Best hiking boots for women that will help you tackle any terrain

Our experts tested the best hiking boots for women to bring you a round-up of boots for every type of hike and all weather conditions

woman in hiking boots on a mountain
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best hiking boots will see you safely on your adventures as you tackle your latest trail. Our testers put top brands to the test to bring you this round-up. 

Just like the best women's walking shoes, the best hiking boots are essential for keeping you safe as you hike in all weather conditions. The benefit of hiking boots vs walking shoes is that they tend to offer greater traction and more support thanks to a deeper tread pattern and high ankle cuff. Boots can be more expensive than walking shoes, so you’ll want to make sure the pair you choose are the best option for you. 

If you're a keen hiker, you might want to invest in durable leather hiking boots that will see you through many adventures. But, if you're a newbie to the activity, more affordable and lightweight fabric boots will get you started. To help you find the best hiking boots for you, we put popular brands like The North Face and Scarpa to the test. There's something for everyone in our round-up, whether you're a first-time hiker or a seasoned mountain climber. 

How we tested the best hiking boots 

  • Comfort—comfort is key in hiking boots, so look for an EVA or polyurethane midsole for ultimate comfort and support. If you plan to wear thick hiking socks on your adventures, try half a size or a size up in your boot to ensure you have plenty of room to move your toes and allow your feet to sweat and swell comfortably. 
  • Support—consider the level of support you need. High ankle cuffs offer lots of ankle support but are less flexible than low-cut boots that allow for more movement. A rubber sole with a deep lug pattern is a must-have for tackling slippery and wet terrain as it offers great traction that will help keep you upright. For those sticking to dry and stable land, a versatile boot with a thinner sole that offers flexibility could be the best option. 
  • Material—this is where the leather vs fabric boot debate comes in. The right hiking boot material for you will be down to personal preference. Leather boots are often the more expensive and heavier of the two, but they offer lots of support and protection from the elements, are easy to clean, and are durable. Fabric boots are cheaper, lightweight, and often offer the ‘out-of-the-box’ comfort that leather boots lack initially. You’ll also want to think about where you're hiking, and if boots with waterproof uppers are a must-have for you, or a breathable water-repellent upper will suffice. 

The best hiking boots, as chosen by our experts 

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The North Face boots

(Image credit: The North Face)
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The North Face boots

(Image credit: The North Face)

1. The North Face Vectiv Exploris Futurelight Boots

Best women's walking boots overall

Specifications

Size range: US 5-11/UK 3-9
Weight: 714g for pair
Material: Fabric
Sole: VECTIV technology
Waterproof : Yes
RRP: $169/£155

Reasons to buy

+
Super lightweight 
+
Comfortable 
+
Provide lots of support around the ankle
+
Great traction 

Reasons to avoid

-
Tricky to clean lighter colors 

When it comes to lightweight women's walking boots, look no further than the North Face VECTIV Exploris Futurelight Boots. Not only are these walking boots comfortable and easy to move around in, but the lightweight Futurelight material provides excellent breathability and waterproof protection to keep you cool and dry in all weather conditions. 

As our tester hiked steep terrain they felt safe and supported throughout—thanks to the 4mm lugs, VECTIV midsole and toe caps that provide ultimate protection on tough rocky terrain. Our tester also rated the shock absorption technology and felt these boots reduced the impact on their joints during steep climbs—a must-have feature if you enjoy long treks. 

The VECTIV Exploris Futurelight Boots are comfy too, with OrthoLite footbeds that feature built-in moisture management to keep feet dry as you get your sweat on. Available in a standard shoe or mid-top boot for more support around the ankle, this model comes in four colors. We tested the white mid-top boots, and although our tester loved the look, they found the light color did get dirty quickly. A point worth noting if you're debating what color to buy and are planning to hit muddy trails. 

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Salomon walking shoes side

(Image credit: Salomon)
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Salomon walking shoes side

(Image credit: Salomon)

2. Salomon Outline Mid GTX Boots

Best women's waterproof walking boots

Specifications

Size range: US 5-12/UK 3.5-10.5
Weight: 760g per pair
Material: Fabric
Sole: Rubber
Waterproof: Yes
RRP: $150/£120

Reasons to buy

+
Waterproof
+
Easy to put on 
+
Great fit and true to size
+
Snug lacing system 

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacking a little cushioning

Available in three colorways, the stylish Salomon Outline Mid GTX Boots are some of the best waterproof hiking boots on the market. The laces work hard to draw the boot snugly to your foot, and the long ankle cuff ensures ankles and feet are protected as you hike. Despite their high ankle cuff, they’re easy to get on and they’re lightweight, too at just 760g per pair. 

