Between the fresh mountain air and breathtaking landscapes, there’s nothing quite like spending a day hiking in nature. But unfortunately, wearing the wrong shoes can turn your awesome adventure into a painful, blister-filled experience that could potentially ruin your entire trip. So, if you want to enjoy your time outdoors, then you’ll want to invest in a pair of the best hiking boots for women.
In this guide, we’ll walk through all the different features to look for in a comfortable hiking boot. We’ll also share with you our five favorite pairs that we’ve discovered over the years to help you make an informed decision about your next purchase.
why trust this guide?
Hiking is one of our biggest passions. From long-distance treks through Iceland to strenuous adventures in the Australian Outback, we’ve pretty much traversed all the different types of terrain that exist on this planet. This is why we can say that a durable (and comfortable) pair of hiking boots is one of the most important things you can invest in.
However, it’s not always easy to find the best hiking boots for women. We’ve gotten blisters, slipped off rocks, and rolled our ankles one too many times over the course of our lifetime. Thankfully, we’ve learned what to look for in a hiking boot – which is exactly what we want to share with you today!
What are Hiking Boots?
Hiking boots are sturdy shoes designed specifically for the outdoors. Compared to traditional sneakers or shoes, they’re sturdier, longer-lasting, and more protective – perfect for a trip up the mountains or through the desert! The best hiking boots for women are comfortable, keep your feet dry and warm and provide enough grip for the underground you’re hiking.
Why You Need Hiking Boots
Normal shoes and running sneakers aren’t made for strenuous hikes. If you’re planning to spend any time trekking up mountains, crossing streams, or climbing over rocky terrain, then you’ll need boots that are made specifically for hiking.
Different Kinds of Hiking Boots
When looking for the best hiking shoes for women, you might come across many different styles, from lightweight day shoes to heavyweight mountaineering boots. It’s important to look at the category to see exactly what your hiking boot is specifically made for.
Hiking boots are best for light terrain or city trips. They sit lower on your foot (like a sneaker) and give you more freedom of movement. And while they’re not very heavy, they generally aren’t the most supportive.
Boots have higher shafts that sit over your ankle, although they’re still quite flexible and lightweight.
Boots also have high shafts, but they may have sturdier soles and offer more in terms of support.
If you’re looking for a durable mountaineering boot, then Category C is your best option. These shoes have stiff soles (which are crampon-friendly) and can be used for alpine trails or even scrambling.
These shoes are the sturdiest hiking boots you can get. They are made with sturdy upper soles and insulating materials that can withstand glacial temperatures and rough terrain. If you’re trekking on ice or alpine trails, these are the best hiking shoes for women.
How to find the best Hiking Boots for women?
There are many different factors to consider when choosing the best hiking boots for women. Here are a few recommendations of what to look for when picking out your next pair.
There are many different materials used to make hiking boots, although the most common are usually leather or synthetic materials.
Because you never know what Mother Nature has in store for you, it’s best to look for hiking boots that are waterproof. These boots feature waterproof membranes (like Gore-Tex) to keep water from soaking through to your sock. The trade-off is that waterproof boots tend to be less breathable, although that’s generally a small price to pay to keep you nice and dry. You can also look for full-grain leather boots, which may be water-resistant (not waterproof) but are more breathable than Gore-Tex boots.
Breathability is another key factor when looking for the best hiking boots for women, especially if you’re trekking in warmer countries. Leather is a great option in terms of breathability, although it’s not as waterproof as other materials.
Finding the right weight for your hiking boots can be a challenge. Lighter shoes are generally more comfortable, although they provide less stability and can make traversing rough and rocky terrain quite difficult. Sturdier boots will be heavier (generally because of the thick sole), but they’re the better option if you’re looking for more support on the mountain.
Trust us – there’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable pair of hiking shoes. Blisters, twisted ankles, and even ingrown toenails are real problems that many hikers face if they’re wearing an uncomfortable boot. When choosing the best hiking boots for women, you should make sure you don’t feel any pinching or rough seams inside, as this could cause discomfort. Insoles and well-made hiking socks can also help make your hike more comfortable.
