If thereâs one piece of outdoor kit thatâs really worth investing in, itâs a decent pair of hiking boots. Proper walking footwear is essential, especially if youâre out in changeable conditions.
A good pair will keep your feet warm and dry mile after mile. And women-specific models have a more feminine style and fit.
What to consider
There are a few factors to consider before picking the perfect pair. First up: water resistance and breathability. You not only need to know the terrain that you're most likely to be walking in, but what sort of weather you can expect as well. How water resistant do your boots need to be?
One of the advantages of boots over shoes is that their higher cut means they are usually better for wet and cold conditions. Most walking boots also have a waterproof lining, so are a good option for rainy conditions or for trekking through areas with brooks or streams.
They may not be as breathable as shoes, so if this is important to you look for a pair with added breathability and ventilation. You should also think about ankle support â boots tend to offer more of this than shoes â and weight.
For a full buyer's guide on what to look for in a good hiking boot scroll to the end of this article.
Best for winter wear
Salomon X Ultra Trek GTX
This new women's boot from Salomon is just the ticket for full foot protection in harsh weather. It has GORE-TEX waterproofness to keep rain and puddles out, with a soft, breathable lining to keep your feet ventilated when they get hot.
They are also pretty flexible and lightweight for such a robust piece of footwear, weighing just 460g. We love the toe protection and the great traction thanks to the deep lugs that claw into even slippy muddy surfaces. The tongue of the boot is connected to the upper on both sides, keeping debris out.
This is your go-to boot for a lightweight, speed hiking model with great traction and waterproof protection.
Jack Wolfskin Wilderness Lite Texapore Mid - Women
For a great, sturdy boot in colder conditions, this women-specific pair from Jack Wolfskin has you covered. Theyâve been tested and given the nod of approval by mountain guides at the Alpine School Innsbruck, so itâs safe to say they will stand up to tough terrain, including snow.
Their robust sole is perfect for any mountain wilderness and, even though they feature great waterproof technology, your feet wonât sweat too much thanks to the breathable material.
The special toe design is ideal for climbing, scrambling and even via ferrata. You also wonât find them too heavy â each boot weighs just 535g.
Inov-8 Roclite G 345 GTX Womenâs
One of the standout features of these boots is the sole, which is made using graphene, the worldâs strongest material. The result is a boot that offers excellent grip while also being extremely comfortable and durable, to last mile after mile.
The claw-shaped cleats give you great traction on even the slipperiest of terrain, while the midsole is also super cushioned and is said to deliver 10% better shock absorption than standard midsoles. To top it off, the boots have GORE-TEX waterproofing to keep your feet dry even in the wettest of winters.
Designed for both hiking and running, these are a great lightweight option for stability and comfort.
Sorel Women's Joan of Arctic Waterproof Boots
They may look soft and fluffy, but these winter boots deliver excellent underfoot stability and grip. Inside, a removable recycled felt inner boot keeps your feet cosy, while the herringbone soles provide the power and grip needed to cross snow and ice.
There is a waterproof rubber shell so snow and rain wonât get in, while the faux fur snow cuff adds extra warmth and a touch of traditional style. The lace-up system hugs the boot to your calf as snugly as you like.
Made with hard wearing leather and suede, these boots are stylish enough to wear for apres ski, while also being technical enough to traverse the snow safely and comfortably. Winner.
Best for hot weather
HOKA ONE ONE Sky Kaha
Weâll admit it â these boots are on the elephantine side, and they do look bulky on. But you just wonât care once youâre wearing them, as the comfort they deliver is top notch.
Slipping on the Sky Kahas is like wearing your favourite pair of trainers, and those thick soles offer the best bounce we tested thanks to Vibram technology and cushiony layers of foam. They boots are fully waterproof and feature a lightweight leather and synthetic outer layer that offers both warmth and flexibility.
If you usually feel dragged down by hiking boots or find that most boots rub or donât fit well, take these out for a spin.
Merrell Siren 3 Mid Gore-Tex Womenâs Walking Boots
We love how versatile and lightweight these boots from Merrell are. They're super waterproof thanks to the GORE-TEX membrane, yet also extremely well ventilated â making them ideal in both rain and warm weather.
