If you're heading out into the hills and mountains, a good, sturdy, comfortable pair of walking boots is a must. In this article, we'll run down our pick of the very best women's hiking boots right now. All of these walking boots will fit beautifully, allowing you to walk for hours, handle all sorts of terrain and get on with enjoying the benefits of fresh air, exercise and breathtaking views (we have a separate guide to the best hiking boots for men).
Boots are one piece of kit that it's really worth investing in. Your feet bear the brunt of a long days' walk, and ill-fitting or substandard boots can result in injury, achy feet, and even the best hiking socks won't protect you from the dreaded blisters. So while budget is important, this is one area where spending more will mean you get a better quality walking boot, with features that will make the whole experience more comfortable and therefore more fun – like waterproof membranes, shock-absorbing soles, breathable fabrics and supportive insoles.
A good pair of women's hiking boots is an essential part of your outdoor kit; something that's comfortable enough to wear for any and all outdoor adventures and robust enough to see you through years of use, provided they're looked after properly. Combined with one of the best waterproof jackets, some good walking trousers and a trusty head torch, you'll be well kitted out for conquering Lake District peaks or rugged coastal paths come rain, shine and everything in between.
We've tried and tested the best women's hiking boots on the market, basing our judgement on how these boots perform in action, with each one being put through its paces on hillside trails and countryside paths. If you're looking for comfort, support and impressive performance, these are the boots we recommend.
Read on for some expert buying advice to help you make your decision, or jump straight to our ranking of the best women's hiking boots.
Best women's hiking boots: our expert pick
- The best women's hiking boots are waterproof, supportive and comfortable to wear, regardless of whether you're embarking on a short day hike or venturing out for longer on a multi-day trek. They should also offer a superb fit – snug but never tight – and provide decent protection around your heels and toes.
- For those reasons, the best women's hiking boots is the Scarpa R-Evo GTX WMN. These super-comfy boots offer ample support and are remarkably lightweight. They mould well to the foot, and boast a chunky sole to absorb impact and provide grip, no matter the terrain or weather conditions.
Which type of women's hiking boots do you need?
There are dozens of outdoor brands out there, and most offer many different types of walking boot. So where do you start? One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to choosing the best boot for you is the environment and terrain you'll be using it in.
For general countryside walking, lowland hills and rambling, a lightweight boot with a flexible sole and good grip would be ideal. These will see you through walks of a few hours on moderate terrain.
If you'll be walking on rough ground or tackling steep, long climbs, then you'll want boots that have a stiffer sole and more ankle support. These boots often need to be 'broken in' before they really start to feel comfortable, which just means it gives the boot a chance to stretch and form around your foot. Make sure you leave time to do this before heading off on any big walks, as it often isn't a comfortable process!
This type of boot is the one to go for if you're heading into the mountains, carrying a heavy backpack, or going on a multi-day or hut-to-hut walking trip.
There's also the option of walking shoes, which have some of the same features as hiking boots but without the ankle support. They're popular for shorter distances and less rugged terrain, for where speed and flexibility are the priority or for those looking for a shoe for all-round use on and off the trail. We have separate recommendations for the best women's walking shoes and the best men's walking shoes – or if you're still not sure which is best for you, check out our walking boots vs walking shoes guide.
The best women's hiking boots: key features to look for
There are a few key elements it's worth paying attention to before you make your final selection.
First up, the sole. A boot with a stiff sole and a reinforced mid-section provides good support for steep climbs and rough terrain, while a more flexible sole particularly towards the toe is better for less challenging terrain or fast and light hikes. A deep, chunky tread on the sole will help get good traction on slippery, wet or muddy ground, and some brands incorporate specific types of rubber designed to give extra grip in certain conditions, for example on rocks.
Next, the upper. Boot uppers can be cut high or low on the ankle. High cut boots provide plenty of support for the ankle joint, which can be useful if you'll be moving over steep or rough terrain or if you have an existing ankle injury, whereas low cut boots allow greater flexibility of movement.
The outer part of the upper can be constructed from leather, suede, synthetic materials or a combination of all three. For example, 'classic' walking boots were and still are often constructed from leather, which is naturally waterproof when treated regularly with wax or other products. Modern boots often use synthetic materials which can provide breathable or insulating properties without adding to the weight of the boot.
Most walking boots will have some form of waterproof membrane incorporated into the outer liner, the most common being GORE-TEX. Finally, the vast majority of walking boots do up with the classic bootlace, a system that's hard to beat and easy to fix.
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How do I find the right size of walking boot?
There are a few tricks to getting the right size boot first time. Start off by using the manufacturers sizing guide. Most boots allow room for the socks you'll be wearing, but do check out any notes or reviews on how they size up in real life as some come out smaller or larger in practice. For reference, the boots we tested here sized up true unless otherwise stated.
