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Best Women's Hiking Boots

By: Lisa Maloney on April 11, 2017

Narrow heels, wide forefeet and long arches rule the day

While nearly every boot in this report is available in women's sizing, only a few are designed specifically to fit a woman's foot. The female foot tends to be wider in the forefoot, narrower in the heel and longer in the arch than a man's, so a smaller version of a man's boot doesn't always provide the best fit.

The boot that stands out as the overwhelming favorite of female hikers is the Keen Targhee II Mid (Est. $135), an enduring design that's also extremely popular with men. This model has drawn years of praise for its stable, sturdy and supportive soles, roomy toebox that won't pinch your toes on descents, and straight out-of-the-box comfort.

The Keen Targhee II Mid isn't the most technical boot in our report, but users say it's great for all-around use, and a typical women's pair weighs only 1 pound, 14 ounces. The sole offers great protection on rocky terrain, the traction is excellent, and a rubber toe cap helps protect against stubbed toes. The weakest point for this boot is its durability, with OutdoorGearLab.com pointing out that there are quite a few seams and mesh panels that end up being weak points in the construction. That said, women seem more likely to praise the Targhee II's durability than men, and the boot costs so much less than the competition that users usually don't mind much when it comes time for a replacement.

We did find a few recent reports of quality control issues with the Targhee II's Keen.Dry waterproof membrane, so it's a good idea to check your boots before you use them. If the waterproof membrane survives the initial immersion, it should last as long as the rest of the boot. Also, be aware that the mid-height ankle cuff isn't as supportive as taller models, and these boots routinely run at least a half-size small -- so be sure to order up.

Another boot, the Asolo Stynger GTX (Est. $235), is a perennial favorite of female hikers. Users say it provides a comfortable, secure fit right out of the box and can handle just about anything you throw at it, including 40-plus-pound backpacking loads. Interestingly, reviewers with both wide and narrow feet tend to rave about this boot's fit, probably because of the roomy toe box and smaller ankle/heel design that's made to fit a woman's foot.

Reviewers say Asolo Stynger GTX boot is supportive, surprisingly breathable, and grips just about any surface well. It has a waterproof/breathable Gore-Tex liner that does a good job of waterproofing up to about ankle level, and a solid, protective sole that's fairly rigid. A rubber toe and reinforced heel protect you from trail obstacles like rocks and tree roots, and the upper wears very well. The sole wears moderately well, with recent reviews indicating that you can reasonably expect at least five years of regular use from the Asolo Stynger GTX.

Another Asolo model, the Asolo TPS 520 GV (Est. $300), is also very popular with female hikers. Just keep in mind that this heavy-duty leather backpacking boot will require some break-in time before you hit the trail, and it doesn't have the narrowest heel out there. Still, if you're going to be carrying heavy loads or taking long, challenging hikes in loose, off-trail terrain, it offers top-notch support for your ankles and feet.

A very common complaint from female hikers is that their heels slide around in boots that otherwise fit well. If this sounds like you, try the Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX (Est. $200), which also happens to be our top-reviewed hiking boot overall. A special locking eyelet partway up the boot makes it easy to fine-tune the tension on the lacing, locking your heel in without squeezing the rest of your foot. This lightweight, agile boot feels almost like a running shoe, reviewers say, and the average women's pair weighs just 2 pounds, 4 ounces.

Our best-reviewed waterproof boot, the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid (Est. $230), is also very popular with female hikers. The average women's pair weighs just 2 pounds, 2 ounces and is available in three widths: narrow, normal and wide. The Renegade GTX Mid has a seamless Gore-Tex liner and Nubuck leather uppers that require almost no break-in period, and the laces do a good job of locking in a narrow heel. The Renegade GTX Mid also draws top expert scores for support, comfort and traction, even on mud and snow. Its durability does suffer somewhat because of the light construction, but many hikers love this boot so much that they're happy to buy a new pair every year.

If having a light boot that fits a woman's foot is your priority, keep an eye on the Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi (Est $230), which is also our Best Reviewed lightweight boot overall. It tops the charts in every expert review for overall comfort; high points include a plush midsole that offers plenty of protection underfoot and a rockered outsole that helps keep each stride feeling natural. Users generally love the ankle support and padding of the upper, which requires no break-in period, and the deep, stable heel pocket is a great feature for most women's feet.

Durability of the outsole and the waterproof eVent liner can be an issue, but most customers say the company does a good job of standing behind their one-year warranty. And if your first priority is weight, it's hard to beat the Tor Ultra Hi's 1 pound, 13 ounce weight for a typical women's pair.

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Hiking Boots buying guide

What every best Hiking Boots has:

  • Feel light on your feet.
  • Provide a pinch-free fit.
  • Offer comfort, yet support.

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