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Best Hiking Boots for Women: 14 Pairs for Female Feet in 2024

Womens hiking boots

Learn what to look for when choosing from this top class selection of the best hiking boots for women

Walking boots are certainly made for walking and to make sure that’s just what they’ll do, the feet within them need to be the happy kind. So whether you are out for a half hour stroll with the dogs each day or gearing up for a multi-day hike, make sure you treat your feet with the respect they deserve and put them in a pair of the best hiking boots for women available this year.

Full details of each pair of women’s boots can be found later in the article. But as a quick reference our comparison table shows the basics of the best hiking boots for women in 2024… what a selection!

Summary of the 13 best hiking boots for women in 2024

Disclaimer: We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

BootTypeWeight (per pair)UppersPrice
Vivobarefoot Tracker II FG Hiking BootsLightweight for fast hiking and everyday use895g / 2lbsLeather$$$
Oboz Ousel Mid Waterproof Hiking BootsMid height for lowland hikes, wet weather and everyday use800g / 1.76ozLeather$$
Lowa Trek Evo Mid GTW Hiking BootsLightweight for fast hiking and trekking920g / 2.03lbsSynthetic$$$
Keen Tempo Flex WP Hiking BootsLightweight for fast hiking and everyday use740g / 1.6lbsSynthetic$$
Scarpa SL Active WMN Hiking BootsMid weight for winter day hikes, scrambling and multi-day trekking1.35kg / 2.97lbsLeather$$$
Vivobarefoot Magna TrailLightweight for hill walking and everyday wear500g / 1.1lbsRecycled PET$$
Lowa Lady Light GTXMid weight for backpacking and trekking1020g / 2.2lbsNubuck leather$$$
Asolo Greenwood GV MLMid weight for backpacking and trekking1160g / 2.6lbsPerwanger leather$$$
Meindl Bhutan Lady MFSMid weight for backpacking and trekking1150g / 2.53lbsNubuck leather$$$
La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTXLightweight for backpacking or fast and light hiking624g / 1.3lbsNubuck leather$$
Lowa Renegade GTXMid weight for backpacking and trekking1110g / 2.4lbsNubuck leather$$
Keen Targhee II MidLightweight for day hikes804g / 1.77lbsNubuck leather$
Merrell Moab 2 Mid WPMid weight for day hikes and short multi-day treks904G / 2lbsSuede and mesh$
Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTXMid weight for backpacking and trekking1020g / 2.25lbsNubuck leather and synthetic$$

Frequently asked questions when buying the best hiking boots for women

Which hiking boots offer good arch support?
La Sportiva’s Nucleo boots provide excellent support through the arches but are only suitable if you have narrow feet unless you opt for the wide version. Otherwise, the Merrell Moabs are highly supportive in the arch as well as the heel.
What are the best hiking boots for narrow feet?
The Nucleo boots by La Sportiva run narrow and are exceptionally comfortable for those with narrow feet. The Lowa Renegades are also available in a narrow fit, and the Salomon Quests are a brilliant option for those with narrow feet.
What are the best hiking boots for women with wide feet?
Keen hiking boots are always popular with people who have wide feet, and the wide toe box of the Lowa Lady Lights are also a good option if like a little more space in this area.
What are the best lightweight women’s hiking boots?
La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX boots and are an excellent lightweight choice that offer stability as well as low weight. Otherwise, the Keen Tempo Flex WP Hiking Boots are also super lightweight. However, the Vivobarefoot Magna Trail are the lightest boots on are list at only 500g / 1.1lbs.
What are the most comfortable hiking boots for women?
Comfort can be different for everyone and depends highly on how well you choose your hiking boots to match your hiking style and foot shape. But a couple of great places to start in terms of general comfort are the Oboz Ousel Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots, Keen Tempo Flex WP Hiking Boots boots and the Lowa Trek Evo GTX Mid hiking boots.
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14 of the best hiking boots for women in 2024

