The best hiking boots for women

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Star Icon A bookmark shape with a star on it. The best women's hiking boots overall
Forge GTX (Women's) Forge GTX (Women's)
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The best women's hiking boots for backpacking
Breeze AT Mid GTX Breeze AT Mid GTX
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The best women's hiking boots for technical hikes
Explorer GTX Mid Explorer GTX Mid
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The best women's hiking boots for light and fast day hikes
Bravada Waterproof Bravada Waterproof
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The best budget women's hiking boots
Explore Vent Hiking Shoes Explore Vent Hiking Shoes
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  • A reliable pair of hiking boots is one of the most important pieces of anyone's outdoor kit as they're primarily responsible for comfort, stability, and traction no matter if you're backpacking or out for a quick day hike. 
  • Not all hiking boots are created equal, and shopping for a women-specific hiker isn't as easy as just buying a smaller men's boot.
  • One of the biggest differences between men's and women's hikers is the shape of the boot and where it offers the most support. 
  • Our top pick, the , offers a customized fit via heat molding, is made of a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane, and can tackle everything from rocky trails to muddy paths with ease. 

The most important feature of any hiking boot is that it comfortably fits your foot — no matter how basic that sounds, it's vital. Thing is, you won't always know if a boot properly fits when you first slip your foot into it — sometimes pressure points pop up after it's been on for an hour or two. 

If possible, wear any new boots at home before they hit the trail. The last thing you want is to be several miles from a trailhead, nursing a painful blister. Even boots that say they've been pre-broken in still need some period of being actually broken in. 


It's also important to know the kind of terrain you plan on traversing, as well as the load you intend to carry. All hiking boots have a shank in the midsole to stabilize the boot or shoe and to protect your feet from getting bruised by rocks and roots. That's what makes even the lightest ones different from running shoes. 

If you're carrying a heavy backpack, you'll want increased support from your boot than if you're traveling fast and light. And if the trail is rocky, off-camber or uneven, be sure to choose a shoe or boot with a lot of stability, especially if you tend to turn your ankles. A taller boot provides more ankle support and helps you carry heavier loads more confidently. 

Leather boots often last several years, even with endless abuse. Even modern textiles can take a beating and still hold up. The advantage of either fabric, or a combination of fabric and leather, is that it's often much lighter than a full leather boot. 

Most boots feature a waterproof, breathable membrane that keeps your feet dry and comfortable in sloppy conditions. However, boots with a waterproof, breathable membrane will be hot for dry, summer hikes, so you'll want a membrane-free boot for those. 


Women's hikers are typically built on a narrower last than men's boots. If you have wide feet and find that most women's boots don't fit, opt for a custom moldable boot like our top choice, Tecnica's Forge GTX. 

You can also try a men's boot but you might trade the space you need in the forefoot for too much space in the heel. Some brands also offer a variety of width sizes. Going this route is better since the rest of the boot takes into account the shape of a women's foot.

Check out the boot sole before you buy to see if it's knobby enough to grip on the trails you'll be trekking, too. If you plan on hiking where it's rooty, rocky, steep, or slippery, a more aggressive tread is appropriate. If you'll just be scampering through National Parks on sandy herd paths or fine gravel, a lighter tread might serve you better. 

11选5精准杀号法This is also true if you want your hikers to do double duty. For travel, casual exploring, and weekend errands, opt for a lower profile sole and a lighter boot or shoe.  

Weight on your feet is effectively heavier than the weight you carry anywhere else. That's because as you walk, you swing your feet and thus, your boots. Because it's in constant movement, a heavy boot can tire you out faster. Pick a boot that's heavy enough to handle your adventure but not so heavy it'll fatigue you.  

11选5精准杀号法With so many brands offering their own take on a women's hiking boot, it's often hard to narrow down what's worth buying. We've tested boots from top companies like Tecnica, Vasque, and Merrell across a variety of day hikes and backpacking trips to help make that selection process easier.

