5 Best Hiking Boots for Women (Our Top Picks for 2018)
Hiking outdoors is a great cardio workout that has plenty of perks. You get to see nice views, breathe fresh air, and listen to the sounds of nature.
In terms of your health there are even more perks. It can lower your risk of heart disease. Hiking will strengthen your muscles and improve your balance. It helps control your weight. It even combats symptoms of stress and anxiety.
One of the most important factors in enjoying a hike is your comfort. You don't want to have to worry about your footwear the whole time by slipping and sliding around. And you certainly do you want get your feet wet or get blisters. So, you are doing the right thing by doing your research before buying a pair of hiking boots.
Sturdy hiking boots are key to a good hike. Boots are central to your comfort and performance while you're on the trail. But you also do not want your boots to be stiff and heavy. Finding the perfect boots is about finding the perfect balance for your hikes.
There are a wide variety of options out there, from lightweight to mid-weight and heavyweight. Next, we will discuss some options that we have found to be the best hiking boots for women on the market for 2018.
Don't have time to read the entire review on women's hiking boots?
Here's a quick look at our top picks for women's hiking boots
Difference Between Hiking Boots and Hiking Shoes
Hiking shoes combine comfort and functionality. They offer more support than the average running shoe due to their thick soles and leather fabrics. However, they are lighter and more comfortable than typical hiking boots. Hiking shoes are very versatile, and have actually moved into more mainstream fashion.
It is important to check the quality of your hiking shoes before buying them. Hiking shoes designed for fashion are likely to have a lot of deficiencies that will show up on the trail. Lower quality stitching. Poor arch support. Inferior lace design. And lack of waterproofing.
There is nothing wrong with "hiking shoes". Just be sure they are designed for the trail. Not designed to look like they are meant for trail hiking.
Hiking shoes are best used for trails that are even and well-maintained. They are lighter and less weighty, making them idea flat and even surfaces. They are also great for day hikes, trail running, and camping.
On the other hand, the best hiking boots come in both mid-weight and heavyweight. They are made for harsher hiking conditions than the lightweight hiking shoes. They offer more ankle support than hiking shoes. Stiff foot support. And they have an outer layer of leather or synthetic material to reinforce the boot.
Best hiking boots are a bit heavier than shoes. But with a mid-weight boot, you probably wouldn't notice the difference unless you were going on a multi-day, long-term hike.
Heavier hiking boots are for serious climbers. Those who plan on scrambling on boulders, or for people who are rugged bushwhackers. A high-quality heavy boot should feel like a combination of a mountaineering boot and hiking boot.
Their knobby soles give the climber extra grip, and some include a crampon on the lip. Like other hiking footwear, the ankle support protects climbers' ankles from twisting, as well as from briars, mud, and water.
Heavy hiking boots are pricier than other options, and they are also more difficult to wear. They have more metal, rubber, and leather to help keep the user safe and dry. This means they cost more to manufacture. Heavy hiking boots are not designed to be worn during everyday activities. They are specifically designed for hiking.
You will need hiking boots rather than hiking shoes if your trails are especially rocky, or covered in roots, or if they are uneven or have a lot of obstacles that increase the possibility of rolling your ankle. You will also need them if you are hiking in inclement weather such as snow or rain, or if the trails are still wet from a previous rainfall. Finally, you will need them if you are going on an especially steep hike.
You have to give yourself some time to break in new boots before going on a hike. Mid-weight boots do not take as much time to break in as heavy boots, but both should be allowed at least three days to break in before embarking on a hike.
Why It’s Important to Buy the Right Women's Hiking Boots for Your Needs
Finding the best hiking boots for women is important because your boots need to sync with how you hike. As well as where you hike. Before you commit to a pair, you have to make sure that they are the right fit.
You want to make sure that your boots are comfortable. Your hiking boots should be pretty snug everywhere, but not tight. You should have room to move your toes around. It is important to try your boots on at the end of the day because this is when your feet swell.
Make sure to try them on with the socks that you plan to wear.
The first time you buy hiking boots you may want to be fitted by a specialist. They will ensure that your foot's length, width, and arch are correctly measured to get the right fit for a boot.