Vivobarefoot Tracker hiking bootsClose ups of Vivobarefoot Tracker boots

Vivobarefoot Tracker II FG Hiking Boots

Eco-conscious: Recycled plastic membrane and liner, naturally scarred wildhide

Good for: Fast and light hiking, day hikes and everyday wear
Weight: 895g / 2lbs
Waterproof: Leather
An excellent option for the eco-conscious hiker is the Vivobarefoot Tracker II FG Hiking Boots. These gorgeous looking boots are a more stylish, robust and heavier-weight version of their Magna Trail counterparts, below. The soles offer the same flexible sticky rubber grip along with 4mm lugs and a zero drop design. But the leather uppers provide more warmth, support and durability, resulting in an exceptionally comfortable hiking boot that lets your toes splay and your feet behave naturally.

At around 895g per pair, they are still on the lightweight side, especially for leather boots. Plus, they’re the most eco-friendly leather hiking boots you’ll come across.

For more information read our full review of the Vivobarefoot Tracker II FG Hiking Boots.


  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Promotes natural gait and movement
  • Stylish for everyday use
  • Great colour!


  • They crease easily at the toes
  • They don’t look new for long

Find the latest price at:

Oboz Ousel Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots
Oboz Ousel Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

Oboz Ousel Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots

Good for: Lowland hiking, everyday wear
Weight: 800g / 1.76oz
Waterproof: B-dry membrane

Eco-conscious: 25% post-industrial waste membrane, Oboz plants a tree for every pair of footwear sold

In true Oboz form, these mid-height boots offer unrivalled comfort with an appealing aesthetic for hiking and everyday wear alike. The Oboz Ousel Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots compare most closely to the Keen Tempo’s below, providing a low weight, casual alternative to more traditional hiking boots like the Scarpa and Meindl boots on our list. However, they offer greater support and performance than the Tempo’s and deal very well with wet and wintry conditions thanks to the leather outer and B-dry membrane combo.

These stylish boots are an excellent option when it comes to versatility and are well suited to low level hill walking as well as day and multi-day hikes on moderate terrain. The mid-height design adds to their ease and casual appeal. But also means that they are less well suited to hiking in snow or for river crossings, which is a shame as the waterproofing would allow such use.

For more information read our full review of the Oboz Ousel Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots.


  • Super comfortable
  • Highly versatile
  • Stylish
  • Good value


  • Laces are on the short side
  • Mid height is a bit limiting for winter use

Find the latest price at:
Oboz | REI

Keen NXIS EVO Waterproof BootClose ups of Lowa hiking boots

Lowa Trek Evo Mid GTW Hiking Boots

Good for: Lightweight and fast hiking and trekking
Weight: 920 g / 2.03 lbs
Waterproof: Gore-Tex
The ever-popular German hiking boot brand, Lowa, turned 100 years old in 2023. And to celebrate, they’ve released their newest creation: the Lowa Trek Evo Mid GTW Hiking Boots. This lightweight, women’s specific boot will delight vegan hikers who can enjoy the exceptional grip of the Vibram Rock Trac Sense soles. This, coupled with Lowa’s new DynaPU+ flexible technology, creates a footbed that provides comfort on day hikes and multi-day epics alike.

As well as out-of-box comfort, Ellie, our reviewer, has been very much enjoying their low weight and ability to take on almost any type of hiking terrain she throws at them. And with the additional benefit of a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, these versatile synthetic hiking boots are likely to be spotted more and more on and off the trails in the coming years.

For more information read our full review of the Lowa Trek Evo Mid GTW Hiking Boots.


  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Super lightweight
  • Excellent grip
  • Vegan-friendly


  • The tongue is slightly over-padded
  • the durability isn’t the best

Find the latest price at:

Keen tempo flex hiking bootsClose ups Keen hiking boots

Keen Tempo Flex WP Hiking Boots

Good for: Fast and light hiking, day hikes and everyday wear
Weight: 740g / 1.6 lbs
Waterproof: KEEN Dry

Eco-conscious: Recycled PET rand and Eco Anti-Odour insole

Brand new to Keen’s 2021 spring collection are the innovative and super stylish Tempo Flex WP Hiking Boots. At only a couple of hundred grams heavier than the Vivobarefoot boots, these nimble rock-hoppers are amongst the most lightweight hiking boots for women on our list. Uniquely, they feature a concertina-like panel across the toes which decreases the amount of effort needed to take each step on the trail. According to Keen, this design means that hikers use up to 60% less energy to flex the boot than when wearing other similar weight boots. That means you can hike further and for longer with no more effort required! Clever stuff.

