After a pair of reliable hiking shoes? Here’s what to buy – and the best pairs on the market
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Best women’s walking shoes UK 2022: what to look out for and women’s walking shoes from Keen, Jack Wolfskin, On
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Gear up for any type of trail — and any weather — with a great pair of hiking shoes.
When it comes to buying hiking boots, there is a huge choice on the market and the most important decision is whether to go for leather or fabric boots.
The best hiking shoes for women at a glance
Leather, fabric or both?
Leather is inherently waterproof but can be stiff and heavy and takes a while to break in and adjust comfortably to your feet.
Cloth boots tend to be lighter and feel more like wearing comfortable sneakers straight out of the box, but are less durable and less warm than leather.
Leather is best suited for winter and mountain hiking, while fabric is ideal for travel and casual use in spring and summer. If you can afford it, owning a pair of each is a good idea.
What you should look for in a boot
Your boots need to be waterproof (for wet weather) and breathable (for warm temperatures). Look for boots with built-in waterproofing technology, like Gore-Tex, and thick, springy soles with deep lugs (the indentations that provide traction)—we always benchmark Vibram soles. Good boots should contain a breathable membrane to wick away sweat and keep your feet from overheating.
Make sure your new boots feel comfortable when they’re laced tight, with plenty of room for your toes and not too much room to move your heel. If the boots have a high ankle, your ankle should feel well supported without rubbing.
wider feet? Look for boots that specify a roomy fit, especially if you have bunions. Expect to pay around the $150 mark for a great pair of boots, although we also include a great option for tighter budgets. Take good care of your new boots and you will wear them for many seasons to come.
On Cloudrock Edge Raw Boot
Main Specifications – Material: Synthetic; Waterproof Technology: Waterproof polyurethane membrane; Weight: 390g; Color options: 1
These beautiful bright colored boots look a little different than your average hiking boot for a reason – they’re completely undyed and made from recycled materials to minimize their environmental impact.
The Edge Raw is fully waterproof and we liked the high, narrow ankle and tight lacing system that offers great support. Impressively deep lugs offer great grip even in wet weather.
Each boot weighs just 390g and the Edge Raw offers sneaker-like comfort even on longer walks.
The only downside to this smart and sustainably designed boot is that it gets dirty very quickly.
Hoka One One Tennine Boots
Main Specifications – Material: Synthetic; Waterproof Technology: Gore-Tex; Weight: 416g; Color options: 1
Hoka describes these wacky boots as “part hovercraft, part hiker,” and we have to agree.
Those massive soles really make you feel like you’re walking on air – the Tennines certainly feel wonderfully light and comfortable, even when you’re putting in many miles.
There’s a lot of substance and style here – the Tennines have reliable Gore-Tex waterproofing and sturdy Vibram soles.
The look of these futuristic boots is a bit like Marmite, but loving them will definitely set you apart from the hiker crowd.
Keen Karraig boots
Main Specifications – Material: Leather; Waterproof Technology: Keen.Dry; Weight: 600g; Color options: 1
Do you like to go off the beaten path? Keens Karraig could be your new best friend. This high-performance leather hiker is warm, waterproof and instantly comfortable.
We loved the high, supportive and well-padded ankle that doesn’t let rain through, the protected toe box, and the thick soles that provide a good grip even on slippery surfaces.
Karraigs aren’t lightweight so are best suited to cooler weather – take them outside from autumn through to spring and they’ll do you proud.
Giesswein Wool Cross X alpine boots
Main Specifications – Material: Merino Wool; Waterproof Technology: Water Repellent; Weight: 430g; Color options: 1
We’ve always been fans of Giesswein’s buttery soft merino wool sneakers, so we were excited to try out their new foray into hiking footwear, the Cross X Alpine.
Merino wool has properties that make it perfect for hiking boots – it wicks sweat, regulates temperature and is odorless, plus it’s lightweight.
