womens hiking shoes

Best Women’s Hiking Shoes

Hiking shoes are an essential part of any hikers’ wardrobe. The best hiking shoes for women make treks easier and more enjoyable. And without good shoes, you’re in serious danger of falling, injuring or hurting yourself. Good shoes also allow you to tackle challenging treks. Without good shoes, your options are limited – bad shoes stop you from accessing good routes.

For those reasons, it’s important to find a good pair of hiking shoes. But they’re not all built equally. It’s essential not only to find a pair of top-quality shoes but to also find a pair of shoes that work for you. In this article, I take a look at what makes good shoes good and what you should consider when choosing new shoes. I then take a look at the top hiking shoes for women, considering trail running shoes, approach shoes, and hiking shoes. Whether you like mountain trails, scrambling, or flatter treks, I’ve got something for you on this list. For better, safer, and more enjoyable walks, read on. These other posts are part of this series best hiking shoes, vegan hiking shoes.

Table of Contents

Women’s Hiking Shoes Reviews

Now that you know what you’re looking for, here are my top picks for the best hiking shoes for women:

Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Air Mesh

Pros:

  • Great price point
  • Nice aesthetics
  • Very breathable
  • Good support for a smaller, lightweight shoe
Cons:

  • Not as comfortable as some others on this list
  • They aren’t hugely durable
This doesn’t look like your average clunky hiking shoe, which might appeal to women hikers who are concerned with aesthetics. These aren’t massively lightweight, but they come with a small toe cap and reinforced lowers built to withstand heavy trails. The soles are great, with good traction. These are very breathable and they offer fantastic arch support. They have good waterproofing. The traction isn’t as good as some others on this list, making these best for trail running rather than hardcore scrambling. The price point on these shoes is excellent.


Salomon Women’s X Ultra Mid 2 GTX

Pros:

  • Excellent for hardcore trails Good ankle support without sacrificing mobility
  • Very waterproof Tough, durable and rugged
Cons:

  • The sizes run large – so you might want to buy a size smaller than you usually would
  • They aren’t the most breathable Expensive
  • May prove too rugged for lightweight trails
For something really rugged, tough and durable, this is a great choice. They’re the highest-riding shoes on this list. The tread offers great traction, and it comes right up to the toe cap, which is excellent for uphills. There’s lots of protection around the toe cap to keep you safe from harm even in the most hardcore hikes. These are great in uneven terrain. This shoe offers fantastic ankle support and the Gore-Tex waterproof breathable membrane is good. If you want good waterproofing, you can find it here. The lacing on these shoes is great for keeping your shoes on nice and tight. They are lightweight for boots of this size and style, and they offer excellent durability. If you carry heavy loads while hiking, these offer more than sufficient support. These are a little more expensive than most other shoes, but they’re worth it. These are some of the best hiking boots on the market. Read the review of Salomon vs Keen.


Danner Women’s Trail 2650

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Good heel support
  • Nice aesthetic
  • Good traction for their size and weight
Cons:

  • They aren’t as waterproof as some other shoes
  • Not the most durable shoes on the market, because of their light build
An excellent lightweight trail runner, these are a good choice if you’re seeking something light on the feet. These have very good heel support in the form of a lump on the back of the shoe, which some hikers will like. Others might find it a heavy, unnecessary and unaesthetic addition. These are comfortable and have a very nice aesthetic. They have excellent traction for shoes so small and lightweight. They’re very comfortable, so they’ll keep your feet feeling good throughout even the longest of hikes. These shoes have an average price point. For an affordable, comfortable, lightweight trail runner, these are fantastic.


Arc’teryx Women’s Aerios FL GTX Hiking Shoe

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Robust and tough
  • Nice aesthetic
  • Great traction
  • Excellent waterproofing
Cons:

  • Some people might find them too inflexible
  • Some hikers might want more ankle support than these can offer
They are lightweight, well-built and very robust. If you want a low-cut shoe that’s really tough and strong, this is an excellent choice. These don’t look like your average Gore-Tex shoe but they do indeed have Gore-Tex. These have a tough toe cap for protecting your toes in even the hardest of terrains. If you want a minimalist shoe with a great deal of sturdiness, this is one of the best on the market. That said, there’s not much ankle support, and they can be a little stiff for some runners, which is an unusual combination. If you value flexibility, you might not get enough of it with these shoes.


Salomon Women’s Odyssey Triple Crown

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • They feel free and flexible on the feet
  • The upper mesh dries quickly, which balances out the lack of waterproofing
  • A great amount of bounce
Cons:

  • Maybe not enough support for some hikers
  • Not waterproof
These shoes are an excellent hybrid between trail runners and hiking shoes, allowing you a good amount of robust toughness alongside flexibility and freedom. These are also very lightweight and they have a good amount of bounce. They are very well ventilated, allowing an excellent amount of breathability. This breathability comes at the cost of no waterproofing, though the upper dries very quickly, which some hikers might prefer. If you like to hike on rough ground, you might find that these aren’t strong or stable enough. If you like lots of support, you won’t find it here – but you will find a shoe that feels free and lightweight for less challenging trails.


