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5 Best Hiking Boots for Women in 2018 – Selections By Hiking Expert

If you love outdoor, you probably love to spend your time in the wilderness hiking and traversing trails. Whether it's backpacking for several nights or a day trip to your favorite spot, nothing beats a hiking adventure as a way to experience nature.

If you love to hike, then you already know how important it is to have the proper gear. More than anything else, you need to have a set of high-quality boots, assuming that you want your feet to survive the journey.

Comparison of Best Hiking Boots for Women

Hiking Boots for Women - Considerations

Style

When it comes to boot styles, there are three primary ones from which to choose. Here are the notable features of each.

Hiking Shoe: this version is lightweight and is perfect for a day hike or short term backpacking. The sides of the shoe are lower than on a traditional boot, and they are more flexible on the soles.

Day Hiking Boot: the appearance of this version can have low or high sides. The sole is a bit stiffer, but you usually don't need any break in time to get acquainted with them. They are perfect for day trips, but won't give you as much support as you need for long term hiking.

Backpacking Boot: if you're trying to go on a week-long excursion, then you need something sturdy enough to keep you going. These boots will have a stiffer sole and will require some break-in time so you will feel comfortable while trekking.

Material

The boot is broken down into four parts: upper, midsole, internal support, and outsole. Here is what you should be looking for in each section.

Upper Boot

This is the part that will be hugging the top of your foot as well as your ankle. There are quite a few materials that can be used for this section, and each one has its own benefits.

Full-Grain Leather: you will mostly find this on backpacking boots, as it has all of the qualities you need for long distance hiking. It's water resistant, won't get damaged easily, and will stay durable for years to come. Leather does require a break-in period, so be aware of that.

Split-Grain Leather: if you want something that is a bit lighter than full grain, you can go with this option. The leather is spliced with nylon to make it more lightweight and breathable. It won't be as durable or water resistant, but some varieties come with a waterproof liner.

Nubuck Leather: this material is the same as full-grain, but the outside has been buffed so that it resembles suede. It has all the same properties as real leather, but it will show scuffing sooner because of the treatment.

Waterproof Membrane: if you like to go hiking in the rain or other wet conditions, then you will need water resistant shoes. However, this can be a double-edged sword because if you hike in the summertime, this material won't allow for breathing.

Vegan: for those that don't want to wear animal products, there are boots that are made with synthetics instead. No animals were harmed in making them.

Insulated: if you go hiking in cold conditions, then you will want boots that are designed to keep your feet warm. In this case, synthetic insulation helps prevent frostbite.

Midsole

This part of the boot is there to provide shock absorption and support to the bottom of your feet. When measuring the midsole, you will usually discuss how stiff it is. When talking about stiffness, you want something more malleable for short trips and something more rigid for long journeys. The reason for that is your feet need flat surfaces on which to walk, and softer midsoles will cause your foot to conform to every rock and uneven terrain that you encounter.

EVA: this material is Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, and it is on the softer side. It's also more cost-effective.

Polyurethane: if you want a sturdier and more rugged midsole, this is the material to get. It's usually found in backpacking boots.

Internal Support

While the midsole provides some cushioning, the inside of the boot will be much better at providing comfort to your feet, especially during long treks. There are two layers to the internal support, and each one has a specific job to help your foot stay comfortable.

Shanks: this section is an insert that goes between the mid and outsole. It helps with load bearing and makes the boot stiffer.

Plates: These semi-malleable sections are usually below the shank if it's included in your boot. They protect against sharp objects, such as roots or rocks.

Outsole

Finally, the outer portion of your shoe will determine how durable it is, as well as how well it will grip the terrain. All outsoles are made of rubber, but some high-end models will infuse carbon to make them harder. Usually, that happens with backpacking boots. Thus, when choosing an outsole, you want to focus on the pattern.

Lugs: these are the bumps that help give you traction. If they are spaced out further, then they are designed for mud and wet terrain. Deeper lugs will give you better traction for mountaineering.