Salomon certainly knows a thing or two about grippy soles and our tester felt well supported in these boots. Plus, thanks to the Gore-Tex membrane they were ready to take on all types of wet-weather excursions. These boots might be more expensive than others, but we think they’re a sound investment for those living in particularly rainy locations. However, it's worth noting our tester found the boots lack a little on the cushioning front compared to other products tested. You'll definitely want to wear a pair of the best walking socks with these boots for added cushioning and comfort. 

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AKU walking shoes side

(Image credit: AKU)
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AKU walking shoes side

(Image credit: AKU)

3. Aku Trekker Pro GTX Ws

Best luxury women’s walking boots

Specifications

Size range: US 5-11/UK 3-9
Weight: 1.05kg per pair
Material : Fabric
Sole: Rubber
Waterproof: Yes
RRP: $250/£200

Reasons to buy

+
Secure grip 
+
Good sizing 
+
Stylish
+
Ideal for snowy conditions 

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite heavy 

Want to go out in all weather? Then you need a pair of walking boots that won’t let the elements in. Step forward, the Aku Trekker Pro GTX Ws. Sleek and stylish, these definitely have the WOW factor—but it’s not just about looks with this pick. These boots can be fully submerged in water and feet will stay dry and safe. Plus, they are incredibly sturdy even on steep slopes—this is partly thanks to the toe caps, which allow you to really dig into terrain without harming your feet.

Our tester found the grip was good when wet, thanks to the well-spaced, multi-directional deep lugs, and thought these were ideal boots for walking in snowy conditions. They are heavier than some of the other options, but even with all the extra padding these walking boots are true to size, so you won’t have to bulk them out with ultra-thick socks. They are definitely a premium option, with a more expensive price tag than others, but you definitely get what you pay for with this pair. We love! 

See our full Aku Trekker Pro GTX Ws review

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Gelert Ottawa Mid Ladies Walking Boots

(Image credit: Gelert)
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Gelert Ottawa Mid Ladies Walking Boots

(Image credit: Gelert)

4. Gelert Ottawa Mid Ladies Walking Boots

Best cheap walking boots

Specifications

Size range: US 5.5-10.5/UK 3-8
Weight: 850g per pair
Material: Fabric
Sole: Synthetic
Waterproof : No
RRP: $83/£56

Reasons to buy

+
Good lacing
+
Great for all terrains 
+
Supportive 
+
Affordable 

Reasons to avoid

-
High at the front 
-
Tricky to put on

Gelert is a great brand to look out for when you're on a budget, and we were particularly impressed with its Ottawa Mid Ladies Walking Boots. Available in two colorways, we really rate the charcoal and purple pick, which at first glance, definitely looks just as pricey as some of the more expensive options on the market. 

Not only are these walking boots cheap, but they're also lightweight and supportive with a great fit. The boots feature seven eyelets to help control the fit and make it easy to tighten and loosen laces as you wish. The cushioned insole adds extra comfort and ensures these boots stay snug as you move. 

They're a great pick for those who prefer a shoe-book combo, as the low-rise boot comes up higher at the front and lower at the back. However, because of this, our tester did find them tricky to put on and take off. But, it was a minor inconvenience for an affordable and supportive pair of boots. 

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Grey and pink Scarpa boot from the side

(Image credit: Scarpa)
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Grey and pink Scarpa boot from the side

(Image credit: Scarpa)

5. Scarpa Maverick GTX Hiking Boots

Most supportive women's hiking boots

Specifications

Size range : US 5-10/UK 3-18
Weight : 829g per pair
Material : Synthetic leather and polyester mesh
Sole : SuperGum rubber
Waterproof : Yes
RRP: $169/£160

Reasons to buy

+
Great traction 
+
Very supportive and comfortable 
+
Waterproof 

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly big fit 

The Scarpa Maverick GTX Hiking Boots are some of the best waterproof hiking boots out there and for good reason! Thanks to the Gore-TEX membrane, our tester found these boots did a great job of keeping the elements out while still offering a good level of breathability as they hiked—no sweaty or wet socks here! 

