Good hiking boots have always been very difficult for me to find. Until two years ago I tried four different brands without success.
Finally I purchased a pair of Targhee Mid II from KEEN. They have been fantastic, comfortable and worn to death!
These boots are quite lightweight and not your classic “hiking” or bushwalking boot. They served me very well for over two years. This included two Overland Track’s (one in snow, the other wet), the South Coast Track and many, many day walks.
Unfortunately they finally succumb to the hard work I dished out and died…… Sad but inevitable.
So being back in the market for new boots, what did I buy to replace them? The same ones of course!
Above, the new boots, never worn.
Above – comparing the wear and tear on the oldies with the new boots. They have a fantastic, grippy sole (see details below)
Almost embarrassed to show this one. The old boot is on the left for those of you who can’t work it out…
This brings up the main problem with the Targhee Mid II, the “4mm multi directional lugs”.
Those little red strips of webbing take the place of eyelets or hooks in the boots for lacing. They are the weakest point in the whole design, especially the top ones near your ankle AND the bottom ones, near your toes. Note on my old boot, three of the eight lugs are torn.
I was warned about this when purchasing them from our local Mountain Designs store (on a 25% off day @ $205) .
I have been very careful tightening the laces, making sure I did not put undue pressure on the lugs. The first fail came after about 18 months of wear. It might have been caused by hooking my boot on a tree root, can’t remember. As I had expected this for months, and the boots were so comfortable, it was not a concern. Others may think differently.
The second problem is harder to quantify, the Waterproof claim by Keen.
When we hike it is usually on formed tracks. We like to keep on track, i.e. not walk to the side, widening the track or damaging the area more than has already occured. This usually means walking through mud or water and it really tests out any waterproof claim made by boot manufacturers!
These boots were waterproof, for a time, BUT not fully waterproof under the conditions I frequently used them. I think the weak spot is where the upper (non leather) piece attaches to the base. Water seems to leak in there but it is hard to prove and could have been the depth of the puddles and mud I tend to walk through.
Because I really opted for comfort AND expect wet feet this has not been an issue.
I love these boots and and put up with their shortcomings in exchange for comfort and no blisters!
Some technical detail from the Keen website:
Weight: 18.30 oz / 521.001 grams
Lining: KEEN.DRY™ Waterproof membrane and breathable textile
Upper: Leather, webbing and mesh
Rubber: Non-marking rubber outsole
Collar Height: 6″
Calf Circumference: 10″
Type: Boots, Cold Weather Boots, Lace Up
Weather: Wet – waterproof
Have you ever compromised on comfort over flaws in boots or other gear?
Do you have a favourite hiking boot you purchase, no matter what?
Shoot us a comment below and share your ideas.