There’s nothing worse than setting off for a day hiking and halfway in you get blisters or aching feet that ruin the rest of your time on the trails. If you’ve been in a miserable situation similar to this, then you know exactly what I mean.
With today’s incredible technology, there are hiking boots that boasts of new developments which increase your comfort whilst still retaining functionality and style. However, the task is being able to choose the right pair of hiking boots for you out of the many models that are available.
To help you in this crucial decision (because healthy feet are happy feet), we’ve put together a list of the 10 best women’s hiking boots as well as factors to consider and how to choose a boot that’s right for you.
- 1 Our Picks for Top 10 Women’s Hiking Boots (2021)
- 2 Best Women’s Hiking Boots: Comparison Table
- 3 What You Need to Know About Hiking Boots
- 4 4 Factors to Consider When Choosing Hiking Boots
- 5 Best Women’s Hiking Boots to Buy in 2021
- 5.1 Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
- 5.2 KEEN Koven Mid
- 5.3 Ahnu Montara
- 5.4 KEEN Targhee II Mid Waterproof
- 5.5 Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX
- 5.6 Salomon Quest 4D II GTX
- 5.7 Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R2 Mid GTX
- 5.8 Oboz Bridger B-DRY
- 5.9 Merrell Moab 2 Mid
- 5.10 Salewa Alp Trainer Mid GTX
- 5.11 Getting ready for an outdoor adventure? Check out these guides
Our Picks for Top 10 Women’s Hiking Boots (2021)
- Lowa Renegade GTX – Excellent durability
- KEEN Koven – Best for comfort
- Ahnu Montara – Similar to a hiking shoe
- KEEN Targhee II – Breathable yet waterproof
- Vasque Breeze 2.0 – Maximum support
- Salomon Quest 4D II – Good for rough terrain
- Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R2 – Best-looking boot
- Oboz Bridger – Extra comfortable
- Merell Moab 2 – Most classic boot
- Salewa Alp Trainer – Best for lightweight travel
Best Women’s Hiking Boots: Comparison Table
|Lowa Renegade GTX||$$$||2.19 lbs||Mid||Durability|
|KEEN Koven||$||2 lbs||Mid||Comfort|
|Ahnu Montara||$$||1.81 lbs||Low||Comfort|
|KEEN Targhee II||$$||1.75 lbs||Mid||Lightweight|
|Vasque Breeze 2.0||$$||2.6 lbs||Mid||Support|
|Salomon Quest 4D II||$$$||2.4 lbs||Mid / High||Comfort|
|Adidas Outdoor Terrex Swift R2||$$||1.59 lbs||Mid||Lightweight|
|Oboz Bridger||$$$||2 lbs||Low||Stability|
|Merell Moab 2||$$||2.4 lbs||Mid||Dependability|
|Salewa Alp Trainer||$$||1.2 lbs||Mid||Lightweight|
What You Need to Know About Hiking Boots
While seemingly simple, there’s a lot that goes into crafting the perfect pair of hiking boots. There are many components that add to the comfort, durability, and practicality of hiking boots that set them apart from just regular walking shoes or sneakers.
While not every boot will have all of these components, it’s good to know the different key components of a good hiking boot so that you can make an informed purchase decision.
There are four main components of a hiking boot: uppers, midsoles, lowers and outsoles, as well as other parts of the boot that can contribute to their functionality.
On a hiking boot, the upper is the outside material above the rubber sole that keeps your foot protected during activity. It can be made from a ton of different materials, all varying in functionality and durability.
What kind of material your uppers are made of greatly impacts how heavy (or light) your boot is, how long it will last, the effect of water, and the airflow to your foot.
Popular materials include:
Full-grain Leather: Most backpacking boot uppers are made from this material as it’s highly durable, resistant to abrasions, and extremely water resistant.
It holds up well on rugged terrain but the downside is it’s not very breathable or lightweight, and will take a while to break in. So if your boots are made from this material, make sure you have ample time to wear them before your big trip.
Split-grain Leather: Hiking boots made from split-grain leather feature a combination of leather and nylon (or nylon mesh) which creates a more lightweight and breathable boot.
