Best women's hiking boots 2020: Robust walking boots to tackle any terrain

We rate the best women's walking boots, for comfort, value, robustness and style

best women's hiking boots: Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX
(Image credit: Vasque)

Whether you're looking for a great all-round pair of walking boots or a budget pair that won't break the bank, our T3 guide to the best women's hiking boots will help you find what you need. These are all robust, waterproof, supportive and comfortable, all vital attributes if you're heading out into the mountains – or just out for a muddy walk through the woods. 

Designed specifically for female feet, which are typically narrower and run to smaller sizes, women's hiking boots are often narrower at the heel and offer a different fit to men's boots. They'll come in a different size range, with different colourways and designs. 

The boots picked for this guide have been chosen based on how they perform in action hillside trails and countryside paths, and cover a range of prices. We've had a lot of experience testing boots from the leading brands such as Salomon, Scarpa, Merrel, Karrimor, Keen and more, so if it makes this definitive list, you know you've got something good. So if you're looking for the perfect blend of comfort, support and reliable performance, these are the women's boots we recommend, and if you'd like more info, our general guide to the best hiking boots offers up even more options.

Our handy shopping tool makes sure you find the best deal so you save time and money. Once you've found the perfect pair, head to our guide to how to break in hiking boots, find the right accessories like the best hiking socks, and of course how to care for hiking boots so they last for years. 

The best women's hiking boots to buy now

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best women's hiking boots: Scarpa R-Evo GTX WMN

(Image credit: Scarpa)
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best women's hiking boots: Scarpa R-Evo GTX WMN

(Image credit: Scarpa)
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best women's hiking boots: Scarpa R-Evo GTX WMN

(Image credit: Scarpa)

1. Scarpa R-Evo GTX WMN

The best women’s hiking boots overall

Specifications
Material: Water-resistant suede and synthetic fabric
Sole Type: Vibram Biometric Trek
Waterproof technology: Gore-Tex
Reasons to buy
+High cut for exceptional support+Shock-absorbing, traction-packed sole+Comfortable and supportive about the foot

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.

best women's hiking boots: Inov-8 Roclite 345

(Image credit: Inov-8 )

2. Inov-8 Roclite 345

Super-lightweight trail-loving boots for fast hiking

Specifications
Material: Cordura mesh, textile
Sole Type: G-GRIP
Waterproof technology: Gore-Tex
Reasons to buy
+Super-lightweight+Lower cut offers support but flexibility of movement+Ready to go straight out of the box

The super-lightweight Inov-8 Roclite G 345 trail boot is a pleasure to wear, and will enable you to tackle any trail in double-quick time. 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. These are still impressively lightweight (just 345g at size 8.5), and a Gore-Tex liner keeps your feet dry (if this isn't a priority for you, check out the water-resistant Inov-8 Roclite 335, which will save you some cash). A Powerflow midsole promises better shock absorption and energy return than a standard midsole, which will help prevent fatigue, and keep you moving fast and light. Finally, the bellows-style tongue keeps stones and dust out of your boots, and the low heel cut strikes the perfect balance of range of movement and support.

best women's hiking boots: Hi-Gear Snowdon II

(Image credit: Hi-Gear)

3. Hi-Gear Women's Snowdon II walking boots

The best budget women's hiking boots

Specifications
Material: Full-grain leather upper
Sole Type: High-traction rubber
Waterproof technology: Natural leather protection
Reasons to buy
+Robust and durable leather outer+Rugged sole that provides good grip
Reasons to avoid
-Can feel too warm in hot conditions

Leather walking boots are a great choice as, with a little looking after, they can last for years and years (or miles and miles). The Snowdon II boots from Hi-Gear represent excellent value for money, and are a brilliant budget choice for walkers - great for everything from weekend wanders to muddy dog walks, Duke of Edinburgh expeditions or mountain hikes. The leather outer provides natural waterproofing which will require a bit of TLC in the form of leather wax every so often to keep it in tip top shape. A cushioned EVA footbed offers comfort with a breathable liner which helps wick sweat away. However these aren't as breathable as fabric-based hiking boots, though the weather protection and insulation is a boon in cold conditions and a rubber outsole with chunky lugs provides plenty of grip. 

best women's hiking boots: Meindl Women's Bhutan MFS GTX

(Image credit: Meindl)

4. Meindl Women's Bhutan MFS GTX

A premium, sturdy and supportive boot for big hiking adventures

Specifications
Material: Nubuck leather upper
Sole Type: Multigrip sole unit with Vibram
Waterproof technology: Gore-Tex
Reasons to buy
+Vibram in the sole helps absorb impact+Excellent breathable waterproof membrane+Supportive memory foam around ankle
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy in weight

A premium choice that's durable, comfortable and high-performing, the women's Bhutan MFS boots from Meindl are a great choice for the avid hillwalker and hiker. Blending comfort and performance, the boots have lots of features to ensure you won't be focussed on your feet; a breathable Gore-Tex membrane for waterproofing, cushioned support that moulds to the shape of the ankle and a lacing system that's designed to distribute pressure over the foot for secure, comfortable support. Sturdy rubber with Vibram and chunky tread provides reliable traction in slick wet conditions, and also helps cushion the foot on hard, uneven ground by absorbing some of the impact force. 

