Best Hiking Boots for Women for the Ultimate Comfort and Performance

Updated: Apr. 15, 2024

These best hiking boots for women were hand-selected by an avid woman hiker, with top picks from respected brands like Merrell and Columbia.

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Low section of young woman standing on tree trunkTHE GOOD BRIGADE/GETTY IMAGES

In any pursuit, shoes can (and WILL) make or break your experience. This is true whether you’re going for a three-mile run, climbing Mount McKinley or just going for a jaunt around town. As an avid hiker, runner and walker myself, I’m all too aware of that fact.

The wrong shoes will leave you with blisters and bruising while the right hiking boots will make even the toughest outings feel like a breeze. OK, maybe not a breeze, but moving up 1,000 feet in elevation per hour is a lot easier (and more fun!) when your shoes are comfortable and fit your feet.

In fact, although footwear doesn’t appear on the National Park Service’s Ten Essentials list for outdoor activity, we think it’s so important that it should, even if it seems kind of obvious. And that’s why we felt so inclined to bring you an in-depth guide to the best hiking boots for women.

The Best Hiking Boots for Women

1 / 9

Salomon Quest 4 Gore Tex Working Boot Ecomm
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Best Overall Hiking Boots for Women

Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex

The Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex is the best hiking boot for women because it can take you from hard-packed dirt trails to steep, rugged shale to the swampy pathways of the Everglades without problems.

Featuring a Gore-Tex membrane to keep your feet dry in the worst conditions, these boots have a rugged aesthetic, but are flexible in the upper like trail running shoes. They also have an ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) midsole for shock absorption. The rubber lugs on the outsole are aggressive, nearly cleat-like, so you can rest assured they’ll minimize slipping on any terrain.

This all-arounder hiking boot for women aren’t cheap, but if you want just one good pair to take on any type of trail, these are it. Bonus: If you like this, you might also like these new Allbirds trail runner shoes.

Pros

  • Protective outsole
  • Deep, aggressive lugs for traction
  • Waterproof upper made of Gore-Tex
  • EVA foam midsole
  • Fantastic ankle support

Cons

  • Pricey
  • May take some time to break in

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2 / 9

Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots Ecomm
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Best Budget Hiking Boots for Women

Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

For those who aren’t sure if they’ll stick with hiking—or those who simply can’t bear to spend upward of $200 on hiking shoes (we don’t blame ya!)—the Merrell Moab Mid hiking boots check all the boxes for a more palatable price.

First of all, the mid-top height is adorable (as if we have to tell you), and they come in multiple colorways so you can choose the one that best matches your outdoorsy girl vibes. Aesthetics aside, the Moab Mid perform like they cost as much as the overall best hiking boot for women above.

The leather and mesh upper provides water resistance while allowing moisture from inside the shoe to escape. And the traditional metal hook-and-loop closure keeps these Merrell boots secure on your feet. Plus, deep outsole lugs dig into the earth to ensure you stay upright. Bonus: If you’re big on sustainability, you can also opt for the Moab 3 hiking shoes from the new Merrell Scrap Collection.

Pros

  • Easy on the wallet
  • Waterproof
  • Available in various colorways
  • Removable contoured midsole

Cons

  • A little bit stiff at first
  • Mid-top height might not provide enough ankle support for some

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Psst—The Tifosi sunglasses, made for durability and sport, will be your go-to pair for hiking!

3 / 9

Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boots
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Best Waterproof Hiking Boots for Women

Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot

Fashionable? Check. Weatherproof? Check. Comfortable? Check, check, check. This Columbia hiking boot is the rare breed of women’s hiking boots that you can take straight from the trail to a nice dinner, provided the establishment is cool with granola girl vibes.

In addition to being cute as all get-out, these hiking boots are fully waterproof up to the ankle, and they feature an aggressive outsole for superior traction. These are also year-rounders, thanks to the unique “dual-zone winter tread pattern.” A lightweight, yet strong, EVA midsole provides great energy feedback and shock absorption, so you can stay comfortable during long treks.