Stats aside, these sneaker-style hiking boots are also rather comfortable. They feel like sneakers / trainers on your feet, but with the added bonus of mid-height ankle support and waterproof protection right over the laces and up to the ankles.

Additionally, they look fab on and are as at home when worn about town or to the pub as they are on the trail. Their grippy soles are excellent in dry conditions on rocky or loose terrain. However, the 4mm lugs don’t do so well when it comes to shedding a build-up of mud on winter trails.

For more information read our full review of the Keen Tempo Flex WP Hiking Boots.


  • Very lightweight
  • Efficient – requires less energy to flex the foot
  • Super stylish
  • Very comfortable
  • Waterproof


  • Toe box not as spacious as regular Keen footwear
  • Not great in muddy conditions – lugs don’t shed effectively

Find the latest price at:
Keen Footwear | Amaon

Scarpa SL Active hiking bootsClose ups of hiking boots

Scarpa SL Active WMN Hiking Boots

Good for: Winter day hikes, scrambling and multi-day trekking
Weight: 1.35kg / 2.97lbs
Waterproof: Leather

The Scarpa SL’s have been roaming the hills and mountains of the UK and Europe for as long as I’ve been alive! They first hit the market in 1983 and have undergone many changes and improvements over the years. The newest version is as popular as ever to those looking for 3-4 season leather boots that will deal with almost everything that you can throw at them. The ‘SL’ stands for super light. Yes, 1.35kg / 2.97lbs may not scream feathery, floatiness when compared with the many of the lightweight options on our list. But for crampon compatible leather boots with moderate stiffness, their title is more than valid. They are designed for tough mountain days, hill walking in cold conditions and low grade scrambling, and have plenty of burliness to support this. Deep lugs complement Vibram Biometric Trek soles and ankle to toe lacing makes for a highly custom fit.

Add to that their supremely plush inners that feel instantly comfortable (especially pleasing for leather boots) and the SL’s are a top choice for all but the warmest and coldest months in the mountains. They lack a Gore-Tex membrane that many of the other boots on our list have. Instead, they owe their waterproofness and breathability to the premium extra thick Sherpa leather.
These classic style hiking boots are as tough as they are comfortable. Plus, if you look after the leather properly, they will endure many, many years of mountain adventures.

For more information read our full review of the Scarpa SL Active hiking boots.


  • Exceptional quality
  • Vibram outsole
  • Waterproof
  • Classic style
  • Highly durable
  • Good fit for full calves


  • Not much extra space in the toe box
  • Ankles can become a little loose as you walk

Find the latest price on:
Cotswold Outdoor | Amazon | Scarpa | Backcountry

Vivobarefoot Magna TrailClose ups of vivobarefoot boots

Vivobarefoot Magna Trail

Good for: Hill walking and everyday wear
Weight: 500g / 1.1lbs
Waterproof: Gore-Tex

Eco-conscious: Made using repurposed plastic waste and animal free materials

Designed to tackle a multi-terrain but still blend in while walking in the city the Vivobarefoot Magna Trail is a versatile hiking boot, and the lightest boot on our list. The grippy sole is fitted with shallow lugs, suitable for rocky, damp, or dry conditions. There’s even a removable thermal insole for cold weather hiking.

Fans of barefoot shoes will be pleased with the comfort and flexibility provided by the stretchy ECO neoprene ankle sock. Though the sock-fit style makes these boots slightly more difficult to put on than regular hiking boots, the snugness also prevents grit from entering and provides a secure feel on uneven ground. Aside from being vegan-friendly, the Magna Trail is constructed with a recycled microfibre heel and 50% recycled PET in the laces and webbing.

For more information read our full review of theVivobarefoot Magna Trail Hiking Boots.