If you can try the boots on in a shop, it's worth doing, but if that's not possible many retailers will take returns so long as the boot hasn't been worn outside. If you're trying a boot on, do it at the end of the day when you're feet are already tired and naturally a little swollen from use, as that will give you a better indication of fit after a long day on the trails.
You're looking for a fit that's snug but not tight, supportive around the mid-foot, with no obvious pinching or rubbing. When walking on the flat, climbing and descending, your heel should stay in place and not move up and down inside the boot as that could lead to blisters. The toes should have a little wiggle room, but not enough that the foot moves around within the boot.
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The best women's hiking boots to buy now
1. Scarpa R-Evo GTX WMN
The best women’s hiking boots overall
Reasons to buy
Scarpa's R-Evo GTX WMN are the best women's hiking boots right now, offering ample support and comfort for a remarkably low weight compared to the other fell and hill walking boots we've tried. These are the best-fitting and most comfortable walking boot we've tried in a long while. They mould well to the foot, with great instep support and security at the heel to eliminate heel-lift. The high cut around the ankle provides great support without feeling bulky or awkward.
A chunky Vibram sole helps absorb impact, and decent tread provides grip in muddy conditions. It's a quality design that should last several years anyway, but these boots can also be resoled, extending their life even further. All in all, we were very impressed with these boots. The construction, support and the ruggedness should see you through your backpacking, camping or hill-walking expedition in style and comfort, whatever the weather.
Read our full Scarpa R-Evo GTX hiking boots review.
2. Hoka One One Women's Sky Kaha GTX
Enjoy marshmallow-like comfort with these high-rise hikers
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
If hiking boots and flatforms had a baby, the Hoka One One Sky Kaha would be it. Can't see the resemblance? Wait until you see these curvaceous beauties in the flesh. Some of our team reckon the Sky Kaha’s look like moon boots, but we adore the look, even if it is on the fuller side. In fact, we think they look ace worn with technical leggings. So there.
Marmite looks aside, we're digging the Sky Kahas because they're just so comfortable. And despite their size, they're surprisingly light. Boots that big, and made with full grain leather, no less, should weigh a ton, but these don't.
There are lots of notable features to dig into with Hoka One One's head-turning hikers (available for women and men). The eVent waterproof lining has been upgraded to GORE-TEX on the latest version, which will keep you dry through rain, snow and sludge. A Vibram Megagrip sole and multi-directional lugs keep you steady on your feet regardless of the terrain you're ploughing over. Elsewhere, an adjustable lacing system provides a custom fit.
Super-soft, mega supportive and with looks that'll stop traffic (either because you love them or think they’re laugh-out-loud hilarious or just plain odd), the Sky Kaha are one of the most unique women's hiking boots we've tested so far. We have other low-cut hikers that we prefer for warm weather hiking, but these will be top of our list to break out for comfy, cosy hiking and campsite dressing come autumn and beyond.
- Read our full Hoka One One Sky Kaha GTX hiking boots review
3. Salomon Women's Quest 4D 3 GTX
These hi-tech boots offer plenty of support and comfort
Reasons to buy
These highly technical boots, and a T3 Award 2019 winner, have a Gore-Tex Performance Comfort waterproof liner, making them safe to wear during the autumn and winter, as well as during the summer months when you might be walking across streams and brooks.
Salomon’s Quest 4D 3 GTX offer a huge amount of support and comfort, yet aren’t as heavy as they might appear. We’re not saying they’re featherlight, but they won’t weigh your feet down either. These hiking boots for women also offer a superb fit, with an adjustable lacing system to give you a snug feel that enhances support in high-impact places: toes, heels, arch.
The boots are infused with running shoe tech and sport an Advanced Chassis, there to increase the amount of cushioning and the level at which the boots absorb shock from impact (your feet repeatedly hitting the ground). This tech also works to reduce fatigue, helping you to hike comfortably for longer.
Our top pick for the best women’s hiking boots is ideal for backpacking holidays, and for throwing on when you’re heading into the mountains for a day hike. Salomon’s High Traction Contagrip will ensure you stay upright and stable on various types of terrain, including ice and scree.
Check out more of this year's award winners on our main T3 Awards 2019 page.
4. Hanwag Banks Lady GTX
A classic, classy and comfortable women's hiking boot
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Bavarian-born Hanwag has been in the business of making walking boots since 1921, and is known for its quality construction and classic styling. The Banks Lady GTX might have modern technology and looks but you can see the DNA of traditional walking boots shining through in elements like the cast metal lace hoops.
Designed for hut-to-hut hiking in the Alps, these boots have a low-cut ankle which provides a good blend of light support for the joint with enough freedom for plenty of movement, which is good news if there's a lot of hiking up and down involved.