Brooks Cascadia 14 Hiking

Pros:

  • Very lightweight
  • Excellent traction
  • Good price point
  • Very breathable
  • Nice amount of cushion
Cons:

  • Not the most comfortable shoes you can find
  • Don’t have the durability of other shoes
These are very lightweight. If the weight of your shoe is your biggest priority, this one is an excellent choice. They also have fantastic traction, making for a shoe that is light on the feet but grippy on the trails. The sole even offers great traction in the wettest of conditions. These shoes also have a good amount of cushion, great breathability and a roomy, wide toe box, which will appeal to hikers with wider feet. The Brooks Cascadia 14 don’t have waterproofing, but they dry fairly quickly. If you want a relative bargain, these have a slightly better price point than some others on this list. But they’re not perfect – these aren’t the most comfortable shoes on the market, and the durability isn’t the best you can find.


Vasque Women’s Grand Traverse

Pros:

  • Excellent breathability
  • Great for hiking on rock – and great for scrambling
  • Great bounce
  • Very comfortable
  • Quite a good price point
Cons:

  • The sizing is a little unpredictable
  • Not waterproof
  • Not great for wet or muddy conditions
If you’re looking for something with a good price point, this is an excellent option. They’re not the lightest on this list, but they still have a fairly lightweight build. Great breathability is also on offer here. These have excellent bounce and they’re very comfortable. If you like to hike on rocky terrain, these shoes are an excellent choice. They’re very tough and offer great traction on trails that involve scrambling. That said, they don’t offer the same amount of grip when conditions are wet and slippery. These shoes don’t have the best durability and they are a little stiffer than others on this list. They aren’t waterproof. The sizes are quite small, with a narrow fit, so you might want to buy a shoe larger than you typically would unless you have narrow feet.


La Sportiva Women’s Wildcat

Pros:

  • Excellent breathability
  • Lightweight
  • Great versatility
  • Excellent price point
Cons:

  • Minimal toe cap
  • Less durable than some others on this list
These are a great choice if you want a top-quality hiking shoe that is affordable. These are lightweight and very versatile. For a good all-rounder, these are a great option. If you want comfort, you’ll also find that here. You also have great traction here, with fantastic shock absorption. These shoes, because of those qualities, are great in many different conditions, making for a fairly versatile shoe. They have a wide fit, which is great for hikers with wide feet – or those whose feet swell while hiking. These shoes are also very lightweight and breathable and have good ankle support for a low-cut shoe. That said, there’s a minimal toe cap here, which won’t protect your toes in rugged conditions. And the thin upper mesh (though it gives excellent breathability) isn’t durable.


North Face Women’s Hedgehog Fastpack GTX

Pros:

  • Excellent Gore-Tex waterproofing
  • Great traction
  • Good amount of support across the foot
  • Fantastic durability
Cons:

  • The sizes run a little small
  • Not much arch support
Crafted with Gore-Tex, these are an excellent waterproof option, if that’s a priority for you. For a Gore-Tex shoe, these are lightweight, though not quite as light as some others on this list. The waterproofing here is great, and the tread has plenty of rugged traction. The support here is also good for a low-cut shoe. You get plenty of durability with these shoes, so they’ll be around for many hikes to come. The sizes run a little small, so you might want to buy a bigger size than you usually would. They’re also not a great option if you have wide feet. If you like a lot of arch support, you might not like these, but they have plenty of support elsewhere.


Keen Women’s Terradora Shoes

Pros:

  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Great traction
  • If you want an all-rounder, these are a good option
  • Very comfortable
  • Great for hikers who like lightweight shoes
Cons:

  • The durability isn’t fantastic
  • Not much arch support
These are very lightweight and waterproof. They have excellent traction and are a nice all-rounder, good for all conditions. These shoes are very breathable, so your feet won’t get too sweaty when you’re wearing them. They’re very comfortable and will continue to offer comfort throughout even the longest of hikes. They don’t have as good arch support as Keen shoes typically have, and the sizes run slightly small. They’re also not the most durable offering on this list.


Oboz Women’s Sawtooth II

Pros:

  • Outstanding traction & stability
  • Comfortable & durable
  • Excellent for technical terrain
Cons:

  • Could be a bit lighter

To put it simply, these women’s shoes are rugged and burly – they’re one of the best options available for ladies who often engage in long-distance backcountry adventures. Fortunately, these shoes are also durable, waterproof, supportive, and comfortable – let’s take a closer look at all of their features.

When shopping for a brand new pair of hiking shoes, fit and comfort are among the most crucial aspects you need to consider. In terms of comfort, the Oboz Sawtooth II model is just as cozy as the previous iteration of this model. Both the heel and the forefoot are well-cushioned, and this is something you’re bound to appreciate while carrying a heavy pack over rugged terrain. An important thing to mention here is that Sawtooth II sports a bit narrower construction than the original Sawtooth Women’s shoes.

You will also like the model’s arch support, lateral support, and effective lacing system. Furthermore, these women’s hiking shoes are equipped with the company’s proprietary “O Fit” insoles – these are exceptionally sturdy and provide decent arch support. The outsole, on the other hand, has enough torsional rigidity to allow scrambling and boulder hopping.

One of the best features of Oboz Women’s Sawtooth II is its excellent traction. Its lugs are chunky, deep, and zig-zag shaped – you’ll always have a good grip in all sorts of technical situations. The model’s BDry waterproof membrane, on the other hand, transports the sweat out while preventing water from getting inside the shoes.