  • Flexible and lightweight
  • Vegan and Eco-friendly
  • Wide toe-box
  • Suitable for multiple terrains


  • High price tag
  • Can be tricky to put on
  • Barefoot style takes some getting used to

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Lowa Lady Light GTX hiking boot

Lowa Lady Light GTX Review

Good for: Backpacking and trekking
Weight: 1020g / 2.2lb
Waterproof: Gore-Tex

Lighter weight than the Meindl Bhutan, but with the same high levels of technical attributes, put the Lowa Lady Light GTX hiking boots in the runnings for a great all-rounder choice. The women specific design includes a more spacious toe box making it one of the best hiking boots for women with bunions. The deeply notched back provides greater freedom in the calf area, and, coupled with minimal seams to limit abrasion and pressure points, raises the comfort rating even further.

The LOWA Trac Lite II outsoles ensure excellent grip and durability, both on and off the trail. The price tag is still on the high side, but for a high-end nubuck leather boot that is both flexible and lightweight, it is worth the investment and will help you comfortably tackle most types of demanding terrain without having to upgrade every few years. If it’s super comfortable, blister-free hiking you are after, then the Lowa Lady Light GTX hiking boots are the ones for you, and are an excellent choice for women with sensitive feet.


  • Spacious toe box is good for bunions
  • Good for those with sensitive feet
  • Waterproof


  • A little on the heavy side
  • Pricey

Find the latest price on:
REI | Alpine Trek

Asolo Greenwood GV BootsClose ups of asolo hiking boots

Asolo Greenwood GV Review

Good for: Backpacking and trekking in all conditions bar deep snow
Weight: 1160g (2.6lbs)
Waterproof: Gore-Tex

Newly updated for 2018, the Asolo Women’s Greenwood GV is the most classic-looking boot on our list — a true thing of beauty! But it’s not just it’s good looks that have been turning heads. It features a very sticky Vibram sole that has deep lugs for maximal traction on a variety of terrain, from loose gravel to wet, steep rock. It also has a Gore-Tex lining, and a gusseted tongue to help keep out water and debris. Plus, the solid eyelets stretch the lacing system right down to the toes for a customised fit.

But what really makes this highly stylish women’s hiking boot really stand out is how comfortable it is. The ‘out-of-box’ comfort levels are out if this world making it an excellent option if you don’t have time to break in your boots. The plush cushioning around the ankle and comfortable Lite 2 anatomical footbed both contribute to this as well as making the boots feel very stable on even the most tough terrain. A solid and reliable boot for all seasons, bar hiking in deep snow.

For more information read our full review of the Asolo Greenwood hiking boots.


  • Supportive with good toe protection
  • Instantly comfortable
  • Waterproof


  • A little on the heavy side
  • Pricey

Find the latest price on:
REI | Amazon | Asolo

Meindl Bhutan lady mfs hiking bootMeindl boots close up

Meindl Bhutan Lady MFS Review

Good for: Demanding low level mountain hikes
Weight: 1150g / 2.53lbs
Waterproof: Gore-Tex

For years, the Meindl Burma has been the popular choice for female hikers. But the new Meindl Bhutan Lady MFS walking boot has taken all the good things that the trusty Burma offered and improved them without, the jump up in price. The MFS (Memory Foam System) is the most notable change, offering a greater degree of custom-fitting comfort right out of the box, which is often compromised with stiffer boots. There is also extra padding around the ankle and a new lacing system to further add to the cosiness in which your feet will sit. Although not insulated, these are the best option on our list for winter hiking and, when coupled with waterproof gaiters, are well suited to hiking in deep snow.

Together with the highly durable Vibram sole, the mid-stiffness of the Bhutan MFS offers a high level of support for tough trekkers. It is the heaviest boot in our review but the durability certainly makes up for it; with leather uppers and Gore-Tex lined inners, this is a boot that is built to last and will make your feet a happy part of your lifetime of trekking.

Check out this full review of the Meindl Bhutan Lady MFS walking boots.


