The Best Hiking Shoes for Women in 2021

Best Hiking Shoes for Women
Image by Humonia / Canva Photos

While hiking boots are a staple to any woman’s wardrobe, they’re sometimes a little too much, kind of overkill for the outing you have planned. That’s where their lighter-weight cousins, regular hiking shoes, come into play. To help you find the absolute best hiking shoe for you, we’ve compiled a list of our top picks for 2021.

Our Top Picks: Best Hiking Shoes for Women

If you’re in a rush, let us bottom-line it for you:

  • Best Overall: La Sportiva Spire. These comfortable, supportive, durable, and lightweight hiking shoes are everything hiking shoes should be, winning them our overall best hiking shoes award.
  • Best Eco-Friendly: Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator. If the environment is on your mind, take a look at these guilt-free hiking shoes made with partially recycled materials in a process with water conservation at the forefront.
  • Best Budget: KEEN Terradora. When money doesn’t grow on trees, the KEEN Terradora is here to bring you all the quality and features you need in your hiking shoes without breaking the bank.
  • Best Waterproof: KEEN Targhee III. There’s nothing worse than wet socks, which is why these truly waterproof hiking shoes are here to keep your feet bone-dry all day.
  • Best All-Terrain: Alphacross GTX W. No matter where you roam, these all-terrain hiking shoes bring you superior comfort, sturdy support, and secure traction.
  • Best Lightweight: Range AC+ Trail Runners. For a lightweight, everyday hiking shoe perfect for walking, running, and general busybodying, look no further than these Range AC+ Trail Runners.
  • Best for Summer: Merrell Moab. Beat the heat with these lightweight, breathable hiking shoes designed to keep your feet cool and dry all day long.
  • Best for Walking: HOKA ONE ONE Sky Arkali. Lightweight, breathable, comfortable, and supportive, there’s never been a better walking shoe than these.
  • Best for Wide Feet: Oboz Sawtooth II. Wide foot hiking shoes now come in every color, at every size, so you can enjoy these fabulous hiking shoes no matter your foot size!

1. La Sportiva Spire GTX Women’s Hiking Shoe

The best hiking shoes for women overall

La Sportova Spires best hiking shoes for womne

Brand: La Sportiva | Upper: Mesh | Outsole: PU TechLite | Waterproofing: Moderate | Price: ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ

While our overall best pick may look a bit like a trail runner (lighter and faster than burly hikers), don’t underestimate its capability. The abrasion-resistant mesh uppers are flexible, comfortable, and constructed with Nano Cell 2.0 technology for maximum breathability. That same technology, along with Gore-Tex Surround aeration channels, ensures airflow and moisture-wicking power along the footbed and midsole as well, keeping your feet cool and dry.

The midsole itself is compression-molded EVA for optimal shock absorption, while the insole is 5mm Ortholite for comfortable, cushioned support. PU TechLite technology of the outsole utilizes a patented Impact Brake System and Frixion Blue traction for a secure grip on any terrain. They can still be used for trail running, but they’re just as perfect for long, all-day hikes and rough off-trail adventures.

  • Unparalleled comfort even after a full day of hiking
  • Genuinely waterproof against splashes, puddles, and rainfall
  • Incredible grips on the outsole for traction across all kinds of surfaces

  • More expensive than many of the shoes on our list
  • Run a little large, so consider choosing half a size down

2. Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Hiking Shoe

The most eco-friendly hiking shoes for women

Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator best hiking shoes for women eco-friendly

Brand: Merrell | Upper: Suede Leather & Mesh | Outsole: Vibram | Waterproofing: Moderate | Price: ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ

If you’ve got the environment on your mind, take a look at the Merrell Moab 2. These quality hiking shoes are made partially from recycled materials in a process that conserves water. This method leads to durable products designed to last for years and reduce landfill waste โ€” all at an incredibly affordable price. As if that wasn’t enough, they still come with all the features you want from your hiking shoes. Molded arches, removable contoured insoles, rubber toe caps, and superior leather/mesh breathability. And don’t forget the Vibram rubber soles for optimal traction and integrated heel air cushions to absorb shock and impact.

  • Roomy toe box is even for those with wider feet
  • Environmentally friendly company so you can buy with good conscience
  • Durable and tough enough to handle more intense hiking and off-trail adventures

  • Heavier than some other hiking shoes
  • Some reviewers disliked the arch support but were happy after using their own inserts

3. KEEN Terradora Waterproof Hiking Shoe

The best hiking shoes for women on a budget

KEEN Terradora best hiking shoes for women on a budget

Brand: KEEN | Upper: Leather & Synthetic | Outsole: Synthetic & Rubber | Waterproofing: Mild | Price: ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ

If you’re in the market for some hiking shoes at a price you can afford, then KEEN’s Terradoras are for you. These reasonably-priced shoes are perfect for light hiking, walking, and mild adventuring. Their synthetic sole offers a solid amount of traction across various terrains, while the dual-density metatomical EVA and PU footbed provides supportive comfort to reduce fatigue. The higher heel design is excellent for those with plantar fasciitis by taking pressure off the Achilles without sacrificing stability. Still plenty breathable and available in a range of stylish colors.

