The best hiking shoes for women in 2022

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Not all hiking boots are created equal. Distance, terrain, and personal preference are all basic factors to consider when finding the right shoes for your adventures. There are also a lot of other factors that can help you decide which type of shoe is best: things like weight, ankle support and traction are all important, but depending on the trails you tend to take, one of them may be the most important quality for you. If you need help deciding which of the best women’s hiking shoes are right for you, we’ve broken down the categories based on which specs might be most important to you. When shopping for your shoes, remember that fit is everything. The difference between blisters and happiness is taking the time to get a perfectly fitting shoe for all the miles it will take you. Be sure to break them in around the house and on short hikes before going on a longer hike, and assess if the laces are properly tied and if you need to add insoles. Here are our picks below for the best hiking shoes for women:

1. The best lightweight hiking shoe

Amazon

La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX (6-11) – Amazon, $228.95+

The weight of your shoes puts a noticeable strain on your energy and stamina, and your shoes could be a bigger drag than you think. We’ve heard experienced hikers say, “one pound on your feet equals five pounds on your back.” A lighter shoe means you’ll be able to go further – and more comfortably – than you would with a heavy pair of shoes. As the weight of shoes decreases, they become more comfortable and flexible. This shoe from La Sportiva weighs just over a pound and is the best choice for you if you’re looking for something that’s lightweight, durable, and will help you handle longer hikes.

2. The best shoe for ankle support

close up photo of women's hiking shoes

Amazon

Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots (5-12) – Amazon, $179.95

Ankle support is one of the most important factors to remember if you are a beginner hiker unaccustomed to traversing rough terrain. Ankle support plays a huge role when carrying a heavy backpack. In such circumstances, boots will always be the best choice. Having a lace hook or two above the ankle allows you to lock in your heel and secure it, and a tall, stiff boot will provide exceptional support off trail or in rocky terrain. Plus, a taller boot will keep your feet stable while keeping rocks and pebbles out. It is best to choose a mid-height ankle for support.

Mid- to high-rise hiking shoes are a perfect choice for people who need extra ankle support and beginner hikers, many of whom are still developing their foot skills. Boots provide better ankle support, while hiking shoes have excellent articulation and agility. This boot from Oboz has both lace hooks above the ankle, making it a perfect option if ankle support is your biggest concern or you’re new to longer hikes.

3. The most breathable hiking shoe

close up photo of women's hiking shoes

Amazon

Breeze AT GTX Sink (6-12) – Amazon, $73.00+

Dry feet are comfortable feet, and hikers especially need to keep their feet dry, as this helps ward off blisters. Therefore, a breathable hiking shoe is the best performing option for dry and comfortable trekking. When heavy leather boots get wet, they stay wet. GORE-TEX fabric (also commonly abbreviated as GTX) is the first breathable, waterproof and windproof fabric. These membranes “breathe” through microscopic holes large enough to allow water vapor to escape, but small enough to prevent liquid water from entering – a benefit for all in humid, hot and humid conditions where breathability is extremely important. This Vasque shoe features the GORE-TEX membrane, which will keep water out, but also quickly wick away moisture from sweaty feet.

4. The shoes with the best traction

Amazon

Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiker (5-12) – Amazon, $45.00+

The right hiking shoe soles can make all the difference, especially hiking in the mountains or in snow, mud or slippery slopes. Different soles do better (or worse) on different types of terrain. The trick? Match the traction to the terrain you are walking on. When you’re hitting the beaten path or scaling mountainous trails, a reliable grip is essential. Vibram soles are currently the most marketed and reputable option – most brands use this type of sole for heavy duty options as it will provide the necessary grip factor in steep and slippery conditions. The longevity of a Vibram sole is above normal and goes the distance for the long haul. These shoes from Merrell are some of the best hiking shoes for women because they feature the Vibram sole, and Merrell is one of the most trusted outdoor shoe brands.

5. Best hiking shoes with cushioned insoles

close up photo of women's hiking shoes

Amazon

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX Hiking Boot – Amazon, $174.90+

The most crucial and overlooked feature of any hiking shoe is the insole and midsole. The internal materials are not visible at first glance, but play a vital role in comfort, stability, longevity and overall purpose. These shoes from La Sportiva also come with materials that provide extra cushioning and protection. Some boots have shanks or plates in the midsole to add lift, stiffness, and safety against foot bruising. Some hikers like to remove the insole and add one with more cushioning. Materials such as molded ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam feel soft and cushiony and generally require little or no break-in time. Polyurethane (PU) is dense and heavy and usually requires a break-in period before becoming more flexible and comfortable, but it is durable and very strong.

READ MORE: THE 8 BEST HIKING BOOTS FOR WOMEN

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