The best hiking shoes for women: Hit the trails with the perfect lightweight footwear

Our pick of the lightest and most durable shoes for every price point
The best hiking shoes for women

Hiking shoes may not have as many features as other outdoor products, but there’s still plenty to consider when choosing the best pair for you.

The debate over buying boots or shoes is a big one and is ultimately based on your own preferences. One of the key advantages of shoes over boots is that they’re lightweight, but you're likely to lose some durability and support – so if you're looking to do some technical, rocky scrambles, you may want to focus your search on a boot.

Likewise, if you're doing a lot of walking in hotter climates, a shoe will be considerably more breathable and comfortable than the boot options out there.

Hiking shoes: What to look for

Outsole – These should provide grip that will be effective in both wet and dry conditions. You want a pair that are flexible, but also stable enough to withstand a variety of terrain.

Midsole – This sits on top of the sole, and should give you enough cushioning to help absorb shock and make the shoe more comfortable to wear. Shoes tend to have less cushioning than boots, which means your feet are closer to the ground and improves stability.

Uppers – Look for an upper material that’s both lightweight and protective. It should be breathable, too – usually made from a combination of fabric or leather and mesh to boost ventilation. Waterproof linings are great at keeping your feet dry in wet weather. But, while they may keep water out, this lining can also keep sweat in – so weigh up your options based on the conditions you’ll be walking in. Shoes with no waterproof lining can be more breathable – this could be better for dry conditions.

From entry-level shoes to high-end spec models, and with options to suit all budgets, here’s our pick of some of the best hiking shoes on the market at the moment.

Best for waterproofing

Inov-8 Roclite G 350

Buy now: inov-8 (UK) / inov-8 (US) / Amazon | $155

Best Hiking Shoes For Women

For a lightweight hiking shoe, look no further than the Roclite G 350 from inov-8. They have been specifically designed for fast hiking, and weigh just 350g per shoe despite being super robust and waterproof. One of the standout features is the sole, which is made using graphene, the world’s strongest material.

The result? Superb underfoot traction that will last, hike after hike. The shoe also has an array of protective features, like an ankle cuff, and they’ll leave your tootsies feeling dry, comfortable and supported.

The North Face Activist Futurelight Hiking Shoes

Buy now: The North Face (UK) / The North Face (US) | $135

The best hiking shoes for women: Hit the trails with the perfect lightweight footwear

The North Face knows what it's doing when it comes to design aesthetics and the fact that its range of outdoorwear is used as much in the city as it is in the wilderness is a testament to that.

But the brand offers a lot more than style and looks – something that's abundantly clear when you take the Activist Futurelight out on the trails. For us, it sits rather smugly as a great all-season option designed to cover you across a wide range of terrain and conditions.

The most impressive feature is by far the Futurelight membrane – a covering that's designed to offer a formidable balance between protection against the elements without skimping on breathability. For that reason, it's a great option if your hiking endeavours take you to places where the weather can be hot one day and heavy downpours the next. They are still shoes though, so if you are wandering out into a rainstorm make sure you've got yourself some gators or waterproof trousers.

The outsole delivers when it comes to keeping you upright on the trails as well, offering impressive traction on tricky surfaces whilst the EVA midsole makes for an enjoyable and comfortable ride – especially if you're planning on doing a lot of mileage.

Overall, a great all-rounder if you're the kind of hiker that wants a bit of everything, from comfort and breathability to tackling to elements when you need it to.

Salomon Outline GTX W

Buy now: Salomon (UK) / Salomon (US) / Amazon | $130

Best Hiking Shoes For Women

We love these great trail shoes from Salomon. First up, they are super technical, with Gore-Tex waterproofness and a mesh membrane to both keep out debris and ensure your feet stay dry. The soles are durable, with a lug pattern that works on a variety of terrain, from smooth surfaces to loose ground.

They also weigh just 290g – making them one of the lightest shoes on our list. The feminine, slim fit is a winner, and they are available in five great colours, including olive, black and turquoise and grey.