Here are the best women's hiking boots:

  • Best overall:
  • Best for backpacking:
  • Best for technical hikes:
  • Best for light and fast day hikes:
  • Best on a budget:

Updated on 7/8/2020 by Rick Stella: Checked the availability and price of each selected boot, updated the section on what to look for when shopping, and updated the links and formatting throughout. 

The best women's hiking boots overall

Forge GTX Lifestyle
Tecnica Forge GTX
Berne Broudy/Business Insider


For me, was surprisingly comfortable right out of the box and I wore it off the shelf for the first couple of weeks. It's wider in the toebox but laces cinch from behind the ball of the foot so I never felt like my foot was swimming inside. 

11选5精准杀号法Getting that perfect fit comes by way of Tecnica's unique heat molding process. This shaped the footbed exactly to my foot and custom-tuned the heel pocket. Even if you purchase these online, any Tecnica dealer is able to take in any boot for the custom fit process — a process that takes about 15 minutes. 

The custom-fit is just one of the great features of . The gusseted tongue uses an overlapping wrapped construction that gets rid of pressure points while thin, self-locking laces tighten up the ankle and leave the toe box looser on ascents and batten down on descents. Between custom fitting and secure and tunable lacing, don't require a break-in process and I never had painful blisters or hot spots. 

The waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX Extended Comfort membrane kept my feet dry in rainstorms and river crossings, and the Vibram Forge MegaGrip outsoles had superb traction even on wet and slimy rocks. 

11选5精准杀号法A reverse chevron lug pattern put the brakes on for best in class footing on downhills, even when I was carrying a load. Its two-layer EVA midsole also put spring in my step when I wore these, while the thermoplastic urethane shank kept my feet from getting bruised by rocks and roots. 

is a rugged, durable backpacking boot with superior support for anyone. If a full height boot feels like too much, not to worry; Tecnica also makes a fabric version, which comes in a variety of colors, as well as a mid-height version for hikers who want a boot that can be custom-molded for lighter duty use.

Pros: Custom moldable, super-durable, superior traction in all conditions, and very supportive

Cons: Not as versatile as some other boots, they need to be molded by a Tecnica dealer

$270.00 from REI

The best women's hiking boots for backpacking

Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX
Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX
Berne Broudy/Business Insider


In summer, sometimes a Gore-Tex boot can be too hot. But when you're backpacking and out for days, weeks, or even months, you're likely to encounter all kinds of weather, so opting for waterproof is always a good call. minimizes moisture build-up with abrasion-resistant mesh panels and venting in the leather upper, yet still has waterproof cutouts in the foot. The fabric ankle acts as a chimney to channel moisture out of the boot and away from your foot. 

The 's sole has an aggressive tread pattern but it didn't trip me up. Horizontal ridges in the sole's toe bit into the trail where it was steep and scrambly, and heel lugs helped me control my speed on downhills. Most of the sole uses multi-directional lugs which were effective in providing solid footing when the trail was off-camber, though they made normal walking feel secure.

A tailored heel pocket and Achilles support enhanced control without compromising comfort, too. It's not the most cushioned boot but EVA pods in the midsole give it enough shock absorption for the trail. When the trail got rough or many miles long, a polyurethane shank protected my feet and kept this boot laterally stable. 

11选5精准杀号法Made for versatility and durability, these mid-cut boots are also waterproof and burly enough to help you haul a heavy pack without slowing you down.

Flexible fabric on the gusseted tongue made it easy to tighten the ankle lacing, which stayed tight as the day went on. Though the lacing doesn't go to the toe, it does go far enough down to let me cinch the boot down snugly. It's best for narrow feet, so if you have a wide foot, consider the men's version.