  • Super cute design in stylish color options
  • Solid waterproofing to keep feet dry in rain and light splashing
  • Lightweight, breathable, and suitable for short hikes and walks

  • Not as durable as other hiking shoes
  • Casual fit doesn’t get tight enough for intense, off-trail hiking

4. KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Trail Shoe

The best waterproof hiking shoes for women

KEEN Targhee 3

Brand: KEEN | Upper: Leather & Mesh | Outsole: Synthetic & Rubber | Waterproofing: Extreme | Price: ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ

Also from KEEN, these Targhee III Waterproof Trail Shoes feature the patented KEEN.DRY waterproof membrane is guaranteed to keep your feet dry, no matter the outside conditions. The leather exterior acts as a mud shield for additional durability. Despite all this, the shoes manage to stay breathable and comfortable for long treks, preventing sweat build-up. The rubber outsole with rather aggressive multi-directional lugs ensures plenty of traction across most terrains, including wet and slippery ones. The cushioned insole is designed to help keep your feet comfortable and ache-free and is removable for washing. For added ankle support, the collar has perfect cushion.

  • Genuinely waterproof
  • Lightweight, sturdy, and comfortable all day long
  • Roomy toe bed for comfortable wear without sliding on inclines

  • Despite the wider toe box, some found the shoe itself a little narrow
  • Styled more like a boot, which some reviewers disliked for everyday wear

5. Salomon Alphacross GTX W Trail Running Shoe

The best all-terrain hiking shoes for women

Salomon Alphacross

Brand: Salomon | Upper: Mesh | Outsole: Contagrip | Waterproofing: Extreme | Price: ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ

Though these look more like your basic tennis shoes rather than hiking shoes, trust us โ€” they get the job done. Where other shoes offer a decent level of traction across a wide range of terrains, these babies feature an aggressive Contagrip outsole designed to grip no matter the surface. The versatile lug pattern is for wet and dry conditions. It stretches up to the toe for traction at every speed and on inclines. These shoes are weather- and water-proof with a full Gore-Tex membrane, all while remaining breathable and comfortable to wear.

  • Super comfortable with solid lace tension
  • Effective waterproofing without stifling the feet
  • Perfect traction on rocky slopes, wet pavement, mud, dirt, and more

  • The laces aren’t elastic, which some users preferred
  • Sizing runs a little big, so consider getting half a size down

6. Merrell Range AC+ Trail Runners

The best lightweight hiking shoes for women

Merrell Range

Brand: Merrell | Upper: Textile & Synthetic | Outsole: Rubber | Waterproofing: Mild | Price: ๐Ÿ’ฐ

If your hiking endeavors are less intense than the last few shoes we’ve featured warrant, consider Merrell’s Range AC+ Trail Runners. Stylish in both design and color options, these lightweight shoes are perfect for those looking for the bridge between hiking and running shoes. Thanks to Merrell’s Air Cushion+ and shock-absorbing midsole, the impact isn’t a problem anywhere on your foot. The microfiber liner wicks away moisture, keeping you cool and dry. M-Select GRIP outsoles, in addition to strategically-placed lugs, ensure you get the traction you need on your basic terrains, like pavement, dirt, gravel, and grass.

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Super comfortable, even with all-day, multi-day wear
  • Great arch support without looking silly, like some high-arch shoes

  • Uppers are very flexible, which is nice but reduces the secure fit
  • Sizing runs small, and reviewers recommend ordering half a size or even a full size up

7. Merrell Moab Waterproof Low Hiking Shoe

The best summer hiking shoes for women

Merrell Moab 2

Brand: Merrell | Upper: Suede Leather & Mesh | Outsole: Vibram | Waterproofing: Moderate | Price: ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ

Thanks to Merrell-patented M-Select DRY technology, these hiking shoes seal out water while still letting moisture escape to keep your feet cool and dry. Avoid unwanted sweat build-up (and the associated smell!) on those hot summer days while protecting your feet from surprise summer storms.

The FIT.ECO+ blended EVA contoured footbed features added zonal arch and amped-up heel support with integrated air cushions for comfortable wear and shock absorption like no other. The Vibram TC5+ outsole features multi-directional lugs for optimal traction, whether you’re running along a paved sidewalk or off the beaten path in the woods. Rubber toe caps protect your toes from unwanted contact with rocks, roots, and other debris.

