a pile of hiking boots in the back of a truck
a pile of hiking boots in the back of a truck

KEEN-parison: Which All-Purpose Hiking Shoes or Boots?

Ridge hikes and canyon expeditions, hikes with the dog or hikes with the kids, quick after-work trail meet-up or weekend backpacking trip — when it comes to hiking, there’s no shortage of possibilities.

That’s why we make a tried-and-true hiking shoe or boot for every hiker out there. So whether you just downloaded your first hiking app or you’ve been hitting the trail since the days of actual guidebooks, check out our three favorite all-purpose, all-terrain, all-awesome hikers to find the right pair for your next adventure.

It All Started with the Targhee

Back in 2005, we created our very first hiking boot. We wanted to make a reliable and rugged boot with the iconic toe protection of our fan-favorite Newport sandal, but with the features and fit of a trusty trail shoe. After what felt like a thousand prototypes, the Targhee boot was ready to get out there and explore. Years later, it’s still our #1 hiking shoe thanks to its plenty-of-room-in-the toe-box fit, durable design, and classic good looks.

Is it any wonder that we use a little Targhee DNA in many of our other go-to hiking shoes? Our ultra-flexible Ridge Flex shoes and boots and our newest Circadia boots and shoes both feature the comfortable fit, supportive heel-capture system, and grippy traction of the hiking boot that started it all.

Find Your Hike

Not sure which all-purpose hiking shoe is right for your style of hiking? Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:

ALL-PURPOSE HIKERS Wet or muddy hikes Backpacking Hot hikes Everyday wear
Targhee X X X
Circadia X X X
Ridge Flex X X

Targhee: Exploring the Grand Canyon or hiking a birthday milestone, the men’s and women’s Targhee is our go-everywhere, do-everything hiking shoe. The environmentally preferred leather and mesh upper has a classic hiker look (which will match your old-school outdoor fleece perfectly) and helps protect feet against bumps and scratches. While climbing over rocks or crouching under overgrown branches, the locked-in heel fit and easy-to-tighten laces keep feet supported. Rain in the forecast? No worries. The KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane and PFAS-free water repellency (no forever chemicals here!) make sure things stay nice and dry from trailhead to post-hike high-fives. For hot, humid days on the trail, give our Targhee Vent shoe a try. Mesh panels along the upper feel like air-conditioning for your feet!

Great for: off-the-grid day hikes and overnights

A person in a hiking boot stepping on a truck tire

Circadia: Prefer an everyday hiking boot or shoe that can still handle the ups and downs, creek crossings, and switchbacks of your favorite trail? Then load up your day pack, lace up in the Circadia hiking shoes, and get going! Great for folks who are just discovering their love of hiking or those who’ve been looking for a comfortable, easy-wearing pair right out of the box, our women’s and men’s Circadia shoes or boots are ready for adventure from day one. Each pair has a KEEN LuftCore lightweight, foam core midsole that absorbs shock so feet feel good, mile after mile. Loose dirt? Rocky section? We got you. The grippy KEEN.FUSION rubber outsole helps keep feet right where you want them no matter the terrain. Oh, and did we mention it’s waterproof too? Yup, the KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane and PFAS-free water repellency work together to keep water out so you never have to experience slosh-foot ever again. Hot weather in the forecast? Check out our Circadia Vent shoes for those warm hikes where a little extra airflow is a must.

Great for: local day hikes and out-and-backs

A person in hiking shoes

Ridge Flex: When your feet can flex, you can go farther, happier. If you tend to search for long or challenging hikes, our men’s and women’s Ridge Flex boot or shoe is the ticket. KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX in the forefoot adds extra flexibility, making that climb to the viewpoint or talus crossing feel that much easier. (Three times easier, in fact — we did the math.) Heavy-duty 5mm multidirectional lugs and a KEEN.ALL-TERRAIN rubber outsole give you plenty of confidence on the trail. Muddy sections or missteps while rock-hopping across a river are no problem since each pair comes standard with a waterproof, environmentally preferred leather upper — KEEN.DRY waterproof, breathable membrane on the inside, and PFAS-free water repellency on the outside.

Great for: multiday backpacking, thru hikes, and adventure hiking like orienteering

A person hiking with the boot bending
Ridge Flex

Ready to take in the views and log some trail miles? No matter which pair of all-purpose hiking shoes or boots you choose, you’re bound to end the day with happy feet and a smile on your face.

3 hiking friends carrying a friend for fun

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