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Hiking has become an increasingly popular outdoor activity. Not only is it a great form of exercise, but it can be a nice reprieve from city life or lots of time spent indoors (over the past year and a half, we know what that’s been like). In fact, in a time of social distancing, hiking can offer mental health benefits — as studies have shown that spending time outdoors can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Like any new hobby or fitness routine, you need to make sure you’re outfitted in the right clothes, accessories, and gear to ensure you have a pleasant day outdoors. In particular, wearing one of the best hiking boots can keep you safe and protected from any slips and falls while in the wilderness.
When searching for a new hiking boot, fit should be your top concern. Dr. Brad Schaeffer, Owner of SOLE Podiatry N.Y.C. says, “A good hiking boot will provide stability and support for the foot, limit injury and provide adequate shock absorption and comfort.”
When trying on hiking boots, make sure there is plenty of space in the toe box without your foot feeling loose inside the boot. To test this out, Dr. Schaeffer says to stand upright and slide your foot forward until it hits the front of the shoe. You should be able to slip your index finger between the heel and back of the boot.
He also adds that your heel should not lift as you walk. “If this is happening, it will provide an opportunity for blisters to form,” he notes, “which we all know are painful and lead to injury.”
Vionic Innovation Lab Member and Nationally Renowned Podiatrist Jackie Sutera DPM also says that since feet swell due to activity, it’s best to try on shoes at the end of the day when feet are at their widest. And, when trying on boots, she recommends wearing “socks that aren’t too bulky, as these can make the boot fit tight.”
If you suffer from any foot concerns like plantar fasciitis, bone spurs, hammertoes, or bunions, look for styles with support features (such as contoured footbeds, deep heel cups or wide, flexible toe boxes) that cater to each issue. For additional underfoot support, Dr. Schaeffer suggests using Dr. Scholl’s heavy-support orthotic.
Dr. Sutera also recommends hiking boots that hit higher on the ankle with midsole support for the arch to prevent sprains, as well as styles with breathable, waterproof material to protect feet from the elements. When it comes to outsoles, they should be thick with anti-slip traction.
The popularity of hiking has expanded the market, making the shopping experience overwhelming. The safety features these shoes provide makes them worth the investment, but you want to make sure you find the best hiking boot for your specific feet. Here are the 15 best hiking boots for women to get you ready to get on the trails.
Hoka One One Tennine Hike Gore-Tex Boot
Best Lightweight Hiking Boot
For a fashion-forward hiking boot, this one certainly has an intriguing look. But anyone that has ever run in Hoka One sneakers knows the value of a thick sole. The extended heel provides not just a bold appearance but a smooth gait, peak traction and an efficient heel-to-toe transition. Gore-Tex used in the construction is sustainable, as is the recycled polyester employed in the pair’s laces, pull tab and webbing. And, a Vibram Litebase outsole construction ensures these won’t weight feet down in the slightest, with the pair weighing under one pound.
Salomon Vaya Mid Gore-tex
Best Woman-Specific Fit
Constructed specifically for a woman’s foot with an ergonomic snug fit, this shoe sits just above the ankle, providing extra stability. An OrthoLite insole provides top-level cushioning as well as breathability to keep them from getting stinky. A stitch-free construction and laces that lie flat reduce pressure points and friction. The sole is all Gore-Tex, so you know nothing from the outside will hit your feet.
The North Face VECTIV Exploris Mid FutureLight
Best Cushioned Hiking Boot
For a very cushiony option, The North Face’s Vectiv Exploris is decked out with technology to propel you forward as you walk. The sleek construction helps reduce fatigue in your leg and maximizes energy. The footbed is partly made with recycled rubber and is super grippy. One reviewer commented that these even worked on slippery pond rocks, which we know is one of the slickest surfaces around.
Danner Jag Hiking Boots
Best Classic Model
While this pair debuted over 40 years ago, it’s still one of the best hiking boots for women for a reason. Constructed with a suede and knit upper, this heavy-duty boot is durable and sturdy while still being comfortable. It’s also waterproof with a rubber sole that will always keep you upright no matter how rocky or smooth the ground becomes.
