KEEN Targhee II Mid
Honesty time: I didn't even own a pair of hiking boots when I moved to Colorado.
I'll say that again, in case you didn't catch it the first time: I didn't even own a pair of hiking boots when I moved to Colorado.
Yeah, I know. I had an old pair of tennis shoes (pink, even, which might be harder to believe) that I wore on all of my hikes in Virginia. And my first hike in Colorado. And just generally way longer than I should have been wearing them. I don't even like pink!
That was a little ridiculous, and so I spent hours pouring over reviews and research trying to decide what pair of boots I was going to end up getting. One thing was for sure, Keen kept showing up everywhere that I looked. I ended up going with the Targhee II Mids - I loved that they came in lots of different colors and were reasonably priced. I did get a 1/2 size bigger than I usually do, and they fit perfectly.
I didn't even try to break these suckers in gently. The first hike I went on with them was Mt. Bierstadt - a grueling 7 miles to the top of my first Fourteener. To be honest, I didn't even think about it. Didn't even consider the fact that I had never worn these boots before. It didn't cross my mind until after the hike when I thought to myself "uh...maybe I shouldn't have done that."
They were so comfortable!
They carried me to the top of a mountain and were easy to slip on and off so I could keep changing from my shorts into pants. They gave me the traction I had desperately missed while wearing those tennis shoes and ankle support I knew I needed. Plus, they look so damn good that I feel more confident when I put them on. (No joke, I have gotten compliments on my boots while hiking in RMNP before).
They're waterproof, but I don't go dunking them in creeks I have to cross; it's enough to keep your feet dry and comfortable but I wouldn't max out their limits. They handle everything fantastically - I've hiked through mud and snow and sand and rain and 108 degree summer days - all with out a single problem. In the snow I usually add YakTrax but that's for my own personal benefit, not because the Keen's can't handle it.
TL,DR: I love these boots, they are comfortable, versatile, and come in great colors. When these wear out (though its been a YEAR AND A HALF and they don't show any wear other than the dirt from my last adventure), I won't look anywhere other than Keen for my next pair.