OutdoorAdept is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more about our product selection process.

Keen Targhee III Mid Waterproof Review (2023 Test Results)

The Keen Targhee III Mid is a popular lightweight boot for day hiking. This high-quality hiking boot provides the same level of comfort as some trail running shoes.

Our Verdict

I packed these hiking boots with me for a trip to Arches National Park in Utah and was very pleased with how well these boots held up.

KEEN Targhee III Mid Hiking Boots

They’re extremely comfortable, the protective toe box is sturdy, it has excellent arch support, and there’s no break-in period.

KEEN Targhee III Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

However, I wish there was just a little bit more reliability and traction on steep surfaces and rocky trails.

Despite that, this hiking boot provides significant utility to beginner hikers for a very reasonable price.

Let’s get into the Keen Targhee III Mid hiking boots review, how it performed during its testing period, and why these could be one of the brand’s best designs.


  • Weight: 17.1 oz / 484.8 g
  • Waterproof: KEEN.DRY
  • Material: Nubuck leather and performance mesh upper
  • Midsole: EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning
  • Footbed: Metatomical Footbed Design
  • Traction: 4mm multi-directional lugs
  • External stability shank 
  • External stability shank delivers lightweight support
  • Eco Anti-Odor for natural odor control
  • Removable PU insole for long-lasting comfort


  • KEEN.DRY waterproof membrane seals out water while remaining breathable
  • EVA midsole provides above average cushioning and softness
  • Leather and performance mesh uppers are highly flexible and durable
  • Manages to be incredibly affordable for its build and level of support
  • Sturdy lacing system & comfortable tongue


  • KEEN All-Terrain rubber outsoles don’t have as much traction on rough terrain
  • Lack of support on technical terrain limits trail usage

Things We Tested Before Reviewing Keen Targhee III Mid

1. Traction

the boot tread

The Keen Targhee III boots’ All-Terrain rubber outsoles are designed with multi-directional grips and 4-millimeter lugs.

These outsoles performed well on mud and loose dirt, giving me firm grips on those surfaces.

Unfortunately, on the drier, steeper, and rockier sections of the Arches National Park, I experienced some slippage and unreliability.

It was a little disappointing since most moderate hiking trails have rugged terrain.

However, these boots are designed for casual hikers.

When used at their intended skill level, and on well-managed trails, these boot outsoles are top-notch.

2. Durability

These hiking boots are designed with Nubuck leather and performance mesh uppers, so it will take some time until they are finally worn out. There are many seams that connect the fabric together, which makes the hiking boot more flexible for a less constrictive fit.

Whether I scraped across branches or jagged edges, the boots showed no signs of abrasions, even on the rubber toe cap, which is the patented Keen toe protection feature.

By the end of the trip, the rubber outsoles were still in great condition, remaining free of clogged-up dirt and mud.

3. Comfort

It is built with an EVA midsole, which gives the foot some lightweight cushioning and shock absorption around the heel. Also, the midsole is made with an external stability shank for further lightweight support and rigidness inside the outsole.

Since the Targhee III Waterproof Mid is designed with flexible uppers, there’s little to no break in time, meaning these hiking boots are easy to wear from the very first actual hike.

As I said before, this leather-upper boot is designed for well-managed and light excursions, so the comfort they provide is limited to the easiness of your trail.

4. Breathability

boot close-up from the top

The KEEN.DRY waterproof breathable membrane is complemented by the mesh upper, which prevents the membrane from storing heat.

During my hike, I noticed that the KEEN.DRY membrane was a bit more breathable than some Gore-Tex products I’ve tried, which is such a vital feature.

Usually, waterproof hiking boots run warmer to be more water-resistant, but these had enough ventilation to make my longer hikes less daunting.

That said, this mid height boot will still eventually run warmer in hotter weather.

However, there is a non-waterproof version if you decide water resistance over ventilation isn’t a feature you need.

5. Weight

This hiking boot is more of a midweight than a lightweight hiking boot, weighing 17.1 oz. Even though it’s a little heavier than some other hiking boots we’ve tried, it’s not bulky or weighty around the ankles.

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were entirely lightweight shoes. I also liked that even though they’re heavier than something like the X Ultra 3 or Lowa Renegade, they still manage to be flexible enough to allow fluid movements.

The added weight also allows for increased padding around the foot.

6. Support

Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid ankle support

After putting it to the test, this outdoor gear has good stability and ankle support overall.

The EVA midsole, made with dual-density construction, does well with absorbing shock and evenly distributing stress to prevent buildups on your pressure points.

However, as mentioned before, on rockier surfaces and technical terrain, it doesn’t perform as well as other quality women’s hiking boots.

I encountered some issues with latching onto rocks at certain points, particularly when descending and ascending.

Some climbs would even be a bit shaky or uncomfortable at times.

That said, the Keen Targhee III Mid hiking boots performed amazingly on solid and even surfaces that didn’t exceed its utility, providing good arch support and stability.

7. Waterproofing

It is designed with the Keen brand’s proprietary waterproof liner. Occasionally, as I was happily hiking through the woods, I stepped into some shallow streams, but the inner liner left no water inside.

The leather didn’t really absorb any water, but prolonged or repeated exposure to heavy currents could be problematic, especially because the flood height of the collar could allow some water to seep over the sides.

However, this is rarely a problem on your typical hiking trail. Other than that, the inside of the boot remained dry throughout my hike, and sweat was immediately absorbed.

8. Fit & Sizing

price tag

The Targhee III boot comes in regular and wide widths to accommodate varying foot shapes.

