Which women’s hiking shoes are best?
If your idea of a good time is hitting a wooded trail and getting in touch with nature, chances are good you need hiking shoes.
Looking for a good all-around hiking shoe that’s comfortable both for short walks and long treks? The Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoes, which are made of durable materials and provide ample protection for your feet, are a great choice.
What to know before you buy women’s hiking shoes
Type of terrain
When selecting the best women’s hiking shoes, it’s important to consider the terrain where you’ll be hiking. If you tend to move toward rugged trails with lots of hills and loose rocks, you’ll need a shoe with more traction and protection. However, protective features are less important if your idea of hiking is a long walk on a paved path.
The weight of hiking shoes has a lot to do with how comfortable they are on the trail. Lightweight shoes allow for faster movement and less fatigue, but they may not provide the protection you need on a long hike. Heavier shoes are generally more durable and protective, but even the difference of a few ounces can mean tired legs and feet.
The material of women’s hiking shoes influences your comfort.
- Uppers: Uppers are the top and sides of the shoe and can be made from leather, suede, mesh or synthetic fabrics. Generally, leather uppers prevent injury on the trail, but they are much heavier and hotter than other materials. If you want to keep your feet safe and supported but stay cool, look for a combination of leather and mesh uppers.
- Soles: The sole of hiking shoes varies in thickness and level of traction. Thick rubber lug soles provide the most grip on slippery terrain, but thinner rubber lets you better feel the trail and move more quickly. Trail runners opt for thinner soles, while hikers choose to put thicker soles between their feet and the ground.
What to look for in quality women’s hiking shoes
Even the brightest, sunniest days can change to a sloppy mess when rain turns the ground to mud. Keep your feet dry and comfortable with waterproof hiking shoes.
Arch support in the form of inserts or built-in features is critical, especially for hikers with high or flat arches. Look for hiking shoes that let you customize the fit to your foot.
Protective features such as toe caps and leather, suede or rubber that wraps around the inside of the shoe keep feet safe from the errant sharp stick or flying rock. Even some lightweight shoes are starting to offer these options.
Women’s hiking shoes tend to come in a wider variety of colors than men’s. This is a fun option if you like to coordinate with your other gear.
How much you can expect to spend on women’s hiking shoes
Expect to spend $45-$100 on hiking shoes. The price is affected by the material, the design and the brand you select.
Women’s hiking shoes FAQ
How do you know if your hiking shoes fit?
A. Proper fit of your hiking shoes is the difference between a long, happy jaunt and a night spent soaking blister-covered feet. Poorly fitting hiking shoes can also result in lost toenails.
Although getting your feet professionally measured can help you find the perfect fit, there are a few basic guidelines for when you try on shoes.
- You should be able to wiggle your toes.
- The heel should move very little, but you should be able to insert a finger between the back of your foot and heel.
- The body of the shoe should feel snug without pressing the top of your foot.
Still not sure? Remove the insoles and stand on them in the socks you plan to wear for hiking. Make sure your heel is positioned at the back of the insole. If your foot fits comfortably inside the insole, with a half an inch at the toe and no part of your foot is spilling over the sides, the fit is good.
Remember that although shoes may stretch a little over the years, most hikers recommend sizing up at least half a size from your normal shoe.
Do hiking shoes require special care?
A. Not too much. Remove mud and debris after the hike by either brushing it off when it dries or rinsing it with clean water. You can also stuff wet shoes with newspaper to encourage drying and help them keep their shape.
Make sure your insoles are dry after each hike and replace them as needed for comfort and support.
If you find your hiking shoes are no longer waterproof, use a waterproofing spray to restore this feature.
What are the best women’s hiking shoes to buy?
Top women’s hiking shoes
What you need to know: These combine the best aspects of leather and mesh for comfort and support even when hiking long distances.
What you’ll love: Air-cushioned inserts are comfortable and give arch support on uneven terrain. Rubber soles provide good traction, and a rubber toe cap protects feet from hazards on the trail. They are available in 17 different colors.
What you should consider: People with exceptionally high or flat arches may need extra support.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top women’s hiking shoes for the money
What you need to know: Trail runners will love these lightweight, pared-down shoes.
What you’ll love: The mesh body is light for better agility, but the rubber sides still provide some protection. They come with removable inserts to better tailor the fit to your foot.
What you should consider: These are unsuitable for long days hiking on rough terrain. Pack these when you know you’ll be jogging on a well-established trail.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: These are tough enough for rugged hiking and off-trail adventures.
What you’ll love: The aggressive pattern of the sole provides excellent traction even in wet conditions. The suede upper prevents injury by sticks and rocks, but mesh inserts allow airflow. Lace them up quickly with just one pull. They come in six different colors and are also available in an ankle-supporting boot style.
What you should consider: These tend to run large, and the high padded collar at the back of the shoe may rub the back of the ankle.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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