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Published Sep 5, 2022 10:26 AM

Finding a great pair of women’s hiking boots can be a transcendent experience. Hiking is one of the most enjoyable and accessible ways to get out in nature. You don’t need to have special skills like downhill skiing or mountain biking. To hike, you simply find a trail and walk. The equipment is pretty minimal, too — a great pair of hiking pants would add to the experience, but the most important element is the footwear. Hiking boots no longer have to be the clunky leather shoes that add exceptional weight to each step. We have amazing soles and upper materials today that combine performance with lightweight support that’ll help you rock any mountain trail.

Overall, your hiking boot needs to provide the right amount of support without getting in the way of your foot’s movements. Aside from that, it’s up to your own personal preferences and the conditions you’ll be hiking in. To that end, here are our picks for the best women’s hiking boots worth lacing up.

Italian brand La Sportiva is a heavy-hitter when it comes to making technical shoes that stand up to outdoor activities. From rock climbing shoes to hiking boots, La Sportiva knows shoes and the Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX is one of the brand’s all-stars.

For starters, these women’s hiking boots are comfortable right out of the box. In case you run out of time to break in new hiking boots, this could save you a ton of pain and blisters. There’s also a five-inch comfort collar that serves as ankle support that isn’t too stiff to feel like it prohibits movement, but isn’t soft to feel that an ankle roll is inevitable.

A Gore-Tex lining provides a waterproof barrier between your foot and streams, snow, or lake shorelines if you get a little too close. While keeping water out, it’s still breathable to keep the boots from feeling like a sauna.

The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX can also be resoled, so you don’t have to buy new boots should these eventually wear out.

Expert reviews and customer reviews mention these tend to run small, so you might want to consider ordering a half size larger than your street shoes to get the best fit.

Product Specs
  • Color options: Two
  • Outsole: FriXion XF 2.0 rubber
  • Upper: High-weave AirMesh/microfiber/thermoplastic polyurethane
  • Weight: 1 pound 7 ounces
Why It Made The Cut
  • The lightweight, do-it-all La Sportiva Raptor is ready for any terrain/weather combination with awesome traction and unparalleled comfort with a customizable lacing system.
PROS

Comfortable for all hiking, from short local hikes to multi-day treks

Gore-Tex waterproof liner

Great sole for tricky terrain

Lightweight for extra agility

CONS

Not as cheap as some options

Runs small

Searching for good hiking boots for women? How about going with a pair that 28 million people have bought. As one of Merrell’s best-selling boots, the Moab 2 Mid Waterproof is our pick if you’re shopping on a budget.

The Moab is constructed from durable suede leather and feels comfortable right out of the box. It features a removable footbed that provides arch and heel cushioning, but you can easily take it out if you have custom inserts. The Merrell Air Cushion in the heel helps with stability while absorbing shock from rough terrain.

We also love the huge size range which covers from five to 12, and both medium and wide widths. A five-millimeter lug depth in the Vibram soles makes for great grip, even in wet conditions.

While the Merrell Moab 2 is made with a waterproofing membrane, customer reviews aren’t entirely sold, and it’s possible the boots lose waterproofing capability as time wears on.

If you’re just getting into hiking or looking for a pair of boots that won’t cost a fortune, the Moab 2 Mid boots are a reliable and comfortable option that certainly gets the job done.

Product Specs
  • Color options: Four
  • Outsole: Vibram TC5+ rubber
  • Upper: Suede leather/mesh
  • Weight: 2 pounds
Why It Made The Cut
  • Massively popular, the Merrell Moab 2 offers durability, cushioning, a Vibram sole for tough trails, and a wide range of sizes, all at an affordable price.
PROS

Affordably-priced

Well-padded ankle

Breathability is good for hot feet

CONS

Waterproofing is iffy

Best for Hot Weather

Altra took the performance shoe game to a new height by introducing us to running shoes designed to fit a foot naturally, without crunching the toes. The Lone Peak Hiker builds on the company’s signature FootShape, but with hiking boot qualities like a cushioned ankle support and an outsole designed to tackle rocky terrain.

As some of the most comfortable hiking boots we’ve ever encountered, the Lone Peak Hiker almost lets you forget you’re wearing a boot. At slightly over one pound per pair, these are not your classic super-heavy, built-up hiking boots. The upper is made with a breathable and abrasion-resistant mesh that’s great for hot-weather hiking. Feet swelling is inevitable, and the breathability of the Lone Peak Hiker combined with the wider-than-average toe box makes these extra comfortable.