The downside of deviating from full-grain leather is that they tend to be less water and abrasion-resistant. However, they’ll cost less and keep your feet cooler on the trail.
If you’re interested in split-grain leather boots, I recommend looking for a pair that come with a waterproof liner to maximize water resistance.
Nubuck Leather: If you’re ever seen hiking boots that look like they’re made from suede, there’s a high chance they’re actually made from leather that’s been buffed until it resembles a different material.
Hiking boots made from nubuck leather are highly durable and resist water, as well as being flexible. However, like most leather boots, they will take a while to break in.
Synthetic Materials: Besides leather, hiking boots can also be made of synthetic materials like nylon and polyester, creating a comfortable, breathable and lighter boot.
Hiking boots made from synthetic materials tend to be less expensive but may not be as durable as boots made from leather.
The main purpose of the midsole is to provide cushioning for the feet and absorb shock from each step.
The midsole also greatly determines how stiff a boot is. While loose shoes may be ideal for flip flops or sandals, a stiff hiking boot is a good thing. When a hiking boot is stiff rather than malleable, it provides stability and comfort for your foot on the most uneven terrain.
Midsoles are made out of either ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) or polyurethane. Boots with an EVA midsole will generally cost less, provide extra cushion and weigh less than the alternative.
On the other hand, a midsole made from polyurethane will provide a firmer fit and last longer.
The lowers on a hiking boot are what contribute to your foot’s internal support. They’re made up of two components: shanks and plates.
Shanks: Shanks are inserts that go between the midsole and the outsole. They’re typically 3 to 5mm thick and add to the stiffness of the midsole. If you’d like maximum support, look for a pair of boots that have shanks stretching the entire length of the midsole, rather than just half.
Plates: Plates are also found between the midsole and the outsole, but are located below the shank. Plates aren’t found in all hiking boots, but the ones that do have even more support and protect your feet from being bruised by rugged terrain.
The outsole can be found on the bottom of the boot and is made from rubber. A good rule of thumb is the harder the outsole, the more durable the boot is.
There are two main components of outsoles: the lug pattern and the heel brake.
Lug Pattern: If you’ve ever wondered what all the bumps and grooves are on the bottom of a hiking boot, you’re probably looking at the lug pattern. The lug pattern is made up of rubber bumps that create traction so that you’re not slipping all over the place while hiking up a mountain. The deeper and thicker the lugs are, the better your grip on the ground will be.
Heel Brake: The heel brake is the section on the back of the sole directly under your heel. It also features lugs, but these bumps are made especially so that you don’t slip while going downhill.
Crampon Compatibility: If you plan on hiking in winter months in a colder location, it’s best to pick a pair of boots that allow you to easily attach crampons. Crampons are a winter hiking essential that keep you from taking a tumble on icy terrain.
Toe Cap: A last component to consider when choosing between different hiking boots is the toe cap. A rubber toe cap offers maximum protection for your feet and ensures that you’ll be well covered if you kick or bump your toes on a hard surface.
The toe cap is often reinforced on the inside of the boot to add extra protection.
4 Factors to Consider When Choosing Hiking Boots
Now that you’re familiar with the anatomy of a hiking boot and materials they’re made from, it’s time to examine the other factors that go into choosing the right pair of boots for you.
There are three different types of boot cuts: low, mid and high. Each cut is suitable for different activities so carefully consider what you’ll be doing before choosing a cut.
Low Cut: Low cut boots tend to be lightweight and flexible, resembling more of a sneaker than a standard hiking boot. They’re easy to break in, provide more stability than sneakers, and are convenient for travel. However, that being said, low cut boots provide little ankle support and leave more of your feet open to debris and other trail nasties.
Mid Cut: Mid cut boots offer ankle support by wrapping around and holding them in place. They also protect more of your feet from debris, and provide good foot support as well. If you plan on taking longer hikes or trekking through more rough terrain, mid cut boots are a good way to go.
High cut boots: High cut boots are made for the pros. If you plan on doing some serious treks or carry a heavy pack on the trail with you, go for a pair of these sturdy friends. High cut boots offer maximum ankle support and help with balance on uneven terrain. However, these are the most important boots to break in, otherwise you’re going to end up with some gnarly blisters .
