Merrell Moab 2 Mid Hiking Boots
Best Budget Hiking Boot:
Great for: everyday hiking, drier climates, well-packed trails, people with high arches
Pros: come in a wide version, no break-in period required, budget-friendly
Cons: not as waterproof as other boots on this list
The Merrell Moab 2 Mid Hiking Boots are a great budget-friendly option and are a very popular choice among women hikers. They come in both normal and wide versions, making them a great choice for women who have wider feet. These boots come to mid-ankle, so they still provide decent ankle support. The toe box on the normal width is a bit narrow, so consider sizing up a half size.
Some reviewers complain that these boots leak when wet even though they are advertised as waterproof. These also come in a non-waterproof version. Not sure if you need a waterproof boot? Check out our post on Waterproof vs Non-Waterproof boots.
What Are The Benefits Of Women’s Lightweight Hiking Boots
The benefits of lightweight women’s hiking boots are that they are more versatile and useful for various activities. Even though the extra support and protection might be nice, if you are hiking a lot or want some extra confidence in bad weather, it’s not a necessity. They are more durable, too, since they weigh a full boot with the flexibility of a barefoot trail shoe. Some say lightweight women’s hiking boots don’t hold up for heavy-duty hiking, but it depends on your plan.
Whats Most Important To You In A Hiking Boot
COMFORT AND FIT– Fit is very personal, so what works for some people may not be the best option for others. In general the most comfortable boots give your toes some room to spread, have cushioning that supports your foot shape, and have some flex in the upper so it moves with your foot.
The Lowa Renegades are a bit stiff at first, but theyre very comfortable after a short break-in period
PRICE – We tend to be willing to spend a bit more for quality footwear because we truly believe the success of our adventures depends on having happy, healthy feet. Comfort and fit usually trump cost in our books, but we recommend quality options at a variety of price points in our top picks below.
The Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX provide ample ankle support and require almost no break-in time
WEIGHT– Weight on your feet zaps about 5 times more energy than weight carried on your back. Lighter boots mean less muscle fatigue, less stumbling, and they can help avoid knee and hip flexor problems. Thats not to say that heavier boots are bad though. If you do a lot of hiking off-trail or you tend to carry a heavier pack, you may be more confident in a more burly and durable boot.
The Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid are much lighter than traditional hiking boots
MEASURED WEIGHT PER PAIR : 2 lbs. 10.9 oz.
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Zamberlan Womens 996 Vioz Gt Hiking Boot
The Zamberlan Womens 996 Vioz GT Hiking Boots are the next pair to make it onto our list. A lesser-known company, Zamberlan still provides great quality, and this pair of boots is no different.
A single-piece Hydrobloc full-grain leather upper offers great flexibility for multi-terrain movement. The polypropylene midsole will give you comfortable cushioning all day long. An exclusive Vibram outsole will give you the perfect traction on any surface.
The padded tongue can relieve lace pressure to match your instep, whilst also keeping that annoying debris out of your shoes. But waittheres more! The Zamberlan Womens 996s are also waterproof!
With a hardy construction and a bundle of features, the Zamberlan Womens 996 Vioz GT Hiking Boots are definitely a well deserving contender for one of the best pairs of hiking boots on the market.
Types Of Hiking Styles
So, now that you know about the overall makeup of a hiking boot as well as the weight breakdowns that separate boots into various categories, let’s get into the style of hiking the boots are intended for. A boot that is designed for day hikes, for example, is going to be significantly different looking than a boot designed with backpacking in mind.
Criteria For Choosing The Best Womens Lightweight Waterproof Hiking Boots
Choosing the best womens lightweight waterproof hiking boots isnt something to do with a whip. Here are the key features to consider before you make your final selection.
The first thing to consider is the outer sole. A hiking boot with a stiff sole that has a reinforced mid-section will provide excellent foot support when hiking in rough terrain. On the other hand, a boot with a more flexible sole will be better if you will be hiking in less challenging terrains.
Additionally, a sole with good traction will be ideal for hiking on muddy and slippery grounds. Some brands use specific rubber soles which are designed to offer superior grip on slippery surfaces and in certain conditions like off-road trails or rocky terrain.
The upper of hiking boots can either be high or low cut. High-cut hiking boots offer great ankle joint support, which is handy when hiking in steep and rough terrain. They also provide additional protection. On the other hand, low-cut hiking boots provide greater movement flexibility.
Another feature you should consider is the material of the boot. The boots upper can be made from leather, synthetic materials, suede, or a combination of different materials.
Classic hiking boots are made from leather, which becomes waterproof when you treat them with wax or other products.
