Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Trail shoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trail shoes. Show all posts

Monday, 15 January 2018

Keen Men’s Targhee II Walking Shoes – Long Term Review


My first acquaintance with this shoe was in April 2011, when I was supplied with a pair for review back in the days when a few retailers felt that reviews from outdoor bloggers, in return for FOC products, might help their sales.

I duly earned my crust by writing a comprehensive review of these shoes, which together with all the relevant technical data, can be found .

Since then, I have updated the original review and I am now on my third pair of Targhee II shoes. Unusually, Keen seem to have stuck with this product without ‘developing’ it, which must be some sort of tribute, in my mind.

The first three pictures in this posting are of this third pair, bought recently on-line from in Trowbridge for £89.


Meanwhile, the original pair that was reviewed back in 2011 was ‘replaced’ in 2015 by a new pair bought at MEC in Ottawa (when exchange rates were more favourable than they are today). Those shoes, pictured below, were bought for the purpose of trekking 900 km across the (the Spanish route).


GR11 hardly dented the shoes, which I have continued to wear until the recent purchase from Mastershoe. They have now done 2400 km and are still going strong, but will now be used mainly for mountain biking. The waterproof membrane and the lacing system have remained intact, the main source of wear being on the soles and (shown below) the fabric in the heel area. That won’t have been helped by the frequent removal of the that I use. These are a tight fit and need to be removed to air the shoes properly.


The final four pictures – below – are the last you will see of the original shoes from 2011. These have been worn for mountain biking in recent years, but before that they did clock over 2500 km (1560 miles) of use as trail walking shoes. The main source of wear was the fabric lacing system, and extra holes had to be made to thread the laces. This wasn’t really a problem, nor was the wear on the soles, for use as mountain biking shoes.


As you can see from these pictures, and given that these shoes cost me nothing in the first place, the shoes were pretty worn and owed me nothing, so after these pictures were taken they were recycled, albeit with reluctance.

I’ve noticed a comment on my original review, suggesting that the quality of some Keen products has deteriorated since then. In the case of these shoes, the second (newer) pair seem if anything to be more durable than the original pair. Remarkable, in fact, as the GR11 route was demanding on the shoes, and my track record for both Asolo and Scarpa three season walking boots is that they last for about 2000 to 2500 km, if anything less than these trail shoes.


This is my last review of these shoes, and I’m unlikely to review any other trail shoes as I can’t really imagine that I’ll find a better product. So as long as you can get them to fit properly using a suitable insole, heel cup, etc, I wholeheartedly commend this product.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Keen Men’s Targhee II Walking Shoes – A Review

Keen Men's Targhee II Walking Shoes

[Note that on 5 September 2012, Webtogs Limited went into liquidation, but its business has been continued in the name of Dorset Mountain Sports Limited, t/a Webtogs, with whom I have had no contact whatsoever, nor did the liquidator of Webtogs Ltd respond to my enquiry as to whether any members of the public had lost money as a result of the liquidation.]

After the demise of my last pair of trail shoes, the relatively smart HI-TEC V-Lite Thunder HPi ‘Adventure Sports’ Shoes, I was delighted to receive these Keen ‘Walking Shoes’ for review from Webtogs.

Out of the box they seemed chunkier and more substantial than the 400gm HI-TECs. Weighing in at 490gm for each shoe for my size 9’s they are a little heavier as well.

Anyway, I put them on straight away and have worn them on 11 outings since they arrived three weeks ago, culminating in a 27 mile Challenge walk a couple of days ago.  So they have done about 100 miles in anger already and are well and truly broken in.

The shoes have a wide toe box, but the UK size 9 / EU size 43 shoes are only just long enough for my feet.  Keen’s website does observe that “We find this style runs about a 1/2 size small”.  Really?
Made in China, they look to be solidly constructed, with an upper of leather, webbing and mesh, and a ‘non-marking rubber outsole’, but it’ll be some months before I can comment on their longer term durability.

