What is the most essential part of your hiking kit that could make or break your trip?
That’s right, your boots.
Uncomfortable and low-quality boots could have the biggest impact on your hike of all your gear, leaving you blistered and sore, or even unable to walk.
This article separates the wheat from the chafe, and gives you a handy list of essential buying tips so you can choose the best women’s hiking boots for your needs.
- TOP 19 Best Women’s Hiking Boots Reviewed 2020
- Scarpa Women’s Kailash Gore-Tex Hiking Boots
- KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boots
- Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Mid Hiking Boots
- Salomon Women’s Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boots
- Lowa Women’s Renegade Mid GTX Boots
- La Sportiva Women’s Nucelo High GTX Boots
- Salewa Women’s Alpenrose Mid Ultra GTX Boots
- Salomon Women’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots
- Oboz Women’s Bridger B-DRY Hiking Boots
- Merrell Chameleon 7 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots
- Keen Women’s Oakridge Mid Waterproof Boots
- Ariat Women’s Terrain H2O Hiking Boots
- Danner Women’s Mountain Light Cascade Boots
- Asolo Women’s Tacoma GV Gore-Tex Hiking Boots
- New Balance Women’s WW1400v1 Walking Boots
- Vasque Women’s Talus Trek UltraDry Hiking Boots
- Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boots
- Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Boots
- Hi-Tec Women’s Skamania Mid-Rise Hiking Boots
- How to Choose Your Next Pair of Hiking Boots
TOP 19 Best Women’s Hiking Boots Reviewed 2020
Scarpa Women’s Kailash Gore-Tex Hiking Boots
Review: Scarpa are a top of the line hiking boot manufacturer, making durable, sturdy boots that can cope with all weather conditions and terrain.
These boots have a brushed leather upper and Vibram outsoles with a Gore-Tex membrane for breathable waterproofing.
- Impressively lightweight (1 lbs. 8 oz.) given their ruggedness.
- Protective toe guard.
- Bi-directional ankle flex design.
- Breathable, waterproof Gore-Tex lining.
- Pretty hard to find a con for Scarpa boots!
KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boots
Review: The Keen Targhee is a highly popular boot. It’s incredibly comfortable while being sturdy enough to cope with a range of terrains and weather conditions.
The upper features synthetic leather with a waterproof lining, and the dual density EVA midsole provides cushioning for extra pack load and long distance travels.
- Great ankle support and usually a good choice for wider feet.
- Tough sole and thick lugs are suitable for rugged terrain.
- Three-quarter length shank for maximum foot stability.
- Very comfortable cushioning and plush collar.
- Keen soles aren’t as long lasting as some other high-end brands, especially if you’re walking on hard surfaces.
Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Mid Hiking Boots
Review: The Moabs are another highly popular hiking boot, known for their comfort and excellent quality.
They are waterproof to keep your feet dry in wet weather and a breathable mesh wicks away sweat during hot weather.
They are fitted with aggressive 5mm Vibram lugs and a contoured EVA footbed with arch and heel support.
- Merrell’s M Select Dry waterproof technology.
- Breathable mesh lining.
- Excellent traction with deep lugs.
- Comfortable out of the box with no breaking in needed.
- Not suited to wide feet.
Salomon Women’s Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boots
Review: Salomon make some of the best winter and alpine boots, being your go-to along with Scarpa and La Sportiva for crampon compatible boots.
These high rise boots are waterproof, warm and very supportive. Their Nubuk leather and mesh uppers are lined with breathable Gore-Tex and the molded EVA midsole is cushioned and supportive.
- 4D Chassis provide excellent support and stability.
- Great traction.
- Great for wide feet.
- Somehow manages to be reasonably lightweight.
- Require a little breaking in.
- Minimal arch support.
Lowa Women’s Renegade Mid GTX Boots
Review: These boots rate highly in nearly all areas, being extremely comfortable, durable and supportive with excellent waterproofing and traction.
