9 Best Hiking Boots for Women (Our 2021 Hike Shoe Review)

9 Best Hiking Boots for Women (Top Picks for 2021)

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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 (both physical and mental there are a lot of benefits of hiking. 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 2021.

[See this list of hiking essentials checklist. 11 Steps you should take while planning your next hike.]

Our Top Pick for Women's Hiking Boots

Here's a quick look at our top picks for women's hiking boots

Best Overall ChoiceBest Overall ChoiceSalomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Runner-Up OptionRunner-Up OptionMerrell Women's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Value for the MoneyBest Value for the MoneyKEEN Women's Targhee III Mid Wp Hiking Boot CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Most Budget-FriendlyMost Budget-FriendlyAhnu Women's Sugarpine Hiking Boot CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for Day Hiking & BackpackingBest for Day Hiking & BackpackingTimberland Women's White Ledge Hiking Boot CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for Rain & SnowBest for Rain & SnowColumbia Women's Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boot CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Light-Weight Hiking Boot OptionBest Light-Weight Hiking Boot OptionVasque Women's Breeze Lt Low GTX Gore-tex Waterproof Breathable Hiking Shoe CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for Maximum ComfortBest for Maximum ComfortHoka One One Toa CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for Women with High Arches or Large HeelsBest for Women with High Arches or Large HeelsKodiak Women's Surrey II Hiking Boot CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

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.

Hiking ShoesHiking Boots
  • lighter and more comfortable
  • best used for trails that are even and well-maintained
  • great for day hikes, trail running, and camping
  • most are aimed toward fashion
  • come in both mid-weight and heavyweight
  • more ankle and foot support
  • for rocky and uneven trails
  • need to be broken in before an actual hike

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 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.

[Hiking Gear List: 24 Items To Bring 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.

Comfort

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.

Hiking Surface

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.

hiking boots on grass
Dedicate time to research the right hiking boots for your needs.

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.

Weight

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.

Fit

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.

[Are you a guy? Or looking for a great gift for the guy in your life? See the 5 best hiking boots for men.]

Traction

The traction on your boots will help you get through a rough area, such as a wintery mountain pass. It is all about having a 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.

Comfort

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.

Women on a hike
A comfortable pair of hiking boots helps you appreciate your hiking experience better.

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.

Durability

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 upfront, 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.

Breathability

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.

Water Resistance

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.

[Hiking for Beginners: Hiking Benefits, Getting Started, Finding the Right Gear and More]

9 Best Hiking Boots for Women (Our Top Picks for 2021)

1. Best Overall Choice: Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots

Salomon is committed to providing the best possible equipment to inspire and allow people to enjoy the outdoors. The company supports sustainability and reducing the environmental impacts of their products and has created the Salomon Foundation to support disabled riders and mountain professionals. Their team of athletes, engineers, and designers make some of the best hiking boots in the world, and the Ultra 3 is a great example.

The women's Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots are designed specifically for the anatomy of a woman's foot, with incredible design and technologies to provide the best possible comfort and stability when hiking. The upper is waterproof, with a specific construction to the shape and ergonomics of a woman's foot for a perfect fit, along with stylish looks and high-quality materials.

PU coated leather in the upper looks great and makes it stronger and more durable. The tongue is gusseted and connected to the upper on both sides, to keep it centered and prevent debris from getting inside the shoe.

The shoe has a Gore-Tex membrane that keeps the shoe dry from the inside and outside, remaining waterproof even under pressure. The mesh and textile lining is comfortable and breathable, and these boots also have a protective toe cap and an OrthoLite insole for excellent cushioning and comfort.

But what really sets the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots apart, and what makes them our top pick, are the soles. The soles have a lug design with deep penetration and multi-directional tread for excellent grip on soft surfaces. The soles are made of two different types of leather, for stability and grip on different surfaces, with Contagrip technology that improves traction and durability.

The soles have Descent Control design, with special materials and patterning in the heel that cushions your step on inclines and provides excellent control on descents. With excellent fit, comfortable cushioning support, and the high-tech grip and reinforcement hikers need, these are simply the best hiking boots for women.

The Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots are available in four colors and in standard and wide sizes. They are backed by a 2-year warranty.

