“Embrace the detours.” – Kevin Charbonneau
Whether ambling through an autumn parking lot with a tray full of pumpkin lattes, or taking the route less traveled along the local fire trail, life is full of detours. These aren’t necessarily moments that require highly technical or specialized footwear. Instead they are life’s smaller adventures, slight detours along the way.
The Chaco Balmer for men is designed to embrace the detours of life. Comfortable enough for the daily grind around town, but ready to carry you comfortably over gravel trails for weekends at the family cabin, the Balmer is ready to help you enjoy the journey, wherever it may lead you.Read More
On December 21, 2012 the 5,125 year old Mayan calendar will suddenly come to an end. While many believe the end of this calendar signifies the end time, scholars have gone out of their way to assure us that the end of the Mayan calendar does not signify the end of the world. Instead, they insist it is merely a misrepresentation of the ancient Mayan civilization.
The possibility that the world will end in December 2012 is indeed remote (we are keeping our fingers crossed just in case). However, should that day come, it will be nice to know that if you’re wearing your Ambler Mesh shoes from KEEN to work, any fallen trees or boulders that come crashing into the office will be no match for these nimble low cut hikers.Read More
Our Gumption Gal admits she identifies hiking shoes as being clunky, unbreathable and lacking in grace. In fact, back in the nether regions of her closet, alongside the assortment of other unused equipment lies such a pair of hiking shoes - she has worn them maybe twice in the last ten years.
It’s not that she doesn’t hit the trails. She just prefers to do so in trail running shoes, whether she’s running, hiking or just meandering. Then, with the arrival of Spring, came the fashionable yet utilitarian Vade hiking shoes from Chaco.Read More
Flare [flair] verb, flared, flar·ing, noun: to start up or burst out in sudden, fierce activity, passion, etc.
As winter begins to loosen its grip on the nation and dirt and rock-laden trails begin to reemerge from their snow-covered slumber, it’s time for the outdoor adventurer to start planning the first outdoor excursions of the year.
For that moment you prepare to burst out onto the trail, you’re going to need a solid shoe to take you off the beaten path and back. The Flare from Wolverine might just be that shoe.Read More
As shoes become more advanced and jam packed with technological innovations, more companies claim their products can conquer all things – from city sidewalks to mountain highs. Yet the reality is that not all “multi-sport” shoes are designed for the expanse of life that carries us from urban realities to more remote retreats. As such, there are certain expectations I have for my multi-sport shoes:
1. They cannot suffocate my feet on the drive to the trailhead;
2. They must be nimble enough to carry me swiftly and securely from from stumps to boulders;
3. And yes, I would like for them to look as good at the mountain tavern as they do on the trail.
Enter the Vasque Juxt – the multisport shoe where versatility is the name of the game.Read More
You have an epic new day hike planned, but it requires a lengthy approach over a labyrinth of demanding landscape. If that’s the case, you may want to lace up the lightweight KEEN Tryon Shoe and scramble your way to the mountain top.
These fast and furious adventure shoes are loaded with features that will give you a much needed assist in tearing up the trail.Read More
Marcel Proust once said, “The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
When living your own voyage of discovery, whether it be courtesy of a fast and light day hike or a simple stroll through your local national park, the Keen Targhee II will lend a helping hand in granting you access to those new landscapes.
Webbing pull loops at heel and tongue allow easy entry and exit; while padded, gusseted tongues keep out debris and moisture while relieving lace pressure. KEEN also does a quality job of incorporating reflective trim on the Secure-Fit Lace Capture System – always a worthy safety feature no matter where your journey takes you.
Aggressive 4mm multidirectional lugs along with KEEN’s legendary toe protection ensure that this hiker looks as though it was forged in the heart of the wilderness. The gnarly lugs clutch whatever Mother Nature throws your way and pushes you deeper into the forest. The ESS shank provides torsional stability keeping you upright on uneven and muddy terrains as well as sketchy scrambles.
Despite all these great features, it’s the interior of the Targhee II that truly impresses.
A removable metatomical footbed quickly molds to your foot’s shape for personalized comfort while supporting your arches, preventing those midday aches and pains.
The shoes also feature KEEN’s S3 Heel support. The S3 (shock, suspension, stability) system is engineered to support the foot on impact, dissipate shock reducing the odds of wrecking your ankle when you miss that gnarly root playing sniper on the trail.
In early field tests our Gumption crew member was suffering from a deep heel bruise — OUCH! Yet the compression-molded EVA midsoles coupled with KEEN’s S3 Heel support offered maximum padding and shock-absorption without feeling soft and spongy. The result was an ability to rack up major mileage points in spite of the painful heel.
Room For Improvement…
The aggressive multidirectional lugs are a nice touch but have more of a ‘grip’ than ‘stick’ factor. For the $120 price tag, we would like to see KEEN go with a Vibram outsole that provides a little more confidence when your feet are dashing across slick mushy moss or hugging glassy granite.
The other matter pertains to sizing. KEEN’s own website points out that the Targhee II runs approximately ½ size small. Not a problem if you traditional fit is in the 7 to 11 range, however, if your foot is more Sasquatch in nature (size 12 or above) you’ll be forced to go a full size larger which could leave your toes swimming in a sea of toe-box. The other option is to stick with your natural size leaving you with a tight fit in the toes resulting in toe tight travels and uncomfortable downhill blitzes. As such we’d love to see KEEN either make the shoe a more precise fit or introduce half sizes beyond 11.5.
Flexible and comfortable like a shoe but with a durable, burly tread that devour trails like a boot, the KEEN Targhee II is a gumption ready trekker that will carry you gracefully across scores of trails and terrain.