The SuperGum rubber and 4.5mm deep lugs provide plenty of traction for tackling tricky and rocky terrain. This Scarpa option is vegan-friendly, made from synthetic leather and polyester mesh. However, it's worth noting our tester found them a slightly big fit so recommend sizing down or wearing a pair of walking socks to bulk them out. 

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Brown Danner Boots with red laces

(Image credit: Danner)
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Brown Danner Boots with red laces

(Image credit: Danner)

6. Danner Mountain Light Cascade Hiking Boot

Best hiking boots for winter

Specifications

Size range: US 5-11/UK
Weight : 1.36kg per pair
Material : Leather upper and Dri-Lex lining
Sole : Vibram outsole
Waterproof : No
RRP : $370/£340

Reasons to buy

+
Supportive 
+
Durable for all weather 
+
Well-cushioned 
+
Vintage-look 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not waterproof—but GORETEX option available 
-
Slightly small fit, size up 

You might recognize Danner’s Mountain Light Cascade Hiking Boots from Reece Witherspoon’s award-winning film Wild—but, how do they measure up away from the limelight? The Mountain Light Cascade Hiking Boots are an ode to one of Danner’s most iconic hiking boots that first launched in the 1970s. The leather boot has a rugged, vintage look with statement red laces. But, it's not all about style with this pair. The one-piece leather design with minimal seams keeps feet secure and stops the elements from getting in. Thanks to the Dri-Lex lining, the Cascade Hiking Boots offer great breathability and would be suitable for warm-weather conditions as well as cold-weather hikes.

The Vibram Kletterlift outsole offers excellent traction and ensured our tester felt safe and stable across different terrain. Our tester rated these the best leather hiking boots for their simple and durable design. Leather boots are often more durable than fabric shoes but do take a little more time to ‘wear in’ and don’t offer the ‘out-of-the-box' comfort a fabric boot does. Our tester found the more they hiked in the Danner boots, the more comfortable they became so it’s a good idea to wear these boots around the house and for short walks before you take on any major hikes. It’s also important to note the Cascade Hiking Boots are not waterproof, but Danner does offer a waterproof version in the form of the Cascade Clovis Hiking Boots. 

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Columbia Trailstorm™ Mid Waterproof Walking Shoe

(Image credit: Columbia)
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Columbia Trailstorm™ Mid Waterproof Walking Shoe

(Image credit: Columbia)

7. Columbia Trailstorm Mid Waterproof Walking Shoe

Best hiking boots for beginners

Specifications

Size range: US 5-12/UK 3-10
Weight: 580g per pair
Material : Mesh upper
Sole: Adapt Trax outsole
Waterproof : Yes
RRP: $110/£90

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Trainer-style
+
Waterproof
+
Breathable

Reasons to avoid

-
Narrow fit

If you’re a newbie hiker and looking for a comfortable and lightweight shoe to get you started, look no further than Columbia’s Trailstorm Mid Waterproof walking shoe. With a high ankle cuff, this pick resembles a boot despite being deemed a shoe by Columbia. But, it’s thanks to this style and structure, that our tester felt well-protected and secure in these walking shoes. 

Coming in at just 580g per pair, the Trailstorm shoes are lightweight (ideal for the keen traveller) and well cushioned, but still sturdy enough for a mix of terrain thanks to the Adao Trax outsole which provides plenty of stability. The Omni-Tech material is waterproof and breathable, and our tester found their feet stayed dry wearing these boots on rainy hikes. The trainer-style look and feel of these walking shoes makes them so lightweight and comfortable, however it does mean they come up a little narrower compared to other walking shoes and hiking boots—and so wouldn’t be suitable for those with wide feet or those who wear thick walking socks.

Ciara was the former digital health editor at womanandhome.com, covering all things health & wellbeing from fitness to sleep to relationships. She's always on the lookout for new health trends, innovative fitness gadgets and must-read wellness books. 


Originally from Ireland, Ciara moved to London to study journalism. After graduation, Ciara started her career at Goodhousekeeping.com. Ciara qualified as a meditation teacher with the British School of Meditation in 2020, and outside of her day-to-day now runs her own meditation school called Finding Quiet. She is all about bettering that mind-body connection but believes wellness looks different to everyone.