Stability and Support
Oboz Arete Low Hiking Shoe
A favorite of Shanti Hodges, the founder of Hike It Baby, the Oboz Arete is compact enough to pack like a running shoe, but has plenty of traction for the trails. I love these because they are light, comfortable and very grippy on surfaces, she says. These are great for three seasons , and they keep sand and water out, so you can hike all kinds of terrain. Another notable pick for grip: Merrells ankle-height Bravada, available in waterproof and non-waterproof styles, which Women Who Hike founder Nicole Brown describes as part sneaker, part hiker, with an air cushion in the heel to absorb shock and add stability. Also noteworthy: The Bravada was made for women by womena community group called the Merrell Womens Collective, a group of 60 women united by the trail, worked together to create it.
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Salomon Outline Low Gtx Hiking Shoes
Best Trail Runner for More Rugged Terrain
Great for: everyday wear, quick and light hiking, narrow feet
Pros: protective toe guard, large lugs on the sole allows for great traction, comfortable right out of the box
Cons: may not work for women with wide feet, not as waterproof as other boots on this list
The Salomon OUTline Low GTX Hiking Shoes are another great lightweight option thats flexible yet rugged. These hiking shoes allow you to be agile on the trail while still providing protection against stubbed toes, stream crossings, and other trail obstacles. These are on the narrow end of the spectrum, and we recommend that you size up a half size in these.
Length & Terrain Of The Hike
The length of your hike matters when it comes to footwear. So does the type of terrain youll encounter out there. A multi-day backpacking trip will require sturdier boots with better tread and ankle support than an easy to moderate trail on flat ground would need. I tend to wear high-top hiking boots on backpacking trips and low-top hiking shoes or lightweight hikers on day hikes.
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Cai Cramer is a Commerce Writer at PEOPLE, covering the best and buzziest products across the beauty, fashion, health, and lifestyle spaces. Previously, Cai worked on the Digital Platforms team at PEOPLE after graduating with a degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. Cai loves to spend time outdoors no matter the weather, and she’ll try any craft twice.
Best Value: Merrell Ontario 85 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots
These sturdy hikers are an awesome value for the price, and we think theyre a great purchase for the novice and intermediate adventurer.
These boots dont come in alternate widths and might not work well for someone with wider feet.
Another classic boot from the outdoors experts at Merrell, the Ontario 85 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots are comfortable and stylish with a retro flair. The high-ankle shape and brightly colored blocks make this shoe resemble the 90s high-tops that consumed every mall in the U.S. A Vibram® Megagrip rubber outsole provides 3 millimeters of lug depth for moderate traction, and the removable insoles allow you to customize the fit to your liking.
Some customers have found that these shoes need a bit of breaking in, but others found them to be comfortable right out of the box. These boots might not be wide enough for those with wider feet, and we wish they came in more sizes.
Price at time of publish: $71.83
Waterproof: Yes | Upper material: CORDURA® fabric and pigskin | Lining material: Breathable mesh | Weight per pair: 1 lb. 9 oz.
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Lowa Womens Renegade Gtx Mid Hiking Boots
The Lowa womens Renegade are a great choice for womens hiking boots as they offer maximum comfort and protection and come in a range of different colours.
These over the ankle boots feature a water repellent nubuck leather upper which has a breathable GORE-TEX waterproof lining. Together with the Vibram rubber sole which features thick lugs and the polyurethane midsoles, these boots provide the maximum in support and stability for all sorts of terrain and weather conditions.
The Renegade boots come with a climate controlled footbed that helps to keep your feet cool, dry and blister free. The perforations in the boots lining allow air to circulate and wick away moisture from your foot, also minimising friction and fatigue. Other great features of these hiking boots include, full length shanks and derby style lacing with a padded and gusseted tongues to keep out debris.
Winner of the 2014 OutdoorGearLab Editors Choice Award, you cant go wrong with these womens Renegade GTX hiking boots from Lowa.
Insole Midsole And Outsole
The insole is what your foot rests on. It is the material directly underfoot. Insoles are often removable and customizable. Molded EVA is the common factory insole that comes in the shoe upon purchase. Customizable insoles for increased ergonomic support and comfort are made of foam. Carbon fiber, memory foam, and gel are the common materials used to construct insoles that can be formed and fitted to your boots, which are also sold separately from third-party manufacturers.
The midsole sits between the insole and the sole of the shoe and provides much of the support. Dual-density EVA molded midsoles are the most common in hiking boots. EVA stands for ethylene vinyl acetate. It is a plastic foam-like material that can be more or less dense before constructed into a shoe. The denser the EVA midsole is, the longer the break-in period will be. Typically, hiking shoes utilize an EVA material that is soft and flexible to ensure immediate comfort. In contrast, a hiking boot will utilize a dense EVA or polyurethane alternative to ensure more support under the weight of a heavier pack loads.
The insole, midsole, and outsole are critical factors for comfort and support. While the midsole and outsole are not customizable, the insole can be customized to offer added support and comfort.