If you typically wear orthotics, bring these in for your fitting. They need to be taken into consideration when picking the right boots. Wear the boots around the store for a while to make sure that you are comfortable. Find some stairs and inclines inside the store to try out.
You will need to consider the type of hiking surface that you will be trekking on. Is the trail rugged, steep, and rocky, or is it relatively flat and smooth?
This will make a big difference in the shoes that you will need to keep you comfortable and safe.
Exposure to Water and Mud, Frequency of Use, and Cost
Consider how often you will be using your boots, and if they will be exposed to water and mud often. This will help you determine how durable you need them to be. This is an important factor when considering the cost.
You will be paying more for more durable boots, but if you are going to use them a lot, it will be worth the investment. You usually get what you pay for. Sometimes you will be able to find sales on old styles, or boots that have bee returned unused. In terms of retail prices, though, the more expensive boots are typically more comfortable, more efficient, and more durable.
However, don’t go out and pay for a type of boot that you don’t need. There are several different categories of hiking boots, and your style of hiking may fall anywhere on the spectrum. There’s no reason to buy a $250 pair of special hiking boots if you are only planning on doing short day hikes every now and then.
If you are shopping online, buy a brand that you have worn before, and that you know you like. Most boot companies continue to use the same foot model with each boot they make, so the fit of the boot will likely be similar to what you have gotten before.
What to Look for in a Hiking Boot
When it comes to looking for the best hiking boots for women, don't think about what they look like or the size the boot claims to be. Don't worry about any flashy features, or boots that have been recommended to you by friends. (Unless their feet measurements are identical to yours).
The following are the important features you should look for when trying to find your best choices for hiking boots. All of these features matter, but only you know how important specific hiking boot features are to your own needs.
Lighter hiking boots are great for day hikes or even short overnight trips on moderate trails. For hiking trips on tougher terrain, heavier boots help absorb the shocks of the heavy load, and support your ankles in the best places on the treacherous terrain.
The advantage to having lighter boots is that you don't have to carry as much weight on your feet. The weight is compounded with every step you take.
It is true that about one pound on your feet is equal to about six pounds on your back, and lightening the load on your feet lets you move faster and expend less energy. Lighter shoes will allow you to be lighter on your feet, which can make a difference when you are trying to dodge rocks and logs.
Most people actually have one foot that is longer than the other. It is important in this case to fit your shoes to your larger foot. The correct fit is important for safety, as well as avoiding painful blisters that could stop your hike in its tracks.
Your feet will swell as the day goes on, especially if you are hiking. For this reason, you want to try on your hiking boots at the point in the day when your feet are at their largest.
You definitely don't want to end up at home with boots that are actually a bit tight, and then wear them out on a hiking trail. Even if the boots are just a little bit too small, they can cause lasting damage to your toenails.
The traction on your boots will help you get through a rough area, such as a wintery mountain pass. It is all about having solid grip and stability.
If you examine the tread on your hiking boots, you will notice a lot of grooves and surface area. Consider the terrain you will be on and how much traction your shoes will need to have.
You want to be able to enjoy your hike without blisters or discomfort. The more comfortable you are in your boots, the less you will have to think about them.
Stability and Support
The main purpose of buying the best hiking boots is to keep you safe. Because of this, you want to make sure that the boots you choose are up to that task.
Your ankles need to be supported so they are not at risk of rolling, and you need to be stable so you are not prone to falling.
If you do a lot of hiking, you will want your hiking shoes to be durable to make them worth the investment. While that may mean spending more money up front, it also means that your shoes will last longer, so it will be a while until you have to spend money on hiking boots again if you get a pair that is durable.
Hiking is a situation where you want your feet to stay dry. Your feet are prone to sweat while exercising, so having a breathable hiking boot is essential to both your comfort and your foot health. This feature will allow the heat that is generated from your feet have a way to exit your shoe.
Just as you don't want your feet to become wet with sweat, you also want your boots to be able to repel water that you may encounter. Not only do wet feet and socks lead to blisters, they can also become excessively cold. For this, you will have to consider where you will be hiking.