Sole + Grip
Traction is another important factor when picking out hiking boots. If you’re planning on slogging through ice or sliding down rocks, then a grippy sole is a must. However, not all soles are made for all types of terrain conditions. For example, soles with deeper lugs are better suited for loose gravel, while soles with spaced-apart lugs are better for muddy areas. Think about where you’ll be hiking the most and choose the best pair based on those conditions.
Read More: The ultimate buying guide for women hiking pants
Top 5 best Hiking Boots for women
If you need some help choosing the best hiking boots for women, we’ve got your back. Here are our top picks for the best hiking boots and shoes on the market today.
Keen Women’s Targhee III Waterproof Hiking Boots | Most Comfortable Hiking Boot
Pros: Waterproof | Breathable oiled nubuck leather upper | Toe and mud guards | Comfortable
Cons: Wide fit, so not ideal for narrow feet
Get it here: Amazon
Made with oiled nubuck leather and performance mesh upper materials, this resilient hiking boot is just as durable as it is comfortable. The key is the KEEN.DRY waterproof membrane, which keeps water out while allowing heat and vapors from inside to escape.
The shaft isn’t too high, which makes this boot feel more like a sneaker than a hiking boot. However, it still provides adequate support for day hikes or trips with easy to moderate terrain. The spacious interior is great for those with wide feet, although it can maybe feel too roomy if your feet are more narrow.
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots | Best All Around Hiking Boot
Pros: Waterproof Gore-Tex membrane, high shaft with ankle support, good traction soles
Cons: Footbed thin and not very shock absorbant, high price point
Get it here: Amazon
For the amount of support you get with the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot, it’s surprisingly light and comfortable. Not only is it constructed with nubuck leather and a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, but it also has nylon ankle bands for flexibility and a padded tongue for extra comfort. Slip it on and you’ll see why it’s the official boot sponsor of the American Hiking Guides Association!
However, polyurethane midsoles are quite thin and not as supportive as we would like. For better shock absorption, you can add in your own insoles for more arch support and padding.
Read More: Best women’s daypacks for the greatest outdoor adventures
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus | Best Affordable Hiking Boots
Pros: Affordable, waterproof, breathable suede upper material
Cons: Not great for ice or cold climates
Get it here: Amazon
If you’re looking for a durable hiking boot that won’t break the bank, then look no further than the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus. Although it’s not made with 100% leather, it does feature a suede leather upper and a waterproof waxed canvas that’s both breathable and lightweight.
The boot has a mid-level shaft which is great for easy to moderate hikes. The sole is also quite thick and durable, which is great for all types of terrain, although they probably won’t stack up against ice or glacial climates.
Salomon Women’s Outbound GTX W Hiking | Best Hiking Boot for Casual Hikers
Pros: Comfortable, Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, affordable
Cons: Not for strenuous hikes
Get it here: Amazon
This city-to-trail shoe is the best option for short day trips or easy hikes. It’s just as comfortable as your favorite sneaker with the added benefit of a thick, grippy sole and a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane. And it weighs just over ½ a kilo (1 lb 1.6 oz) so it’s incredibly lightweight and comfortable to wear.
It’s worth noting that these shoes aren’t great for mountainous or rugged trips. There is little ankle support and not enough traction to deal with strenuous hikes. But for the casual hiker, you can’t beat the style, quality, or price.
Merrell Women’s Altalight Mid Waterproof Hiking Shoe | Best All Weather Hiking Boot
Pros: Waterproof, sturdy ankle support, 100% breathable leather
Cons: Not the most durable sole
Get it here: Amazon
Support and comfort are the two main reasons why the Merrell Women’s Altalight Mid Waterproof Hiking Shoe is one of the best hiking boots for women. It’s made with 100% leather upper materials and an impermeable M Select DRY BARRIER waterproof membrane, which is both breathable and lightweight. The high shaft also adds ankle support without being too rigid or stiff.
Some hikers have complained that the sole isn’t as durable as other hiking boots. While we haven’t seen this ourselves, it’s something to keep in mind if you’re looking to invest in a pair of hiking boots for the long run.
Thanks for reading our guide on choosing women’s hiking boots. If you have battle tested a pair that you want to share with us, let us know in the comments below!