The most crucial hiking gear is a good pair of shoes. From mesh to leather, to heavy or lightweight hiking shoes, there is every evidence that the market is full of different types of hiking shoes. For this reason, it’s normal for hiking beginners to get confused about how to choose the best hiking shoes.
In this guide, we help you identify factors that you need to consider when choosing the best hiking shoes for women in 2021. For women, there can be some conflict between style and functionality. Fortunately, you do not have to compromise one for the other. Our list of the 10 best hiking shoes for women in 2021 consists of shoes that comfortable, durable and stylish.
Before you jump into our detailed reviews, you might want to take a quick look at our quick recommendations below.
Here’s a quick view of the best hiking shoes for women in 2021:
- Best overall: Salomon X Ultra 3 Women’s Hiking Shoes
- Most comfortable: KEEN Women’s Targhee 3 Low Height Hiking Shoes
- Best lightweight: Vasque Women’s Breeze GTX Hiking Shoes
- Best budget: Oboz Women’s Sawtooth II Low B-Dry Waterproof Hiking Shoe
- Best waterproof: Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe
Choosing the Best Womens Hiking Shoes: 2021 Buyers Guide
Finding the best hiking shoes is not easy, especially when you don’t know what to look for. Fortunately, we’ve outlined several factors to consider before acquiring a pair of hiking shoes.
1) MATERIAL – A durable shoe is an excellent reward for any hiking enthusiast. The shoe’s upper material and sole determines its durability, breathability and overall comfort. Therefore, it’s necessary to consider the type of material used to design the top side of your hiking shoes.
The best hiking shoes are made of a combination of mesh, nylon, and nylon mesh. The three materials ensure durability and performance.
Nylon and mesh panels are lightweight and long-lasting. Most importantly, they enhance ventilation, thus ensuring feet freshness all day long.
Leather, especially Nubuck Leather, is used to design heavy hiking shoes. Leather is light in weight and flexible than more durable. The leather itself is not breathable, and for this reason, it is combined with mesh and nylon for longevity and ventilation.
2) COMFORT – You need all the support you can get when hiking. The best hiking shoes are designed to offer excellent ankle support to prevent rolling. Furthermore, you need stability to eliminate chances of falling even when walking in the most unfriendly terrains.
Unfortunately for hikers, even the most well-maintained hiking trails are not all rosy. It is for this reason that you should invest in a shoe that offers enough heel and toes protection. The shoes we reviewed below feature a full rubber toe cap so that you can enjoy every minute you spend on the trail.
3) TRACTION – The hiking shoes you buy must provide a steady grip, especially when hiking in rough areas. An ideal hiking shoes comes with additional traction; the best hiking shoes ensure enough traction on mud, wet rocks, sand, rock, or snow. Our list comprises of shoes that have been tested under different terrains and found to offer a perfect grip to keep you going even when the conditions are not the best.
4) INSOLES – The type of insole you choose can cause you misery or offer you the best hiking experience. The good news is that all hiking shoes come with removable insoles to allow for replacement at any time. Several insoles in the market are designed for various tasks, and they are quite affordable. However, this does not mean that you turn a blind eye on the type of insole that your hiking shoes come with.
Choose shoes with an extra added insole for increased comfort over a long period of time. Remember to change your insole the moment you feel they are not offering you the cushioning they should.
5) WEIGHT – Hiking boots come in different weights. Ultralight hiking shoes are best for warm climates and day hiking while heavy shoes are best for uneven terrains since they absorb shock and support your ankles adequately.
Whether to for lightweight or heavy hiking shoes is a decision you make depending on the type of terrain you prefer to hike on. If you rea headed to a rocky area, then we recommend you go for heavy shoes for extra cushioning and comfort. For shorter hikes in an even ground, you’re better off with a lightweight pair.
6) WATER RESISTANCE – You will want a shoe that will withstand all the possible weather conditions, including snow and rain. Waterproof hiking shoes ensure that your feet remain warm even when hiking in chilly conditions. However, the decision to buy waterproof shoes depends on your personal preference. Summer hikers may not find waterproof shoes necessary – unless you’re hiking in the UK (sorry, we had to)!