The Siren is Merrellâs latest women-specific model, also available as a shoe. Its Vibram outsole is super grippy, even in slippery or wet conditions, with deep lugs that anchor you in position even when youâre walking on thick, muddy terrain.
The heel has extra cushioning, and itâs designed to mould to your heel shape over time. The result? A comfortable, solid boot that offers great protection, traction and breathability come rain or shine.
Danner Mountain Light Cascade
You may recognise these good-looking leather boots â they starred in the film Wild on the feet of Reese Witherspoon and theyâve garnered their own cult following. We reckon itâs rightly deserved â theyâre an extremely comfy leather option, and are tough and waterproof despite that pretty appearance, with Gore-Tex waterproofing and thick Vibram soles.
Theyâre possibly the nicest-looking hiking boot on the market, perfect if youâre into gear with a retro feel. Theyâre not lightweight or very breathable though, so youâll want to swap them for a fabric boot come warm summer days. Wide and narrow width versions are available, ideal if you need a specific fit.
The North Face Womenâs Back-To-Berkeley II Shoes
Their name may say âshoesâ, but weâd definitely classify these colourful number as âbootsâ with their above-ankle cut. They are pretty to look at, with a vintage feel and choice of colours including rich purple (our favourite) and smart navy. And, despite not being the most technical shoe on our list, they have some nice features to keep your feet comfortable and dry on most types of hike.
Expect waterproof, lightweight fabric, as well as breathability and slip-free soles. We also love the chunky lacings and the fact you can wear these everywhere from trails to towns.
Best on a budget
Quechua NH150 Mid Womens Waterproof Walking Boots
Decathlon is a great place to bag yourself a bargain. You can rely on their own brand of gear, Quechua, for decent quality hiking kit that wonât break the bank. We love their comfortable NH150s, which leave you change from $45. They may not sport the most innovative looks, but theyâll keep your feet dry in light rain and are reasonably breathable.
The soles are nicely cushioned and thereâs great toe protection. The ankles are cut rather low, so theyâre best used on dryer days and on marked paths rather than over boggy or uneven terrain. Available in blue or burgundy, these are a great entry-level hiking boot.
Regatta Lady Clydebank boots
Buy now: Amazon | $47
You get a lot of boot for your money with the Lady Clydebank. Itâs perhaps not the most exciting boot to look at, but it ticks all our technical boxes â the boot is waterproofed with Isotex, sports a well protected toe box and laces up well, with a comfortable wide tongue ensuring that nothing rubs against your ankles.
The outer boot is made of a clever mix of warm suede and breathable mesh material. The soles arenât the grippiest weâve tested, and are also best kept on marked paths rather than scrambling routes.
Leather vs fabric â which should you choose?
The first choice to make when buying the perfect pair of boots is deciding whether you want to go for leather or fabric hiking boots.
In an ideal world, weâd recommend owning a pair of each, as both have their benefits â leather is warmer in winter and is long lasting, but can be stiffer and does take longer to break in, whilst fabric boots feel more like wearing trainers straight out of the box and are more lightweight and breathable but donât tend to offer as much warmth.
Leather is also great for cold, wet weather, while fabric boots are ideal for hiking from spring through to autumn and for taking on walking trips abroad.
Weâve got great options for both types of boot on this list of our best-performing hiking boots, all of which have proven their mettle on test in fair and foul weather.
A good pair of well-made boots tends to cost around the ÂŁ100-ÂŁ150 mark, but weâve also squeezed in two budget options that wonât break the bank but still deliver good quality. Itâs also worth keeping an eye out for bargains during sales.
A great pair of hiking boots should offer two key characteristics: waterproofing and breathability. Boots usually use branded technology such as Gore-Tex or their own-brand version to create a waterproof membrane that stops moisture getting in but still lets sweat wick away.
We also look for boots with thick, bouncy rubber soles (Vibram soles are always a safe choice) with deep lugs to offer a good grip on wet surfaces and a reinforced toe box to protect your feet. High ankle support is good if youâre walking on uneven terrain, and if you want to wear your boots for mountaineering as well as hiking, make sure theyâre crampon compatible.
Itâs always a good idea to try boots on in person if possible. Take along thick hiking socks when trying boots on and lace the boots up tightly â they should feel supportive but not restrictive, with no pinching or tightness at the ankle or around the toes.