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Choosing the Best Trekking Shoes for Women (2020 Guide)

Women on the Road
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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 2020

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.

Name

Image

Type

Weight

Hiking shoe

1.67 lbs

Hiking shoe

1.37 lbs

Hiking shoe

1.15 lbs

Sneaker

1.37 lbs

Sandal

1.12 lbs

Sandal

1.12 lbs

Sneaker

2 lbs

Sandal

1.1 lbs

Hiking shoe

1.1 lbs

Hiking shoe

1.8 lbs

Image

Type

Hiking shoe

Weight

1.67 lbs

Image

Type

Hiking shoe

Weight

1.37 lbs

Image

Type

Hiking shoe

Weight

1.15 lbs

Image

Type

Sneaker

Weight

1.37 lbs

Name

Image

Type

Sandal

Weight

1.12 lbs

Name

Image

Type

Sandal

Weight

1.12 lbs

Image

Type

Sneaker

Weight

2 lbs

Image

Type

Sandal

Weight

1.1 lbs

Image

Type

Hiking shoe

Weight

1.1 lbs

Image

Type

Hiking shoe

Weight

1.8 lbs

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.

1. Type

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.

Hiking Shoe

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.

Hiking Sandal

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

Hiking Sneakers

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

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

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
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 Heal 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.

Foot Bed
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.

4. weight

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 2020

Below I’ve listed my recommendations for the top 10 hiking shoes for women.

Salomon Hiking Shoes X Ultra 3 GTX

When it comes to the best hiking shoes for ladies, one of the most popular currently on the market is the Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX.  These Salomon hiking shoes not only look great but are jammed packed with features to offer your feet great support no matter where your travels take you.

These Salomon womens hiking shoes are high quality, designed to offer maximum support to your feet.  Inside the shoes features an EVA foam midsole for shock absorption, a superior cushioned insole and a foot bed which securely cradles your foot for a snug fit even when going downhill.  On the outsole there is two different types if rubber for a better grip and the patterned area on the heel helps with stability on uneven terrain.

With the added Gore-Tex membrane, these shoes are waterproof which is great for unexpected downpours or walking through puddles and streams. Other features include a protective mudguard around the base of the foot, anti debris mesh upper to prevent debris from being trapped between your foot and footbed, a protective toe cap and a, easy to use quick lace system.

Despite among the heaviest hiking shoes in these reviews, at 1.67 lbs these are still super light trekking shoes.  These best lightweight hiking shoes for women also come in a range of great colours and are also available in wide sizes making them perfect for ladies after wide hiking shoes.  

All in all, the Salomon hiking shoes are not only one of the best trekking shoes for ladies, but they are also easily one of the best looking hiking shoes in these reviews.

Click here to check the current price or read more reviews

Adidas Outdoor Womens Terrex AX3

If you like the Salomon hiking shoes above, but are looking for cheap womens hiking shoes, the Adidas Outdoor Terrex AX3 are an excellent one to consider.  These women’s light hiking shoes are around half the price of the Salomon shoes, yet are still another best seller when it comes to women’s best hiking shoes.

Like the Salomon’s these are a great looking shoe, perfect for women after cute hiking shoes, as opposed to your traditional earthy colored hiking shoes.  These Adidas stylish hiking shoes come in a range of great colors as well as being packed full of features for maximum comfort to your feet.

These lightweight trekking shoes are perfect for a range of uneven surfaces – whether that be the occasion hike or just walking through uneven city streets in South East Asia.  These supportive hiking shoes feature a mesh and synthetic upper, a rubber sole for excellent grip and additional protection for your toes.  While inside they have a lightweight EVA midsole, soft cushioning interior fabric and a moulded sockliner for underfoot comfort.

If you don’t have the budget to go all out with the popular Salomon hiking shoes, these Adidas are a perfect choice for the best cheap hiking shoes.  They are good looking hiking shoes and still feature everything you need for both comfort and protection of your feet when traveling.

Click here to check the current price or read more reviews

Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe

This offering from Merrell is a great choice of hiking shoe for those with a less-than generous budget. The Moab 2 is a fully enclosed shoe crafted from 100% suede leather, so it’s durable and comfortable.