Boots that keep your feet dry in muddy or wet areas are ideal for those looking for a pair of boots, as conditions can be unpredictable, especially if you aren’t familiar with the area. Luckily, most hiking boots are water-resistant.
However, there are varying degrees of resistance and materials that enhance this quality.
If you’re looking for top-of-the-line water resistance, look for a pair of boots that have GORE-TEX (GTX) which will insulate the boot, keeping your foot dry. The thing about GORE-TEX lining is that it will keep your foot nice and warm, which may not be ideal for summer months or if you tend to get sweaty feet.
An alternative to GORE-TEX is a boot that has undergone some sort of chemical waterproof treatment to wick water away instead of absorbing it. If this isn’t apparent, you can also purchase waterproofing spray which has the same effect.
Lastly, look for boots that have rands, which is the wide rubber piece that wraps around the boot between the upper and midsole. This keeps water from seeping in the sides.
If you do a fair amount of trekking, the weight of a hiking boot should heavily influence your decision. You’d be shocked at how heavy boots can get so be sure to check the weight before purchasing.
Lightweight boots tend to stay under three pounds per pair and they are typically a low or mid-cut height. These boots tend to be made of a softer material like synthetics and nylon. Lightweight boots don’t offer as much support as more heavy-duty ones, but they’re suitable for day hikes and treks on moderate terrain, not to mention ideal for travel.
Midweight boots are between two to four pounds per pair and are able to withstand more than lightweight boots. They’re typically made from sturdier material and are able to help balance a heavier pack load. Midweight boots also tend to offer more ankle stability than lightweight models, making them more suited for rugged terrain.
Heavyweight boots tend to be made of full leather, and are best for serious backpacking and mountaineering. Invest in a pair of these boots if you’ll be carrying a heavy load and traveling greater distances. You’ll need to seriously break in these boots so they’re comfortable when you hit the trail.
We didn’t review any heavyweight boots in this article because they’re not very practical for travel and typical hiking activities.
The fit of a hiking boot is probably the most important factor when making a purchase, and there are several considerations to keep in mind.
Length: Be sure that whichever boots you pick have enough room for you to wiggle your toes around without any trouble.
Width: It’s important for your boots to be snug-fitting around your feet without squeezing them on the sides.
Wear thick socks: If you’re trying boots on in person, or when you receive your order in the mail, be sure to try them on with the socks you’ll wear while hiking. Your socks may change the way the boots fit, making for an unpleasant surprise when the time comes to wear them for the first time.
Try at the end of the day: Did you know that your feet swell during the day from all the activity you’ve been up to? Try on your boots at the end of the day to make sure they’ll fit comfortably even with lots of activity.
Break them in: It is absolutely essential you break in your boots before wearing them on the trail. Make sure they’re nice and comfortable and don’t rub you the wrong way before setting out on an adventure. Breaking them in also helps the boots mold to your feet, giving you a fit that’s just right for you. Wear them to the grocery store, while cleaning the house, or taking the dog for a walk. You’ll thank yourself later.
Best Women’s Hiking Boots to Buy in 2021
Now that you know all the components that make up hiking boots and factors to consider when choosing a pair, you’re ready to make an informed decision about which pair is right for you and your adventures.
Here are our picks for 10 of the best lightweight and midweight women’s hiking boots.
Weight: 2 lbs. 19 oz
Pros: Midweight | Water-resistant | Fit | Supportive | Comfortable | Durable
Cons: Pricey | No arch support
Kicking off our list is the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid hiking boot, which is a top choice for heavy trails and cold weather. It also scores major points for durability!
A real tough hiking boot that can survive the roughest of trails, this model will take you back to the days when you could buy a solid pair of leather boots and have them last you a lifetime.
Lined with GORE-TEX with a waterproof coating, these boots are perfectly designed to ensure maximum comfort. They’re also perfect for all weather conditions. So, whether you want to be dry and warm or comfortable and breathable, on short trails or week-long hikes, these boots won’t let you down.
Our Favorite Features: This boot has it all! With all the features that you would want from a traditional hiking boot, namely stability, comfort and durability, these hiking boots are also perfect for the style-conscious hikers as they come with 11 different color options.