Salomon Women’s X Ultra 4 GTX

Pros:

  • Great traction & waterproofing
  • Comfortable out of the box
  • Quick-lacing system
Cons:

  • Not as protective underfoot

The next pair of women’s shoes in our roundup is yet another outstanding model from Solomon – the X Ultra 4 GTX. This is an impressively capable and lightweight hiking shoe that provides waterproofing, traction, and comfort straight out of the box. Let’s take a closer look at its features:

As mentioned above, these Salomon Women’s hiking shoes are comfortable right out of the box. Its toe box is quite spacious but never feels sloppy. The shoe’s upper, on the other hand, is made out of special synthetic material that is coupled with reinforced overlays. These women’s hiking shoes are equipped with Ortholite insoles that are perforated, molded, and provide quite a lot of breathability and cushioning.

These insoles work together in harmony with the midsoles and the uppers to provide a sufficient amount of support for the whole foot. Another feature worth talking about is the model’s Quicklace system. While the laces themselves aren’t really stretchy or thick, the entire system allows the user to quickly put these shoes on as well as take them off.

The Salomon Women’s X Ultra 4 GTX shoes excel in terms of traction, too. Their Contagrip soles, which come with multi-directional lugs, provide the wearer with superb stability and security on a variety of surfaces, including ice. These shoes are also completely waterproof, which, when combined with the features listed above, turns them into a truly worthwhile investment.


Merrell Women’s Moab 2

Pros:

  • Genuinely affordable women’s hiking shoes
  • Good traction & waterproofing
  • Decent support
Cons:

  • Requires breaking in

Are you looking for a pair of women’s hiking shoes that are practical and functional without being flashy? If that’s the case, Merrell’s popular Moab 2 shoes may be your best option. They are also exceptionally affordable – they will save you a couple of dollars while still allowing you to handle shallow creeks, rock slabs, and steep trails while wearing them.

Unlike the previous model (Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX), this shoe is not comfortable straight out of the box. This shouldn’t worry you, though – after a couple of short hikes, it will loosen up and conform to the shape of your foot. Once broken in, the Moabs are very comfortable. If you want your hiking shoes to be really well-cushioned, these may not be the best option out there, however.

The molded nylon shank of Merrell Women’s Moab 2 is quite burly and prevents the shoes from feeling squishy with each successive steep. These will work great if you usually carry only moderately heavy packs – for multi-day backcountry adventures, you’ll want something a bit more supportive. The Vibram soles of these hiking shoes, on the other hand, provide great traction and are very sticky on bare rocks.

All in all, this is a well-made, practical pair of shoes that can be obtained for a reasonable amount of money. Great at some things and good at most, they’re a suitable choice for ladies who often engage in not-so-demanding day hikes.


La Sportiva Women’s Spire GTX

Pros:

  • Delivers in every category
  • Unmatched design & traction
  • Suitable for warm-weather hiking
Cons:

  • Expensive

These hiking shoes are a favorite of many female trekking enthusiasts all over the world. This is because they look like your regular trail runners but are still quite techy and rugged for demanding backcountry outings. They are quite pricey, too, but their high cost is undoubtedly justified by their performance, comfort, and support.

La Sportiva Women’s Spire GTX shoes provide its wearer with superb traction – it’s as simple as that. They are equipped with Vibram XS Trek soles, and these will give you all the confidence you need to ascend and descend quickly. They grab through loose material and provide a truly outstanding grip, even on ice and wet rocks.

Another great thing about Women’s Spire GTX is its Gore-Tex Surround membrane, which ensures that the wearer’s feet stay dry in the rain, sleet, and snow. Together with the high-tech breathable mesh, this membrane makes the shoes extremely breathable and suitable for trekking in warm weather. Furthermore, the shoes feel very supportive and never feel sloppy on any type of ground.

Is there anything wrong with these superb women’s hiking shoes? Besides the high price, the only other thing we didn’t like is the quality of the laces, as they’re quite thin and long. As for the price, keep in mind that you’ll be getting a truly superior pair of women’s hiking shoes for the dollars you’ll spend on them.


Altra Women’s Lone Peak 4.5

Pros:

  • Zero-drop design
  • Wide & spacious toe box
  • Lots of underfoot cushioning
Cons:

  • Not the most durable outsoles

While it’s more popular in the trail-running community, this breathable, protective, and comfortable shoe is also a favorite of many hikers all over the world. In fact, these shoes are so well-made that they can be used for hiking, trail-running, work, and around the town. Pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say?

This shoe has quite a lot of cushioning underfoot, and this would be a type of cushioning that is both responsive and soft. In other words, it allows the wearer to feel the trail while still protecting her foot from the sharp rocks. The model’s traction is just as awesome – the outsole features well spaced-out and easily deals with both rocks and snow. It will, however, wear out after hundreds of miles on rocky and dirt-packed terrain.

Combined, the model’s relatively low stack height and its wide toe box give the wearer a feeling like she’s flying on the ground. As they’re extra wide around the forefoot, you’ll be able to spread your toes and thus have much better stability and balance overall. This is precisely what turns Altra Women’s Lone Peak 4.5 into a good choice for the ladies who often carry heavy backpacks over long distances.