Their only downside is that they are a little heavy and may feel bulkier to walk in than some other more streamlined models.
But, if you appreciate quality, you can’t really go wrong with the Renegades.
- Very waterproof with Gore-Tex lining and coated leather uppers.
- Vibram sole provides really aggressive traction.
- Well-padded collar and tongue for comfort.
- Climate control footbed helps to prevent things from getting hot and sweaty.
- Heavy and a little bulky.
La Sportiva Women’s Nucelo High GTX Boots
Review: These boots are a truly impressive feat of hiking boot technology and design.
They look as though they should weigh a tonne but they are actually pretty lightweight (2.03 lbs.) and feel even lighter on.
Meanwhile, they also manage to be completely waterproof and yet breathable at the same time, so if you’re prone to getting sweaty feet, these boots will keep you dry.
- Excellent ankle support for people who tend to roll their ankles.
- Vibram Nano rubber outsole provides plenty of traction.
- Well insulated and warm in cold weather.
- Women’s specific design.
- Designed for narrow feet so not suitable for people looking for a wide boot.
Salewa Women’s Alpenrose Mid Ultra GTX Boots
Review: These boots are some of the lightest on the list, making them well suited to fast, hot weather hiking.
But, in saying that, they are waterproof so they are excellent all-rounders.
They have impressive tread and top of the line durability making them ideal for rocky, technical terrain.
- Michelin Ultra Train rubber sole with some of the most aggressive tread on this list.
- Gore-Tex lining for waterproofing and breathability.
- Extremely lightweight (11.6 oz.).
- Well suited to narrow feet.
- May feel stiff to begin with and need some breaking in.
Salomon Women’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots
Review: These boots find the perfect balance between the light weight and flexibility of a hiking shoe, and the support and protection of a boot.
The women’s specific design is very comfortable, with a waterproof Gore-Tex lining and excellent traction to keep you feeling safe on the trail.
- Ideal for hot weather being lightweight and well ventilated.
- Supportive but not restrictive, feeling quite flexible for a hiking boot.
- Comfortable out of the box, minimum breaking in required.
- Not quite as supportive or waterproof as some boots.
Oboz Women’s Bridger B-DRY Hiking Boots
Review: These top quality European shoes are a popular choice for hikers looking for a comfortable, waterproof boot with excellent traction.
They use all the latest technology to support the foot and ankle while allowing for a natural foot movement.
- BFit Delux insole for arch support and cushioning.
- Durable rubber rand around heel and toe to protect against rocks and other obstacles.
- Aggressive tread with 4mm lugs.
- Waterproof Nubuk leather uppers.
- It’s important to get the right fit with these boots as the arch support is pretty noticeable and could end up being in the wrong place for your foot.
Merrell Chameleon 7 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots
Review: Merrell make reliable and extremely comfortable hiking boots that are hard to beat.
The Chameleon is another great boot after the Moab, with a slightly lighter weight and less rugged construction.
This makes them ideal for less challenging hikes, but no less durable or comfortable.
- Excellent for narrow feet.
- Designed to be worn out of the box with no breaking in required.
- Waterproof but breathable with Merrell’s M Select Dry impermeable membrane.
- Excellent shock absorbance and stability with an air cushion in the heel.
- Vibram outsole with 3mm lugs.
- May run small in the toe box and is narrow overall so not suited to wide feet.
Keen Women’s Oakridge Mid Waterproof Boots
Review: If you’re after a comfortable shoe, you can’t go wrong with Keen. The Oakridges have some similarities to the highly popular Targhees but the tops are a little higher and they’re a little narrower overall, so they’d be well suited to people with narrow feet and weak ankles!
- Comfortable out of the box – no need to break them in.
- Spacious toe box.
- Waterproof, breathable membrane.
- Well-cushioned EVA foam midsole.
- As with most Keen boots, their soles tend to break down quicker than other brands.
Ariat Women’s Terrain H2O Hiking Boots
Review: These boots are from a less well-known brand in the hiking world but are definitely worth a spot on this list for their comfort, durability, and waterproofing.