Pros

  • Fully waterproof
  • Stylish
  • Available in many colors
  • Great energy return from the midsole
  • Good for year-round hiking

Cons

  • Somewhat stiff heel
  • Not very breathable, due to leather construction

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4 / 9

KEEN hiking boots
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Best Wide Hiking Boots for Women

Keen Targhee 3 Mid Height Waterproof Hiking Boots

Having wide feet can make finding any shoes a tough gamble, but especially hiking boots. And going too narrow on hiking boots is not a gamble you want to take, lest you find yourself suffering at the turnaround point of a seven-mile out-and-back. *Gulp.*

Enter: Keen Targhee 3 hiking boots for women, which feature a nicely sized midfoot and forefoot on the standard sizes, but also come in true wide sizes. (Believe it or not, it’s tough to find hiking boots in W sizes.)

You’ll love the performance in addition to the fit: The waterproof breathable membrane keeps environmental water out, but allows sweat to vaporize and leave through the upper. There’s an external support shank to keep your foot positioned correctly, and the mid height provides ample ankle support.

Pros

  • Available in wide sizes
  • Waterproof
  • Good traction
  • External support shank for proper foot positioning

Cons

  • Suede-like fabric can stain easily

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5 / 9

Altra Lone Peak All-Weather Mid Hiking Boots
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Best Zero-Drop Hiking Boots for Women

Altra Lone Peak All-Weather Mid 2 Hiking Boots

One time, I wore Altra Lone Peak mid hiking boots on trail, and I’ll never go back. Truly, the main reason I didn’t choose these as the best hiking boots for women overall is because not everyone is down with the zero-drop lifestyle—and it’s not smart to take zero-drop shoes on a long hike before getting used to your inevitably changed gait.

Between the wide toe box, 25-millimeter stack height and neutral foot positioning due to the nonexistent drop, slipping your feet into Altra hiking boots feels like sticking them right into clouds. This particular version is weatherproof, too, so feel free to romp about on any terrain without fear of soggy socks.

Pros

  • Wonderful cushion despite being zero-drop
  • Altra’s FootShape toe box allows your toes to splay and play
  • Intense (and I mean intense) outsole lugs
  • eVent construction keeps feet dry but wicks moisture from the inside

Cons

  • Wide toe box takes some getting used to

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6 / 9

Columbia Ice Maiden II Hiking Boots
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Best Winter Hiking Boots for Women

Columbia Ice Maiden II Boot

Let me just say this: The Columbia Ice Maiden II hiking boots kept me warm, dry and comfortable on a week-long trip through Wyoming and Montana in March while my friends all suffered through the wet, cold early springtime slush.

I think that has a lot to do with the leather-reinforced toe and mid-calf height of these snowproof boots, as well as the seam-sealed waterproof membrane construction of the upper. Although the outsole lugs aren’t the deepest I’ve seen on snow boots, these don’t have any issues digging into various levels of powder, slush or ice.

Finally, snow boots don’t have a great reputation for being cute, but Columbia did a nice job with the quilted wrap and faux fur at the top of the boot. These are also available in several colors to match your winter wardrobe.

Pros

  • Waterproof, snowproof and ice-proof
  • Extremely warm
  • Fantastic all-weather traction
  • Great ankle support
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Stiff around the toes
  • Faux fur around the top can get somewhat matted

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7 / 9

Topo Athletic Trailventure 2 WP Hiking Boots
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Best Lightweight Hiking Boots for Women

Topo Athletic Trailventure 2 WP Boot

While you might feel like a little too colorful when you initially slip these on (more colorways, Topo, please?), you’ll quickly forget—and stop caring—about the aesthetics when you forget that these are even on your feet. I mean, that’s the best thing we can really ask of hiking boots: to not remember that we’re wearing them.

The Topo Athletic Trailventure 2 WP hiking boots for women are featherweight while feeling plush and supportive, a magical combination on trails. They also happen to be waterproof (hence the “WP” in the name) and feature fantastic traction to take you safely through all types of terrain.

Pros

  • Weigh under 1 pound
  • Waterproof
  • Deep outsole lugs
  • Good for all weather conditions and terrain
  • Nice midsole cushioning

Cons

  • Only two colorways available
  • Look kind of clunky on

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8 / 9

Columbia Trailstorm In Use
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Best Narrow Hiking Boots for Women

Columbia Trailstorm Mid Waterproof Hiking Shoe

The Columbia Trailstorm hiking shoes are a smart option for women with narrower feet. While they don’t come in true narrow sizing—just regular sizes—I wore these boots for several months and found that they run very narrow compared to all of my other hiking boots.

I wanted to love these, but ended up getting rid of them because they were just too narrow for me—which was bad news for me, but is great news for lady hikers out there with a narrower foot structure!