If you plan to hike in wet conditions, the Lone Peak Hiker isn’t for you. It has zero water resistance or waterproofing, so these are not the boots to hike in on a muddy trail. But if lightweight, all-day comfort is your main priority, Altra’s Lone Peak Hiker boots are as impressive as the summit views.

Product Specs
  • Color options: Three
  • Outsole: DuraTread rubber
  • Upper: Durable mesh
  • Weight: 1 pound 3.8 ounces
Why It Made The Cut
  • The incredibly comfortable and breathable Altra Lone Peak Hiker is impressively lightweight at just over one pound per pair, making it perfect for hot hikes.
PROS

Super lightweight

Features Altra’s FootShape toe box that allows feet to spread out

Outsoles perform well on dry dirt and rocky trails

CONS

Not designed to be waterproof

What started as a running shoe company has now expanded into making some of our favorite hiking boots. The women’s Topo Athletic Trailventure 2 WP is an all-around excellent hiking boot that’s performed well in all terrain and weather conditions we’ve thrown at them.

The waterproofing on the Trailventure means business. The inner lining is made with eVent material that keeps moisture out but doesn’t suffocate your feet. But should your feet get sweaty, the OrthoLite insoles are antimicrobial and odor-resistant.

Aside from being lightweight, we’re impressed by the feel of the ESS rock plate that makes sharp rocks or roots no issue. I’ve even done some trail running in the Topo Trailventure and felt invincible. Another bonus for some is the lack of leather materials, which means the Trailventure is vegan.

Maybe it’s the way I walk, but I ended up with a lot of the trail inside my boots. I dumped out plenty of pine needles and leaf litter before I drove home. Topo sells gaiters if you also encounter this problem. In no way was this a deal-breaker, though. The Topo Trailventure 2 WP are still my go-to hiking boots when it comes to wet trail conditions.

Product Specs
  • Color options: Two
  • Outsole: Vibram Megagrip rubber
  • Upper: Mesh
  • Weight: 1 pound 10.2 ounces
Why It Made The Cut
  • Comfortable out of the box, the Topo Athletic Trailventure 2 WP keeps feet incredibly protected from getting wet while maintaining breathability so you don’t end up sloshing around in sweaty boots.
PROS

Lightweight cushion

Great for speed hiking

Full-length rock plate for protection

Breathable and waterproof inner bootie

CONS

Trail debris can end up in the boots

If we were to assign ice cream flavors to hiking boots, the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid would be vanilla. We mean this in the most complimentary way — vanilla is a classic, versatile, and dependable flavor that never disappoints. Keen hits on all the features we’re looking for in a boot that can carry us on the trail through any weather. They’re easy to break in, waterproof without being suffocating, and downright comfortable. Keen’s distinct toe guard means you can happily go around kicking all the rocks and roots you like with a diminished likelihood of breaking a toe.

Once on, the Keen Targhee feels more like an athletic shoe than a boot thanks to its sole that feels both stable and protective, but flexible. The four-millimeter lugged sole helps with confidence on less-than-flat terrain. When it comes to durability, the Keen Targhee III is made with a leather upper which adds to its ability to stand up over time. It also adds to the comfort level since over time, the leather will adapt and shape to your individual feet. The leather upper does add to the overall weight of the shoe, but we don’t find that to be a dealbreaker.

Keen’s have a slightly wider toe box, so anyone with narrow feet might feel more comfortable and better supported with our pick for narrow feet, the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid.

Product Specs
  • Color options: 3
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Upper: Oiled nubuck leather
  • Weight: 1 pound 12.4 ounces
Why It Made The Cut
  • Ready for year-round hiking, the Keen Targhee III offers comfort right out of the box, excellent waterproofing, and a durable leather upper that’s both reliable and protective.
PROS

Comfortable for all-day hikes

Wider toe box

Flexible but stable sole

CONS

On the heavier side

Best for Narrow or Wide Feet

In our quest for good hiking boots for women, we can’t leave out those with narrow or wide feet. The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots offers an impressive 13 color choices, and many of them come in standard, narrow, and wide sizes. Many of our top picks — like both pairs of the Altras, Topo Athletic, and Keen — have a naturally wider toe box, but narrow feet are likely to feel great in the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid.