All in all, this is a well-cushioned pair of women’s hiking shoes with wide toe boxes that provide better stability and balance. They provide its user with the performance and comfort needed for all but the most demanding trails out there.


Merrell Women’s Siren Edge Q2

Pros:

  • Exceptionally lightweight hiking shoes
  • M Select DRY waterproof liner
  • A good choice for gentle terrain
Cons:

  • They lack lateral & arch support
  • Shallow tread pattern

Here we have yet another women’s pair of shoes made by Merrell. These are lightweight trekking shoes that trend towards the so-called “barefoot” (or minimalist) design. While that certainly isn’t something you’ll want when it comes to more rugged trails, it does the job pretty well for shorter and lighter hikes into the backcountry.

First things first – the comfort. Let’s be honest here – these are not the most comfortable women’s hiking shoes out there. Their upper is a strange mix of vinyl and mesh that feels plastic and makes strange noises when you’re walking. In addition, the Siren Edge Q2 has close to no padding underfoot, which can be a major issue when you’re walking on a rough trail.

However, when it comes to weight, the Siren Edge Q2 is very hard to match – these are among the most lightweight women’s hiking shoes available on the market. While this comes with a couple of sacrifices (such as the lack of arch support or good traction), it turns these shoes into a phenomenal option if weight is a major consideration for you.

Other features worth mentioning are the proprietary waterproof M Select DRY liner and the good amount of breathability. Once we combine these with the shoe’s low weight and “barefoot” design, we get what is probably the best choice for ladies looking for a pair of genuinely minimalist hiking shoes.


Saucony Women’s Peregrine 11

Pros:

  • A good 3-season shoe for lighter trails
  • Agile, versatile & lightweight
  • 6mm directional lugs provide good traction
Cons:

  • Not for difficult hiking routes

Just like the previous model on this list, Saucony Women’s Peregrine 11 shoes are designed for off-road running. However, there’s another thing that makes them similar to Siren Edge Q2 – they are just as versatile and neutral-oriented. In other words, they can be used as hiking shoes and many female trekkers use them for that purpose.

While wearing this shoe, you’ll feel the fit securing your foot to the chassis. As you can already guess, this is something that successfully prevents internal sliding and slipping. Besides this secure sensation at the mid-foot section, the shoe also features a narrow cup heel. The toe box, on the other hand, is quite compact but not restrictive in any way, and that’s always a big plus in our book.

The model’s flexible rock plate is accompanied by moderate midsole cushioning. This allows for a protective, flexible, and cushy ride that still allows the wearer to move in the most natural way possible over any type of terrain. We also liked the traction – Peregrine 11 is equipped with rubber-made 6mm directional lugs that work well on both dry and wet rocks.

While it’s not as protective as some of the other women’s hiking shoes on this list, the Saucony Peregrine 11 are agile enough to handle moderately technical routes. Choose these shoes if you need a pair of versatile, 3-season shoes that you’ll use exclusively on semi-technical terrain.


Salomon Women’s XA Pro 3D V8

Pros:

  • A pair of genuinely durable shoes
  • Outstanding foot protection
  • Good traction & stability control
Cons:

  • Very burly

The fourth pair of Salomon women’s hiking shoes on this list is also one of the best. The XA Pro 3D V8 is a beasty tank of a hiking shoe that is bound to provide you with maximum protection in the backcountry. Fortunately, that’s not the only good thing about – let’s take a closer look at the rest of its features:

While comfort is certainly a relative category, we think that it’s pretty safe to say that these are among the most comfortable women’s trekking shoes available on the market. Once you break into them, you will enjoy their wide toe box and the cinch-lacing system that comfortably tightens the shoe over the sides and the top of your foot.

An important thing to keep in mind here is that the bulkiness of these shoes restricts their performance when it comes to running. These are made for hiking, and hiking only. The fact that they weigh over 32 ounces per pair (size 11) also makes them incredibly stable. In terms of traction, the XA Pro 3D V8’s come with soles that feature closely-spaced, and these are very sticky on rocky terrain.

As we mentioned in the intro, the best thing about these women’s hiking shoes is the foot protection they provide. The model’s upper features multi-layered synthetic leather construction, and its midsole rock plate is inflexible and solid. To put it simply, rare are the shoes that are as protective as Salomon Women’s XA Pro 3D V8 are.


Keen Women’s Targhee 3 Mid

Pros:

  • Budget-oriented but well-made shoes
  • Very comfortable (wide toe box)
  • Phenomenal traction
Cons:

  • Large & heavy

Here we have a pair of stylish, durable, and comfortable women’s hiking shoes made by one of the most renowned manufacturers of outdoor footwear – Keen. One particularly great thing about these shoes is that they’re fairly inexpensive, which turns them into an ideal option for the ladies who want to save money but don’t want to compromise on the quality of their trekking shoes.

Even though this is a mid-weight model (as the name suggests), the Targhee 3 Mid feels pretty light on the trail. In addition, these shoes require little to no time to break in. Another great thing is the presence of a very wide toe box – if you have wider feet, these shoes will fit you like a glove. We should also mention that the model’s insoles offer sufficient underfoot support and that its heel-capture system comfortably cradles the wearer’s heel.