The Trailstorm Mid boots are fully waterproof. I’ve taken them on shoreline hikes and through many stream crossings with no water seeping in and soaking my socks. I will say, however, that these aren’t the most breathable boots, so sweat can get trapped and make for a slightly mushy feeling by the end of the hike.

I love how durable these boots are, with an ultra-reinforced toe and heel, and rock guards on the outsole. The mid height prevents debris from entering the shoe and getting stuck, and the very plush tongue lends a lot of comfort to the bony upper of the foot.

If Columbia made these in wide sizes, I’d likely buy them again. But for now, all my narrow-footed ladies, enjoy!

Pros

  • Runs narrow
  • Fully waterproof
  • Sturdy lacing system
  • Extremely durable
  • Reinforced heel and toe

Cons

  • Not the most breathable option
  • Mine got quite smelly after a few months

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9 / 9

Altrea Lone Peak Low 2 Edit
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Best Hiking Shoe for Women

Altra Lone Peak 6 Trail Running Shoe

This trail running shoe or hiking shoe is the same as the Altra Lone Peak mid hiking boot covered above as the best zero-drop hiking boot for women, but this version features a low-top height, making it ideal for anyone looking for more of a shoe than a boot.

The low-top version features all of the same things I love about the mid-top version: wildly effective underfoot traction, a reinforced toe box, waterproofness, a super roomy toe box and a plush EVA midsole for shock absorption. Altra Lone Peaks are loved by many, and it’s clear to see why: They are comfortable, effective and durable. I’ve taken my low-tops on trail runs on varying terrain and they haven’t let me down.

My one callout is that these are a zero-drop shoe, meaning your heel and toes sit at the same height off of the ground. This style isn’t for everyone and it can take some getting used to, but I’m confident that most people will begin to love it quickly. That said, if you have any diagnosed foot conditions or an injury, it’s best to talk to your physical therapist before switching to zero-drop shoes.

Pros

  • Wide, roomy toe box
  • Waterproof
  • Fantastic traction
  • Plush ankle collar
  • Reinforced toe box

Cons

  • Zero-millimeter drop takes some getting used to
  • Not ideal for those who need a lot of arch support

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What to Consider When Buying Hiking Boots for Women

The most important consideration when buying hiking boots is fit. It may be tempting to buy boots based on style, but don’t be fooled by cute colors and patterns. Fit comes first—always. You want a boot that allows your toes room to wiggle and splay, gently cradles your heel and doesn’t press down on the top of your foot.

Next, consider various performance aspects, such as waterproofness and traction. Waterproof, or at least water-resistant, boots are a good idea if you’ll be trekking through wet conditions. Plus, it’s a crucial element in cold weather environments where snow and ice are present. As for traction, the deeper the lugs, the more types of terrain they’ll dig into. Deep lugs are essential for slippery trail conditions.

Types of Hiking Boots for Women

Trying to decode the types of hiking boots? We have you covered:

  • All-weather: can be worn in any weather conditions
  • All-terrain: suitable for any type of terrain
  • High: rises an inch or more above the ankle bone
  • Low: sits beneath the ankle bone, like a sneaker
  • Mid: rises to just above the ankle
  • Waterproof: keeps water from rain, puddles and water crossings out of your boots
  • Wide: designed for wider feet
  • Winter: designed specifically for hiking through snow and ice

How We Found the Best Hiking Boots for Women

I’ve been an avid hiker for nearly 10 years now. I’ve hiked trails of all difficulty classes from coast to coast, and I’ve spent a lot of time (and money) trying out new hiking boots. As a gear reviewer, I take my commitment to finding quality products seriously. I don’t like wasting money and I’m sure you don’t either, so I put in a lot of effort to bring our readers quality, honest and authentic recommendations based on real-life experience. I hope my years of hiking and backpacking experience are helpful in your quest to find the best hiking boots for you.

FAQ

Is it better to have hiking boots or hiking shoes?

These two terms can be used somewhat interchangeably, but hiking shoes are more likely to be low-top models, whereas boots are typically mid- or high-top models. One isn’t inherently better than the other; it just depends on the type of terrain you’ll be hiking on and how much ankle support you need.

Should I go up a size in hiking boots?

Follow the brand’s sizing charts. If the brand recommends sizing up, or you see many customer reviews indicating you should size up, then it’s probably a wise choice. If not, stick to your usual size.