Best women's hiking boots: Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX

5. Salomon Women's Quest 4D 3 GTX

These hi-tech boots offer plenty of support and comfort

Specifications
Material: Textile
Sole Type: Contragrip
Waterproof technology: Gore-Tex
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic grip +Waterproof+Snug fit

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. These women’s hiking boots are 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.

best women's hiking boots: Hoka One One Women's Sky Kaha GTX

(Image credit: Hoka One One)

6. Hoka One One Women's Sky Kaha GTX

Enjoy marshmallow-like comfort with these high-rise hikers

Specifications
Material: Full grain waterproof leather
Sole Type: Vibram Megagrip outsole with rubberised foam sole
Waterproof technology: GORE-TEX
Reasons to buy
+Innovative sole design supports natural gait+Supremely comfy underfoot+Megagrip sole
Reasons to avoid
-Looks won't be for everyone (we're fans though!)-A bit warm for summer hikes

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.

best women's hiking boots: Quecha Women's Waterproof Mountain walking Boots MN100 MID

(Image credit: Decathlon Quecha)

7. Quecha Women's Waterproof Mountain walking Boots MN100 MID

The best super-cheap ladies hiking boots

Specifications
Material: Polyester and leather upper
Sole Type: Rubber outsole with 4mm lugs
Waterproof technology: Generic waterproof membrane
Reasons to buy
+Ideal for short, wet walks+Waterproofing keeps feet dry and warm+Great budget choice
Reasons to avoid
-Not suited to long walks or big mountain hikes

Quecha, the in-house brand from Decathlon, is known for producing outdoor kit that's low in price but high in value. These waterproof walking boots might not have all the whistles and bells that pricier choices do, but if you want something that will make muddy forest walks and Saturday rambles comfortable then they're a great choice. A waterproof membrane keeps feet dry and warm, and the blend of synthetic and leather upper with rubber sole provides good support and traction. 

best women's hiking boots: Hanwag Banks Lady GTX

(Image credit: Hanwag)

8. Hanwag Banks Lady GTX

A classic, classy and comfortable women's hiking boot

Specifications
Material: Nubuck leather, suede, synthetic material
Sole Type: Vibram Endurance Pro outer
Waterproof technology: GORE-TEX
Reasons to buy
+Quality construction+Great weather resistance
Reasons to avoid
-Need to be broken in properly

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. 

Best women's hiking boots: Berghaus Women's Expeditor Ridge 2.0


9. Berghaus Women's Expeditor Ridge 2.0

The best women's hiking boots for providing ace grip on uneven terrain

Specifications
Material: leather and synthetic
Sole Type: OPTI-STUD
Waterproof technology: AQ waterproof lining
Reasons to buy
+AQ waterproof lining+Odour control
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. 

Best women's hiking boots: Keen Terradora Waterproof Hiking Boots

10. Keen Terradora Waterproof Boot

Breathable women's hiking boots that don't mind rainy days

Specifications
Material: Textile
Sole Type: Non-marking rubber
Waterproof technology: KeenDry
Reasons to buy
+Extremely waterproof+Girly colours

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.

Best women's hiking boots: Lowa Renegade Gore-tex Mid Boot

11. Lowa Renegade Gore-Tex Mid Boot

Sturdy, durable and designed to last you many a year

Specifications
Material: Nubuck Leather
Sole Type: Vibram
Waterproof technology: Gore-tex
Reasons to buy
+Keep feet dry +Long-lasting soles

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.

Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400

(Image credit: Inov-8)

12. Inov-8 Roclite Pro G 400

The best ultra-tough women's hiking boots

Specifications
Material: Fabric upper with Schoeller ceramic coating
Sole Type: Graphene
Waterproof technology: Gore-Tex
Reasons to buy
+Ready to go straight out of the box+Supportive and comfy+Excellent grip+Very light
Reasons to avoid
-Overkill for many-Ceramic upper fabric needs to be dried out properly after use

The Roclite Pro G 400 features Inov-8's pioneering Graphene outsole as well as a ceramic coating on the upper fabric that's designed to protect feet in the most extreme conditions. Inov-8 has even recruited former Special Forces operator Jay Morton to provide his stamp of approval. A tread inspired by sports car tyres disperses water to improve grip on wet ground and increased stack height means more cushioning and protection underfoot. Gore-Tex is also present to help ward off water ingress while hiking in wet conditions. One down-side we found is that the ceramic-coated fabric seems prone to staining or going mouldy if not dried out properly, so you'll need to be meticulous with your boot care.

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. 

Best women's hiking boots

(Image credit: trail on Unsplash)

The best women's hiking boots: Key features to look for

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.