Just ordered a pair of these in Deep Lichen/Jester Red. I was able to try them on at a local retailer before buying them for about $34 less here!
Anyway, in the store I was able to compare these with the Keen Voyageurs, the Merrell Chameleon Hexes, and the Merrell Moab Ventilators. These won out. They were just quite simply THE most comfortable out of the four. (I also tried other shoes, as well as some mid boot versions of a couple of Merrells, but none had the comfort of the soles in these babies) In terms of comfort, the Merrells weren't bad at all, but they had a sort of forwards sloping sole that meant the least amount of padding was at the toes. I found this to be true in both the standard shoe and mid-boot versions. This is good in putting the wearer in a ready-to-run position (angling them forwards), but I was looking for a more comfortable long-distance hiking shoe, and good as the Merrells were, they weren't the ones for me.
The Keen Voyageurs were nice- really nice. Snug fit (not too-tight, but I could tell my foot wasn't going to be moving around in them) thick, padded soles with same/similar levels of padding around the toe area. They were almost what I went with... just one thing I noticed - around 1/4 way up from the heel, there was a slight bump I could feel going all the way across the shoe from left to right. I think it's meant to be a part of the arch support system, but instead of simply running along the arch it actually runs across the width of the foot! And it wasn't necessarily uncomfortable - but it felt like a protrusion. And I didn't want to find out 65 miles of hiking later that I shouldn't have gotten the shoes with the bump 1/4 way up from the back!
It was then that I tried on the Targhee II Mid Hikers. Man! Felt amazing. Simply beautiful. Much more normal feeling sole (no protrusions), but thick and very comfortable - almost like walking around in Tempurpedic slippers. So the soles didn't have that little bump in them like the Voyageurs - they were flatter, and even if they had had the bump, the cushioning on the inner soles felt more comfortable.
Also, they seemed to hug my ankles really well, yet with comfort matching that of the soles. They have eyelets that lock the laces in place before tying them in the final bow. So I found, due to the design, that I had to actually cross the laces across the tongue first, and then lock them in the eyelets before the final tie. It seemed to be a good design for preventing the laces from slowly coming undone over time. Even though it may take an extra second or two lacing up, with the snug fit and the comfort I felt in them the extra lacing time was an easily acceptable tradeoff. I could have said that I found my shoes in the store right there and then, but the store only had them in Walnut (which looks just like brown leather to me) and I really wanted them in Deep Lichen. Plus, Backcountry was selling them for around $90, and the place I was trying them on at was selling them for around $128, so I went home, went online, checked other websites against any possible better price, meanwhile talked to a sales ref through the chat feature to double check on getting the 1/2 size up which was confirmed, and Yes! I bought these freakin' awesome shoes!