Ladies Hiking Shoes: Making The Best Outdoors Experience
I love going for a long hike in the great outdoors - there is nothing more refreshing than getting off the beaten path and losing myself in nature’s beauty. Whether tackling a major mountain hike or just taking an easy walk through the forest, I’ve learned - the hard way - that footwear can make or break the experience. If you want to enjoy the best hiking, you need the right pair of shoes and boots. I know other women are searching for this elusive find - so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned!
What Makes A Good Hiking Boot For A Woman?
There are many different types of hiking, and depending on what you plan to do, you may prefer either shoes or boots. I like to own both - and I look for different things. In women’s hiking boots, the best features are comfort, ruggedness, and they absolutely must be waterproof. In a hiking shoe, I look for lightweight breathability and traction.
In any case, I have learned that investing in a good quality, top rated hiking shoes will pay for themselves many times over. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite footwear options - maybe they’ll become your favorites too! All of these hiking boot options are lightweight, by the way - between 14 and 16oz per shoe.
First Reviews: Top Rated Light Weight Women’s Hiking Shoes
Lets start out with what I found to be the top 2 light weight hiking shoes for women, because you don’t always need leather and waterproof, sometimes cute and light is best.
1. Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Ventilator - Best Lightweight Hiking Shoe For Versatility & Comfort
Sometimes, you don’t need a full-on hiking boot, but you still need comfortable and supportive footwear for outdoor use. This is where top women’s hiking shoes come in, and they are great options any type of hiking, especially in warmer, summer weather.
Merrell is one of the leaders here. If you need a pair of cute hiking boots to wear on the trail or around town, try the Moab 2 Ventilator. The original version of this shoe has always been a great seller and Merrell recently added the "2" version featuring a splash of new colors! This shoe is particularly designed to support and correct your stride, making it a great choice if you pronate (like I do) or have any other issue with your stance. Merrell’s Q-form insole is to thank for this - and another thing about it is that it’s designed with a woman’s stride in mind.
When reading reviews on this hiking shoe, the most obvious selling feature is versatility. These lightweight hiking shoes are your best bet if you want a pair to take you from the grocery store to the dog park to the mountain path. As a bonus, they’re pretty good-looking shoes, in my opinion - not too rugged, not too sporty.
The Moab 2 is also one of the best shoes for hiking in comfort; many women find they are good to go straight out of the box. They do have an air cushion built into the heel, for a bit of shock cushion each time you take a step; and they have super-duty 5mm lugs (grips) on the bottom of the Vibram sole.
A few things to note here - it’s best to try a 1/2 size larger than your normal shoe size, as these tend to run small. And, they aren’t going to keep your feet dry if you wade across a stream - although they do allow your foot to breathe and are particularly good at wicking away moisture, so you won’t get the dreaded (and un-lady-like) sweaty feet.
2. Merrell's Siren Edge: Lightweight, Cute and Comfy. What's Not To Like?
Another great option for a women’s hiking shoe is the Siren Edge. This is your best buy if you want a more streamlined look - it provides all the benefits of a serious hiking shoe, but looks a lot more stylish than most. Another bonus is the wide range of colours to choose from! You could call this your fashion-friendly hiking shoe.
The Siren Edge is comfortable, due to some thoughtful features included by Merrell. These shoes feature an air cushion inside the heel, which provides a superior level of comfort during those long hikes, especially over rocky terrain. They also feature a Vibram sole, so they offer plenty of traction on uneven or slippery ground.
This shoe also allows your foot to breathe well, with many mesh sections to provide ventilation. The drawback to this, of course, is that the Siren Edge is not waterproof; although many reviewers note that the shoe will repel a certain level of water - if you are caught in a light rainstorm, for example, your feet will not become soaked. But, these are not the shoes to choose if you frequently find yourself wading through streams and wish to keep your feet completely dry.
These shoes are reported to be a good choice for wider feet, but you may wish to try a half size larger than usual if you are unsure. In any case, the shoe features an eco-friendly footbed designed to reduce odours - it offers a good amount of arch support, but is removable for those needing a little more support or wishing to use a custom orthotic.
Overall, the Siren Edge is a stylish, versatile hiking shoe - suitable for on (and off) the trail.
Second Reviews: Great Leather & Waterproof Hiking Boot Options For Females
Let’s move on to my reviews of the best women’s hiking boots. If you do a lot of hiking in rough territory, or in cooler winter weather, you’ll likely prefer boots to shoes - and I particularly like how they support my ankles as well.
3. Keen Women’s Targhee II Waterproof Hiking Boot: Best In Water Protection & Comfort For Varied Hikes
Keen is known for their comfortable, high-quality footwear, and you should consider their Targhee II boots. These are some of the best all-purpose leather boots for rough trail hiking where you deal with uneven ground and lots of water. With the Targhee II, you get the primo combination of support, stability, grip, and moisture protection - all the best features you could want in any women’s hiking boot.