The combination of a naturally water-resistant leather upper with the GORE-TEX liner give these shoes a clear advantage in wet weather. They've fended off a downpour or two and sploshing across the odd stream, and our feet emerged the other side nice and dry. A shock-absorbing Vibram sole combined with a grippy lug design gave us justified confidence when tackling a range of terrain, from rough rock-strewn paths to muddle slopes.
The boots do need to be broken in a bit before heading off on any big hiking adventures, so give yourself a few days and a few local walks to get that sorted. Once you do, they'll form nicely to your foot and give you all the support you need.
5. Anatom Q2 Ultralight Women’s Hiking Boots
The best women’s hiking boots for wet weather walking
Reasons to buy
Not all of us can pull off wearing super-bright hiking boots, nor would we want to. If classic is more your style and comfort is the aim of your game when walking, you’ll feel at home in the handmade Anatom Quadra 2 (Q2) Ultralight Women’s Hiking Boots.
These are lightweight waterproof hikers, and as such they’re well suited to casual day hikes and fell walking, helping you adventure safely across various terrain. We’d also recommend them as a secure boot for dog walking through the depths of winter and early spring.
We wore our Anatom Q2’s with hiking socks and experienced no pain, blisters or rubbing, and the fit was secure and snug but never cramped, with a calfskin collar providing ample padding to protect our skin. The Lace-up system is adjustable and simple to use, too.
The Anatom Q2 are also breathable, which is necessary to keep feet moisture free during longer walks. As for performance and comfort, these boots deliver in spades. The asymmetrical heel ensures a more natural roll, while a Vibram 3-angle lug design adds in directional traction and braking – good for walking downhill and ace for better control during wet weather. That ultralight Vibram outsole and cushioned PU midsole absorbs impact well.
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6. Inov-8 Roclite 335
Tough yet super-lightweight trail-loving boot with immense grip
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The super-lightweight Inov-8 Roclite 335 trail boot is a pleasure to wear. Whether you're hiking along a stone and leaf-strewn trail or ambling upon wet sand, these technical boots will help you stay upright. At only 335g you’ll hardly notice them on your feet. We wore them with light hiking socks and had zero issues with rubbing or blisters. In fact, despite wearing them for nine hours+ on the first day of testing, we experienced much less foot fatigue than with other more expensive, heavier hiking boots we’ve tried in the past.
The Inov-8 Roclite 335 are flexible enough to accommodate any swelling in your feet too, which is good news towards the end of a long hike or walk. While they’re water-resistant, they’re not fully waterproof, so don’t submerge them completely in puddles or streams.
Of course, the main attraction with Inov-8’s latest trail boots is the graphene-infused rubber grip, known as G-GRIP. Graphene is the strongest material on earth – 200 times stronger than steel yet only one atom thick – so you can imagine the technical prowess it lends to these boots. We maintained a steady balance on the frost and ice of late winter during initial testing, and felt continuously sure-footed thanks to the impressive grip and traction enabled by those G-GRIP soles. The PrimaLoft insulation adds extra warmth for cold weather hikes and walks too.
Elsewhere, the boot cut design is comfortable around the ankle, offering ample padding without encouraging a build-up of sweat. PrimaLoft’s breathable properties comes into play again here, keeping clammy feet at bay. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a lightweight yet hard-wearing trail boot, and you don’t mind that they’re water-resistant instead of being fully waterproof (the Inov-8 Roclite 345 GTX boots are waterproof), then slip into these pronto.
7. AKU Trekker Pro GTX Women’s
A seriously tough boot that delivers big ankle support
Reasons to buy
The AKU Trekker Pro isn't the lightest boot here by any stretch (you will know you're wearing them) but it is a very option when you need full foot coverage that doesn't mess around. The leather and synthetic upper strikes a beautiful balance between durability and breathability, with a Gore-Tex liner ensuring a high level of water-resistance. Support from the relatively stiff midsole and high cuff is excellent, and the traditional tongue and lacing are easy to adjust to fit. An outsole of Vibram Curcuma dishes out grip in all the right places, exactly when you need it. that's especially true when stepping over scree.
This high-tech hiking boot features AKU’s proprietary Elica Natural Stride System technology, designed to enhance ‘bio-dynamic performance’. In plain English, that should make longer days on the trail much easier on your legs. That very same tech works to distribute weight more evenly through the foot too.
8. Merrell MQM Flex Mid Gore-Tex
Chuck ’em on and move fast and light over those mountains
Reasons to buy
When it comes to the best women’s hiking boots, there are some brands that crop up time and time again, they’re that good. Merrell is one of those brands. We’ve taken these hybrid boots out on many day hikes now and recommend them for easy, fast and light walking. They’re sporty, breathable and rock a barely-there feel compared to heavier duty women’s hiking boots, but that does mean the levels of cushioning do fall slightly behind other boots here.