7) BREATHABILITY – It is also necessary that the shoes remain ventilated all the way during hot conditions. Remember your feet are more likely to sweat as you move up and down the trail during warm temperatures. A breathable material will allow your feet to stay comfortable and fresh throughout the journey. In general, hiking shoes with thin fabrics and mesh do well when it comes to wicking away moisture and enhancing airflow so that your feet remain dry all day long.
8) CUSHIONING – Hiking shoe cushioning determines the amount of comfort you get while you hike. EVA and TPU are the common cushioning material used in the best hiking shoes. Proper cushioning ensures that your feet are protected from the ground impact as you move.
EVA is the common cushioning in the best trail running shoes for hiking. This is a lightweight and incredibly soft material that takes care of you midfoot and heel shocks. While there are several shoes in the market with EVA cushioning, they can vary from stiff to soft. For rough terrains, you will need a stiff cushioning midsole which is stable to protect your feet from unnecessary tension.
Soft midsoles may be more comfortable but will be worn out before you know it. When it comes to EVA soles, pay more for quality.
Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) is another common midsole material for hiking shoes. This is a durable, comfortable and extremely functional material. TPU is softer and long-lasting than EVA; the material is perfect for heavy hiking. The material remains in shape for longer. The only downside with TPU is that it is quite expensive.
Some brands successfully combine EVA and TPU to design shoes that most hikers appreciate. The TPU is used as a frame for stability and support, while the added EVA enhances comfort.
9) BUDGET – You need to know how much money you are willing to spend on the best hiking shoes. Having a budget in place cuts down on overspending.
Your budget determines the type of shoe hiking shoes you buy. The good news is that our list of the 10 best hiking shoes for women consists of high quality but affordable shoes. Several low-priced shoes come with several features that a hiker will love, we reviewed more of those.
Salomon aims at enhancing your outdoor life. True to their word, the brand designs hiking shoes that meet the daily hiking demands. Solomon X Ultra 3 are the overall women’s best hiking shoes that you can find in the market.
These shoes are designed to align with your foot. Their innovative technology is aimed at providing the best kind of comfort that you will not find anywhere.
The upper section of the shoe is made with a breathable waterproof material that is also perfectly aligned with the shape of your foot to offer the comfort you deserve. The upper section also has a PU leather that looks extra stylish. The tongue is aligned at the centre to help keep debris away.
The Gore-Tex membrane is of quality to keep your feet dry no matter the weather. The mesh is comfortable and genuinely breathable. You will also appreciate the protective toe cap and ortholite insole for utmost cushioning.
What we love most about the Salomon X Ultra 3 is that it features lug designed soles that also come with deep penetration.
The shoe offers an extra grip for all terrains. The kind of control you get when wearing this pair is unique. There is enough heel cushioning and support miles after miles.
KEEN is undoubtedly one of the best hiking shoe brands. Their shoes are designed to meet hiking demands without going deeper into your pockets. Each shoe features a stylish design made from durable materials.
KEEN Targhee 3 mid hiking shoes are made of environmental leather that is meant to reduce chemical exposure. While most hiking shoes will use anti-bacterial insoles, KEEN uses footbeds made of infused probiotic technology to help minimize odor even after long hikes.
There is so much to love about this brand, instead of using PFCs for waterproofing, the used KEEN. Dry technology to ensure that your shoes have a perfect waterproof membrane that ensures dry feet without exposing you to harmful materials. The upper side of the shoe is made of leather and mesh. The hooks are stable for easy adjustment of the laces.
The breathable mesh lining with clear sport NTX is meant to control odor while the removable dual-density EVA footbed enhances support. The internal shank provides support as the compression-moulded EVA midsole reduces impact from the trails.
The TPU designed heel offers adequate stability. In addition to that, these all-weather shoes have multi-directional lugs for better traction. The shoes have multiple support systems making these best hiking shoes for bad knees.
Anhu W sugarpine hiking shoes are not only waterproof, they are also versatile. The shoes feature a stylish design to ensure that they are perfect for other activities besides hiking.
