KEEN Targhee High Lace Winter Hiking Boots Review

Keen Targhee High Lace Insulated Boots Review

KEEN’s Targhee High Lace Winter Hiking Boots are full-height (not mids) waterproof/breathable insulated boots rated to -25F/-32C. They are amazingly comfortable for a winter boot, with soft leather uppers that require virtually no break-in period to wear.

Specs at a Glance

  • Temperature Rating: -25F/-32C
  • Footwear Height: Over the Ankle
  • Footwear Closure: Lace-Up
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Breathable Membrane: Yes
  • Weight: 27 oz/pair, men’s size 11
  • Fit: True to size.

I bought these boots last autumn because I needed a new pair of waterproof boots for hiking after it became too cold to wear my trail runners, but was still too warm to wear my full-on -40F winter boots. I quickly fell in love with them because they are so incredibly comfortable to wear and don’t come up as high on my calves as my colder weather insulated winter hiking boots (Oboz Bridger 10″).

The boots have a gaiter clip above the toe and a gusseted tongue to keep water out of the boot.
The boots have a gaiter clip above the toe and a gusseted tongue to keep water out of the boot.

The High Lace Boots are waterproof/breathable boots lined with KEEN’s proprietary Gore-tex knockoff and insulated with KEEN Warm insulation, which is comparable to Thinsulate. The bottom half of the boot is made with leather, which ages nicely with use, while the upper is made with breathable ballistic nylon, which I appreciate because my calves sweat profusely when I hike with boots in cold weather.

The boots have a huge toe-kick that is characteristic of KEEN footwear but is also important when hiking because it protects your toes. Plus the interior of the toe box is extra roomy, something you want in winter when good blood flow to your toes is an essential element of keeping them warm.

The lugs are 4mm deep with an aggressive tread that’s good on snow and slush. The sole is moderately stiff but you’ll still want to use microspikes or a crampon with a flexible center bar if you hike on packed snow or ice with these, instead of a rigid mountaineering crampon.

4 mm lugs provide good traction on trails and pavement
4 mm lugs provide good traction on trails and pavement

The boots come with a front gaiter ring, although there’s barely any arch in the sole. The tongue is gusseted to keep out water and there are two speed-hooks at the top of the laces, although they’re made with plastic and not metal, so they’ll be less durable over the long run.

The High Lace boots come with an insulated footbed, but it provides virtually no arch support, so you’ll probably want to replace it. Superfeet sells a wool-covered insole for winter use, but it’s pretty high volume. Treadlabs also has a Shearling Cover which you can use with their modular insole system if you own them or want to switch.

Comparable 200g Insulated Winter Hiking Boots

Winter boots are usually insulated with 200g or 400g synthetic insulation and are rated for -20F or -40F temperatures, respectively. You should take these temperature ratings with a grain of salt, since they vary widely based on user weight, gender, metabolism, and activity level. Most 200g insulated boots are “mids”, while 400g boots are full-size hiking boots, which may also extend up the calf.

The KEEN Targhee High Lace Boots reviewed here are insulated with 200g synthetic insulation, as are the following men’s and women’s insulated boots.


KEEN’s Targhee High Lace Insulated Hiking Boots (rated for -25F) provide a good balance between comfort, warmth, and winter hiking features. While they’re not as warm as a -40F or -60F winter hiking boot, they’re a great option for those in-between temperatures in early spring or autumn when daytime temperatures run below freezing. They also make a good commuting boot for city and town use when temperatures and conditions resemble those on winter trails. They’re definitely not the most technical/hardcore winter hiking boot in my gear closet, but they can span town and country quite well if you want to own one pair of boots that can do it all.

Disclosure: The author purchased this product.

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Last updated: 2020-10-13 12:18:15

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