The soles of these Keen women’s hiking shoes can be used on slippery surfaces, as they do an excellent job of maintaining traction. This is the direct result of the intricate tread pattern and 4mm lugs. Once we combine these with the overall burly rubber sole design, we get a pair of trekking shoes that effortlessly stick to all types of surfaces you may encounter in the backcountry.

These shoes shine in the waterproofing department too and are also very durable due to their burly leather uppers. In summary, these are among the highest-performing shoes for the price.


Hoka One One Women’s Speedgoat 4

Pros:

  • First-rate foot protection
  • Impressive traction & cushioning
  • Great value for the money
Cons:

  • The fit is a bit on the narrow side

Most of Hoke One One’s hiking shoes are well-known for combining grippy traction with excellent cushioning, and these are no exception to that rule. In addition, the Women’s Speedgoat 4 shoes offer great foot protection and increased stability.

As expected, the Women’s Speedgoat 4 shoes are very comfortable straight out of the box. However, people with wider feet may find these to have toe boxes that are a bit on the narrow side. Still, we think that these shoes provide an excellent fit that will appeal to most women. It goes without saying, but ladies with wider feet can always order a wide variant.

The Vibram Megagrip outsoles of these shoes provide outstanding traction – it’s as simple as that. They are extremely sticky and work very well on both wet and dry surfaces. The lugs are sharp-edged, 5mm deep, and effortlessly bite into loose and soft surfaces such as snow, grass, and loose dirt. They grip on mud as well, although this comes at the price of (major) caking.

One particularly great thing about these women’s hiking shoes is how protective they are. The 32mm EVA foam layer does an excellent job of absorbing shock and dampening the effect of walking over sharp rocks. If you’re in the market for the grippiest traction possible, these shoes are one of your best options.


Salomon Women’s OUTline GTX W

Pros:

  • Lightweight & waterproof
  • Comfortable right out of the box
  • Perfect for sightseeing & mellow hikes
Cons:

  • Mediocre traction & support

While it lacks traction, support, and durability, this Salomon women’s hiking shoe is a good option if you’re looking for a lightweight and waterproof solution to your trekking needs. So, in other words, this model isn’t that suitable for extensive hiking use, but more for light backcountry use combined with some sightseeing.

As you already know, a pair of uncomfortable shoes can easily ruin any outing. In terms of comfort, the Women’s OUTline GTX W shoes are average – they feel good on the feet but aren’t as impressive in that department as some of the other models in this roundup. Fortunately, they require little to no time for breaking in – if they feel good in the retail store, they will probably feel good on the trail, too.

Just like many other Salomon shoes, these also use Ortholite insoles and EVA midsoles. Combined, they give the shoe a responsive and cushioned feel, but this is still far and away from the comfort offered by pricier models. The OUTline GTX W also lacks in the traction department, as they’re unable to provide a proper grip on mossy and wet rocks.

The Gore-Tex liner of this shoe keeps the water at bay, while its minimal stitching and rubberized overlays give it genuinely low weight. In conclusion, this model is an ideal option for shorter hikes you may have in your itinerary, but they’re simply not durable or supportive enough for extended backcountry adventures.


Merrell Women’s MQM Flex 2

Pros:

  • A well-made hiking/trail running hybrid
  • Updated lug design – better traction
  • Nimble but sufficiently supportive
Cons:

  • Not the most durable outsoles

Designed to bridge hiking and trail running categories, these are hybrid shoes that are nimble and light on one’s feet while still offering enough protection and support for more demanding day hikes. They’re not the most durable women’s hiking shoes in this roundup, but maybe you’re willing to sacrifice durability for other qualities – let’s take a look at them:

Although it sports a hybrid design, the Women’s MQM Flex 2 feels more like a trail runner than a regular hiking shoe. Its low stack keeps the wearer close to the ground and the model is very flexible under the forefoot. The rock plate, which is located in the shoe’s midsole, provides some protection against sharp rocks on rough trails.

Unlike the previous iteration of this model (the original MQM Flex), these shoes are a bit better when it comes to traction. They sport substantial outsoles that effortlessly bite into mud and dirt – it’s a huge improvement and a big plus in our book. However, these new outsoles aren’t really durable and wear out pretty quickly. This is also the biggest downside of Merrell Women’s MQM Flex 2.

Still, we think that this is a fairly versatile women’s hiking shoe and one that you’ll be able to use for both ultralight backpacking and difficult day hikes. If you’re really serious about hiking, you’re better off with something a bit more durable.


La Sportiva Women’s TX4

Pros:

  • One of La Sportiva’s most well-rounded shoes
  • Durable, supportive & comfortable
  • Unmatched climbing ability
Cons:

  • Expensive

The women-specific variant of La Sportiva’s popular TX4 shoes is something special. While they’re expensive and a bit on the heavier side, they excel in almost every category that matters. Their blend of climbing ability and hiking comfort & support is very hard to match – here’s a closer analysis:

As a hiking/approach hybrid, the Women’s TX4 shoe has a decent edging capability due to its stiff edge, precise lacing system, and stiff toe. This shoe is just as good in terms of comfort – it has a mesh interior that is cozy but not as breathable as we expected it to be. Still, the model’s lacing system certainly adds to the overall comfort – you can loosen the laces when you’re walking on light trails or tighten them up when you’re traversing technical terrain.