They are composed of full-grain leather uppers with a waterproof membrane, EVA foam midsole, and synthetic outsole.
They won’t provide the support and traction you need for really tough hikes, but they’ll be ideal for maintained tracks in drizzly weather.
- Good arch support.
- Highly durable full-grain leather uppers.
- Waterproof outer and moisture-wicking inner.
- Comfortable with plenty of padding.
- The tread isn’t quite deep enough for some hiking situations.
Danner Women’s Mountain Light Cascade Boots
Review: This is a boot for the old school hikers who want to stay true to the 70s era of hiking.
What’s great about these boots is how easily they can be fixed up to extend their lifespan rather than having to be replaced.
The sole is stitched on and can be replaced once the original sole wears out.
Oh, and they co-starred with Reece Witherspoon in the movie ‘Wild’.
- Vibram Kletterlift outsole has plenty of tread.
- Good shock absorbance and arch support with a fiberglass shank and EVA foam midsole.
- Replaceable outsole.
- Waterproof leather upper with Gore-Tex lining.
- Doesn’t come with an insole.
- They need breaking in so buy well in advance of your hike, and size up as they run small.
Asolo Women’s Tacoma GV Gore-Tex Hiking Boots
Review: Asolo make some of the most durable and sturdy shoes on the market. They’re ideal for walking on really tough trails with lots of obstacles.
The Tacomas have a water-resistant suede leather upper with a Gore-Tex lining and Vibram outsole.
The padded collar and tongue together with the mid-rise height make for a comfortable level of support and stability.
- Non-insulated and breathable so ideal for warm weather hiking.
- Asolo break system provides stability and balance in technical terrain.
- A good amount of cushioning.
- Waterproof Gore-Tex lining.
- Will feel stiff to begin with and need breaking in.
New Balance Women’s WW1400v1 Walking Boots
Review: New Balance are better known for running shoes than walking boots but this boot deserves a mention.
If you suffer from issues such as plantar fasciitis, the pronation support in these boots will serve you well.
New Balance utilize their running shoe technology to support the foot from heel strike to toe off with lateral and medial stability posts.
- Wide width available.
- Removable insoles leave room for custom inserts.
- Reasonably good traction but not as aggressive as some.
- Insulated for warmth and lined with a waterproof membrane.
- Sizing runs small.
Vasque Women’s Talus Trek UltraDry Hiking Boots
Review: The Vasque Talus is designed for day hikes with a lightweight pack so is probably going to be slightly less durable in the long run than some of the other boots above, but is also probably all you’ll need if you’re not planning on carrying more than 30 lbs. in your pack.
It features a tailored instep that locks your feet in place while minimizing foot movement. This also helps to reduce friction.
Its cuff rises above the ankle to provide foot control and also keeps gravel and small rocks out of your boots.
- Great stability and shock absorption.
- Varying sizes, both wide and narrow fit.
- Great protective cuffs.
- Versatile Vibram outsole.
- The laces are challenging to tighten at times.
- Some durability issues.
Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boots
Review: Columbia make solid mid-range boots for those who don’t quite want to stretch to the high-end boots above but want a solid contender.
These boots integrate a full-grain leather design with waterproof and abrasion resistant qualities making them a great choice for beginner to intermediate hikers.
- Omni directional lugs for superior traction.
- Reasonably lightweight with good cushioning.
- Laces tighten easily in one pull.
- Good ankle support.
- No protective toe cap.
- Sizing runs small.
Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Boots
Review: Similar to the Columbia above, this is another good mid-range option for beginner to intermediate hikers.
They won’t last quite as long as some of the higher end boots, but they’re a good starting point if you’re looking for something lightweight, comfortable and feminine.
- Lightweight and comfortable with a female specific design.
- The boots use Ahnu’s own waterproofing which won’t be as reliable as Gore-Tex or full leather uppers but can be counted on for light showers and splashing through puddles.