Heel Brake: if you hike on steep hills or go mountain climbing, then a heel brake will help you stop yourself from sliding.

Fit

When trying on your boots, you want to make sure that they will fit. However, because these are designed for a specific purpose, you can't approach the fitting process like you would with regular shoes. Here are some things to think about when trying on your new boots.

  • Walk around in them for a while to see how they feel
  • Try them on at the end of the day, because that's when your feet are biggest
  • Be sure to wear the right socks when trying them on. If it's too snug, then you need to adjust accordingly
  • If buying online, pick a brand that you're familiar with
  • If you have orthotic inserts, be sure you have space for them
  • Be sure to break them in before going on your first hike

5 Best Hiking Boots for Women - Reviews

1. KEEN Women's Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot

Our first boot is the KEEN Targhee II. KEEN is a high-quality brand that is known throughout the outdoor world, but not much beyond that.

What's great about this company is that they offer a sense of style along with the practical benefits of their products, which makes for some incredible boots.

Nubuck Leather Material

As far as leather goes, I am a big fan of Nubuck. I like that it is still as durable and rugged as standard leather, but it looks better and feels softer overall. In this case, the shoes almost look like tennis shoes, but they are much more sturdy than that, making them ideal for any kind of hiking.

Nine Color Options

As I mentioned, KEEN is great about offering style with your comfort and performance, so feel free to choose the color option that works best for you. With nine to choose from, that shouldn't be too hard.

Dual-Density EVA Foam Footbed

Most EVA midsoles are great by themselves, but KEEN takes it a step further and offers dual-density footbeds, which offer better comfort while increasing the stiffness level. That way it feels like a regular midsole, but it will act better on long treks than standard EVA.

Breathable Waterproof Membrane

Finally, no hiking boot would be complete without some kind of waterproofing, and KEEN does that with a breathable membrane. Sometimes these liners can cause your foot to overheat and sweat profusely, but in this case, you don't need to worry about that.

Other features include:

  • Nubuck leather upper
  • Rubber sole
  • Deep lug design for better traction
  • Waterproof membrane interior
  • Flexible EVA midsole
  • Nine color options
  • Protective toe cap included
  • Torsion stability shank
  • Made in the USA

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Comfortable and flexible insole
  • Waterproof lining
  • Breathable interior
  • Easy lacing
  • Stiff outsole
  • Color options available

Cons

  • In rare cases, the boot may slip on wet terrain
  • In rare instances, the ankle may be too uncomfortable for some users
  • May not be completely waterproof

Final Verdict

If you want style and performance, then KEEN could be your best option. While not as rugged as some of the other boots on this list, I have to say that they are fantastic for most hiking excursions.

2. Merrell Women's Moab Ventilator Hiking Shoe

As I mentioned above, there is a difference between a hiking boot and a hiking shoe. In this case, a shoe means that your ankles are exposed to the elements, and the material is lighter and more flexible.

Overall, that means that these shoes are made for short day trips, rather than long backpacking treks.

Leather and Fabric Material

If you're a casual hiker, then you don't need something that is heavy-duty to go outdoors. Thus, the Moab Ventilator is designed to be breathable and flexible. It conforms to your foot and keeps it from overheating, meaning that you can walk around all day without worrying about a stink bomb happening when you take these off. Also, because they use leather, they are better than walking around in regular shoes.

Eight Colors Available

If you're the type of girl who likes to get matching shoes for any occasion, then you will appreciate that the Moab Ventilator comes with eight color options. This isn't to say that you have to be a fashionista to like these shoes, but it does allow you some choice when it comes to finding the right pair. That way you can still have a sense of style even when it comes to something so rugged.

Breathable Plush Cushioning

As I mentioned, hiking shoes are designed to be much more breathable than boots. Also, in this case, you get some extra padding in the tongue and collar so that your feet won't feel too sore by the end of your hike. Overall, these shoes feel like you're not even wearing anything, which is amazing.