Unlike any trail shoes I have previously owned, these feature a ‘KEEN.DRY™ Waterproof membrane and breathable textile lining’.  My initial impression is that this lining is brilliant.  I’ve been out walking on dewy mornings and in boggy conditions that have rapidly given my walking companions soaking wet feet due to water flowing through the fabric uppers of their trail shoes.  These Keens have repelled the water, although the leather has got pretty wet from the dew. On return home, I have simply washed off the mud and sprayed on some proofer.  The insides of the shoes were just a little damp from sweat, but the whole lot dried out remarkably quickly and they could have been worn dry again immediately.  This is quite a revelation to me, as my previous trail shoes have all needed time to dry out after a good wash.

The sole seems quite solid and grippy, but you’d need to be careful to avoid using the plastic at either side of the midsole to balance on a plank, rock or stile, etc – it could result in a nasty slip.

Keen Men's Targhee II Walking Shoes

I found the heel box rather roomy and initially tried to reduce the volume by way of tight lacing, in an attempt to pull the tape you can see below as tight as possible.  That was a mistake, it pulled the laces tight over the thin tongue and caused a tendon on the top of one of my feet to rub painfully.  The other foot had its problems as well, as the fabric on the outer side of the shoe came right up to my ankle bone and rubbed it slightly but annoyingly.

Keen Men's Targhee II Walking Shoes

So these shoes weren’t a perfect fit.  But the rubbing tendon is now better, and for longer walks I have purchased some ‘Gel Heel Cups’ - £5 from Sports Direct – that lift my heels slightly and reduce the volume, to the extent that the 27 mile Challenge walk was completed with no problems whatsoever, confirming that the initial teething troubles had been completely overcome.  At no point has either shoe even vaguely threatened to give me a blister.

I’ve been using the shoes casually as well as for walking, and apart from the minor ankle rub they have been comfy with any sort of sock.  I won’t hesitate to use them for serious mountain walking in summer conditions (in fact the above-mentioned Challenge walk included 1750 metres of ascent), but I will sometimes choose to wear ankle gaiters to eliminate stones and avoid rain draining into the shoes from my waterproofs.

So, to summarise:

Fit and Finish:
  • the EU size 43 (UK 9) shoes are roomy, but only just long enough for me, so the shoes may be ideal for people with bulky feet, but not so good for long, thin feet
  • the Chinese construction appears to be good, but I can’t yet comment on long-term durability (regular readers will realise that the treatment they will receive will challenge any claim to durability!)
  • these are reasonably respectably casual shoes, though personally I find the wide slab of rubber across the front of the toe box functional but ugly
  • Keen’s stated features are reiterated below
  • unlike HI-TEC’s ‘ion-mask hydrophobic technology’, the breathable waterproof lining in these shoes really does seem to work.  Brilliant
  • the shoes are comfortable, once broken in, and in my case with the aid of Gel Heel Cups, for anything from walking to the shops to serious mountain walking, for which I would recommend the use of ankle gaiters to keep out stones, etc
  • at 980gm (490gm each), they are relatively heavy, so probably not ideal footwear for those who wish to run over the fells.  But I haven’t noticed their weight or bulk when trying to move quickly, and I’ve quite happily jogged in them, though the old HI-TECs were better for that purpose
Practical Use:
  • these shoes now sit in the porch and are my first choice for anything from an evening out in casual wear, to a serious mountain day walk in dry conditions
  • the shoes are robust and the soles (apart from the plastic mid section) grippy in the mixed conditions and ground over which they have currently been used
  • so far, (3 weeks, 100 miles, in mixed conditions) they have kept my feet dry.  But it’s early days - ‘watch this space’ as they say! (See below)
  • I’ll reiterate a comment made in relation to their HI-TEC predecessors: ‘with limited ankle support, many users may be reluctant to use the shoes on certain steep ground such as some of the scree slope crossings in the Dolomites, where the additional ankle support provided by lightweight boots may enhance both comfort and safety’
  • available from Webtogs for £80.99
  • there are lots of alternatives to these high spec trail/walking shoes, but I suspect that these relatively ugly shoes are more robust than most.  As always with footwear – different products suit different feet
  • these shoes got off to a questionable start, causing discomfort to both feet, but with the addition of Gel Heel Cups (only needed for more serious excursions) and the benefit of quite a few outings, they are now well moulded to my feet and will provide me with comfortable day to day use for the limit of their durability.  They do appear to be good all-round performers, with the waterproof lining coming as an unexpected bonus
Long Term Observations:
  • October 2011 (after six months) – I’ve been wearing these shoes all summer for walking (650km) and cycling.  For example, on the recent Calderdale Mountain Bike Marathon I used them together with ankle gaiters and some old Sealskinz socks.  I washed them in a puddle after the ride, and didn’t need to remove them until I got home.  My feet, and the Sealskinz socks, were perfectly dry.  I didn’t see anyone else with dry feet.  The route was very boggy in places, and at times it was not at all easy to cycle through these bogs, so the shoes endured some deep dunks.  The Keens really are versatile shoes, and the waterproof membrane seems to be largely intact, though I’m sure that continuous walking through wet grass or similar would result in some seepage.  Here’s what they currently look like – exhibiting signs of wear but still with a fair amount of life in them.  The grey bits on the sole are coming adrift from the main sole, probably largely as a result of abrasion from the aggressive lugs on the pedals of my bicycle.
Keen Targhee 11 Walking Shoes after 650km
  • October 2012 (after 18 months) – these shoes have now walked 1400km and have been used for mountain biking.  The waterproof membrane seems still to be largely intact.  Here’s what they currently look like – whilst their basic structure remains impressively intact, the shoes are exhibiting signs of serious wear – the lining inside the heels has now split, the laces have had to be replaced, and the soles have worn fairly smooth, with the heels being particularly worn down.  They continue to be really comfy, so long as the heel inserts are used, and I’ll probably not be using them in slippery conditions.  However, they aren’t yet destined for the bin – I’ll provide a final report at that stage.
Keen Targhee 11 Walking Shoes after 1400km
Note: Whilst the gear was provided by Webtogs, this review, over which I have total editorial control, is totally independent of that on-line retailer.

FEATURES of the KEEN Men’s Targhee II Walking Shoe, according to KEEN
- 4mm multi directional lugs
- Dual-density compression molded EVA midsole
- KEEN toe protection
- KEEN.DRY™ Waterproof breathable membrane
- Removable metatomical Footbed
- S3 Heel support structure
- Torsion stability ESS shank

Shock, suspension, stability – otherwise known as S3 – is engineered to support the foot on impact, dissipate shock and reduce your odds of twisting an ankle. KEEN.DRY
A proprietary waterproof, breathable membrane that lets vapor out without letting water in. METATOMICAL FOOTBED DESIGN
This internal support mechanism is anatomically engineered to provide excellent arch support and cradle the natural contours of the foot. KEEN.PROTECT
Can a sandal* protect your toes? The answer is yes. The reason is KEEN Patented Toe Protection where the shoe outsoles wrap up and over the toes for ultimate protection.
*  this must be Keen’s standard wording, as this shoe is definitely not a ‘sandal’!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

HI-TEC V-Lite Thunder HPi ‘Adventure Sports’ Shoes – A Review

HI-TEC V-Lite Altitude Ultra WPi boots HI-TEC V-Lite Altitude Ultra WPi boots

The above images were taken on 8 March 2010.  These trail shoes were kindly provided by HI-TEC, following the premature failure of some HI-TEC V-Lite Altitude Ultra WPi boots that had kindly been provided by HI-TEC for review.  That review is here, and my ‘New Shoes’ posting about the trail shoes is here.

