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 to tick the next big peak off your list, make sure you treat your feet with the respect they deserve and put them in a pair of the best hiking boots for women this year.
This article outlines some key things to consider when trying and buying, and to help you on your way, check out our reviews of some of the best hiking boots out there.
|Meindl Bhutan Lady MFS||Mid weight for backpacking and trekking||Fits out of the box||$$$|
|Keen Targhee II Mid||Lightweight for day hikes||Good value|
|Lowa Lady Light GTX||Lightweight for backpacking and trekking||Good all-rounder||$$$|
|Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX||Lightweight for backpacking and trekking||Women specific fit||$$|
|Anatom Q2 Ultralight||Lightweight for day hikes in the hills||Good everyday use||$|
|Lowa Renegade GTX||Mid weight for backpacking and trekking||Good value all-rounder||$$|
Like getting to know a new guy, 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.
What type of hiking will you be doing?
So firstly, consider what you are going to be using your boots for. Well, yes, walking hopefully! But what type of walking?
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 is a must.
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 light weight 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.
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, 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 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.
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.
Weight 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.
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.
Water 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.
Synthetic 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.
5 reviews of the best hiking boots for women
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 an excellent choice for women with sensitive feet.
Good for: backpacking and trekking
For years, the Meindl Burma has been the popular choice for women 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.
Together with the highly durable Vibram sole, the mid-stiffness of the Bhutan MFS offers a high level of support for tough trekkers. 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.
Good for: demanding low level mountain hikes
Find the latest price on:
As one of Lowa’s most popular hiking boots for women and men alike, the Renegade GTX performs excellently in a variety of conditions. It is one the lighter midweight boots out there, keeping you light on your toes in 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.
Good for: multi-day adventuring
For those who prefer the comfort of a 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.
Good for: day hikes and short treks
Another favourite amongst the women specific designs and one of the best hiking boots for women with narrow feet. 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: multi-day adventuring
This stylish and classic looking boot is designed with the hill and fell walker in mind. The Ultralight has the long lasting quality of a traditional leather boot, without the bulk, weight and stiffness. No break-in time is required thanks to the soft nubuck leather upper and calfskin collar combo, and with the luxury of Anatoms Bioform Ultralight Footbed as the innersole, it’s no wonder.
If it’s a casual walking boot that you’re after, then these will go the distance from day one to the end of the road.
Good for: day walks in the hills
Want to get your man some new hiking boots too? Check out our review of the best hiking boots for men this year.