For example, if you’re hiking in the Northeast during the spring and early summer, it is most likely that you will encounter rain, water, and mud. If your hiking boots are waterproof, you can walk on through the water without being uncomfortable for the rest of the day.
Alternatively, if you only plan to go on dry trails, you might want boots that aren’t waterproof, because they usually breathe better and are a bit cooler. They are usually also friendlier on your budget.
Typically, a waterproof boot is around $25 more than its non-waterproof equivalent. Also, even though high-tech waterproof materials are able to breathe, they still add an extra layer to the boot, so they will make the boot a little bit stuffier.
5 Best Hiking Boots for Women (Our Top Picks for 2018)
These are the best boots for day hiking and backpacking. They are made of waterproof nubuck leather that works together with a hydrophobic mesh lining for optimum durability. The waterproof technology that is used to make these boots helps to keep water out, no matter how wet your hike becomes. However, they are also extremely breathable, so your feet will never accumulate sweat during your hikes.
The boots have an aggressively lugged outsole, which easily grips to a wide variety of surfaces. They also have a protective toe cap to make sure that your toes are covered at all times.
These boots are great for all-day comfort with their compression-molded EVA foam midsole and removable dual-density EVA foam footbed. For optimal comfort, it is recommended to order these boots 1/2 size larger than your typical shoe size.
The Timberland Women's White Ledge Hiking Boot is one of the most popular hiking boots in the market. These stylish ankle-high boots are made of leather and has rubber soles and waterproof uppers. These boots are a combination of D-ring and speed hook lacing, preventing lace tearing or up or loosening upon movement.
The tongue and cushions around the ankles are soft and breathable. Removable, dual-density EVA make up the foot bed and perforated EVA the mid-soles. All these features ensure that your feet is dry and comfortable.
The outsoles have excellent traction with lugs strategically placed to conform to the curved center of the pressure path so that it follows the four natural motions of the foot when walking: propelling, braking, flexing, and supporting.
These top hiking boots for women are also the most versatile. They come in a wide variety of vibrant colors, while still offering the signature performance features that people have come to expect from Ahnu.
They are designed using Numentum Technology, which is a neutral positioning system that is made to work with the natural biomechanics of your foot. These hiking boots help to center and guide your feet during your hike to allow you to have an efficient and balanced stride.
These hiking boots have a gripping rubber sole and are made out of mesh, suede, and leather. They have a secure lace-up front and a soft, padded collar. They also have a pull-on loop for easy slip-on access. The mid-cut design of these boots is perfect for ankle support and stability. The TPU stability heel clip and rubber toe protector also help the user stay secure throughout their hike.
These boots are great for hiking in the snow. They are made of leather and mesh, and have a rubber Omnigrip lugged outsole. The full-grain leather features an Omnishield water and stain-resistant treatment, so not only will your feet stay dry, but your shoes will also stay clean. These women's hiking boots also have a compression-molded EVA foam midsole with Techlite Cushioning for optimal comfort.
With their triangular D-ring and clamshell lacing, these shoes fit very securely on the user. These boots have the ability to hold up through all different kinds of climates and weather, while still maintaining their great appearance. They are lightweight boots that do not require a lot of break-in time in order to be comfortable. Many people use these hiking boots for their regular winter living boots.
The Kodiak Women's Surrey II Hiking Boot are the best pair for people with mega arches or giant heels.
The Surrey II combines style and functionality. Its made of waterproof leather with sealed seams and features a fashionable felted wool collar. Its microfiber lining and 200gm THINSULATE™ insulation provide breathable warmth. The insoles are made of removable leather memory foam, while the outsoles are slip-resistant chevron rubber.
These boots are probably the best-looking pair in this list with its leather welt and wooden heel and overall retro look.
The Final Verdict
The winner of this roundup is the Ahnu Women's Sugarpine Hiking Boot. These hiking shoes are very comfortable, and provide great support for the user. One of the best things about these boots is their durability and value compared to the cost. Because these women's hiking boots are so waterproof, people are able to be comfortable during their hike no matter how far they are going or what the weather is like.