Best Hiking Shoes for Women: Spend More Time on the Trail
The best hiking shoes for women offer three things: style, functionality, and comfort
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There’s a whole lot of trails to conquer out there, and we know you can’t wait to hike them. However, to tackle any trail with ease, you need a pair of reliable hiking shoes. If you pick the wrong shoes, the only thing you’ll be able to focus on when hiking are your feet. This review examines three of the best hiking shoes for women you can wear on your next outdoor adventure.
Put on a pair of these shoes and tackle the most difficult terrain with ease. With outsoles designed to handle technical hikes, they make it easy to hike in wet conditions.
The rubber soles offer good traction on slippery descents and terrain. The shoes have a tough leather exterior that’s paired with mesh fabric to make them waterproof and breathable. Dual-density EVA midsoles give them ample cushioning.
The toe box might be tight, especially for wide-footed users. The inner fabric in newer models tends to wear out rather fast, especially if you use them frequently.
These shoes are designed to keep foot odor at bay after you work up a sweat during day hikes. The Vibram sole provides cushioning, especially when you’re tackling slippery terrain.
The breathable mesh lining of these shoes keeps your feet cool and fresh. They also don’t require a break-in period and feel comfortable from the get-go. The tongue is close enough to the feet to keep the shoes free of debris.
The cushioning on the heels is light and might not provide enough support in heavy impact. The outsole and upper material are not of the highest quality.
If you’re just looking to test light terrain before tackling steep trails, these shoes are a great option. They perfectly balance design, durability, and functionality. You can wear them when hiking, walking, or running.
The outsole is made of aircraft tire rubber for slip-wear resistance and bending resistance. The rubber toe box lowers the chances of abrasion and also protects your toes against impact. The insoles keep fresh air circulating inside.
The shoes are not waterproof, and you will only be able to hike in dry areas. The tread pattern is a bit basic, and the shoes might not offer good traction in steep or slippery terrain.
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Benefits of Hiking Shoes for Women
- High degree of protection. Hiking boots offer more protection than any other type of hiking footwear. They are ideal for wet, muddy, and rocky terrains, where you would otherwise get soaked in water and covered with mud. Hiking boots also protect feet from dirt and twigs. They are a must-have for extreme conditions and rough terrains.
- More stability. One of the main benefits of hiking boots is the extra stability they provide. They securely grip the surface, so you can walk with more confidence. That is especially important when you're carrying a heavy pack and you need more support for the ankles.
- Cold weather. If you're planning to follow trails during the winter, hiking boots are a necessary part of your gear. They keep your feet warm and dry, keeping you safe from catching a cold while on your adventure.
Types of Hiking Shoes for Women
Day Hiking Boots
These are mid-cut or high-cut models of hiking boots designed for day hikes and light backpacking trips. They flex easily, feel light on the feet, and don't require a long break-in time. As long as you're not carrying heavy loads or planning a week-long trip, you'll find day hiking boots ideal for your adventures. They are not the best option for extra support when going over rough terrains.
These are the complete opposite of day hiking boots. Backpacking boots are specially designed for those who are carrying heavy loads or taking long hikes. In order to provide the extra support you need for demanding trips, these have a high cut and wrap above the ankles. They might be quite stiff in the beginning, but they are also highly protective and durable.
Keen was founded in 2003 and is based in Portland, Oregon. It is a footwear and accessories company that quickly gained worldwide popularity. Its products are known to provide incredible comfort, stylish design, and durability. Keen produces everything from boots, shoes, and sandals to laces and insoles. The Keen Voyageur Women's Hiking Shoes made it to the top of our list.
Merrell is a company that offers footwear products. It proves to be one of the first choices among outdoor enthusiasts, providing high-quality products for men, women, and kids. The company was founded back in 1981 and is located in Rockford, Michigan. We find its Merrell Women’s Siren Edge Hikers ideal for women who enjoy hiking.
Timberland is another company that focuses on producing high-quality outdoor footwear. It also offers clothing and accessories intended for outdoor use. Timberland is one of the most popular footwear companies on the market. It was founded in 1928 and is located in Stratham, New Hampshire. When it comes to hiking boots, we highly recommend the Timberland Women's White Ledge Mid Ankle Boot.