Best all-rounders

Merrell Siren 3 Gore-Tex / Waterproof

Buy now: Merrell (UK) / Merrell (US) / Amazon | $120

Best Hiking Shoes For Women

Designed specifically for women, these kicks are a great all-rounder. They’re waterproof, breathable and have superb grip in both wet and dry conditions. The soles feature Vibram’s MegaGrip technology, making them durable, comfortable and protective.

Your feet will feel protected, but there’s no stiffness here – these shoes offer the best of both worlds: stability and flexibility. Available in sizes 5-11, they have been engineered with women in mind, with factors like heel centring to suit female feet.

Adidas TERREX Skychaser GTX Shoe

Buy now: adidas (UK) | $159.95

Best Hiking Shoes For Women

One of the things we love most about these shoes from Adidas is that you’ll fit in just as well wearing them in a city as you would on the trails. They have a sleek sneaker design, especially if you go for black (they are also available in blue-grey). But, despite looking great, they are also an extremely competent technical shoe.

The low-cut design helps keep you agile, while they have extra cushioning in the midsole to give you an added boost of energy with each step. Your feet can breathe, but also rain and puddles are kept out, thanks to the waterproof, breathable membrane.

Danner Women’s Trail 2650

Buy now: Danner (UK) / Danner (US) | $150

Best Hiking Shoes For Women

These shoes were inspired by one of the world’s most famous hiking routes, the 2,650-mile-long Pacific Crest Trail in the US. The trail stretches over a wide variety of terrain, and that need for versatility is what this shoe was built to tackle.

Although they're not waterproof, they are super breathable – which is just what you need when you're tackling long distances. They are also the lightest shoes on our list, weighing just 255g each.

As well as being one of the nicest looking shoes here, you’ll also get bags of grip underfoot and comfort while wearing them, as they have three layers of varying density cushioning and support.

Best on a budget

Quechua Women’s Waterproof Mountain Walking Shoes

Buy now: Decathlon (UK) / Decathlon (US) | $49.99

Best Hiking Shoes For Women

You can trust Quechua, Decathlon’s own brand of kit, for decent quality hiking gear that won’t break the bank. Our pick of their female hiking shoes are these MH100s, which you can pick up for less than $50.

They may not be the most fashionable on our list, but they’ll keep your feet dry and comfy over long distances thanks to their waterproof membrane and cushioning. They’re also light and provide fairly good traction and toe protection. Ideal for first-time hikers looking for an affordable pair of shoes when heading to the trails.

Peter Storm Women’s Arnside Walking Shoe

Buy now: Peter Storm (UK) / Amazon | $127.99

Best Hiking Shoes For Women

They may not sport innovative looks, but these Peter Storm walking shoes will keep your feet dry over long distances and are reasonably breathable. The soles are nicely cushioned and there’s great support, too, without being too bulky.

They’re pretty light, and have good grip underfoot, making them an affordable choice for everyday walks and outdoor adventures. They aren’t as waterproof as some of our other selections, but you do get a lot of shoe for your money with them.

Best for support

Arc’teryx Aerios FL mid GTX shoe

Buy now: Arc’teryx (UK) / Arc’teryx (US) | $185

Best Hiking Shoes For Women

They may be the priciest model from our selection, but these hiking shoes from Canadian brand Arc’teryx have all the lovely stuff we’d expect for a boot with a higher price tag.

You get deep-lugged Vibram soles, Gore-Tex waterproofing and a breathable mesh outer. If you have a tendency to sprain or roll your ankles, the mid-height collar is ideal and adds support – while also keeping out debris.

This shoe was inspired by trail running, so will make you feel agile, stable and confident on your feet.

Marmot Women's Lone Mountain Shoes

Buy now: Blacks (UK) | $185

Best Hiking Shoes For Women

Hailing from Colorado, US, Marmot is a trusted outdoor brand – and their Lone Mountain shoes are a great choice for female hikers looking for extra support.

The footbed moulds to your feet to enhance comfort when you’re tackling any terrain, while the Vibram rubber soles are sturdy and boost traction for stability and security even on the toughest trails. The fully waterproof membrane will keep your feet dry from any wet weather, even while you sweat. A great lacing system ties these beauties up snugly.

Main image credit: Danner

Tags:    Trekking
Tagged    Trekking