The trail shoes have been worn a lot over the past year, but sadly didn’t quite make it to their first birthday.

They are currently still in production, with HI-TEC’s website proudly proclaiming the following:


  • ion-mask hydrophobic technology
  • Breathable mesh and Synthetic Upper
  • TPU welding for midfoot support
  • Toe and heel abrasion for added protection
  • V-Lite strobel construction
  • V-Lite design and build technology
  • Comfort-Tec contoured sockliner
  • V-Lite compression-moulded EVA midsole for cushioning
  • External ESS Shank for added support
  • V-Lite MDT carbon rubber outsole

The RRP is about £80, but they are currently available for £50 or less.

Here’s what my shoes looked like on 25 February 2011, after about 600km (375 miles) of use, a third of which comprised three weeks in the Alps.

HI-TEC V-Lite Altitude Ultra WPi bootsHI-TEC V-Lite Altitude Ultra WPi boots

As you can see, the sole of one shoe had parted company with the upper and was flapping in a terminal manner.  Luckily the final straw occurred on a walk to the shops, so gaffer tape repairs weren’t needed.

It’s not all bad news though.  Here are my detailed observations.

Fit and Finish:
  • the EU size 43 were perfect for my average sort of feet.  As with the earlier V-lite boots, no breaking in was necessary and the shoes were a delight to wear for their entire life
  • the construction – they were made in China – was good, with none of the problems I encountered with their Innov8 Roclite predecessors.  BUT after nearly 12 months and only 600 km of use (plus about the same distance mountain biking), one of the soles parted with its upper.  Had this not happened I’d still be using the shoes, albeit with rather worn soles
  • visually, I like the finish – these were respectably tidy casual shoes.  I shall miss them
  • HI-TEC’s stated features are listed above
  • the shoes may be vaguely waterproof, but not noticeably more so than my fairly ordinary Nike trainers.  I’m not convinced by the ‘ion-mask hydrophobic technology’
  • forgetting all the technical jargon, the shoes were extremely comfortable for anything from walking to the shops to mid grade Via Ferrata in the Dolomites
  • at 800gm, they are not the lightest in their class, but they certainly don’t feel heavy, so for me they are about right
Practical Use:
  • I’ve worn these shoes in preference to most other footwear over the past year.  They sat in the porch and were my first choice for anything from an evening out in casual wear, to a serious mountain day walk in dry conditions
  • the soles were satisfactorily grippy in the dry, even on steep ground
  • whilst I didn’t wear the shoes much in wet weather, I did notice seepage when walking on boggy ground, so those wanting to retain dry feet in wet conditions should consider using Sealskinz socks or similar
  • with limited ankle support, many users may be reluctant to use the shoes on certain steep ground such as some of the scree slope crossings in the Dolomites, where the additional ankle support provided by lightweight boots may enhance both comfort and safety
  • there are lots of alternatives to these mid-range trail shoes.  I was lucky in that the shoes posted to me fitted perfectly, but I would always commend users to try on shoes before buying them – different products suit different feet
  • these shoes provided me with comfortable day to day use for nearly a year.  They were good all round performers, from pub to mountain top.  In wet weather I would choose to wear waterproof socks with the shoes, or (preferably) waterproof boots instead, but with relatively grippy soles they were perfect for three hot dry weeks in the Alps last summer.  They were also excellent for a 400 kilometre TransAlp mountain bike ride, and for mountain biking generally
  • my only real criticism of these shoes is their durability.  I would normally expect to get more wear out of such a product.  Maybe I was unlucky, but the soles of my shoes normally wear out rather than fall off!  The laces, however, are excellent – they will live on as spares

So, it’s out with the old… I wonder what will be next? (‘G’ knows that secret!)

