If you think of hiking footwear, the image that probably pops into your head is of a heavy leather boot with clunky soles. But the newest designs on the block are a very different breed to more traditional outdoor shoes – meet the boot/sneaker hybrid, or 'sniker'. Boots with the fit and comfort of your favourite pair of trainers but enough technical features to work well on tough trails are a brilliant choice for more casual day-to-day hikes, especially in the summer months.
Two of our favourite trainer-like hiking boots for women are Keen's Terradora II, launched in 2020 as an update of the popular Terradora, and Merrell's Bravada, which was designed using feedback from a women's hiking group. Here's how they compare when worn on warm weather hikes – and you can find the perfect walking boot for any adventure with our best women's hiking boot or best men's hiking boot guides.
- Want something more lightweight still? These are the best women's walking shoes
- Discover how to break in hiking boots effectively
Keen Terradora II vs Merrell Bravada: Design and features
The sporty Bravada looks much more like a trainer than the more classic Terradora II, thanks to its mesh panels and oversized sole, which makes it a versatile pick. That said, the Terradora II is an attractive hiker in its own right, and comes in a range of bright colourways, so both boots get high marks when it comes to design. Both of these 'mid' boots are also available as lower-cut trainer styles, but for hiking we prefer these mid models, as they offer better ankle support on uneven terrain. It's worth pointing out that the Bravada, like many of Merrell's shoes, is also vegan-friendly.
These models both have bouncy soles with lugs that offer decent grip, making them suitable for dry, rocky trails, but they aren't about to take you up Everest. For challenging mountain treks where you might meet icy ground or wet rock, you'll need to pick a more technical boot with a tougher sole and toe box than either of our contenders can offer.
The main design difference here is weight – Keen's Terradora II weighs in at 467g per shoe, while Merrell's Bravada weighs 684g, and so is noticeably heavier underfoot. Not a huge issue, but if you're hiking on an all-day trail or a multi-day walking holiday, a lighter boot will keep your walking comfortably for longer.
Winner: The Bravada has more urban looks, but Keen's lighter weight gets it the higher design mark.
Keen Terradora II vs Merrell Bravada: Comfort and performance
Both of these boots are designed to offer comfort straight out of the box, with no need to break them in. And in fact, they're both excellent when it comes to comfort and fit. Keen's Terradora II is great for wider feet, with plenty of room for your toes to splay naturally (both of these boots, we should note, are female-specific designs). Both boots sport very comfortable insoles (Merrell's Air Cushion really stands out) and both use a breathable mesh lining to keep feet from sweating (Keen's is the higher performer here). If you normally have to deal with blisters, rubbing or sweaty feet, both of these boots are here to solve your woes and keep your feet comfy.
In terms of performance, we did notice that while Keen's Terradora II is waterproof enough to deal with rainfall it will eventually let some water in because it's cut a tad too wide – it's hard to lace it up snugly enough around your ankle to stop rain seeping onto your socks. Merrell's Bravada fares better in rain, with a snug-fitting ankle and a good waterproof membrane. That said, we wouldn't pick either of these boots for use in cold winter weather or when rain is forecast – they are far better used for summer adventures, as they both focus on being breathable and keeping feet cool and comfortable even in the heat.
Winner: For warmer weather Keen's breathability makes it our top pick, but we give the Bravada a better rating if the weather does turn wet.
Keen Terradora II vs Merrell Bravada: Price and verdict
We'd happily recommend both the Keen Terradora II (opens in new tab) and Merrell's Bravada (opens in new tab) for anyone who already owns a waterproof winter boot and needs a comfortable and versatile 'sniker' for warmer weather. It's hard to pick a winner here, but we reckon the Keen Terradora II's lighter weight clinches it, as this boot feels light and comfortable to wear underfoot even on all-day adventures, and is easy to pack for travelling or to carry in your rucksack on backpacking trips.