The Best Hiking Boots For Women: Guide For Beginners (2024)

Are you feeling lost in the myriad of hiking boots for women? Having a good pair will definitely empower you to dive into the world of outdoor adventure. Since you’re here, allow me to help you figure out which of the highly-raved hiking boots to get!

Overall, it’s best to invest in a well-fitting pair of reliable hiking boots as it helps to prevent injuries while providing comfort for an enjoyable hiking experience.

Why hiking boots matter for women

Statistically, there are more women who suffer from bunions than men. That’s why comfort is one of my top priorities (I have wide feet and don’t want to aggravate my bunions).

On top of that, women’s hips are shaped differently from men’s, which makes us more prone to certain knee injuries. As I’ve gone through knee surgery, I’ve been researching deeply about hiking boots because I want to feel confident during my adventures.

Hence, we need to look at shoes that are specifically made for women – not just for the sizing, but also for the fit and overall support structure. Thankfully, there are many brands that make gender-specific shoes. In this article, I’ll share the best hiking boots for women and talk about each of their features.

This article uses affiliate links where I make a small commission if you make a purchase through my links. It will be at no additional cost to you, but will really help to support Where’s Janice.

What are the best hiking boots for women?

1. Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

Best overall for beginners

The Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof is a popular and versatile choice among outdoor enthusiasts. It is known for its comfort, durability and versatility for use on various terrains.

The leather and mesh combination of the upper shoe material makes it breathable, and the toe box provides ample protection against sharp rocks or other elements.

This hiking boot strikes a balance between the essential elements, ensuring that beginner hikers know they have a reliable boot that can take them places.

Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots - Women

Weight: 1 lb 13 oz

Upper material: Hybrid leather-mesh

Waterproof: M Select Dry membrane

Sole: Vibram TC5+

Available in wide size: Yes (check price here)

Pros

  • Affordable all-rounder
  • Comfortable and has good cushioning
  • Versatile for use on beginner-friendly trails

Cons

  • Does not stand out in this list in terms of traction and stability

2. Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boots

Best for affordability and style

If you’re looking for a stylish hiking boot that is both comfortable and functional, the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped is for you. It features Columbia’s proprietary Omni-Tech waterproof technology, helping you to walk through wet conditions comfortably.

This was my very first hiking boot and I really appreciate how lightweight it is, and that it didn’t require much to break in. The shoes are incredibly comfortable, provide good protection from sharp elements, and are highly durable.

This hiking boot will last you a long time, and is great value-for-money given its versatility and style.

Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boots

Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boots - Women

Weight: 1 lb 12 oz

Upper material: leather, rubber, and mesh

Waterproof: Omni-TECH membrane

Sole: Omni-Grip non-marking rubber

Available in wide size: Yes (check price here)

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Budget-friendly
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Lacks breathability
  • Not great for traction on off-trail terrain

3. Salomon Quest 4 GTX Boots

Best for backpacking and longer treks

The Salomon Quest 4 GTX is a well-supported hiking boot that offers stability and traction. With backpacking, you might be carrying a heavier load and having better stability helps you feel more confident on the trail. On longer treks, you’ll benefit from the traction that allows you to take on scrambling and to go through various terrains.

Salomon has also incorporated its Advanced Chassis technology between the outsole and midsole. This helps to add support to the boot structure, giving you more stability so that you can focus your energy on more efficient strides.

It also features GORE-TEX waterproofing, and durable construction. If you’re a backpacker looking for a reliable, comfortable and durable hiking boot, this is for you.

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Boots

Salomon Quest 4 GTX Boots - Women

Weight: 2 lb 6.4 oz

Upper material: Suede and textile

Waterproof: GORE-TEX membrane

Sole: Contragrip rubber

Available in wide size: Yes (check price here)

Pros

  • Superior stability with Salomon’s Advanced Chassis technology
  • Offers good protection and comfort
  • High-cut ankle support

Cons

  • Can be bulky for a day hike

4. Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX Hiking Boots

Best for all-terrain traction

One way to avoid injuries is to get a pair of hiking boots with good traction and stability. These traits work together to help you feel more sure-footed. The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX is designed to meet the demands of various terrains and hiking preference.

The design features a mid-height ankle support, but also allows some flexibility for you to move freely on your hike. You’ll get optimal traction on a variety of surfaces with the Contragrip outsole that’s made of a durable rubber compound with multidirectional lugs.

Similar to the Salomon Quest, you’ll get the added benefit of the Advanced Chassis technology between the outsole and midsole. This helps you to feel more in control for a more stable hiking experience.

Not only is this hiking boot lightweight and waterproof, you also have good protection via the toe cap which shields your foot from anything you might kick into or trip over. This is definitely a durable hiking boot that doesn’t compromise on comfort.

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX Hiking Boots

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX - Women

Weight: 1 lb 10 oz

Upper material: Synthetic

Waterproof: GORE-TEX membrane

Sole: Contragrip rubber

Available in wide size: Yes (check price here)

Pros

  • Lightweight design
  • Good for traction even on off-trail terrain

Cons

  • Not the best for stability on this list if you’re carrying heavy backpacks

5. La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX Hiking Boots

Best for lightweight backpacking

The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX is relatively lightweight with an emphasis on durability. Its comfortable fit and ankle support are excellent for long-distance trekking with a backpack. The traction provided by the outsole is suitable for various challenging terrains, in addition to the GORE-TEX waterproofing feature.