Weight: 2 lbs
Pros: Lightweight | Water-resistant | Breathable | Durable | Comfortable
Cons: The fit is on the small side
If you’re looking for a comfortable hiking boot, the KEEN Koven will keep your feet feeling good, dry and happy.
With a leather and breathable mesh making up the upper part, and an underfoot stability shank and EVA midsole making up the body, it’s no wonder that these boots cradle your feet during every step you take.
Additional features, such as the durable PU outsole that has multi-directional rugged lugs, also make for excellent traction on rough trails and rocky terrain.
If you’re looking for women’s hiking boots that are durable, nimble and suitable for all-season use, you’ve hit the jackpot with KEEN’s Koven model.
Our Favorite Features: We love all the supportive features of these boots, as they create comfort and stability.
Weight: 1 lb. 81 oz
Pros: Lightweight | Water-resistant | Comfortable | Durable | Stylish
Cons: Potentially not as supportive as other hiking boots
The Ahnu Montara hiking boots are a favorite among female travelers, as they’re one of the most comfortable out of all women’s hiking boots.
Apart from its high comfort level, this model is also popular because it offers the benefits of a hiking shoe as well as the protection and stability of a hiking boot.
If you are undecided about whether to go for a shoe or a boot, the Ahnu Montara is your solution.
Oh, and did we mention that these boots are all-leather? Yep, not only are they sturdy and super easy to clean, they are stylish too. As they are lightweight, this particular hiking boot is ideal for traveling.
Our Favorite Features: These boots are designed to give the ultimate comfortable fit. With features such as the Vibram rubber soles, flexible dual density EVA midsoles and Numentum technology to create stability and support in every step, you’ll be walking on clouds in these boots even on the longest of hikes.
Weight: 1 lb. 75 oz
Pros: Lightweight | Water-resistant | Supportive | Comfortable | Affordable
Cons: Not accommodating for the wider foot
As we mentioned before, aching feet are the absolute worst when you’re on a long hike, so what is the solution? Well, when you’re walking for miles on end, there’s not going to be magical footwear that completely prevents aching — but KEEN does a pretty damn good job.
The Targhee II Mid Waterproof model provides you with protection, durability, and comfort on all day trails and at a completely affordable price. Awesome, right?
What’s even better, is that these boots are completely breathable, water-resistant, and lightweight, making them perfect for backpacking and traveling while still being suitable for any hiking trail that will come your way.
It’s no wonder that KEEN Targhee II has been named the “four-wheel drive for your feet!”
Our Favorite Features: It has to be the characteristic KEEN large toe cap. This feature is what makes these boots suitable for any trail.
Weight: 2 lbs. 60 oz
Pros: Midweight | Water-resistant | Stability | Comfort | Fit | Agile
Cons: Potential discomfort as some feel that the cuff feels too high sometimes
The Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX was designed to be the most agile boot out there, so you hikers who need to feel secure and sure-footed on a trail, look no further.
In order to claim this fame, these hiking boots boast the Vasque Vibram Contact Sole that creates incredible sticky traction and exceptional support whatever the conditions are.
If this isn’t cool enough, they also sport nubuck leather uppers and molded rubber toe bumpers, which bring about an impressive durability. If you’re looking for an athletic women’s hiking boot that performs, you can be sure that the Vasque Breeze 2.0 won’t let you down.
Our Favorite Features: You can choose to purchase a waterproof membrane with this model, depending on your preference. This is a great option to have!
Category: Light to Midweight
Weight: 2 lbs. 40 oz
Pros: Midweight | Water-resistant | Support | Stability | Comfortable
Cons: Potentially overkill for a casual hiker
A great all-around performance hiking boot, the Salomon Quest 4D II GTX is especially ideal for backpacking and fastpacking in rough terrain or sketchy conditions.
Boasting the latest design in women’s hiking boots, the Quest 4D offers function and comfort, as well as stability and support, all at a high level.
Although it is technically more towards the midweight category, these boots are often compared to running shoes due to their fit, agility, and ability to provide comfort over longer distances.
Our Favorite Features: The reason these boots are so nimble and comfortable is down to two features: the slightly raised inner heel and the lacing system.