In terms of styling, these hiking boots are are available in a ton of colors, and in my opinion, they look great - sporty, yet rugged at the same time. They have a leather upper, which is important to me because it screams quality; and I prefer a natural material over manmade, if I have the choice. This boot offers a ‘mid-cut’ height on the ankle - which not only looks good, but keeps your footing secure, giving you a great level of support for your ankles, essential for long wilderness adventures.
The grip on these boots is impressive. One look at the 4mm lugs covering the bottom of these ladies hiking boots, and you’ll be seriously convinced that they’ll be stable on any terrain. Plus, they have Keen’s ESS shaft - which grips your heel securely, meaning your foot does not move around as much inside the boot. This is a great feature because not only does it eliminate blisters, but it gives your steps greater stability, which in turn protects your feet and ankles when traveling over uneven, rocky ground.
Rounding out the impressive features of the Targhee II is their level of water protection. Few things will ruin your hike like wet footwear. With these leather hiking boots, you will never have to worry about soggy feet - they are doubly waterproof. The nubuck leather upper repels water on the outside; and inside the boot there is a ‘Keen.Dry’ insert - an inner membrane that vents any moisture that accumulates inside from sweat. So your feet don’t get sweaty, and you can safely slog through puddles, streams, bogs, and anything else the trail might throw at you.
A special footbed in the Targhee II makes these ultra-comfortable, and for the price they are a sound investment. Reviewers note them to be extremely foot-friendly, requiring little (if any) breaking-in time, and many are impressed by arch support. If you need a serious women’s hiking boot, give these a try; as Keen says, they are the ultimate ’four-wheel-drive’ option for your feet!
4. Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Hiking Boot: Good For The Budget, Ideal For Lighter Trail Use
If you’re looking for a women’s hiking boot that is best for occasional hikes, lighter terrain or daily work, consider the Newton Ridge by Columbia. This hiking boot is light on the budget, comfortable, and looks like it means business - it definitely has a less girly look to it, if that appeals to you.
This top women’s hiking boot is waterproof, thanks to its leather upper. It may not keep your feet dry as long as the Targhee, but according to reviews it will definitely get you through puddles, wet grass, and light amounts of water without flooding your feet.
You’ll appreciate the traction here also; Columbia’s ‘Omni-Grip’ sole is designed to work best on many different surfaces. And it is a comfortable hiking boot, with many women reporting great wear straight out of the box.
The best thing about the Newton Ridge Plus is the cost; it comes in substantially less than others, and still offers Columbia quality and comfort. It may not be as rugged nor as long-lived as Keen’s product, but if you use a hiking boot occasionally, or lightly, this may be the best one for you.
5. Ahnu Women’s Montara Hiking Boot: The All-Around Best For Cute Looks, Comfort, & Rugged Waterproof Durability
I’ll admit, I saved the best for last. Ahnu’s women’s leather hiking boots are the perfect all-around footwear - ideal for the serious hiker who wants the whole package: comfort, durability, water protection, and cute, good looks.
The Montara gives you complete ankle support, front and back - wrapping your hard-working legs in a cushion of buttery soft leather. They also have Ahnu’s ‘Numentum HIKE’ technology - basically this means the whole boot is engineered to center and guide your foot, which produces your best stride and keeps your feet aligned and safe when hiking over the roughest terrain.
This top women’s hiking boot is waterproof, thanks to its oiled leather upper; and Ahnu’s ‘E-Vent’ membrane on the inside keeps sweat at bay, letting your feet breathe and relax.
The final touch to this perfect package? A Vibram outsole, offering amazing traction plus rubber toe and heel guards. Trust me, your feet are going to be happy in these boots!
In the end, this boot had me at “Hello”... I would have bought it for looks alone! I love the variety of cute, vibrant colors. That these leather hiking boots offer ladies such high standards of comfort, durability, waterproof and ruggedness - well, that’s the icing on the cake. For all these reasons, the Ahnu Women's Montara is the best for any woman who enjoys the great outdoors.
And from the reviews, it seems many others agree with me!
Leather, Waterproof, Light Or Cute: Choose The Best Ladies Hiking Shoe For Your Needs
In the end, make sure you choose a ladies hiking boot or shoe that is suitable for the terrain you plan to cover - and the best quality you can afford. You will not regret investing in top rated comfort and safety when you are out on the trail, in the elements, and enjoying warm, happy feet. Now go, find your perfect hiking boot or shoe... and then tell all the women you know that hiking is the best way to unwind!
Kelly Taylor (author) from Vancouver Island, West Coast Canada on May 12, 2015:
Oh Leela, I'm sorry, I cannot tell you what style those boots are, I just don't know, but they sure look comfy! That photo from stock imaging I have access to, so I have no idea what make or style they are.
Thanks for reading and your interest!
Leela on May 12, 2015:
Hi Richard, can you tell me what brand and style the brown boots pictured at the top of the page are? The very first picture. Thanks!