The alpine boot has a robust sole with good grip, a soft, fluffy lining and is pleasantly light on the foot at 430 g. Although these boots are made from wool, they are still water-repellent enough to withstand a sudden downpour.
However, we recommend choosing a fully waterproof boot when venturing into stormy weather.
Chameau-Lite LCX 7 inch boot
Main Specifications – Material: Leather; Waterproof Technology: Le Chameau LCX® technology; Weight: 625g; Color options: 1
Le Chameau specialize in rugged hunting boots and sleek wellies, but their rugged and weatherproof boot designs are also perfect for hikers.
The LCX boot isn’t the lightest we’ve tested at 625g, but what it loses in weight it more than makes up for in performance.
It’s fully waterproof and can handle the worst weather you throw at it, and great deep-lugged soles offer excellent traction on all surfaces.
The boots are also surprisingly breathable and their dark leather finish also looks very chic. Expensive but brilliant quality that should last you for years.
Jack Wolfskin Wilderness Lite Texapore boots
Main Specifications – Material: Synthetic; Waterproof Technology: Texapore; Weight: 535g; Color options: 1
When you head into the wild, you need a boot that can keep up.
The Jack Wolfskin Wilderness Lite got top marks from us in testing – it’s comfortable, waterproof, highly breathable and has a thick, grippy Vibram sole that can handle pretty much any surface you hike over.
A sturdy toe cap protects your feet in challenging terrain and the lacing system keeps your foot well supported. If you’re more into mountain trekking than country trekking, this is a powerful choice.
Regatta Highton stretch boots
Main Specifications – Material: Synthetic; Waterproof technology: Isotex; Weight: 379g; Color options: 2
Our top pick on the budget is Regatta’s Highton Stretch boot, which definitely beats its £60 price tag.
These fabric boots are lightweight at 379g each and have a very comfortable feel right out of the box.
Regatta’s own brand Isotex waterproofing will withstand any sudden downpour and the rubber outsoles offer good grip. The Highton Stretch boots are also suitable for vegans (many mainstream hiking boots are not).
A great first hiking shoe.
Sorel Kinetic Boots of Conquest
Main Specifications – Material: Leather, Suede; Waterproof Technology: Impregnated leather; Weight: 460g; Color options: 3
Meet Sorel’s Kinetic Conquest, which feels like you’re wearing your favorite sneakers but has the look of a retro hiking shoe.
Crafted from very supple, comfortable suede, the Kinetic feels nice and light underfoot – those large wavy soles are very springy and combined with well-cushioned insoles keep these boots feeling great all day long.
An insulated lining also ensures the Kinetic Conquests stay cozy even as the temperature dips.
We love the soft suede and fleece-like tongue of these boots, but they’re not really made for the harshest (or muddy) conditions – save them for more leisurely walks.
Salomon Vaya Boots
Main Specifications – Material: Synthetic; Waterproof Technology: Gore-Tex; Weight: 330g; Color options: 2
While Salomon’s featherweight Vaya boot is great for hiking all year round, it really excels in warmer weather – it’s so highly breathable and lightweight, you’ll hardly feel like you’re even wearing boots, even put them on Dog Days of Summer.
The flexible material feels comfortable even on all-day hikes and is fully waterproof with Gore-Tex. The Vayas have fairly wide ankles so you will need to lace them up tight for a comfortable fit.
A great choice for hiking vacations, travel and backpacking.
Hanwag Banks women’s boots
Key Features – Material: Nubuck leather; waterproof technology; Gore Tex; Weight: 525g; Color options: 4
Hanwag’s classic Banks boot has a lot going for it. Combining our proven combination of Vibram soles and Gore-Tex waterproofing, it handles hard, rocky terrain and very wet weather with ease.
We also rate the high cut ankle which offers great support making these boots ideal for wearing on more demanding trails.
The banks are on the stiff and heavy side, but they get more flexible with use. A narrower and wider version of the boot are also available to give you the perfect fit.