Lowa started making the Renegade hiking boot 25 years ago and they’ve been award-winners since 2014, providing trusted support through the all-leather construction. The leather components, in addition to the grippy Vibram EVO rubber outsoles and the superior Gore-Tex waterproofing, means the Lowa Renegades don’t come cheap. They’re the most expensive boot on our list of top picks, but we think their durability should last long enough to justify the higher price tag.

Product Specs
  • Color options: 13
  • Outsole: Vibram EVO rubber
  • Upper: Nubuck leather
  • Weight: 2 pounds 2 ounces
Why It Made The Cut
  • A trusted hiking boot for over 25 years, the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid stands out with its color and width options, all-leather construction, and awesome waterproofing.
PROS

Impressive range of sizes and colors

All-leather design means excellent durability

High ankle support for good stability

CONS

Heavier than most hiking boots

Pricier than many options

Best for Winter Hiking

I spent a winter in northern Finland, just to see what life was like near the Arctic Circle in the darkest months. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned was that I was wearing the wrong boots. Everyone who lived there knew better than me, and they were all wearing Icebug boots. The Swedish company has winter hiking sorted with the Stavre Women’s BUGrip GTX boot. With 16 carbide-tipped metal studs, slipping on an icy winter hike is no longer in the cards. Even if your winter hike doesn’t involve ice, these can work great for hard-packed snow on trails that get slippery. If you live in a snow-prone area like Colorado or Alaska, these happen to be excellent daily dog-walking boots to help with grip. They also have great waterproofing ability with a Gore-Tex membrane for slogging through slush.

The BUGrip is a combination of the rubber sole and the metal studs. Each stud moves independently of the others and responds to each step depending on how much pressure is applied. IceBug says it adds extra studs to the boots, so the boots will function just as well even if you lose a few studs.

They look a bit like moon boots, but we think they look cooler than breaking a tailbone on an icy descent. If you live in a snowy climate, you might also benefit from our list of the best snow boots for women.

Product Specs
  • Color options: Two
  • Outsole: Recycled rubber with BUGrip carbide tip studs
  • Upper: Bluesign solution dyed polyester, TPU mudguard
  • Weight: 1 pound 5 ounces
Why It Made The Cut
  • Built to grip on the slipperiest hikes, the Icebug Stavre BUGrip GTX provides great traction while being waterproof, comfortable, and with removable laces that are prone to becoming snowballs.
PROS

BOA fit system removes pesky laces

16 carbide-tipped metal studs for excellent grip in icy conditions

Removable Ortholite Hybrid insoles

CONS

Specific use, especially for the higher price point

Best for Weak Ankles

If you’ve had an ankle injury, heading on a short hike or a backpacking trip can feel intimidating, but the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX Hiking Boot is available to whisper calming affirmations. La Sportiva designed this high boot with its 3D Flex ankle hinge that gives additional support where you need it without sacrificing mobility.

Aside from being great for ankle support, the Nucleo High has Gore-Tex waterproofing and a durable Nubuck leather upper. Expert reviews feel this boot really shines through with its waterproofing ability, thanks to the addition of La Sportiva’s Nano Cell inserts for extra protection.

Typically, leather materials add to the overall weight of the boot, but the La Sportiva’s remain impressively lightweight at one pound six ounces. The lighter weight of the boot is also a benefit for those dealing with weak or compromised ankles.

Sadly, this award-winning hiking boot doesn’t come cheap, and if you’re shopping on a budget, you might be better off with our budget pick — the Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof.

Product Specs
  • Color options: One
  • Outsole: Vibram Nano XS-Trek rubber compound
  • Upper: Nubuck leather
  • Weight: 1 pound 6 ounces
Why It Made The Cut
  • A taller boot with a cushioned ankle means the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX provides excellent ankle support for hikers with weaker or injured ankles, or anyone who likes higher support.
PROS

Tall, well-padded ankle support

Gore-Tex waterproofing

Impact Brake System is great for grip

CONS

Expensive compared to many other options

Altra is all about making comfortable shoes that fit the natural shape of your foot. It perfected the running shoe first, and then built upon that to come up with the Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid Hiking Boot. While these aren’t as sturdy as a more traditional design, the all-weather Lone Peaks do a great job at any distance during all four seasons. The DuraTread rubber outsole gave me traction on a dry, dirt, and pebbled slope that I surely thought I was going to butt-slide down. The inner liner is made with eVent which keeps your feet dry in any type of wet condition but has some breathability to let any unwanted heat escape.