The shoes are a product of Numentum Technology which is basically neutral positioning mechanism that is designed to align with the natural biomechanics of one’s foot. In other words, the shoes guide your feet along to ensure comfortable and supported strides.
The shoes are made of mesh, leather and suede. The steady gripping rubber soles offer the stability to need to move on rough terrain. We like the extra padded collar and a soft upper layer that ensures your feet are secured at all times. In addition to these, the shoe features a TPU stability heel clip and a decent rubber toe protector.
These are the best mid-cut hiking shoes that provide superior ankle support and cushioning.
If you are an ambitious jungle hiker, you definitely need the best shoes for jungle hiking. Merrel focuses on comfort, durability and design. The shoes eliminate every possible obstacles to having a good time during hiking.
The shoes are offered in both low- top and mid-height. This particular model is best for trail running thanks to its thin mesh and lightweight that ensures you remain as flexible as possible. This shoe features a bellows tongue that does a good job keeping away debris. The TPU film heel counter ensures proper support as you move around.
With these Merrel hiking shoes, you expect air cushioning in the heel to absorb shock and enhance stability. Additionally, the trailprotect pad offers additional support when hiking off-road.
The Breeze GTX from Vasque is the best lightweight hiking shoes in the market. These shoes feature an athletic style making them ideal for trail running.
There is no doubt that the Vasque Breeze GTX focuses on excellent traction and breathability while ensuring that your feet are protected from water.
For enhanced breathability, the shoe comes with a synthetic microfiber upper, and a durable mesh for better ventilation during your trail runs. The extensive mesh ensures that the shoes are lightweight enough for fast walks.
You will love the high-quality Gore-Tex waterproof membrane that wicks Away moisture form the surrounding while letting the inner shoe moisture to escape to the surrounding for mastered comfort.
The footbed features extra padding made of EVA foam to ensure support and shock resistance. These are one of the best hiking shoes for wet rocks thanks to their Vibram grip that offers a tight grip on a variety of hiking terrains.
These shoes are available in low and high-top designs. They also come in several colours to choose from.
The La Sportiva GTX hiking shoes are one of the few best women’s water shoes for hiking. These are trail-ready shoes meaning that you can avoid pressure sores and plasters with these.
The shoe’s STB technology allows the ankle to flex easily as the upper side provides enough stability to prevent ankle rolling. The Vibram nano sole has an impact brake system that offers good traction and grip. These are kind of shoes you can confidently wear on a rocky and steep hill.
The shoes are breathable and waterproof; your feet will stay warm even during chilly conditions and well ventilated during hot weather; the Gore-Tex protection makes these shoes suitable for all-weather hiking.
You will enjoy the dual-density support and rigidity that these boots offer. The outer sole boast rough lugs which enhances stability. The rubber rand easily wraps around the toe and heel to cushion you from shock.
The shoes do well when wading through the jungle or dewy vegetation; we love how fast the air mesh dries after exposure to water.
The Merrel Moab 2 are an example of what the best hiking shoes look and feel like. The shoes perfectly fit and remain breathable and comfortable during long hikes.
We love how well the shoes fit at the heel; the toe box is spacious to prevent pressure between toes. The upper side of the shoe is made of suede which is easy to clean and maintain. There is a stability band on both sides for increased feet support.
For breathability, the shoe features a closed-cell- foam that does well wicking away moisture. This is waterproof hiking shoes, thanks to the M- Select Dry inner membrane that prevent water entry but allow water loss from within the shoe. The end goal is to keep your feet dry.
The insoles are made of an extra padded EVA foam to provide adequate support to all pressure areas. We love the nylon shank frame that is meant to provide support to the arch.
The shoe’s air cushioning ensures that the midsole protects you from any impact. In addition to that, the Vibram outsole offers nothing less of a stable grip in all terrains.
This Hoke One One Speedgoat shoe was clearly designed with functionality in mind. If you are looking for a lightweight shoe for hiking, then you will find its design admirable.