Ortholite Footbed

Even if you are a hiking enthusiast, we all suffer from some kind of foot pain after a long day's trek. To help alleviate any soreness or pressure points on your foot, these shoes come with Ortholite Footbeds. That means that you get the support you need to feel great all day long, no matter what kind of terrain you tackle.

Other features include:

  • Leather and fabric upper
  • Flexible EVA midsole
  • Vibrum outsole for better traction
  • Breathable tongue and collar
  • Plush padding for extra comfort
  • Ortholite footbed
  • Stays fresh with antimicrobial insert
  • Eight colors available

Pros

  • Lightweight design
  • Extra comfortable
  • Less break in time
  • Ideal for day trips
  • Flexible midsole
  • Color options available
  • Stable traction
  • Stays fresh all day

Cons

  • Can be squeaky for first few trips
  • Not waterproof
  • Not ideal for long journeys

Final Verdict

As far as hiking shoes go, the Moab Ventilator is one of my favorite. That being said, if you like to go on steep or especially rough ground, these shoes won't hold up very long. Because they are more flexible and breathable, they won't be able to handle any extreme environments. For casual hikers, however, these are perfect.

3. Columbia Women's Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boot

Much like Timberland, Columbia is another high-profile brand that makes the best outdoor gear.

I have had nothing but great experiences with Columbia products, whether it's one of the brand's jackets or hiking boots.

With that in mind, the Newton Ridge Plus is one of the better options offered. Here's why.

Leather and Synthetic Material

For most hikers, split grain leather is the way to go as far as material. The reason for this is that the synthetic part allows your foot to breathe, while the leather will keep your feet protected and safe. If you want something that's both light and sturdy, these boots are a great option.

Omnishield Treatment

Columbia has a few proprietary tricks up its sleeve, and one of them is the Omnishield protective treatment. This thin layer on the outside of the shoe protects you from water and stains, which is much better than a waterproof membrane. Because you are shielded from the exterior, you can worry less about water seeping in. Internal membranes can work great, but that does mean that the outside of the boot will get soaked regardless.

Molded EVA Midsole

As I mentioned above, EVA is a common choice for hiking boots because it is cost effective and is malleable. In this case, you will get a bit more flexibility, which can make all the difference. What's great about this midsole is that it should be good for some long-distance hiking, as long as the terrain isn't too unforgiving.

Omnigrip Lug Outsole

Another proprietary inclusion from Columbia is the Omnigrip Lug configuration on the outsole. The lugs are situated in a way that is ideal for traction on any terrain, even when things are wet and muddy. While I can't say that it's perfect, it is much better than other designs.

Other features include:

  • Leather and synthetic material
  • Waterproof lining
  • Omnishield treatment
  • Water and stain resistant on outside
  • EVA midsole for flexibility
  • Omnigrip lugs for better traction
  • Four colors available
  • Breathable mesh interior

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Waterproof
  • Comfortable midsole
  • Better traction
  • Multiple color options available
  • Breathable sides

Cons

  • May not be completely waterproof
  • Break in time may be longer than other similar models
  • Can be too stiff for some users

Final Verdict

Overall, I have to say that I'm a bit biased towards Columbia because I have used the company's products so many times before. I will say that I like the waterproof treatment and lug configuration better than on other boots, and the brand is synonymous with high quality.

4. Timberland Women's White Ledge Hiking Boot

When it comes to hiking equipment and gear, Timberland is one of the top brands. Even if your only exposure to the name is through their signature tan boots, there is a reason that they are so coveted.

It's because they know what they're doing with regards to making high-quality shoes. With that in mind, here is what you can expect from the White Ledge Hiking Boot.

Leather Upper

If you're a serious hiker, then you will want a boot that is as sturdy and robust as you are. The White Ledge is made from genuine full-grain leather, which makes it more durable and much less susceptible to things like rain and damage. Sure, you have to break them in first, but once you do they will be some of the most comfortable boots you will own.

Speed Lacing Rings

If you've ever been hiking and had one of your laces come undone, then you know how annoying (and potentially dangerous) it can be. Fortunately, with this set, you can lace yourself up quickly and efficiently, meaning that should anything come loose you won't have to struggle to get back on track.