- Good sized toe box.
- Well suited to narrow feet.
- Limited range of sizes (if you have big feet).
Hi-Tec Women’s Skamania Mid-Rise Hiking Boots
Review: Hi-Tec is a budget hiking boot brand that still manages to maintain reasonable quality. Their boots are ideal for people on a budget who’ll just be doing the occasional day hike and can’t justify a top of the line boot.
The Skamanias have a waterproof membrane of Hi-Tec’s own design to keep your feet dry while letting moisture out and provide cushioning and support with an EVA foam midsole.
- Waterproof to a point.
- Supportive steel shank for ankle stability.
- Rubber outsole with multidirectional traction.
- Molded EVA insole is removable.
- Well suited to wide feet.
- They are a little heavy.
- Not recommended if you have foot issues and need reliable support.
How to Choose Your Next Pair of Hiking Boots
Hiking boots vary depending on a number of factors so it pays to put a little thought into what you’re after.
You don’t want to find yourself stuck with a pair of boots that don’t give you the support you need.
The following list of checkpoints will simplify what to consider when you’re looking for the best women’s hiking boot for your outdoor adventures.
And it’s not just about looks, female-specific hiking boots anticipate different weight distribution across the foot strike and provide more balance.
They can also be lighter and more cushioned than their male equivalents.
This typically refers to the height of the cuff, whether it’s a high-rise, mid-rise or low cut boot.
But it also takes into account the overall weight of the shoe, level of insulation and waterproofing.
Heavier, more rugged high-rise boots will suit people doing hikes that involve going into the backcountry for multiple days at a time.
On the other hand, lighter weight boots will be better suited to day hikes or multi-day hikes on well-maintained trails in good weather.
The exception to this rule is if you’re highly experienced and have decided that you prefer the freedom of less structured boots over the ankle support of heavier duty boots.
‘The more durable the better’ is always the rule here.
And, with hiking boots, the price of the boot is a pretty accurate depiction of its expected lifespan.
Similar to the best tent brands, the more high-end brands like Scarpa, Merrell, La Sportiva and Salomon will offer the most durable boots, but you’ll also pay for them.
Weight can have a relationship to durability, but it’s becoming increasingly common for really high-end boots to be ridiculously lightweight as they use more and more advanced technology.
Light boots are important simply because they require less energy to move.
Walking with what feels like bricks attached to your feet is not a fun experience and gets tiring quickly.
Lightweight boots can allow you to hike further and faster.
This should be a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how many people label a boot as ‘bad’ simply because it didn’t fit them properly.
If a boot feels uncomfortable, it’s probably not an ideal fit for your foot type.
Some boots are better suited for wide feet, some for narrow.
Some boots are designed with over-pronation in mind and have good arch support, some have none.
Find out whether your feet are flat, wide or narrow and buy the boots to match (after trying them on of course!).
Similar to fit, the kind of support you need is a case of knowing your foot type and knowing how strong your feet are.
More people who typically over-pronate are starting to realize that this is a result of growing up in shoes and having weak feet.
So not all pronators typically buy boots with lots of arch support. It’s a personal choice and a case of knowing what works for you.
Waterproofing is really important if having dry feet is important to you. If not, you’d do well to join the swaths of people choosing to hike in sandals instead.
This can be a great way to go in warmer climates where river crossings could be on the agenda as your feet will dry out pretty quickly.
Last but not least, traction is a deal breaker for hiking!
The soles of your boots should have a deep tread and be made of good quality rubber or synthetic material so that you won’t be slipping or sliding down the trail.
It’s also good if the sole material extends over the toe to form a protective toe cap. Toe caps protect your toes and also increase the lifespan of the boot.
Hopefully, you’ve found this article useful. I’m fairly sure that there is literally a boot on this list for everyone.
All of the best brands are represented with excellent models for both summer and winter hiking.
It really comes down to knowing what you want in terms of support and style, and knowing what kind of hiking you’re going to be doing.
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