  • Memory foam inners for a customised fit
  • Highly durable
  • Waterproof


  • Heavy
  • Pricey

Find the latest price on:
Cotswold Outdoor

La Sportiva Nucleo High 2 GTX

La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX

Good for: Backpacking or fast and light hiking
Weight: 624g / 1.3lbs
Waterproof: Gore-Tex

Another superbly lightweight hiking boot option is the newly updated and ever more lightweight La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX. It is the second lightest on our list after the Vivobarefoot Magna Trail and closely followed by the Keen Tempo Flex, and is another great option for fast and light hiking. Where they step up above the Keen’s is in the aggressive lugs of the exceptionally grippy Vibram Nano outsoles. They are also one of the most supportive hiking boots on our list with good arch support and high ankles.

They are wonderfully comfortable and feel more like a running shoe than a high top hiking boot, providing your feet are on the narrow side. For those with wide feet the comfort and support can end up feeling more like stiffness. So if comfort is high up on your priority list (and you don’t have narrow feet!) you may want to consider the Keen’s. Alternatively, La Sportiva now offer a wider version.

The nubuck leather uppers offer really great durability above boots like the Moabs, yet don’t compromise on breathability due to the Gore-Tex Surround Technology which gives 360º of breathability and waterproofing! Clever stuff.

A really great all rounder and one of the best lightweight backpacking boots on our list.


  • Super comfortable
  • Highly breathable
  • Waterproof


  • They run narrow (but wide’s are available)

Find the latest price on:
REI | Amazon | Backcountry | La Sportiva

Lowa Renegade GTX hiking boot image

Lowa Renegade GTX Hiking Boot

Good for: Multi-day adventuring
Weight: 1110g / 2.4lbs
Waterproof: Gore-Tex

As one of Lowa’s most popular hiking boots for women and men alike, the Renegade GTX performs excellently in a variety of conditions. Although the second heaviest women’s hiking boot on our list, it is one of the lighter mid-weight boots around, keeping you moving easily on challenging terrain. It compares very well with the lighter weight Keen Targhee II when it comes to snug, form-fitting comfort, but provides more support through the ankle. It also steps up very well to the challenge of hiking with heavy loads on multi-day hikes, keeping up with heavier weight boots like the Meindl Bhutan.

The nubuck leather uppers are complete with a breathable and fully waterproof Gore-tex membrane, and the uppers feature an integrated construction web which further reduces the weight of the boots. This Lowa MONOWRAP also aids in stabilising the foot in areas where support is especially needed. And with deep lugs in the Vibram rubber Evo outsole, these robust and versatile midweight boots will see you skipping over most terrain with ease and confidence.

Also available in a narrow fit.


  • Versatile – good all rounder
  • Excellent support and stability
  • Waterproof


  • A little on the heavy side

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Backcountry | Cotswold Outdoor

Keen targhee ii mid hiking boot

Keen Women’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot Review

Good for: Day hikes and short treks
Weight: 804g / 1.77lbs
Waterproof: KEEN.Dry

For those who prefer the comfort of a low cut hiking shoe but need that little extra bit of support, this is the boot for you. The ankle height is lower than most heavier weight boots adding versatility to their use. Keen have also developed their own waterproofing system, KEEN.Dry, offering a comparable level of breathable protection to Gore-Tex, which contributes to the excellent value that this sturdy little boot offers.

At around 400g per boot, the Targhee II are amongst the best lightweight hiking boots for women. The patented toe protection design and aggressive multi-directional lugs, give the lightweight properties of the Targhee II license to step up to short treks and backpacking trips, without the huge dent to the bank account. These boots are also a great bridger for those wanting to make the move from the full support of high cut boots to less supportive lighweight hiking shoes.