This hiking boot also features La Sportiva’s Impact Brake System which helps with controlling downhill traction. You’ll also have more control and maneuver the routes more safely with the rugged and aggressive boot outsole.

Overall, this hiking boot is suitable for those who want a lightweight option without sacrificing traction, durability and stability.

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX Hiking Boots

Weight: 1 lb 7 oz

Upper material: Synthetic, PU-coated leather

Waterproof: Yes

Sole: FriXion XF 2.0 rubber

Available in wide size: Yes (check price here)

Pros

  • Feels like a hybrid between a trail runner and hiking boot
  • Good traction on wet rocky terrain

Cons

  • May not be as effective in muddy terrain
  • Some reviews suggest the waterproof feature is easily wet through

How to evaluate the features of hiking boots for women

There are countless opinions about hiking boots, and that’s because each person has their own activity preference and a unique foot type. For example, some people are flat-footed, some are recovering from knee injury, some have broad feet, etc.

Although you will only know what’s best for you after trying and experimenting, here are the main features to look out for in the best hiking boots for women.

Difference between men’s and women’s hiking boots

Based on the shoes I’ve tried (the times I tried wearing my husband’s shoes), women’s shoes are narrower in the heel but broader at the front. This also seems to be the general consensus upon a quick google search.

Comfort

Hiking is all about embracing the great outdoors, and trust me, the last thing you want is sore feet ruining the experience. Quality hiking boots are like your trusty sidekick, offering comfort, support, and protection, allowing you to focus on the breathtaking scenery.

Another aspect of comfort is the amount of cushion in the sole, which affects whether you can feel the rocks or jagged surfaces you step on. However, there are some downsides to having an overly-cushioned sole, such as having lowered sensitivity to the ground which might not be good for rock scrambling or uneven terrain.

Overall, make sure to choose the hiking boot that’s most comfortable for you and your preferred activity, as this differs between individuals.

Stability and ankle support

In general, having good stability is important for terrain that is a bit trickier, such as tackling rocky switchbacks that force your heel to move in many different directions. How much does your hiking boot support and restrict the rotational and lateral forces? If stability is important for your intended hikes, your hiking boot should be rigid enough to help you feel “locked into” your boot.

On top of that, do you need the additional ankle support of a high-cut boot? If you’re tackling uneven terrain with a heavy backpack, boots with greater ankle stability help to provide an additional sense of security.

Hence, if backpacking and rough terrains are what you like to take on, go with hiking boots with greater stability and ankle support.

Waterproofing

Unexpected rain, muddy trails, and wet socks are not so fun. If you don’t want to be deterred by bad weather and trail conditions, consider picking up waterproof boots so that you can stay dry and enjoy the hike.

However, waterproofing usually comes at a premium and many hiking boots for women also come with a non-waterproof version. As long as the shoe is made of a breathable material that can dry quickly, the lack of waterproofing is not a deal breaker. In addition, most of the time even waterproof shoes get soaked in heavy rain or if you’re wading in water.

Traction

Slippery slopes are not our friend. Look for hiking boots with excellent traction that help you feel more in control. You’ll come across many different styles of outsoles, including proprietary technology as well as industry-standard ones like Vibram.

In addition to the outsole material, the lugs of each shoe, which are the raised rubber patterns on the outsole, also determine the suitability of the shoe for various activities and terrains.

Material and breathability

Ever felt like your feet were on fire inside your boots? If you’re planning to hike for long distances or in warm weather, opt for breathable materials that let your feet stay cool and comfortable. This also helps water to dry off in case your shoe gets wet.

Synthetic materials tend to be better suited for this purpose. However, they can be relatively softer material, and toe caps are helpful to help protect the feet in case you stub your toes or trip over something.

In terms of durability, leather is often used to shield the shoe from abrasions. Many shoes use a combination of synthetics and leather in order to achieve the best of both worlds.

Weight

In the ideal world, hiking boots will be as lightweight as possible without compromising on any of the features above. Over longer treks, the weight of your hiking boot starts to wear you down and takes more energy for you to continue moving.

Although you wouldn’t necessarily need the most lightweight option, the best hiking boots strike a good balance between its weight and other important features. They may come at a higher price because this likely requires superior materials and sometimes proprietary technology.

Style

Finding the right hiking boots is like discovering a treasure. Women’s hiking boots are crafted with our anatomy in mind, providing the support and comfort we need. On top of that, style could also be an important factor.

As much as I might deny it, I actually want my hiking boot to be flattering in photos. My first hiking boot was the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus, which I’ve really enjoyed wearing.

If you’re just looking to try out hiking, don’t concern yourself so much about all the features we talked about – and just get a boot that motivates you to get outside!

Conclusion

Finding the right pair of hiking boots is the start of your adventures. Your feet are your trusty companions on the trail, so treat them well. Lace up, hit the trails, and re-evaluate your options as you develop your hiking style and preference over time.

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