz/Legion Blue, 10 M US
KEEN Men's Targhee 3 Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoe, Steel Grey/Captains Blue, 7

As for the Targhee boots (right), they have an injected TPU heel-capture system. This will also provide you with plenty of stability and support, and just slightly worse shock absorption.

Non-Marking Outsoles

The outsole of the Voyageur hiking boots (left) is made of rubber, and if features 4mm multi-directional lugs. That means that these shoes will give you excellent traction and grip on any terrain. In addition to that, their outsole are also non-marking, which simply means that they do not leave marks on indoor surfaces.

The same can be said for the Targhee boots (right). But, these do have much more aggressive lugs on their outsole, so they will provide you better grip on different types of terrain. Overall, I would say that the Targhee boots are a better choice if you are looking for superb traction and grip on any surface.

KEEN 1002570 Men's Voyageur Hiking Shoes - Black - 10.5 - M
KEEN Men's Targhee 3 Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoe, Steel Grey/Captains Blue, 7

Reinforced Durability Of The Targhee

KEEN Men's Targhee 3 Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoe, Steel Grey/Captains Blue, 7
KEEN Men's Targhee 3 Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoe, Steel Grey/Captains Blue, 7

The Targhee boots (pictured) were made to endure more rugged conditions, so they will probably live a longer life than the Voyageurs. However, that largely depends on how you treat the shoes, and what conditions you expose them to, so I can’t be 100% sure which ones will last you longer.

I am however sure that the Targhee boots will endure torture a little better. For one thing they can a very resilient nylon shank, as well as a leather mud shield for enhanced durability. And to top that off, their eyelets are reinforced, for not only easier adjustment, but also a longer life.

As for the Voyageur boots, they are equipped with an ESS torsion stability shank, which will significantly help with shock absorption. But it will also help ensure that nothing is able to puncture the boot, or (God forbid) your feet. However, there are no other features for improved durability to speak of.

KEEN Voyageur Vs. Targhee: Which Hiking Boots Do You Get?

The Voyageur boots are lighter, more breathable, and therefore obviously better option for the upcoming warmer months. They will provide you with excellent stability and support, but they are somewhat less waterproof than the Targhee boots.

KEEN Women's Voyageur Hiking Shoe, Neutral Gray/Lime Green, 8.5 M US
  • Rugged mid-height hiker with mesh side underlays and pull-on loops at heel and tongue
  • 4mm multi-directional lugs
  • Dual-density compression molded EVA foam midsole
  • Non-marking rubber outsole
  • Patented toe protection.Metatomical Footbed support mechanism is anatomically engineered to provide arch support and cradle the natural contours of the foot, Contoured heel lock

On the other hand the Targhees are overall sturdier boots, and they are more durable. However, they are also heavier and have worse ventilation than the Voyageur. So, it is really a tough call.

KEEN Men's Targhee 3 Low Height Waterproof Hiking Shoe, Steel Grey/Captains Blue, 7
  • WATERPROOF: The KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane keeps your feet dry and comfortable all day long by allowing vapor out without letting water in; All leather is treated with a PFC-free water repellant, so you still get the same protection without the harmful chemicals
  • TRACTION: KEEN ALL-TERRAIN rubber outsole provides high-traction grip in muddy environments and on rocky surfaces with 4mm multi-directional lugs; Non-marking rubber outsoles leaves no trace or imprints when walking indoors
  • SUPPORT: The Torsion stability External Support Shank (ESS) provides support on uneven surfaces; the injected TPU heel-capture system provides next-level stability
  • FIT & COMFORT: Low-profile upper for comfort and secure fit with padded tongue and collar; The removable, metatomical dual-density EVA footbed provides excellent arch support and cradles to the natural contours of the foot
  • CARE TIPS: We've carefully selected leather uppers designed to last; However, if you're wearing your KEENs daily, they won't always be scuff and dirt-free; To treat day to day wear and tear, especially on lighter color leathers, we recommend using a common leather cleaner and conditioner

But both boots will be very comfortable, and will give you great grip on different types of terrain. That’s why I can’t tell you point blank that one is better than the other. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and are suited for different types of people.

Head over to Amazon and see how you like their prices. Maybe those will help you make up your mind. And if you are having a tough time making a decision even after that, you can also check out how the Targhees compare to the Durand boots.  

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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