Dare we say these are actually cute hiking boots? They currently come in three color options, none of which we find offensive or overly girly. These could also be great for those with wider feet.

These are a waterproof and slightly taller version of the Altra Lone Peak Hiker which we love for hot-weather hiking. If you don’t plan on utilizing the waterproof abilities of these Altra’s, check out the standard Lone Peak Hiker to save some money.

Product Specs
  • Color options: Three
  • Outsole: DuraTread rubber
  • Upper: eVent fabric
  • Weight: 1 pound 8 ounces
Why It Made The Cut
  • Suitable for a quick post-work hike or a backpacking expedition, the Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR is a girl’s best friend on the trail when comfort is the priority.
PROS

Lightweight meets comfort

Great traction from DuraTread outsoles

eVent weatherproof bootie liner

CONS

Not as stable as some hiking boots

Things to consider before buying women’s hiking boots

Gone are the days of choosing between the four options of hiking boots at the store. Today, we have hundreds of options when searching for the best hiking boots for women. Here’s what to look for when shopping that’ll help you narrow down your options.

Function, materials, and durability

With so many hiking boots on the market, narrowing down the good from the bad should start with deciding what features and materials you’re looking for. I live in the wet Pacific Northwest, so I know I need hiking boots with a waterproof liner. Consider where you’ll be hiking and in what conditions to determine the feature that will suit you best.

The materials of the boot’s construction play directly into how durable the hiking boots are and how long they’ll last. Leather has been a tried-and-true hiking boot material, but we’re seeing some great synthetic alternatives these days that hold up and perform just as well.

Sizing

If your feet tend toward narrow or wide, your hiking boots will definitely need to be sized to accommodate. If you’re physically trying on a pair of boots in the store, try to do it later in the day when your feet are potentially more swollen from simply walking around compared to when you first wake up. It’s also worth checking some reviews to see if any sizing discrepancies seem to be taking place, like that you need to order a half size larger, for example.

FAQs about hiking boots for women

Q: What is the difference between a hiking boot and a hiking shoe?

A: A hiking shoe is lower-profile when compared to a hiking boot, which is typically a mid- to high-top shoe. Most hiking shoes refer to trail runners, designed with a below-the-ankle design while still providing hiking features like extra traction and durability. Hikers with weak ankles might fare best with a hiking boot thanks to the extra support.

Q: Which are the most comfortable women’s hiking boots?

A: Comfort is subjective, so the best hiking boots for you are likely to be different from your fellow trail mates. To help find the most comfortable hiking boots, consider the shape of your foot (wide, narrow, or standard) and look for a boot that matches the features you’re looking for like waterproof, lightweight, etc.

Q: Should you buy hiking boots a size bigger?

A: If you’ll only be wearing chunky wool socks while hiking, you might want your hiking boots to be a larger size than you normally wear. If not, your regular size is probably best when it comes to buying hiking boots.

Final thoughts

The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX hit the sweet spot of a modern take on the classic hiking boot. They provide excellent support without sacrificing mobility, have a super grippy outsole, and keep your feet dry with waterproofing that won’t let you down when you need it most. All of this in an impressively lightweight hiking boot means we’re sold. 

Methodology 

To come up with the best hiking boots for women, I turned to my own closet. On average, I hike three times a week, so my baseline understanding of what qualities to look for in good hiking boots for women were already well intact. But I also started paying attention to boots I was seeing out in the wild and reached out to some female backpacking friends to get their expertise. All of our feet are uniquely shaped and comfort is subjective, so I wanted as many voices as possible. All things considered, we explored 22 pairs of women’s hiking and backpacking boots from 15 brands. We also tried to include a few pairs that we considered stylish hiking boots.

We scanned for categories like waterproofing, what the sole was made of, lug depth, how abrasion-resistant the upper material was, and what kind of sizing was available. We also looked into how long the brand had been making the boot and what changes were implemented for the latest iteration. We considered the price and questioned if we thought it was justifiable. For example, leather almost always comes at a higher price point than synthetic. We wanted to make sure the price was worth the performance of the boot.

While I was able to take some of our top picks out on the trail myself, other pairs we turned to crowdsourcing reviews — both expert and customer. We narrowed down our picks to include the best overall, the best for if you’re shopping on a budget, and then got into some pickier categories like hot weather and icy conditions. Eventually, we deleted enough entries to be left with our top nine picks for women’s hiking boots of which we feel anyone can find a match.