Another great thing about La Sportiva Women’s TX4 shoes is how supportive they are. They come with wider heels and therefore offer good stability on uneven terrain and protection from sharp surfaces. Finally, these shoes are reasonably water-resistant and lightweight, especially when compared to their rivals in this price category.

Overall, this shoe is yet another great example of how knowledgeable La Sportiva’s engineers are. The model is a definition of a well-rounded women’s hiking shoe and a perfect choice who often engage in climbing during their backcountry adventures.


Merrell Women’s Vapor Glove 4

Pros:

  • The best minimalist women’s shoes on the market
  • Great for training foot strength
  • Nimble, lightweight & precise
Cons:

  • Thin construction – not for rocky trails

Are you looking for a pair of minimalist women’s hiking shoes that you’ll be using only on smoother trails? If so, these nimble and precise Merrell shoes may fit you like a glove (pun intended). Just keep in mind that these are too thin for rough terrain and you’re better off with something a bit more durable if you’re really serious about hiking.

These are one of the market’s highest-performing minimalist shoes – there’s no doubt about that. The total stack height of only 6.5mm ensures that the wearer feels everything under her feet, which can, of course, be quite dangerous on rougher trails. But if you’re careful and only engage in light day hikes, this won’t be a problem.

These women’s trekking shoes live up to their clean, basic design with their exceptionally low weight, too. When it comes to traction, on the other hand, the model is equipped with well-spaced 2mm lugs that successfully grip most surfaces. While you shouldn’t expect the traction of approach shoes, we think that it’s pretty safe to say that these shoes look and feel like the minimalist variant of climbing shoes.

Obviously, the biggest downside of Vapor Glove 4 shoes is that they’re not really durable. The company did try to mitigate this issue by using high-quality materials, but the overall construction is quite thin and we’re not sure about the longevity of these women’s hiking shoes.


Altra Women’s Superior 4

Pros:

  • Superb stability & wide toe box
  • Light but responsive cushioning
  • Inexpensive
Cons:

  • Less aggressive outsoles

The next women’s hiking shoes on our list are comfortable, super lightweight, and inexpensive. As it turns out, the Altra Women’s Superior 4 are a favorite of many female hikers all over the world – they offer a delicate balance of sensitivity and foot protection, which turns them into a pretty good choice for moderate hikes with a couple of obstacles here and there.

These inexpensive zero-drop shoes are equipped with rock plates and 21mm of responsive cushioning. Together, these protect the wearer from most trail particulates while still providing a relatively comfortable fit. Although it’s somewhat thin, the model’s outsole enhances the protection too, just like its rubberized toe cap.

The thin outsole mentioned above is pretty good in terms of traction and works well on steep, slippery trails. Still, keep in mind that this is one of the company’s least aggressive outsoles – these women’s hiking shoes were designed for easy to moderate terrain. The stability, on the other hand, is a whole different story – Superior 4’s are among the most stable women’s hiking shoes available on the market.

The lacing system of these shoes is pretty decent and comes with a variety of eyelets, letting the wearer tie the laces however she wants. The shoe’s upper is soft and breathable, and the model requires little to no break-in time. Overall, these are a great option if you’re looking for a low price and responsive cushioning.


ASICS Women’s GT-2000 9

Pros:

  • A reliable do-everything women’s hiking shoe
  • Provides comfort, cushion, and stability
  • Responsive FlyteFoam midsoles
Cons:

  • The model’s Trusstic frame tends to pick up pebbles

One of the most popular products in ASICS’s range of shoes, the GT-2000 9 is a very reliable shoe that provides an outstanding fit and feel. In fact, many experts consider this model to be one of the best updates of the year, saying that this shoe’s easy-striding performance is very hard to match.

The ninth edition introduces an improved fit through the addition of a one-piece mesh upper and some extra support. Furthermore, GT-2000 9 features a more resilient (as well as softer) FlyteFoam midsole that is combined with some GEL cushioning in the model’s forefoot and heel sections. Even with all of these upgrades, the ninth edition of this shoe is half an ounce lighter than the previous iteration. Pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say?

The model’s outsole, on the other hand, features rubber-made sections that are separated by grooves. The step-in feel is relatively soft and always keeps the wearer’s feet in the optimal situation. The FlyteFoam midsole mentioned above provides excellent responsiveness and bounce-back no matter the circumstances.

All in all, the ASICS Women’s GT-2000 9 is a true workhorse of a hiking shoe and a suitable choice for long weekend runs and high-mileage hikes. It is a particularly great option for hiking beginners looking for a reliable, comfortable, do-everything model that they’ll be able to wear in and around the city.


Hoka One One Women’s Stinson ATR 4

Pros:

  • More cushioning than ever before
  • The wider base provides better stability
  • Excellent shock absorption
Cons:

  • Heavy & bulky

A lot of both male and female hikers consider Hoka One One to be the king of cushioning. The company’s Women’s Stinson ATR 4 shoes successfully build on that reputation and stand as one of the most comfortable pairs of women’s shoes available on today’s market. If cushioning is a major consideration for you, keep reading – these may be one of your best options.

To put it simply, these shoes are big. However, their large size also provides the wearer’s feet with more protection. The model’s toe box features special protective wrapping and its 4mm lugs on the outsoles are impressively tough and provide a solid grip on most surfaces. The women’s variant of these burly hiking shoes weighs 9.6 ounces.