Moisture Transfer Lining

Hiking all day is a sweaty process, and your feet are no exception. Because leather is not known for its breathable qualities, your feet will get rather moist after a long hike. Having the right socks can help mitigate this problem, but no matter what you do your boots will be rather rank after a few full days. Fortunately, the White Ledge Boots have moisture transfer linings, which means that your sweat won't be as big of a problem as it could be.

Sustainable and Recyclable Materials

One thing that I like about Timberland is that the company is committed to doing things the right way. Part of that is using sustainably sourced material, and recycling their excess material. It makes perfect sense when you think about it. Why destroy the environment to make something that will help you enjoy nature? Overall, you can feel good about buying these boots.

Other features include:

  • Durable leather material
  • Rubber sole
  • Shaft is 4.5" from the arch
  • Ankle-high siding
  • Water-resistant upper
  • D-ring and speed-hook lacing
  • Moisture transfer lining
  • Padded tongue and collar
  • Deep lug pattern

Pros

  • Rugged material
  • Waterproof
  • Ideal for short or long term hiking
  • Easy to lace up
  • Padded sides and tongue
  • Thick midsole

Cons

  • Not completely waterproof, especially when submerged
  • May take longer to break in than other models
  • Size chart may differ from others slightly

Final Verdict

As far as hiking boots go, these are among the more rugged and dependable that I've seen. The leather upper conforms to your foot (once broken in), making it practically waterproof and super comfortable. The midsole is also the perfect blend of stiff and flexible, making this a versatile hiking boot. You can take this out for a day trip or on a backpacking excursion and have the same level of performance.

5. Salomon Women's Quest 4D GTX Hiking Boot

Unless you have some experience with hiking gear, you may not have heard of Salomon.

However, this company is well respected within the outdoor community, and it makes some of the best boots you can find anywhere.

If you want something with style and substance, the Quest 4D GTX Hiking Boot is where it's at.

Leather and Textile Material

For some hikers, having a full-grain leather boot is unnecessary. I prefer genuine leather myself, but I understand the appeal of split grain and synthetic materials. In this case, it results in a lighter shoe while still maintaining a similar level of durability and sturdiness. Plus, using textiles means that your foot can breathe easier, so you aren't left with soggy socks.

Gore-Tex Lining

If you've gone hiking in the rain, then you know how horrible it is to walk around with wet feet. Thankfully, the Quest 4D comes with Gore-Tex lining, which means that it is waterproof. What's great about this material is that not only does it keep water out, but it allows for some breathability, so your feet will stay drier than they would otherwise.

Non-Marking Outsole

Just because you wear hiking boots in the great outdoors doesn't mean that you can't use them elsewhere. In some cases, however, the thick rubber sole of such boots will leave scuff marks and streaks wherever you go, which make them more of a hazard when not out on the trail. The Quest 4D, on the other hand, doesn't leave any marking, so feel free to wear them anywhere.

Gusseted Tongue

While water is the scourge of hikers everywhere, dirt can be just as big of a problem. Walking around in dry dirt areas can leave your boots full of dust, debris, and other undesirable items, which is why these models come with a gusseted tongue. That means that it conforms to your ankle better and helps block out most, if not all, of the dirt that would otherwise collect at the bottom of your shoe.

Other features include:

  • Suede leather and textile upper
  • Molded EVA midsole
  • Gusseted tongue
  • Waterproof Gore-Tex lining
  • Contagrip Outsole
  • Gilly lacing system

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Comfortable midsole
  • Ideal for day trips
  • Flexible padding
  • Waterproof material
  • Keeps dirt out

Cons

  • May not be completely waterproof
  • Difficult to size for orthotics

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a hiking boot that is versatile and durable while not feeling like you're wearing blocks on your feet, the Salomon Quest 4D is a fantastic option. I like the fact that it blocks out water and dirt, and the sole is stiff enough to be comfortable for long hikes, meaning that this boot can go practically anywhere.

Relevant Resources:

David Valle
 

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!

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