  • A good bridger from full boots to hiking shoes
  • Excellent tow protection
  • Great value
  • Waterproof


  • Low cut can be a negative for some

Find the latest price on:
REI | Keen | Backcountry

Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP hiking boots

Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP

Good for: Day hikes and short multi-day treks
Weight: 904G / 2lbs
Waterproof: M Select DRY

The ever-popular Mother of all Boots, Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP offers excellent value for most types of hikers, and is one of the best women’s hiking boots at its price point. Its slightly lower cut ankle makes it comparable to the Keen Targhees, but it is slightly heavier with a more ‘standard’ looking finish. Like Keen and Anatom, Merrell has developed its own M Select DRY waterproof and breathable membrane, which helps to keep the price more reasonable than its Gore-Tex cousins. This has also helped the Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP boots in the popularity stakes, as has their superbly comfortable air cushioned heel. This adds stability to the wearer and absorbs shock when leaping your way around the mountains on the Vibram rubber outsoles! This, together with a contoured footbed that provides zonal heel and arch support, makes these great value women’s hiking boots an ideal entry level option that offers almost as much as higher end hiking boots.


  • Exceptional value
  • Vibram outsole
  • Waterproof


  • Not as light as other mid cut boots

Find the latest price on:
Amazon | REI | Backcountry

Solomon quest 4d 2 gtx hiking boot

Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX

Good for: Multi-day adventuring
Weight: 1020g / 2.25lbs
Waterproof: Gore-Tex

Another favourite amongst the women specific designs and one of the best hiking boots for women with narrow feet is the Quests. Salomon have taken the best of their trail running technologies to create this lightweight boot that performs as nimbly as a running shoe, but with the protection and support of a robust mid-weight walking boot, including a Gore-Tex membrane and toe guard.

The Quests are the ideal choice if you are partial to a bit of off-roading and clambering about the place. And in case you are worried that all that hot-footing around will leave your feet sweaty and damp, then rest assured that the Ortholite foam inner is there to help create a cooler, drier and cosier bed for your feet to play on.


  • Good for those with narrow feet
  • Women specific fit
  • Waterproof


  • Not good for wide feet

Find the latest price on:
Cotswold Outdoor | Alpine Trek | Amazon | REI

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What type of hiking will you be doing?

Like getting to know a new partner, buying new hiking boots is an exciting time! There’s the anticipation of the adventures that they’ll take you on and the comfort and support they’ll provide along the way. And, a little like starting a new relationship, you need to be clear about what you want to get out of them before taking the plunge and making the commitment!

So firstly, consider what you are going to be using your boots for. Well, yes, walking hopefully! But what type of walking?

Day hikes

From a quick half hour in the park, to a 10-miler in the foothills, you’ll need a good level of support and traction through the sole. Custom fitting lacing systems enable you to tie in and adjust the levels of support needed according to the terrain you’re on.

It’s likely that you’ll only be carrying a small light pack so a high ankle isn’t totally necessary. But if you envisage short, sharp day ascents with varied and challenging terrain, then good ankle support becomes more important. Equally, if you’re determined to get out hiking with your kids then the weight of your child in a baby carrier will require good stability at the ankles.

Multi-day trekking and backpacking

You’ll need a boot with extra ankle support and a stiffer sole that will withstand the rugged and demanding terrain that big treks will throw at you. And with a heavy backpack on your back only increasing the pressure to your feet, it is best to avoid lightweight boots.

However, racking up the miles and spending hours on your feet each day makes comfort an essential feature not to be compromised for the sake of what technically might be the ‘right’ boot. So make sure you explore all the possible options to get what you need.

With an increasing number of high-end mid-weight boots on the market that all claim ‘out of box comfort,’ you’ll be able to avoid break-in time, giving you the confidence to tackle the challenge ahead with one less thing to worry about.

Technical terms you’ll need to know when shopping for hiking boots

You may know your innersole from your outsole, but do you know all the many other components that make up hiking boots? To save any confusion, and to help you fully understand what your hiking boots offer, we’ve put together a quick visual guide showing the anatomy of a hiking boot.

Anatomy of a hiking boot

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What to look for when buying the best hiking boots for women

Now that you’re clear on where those walking boots will be taking you and what all the components of hiking boots are, here are a few more things to consider when buying your new boots:


Getting the best value out of your buy is an inevitable part of shopping for anything – and especially for new gear. But if you’re looking to bag a bargain on your next spend-athon, then make sure that boot shopping isn’t on the agenda. Buying walking boots is a long term investment that you shouldn’t scrimp on, and unfortunately, the very best hiking boots for women don’t come cheap.