Pros:11选5精准杀号法 Breathable for a boot with a waterproof membrane, super stable carrying loads even though it's not a full height boot

Cons:11选5精准杀号法 Heavy for a mid-height boot, only fits narrow feet

$189.95 from REI

The best women's hiking boots for technical hikes

Lowa Explorer GTX Mid
Berne Broudy/Business Insider


11选5精准杀号法From day hikes to all-day treks to overnight backpacking, the 's softer build and lightweight midsole helped me cover many miles without beating my feet up. 

Its supple leather upper features a thin, rock-repelling toecap to save weight while also minimizing wear and tear. The meshy fabric cuff did a great job sucking moisture from the inside of the boot and channeling it out where it could evaporate. 

cushions your trek with a shock-absorbing midsole with an extra cushioning wedge in the heel to reduce impact over long miles. The boot's easy walking flex comes from both the trail debris-repelling gusseted fabric tongue and fabric cutouts at the ankle and heel. Combined with a Vibram Megagrip sole, the gave me solid footing on slippery stream crossings and steep stepladders of roots. 

11选5精准杀号法The sole is one of the most versatile in this guide, with aggressive lugs that bite into rocks and mud. Thankfully, the lugs are placed close enough together that they don't weigh me down or trip me up on forest tracks and less technical terrain. 

Webbing lacing on the bottom pairs with metal ankle hooks, so you can control how tight you cinch down the boot — as well as where your foot has support versus where it has more room to breathe.  

Pros: Lightweight even though it's leather, versatile sole worked in many conditions, the more you wear it the more comfortable it gets

Cons: Lowa could have shaved weight and made these eye-catching with more technical lacing

$240.00 from REI

The best women's hiking boots for light and fast day hikes

Merrell Bravada Lifestyle
Merrell Bravada Waterproof
Berne Broudy/Business Insider


Not only do low-cut hikers feel cooler than a boot (even if it's waterproof) but they're almost always lighter, which often makes it feel like you can move faster. 

was designed by a collective of 60 trail-loving women. The knit, meshy upper has a stretchy tongue attached on both sides to keep trail debris out, as well as lace loops that are welded on with the same TPU Merrell uses for abrasion resistance in the toe and sides of . 

I really liked the 's unusual heel design. The heel pull tab isn't a loop like on most boots but a higher cut Achilles articulated away from the foot and leg, so the boot hugged my ankle without giving me blisters — it never felt pinchy, either. The springy EVA foam midsole felt sneaker-springy but stable and it's reinforced to protect feet. 

's low-profile sole is appropriately aggressive for a hiker of this height and it's sticky, too, which makes the boot a confidence-inspiring rock scrambler. Merrell also offers these in a non-waterproof version.

Pros:11选5精准杀号法 Great price, technical materials, and design make this well-suited for longer days, works for a wide variety of foot shapes. 

Cons: Lightweight upper won't last as long as boots with leather or fabric/leather blend

$129.94 from Zappos

The best budget women's hiking boots

Keen Women's Explore Vent
Berne Broudy/Business Insider


11选5精准杀号法TPU overlays give the 's upper solid structure and abrasion resistance, and it also features specific rock protection at the toe. Selective padding on the medial and lateral sides keep bumps and scrapes from hurting your foot, too. Though it's not waterproof, the boot has plenty of mesh, making it highly breathable. 

Low profile lacing threads through webbing that wrap around the heel to lock your foot into the boot's sole, giving you both control and stability. An Achilles cutout provides a non-restrictive sneaker-like feel, while its midsole mushrooms out wider than the heel for stability and cushion. Its all-terrain sole had impressive grip for low profile 4-millimeter lugs, which walk just as well sightseeing as scampering up to an overlook. 

11选5精准杀号法Keen also sets a high bar for environmental responsibility. 's footbeds are infused with probiotic technology that naturally breaks down odor and sweat without heavy metals or hazardous chemicals. 

11选5精准杀号法 comes in four different colorways and has a price tag of just $115, making it one of the best deals on this guide. 

Pros: A great summer shoe for hikes, walks, and everyday adventures, super breathable

Cons: Not a lot of protection if you get into more technical terrain

$84.93 from REI

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