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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, we take a look at what makes good shoes good and what you should consider when choosing new shoes. We 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, we’ve got something for you in this list. For better, safer, and more enjoyable walks, read on. (Related: the best hiking shoes, vegan hiking shoes.)

Women’s Hiking Shoes Reviews

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

Ahnu Sugarpine Air Mesh

Ahnu Sugarpine Air Mesh Hiking shoes

This doesn’t look like your average clunky hiking shoe, which might appeal to 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 is excellent.

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

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Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX

Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX womens

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.

Manufacturers website

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

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Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoe

Danner Trail 2650 women hiking shoe

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.

Manufacturers website

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

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Arc’teryx Aerios FL GTX Hiking Shoe

Arc’teryx Aerios FL GTX hiking shoes

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.

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

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Salomon Odyssey Triple Crown Women’s

Salomon Odyssey Triple Crown women shoes

These shoes are an excellent hybrid between a trail runner and a hiking shoe, 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.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Maybe not enough support for some hikers
  • Not waterproof

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Brooks Cascadia 14 Hiking Shoe

Brooks Cascadia 14 women hiking 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 which 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.

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

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Vasque Grand Traverse Shoes

Vasque Grand Traverse womens walking shoes

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 which 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.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • The sizing is a little unpredictable
  • Not waterproof
  • Not great for wet or muddy conditions

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La Sportiva Wildcat Hiking Shoes for Women

Women's La Sportiva Wildcat

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.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Minimal toe cap
  • Less durable than some others on this list

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North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX Hiking Shoes

North Face Hedgehog Fastpack GTX hiking shoes

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.

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

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Keen Terradora Women’s Hiking Shoe

Keen Terradora

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.

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

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There you have it – our top ten picks for the best women’s hiking shoes.

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

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.

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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