As far as design goes, it’s a fairly attractive shoe and is available in quite a range of colors – from earthy greys and browns to a few more lively options featuring splashes of purple, red, pink, or blue.

The Vibram rubber outsole provides traction to keep you stable on a range of surfaces. As for odor-issues, there’s a leather and mesh upper to assist with breathability.

One of the best things about this pair of shoes is that they are super comfortable, virtually right out of the box. The Air Cushion Comfort provides cushioning targeted to the heel area to support your feet. Most people find they can slip these on and head straight out the door without needing the breaking-in period, so if this is a last-minute purchase before you hit the road for your travels, you should be able to hit the ground running, so to speak!

While these shoes are lightweight, they are also sturdy and can handle rough terrain; the toe guard feature helps prevent stubbed toes when you’re out exploring nature.

Travelers who need extra arch support and have broader feet around the toe area will appreciate the design of the Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe.

For those planning to head outdoors in wet weather or want to explore some watery terrain, there is also a waterproof version which is sealed using the M Select Dry system. 

Click here to check the current price or read more reviews
or here for the waterproof version

Brooks Women Cascadia 14

Less structured looking than the Moab hiking shoe above, the Brooks Women’s Cascadia 14 is a light, durable running shoe designed specifically for active women.

Capable of hitting the trails but stylish enough to hit the mall, these shoes come in the normal hues you'd expect: the red and black version is the most flashy, while the other offerings are standard greys, blues, and whites.

The TrailTrack Pivot Post System and rubber sole give great grip on most surfaces, and the cushioning is lightweight and flexible.

The upper is comprised of birdseye mesh with a 3D rubber print mudguard overlay to stop any debris from sneaking in and interrupting your outdoor adventures. Plus, the laces come with a closure guard that keeps them tucked away, so no tripping over your own feet with these trail running shoes.

As far as comfort goes, the fabric is soft, there's a removable sock liner, and the BioMoGo DNA midsoles give durable cushioning to keep you feeling as if you're walking on a cloud.

Ideally suited for a narrower foot type, these shoes are suited to women travelers who want to go from strolling the city streets to roaming the hidden wildernesses in the same day.

Click here to check the current price or read more reviews

Teva Ladies Hiking Sandals

Teva are well known for making great sandals for walking, and these Tirra sandals are the perfect choice if you’re searching for the ladies hiking sandals.  These sandals will keep your feet cool in warmer climates and are perfect for both a light hike as well as a full day of city sightseeing.

The sole on these sandals is crafted from rubber and provides excellent traction and grip for a range of surfaces.  The top of the shoe is 100% textile and is fully adjustable to ensure the perfect fit. For maximum comfort and support, the sandals also feature a nylon stability shank with cushioned shock padded in the heel, excellent arch support and a molded midsole and topsole.

These shoes are waterproof so great if your travels take you from the city to the beach or even to cities where it’s the time of the year that downpours are common.  These womens waterproof walking shoes for travel are also coated with an antimicrobial to resist odour.

If you’re after some lightweight hiking sandals for travel, you can’t go wrong with the Teva Tirra.  These sandals come highly recommended by women travellers across the globe and are available in a stack of great colors and designs.

Click here to check the current price or read more reviews

Viakix Hiking Sandals

Another great option if you prefer sandals for the occasion hike, are these women’s Viakix hiking sandals.  These sandals are designed to keep your feet well supported and comfortable for long days of walking so are perfect to consider for city trips where you will be walking between attractions as well as the occasional hike.

These sandals are really similar in looks and design to the Teva Tirras.  The Viakix are crafted by hand with a sturdy and durable rubber outsole and textile straps.  To ensure your feet remain comfortable for the entire day these sandals feature a cushioned foam midsole with arch support which is designed to absorb impact.  

With the fully adjustable straps, these sandals provide the perfect fit no matter what size feet you have.  Plus with their quick drying webbing, these sandals are also perfect to be worn during downpours.  