In its normal size, the toe box already provides adequate forefoot space, so I would only advise going with the wider option if you really need the extra space.

If your feet are narrower, keep in mind that the extra volume might make the footwear feel bigger than you want it to be, which can lead to amazingly sharp pain in your foot muscles as you try to prevent your feet from slipping

Otherwise, a Keen hiking boot usually has a good track record for true-to-size fits, as I haven’t had any issues with the pair I own.

They also have a great lacing system that will help you obtain a snug fit.

How Does It Differ From the Previous Model?

Keen Targhee III Mid vs Keen Targhee II Mid side by side

Compared to the Targhee II, the Targhee IIIs are designed with a slightly less elevated heel, making it feel more like a traditional hiking shoe instead of a hiking boot, while still having the durability of one.

Some of the issues with the Keen Targhee II, and even with the classic Targhee launched over a decade ago, were that the fit could be a little too wide, even for normal-sized feet, and that it felt like it provided absolutely no toe protection.

The Targhee III hiking footwear solves this issue by trimming down the forefoot just enough to leave a reasonable volume while preventing the feeling of having zero toe protection.

However, Keen also offers this model in a wide format for individuals who require more toe box room. This model performed admirably in our testing processes, which is why we included it in our list of the top 5 hiking footwear for wide feet.

How Does It Compare To Its Competitors?

1. Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid Hiking Boots

The Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid Gore-Tex is designed with a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, which is one of the best water-resistant liners on the market.

However, in exchange for sealing out moisture, they significantly reduce the ventilation your feet receive.

Even lightweight shoe suffers from this disadvantage, despite being less padded.

The KEEN.DRY membrane, on the other hand, when paired with the mesh uppers of the Targhee III, makes the boot water-repellant without exposing it to any moisture when allowing cool air to pass through. 

2. Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof

Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot.jpg

The Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof is a solid boot that does a lot of things better than this shoe, specifically the Vibram TC5+ outsoles.

The Vibram provides ample traction on terrain where the Targhee’s all-terrain rubber outsole slips, along with having a more aggressive lug pattern.

However, where the Merrell Moab 3 fails is that it has mesh-heavy uppers compared to the Targhee III, which is mostly leather. More mesh increases the likelihood of tearing or snagging yourself on stray objects during a hike, making the Targhee III the more durable footwear.

3. Oboz Sawtooth II Mid B-Dry Hiking Boots

Oboz Sawtooth II Mid B-Dry Hiking Boot

Similar to the Targhee 3, the Oboz Sawtooth II Mid Hiking Boots are made with leather uppers and are very durable.

However, the Oboz Sawtooth II has a much heavier design compared to the Targhee III, weighing in at 19 oz. per pair.

I’d even say that the Oboz is less comfortable due to how much the Targhee III feels like a lightweight shoe.

The Oboz has a very clunky design that has a noticeable drag around the ankles. For a lightweight boot, that’s a significant disadvantage, because you end up wearing something that feels like a heavy-duty boot, but without the protection or utility of one.

Where Does It Perform Better?

a pair of keen targhee 3 mid hiking boots on a white background

From my hiking experience with these boots on day hikes, they seem to perform better on simple terrain, meaning there’s not a lot of steep elevation, rocky terrain, or objects that need to be climbed.

Established trails for beginner and average hikers are where these comfortable boots display their maximum utility.

A day hike of a few miles would be fine, but anything longer could possibly end up making your feet incredibly uncomfortable. That said, these boots perform well in most weather conditions.

Through our tests, we discovered that the overheating won’t really be a problem unless you’re wearing these boots in the middle of summer for longer than a few hours.

Custom Reviews

We wish to provide some online reviews even though our testing procedures are what we mostly rely on.

Do We Recommend It For Hiking?

KEEN Targhee III Mid Waterproof

While this super comfortable boot could’ve performed better in the Arches National Park, it’s done extremely well on my other day hiking routes, particularly on grasslands, shallow valleys, and light hiking trails with clear-cut paths.

Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid

All in all, we highly recommend it for hiking. Priced around $150 and with a good return policy in case you receive a pair of defective boots, these hiking boots have a good build quality and enough cushiness to manage moderately intensive backpacking trips.

As long as you’re not trying to climb mountains or constantly pushing the boundaries of underfoot protection, the Keen Targhee III is perfect for its all-around value.


Are Keen Targhees Good for Snow?

The Keen Targhees are good for snow. As long as you’re not hiking in deep snow above the collar’s flood limit, these remain warm in cold weather and have good traction.

What Is the Drop on the Keen Targhee III?

The drop on the Keen Targhee III varies from at least 10-15mm. Keen shoes and Keen boots are designed like this to minimize injuries and stress to the forefoot and heel.

Do Keen Targhees Run Small?

No, Keen Targhees do not run small. All Keen footwear is accurately sized, including the half measurements, to ensure that no shoe or boot is too wide or narrow.

What Is the Difference Between the Keen Targhee III and Exp?

The difference between the Keen Targhee III hiking boots and EXP is that the Targhee III is made with more leather instead of mesh, increasing durability and decreasing the likelihood of tearing.

Christina Utz

Christina Utz

Christina Utz is a professional writer, mountain addict, and hiking enthusiast. She successfully finished a rock climbing class and a wilderness survival course, and by the age of 24, she hiked more than 1800 miles and finished over 260 different trails! Her expertise in hiking and outdoors helped numerous people to fulfill their adventurous spirit!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *