I was this-close to ask about this to the customer service, but then I've found that Keen ALREADY CLARIFIED the differences between Targhee II and III right here...
Wait why didn't any of us come across this before?
Well, because, as strange as it sounds... this information is only available in their DK and GB sites. And NOT in the US site. Yeah. No idea why...
I still wanted to read more about Targhee II and III - and hence contacted the customer service...
...But I ended up receiving no response whatsoever. I told myself maybe that's because of the holiday period (the employees spending time with their families) and shrugged it off, so I'm not pissed off at them.
January 7th, 2020 Update: I've just heard back from the customer service about Targhee II vs III and shared the back and forth mails in this post.
Let's start with laying out all the Targhee II and III models here with some short notes first.
Note that the notes are my subjective ideas and your mileage may vary.
- Targhee II Waterproof [Men's - Men's Wide - Women's]: Your best bet for commuting and casual purposes. Fits very well and decent supporting offers highest comfort among other Targhee's. It's also probably the prettiest of all. Women's Magnet/Periwinkle color and Men's Gargoyle/Midnight Navy color are especially loved by many - including me. The downside is that it's less water resistant (if you care about that).
- Targhee III Waterproof [Men's - Men's Wide - Women's]: A more stable and water resistant upgrade to the Targhee II above. It's still pretty comfortable, although not as much as the Targhee II.
- Targhee II Waterproof MID [Men's - Men's Wide - Women's]: If you're planning to use your Targhee's both casually AND when hiking, this one would be my top recommendation not only among these Targhee's but also probably among most of boots out there. A solid top-notch.
- Targhee III Waterproof MID [Men's -Men's Wide - Women's]: Your best bet if you'll be almost always hiking with your Targhee's. Women's Weiss (Boysenberry) color and Men's Big Ben/Golden Brown color are especially loved by many - including me.
#Note: As you see, MID suffix points out to boots. There was a time when Keen used LOW suffix for shoes, but it seems like they changed their mind about it and now don't use any suffix for them.
#Note 2: It also seems like Keen accidentally skipped adding the "waterproof" expression in the title of men's wide option for Targhee II (shoe) in their site.
Generally speaking, regarding both shoes and boots; Targhee II is more comfortable than the Targhee III, and hence a better pick for casual use. But if you'll be hiking out in the nature, superior stability, traction and water resistance of Targhee III pay off on tougher and more slippery terrain.
Read on if you're looking for longer answers.
The outsole (the base of any shoe in contact with the ground) of Targhee III MID is more flexible than that of the Targhee II MID.
If you're unaware, the "upper leather" statement (a.k.a just "upper") refers to the outer footwear construction excluding the sole.
These modifications in Targhee III provide superior traction, stability and water resistance; but they also cause it to sacrifice some comfort and support in return.
These are the 5 key differences between Targhee II and III in practice.
One isn't better than the other, although some recommendations based on the intended uses can be and are given above in the introduction part.
Here is my chat with the customer service
I'm gathering information for a wide range of possible Targhee II and III buyers (all for possibly different types of purposes), so I'd appreciate if you could share their technical & practical differences with me, as well as their most suitable intended uses. What are the advantages & disadvantages of one over the other?
Thanks for contacting KEEN; hope you had a wonderful holiday and I apologize for the delayed response! The Targhee II and Targhee III are very similar overall. Both shoes are built on the same platform and same footbed. The main points of distinction are the outer appearance, material, and that the II has a slightly wider fit than the III, as well as a stiffer sole.
The Targhee II is our classic hiker. It has a super sturdy sole, wide fit overall, and the widest toe box available. It runs ½ a size small, so you'd want to order up. The Targhee II is a bit stiffer and more supportive, The Targhee III Mid weighs 17.4 oz per shoe
- 4mm multi directional lugs
- Contoured heel lockKEEN
- .Dry waterproof breathable membrane
- Torsion stability ESS shank
- Waterproof nubuck leather upper
- Non-marking rubber outsole
- Dual density compression molded EVA midsole
- Hydrophobic mesh lining
- Removable metatomical dual density EVA footbed
The Targhee III is a revamped version of the Targhee II. Handles most terrains, is more streamlined, less bulky, and has a more flexible sole (more like an athletic shoe). It has a bit less volume in the toe and has a little bit narrower fit than the Targhee II. Runs true to size. The Targhee III Mid weighs 15.4 oz per shoe.
- KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane
- Leather mud shield offers resilient durability
- Speed hooks, for easy lace adjustment
- Injected TPU heel-capture system for stability
- ESS shank offers lightweight support
- Resilient, internal shank
- 4mm multi-directional lugs for traction
- Cleansport NXT™ for natural odor control
- Environmentally-preferred premium leather from LWG-certified tannery
- Waterproof leather and performance mesh upper
- KEEN All-Terrain rubber outsole for higher-traction grip
- Dual-density, compression-molded EVA midsole
- Breathable mesh lining
- Removable, metatomical dual-density EVA footbed
Let us know if you have any questions or concerns in the meantime.
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Français - 1.866.489.4159
I'd recommend the Targhee II Waterproof [Men's - Men's Wide - Women's] for casual use and the Targhee III Waterproof MID [Men's -Men's Wide - Women's] for hiking out in the nature. If you'll be doing both, then I'd recommend Targhee II Waterproof MID [Men's - Men's Wide - Women's].
What about EXP and VENT adaptations?
They're equipped with the same outsole design of the Targhee III. The difference is in their uppers.
- Targhee III: The majority of the upper material is leather with a combination of mesh (synthetic).
- Targhee EXP: The upper material is predominately mesh (synthetic), with leather trim to the collar for added comfort and durability.
- Targhee VENT: The upper material is mesh panels (synthetic), please keep in mind that this style does not have a KEEN.DRY membrane and therefore may have a more generous fit to that of the Targhee III and Targhee EXP
Size and Fit
Do make sure to check out Keen's own sizing and fit chart here.
I hope this review was helpful for you to understand whether the Targhee II or III would be the best choice for your own needs and desires.
Feel free to ask me any questions or provide feedback and I'll be happy to respond in the comment section below if it's within my knowledge.
Lastly, not that it's important but can be something to consider for some of you: In both men's best seller listings and women's best seller listings provided by Keen's own site, Targhee II is placed right behind the Targhee III.
Thank you for reading.