The best trekking shoes for women are great if your travels involve the occasional hike or even just a lot of walking over uneven surfaces. I’m not talking about hiking boots here, just sturdy, light hiking shoes that provide excellent support for your feet.
The best hiking shoes for women are ones that are super versatile. Good hiking shoes for women can take you from the city pavement, to the rainforest, along the beach and through the countryside.
However like any travel products, choosing the best womens hiking shoes can be tricky, especially if its not something you’ve bought or worn before. There’s a range of things to consider, such as the weight of the shoe, are they waterproof, are they the most comfortable hiking shoes etc.
Over the years I’ve worn a lot of different ladies hiking shoes and so like to think I’m pretty good at knowing what to look for when it comes to the best trail hiking shoes. In this womens best hiking shoes guide, I take all the guesswork out of which shoes you should consider buying. In this guide, I take you through all the things you need to consider in order to buy a great pair of womens trail hiking shoes as well as look at some of the top rated hiking shoes for women currently on the market.
Keep reading below for my detailed best women’s hiking shoes reviews.
WHY DO YOU NEED THE BEST TREKKING SHOES FOR WOMEN IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Chances are, if you’re reading this best trail shoes for women guide, you’ve already decided that you do need some top hiking shoes for your next trip. However if you’re on the fence on whether you need a pair or not, then this section of the guide is for you.
When you travel, there are a range of footwear options to choose from: walking shoes or sandals, hiking sandals, hiking boots (high-backed, with ankle support) or hiking shoes (without major ankle support). Each has its own purpose – and I highly recommend you consider getting the best walking hiking shoes if during your travel you expect to come across these situations:
- If you expect to take the occasional hike through the mountains, rainforests or swampland
- If you plan to walk up or downhill a lotIf you have weak ankles that twist often
- If you’re a photographer or star-gazer or if you otherwise spend your time with your nose in the air, looking anywhere but where you put your feet
- If you’re carrying extra weight, like a heavy backpack or equipment (or in my case, myself!)
The best womens trekking shoes also provide extra support and protection if streets and sidewalks are uneven, if there are shards or glass or metal lying around, if you’re near poisonous snakes or spiny plants, or if there’s a risk you might be attacked (a swift kick will do a lot more damage than a nudge with a sandal).
Like I said above, I’m not talking about your serious hikes, where you might be out for hours and hours on end, nor am I talking about those travels that see you getting a taxi or a bus between city tourist attractions, I’m talking about the everyday scenarios you might come across during a light adventure vacation.
THE BEST HIKING SHOES FOR WOMEN COMPARISON CHART
Below is a quick overview of all the top womens hiking shoes I review in this guide. Keep reading below for my detailed womens hiking shoes reviews.
|Salomon X Ultra 3 Women's Hiking Shoes||Hiking shoe||1.67 lbs||Buy Now!|
|Adidas Outdoor Terrex AX3||Hiking shoe||1.37 lbs||Buy Now!|
|Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe||Hiking shoe||1.15 lbs||Buy Now!|
|Brooks Women's Cascadia 14||Sneaker||1.35 lbs||Buy Now!|
|Teva Tirra||Sandal||1.12 lbs||Buy Now!|
|Viakix||Sandal||1.12 lbs||Buy Now!|
|ASICS GEL-Venture 5||Sneaker||2 lbs||Buy Now!|
|KEEN Women's Whisper Sandal||Sandal||1.1 lbs||Buy Now!|
|North Face Hedgehog Fastpack Waterproof Hiking Shoe||Hiking Shoe||1.1 lbs||Buy Now!|
|Columbia Wayfinder Hiking Shoe||Hiking shoe||1.8 lbs||Buy Now!|
HOW TO CHOOSE WOMENS BEST HIKING SHOES
Below I’ve listed what I consider the best women’s trekking shoes – but why did I choose them, and why do I recommend them as the best women’s trail hiking shoes? It’s because they fulfilled some (or all) these requirements.
While the term “hiking shoe” technically refers to a low cut hiking boot, depending on the sort of hiking or walking you’re going to be doing, there are a range of different shoe types that make great hiking shoes. Below is a quick overview of some of the shoes I recommend you consider when looking for the best hiking shoes for women.
Technically when people say “hiking shoe” this is what they are referring to. A hiking shoe is a low-cut hiking boot, which is lightweight and provides excellent stability and foot support as opposed to your standard pair of sneakers or walking shoes.
Hiking shoes are perfect for day hikes, but keep in mind they provide less roll-resistance for ankles then a hiking boot (although more than a pair of sneakers) and due to their low cut, leave feet more vulnerable to debris invasion from sticks, grit, sand or mud.
Hiking shoes are also great for colder climates as they will keep your feet warmer than other types of shoes. Plus if they are waterproof they will also provide protection from snow.
The best rated hiking shoes can be really versatile and worn during a range of travel settings, from hiking along well-maintained trails to a day of city sightseeing.
If you’re not overly concerned with ankle support or getting the tops of your feet cut, then a sturdy pair of ladies hiking sandals makes for good trekking shoes.
Like top rated women’s hiking shoes, hiking sandals provide great traction and arch support. A benefit of hiking sandals is they offer more breathability then hiking shoes and are also faster drying times, so they are perfect for destinations where you expect to be walking in the rain, or through puddles and streams.