With speed comes sweat, and the shoe is made from a waterproof lining that is also breathable to always keep your feet fresh and dry.
You will love the support offered by the shoe, its midsole made of high-quality padding which ensures flexibility and protection. The outsole is made of Vibram megagrip to ensure excellent traction on the terrains.
Arc’teryx is an innovative footwear brand that has been around for a while now. The Aerios FL GTX shoes are one of their most popular hiking shoes among women. The shoes are designed with a serious hiker in mind.
The Aerios FL is a lightweight hiking shoe with Gore-Tex lining for enhanced breathability. The toe cap is made of rubber and remains steady for a long time. You will love the shoe’s bottom design that is lined with a TPU making it one of the most comfortable hikers in the market.
The shoes have impressive traction over different terrains. The pair is impressively waterproof, the inner lining wicks away moisture from sweat but prevents any water from getting into the shoe. This is the best lightweight hiking shoes for minimalists backpackers.
If you need hiking shoes that give you confidence while trekking on the wet rocks, then these Oboz Sawtooth II hiking shoes will be ideal. The shoes offer excellent all-round protection for stability on various terrains.
The insole is molded to match the shape of your feet to be able to provide a perfect fit and enhanced performance at all times.
The double density EVA foam and the nylon shank provides the foot cushioning that you need while out on rough terrains. The nylon shank is durable to ensure that you have support under the foot many years to come.
The B-Dry technology ensures that your feet remain dry even when the weather conditions are unbearable. This innovative technology lets the sweat escape while preventing moisture entry. You will love the mesh design that ensures your feet stay fresh.
For that perfect fit, the shoe features a rubber heel counter which also ensures that the shoe remains comfortable for years to come.
The collar and tongue are designed to match your motion, thus offering you the support you need at the ankle.
This set of the best hiking shoes for women did not make it to our top 10 list. However, they come with several premium features hence they’re worth considering:
- Merrell Women’s Alverstone Mid Waterproof Hiking Shoe – ideal for those looking for excellent ankle stability on rough terrains. Its upper side is made of suede leather and mesh for durability and breathability. The toe cap comes with a rubber guard to keep the toes protected as much as possible. These are the best mid-profile and waterproof hiking shoes available at a good profile.
- Columbia Women’s Redmond V2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes – perfect pair for hiking in the snow. They have a leather and mesh design for longevity and ventilation. The outsole is made of an Omnigrip lugged rubber. This is among the best hiking shoes for wet rocks. They are also water-resistant to give you the comfort you need when you hike in the cold. For added comfort, the midsole features a moulded EVA cushioning.
- Danner Women’s Trailcomber 3″ Hiking Shoe – on top of the best lightweight hiking shoes. They are designed for warm conditions as evidenced by their breathable cushioning. The three-layer footbed padding ensures proper shock absorption to keep your feet in excellent condition. Their Vibram outsole offers a firm grip on all terrains. Furthermore, you will enjoy their excellent heel-to-toe stability thanks to their innovative EXO lite heel System Technology.
- KEEN Women’s Terradora Hiking Shoes – for those looking for a waterproof, lightweight, and comfortable shoe for rough terrain hiking. The shoe offers excellent arch support and comfortable insole cushioning for those dreaded long hikes. This is also a stylish shoe that easily matches the rest of your hiking outfit.
- La Sportiva Spire GTX Women’s Hiking Shoes – best low-cut hiking shoes that come at an affordable price. These are lightweight shoes with solid midsoles for that stability and support you need while hiking. We love the grippy outsole and the Gore-Tex surround that ensures you feet are dry at all times.
Why trust us?
As avid adventurers, we know the importance of getting the right gear for your trip. Finding the right source to provide you with trustworthy information is crucial, which is why we built HelloHiking. Here’s why you should trust us:
- The products we review have been tested by members of our team.
- We don’t have any bias in terms of brands – if the product is great, it’ll be listed.
- We update our guides each year so you have the latest information.
- We’ve covered over 20,000 miles of trails – it’s in our blood.
- We always consider feedback from our audience, so feel free to contact us at any time if you have any questions and/or complaints.