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How Should I Look After My New Boots
All boots will benefit from regular cleaning and application of care products, these vary from waxes and creams for leather and paint on applications for fabric boots. On wet days endeavour to dry your boots as naturally as possible. Removing the footbed will aid drying and these can be periodically replaced to reinstate shock absorption.
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Oboz Arete Low Hiking Shoes
Best Lightweight Hiking Shoe
Great for: vegans, everyday wear, light day hikes, camping trips, van life, neighborhood walks
Pros: Lightweight and verstaile, flexible, roomy toe box, came in a waterproof and non-waterproof version, fast on a variety of terrain
Cons: Less support than more sturdy hiking boots
The Oboz Arete Low Hiking Shoes have become my favorite lightweight hiking shoes for day hikes, camping trips, walks around the neighborhood, and everyday outings. They come everywhere with me. Theyre comfortable right out of the box and are lightweight and breathable.
For how light they are, Ive been surprised by their durability. Ive owned the same pair for two years and worn them hundreds of days, and the sole is just starting to wear. When hiking, Ive found the sole to be durable enough for rocky trails with plenty of traction. I have the non-waterproof version, which is great for warm desert hikes. If you hike is wetter climates, these also come in a waterproof version. These are a great choice for vegans as they arent made with any products that come from animals. For more on these, read my full review of the Oboz Arete.
Hiking in foothills of Salt Lake in my Oboz Arete Hiking Shoes
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How Should Hiking Boots Fit
Having the right fit and feel is of course one of the biggest parts of how to choose the best womens hiking shoes or boots for your foot. There are a few key factors to be aware of when you are trying on hiking boots and shoes:
- As a good rule of thumb, always try your shoe on at the end of the day when your foot is the largest and slightly swollen
- If you wear insoles, make sure to bring them along when you try on boots in-store
- Bring your favorite pair of hiking socks along to try on with the boots or shoes youre shopping for
- You should have enough space in the toe box to slightly wiggle your toes
- You want the shoe snug enough that your heel wont lift up when hiking up and downhill, but you also dont want your foot to feel squeezed
- You should be able to slide a finger inside of the shoe behind your heel to make sure you have enough space for your foot to move around and to account for swelling
Also, make sure you wear wool socks that are breathable and durable enough to protect your feet and keep you comfy. A pair like Darn Tough wool hiking socks will do a great job of regulating the temperature if your feet get sweaty and cold on a hike.
Have you found the best womens hiking boots? Which ones are your favorite and why? Let us know in the comments below!
Vasque Breeze Lt Ntx Hiking Boot
In 2020, I set off on a year-long journey to visit every national park in the United States, and for 90 percent of the journey, I had Vasques Breeze LT NTX on my feet. The ultralight boot feels much like a trail runner when you first slide it on, with zero break-in time and excellent mesh venting on the sides for those sunny, warm days spent traipsing through Joshua Tree or Great Smoky Mountains. And, unlike a trail runner, the Breeze LT offers sturdy, no-chafe ankle support to ensure you dont roll on uneven trails.
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Our Top 15 Best Light Hiking Boots For Women
We have produced a buyers guide for $150 bourbon as was previously stated. This buyers guide is packed with detailed information about a variety of issues to assist you in making the best decision for your needs. Weve compiled a list of considerations to assist you choose the ideal product for your needs, including price, quality, and suitability.
Quiz Yourself: Find The Perfect Boot For Your Next Adventure
1. HOW WIDE OR NARROW IS YOUR FOOT?
If you have a wide foot and your shoe fits too tightly, you risk getting blisters and rub spots. If you have a narrow foot and your shoe fits too loosely, your shoe may feel less stable or supportive.
For folks with narrow feet, we recommend boots with a narrow fit or medium-width shoes that can be laced up tightly. When boots are too wide, your foot can slip and slide inside and cause blisters. You can compensate for too wide boots by wearing thicker socks or using insoles to fill the extra space.
For folks with wider feet, we recommend choosing a model available in a Wide Fit. Another trick we recommend for folks with wider feet is if you normally wear womens shoes, you can opt for a mens version of the same model to get wider hiking shoes.
The Keen Targhee IIis our recommended boot for wide feet. In testing, we also found the Hoka Sky Kaha or Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTXto run wider than normal. Customer reviews aggregating findings from hundreds of users agree that these boots are wider than average. We also recommend the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Midbecause it is available in a wide options.
If your foot is on the narrow side, the La Sportiva Nucleo II won our award for Best for Narrow Feet.According to customer reviews and our own testing, these boots have a narrow fit. We also suggest the Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator.
2. DO YOU NEED WATERPROOFING?
3. HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO SPEND?
4. HOW TECHNICAL IS YOUR HIKING?
8. ARE YOU VEGAN?
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