Another benefit of hiking sandals is they are usually lighter than even the best lightweight hiking shoes or sneakers, and they tend to be even more versatile looking great with pretty much any of your travel clothes. You could even pair them with a dress for going out to dinner
If you’re not a fan of a traditional hiking shoe, but want more protection then a hiking sandal offers, womens hiking trainers (often referred to as trail runners) are one to consider. The best hiking sneakers are actually designed for people who combine running with hiking, and so are super lightweight and flexible, making them a great option for people enjoying the occasional light hike on their travels.
Unlike everyday trainers, the best hiking trainers are made from more durable material and designed to offer more support and protection for the feet while on rugged terrain. While good hiking sneakers provide a good level of traction, they don’t offer the same level of protection as hiking shoes do.
If you’re visiting warm climates, and want more protection then a hiking sandal offers, but don’t need as much as what a hiking shoe offers, then a pair of lightweight hiking trainers is something to consider.
2. Materials and construction
Regardless of what type of hiking shoe you decide on, for the best female hiking shoes, you’ll want to think about what materials are used to make the upper, midsole and sole.
The Upper is the part of the shoe includes everything that covers your foot and can be made with a range of material and / or combination of materials including leather and synthetics.
Durable hiking shoes made with leather are great at being both water and abrasion resistant however tend to be more expensive, heavier and not as breathable as shoes made with a synthetic upper. Hiking shoes made with synthetic uppers on the other hand tend to breath more, are cheaper and lighter but not as durable or long lasting as shoes made with leather uppers.
The midsole is the main structural part that sits between the insole and the sole of the shoe. This part of the hiking shoe provides cushioning and supports the feet from shock. For quality travel hiking shoes look for stiff midsoles to ensure your feet don’t wrap around the rocks and debris you step on.
Midsoles are commonly constructed from ethyl vinyl acetate or polyurethane. Ethyl vinyl acetate is the most common and can either be soft or quite dense. While ethyl vinyl acetate midsoles don’t require much of a break in period, they usually don’t last as long as polyurethane. All terrain walking shoes made with polyurethane midsoles on the other hand tend to be firmer and long lasting.
The outsole (or sole)
The outsole of the shoe (also called the sole) is the bottom part of the boot. Consider the following, when looking for the best ladies hiking shoes:
- Outsoles made from hard rubber offer excellent stability and durability;
- Lugs are the traction bumps on the bottom of the outsole. Lug patterns which are deep, thick and widely spread apart provide the best traction; and
- Shoes with a heel brake (built in heel area of the outsole which is distinct from the rest of the outsole) provide improved traction and assist to avoid slipping.
3. Comfort and support
Perhaps the most important thing to consider when purchasing the best all round hiking shoes is to ensure they are comfortable and offer your feet the support they need. To ensure your purchase the best comfortable hiking shoes, consider the following:
Arch support is necessary to help maintain proper alignment of your foot as well as aid in good posture and just overall keep your feet comfortable while traveling for days on end. All the best rated women’s hiking shoes will have some level of arch support, but some people need additional support. This is not the time to overlook any of your feet’s special requirements.
Deep heel cup
For the most comfy hiking shoes, ensure the shoe has a deep heel cup which will properly hold your heel in place as well as provide support from all sides. This is vital for ensuring your heel doesn’t roll all over the place, particularly walking on uneven terrain.
The best trail walking shoes for women will have a footbed which is cushioned and properly cradles your foot – for quality hiking shoes, ensure they have a good curved footbed.
The lighter they are, the easier they’ll be to pack. Plus with airlines being strict about maximum weight requirements for both check in and carry on luggage, this is something you should keep in mind. That said, ultra-light shoes may be too flimsy for the wear and tear of a full day’s sightseeing.
5. Waterproof or water resistant
The best outdoor hiking shoes are the ones that are waterproof. The best waterproof hiking shoes will ensure your feet stay nice and dry, no matter what the conditions are essential if you’re traveling the places where rain is almost a given or where your hike might include going through small streams or muddy puddles.
For womens waterproof hiking shoes to actually be waterproof, they will either have a waterproof inner membrane or have an added chemical waterproof treatment to the shoe. Gore-Tex (often abbreviated to GTX in shoes) is a popular waterproof material used in some of the best waterproof hiking shoes for women. The downside of waterproof trekking shoes is that they will keep your foot much warmer than a shoe that is not waterproof which may not be ideal if you suffer from sweaty feet.
BEST HIKING SHOES BRAND
When it comes to the best hiking shoes brand, each of the brands have their own specialty – natural or man-made, special insoles and pads… but remember, there is no best hiking shoes in the world, as no two pairs of feet are alike, so my best low top hiking shoes for me won’t be yours.
Not only that, but each of the trekking shoes brands has its own ‘last’ – the form on which the shoe is made. So if you have wide feet, you’ll need a brand who makes the best hiking shoes for wide feet. Trying different models from the same brand won’t make a difference – it’s the brand you need to change. For example, Merrell shoes fit me perfectly but that might not be the case for you.
For hot countries you should investigate Coolmax by Bridgedale (best ordered if you have a friend in the UK) – they have worked well for me; they don’t overheat and have great built-in foot protection and cushioning. For colder climates the WoolFusion Summit range are comfortable and have lasted me through many trips.
BEST WOMEN’S HIKING SHOES REVIEWS
Below I’ve listed my recommendations for the top 10 hiking shoes for women.