Recent iterations of this shoe were heading toward a narrower construction, and Stinson ATR 4 is the company’s return to a wider platform. This increased volume allows one’s foot to quickly adapt to the terrain – you’ll be enjoying a much smoother ride than you did in the last year’s model. Another important thing to mention here is that the model’s wider base also translates to better stability, and that’s always a big plus in our book.

All in all, Hoka One One Women’s Stinson ATR 4 provides a very balanced feel and is a perfect option for cruising over technical sections of your choice. It’s yet another example of the company’s expert craftsmanship and a genuinely worthwhile investment for the ladies who are a bit more serious about hiking.


Salomon Women’s X Ultra 3 GTX

Pros:

  • An extremely versatile pair of women’s hiking shoes
  • Unmatched traction & water resistance
  • A lightweight but durable & protective construction
Cons:

  • A flimsy plastic locking mechanism

Rare are hikers, male or female, who never heard of these shoes. This is one of Salomon’s most popular models and one that offers outstanding water resistance and aggressive traction – just what you need for demanding hiking adventures. In these, you’ll never have to fear sloppy or rough terrain.

In terms of comfort, the Salomon Women’s X Ultra 3 GTX provides a fit that is very snug, particularly on the sides. An important thing to mention here is that these feel somewhat stiff out of the box and that it takes some time to break them in. Furthermore, the toe box isn’t as spacious as in some other hiking shoes made by this company – those with wide feet should definitely try these on before buying them.

No Salomon shoes offer better traction than these do – it’s as simple as that. This is due to the presence of multi-directional lugs that will allow you to move through mud and over wet rocks with ease. In fact, you’ll even be able to climb uphill while wearing these shoes – that’s how grippy they are. They also deliver great lateral stability and provide outstanding foot protection.

Equipped with the Gore-Tex Performance Comfort membrane, the shoe excels in the waterproofing department as well. The only major downside is the Quicklace System – it features a plastic locking mechanism that is probably the least durable component of these otherwise extremely well-made women’s hiking shoes.


ON Women’s Cloudventure

Pros:

  • High-quality upper construction
  • Very comfortable & protective
  • Unique eye-catching design
Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Heavy, sloppy & imprecise

The unique design of these women’s hiking shoes is immediately noticeable. While they don’t offer the best traction or fit, these shoes are well-made, comfortable to wear and look genuinely interesting and eye-catching. Here’s a closer look at their features:

In terms of foot protection, the ON Women’s Cloudventure shoes are definitely a success. Underfoot, the model combines a rigid rock plate with special Cloudtec pods that are located on the shoe’s sole. There is also a toe bumper – it is covered in rubber and does a pretty good job of preventing stubbed toes.

As mentioned in the intro, the ON Women’s Cloudventure shoes aren’t particularly stable and don’t provide the best grip out there. While they do a decent job on hard surfaces, the shoes don’t perform that well in mud and stones can easily get stuck between the pods on their outsoles. The model is also quite heavy due to the large amount of rubber that covers the pods mentioned above.

The flexible, spacious fit of these shoes, on the other hand, definitely deserves words of praise. It is very clear that the interior of this women’s hiking shoe was made to the absolute highest standard. Still, don’t expect these to hold your feet securely in place – if you want the best hiking performance possible, this model definitely isn’t your best bet, particularly if we take its high cost into account.


La Sportiva Women’s TX Guide

Pros:

  • Excellent for edging & crack climbing
  • Fantastic traction & support
  • Durable construction
Cons:

  • Narrow fit
  • Expensive

This La Sportiva hiking shoe sits right between the company’s techy TX 2s and mile-crushing TX 4s in terms of trekking support and is undoubtedly a welcome addition to this popular lineup. The Women’s TX Guide is stiffer and narrower than both of the models mentioned above and feels like it’s made for technical climbing and long approaches.

While these shoes certainly aren’t dramatically more narrow than the other La Sportiva models, ladies with wide feet could easily find them uncomfortable. If you don’t have that issue, you’ll find TX Guide to be a very cozy shoe – its cushioned midsole and the padded tongue offer a lot of padding and support. Still, keep in mind that these have a profile of mountain-running shoes and aren’t something you should go for if you’re more of a weekend hiker.

These shoes shine the most when it comes to their climbing ability. These are outstanding edging platforms and finding the “power position” while climbing is never a problem with Women’s TX Guide. In addition, the model’s sticky rubber outsoles are bound to drastically increase your confidence while traversing technical terrain – the sticky Vibram grips most surfaces with ease.

The high price of these La Sportiva shoes is definitely justified by their durable, performance-oriented construction. If you’re serious about hiking, you will certainly appreciate the stiffness and the climbing ability of these shoes – they’re just what you need for your demanding backcountry outings.


Brooks Women’s Ghost 13

Pros:

  • A pair of cushy, plush women’s hiking shoes
  • Provide a soft & secure fit
  • Excellent shock absorption
Cons:

  • Expensive

The last women’s hiking shoes we’ll review come from Brooks, which is one of America’s household names when it comes to quality outdoor wear. As it turns out, their Women’s Ghost 13 shoes are among the best selling products of this type in the United States – let’s check out what made them so popular:

The biggest update to this latest iteration of Brooks Ghost shoes is the extension of the midsole. As expected, this results in smoother heel-to-toe transitions on the trail. The model’s mesh upper has been tweaked as well, and now offers more breathability and comfort. The outsoles, on the other hand, are now somewhat more flexible and provide the wearer with better traction.