  • Keep your feet dry in the rain
  • Range of sizes, including wide sizes, to fit all feet
  • Comfortable for everything from light walking to more intense hiking

  • Sizing runs small โ€” consider getting half a size up!
  • The waterproofing isn’t as sealed as other shoes, and won’t keep out standing water

8. HOKA ONE ONE Sky Arkali Women’s Hiking Shoe

The best walking hiking shoes for women

HOKA ONE ONE

Brand: HOKA ONE ONE | Upper: MATRYX | Outsole: Vibram MegaGrip | Waterproofing: Mild | Price: ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ

When walking’s the game, HOKA ONE ONE’s the name. The oversized soles might look heavy, but they’re super lightweight. They offer that extra shock absorption and cushion you need to walk comfortably for days on end. PROFLY technology in the midsole with the EVA-molded top ensures plenty of additional cushioning for runners. The toe cap is made of high-abrasion rubber to protect your toes from obstacles.

In addition to tight laces for a snug fit, these shoes feature an adjustable Velcro strap across the collar so you can set the ankle support to a level perfect for you. The sticky Vibram MegaGrip soles are riddled with multi-directional lugs to offer reliable traction across most terrains, so you can walk (or run!) with confidence. They are super breathable, adding to their overall comfort. At the same time, they aren’t particularly waterproof, which for some, may be a deal-breaker.

  • Thick sole is like walking on a cloud
  • Roomy toe box for those with wider feet and no toe squishing
  • Velcro strap around the collar makes the perfect fit easily achievable

  • Run fairly big โ€” consider getting half or even a full size down
  • Not really waterproof, which is a pretty standard hiking shoe feature

9. Oboz Sawtooth II Low BDry Women’s Hiking Shoe

The best hiking shoes for women with wide feet

OBOZ Sawtooth

Brand: Oboz | Upper: Leather & Textile | Outsole: Rubber | Waterproofing: Extreme | Price: ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ๐Ÿ’ฐ

The Oboz Sawtooth II hiking shoes have everything the best hiking shoe should: proprietary molded insoles, waterproof nubuck leather uppers, abrasion-resistant textiles, molded rubber heels, dual-density EVA midsoles, B-DRY waterproofing technology, and breathable, moisture-wicking material. On top of that, they have an asymmetrical collar design that articulates with your ankle for added comfort and support. They also feature the patented O-FIT insoles designed for optimal comfort.

But the reason they made our list as the best hiking shoes for women with wide feet is all thanks to the fact that they have a wide version of every single shoe size, in every single color. No longer are the wide shoes reserved for the blandest of colors or the larger shoe sizes only!

  • Super durable, lasting years of frequent use
  • Unique asymmetrical collar design for comfortable ankle support
  • Excellent tread with waterproof lining for secure grip in any terrain/conditions

  • A little heavier than other hiking shoe options
  • Not as flexible as other hiking shoes, though still very comfortable

What to Look for in the Best Hiking Shoes for Women

Holding the Best Hiking Shoes for Women
Image by Jacob Ammentorp Lund / Getty Images

While hiking shoes are generally less expensive than heavier-duty hiking boots, they can still put a pretty big dent in your bank account. Here are a few different things you may want to keep in mind as you consider your options, so you can be sure you’re investing in the absolute best shoes for you:

  • Support. As with any shoe, the most important thing to consider is support. Shoes with good support will cushion the arches of your feet and reduce the impact on your heels.
  • Fit. We all know poorly-fitting shoes are uncomfortable. What some people don’t realize that they can do some serious damage to your feet, ankles, and spine alignment. Shoes that fit well will conform to your foot’s contours, leaving minimal space between your foot and the interior, and will feel comfortable. If they don’t feel comfortable โ€” even if you can’t pin down why โ€” then they aren’t right for you.
  • Weight. Heavier shoes are harder to walk it, and they’ll wear you out quicker. If you’re looking for hiking shoes you can wear all day without feeling like you have lead feet, you’ll want a lighter-weight option.
  • Material. Hiking shoes โ€” and all shoes come in a wide range of materials. Some are more breathable and others more durable, more waterproof, or longer-lasting. Check that the material of the shoe you pick matches up with what you’re planning to use them for.
  • Extra Features. Hiking shoes can have a lot of additional features outside what we just listed. Things like air cushion units, toe caps, Gore-Tex lining, and moisture-wicking material are all extras that you may or may not be looking for in your hiking shoes.

Our Process

For this guide on hiking shoes for women, our team spent 2 hours researching the most popular options from over 15 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about one hundred user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each shoe. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 9 hiking shoes for women on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

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