PROS

  • Specifically designed and constructed for women's anatomy
  • Waterproof protection from inside and outside the shoe
  • Excellent non-slip tread on all surfaces, particularly on descents
  • High-quality materials for durability
  • High cushioned collar and precise fit for foot stability and protection
  • 2-year warranty
  • Salomon company supports sustainability and charitable causes

CONS

  • Sizing may run a bit large for some feet

2. Runner-Up Option: Merrell Women's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

Runner Up Option best hiking boots for women
Merrell Women's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

Merrel makes shoes that take comfort seriously, balancing cushioning, weight, insulation, and ventilation to provide shoes that fit great when new, and last in comfort for years. These boots are our overall runner-up pick because they are comfortable, fit well, are waterproof, breathable, and well-padded. What more could you want in a hiking boot?

Merrel boots are designed to fit snugly in the heel, precisely over the instep, and roomy in the toe box. This fit makes them comfortable right out of the box, but also improves comfort over long hikes and workdays on your feet.

The performance suede upper is durable, attractive, and easy to clean. The upper also has an innovative stability band on both sides to protect the feet and provide lateral stability in the structure. A closed-cell foam tongue keeps out moisture and debris, and there is a protective rubber toe cap.

The boots are lined with the M Select Dry waterproof breathable membrane, which doesn't allow water inside the shoe, but does allow moisture to dissipate from within, keeping your feet comfortable and dry.

An EVA blended footbed provides extra support in the different zones of the foot, with a molded nylon shank to provide excellent support in the arch. Merrel air cushioning in the midsole absorbs shock and adds stability for all-day comfort. The Vibram rubber outsole gives both great grip and extra durability, and a 5mm lug depth provides excellent traction.

The Merrell Women's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot comes in three sizes, and in standard or wide width sizes.

PROS

  • Waterproof but breathable
  • Extra stability through the side of the shoe
  • Comfortable fit designed to last
  • Excellent support and cushioning
  • Easy to clean
  • Grip, traction, and durability in the sole

CONS

  • Lacing and mesh in the upper aren't as durable as the rest of the shoe

3. Best Value for the Money: KEEN Women's Targhee III Mid Wp Hiking Boot

KEEN is a company that cares about taking care of the planet and giving back to the community. By supporting Project Build, KEEN supports conversation efforts, provides footwear for those in need, and supports military veterans. The company's commitment to sustainability extends to everything they do, including renovating their corporate headquarters by repurposing materials instead of generating waste.  Every KEEN product is created with an awareness of its global impact, and the intention of making shoes that are as eco-friendly as possible.

The KEEN Women's Targhee III Mid Hiking Boot is an iconic boot with classic style and peak performance, made from materials you can feel good about. It's made from environmentally preferred leather, sourced from tanneries that reduce chemicals and environmental impact.

Instead of chemical anti-microbial material in the liners, these boots reduce foot odor with footbeds that are infused with probiotic technology that naturally breaks down odor without chemicals or heavy metals.

And many boots are made waterproof by using PFCs that are harmful to the environment and suspected carcinogens. Instead, KEEN has invented KEEN.Dry: a waterproof membrane that seals the shoe from the inside, keeping water out while still allowing moisture to escape from inside the shoe, without the use of PFCs.

The KEEN Women's Targhee III has an upper made from leather and performance mesh with a leather mud shield. It has speed hooks for fast and easy adjustment of the laces, with reinforced eyelets for durability.

These hiking boots have a breathable mesh lining with Cleansport NXT for natural odor control, and a removable metanomical dual-density EVA footbed for comfortable support. The resilient internal shank offers lightweight support, along with a dual-density, compression-molded EVA midsole that absorbs and reduces impact.

The injected TPU heel-capture system gives great stability, and the boots have an all-terrain rubber outsole and 4mm multi-directional lugs for high-traction grip without leaving marks on a floor. These environmentally-conscious boots will keep you dry and comfortable, and let you make the most of the great outdoors.

PROS

  • Made with materials and processes that reduce waste and environmental impact
  • Waterproof but breathable
  • Excellent support and cushioning
  • Removable EVA footbed with arch support
  • All-terrain grip and stability
  • Mud protection
  • Available in three colors
  • Socially and environmentally responsible company

CONS

  • These come in half sizes, but aren't offered in wide widths

4. Most Budget-Friendly: Ahnu Women's Sugarpine Hiking Boot

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.