The midsole that we mentioned above is actually one of this shoe’s best parts. It includes a thick layer of DNA Loft foam and effortlessly absorbs impacts that are unavoidable when you’re traversing rough terrain. Brooks also decided to add a special eco-friendly BioMoGo foam layer – it stretches from the toes to the arch and is yet another of minimal changes that, when combined, turn this shoe into something truly exceptional.

As expected, the step-in feel of Brooks Women’s Ghost 13 is luxurious, soft, and plush. These shoes are very comfortable even though they’re marketed as do-everything shoes for beginner hikers and trail runners. In the end, this updated version is certainly a worthwhile investment if you value comfort and good shock absorption.


Buying Hiking Shoes for Women – What do I Need to Consider?

There you have it – my top picks for the best women’s hiking shoes. There are a few different features you need to consider – and how important these features are to you depends upon your body and your hiking style. It’s therefore important to think about the type of hiking you like to do – how long are your treks? What type of terrain are you hiking on? Where in your body do you need the most support?

Comfort

If you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to enjoy your hike. Blisters and badly-built shoes are a huge barrier to enjoying all hikes and treks. It’s therefore essential to choose shoes that are comfortable.

Waterproofing

Unless you hike exclusively in dry conditions or dry weather, you’ll probably want shoes with some degree of waterproofing. A well-waterproofed shoe should feature a tongue that’s sewn up as far as possible. Much water can get into the foot around the tongue. But if this tongue is sewn up, the water can’t get in. A well-waterproofed shoe should also feature a good seal where the sole meets the shoe material. It’s important here to consider the cut of your shoe. A shoe which sits below the ankle is inherently poor at fighting water because the water can get in at the top of the shoe. So if you prefer shoes which are cut low, waterproofing can be futile. If you want a lighter shoe, what you can instead do is choose a shoe that’s designed to dry quickly – so even if your shoes get wet, they won’t stay wet for long.

Breathability

Good shoes should be breathable to some degree. If shoes are breathable, your feet will become less sweaty, so you’ll, therefore, be more comfortable. It’s important to note here that, as waterproofing increases, breathability typically decreases – which is a tradeoff you need to consider. If you like summer hiking or hiking in hot conditions, breathability is important.

Support

Different types of hikes require different types of support. And different types of feet require different types of support. Some shoes have a toe cap to support the toes. Other shoes offer support above the ankle. Without ankle support, you may roll your ankle. And without a toe cap, whether metal or rubber, it can be very easy to damage a toe or rip a toenail.

Traction

Traction – or grip! – is perhaps the most important consideration of all. Without a good grip on the soles of your shoes, you can hurt yourself or fall from a height. Bad traction can be very dangerous. Traction is important when hiking uphill and downhill – and in wet, slippery or icy weather. For technical terrain, you need to make sure your shoes have good traction. Good soles with good traction should also offer abrasion resistance, to stop the soles from wearing away.

Lacing

Lacing is a feature that’s often overlooked. Good lacing allows you to keep your shoes tight, which keeps you safer, protects you from injury and fights against blisters. With good lacing, you won’t have to keep readjusting your laces. And your shoes will be more reliable.

Weight

The weight of a shoe is influenced by many of the factors above. Better waterproofing means more weight. A higher shoe means more weight. But a lighter shoe can make hikes easier and freer. Carrying a lot of weight on your feet can be very tiring. So it’s important to only take the features you need – and free up weight from your feet to make your hikes more enjoyable.

Can I Use My Hiking Shoes as Daily Shoes?

You can. Hiking shoes are comfortable and they’re definitely appropriate for daily use. That said, if you wear them every day, they’ll wear out more quickly – and they will need replacing more quickly. So if you want to keep your shoes in top-quality condition, it’s best not to wear them all the time.

How Can I Care for my Hiking Shoes?

Hiking shoes will last longer (and continue to perform better!) with proper maintenance. To wash them, you should remove the insoles and dump out all debris and dirt. You should then wash each shoe in a bucket of soapy water before leaving them out to dry. You should wash and dry the insoles separately, in the same way. If you care for your favorite hiking shoes in the right way, you can keep using them for years to come.

How Can I Keep My Feet Dry Without Waterproof Shoes?

Easy! After you put on your hiking socks, put a plastic grocery bag over your feet. Then put your shoes on. The bag forms a barrier between your shoes and your socks – and if your socks don’t get wet, your feet won’t get wet. With this trick, whatever type of hiking footwear you’re wearing, your feet will stay dry.

Is Gore-Tex the Best Waterproof Breathable Membrane?

It’s the most famous. And it’s been around the longest. But it’s no longer the only option. So a shoe doesn’t need to have Gore-Tex to have a good waterproof breathable membrane.

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Are there any other good brands to choose from?

Many other brands make truly good hiking shoes. Brands such as Grand Traverse, Merrell, Lone Peak, and Columbia also make fantastic shoes. But something from the list above will absolutely be enough to make your hikes better, more fun, and safer. Happy hiking!

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