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Tuesday 27 November 2007 - Innov8 Roclites in Sand

As reported last week, our desert walk on 19 November was in ‘boots’. Having served me so well in Madeira, I had taken the now broken in Roclites. That was a mistake. The mesh on the Roclites looks solid enough, doesn’t it? I knew it wasn’t at all water resistant. I soon discovered it is not at all sand resistant, either. So the shoes quickly filled with sand and the tight spot on the right heel was immediately a problem. A precautionary plaster following the previous night’s short walk didn’t really help, and I finished up losing about 1 sq inch of skin from the heel.
I’m actually happy with the shoes and can use Sealskinz socks to keep the water out, but they are definitely not suitable for walking in the desert. I used trekking sandals for the rest of the trip, with no problem at all, despite the guide’s scepticism.

15 March 2011 - Postscript:
My initial optimism about these shoes was finally dashed when during 2008 the linings inside the heel split, leaving me with blisters every time I used them.  They had done less than 300 km, mostly in Madeira and New Zealand, before they were abandoned in a far corner of our kitchen.  Very disappointing, really, especially after all the effort taken to ensure that they were the right shoes for me.  They weren't.  Should anyone wish to take them on, I'll be happy to donate them - they are in reasonable condition apart from the heels - UK size 8½.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Wednesday 3 October 2007 - Fugitives and Roclites

Back in June, after the TGO Challenge had finally finished off my old Karrimor KSB3 boots, and the soles of my even older and comfier Trezetas had parted company from the uppers in the Dolomites, I was forced into going shopping for replacement boots, and also for ‘trail shoes’, given that my newish Salomon shoes had disintegrated.

I went into Manchester and toured the usual shops – Cotswold, Blacks, Brighams, Milletts…. In each one I strolled up to the poorly stocked boot section, browsed and left after a couple of minutes. Nobody in any of those shops perceived me to be a potential customer. So I got in the car and went to Hathersage, arriving at Outside at lunch time. As I strolled into the boot section I was asked whether I would like any help. What a break through! Would the trip be worthwhile? Of course! After much careful measuring, and serious apologies for the fact that of the four different boots they insisted on me trying on, one was not in stock in my size, the Asolo Fugitives felt ideal. And on to the trail shoes….the same story, and Innov8 Roclites were added to my ‘basket’. All this took at least an hour, and given the standard of attention and service I decided not to ask for a discount. These purchases were important, especially the Fugitives which were to be taken immediately to the Dolomites and then on to the Berlinerweg (Mayrhofen). They performed so well on those trips that a thank you card was sent to Outside. Perfect for the job, especially for the steep scree slopes of the Dolomites, where I find ankle support is helpful. They have certainly performed well over their first demanding 400 km of use. And the Roclites. They were half a size smaller and are deliberately on the ‘snug’ side and have rubbed my heel. In fact their first longish walk was earlier this week on the 31 km ‘Altrincham Circular’. Albeit I had protected my heels, they were extremely comfy. The only time I noticed them was on marshy ground, where the water ingress was as if I was wearing sandals. But they dried out very quickly, a huge contrast to the KSBs, whose uppers had turned to the consistency of blotting paper on the TGO Challenge.

So if you need new walking boots or shoes, and live within range of Hathersage, here’s my recommendation: ignore the ‘boot guides’ in the well meaning mags and visit the experts at Outside.

They will find something of acceptable quality to suit the shape of your feet.
Good luck!

Postscript - 18 January 2008
The Asolo Fugitive boots remain supremely comfy after 600 km of use, but once they were subjected to very wet conditions (after about 500 km) they started to seep water. They only leak in very wet conditions, but we've had a lot of those recently. The soles are also showing signs of wear. So it's Sealskinz socks to the rescue. These keep my feet beautifully dry, despite any boot leakage.

Postscript - 14 March 2011Believe it or not, the Asolo Fugitives have now done nearly 2250 km, and despite being pretty battered they've outlasted their replacements.  They still 'seep' a little, but one of the GORE-TEX® liners remains more or less intact.

On the other hand, the Roclites proved to be less robust and lasted only 300 km.  See here for more comments.