A good pair of walking sandals are a great alternative for people that don’t like wearing fully enclosed hiking shoes.  With sandals like these Viakix sandals, you can still expect all day comfort and support for your feet just as if you were wearing a good quality pair of sneakers.

Click here to check the current price or read more reviews

ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoes

If you’re after the best trekking trainers for women, a good one to consider are the ASICS Women GEL Venture 5 running shoes which come highly rated and in fact are a best seller.

These ASICS shoes are considered to be one of the most comfortable hiking sneakers around.   These shoes have a synthetic upper and a multi surface rugged rubber sole which provides great support across a range of surfaces.  For maximum comfort these shoes feature a GEL cushioning system which is designed to absorb impact. They also have a removable liner which is great if you need to insert your own orthotics.

These ASICS running shoes come in a range of great colors and are a great choice for women who like maximum support and prefer a trainer for their hiking shoes.

Click here to check the current price or read more reviews

Keen Whisper Sandal

Firstly, we need to talk about the enormous range of colors available for this sandal. From vibrant “Grape Kiss,” and “Beet Red” to more sedate “Coffee Liqueur,” or “Silver Birch,” there’s a hue to match any mood, outfit or season.

This may just be the ultimate traveler’s sandal – but only if you’re going to warmer climates, of course (unless you plan on pairing your breezy sandals with a thick pair of socks to keep warm!)

Fantastic for the easy, breezy traveler, the Keen Whisper Sandal is machine washable, quick-drying, and super lightweight.

The elastic cording ensures a cozy fit, while the waterproof mesh lining makes it ideal for fording rivers, hiking in rainstorms, or for foot protection during marine adventures.

In spite of the lightweight nature of the shoe, the foot and arch support is still there, plus toe protection for the more rugged off-road adventures. There’s even natural odor control in the form of the Cleansport NXT system.

This is a practical yet attractive hiking sandal that’s comfortable out of the box and pretty enough to wear out to lunch or trudging through the jungle. For many travelers, it will become your go-to, go-anywhere footwear of choice. 

Click here to check the current price or read more reviews

The North Face Women’s Hedgehog Fastpack GTX

The North Face are the experts at producing a huge range of quality outdoor gear and equipment. In contrast to the light and easy Keen sandals reviewed above, the Hedgehog Fastpack GTX are a sturdy pair of women's hiking shoes that can be worn in almost any climate. While you may want a bit more breathability and flexibility if you're heading on a snorkeling, seaside adventure, they are great for cooler climes and outdoor activities.

The color range is standard, featuring muted earth colors and a few pops of brightness.

Made from leather with a suede sole and Goretex, your feet will be cozy, warm, and dry, but still able to “breathe.”

With quite a rigid design and stiff sole, these hiking shoes don’t offer as much arch support as the Merrel Moab, for example, but are a great, solid pair of outdoor shoes that will last the distance – whether you’re heading up a rocky incline to watch a sunset or exploring the back alleys of your favorite city.

Click here to check the current price or read more reviews

Columbia Womens Wayfinder Outdry Hiking Shoe

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The focus on these shoes is all about functionality, but the design is also nicely done – the Wayfinder Outdry wouldn't look out of place in your local gym. If you're worried about outfit matching, there are only three color options: all variations of grey with some contrasting highlights.

While you could feasibly wear these shoes anywhere and fit in nicely, they are specifically designed for hitting the trails and tracks of the great outdoors. The multi-terrain traction system ensures the tread can keep pace with a large variety of environments, so no slipping and sliding as you go.

To keep your tootsies smelling fresh, the mesh construction and durable mesh tongue increase breathability, yet you'll still feel snug and safe with a lace-up closure.

The waterproofing on these hiking shoes is excellent, so you can feel confident regardless of the weather you’re heading out in.

These may look like sneakers, but in fact, they are heavier and sturdier, designed to survive rocky surfaces, mud, leaves, and whatever else you encounter, while protecting your feet as you go.

Comfort-wise, the midsole gives the cushioning needed to absorb impact and keep your feet protected.

Click here to check the current price or read more reviews

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