Hiking Shoes for Women Pricing
- $30-$50: Budget-friendly hiking boots are mostly lightweight and suitable for day hikes. They provide excellent support and more stability but are not highly protective.
- $50 and up: For more protection against twigs, dirt, water, and other elements, you might need to add some extra cash. Pricier hiking boots are heavy, offer more support for those carrying a lot of stuff in their packs, and keep ankles safe in all conditions.
The most important thing when buying hiking boots is to find a perfect fit. You want to ensure comfort every step of the way. If your boots are too small, you'll get blisters after half an hour and find yourself unable to walk. On the other hand, boots that are too big won't be able to provide a secure grip, so you'll feel unstable during your hike.
We recommend getting hiking boots in a size larger than your regular shoes. That's because your feet will get swollen after miles and miles of hiking. You also want to provide the extra space for (winter) socks or aftermarket insoles.
These days, hiking shoes and sandals are very popular because they offer a lightweight design. They are more suitable for multiple-day hikes when more mobility is required. However, heavier models like hiking boots also prove to be beneficial. You might have to put in more effort while walking and get tired faster, but you'll be more protected. Therefore, consider what works best for your needs and then pick the weight of the hiking boots accordingly.
Stability and Support
One of the main things to consider when buying hiking boots is the stability and support they provide. Most other types of hiking shoes are super light to ensure more mobility on longer trips. However, hiking boots are still a favorite for rougher terrains and conditions. They provide excellent protection for the ankles, making you feel more stable and secure, especially when carrying heavy loads.
Still, not all hiking boots are the same. Consider whether you need regular daily ones or backpacking models that offer ultimate support.
While hiking, you'll go over all kinds of terrains, from muddy grounds and water crossings to rocky ridges and scree fields. Therefore, it's crucial to pick a pair of hiking shoes that will provide an excellent grip and prevent slipping. Look for the models with heavy traction to ensure safety on every possible trail. The bigger the thread on the outsole, the better the overall traction of the boots.
Depending on the types of terrain you'll be crossing, you might want to consider the weather protection the hiking boots provide. The waterproof design is a must-have in almost all situations, except when taking light day hikes on hot summer days. In other situations, you want to make sure your feet will stay dry and protected against water, mud, and dirt. Therefore, look for the waterproof protection but make sure that the material is breathable. Your feet need to breathe during excessive physical activities. The mesh flexible materials will ensure that and keep you comfortable at all times.
- Lacing System. The lacing system is usually overlooked, yet it's incredibly important for overall comfort. A poor lacing system might easily loosen up and require frequent readjustments. It might slow you down, make you feel unstable, and even create blisters. Therefore, don't forget to double-check the design of the lacing system before the purchase.
- Break-in Period. Lastly, don't forget to take some time to break-in your new hiking boots before actually wearing them on a hike. You want to make sure they are comfortable. Hiking boots are known to be stiffer than other models of hiking footwear, so it's good to wear them around the house for a couple of days. After the break-in period, they shouldn't cause any blisters and will definitely be cozy on long hikes.
Best Hiking Shoes for Women Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- Consider the climate of the area in which you’ll be hiking before deciding which shoes to wear. Breathable hiking shoes are great for hot areas, while water-tight hiking shoes are ideal for wet areas.
- Light hiking shoes do not provide much support against ankle rolls. However, they are perfect for expert hikers who are less likely to experience this issue, even on medium-difficult trails.
- Wearing tightly laced shoes all day can harm your feet. Take periodic breaks and remove your hiking shoes and socks, especially after long hikes.
Q: How do I make sure my feet stay dry in wet conditions?
A: As long as your feet aren’t submerged in water during your hike, they will stay dry if you have waterproof hiking shoes. You can also take extra precautions and wear plastic bags as secondary socks.
Q: Are hiking boots better than hiking shoes?
A: Hiking shoes and hiking boots have their upsides and downsides. Hiking shoes are excellent for trail running, mid-difficulty hiking, and day walks. Boots come in handy during more demanding hikes.
Q: Can I add custom insoles to hiking shoes?
A: If you want more foot support, you can get thick custom insoles. However, it is important to check with a health professional before getting them. The insoles might also affect the fit of the shoes.
For their excellent traction, impact absorption, and overall comfort, we recommend the Keen Voyageur Women's Hiking Shoes.
However, the Merrell Women’s Siren Edge Hikers are excellent for technical climbs.