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Topic: Keen Boots< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 5:34 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm in the market for new pair of boots and have been eyeing the Keen Targhee Mid II for awhile.  All the reviews I've read thus far have been either nothing but the highest praise or absolute disdain at the quality.  It seems there is no middle ground.  The consensus on fit has been good, the biggest complaint seems to be durability.  I've been wearing Merrell Chameleons for the longest and love the fit and performance but am looking for a truer boot style with more ankle support.  Any thoughts/suggestions?  Thanks.......

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 6:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've been looking at the shoe version and have been reading some of the same things. I guess for what it's worth, I also read that Keen has a good warranty and they stand behind their product and will replace the shoes if there is a failure. Not sure the length of that warranty though.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 9:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I just bought a pair of keen shoes to replace my well worn moabs.  I wear them to work in the office.  I personally dont think they have the long term comfort the moab has to my foot.  I will not be buying another pair.  The keen shoes also seem to be a little less quality that made.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 05 2012, 11:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've had my targhees for about 2 years now. They've seen moderate usage, and are in great shape. They took longer to break-in than I expected, at first the upper kind of bit into my shin but they wore in and now are my best fitting boots.

Outsoles are soft and wear fast if you use them in the city (concrete eats up rubber faster than anything). I'm not super impressed with the grip despite the soft outsole - the treads are too broad and don't bite well, but have good enough grip overall.

A year ago part of the outsole started to separate (one of the outer lugs), I used some shoe goo and it's been completely fine since. It wasn't separating from the midsole, so not really a big deal. Keen glues parts of the outsole together. Frankly I think it's stupid but like I said after regluing that one little part it's been fine since.

The leather on the upper is soft and soaks up water like a sponge. Treating with nik-wax helps but it's just spongy leather. Despite this, mine have been 100% waterproof - the Keen-dry is quite good and durable, but the least breathable membrane I've ever encountered.

Overall I really like them and would definitely buy another pair. I bought a half-size up as they tend to fit a tad small for most people. That being said, low volume feet could probably get away with their measured size. Try them on before buying with the socks you plan to wear.

I also have 4 other pairs of keen footwear, and love all but one - a weird pair I bought super cheap on discount that just fits oddly. Can't remember the name of the model but it's no longer for sale anyway. My Oregon PCT boots are a big step up from the targhee in terms of support, but the fit differs (much higher volume) and not very impressed again with the outsole durability and grip. Still, great boots. Keen is the only company that makes squared toes, which is what I really need. But bear this in mind - they are NOT a real wide fit, contrary to popular opinion. They are just broader in the toes and higher volume in the heels. The midfoot is a medium fit.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 06 2012, 11:22 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Just wanted to chime in on the breathability. I have Gypsum Mids, not Targhees, and I think they might have a little more mesh, but I have been very pleasantly surprised by them. No sweaty socks unless it's heat-wave hot. And totally waterproof. People said that when they did get wet inside they'd be slow drying, but I haven't found that either.
I also worried about the durability reports. I bought them, read reviews, returned them, bought and returned two other brands, and then finally bought them again. Comfort trumps all, when you're hiking for weeks at a time. Why would I want uncomfortable boots that last longer? I would just end up using more curse words and bandaids. But as it turns out, after a year of hard use, I've had no issues at all, and the traction has been excellent in a crazy mix of terrains. (SmokeyBear makes a good point, keep your hikers away from pavement.)
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 06 2012, 4:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks all for the scoop so far.  I'm that much closer to making up my mind.  I was also looking at a pair of Sundowners but think the all leather might be too much for what I'm looking for and have not heard good things about the newer versions (since manufactured in China).  I think Keen will win out on this one.  Will take a couple pairs of socks to the local outfitter this weekend and see about an early self gift!  Cheers....

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 07 2012, 12:12 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Just so you know - the fit of Keen and Vasque couldn't be more different, at least in the toes. Vasque have notoriously pointy toes, and the sundowners are no exception.

Also - the boots themselves couldn't be more different, and how they will affect your walking (gait) will vary significantly as well.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 07 2012, 5:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'll just add that my feelings on the Targhee (mid) must match the reviews you've found. I love the shoes, but they do seem to have a low life expectancy. I first tried them in 2008 and have been using them since. For me, they are cushy and very comfortable. Only the last couple of big hikes, though, one of my feet starts to hurt a bit after about 4 hours of hiking, but I don't know that I can blame the shoe; probably more due to my feet being tired.

I am currently on my 4th pair, so they average a little over a year for me (I still have the old ones for continued casual use), and I don't do a crazy amount of miles. My first pair went the longest, and from rough memory, they went about 150 miles on 6 mountain backpacking trips, not including all other numerous non-backpack outings over the course of a year.

The weakest link is always one of the main outside lugs that generally starts peeling away in as little as ~15 miles. This is generally a cosmetic issue only even as it continues to separate. The main issue I've had on mine is the inside stitching coming apart at the base of the big toe at the widest part. I put up with the short life due to the great comfort they provide.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 07 2012, 6:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Contact Keen, they will likely replace the shoes/boots from what I understand. It's a warranty issue, the separation of the sole that is. I tried on some Keens for the first time today. Gotta say, they were definitely nice. I do hate the idea of them only lasting a couple hundred miles though. That seems pretty outrageous. Other brands of hikers, what can you expect out of them? I mean would you really be expect to have to buy 10 pairs of Keens if one wanted to do the AT in them? At $120 a pop? That's $1300+ in footwear.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 07 2012, 8:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Islandized @ Nov. 06 2012, 11:22 am)
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Why would I want uncomfortable boots that last longer? I would just end up using more curse words and bandaids.

Ha ha! That's an interesting philosophy. I had a similar discussion here a few weeks ago and someone said, if you can't find a boot that's both durable and comfortable (i.e., that actually fits you), you go with comfort and just get new boots every year.

Yesterday I was trying on some Keens, I'm pretty sure it was the Gypsum. I thought it was great until I tried on the Merrell Phaser Peak. http://www.merrell.com/US....sions=0

The Phaser is padded and contoured to fit closely around your heel and ankle, almost like a ski-boot fit. By comparison, the Gypsum was sort of shapeless in that area, just straight, not contoured, and tightening the laces didn't help much.

I also noticed how much more support the Phaser Peak had, much better for carrying the weight of a backpack. Plus the sole and insole offers a lot more protection from rocks. It has a Vibram sole.

The penalty for a boot like the Phaser Peak is it's stiff, heavier, and takes longer to break in. (Not to mention having no ventilation.) But having tried on the Phaser Peak, I don't think I would choose Keens for backpacking. Just not enough long-term support and durability. The reviews are pretty clear about the durability problem.

So many people love the forefoot of the Keens. Makes you wonder why more companies don't make that shape.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 07 2012, 8:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I love the forefoot of Keens, but not the heel and ankle area. The Targhees are the lowest volume Keen boots I've tried, and are still a little too big and in that area for me, though some added felt padding and better arch support helped.

I wish Merrell and Salomon would make toes like keens on some models. They fit me so well around the heel/ankle, but become too tight in the toes for me.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 07 2012, 9:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Fatpacking @ Nov. 07 2012, 6:20 pm)
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I do hate the idea of them only lasting a couple hundred miles though. That seems pretty outrageous. Other brands of hikers, what can you expect out of them? I mean would you really be expect to have to buy 10 pairs of Keens if one wanted to do the AT in them? At $120 a pop? That's $1300+ in footwear.

I was thinking in those same terms. In 10 years you would spend $1500 on Keens, whereas I've had a pair of $75 Hi-Tecs that have lasted more than 10 years. OK, I admit they're falling apart at this point and have been repeatedly glued back together, but they made it to about the 9-year mark with no problem. One year is not an acceptable lifespan. Lugs falling off after 15 miles? Ridiculous.

Reading reviews I notice a common complaint: that the quality of many manufaturers has gone down in the last 10 years. People go back and try to buy the same model they used to love and find it has degraded. That's definitely the case with Hi-Tec.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 07 2012, 11:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Look - don't pay so much attention to a few negative reviews. As is commonly the case, people are much more likely to go out of their way to post a complaint than a compliment.

Yes, the targhees are not the most durable boot out there. But few in it's class are. Most comparable boots will decline similarily with time. If you manage only a year out of your Targhees, it's because you must really put them through the paces. Mine have seen a fair bit of mileage, and are two years old, but still in very good shape. I might have gotten a "good" pair, but chances are I got what 99% of people do - a decent boot for the price.

In a day of disposible everything, even boots aren't meant to last long now. They're more comfortable than ever, with many times more choices than ever, but the down-side is that the materials wear faster.

You want boots that last forever, or at least a decade? Buy limmers:

http://www.limmerboot.com/

But they will not have the comfy underfoot feeling. And they'll cost 3-4 times as much for the off the shelf models.

Good luck
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 11:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Very good points, SmokeyBear. I guess you have to choose your priorities and compromise on what is less important.
It seems like fit does have to be at the top of the list.

One question: Do you think there is an INTENTIONAL disposability in today's boots??? It must be possible to make a boot with medium flex, good cushioning, and a Vibram sole that's going to hold up for years.

I've actually given up my search for new boots for now. I'm hoping something new will come out next year.

I tried to find out what percentage of people have specific footshapes but couldn't find anything online. I wonder how each manufacturer chooses their last.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 08 2012, 4:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(SmokeyBear @ Nov. 07 2012, 11:54 pm)
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Look - don't pay so much attention to a few negative reviews. As is commonly the case, people are much more likely to go out of their way to post a complaint than a compliment.

Yes, the targhees are not the most durable boot out there. But few in it's class are. Most comparable boots will decline similarily with time. If you manage only a year out of your Targhees, it's because you must really put them through the paces. Mine have seen a fair bit of mileage, and are two years old, but still in very good shape. I might have gotten a "good" pair, but chances are I got what 99% of people do - a decent boot for the price.

In a day of disposible everything, even boots aren't meant to last long now. They're more comfortable than ever, with many times more choices than ever, but the down-side is that the materials wear faster.

You want boots that last forever, or at least a decade? Buy limmers:

http://www.limmerboot.com/

But they will not have the comfy underfoot feeling. And they'll cost 3-4 times as much for the off the shelf models.

Good luck

Very good point on putting boots through the paces.  Regardless of maker I have no qualms with having to replace boots (or other gear for that matter) worn out from use.  It means I'm getting out & having fun!  I think it could even be something to even take pride in "Hey, my boots are totally shredded but I have two years of memorable trips out of them!"  But early retirement because of shoddy manufacturing, now that is frustrating.  I'm committed, Keen's it is.  Tomorrow is Saturday, I'll hit the store for a pair and then use Sunday for a breaking in stroll.....

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 11 2012, 11:31 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It is amazing how quality has gone down over time due to cost or cost cutting. 10 years ago, I remember buying a pair of Ozark Trail shoes at Walmart for $20 that was made of durable materials and had a long lasting sole. Now, even some well known manufacturers make soft soles that don't last. Or the Vibram soles are not as thick as previous models. As I look at my Merrell Moab's, I think, these aren't worth $100 for what you get. Yes, the sole is Vibram and the uppers are gore-tex. Or I look at my insulated Teva Wraith Storm's and say, they retail for $100? Crazy. Anymore, I am very careful with what I buy and only buy on sale.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 11 2012, 5:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think there definitely is some intentional shortened life-span of boots. Without getting political, in the end these companies are out for one ultimate purpose - to make money. More boots sold = more money. It used to be that most boot buyers were probably backpackers and adventurous types that demanded a durable product. But, now the majority of people buying their products are probably just casual wearers going for a hike that summer, and not putting the boots through the kind of terrain and usage that will really tax them or wear them out quickly.

So their largest demographic probably isn't wearing out the boots too fast. Plus, these same people are also demand comfort out of their boots as their first priority. Cue EVA midsoles and light-weight uppers. The EVA is fantastically comfy, but has a well-established finite lifespan. About 150-300 miles depending on the weight of the wearer and usage. For most buyers, this probably means many years of use. For more active people it means replacing footwear every year or two.

So is it a decline in quality? Depends. In terms of building a solid, durable boot that will last through thousands of miles on a knarliest terrain? Not anymore. But in terms of building a comfortable boot that lasts the majority of wearers a long time? Sure!

As for the costing issues - we're definitely getting hosed. I'm sure the production and shipping costs are many, many times lower than the selling price. But it's a fickle market, and I'm sure many models are over-produced. Plus a couple of lousy summers probably makes many people disinclined to go out and explore. Fickle market indeed.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 11 2012, 7:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Has anyone ever checked in to having boots resoled? It seems that the majority of the durability complaints are that the soles are wearing out and/or separating from the upper, I just wonder if they are able to be refurbished. I always hate when I have to get rid of a shoe/boot that has a perfectly good and comfortable upper that's nice and broken in, just because the sole has failed in someway or another. I've also never checked into having them fixed, but I've also never really had shoes/boots that cost as much as hiking boots cost. I'm wearing a pair of Vasque Breeze at the moment and they weren't cheap, I hate the idea that I may only get a few hundred miles out of them.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 12 2012, 8:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTramper @ Nov. 07 2012, 9:09 pm)
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(Fatpacking @ Nov. 07 2012, 6:20 pm)
QUOTE
I do hate the idea of them only lasting a couple hundred miles though. That seems pretty outrageous. Other brands of hikers, what can you expect out of them? I mean would you really be expect to have to buy 10 pairs of Keens if one wanted to do the AT in them? At $120 a pop? That's $1300+ in footwear.

I was thinking in those same terms. In 10 years you would spend $1500 on Keens, whereas I've had a pair of $75 Hi-Tecs that have lasted more than 10 years. OK, I admit they're falling apart at this point and have been repeatedly glued back together, but they made it to about the 9-year mark with no problem. One year is not an acceptable lifespan. Lugs falling off after 15 miles? Ridiculous.

Reading reviews I notice a common complaint: that the quality of many manufaturers has gone down in the last 10 years. People go back and try to buy the same model they used to love and find it has degraded. That's definitely the case with Hi-Tec.

+1 - As hard as I've tried, I haven't found a pair of boots reasonably priced enough to replace my Hi-Techs. I am, however looking at the Keen Klamath. I have a return w/STP and a $10 gift card, so...

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 13 2012, 8:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Fatpacking @ Nov. 11 2012, 7:06 pm)
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Has anyone ever checked in to having boots resoled? It seems that the majority of the durability complaints are that the soles are wearing out and/or separating from the upper, I just wonder if they are able to be refurbished. I always hate when I have to get rid of a shoe/boot that has a perfectly good and comfortable upper that's nice and broken in, just because the sole has failed in someway or another. I've also never checked into having them fixed, but I've also never really had shoes/boots that cost as much as hiking boots cost. I'm wearing a pair of Vasque Breeze at the moment and they weren't cheap, I hate the idea that I may only get a few hundred miles out of them.

Modern glued soles aren't easily resolable and require both the midsole (probably shot too if the outsole is worn out) to be replaced at the same time. Along with the wear on the nylon and thin leather uppers, and on any waterproof membranes, it's probably not worth it in most cases.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 19 2012, 11:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Keens are a great value. If they fit well, why not try? I use Keen backpacking boots, disc golf shoes, trail shoes and water shoes... They all rock.

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