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boot
Best for Bunions
As the top-rated hiking boot on Amazon with over 13,000 five-star reviews, this pair is the real deal. Leather and mesh create a waterproof mountaineering-style boot. While this style looks heavy-duty, it’s actually comfortable and reasonably lightweight. A lace-up closure provides a secure fit. It comes in fun color options as well as all-black. Additionally, the shoes are available in wide width options, which some customers noted created a comfortable fit for their bunions.
Timberland Chocorua Trail Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots
Timberland’s Chocura hiking boot features a durable lug sole with a super thick heel that’s shock-absorbing, plus a waterproof full-grain leather upper to keep feet dry. Both these features might make you think the shoe is bulky, but it’s actually quite lightweight (in fact, the size seven is only one pound).
Vasque Clarion ’88 Gtx Waterproof Hiking Boot
Best Waterproof Hiking Boot
An iconic retro look with a color pop means these will look just as good in city settings as they do in the deep woods. Durable suede and Gore-Tex also makes this one of the best waterproof pair of hiking boots for women on the market. Buyers noted that they were easier to break in compared to similar models.
Merrell Moab 2 Mid GTX Hiking Boot
Best Women’s Hiking Boots for High Arches
Offering ultimate support for arches, this Merrell boot has a contoured footbed, molded arch shank (a supportive structure located between the insole and outsole) and zoned-in padding at the arch and heel. The inclusion of Gore-Tex makes these waterproof, allowing you to stay protected in downpours or when crossing through shallow streams. Customers note these are easy to break in, too.
Keen Targhee Ii Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Best Boots for Wide Feet
Reviewers rave about the large footbed on this style, which makes it one of the best womne’s hiking boots for wide feet. An all-terrain rubber sole, which is also waterproof, ensures you can take this pair from flat soil to a rocky hills.
Best Modern Design
If you love On’s popular running shoes, you’ll want to reach for the brand’s Cloudridge hiking boot for hitting the trails, too. The pair offers a similar aesthetic and design to the label’s trail running shoes, using signature technology that maintains the rolling motion of your foot even on bumpy terrain. This not only offers underfoot support but also prevents tension buildup, allowing you to finish your hike without giving up and helping to prevent injury. The style is also lightweight, making it great to pack on camping trips.
Hi-Tec Skamania Boot
Best Budget Women’s Hiking Boots
When it comes to a quality, affordable hiking boot, you can’t get much better than this pair from Hi-Tec. Thick padding along the collar and a secure vamp promote a comfortable, locked-in fit. These also come in wide-width options for anyone who needs a bit more room upfront.
La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX Hiking Boots
Best Hiking Boots for Backpacking
For multi-day treks into the backcountry, these have a thick, treaded sole and Nano-Cell technology for breathability. Molded insoles provide some cushion, so you shouldn’t feel every pebble or branch underneath your step. The pair is also waterproof, lightweight, and offered in regular and wide widths.
Teva Grandview GTX Boot
With a more compact yet still rugged look, this waterproof Teva bootie is ready for anything that comes its way. The rich leather upper is equipped with quick-dry webbing, while a nylon construction supports your foot as the terrain below you changes. The outsole should keep you stable on both wet and dry terrain. And made with a Repreve polyester yarn composed of recycled plastic, this pair is one you can really feel good about buying.
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots
Also Consider for High Arches
Women with high arches will appreciate this hiking boot that has plenty of underfoot support. A unique construction in the midsole creates a stable frame with less weight, while a Vibram Evo rubber composes the outsole with superb traction. For 360 degrees of comfort, the boot also includes nylon along the ankle and a padded tongue.
Oboz Sapphire Mid B-Dry Hiking Boot
Complete with a high-density cushion insole, these are another excellent hiking shoe with arch support. What’s more, they include a waterproof membrane with a moisture-wicking, quick-dry interior. Reliable traction and a shock-absorbing sol finish off this colorful pair of outdoor adventure boots.