Although it might take a few minutes to get accustomed to the slight heel, your feet will still feel incredibly comfortable hours into your hike. The lacing system is also really cool, as they have lace hooks right up around the ankle, and you’ll only have to do them up once all-day!
Weight: 1lb 59oz
Water resistant: Yes
Pros: Lightweight | Water resistant | Fashionable | Supportive
Cons: Run slightly large
As far as footwear goes, Adidas is an absolute powerhouse, producing practical, durable, and good-looking shoes for just about anyone. Their Terrex Swift women’s hiking boots are no exception.
Besides being exceptionally lightweight, these boots are built to last and support you on a wide variety of terrains.
Made out of synthetic materials, these boots are complimented with a GORE-TEX finish, sure to leave your feet feeling cool and dry. The midsole is made from EVA and the upper is designed to be breathable while offering maximum support.
A prime feature is that Adidas ensured that the mesh is abrasion-resistant, keeping your boots in good condition for years to come. The best part? They’re some of the nicest looking hiking boots we’ve ever seen!
Our Favorite Features: These boots are some of the lightest mid cut boots on the market, and offer great support and stability. That said, our favorite feature has to be how sleek they look!
Weight: 2 lbs.
Pros: Midweight | Water-resistant | Supportive | Great Traction | Supportive
Cons: They take some time to break in
Do you need women’s hiking boots that are water-resistant? What about a pair that offers good sole support, fit well, and have aggressive traction? Well, the Oboz Bridger B-DRY ticks all these boxes and more!
A perfect choice for both rugged and well-maintained trails, this model is suitable for backpackers and light packers alike.
Offering features such as the all-leather upper, an extra comfortable collar and a BFit Deluxe Insole that stabilizes and protects the arch, this model may be one of the stiffest hiking boots, but once broken in they are unbeatable!
Our Favorite Features: Features such as the full-length nylon shank, the EVA midsole, and hard-plastic frame make this hiking boot the perfect choice if you’re carrying a heavy load over rough terrain.
Weight: 2 lbs. 40 oz
Pros: Dependable | Waterproof | Breathable | Available in wide widths
Cons: Not much arch support
If you’re seeking a dependable, classic hiking boot, look no further than the Merrel Moab. Merrel is a world renowned active footwear company that has a reputation of making traditional, supportive, and comfortable shoes.
The upper in these boots is made from a suede leather and mesh combination, giving stability while letting sufficient air into the shoe and maintaining a traditional design. The midsole is crafted from EVA with a footbed that molds to your feet, leading to a more comfortable fit.
However, these boots really shine, thanks to the air cushion placed in the heel that absorbs shock and adds even more stability to an already rock solid boot. Plus, they are entirely waterproof, with added technology to let moisture created inside the boot out.
The Merrell Moab is a great choice if you’re looking for a pair of hiking boots to wear for many years to come.
Our Favorite Features: We love that there’s added stability and shock absorption with the air cushion, as well as the ability to get rid of moisture inside the shoe while keeping excess water out.
Weight: 1 lb 20 oz
Pros: Lightweight | Water-resistant | Good traction | Supportive | Comfortable
Cons: Lacing sometimes needs constant re-adjusting
Although an incredibly lightweight hiking boot, the Salewa Alp Trainer Mid GTX is surprisingly sturdy and suitable for the roughest of terrains. This makes it one of our top picks for the best hiking boots for traveling.
Due to its weight, this model gives you incredible grip and precision that equates to that of a hiking shoe, so if you’re into alpine and technical trails as well as standard hiking, these are your dream boots!
With super-sticky Vibram soles and a unique lacing system, these boots are at home on grassy, marshy and forested trails, whether you’re hiking in mud or snow.
An incredible model that provides stability and a comfortable fit for any sized foot, could these be more perfect?
Our Favorite Features: The Alp Trainer Mid is one of the few women’s hiking boots that offer sufficient ankle coverage, providing impressive support on when hiking on a range of terrain.
So there we have it, our best 10 women’s hiking boots which you can take with you on any terrain. With the most important element of hiking being comfortable and supported feet, hopefully, this list will help you find the perfect boots for your next adventure.
Additional content contributed by Jane Elmets
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