PROS

  • Has a non-marking Vibram outsole and self-cleaning lugs.
  • Very effective waterproof technology.
  • Versatile and attractive.

CONS

  • Not great for people who have wide feet.
  • Waterproofing wears off quickly.
  • Some people do not find that these boots are breathable enough for their comfort.

5. Best for Day Hiking & Backpacking: Timberland Women's White Ledge Hiking Boot

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 have 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 makes up the footbed 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.

PROS

  • Waterproof​
  • Lightweight
  • Effective lacing

CONS

  • Only offered in two colors: brown and dark brown
  • Needs some time to break-in

6. Best for Rain & Snow: Columbia Women's Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boot

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.

PROS

  • Fit as expected.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Provide a great grip.

CONS

  • Some people find these shoes to be stiff.
  • Some find that the arch support is not great.
  • Not as durable as other hiking boots.

7. Best Light-Weight Hiking Boot Option: Vasque Women's Breeze Lt Low GTX Gore-tex Waterproof Breathable Hiking Shoe

The Breeze Lite line from Vasque are streamlined shoes, designed for traveling fast and light. With an athletic-shoe inspired upper and running shoe style, these hiking boots are designed to offer superior traction and waterproof comfort, without weighing you down with anything you don't need.

The Vasque Women's Breeze Lt Low GTX Gore-Tex Waterproof Breathable Hiking Shoes have a synthetic microfiber upper with abrasion resistant mesh for light weight and all-day breathability, with a snug fit that hugs the foot.

The Gore-Tex waterproof membrane blocks moisture from the outside, while still allowing moisture to evaporate from the inside. They have an anatomical high rebound footbed, and a dual-density compression molded EVA midsole for support and impact protection.

The Vibram Megagrip outsole offers great grip on a wide range of surfaces, while still reducing weight by 25%.

The Vasque Women's Breeze Lt Low GTX Gore-Tex Waterproof Breathable Hiking Shoe are available in high-top and low-top styles, with eight different stylish colors.

PROS

  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Gore-Tex waterproof lining still allows moisture to evaporate
  • Secure and comfortable fit
  • Vibram Megagrip outsole for great traction
  • Wide range of colors and styles

CONS

  • Not available in wide width sizes
  • Sizes run a bit small

8. Best for Maximum Comfort: Hoka One Toa

Best Hiking Boots for Women for Maximum Comfort
Hoka One One Toa

Hoka is known for making some of the most comfortable shoes available, and the Hoka One Sky Toa is built for speed, comfort, and stability on any terrain. Every aspect was designed for functionality and reduced weight. It's designed for speed, keeping you comfortable and in control on any terrain.

The Hoka One One Sky Toa is a fast and light waterproof hiking shoe. The upper is made from technical synthetic material that balances breathability and light weight with durability and comfort. The Gore-Tex lining is waterproof, keeping your feet dry.

The rubberized foam midsole is responsive and supportive, with durable cushioning and impact protection. It has a Vibram Megagrip high traction outsole, with multidirectional lugs for excellent grip on any terrain. This speed hiker comes in three colors.

PROS

  • Lightweight, breathable, and comfortable
  • Waterproof liner to keep feet dry
  • Supportive midsole
  • Excellent traction on any surface
  • 100% vegan

CONS

  • Not as durable as heavier shoes made with leather
  • Not available in wide sizes

9. Best for Women with High Arches or Large Heels: Kodiak Women's Surrey II Hiking Boot

The Kodiak Women's Surrey II Hiking Boot is 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.

PROS

  • Very stylish
  • Durable anti-corrosive hardware
  • Includes 2 sets of laces for a customizable look

CONS

  • May not a good fit for people with certain big toes
  • Some customers report that the extra pair of laces are not included

Which women's hiking boot is best?

The winner of this roundup is the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots.

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.

Due to the fact that 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.

Looking for the Best Hiking Boots for Women? Our Top Picks for Women's Hiking Boots

9 Best Hiking Boots for Women (Top Picks for 2021)