Another bonus: the MQM Flex Mid required zero break-in time during our initial testing, and continued to deliver high comfort on subsequent hikes. Especially when we teamed them with our favourite Smartwool merino wool hiking socks (a blissful combination if ever there was one). These Merrells are pretty rad at protecting key areas of your feet from impact, too. That’s due in large part to the Air Cushion in the heel, which also enhances stability. You’ll need both when you’re roughing it off-road.
Grip is important, of course, and the MQM Flex Mid won’t skip out on you here. While we wouldn’t recommend them for very icy or wet scree-laden trails, or for backpacking where you’re carrying heavy loads and need maximum ankle support, they're fine as a lightweight, waterproof, throw-on choice for spring, summer and autumn.
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9. Berghaus Women's Expeditor Ridge 2.0
The best women's hiking boots for providing ace grip on uneven terrain
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
These excellent all-rounders are packed with features designed to keep you hiking all day, including shock absorbing EVA mid soles and Berghaus's extra-grippy OPTI-STUD technology. Rest assured, these boots will go the distance: the hard-wearing leather is made in a tannery certified by the Leather Working Group (which assesses the performance capabilities of leather products) and the upper has a scuff-resistant coating. These hiking boots for women will also keep your feet odour-free, thanks to the use of breathable mesh panels in key areas.
10. Keen Terradora Waterproof Boot
Breathable women's hiking boots that don't mind rainy days
Reasons to buy
These stylish women’s hiking boots are a firm favourite among hikers as they are wet weather-friendly and easy to wear. We always team ours with breathable hiking socks for enhanced comfort. The adaptable soft mesh material is ideal if you don’t have time to devote to breaking in new boots, and looks the part no matter which shade you choose. A great investment, but not the best for very small feet as, in terms of fit, they do tend to come in on the larger side.
11. Lowa Renegade Gore-Tex Mid Boot
Sturdy, durable and designed to last you many a year
Reasons to buy
Durable, comfortable, and reliable, it’s unsurprising that Lowa’s women's hiking boots are some of Europe’s best-sellers. Trusty Vibram soles wear well, so you’ll be sure to get a lot of walking out of them. The Lowa Renegade Gore-Tex Mid sport a narrower fit, which is good news for walkers with smaller feet. Due to their nubuck leather construction they'll require some breaking in as standard, and they are heavier than most other hiking boots in this round-up. Still, if you want a plain women's hiking boot that goes with everything from jeans to walking trousers, Lowa's option is a good match.
12. Karrimor Ladies Hot Rock Boots
The best cheap women's hiking boots
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
You may be thinking that buying boots on a budget is a one-way ticket to painful blisters, but that isn’t the case here. The Karrimor Ladies Hot Rock Waterproof Boots offer comfort and durability, at a budget price. Are they as comfy and durable as the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX or AKU Trekker Pro? No, of course not, but in relation to their low price tag the Karrimor are fine. They have thick soles for withstanding rougher terrain, and a soft outer for easy movement with no rubbing. If you’re after years of faithful service, these aren't the ones. But for semi-regular walking without breaking the bank, they're a winner.
Women's hiking boots: the main components
Uppers: this is the uppermost part of the boot that protects your foot. The best women’s hiking boots feature waterproof uppers, or at the very least water-repellent ones, and they’re highly breathable too. This keeps sweat and other moisture to a minimum, so your feet don't get all clammy in your hiking socks.
Uppers come in a range of materials, from full-grain leather to synthetics such as polyester and nylon. Generally speaking, the heavier the material (like leather), the heavier the boot. The specific material used for uppers also has an impact on breathability and water resistance.
Midsoles: these provide cushioning for your feet and determine the boot’s stiffness. When choosing women’s hiking boots for longer hikes over tougher terrain, stiffer boots can deliver enhanced comfort and stability.
Common materials for midsoles include EVA, for improved cushioning, and polyurethane, for increased stiffness and durability. EVA is often found in entry-level women’s hiking boots, as it’s cheaper, with polyurethane finding its way into the more pro-level models.
Outsoles: there to absorb and redirect shocks from the impact of your foot on the ground. Again, look through our women’s hiking boots list and you will see that rubber is a common material for outsoles.
Other important factors when it comes to outsoles are the lug pattern – those little bumps on the sole that aid better traction (grip) – and the heel brake, there to reduce the chances of your slipping on the trail.
Crampon connections: this is an important consideration to make if you’re planning on buying hiking boots for use during mountaineering or snow and ice-laden hiking. Why? Crampons are attached to the bottom of compatible boots to increase grip on ice and snow.