So keep an open mind about your budget and you’ll come away with a great fitting and comfortable boot, that won’t leave you desperate to take them off at the end of your hike.

To ensure you get the most out of your boots, it’s super important that you clean them regularly. This will not only help them perform at their best every time you wear them, but it will also prolong their life.


You can read reviews all day long but nothing will give a better idea of what feels good than trying them on. Here are a few tips on what to look for when fitting hiking boots:

  • Socks – take a pair of your own walking socks with you to wear whilst trying on the boots, and don’t be tempted to make it fit by wearing a second pair!
  • Toes – you shouldn’t feel your toes pressing against the front of the boot, and once securely fitted, there should be room in the toe-box for some wiggling and movement.
  • Heels – there should be no heel-lift or rubbing in the heel area. Make sure you try walking up stairs to test this.
  • Length – push your toes to the front of the boot and if you can squeeze your finger into the boot behind your heel, then the length is about right.
  • Width – the midsole of your boot won’t soften over time in the same way that the uppers of leather boots will, so this part of the boot should fit your foot width closely, but not tightly, with little room for movement.
  • Trying time – schedule your shopping trip in for the afternoon when your feet will have expanded slightly. This will replicate how they will be after a day walking in the mountains.
  • Lacing – make sure you fully lace up each boot you try on. Walk on a downhill slope to test for comfort and fit, and if the shop doesn’t have the ability to help with this, then go elsewhere. Also, be careful of rope burn on your hands! Pulling laces over and over can get pretty uncomfortable.
  • Carpet wear – before you commit to taking the boots outside, walk around your house as much as possible to make sure the fit is right. Don’t be afraid to take them back if they’re not perfect.

03Weight and durability

When you’re already struggling to lug your heavy legs and overladen backpack up the final ascent of the day, the last thing you want is to be carrying extra pounds on your feet. But choosing a light boot can often compromise its durability. If you don’t want to have to replace your boots every couple of years, then going for durability over weight might be the better option.


Boots with high ankle support and stiff soles are key features for backpackers and trekkers carrying heavy packs. The low-cut options will suit those who prefer a little more freedom through the ankle and don’t require the robust stiffness offered by heavier boots. That said, many fast and light backpackers are ditching their hiking boots and opting for lightweight hiking shoes instead. There are plenty of arguments as to why this is and isn’t a good idea! If you like the idea of shoes but don’t want to commit, then opt for a mid cut hiking boot like the Keen Targhee II or something even more sneaker-like, like the Teva Arrowood Lux Mid’s.


Simply put, the more aggressive the tread pattern, the better the grip. Tread patterns with closer and shallower spacing are less adept at pushing out accumulated dirt and mud, thus lessening their grip and traction. If excellent grip in all conditions is a must then look for deep lugs. Vibram soles are also renowned for their superb traction, but often at a higher price.

06Water resistance and breathability

As a rule, leather boots, although fully waterproof, offer less breathability than boots with synthetic uppers. So if you are going to be doing most of your hiking in dry summer conditions, avoiding leather might be a good option. Most synthetic boots have a waterproofing system, such as Gore-Tex, that offers the same protection as leather but with extra breathability, and all of the leather options on our list also have a Gore-Tex (or similar) membrane to help with breathability. For more information on getting the best out of your hiking boots, read our guide to boot waterproofing.

07Synthetic vs leather

Whilst leather boots often weigh in a few grams heavier, they are more likely to last longer and rack up more miles than their synthetic equivalents. All of the options on are list are part or all leather. If you are looking for something that is synthetic, then there are some really excellent boots in our vegan hiking boots article.

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Joey Holmes

Joey Holmes
Joey is based in Cornwall, UK, and runs Cool of the Wild. She can’t get enough of being outdoors – whether that’s lounging around the campfire cooking up a feast, hitting the trail in her running shoes, or attempting to conquer the waves on her surfboard – she lives for it. Camping is what she loves to do the most, but has also spent many hours clinging to the side of a rock face, cycling about the place, cruising the ski-slopes on her snowboard, and hiking small mountains and big hills.

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