The right footwear will make or break a hike. Comfortable, high-quality hiking boots are a worthwhile investment for casual and serious hikers alike. Nothing ruins a hiking trip faster than painful shoes with inadequate support and little protection from the elements.
Hiking boots for women have come a long way. New materials and technology help modern boots cushion feet and protect joints so that hikers can stay focused on the great outdoorsâ€”not on their feet. With so many different options, it may be difficult to choose. Hereâ€™s how to pick a great boot for hikes of any length and challenge level.
Related review: Best Hiking Backpacks for Women
What should I look for in a hiking boot?
The right hiking boot feels like it was custom-made for its wearerâ€”even if it is off-the-shelf. While style is an important consideration, comfort prevails when choosing a hiking boot. Most blisters are created by ill-fitting boots that create friction (and subsequently, blisters). Hiking boots should conform to the foot without leaving room on the sides, heel, or toe box for the skin to rub.
Choose a boot that is purpose-built for the type of terrain it will be worn on the most. If you plan to hike on the snow with your boots, make sure they are waterproof. For hikes with changing elevation, a flexible sole with a padded tongue will keep sore ankles at bay. Internal ankle padding also helps eliminate rubbing and chafing.
What are the different types of hiking boots?
- Hiking shoes are simply boots with a low profile and a flexible midsole. They are great for short hikes on even terrain.
- Day hiking boots, as the name implies, are designed for shorter hikes of a day or less. They pair best with lightweight backpacks because of their relatively minimal ruggedness and support.
- Backpacking boots are the hard-core boot of the hiking world. They generally have excellent support and stiffer midsoles than their lighter counterparts. They can support heavier backpack loads for longer hikes on rougher terrain.
Should I buy a size bigger for hiking boots?
The number one rule to follow when sizing new hiking boots is that they fit snugly but donâ€™t constrict any part of the foot. Many people believe they should buy a size larger than they usually wear when they purchase new boots, but it isnâ€™t necessary. If most hikes will take place in frigid weather, and multiple pairs of socks are necessary, then it may make sense to size up.
Try on boots at the end of the day when feet are at their largest, and test any inserts or orthotic devices to ensure that the boots accommodate them comfortably. Lastly, wear the same socks that will be worn on the hike to measure the fit.
6 of The Best Hiking Boots for Women
When itâ€™s time to shop, here are six of the best hiking boots to consider.Contents on page
Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot
This leather, waterproof hiking boot from Columbia suits hikers who plan to spend several days out on the trail. It has a lightweight, flexible midsole and extra cushioning to protect feet mile after mile. Extra traction on the sturdy rubber sole keeps feet from slipping on rough or wet ground, and the soft, mesh exterior is stylish and breathable.
Reviewers love the feminine design and multiple color options but caution that the toe box becomes uncomfortable after extended wear. Some users report that theyâ€™ve experienced a â€œtoe creaseâ€ that leads to toe pain and blisters. Others recommend the boots only for cold-weather hikes, saying they make feet too warm in hot weather.back to menu ↑
Timberland Women’s White Ledge Mid-Ankle Boot
This mid-rise day hiking boot from Timberland is perfect for day hikes in any weather. They are waterproof and made from a 100% leather boot, for exceptional durability and comfort. The rubber soles provide traction on mud or slippery rocks, and excellent shock absorption when the trail gets rough.
Wearers love how the boots conform to the shape of their foot, preventing blisters and chafing, but many say that the boot runs small and should be sized up a half size. Others report that the toe box is too narrow for hikers with wide feet.back to menu ↑
Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
This waterproof, 100% suede leather boot is popular with hikers for its high-tech, contoured footbed that adds an extra level of arch and heel support. Itâ€™s a mid-rise boot from Merrell that stays dry and comfortable on day hikes with light packs. Accented with a breathable, mesh lining, it has a unique tongue design to keep water and debris out of socks.
Buyers report that this boot is best for wearers with narrow toe boxes and wider heels. They also say that while the boot is extremely comfortable, it isnâ€™t fully waterproof in extreme weather conditions.back to menu ↑
Vasque Women’s Talus Trek UltraDry Hiking Boot
This waterproof, daytime hiking boot from Vasque features thick, nubuck leather with a breathable, mesh underlay. Its UltraDry waterproofing keeps feet warm and dry but still allows for flexible movement for uphill and downhill hikes.
Users report that this boot is comfortable for short hikes, but feel constrictive for long hikes on rough terrain. They also caution that the boot feels heavy after extended wear, compared to other mid-rise models.back to menu ↑
Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Boot
The Ahnu hiking boot has a higher rise for added stability and support. Itâ€™s highly-rated for its featherlight feel and long-lasting comfort on longer hikes. This boot is stylish without compromising padding and durability.
Hikers who have purchased this boot love its sturdy rubber outsole and excellent traction. They warn that the boot runs small and recommend sizing a half size up with regular socks or a full size for use with thick or multiple pairs of socks.back to menu ↑
KEEN Women’s Voyageur Mid Hiking Boot
This boot from KEEN is water-resistant with a removable footbed for easy drying. With a four-inch shaft, itâ€™s a mid-rise boot for day hikes on steady terrain. Itâ€™s lightweight, with a mesh upper to keep feet cool in hot weather.
Some users find that the boot doesnâ€™t conform to the shape of their foot and may cause blisters if worn on long hikes. Hikers with narrow feet may want to wear an extra pair of socks to prevent discomfort from rubbing.