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We have a sort of love-hate relationship with hiking — we generally dislike the pain of the uphill (and ourselves for being so out of shape), but we feel a sense of overwhelming joy, accomplishment, and weightlessness upon reaching the summit — and that's pretty dang hard to match!
Whether you're a day hiker, speed demon, thru-hiker, or backpacker, the type of boot that's best for you can vary drastically. Some options are lightweight and flexible, perfect for staying quick and nimble. Heavier options are supportive and stable, which is ideal for longer journeys and backpacking. Regardless of the intended use, we recommend boots over shoes, because the added ankle support can be a life saver in preventing injuries at the end of a long day. We've compiled a list of this year's best hiking boots for women, so no footwear will ever come between you and your destination, no matter how distant.
from $130 BUY NOW
Hikers and backpackers rejoice at the construction of this boot. It may look burly, but Salomon's Quest 4D III is nimble and lightweight enough to quickly rack up some serious miles, yet supportive and durable enough for backpacking. Comfort is top-notch, with a dual-density EVA midsole that provides ample cushion from rough trails, a moisture-wicking lining that regulates temperature inside, and a Gore-Tex membrane that's both waterproof and breathable.
Additionally, the higher rise provides great ankle support, while the leather and synthetic upper hugs your foot and prevents fatigue-related injuries after mile 10. All in all, this is a seriously reliable boot for women who don't mess around when it comes to comfort and performance in the mountains.
from $67 BUY NOW
Best Budget Buy
All-day comfort is what this boot provides, with the perfect blend of weight and style to get you from town to the trail and back, all without changing your shoes! Flexibility is what makes this boot so darn comfy, with a synthetic-mesh blended upper that hugs your foot like a glove while allowing free, unrestricted movement. However, with the midrise cut, you'll still get the stability that boot lovers seek, and the stability-enhancing shank in the footbed adds the structure your foot needs to give you confidence.
At under 13 ounces per shoe, the Terradora are on the lighter end of the spectrum, and they come in at least eight fun colors, all with the same casual woven pattern that we love.
$160 BUY NOW
Best for Thru-Hiking
Grab your furry four-legged friend (or a human friend) and head out to conquer the Appalachian Trail, from start to finish. Thru-hikers need a supportive yet lightweight boot, and The North Face delivered — at under 13 ounces per shoe, these shoes are some of the lightest and highest-performing boots available. Gore-Tex uppers are waterproof and breathable, an Ortholite footbed enhances cushioning and overall comfort, and the Vibram outsoles are grippy and sticky.
Most importantly, The North Face's new Fastfoam EVA midsole is highly responsive, giving each and every step the extra pep you'll need when times get tough. Top to bottom, the new Ultra Fastpack features thoughtful design, excellent value, and performance you can trust.
from $95 BUY NOW
Best for Speed
Have the need for speed? Us, too! The new Lone Peak 3.5 is a hiker's spin on an industry-leading trail running shoe. It combines a responsive midsole, ample cushioning, and a ventilating mesh upper that runner's love, with a reinforced toe cap and a higher-rising upper to deliver the stability and durability that hikers need. At just 9.7 ounces per shoe, they're the lightest pair in our roundup, so your feet will feel weightless and free while blazing trails. Switchbacks beware: A new peak bagger has arrived!
from $120 BUY NOW
Long day hikes require a boot that can handle variable terrain and weather conditions, such as Vasque's new Breeze III. From dry, hot plains to wet, marshy forests, your feet will appreciate you. The upper is partially nubuck leather, with reinforced heel and toe caps for supreme durability, and partially abrasion-resistant mesh that's strategically placed for maximum ventilation, no matter how sweaty the rest of you gets.
But breathability doesn't mean permeability — the Gore-Tex membrane lets you stomp in puddles or cross streams with zero fear of wet socks ruining your day. Plus, the speed lace system with a locking ankle hook lets you crank down as tight as your tired feet need to keep your nose over toes on the descent.
$150 BUY NOW
"Daily drivers" is the only way to do these shoes justice. Multipurpose to the core, they're stylish enough for a daily street shoe in the city, rugged enough to handle impromptu casual day hikes, and waterproof enough to dance around in the snow.
The company's trademarked Peak to Pavement outsole has directional inner lugs that grip loose terrain, while wider outer lugs deliver traction on hard surfaces. The attention to detail is immaculate, turning heads wherever they lead you. When traveling, there's no need to cram multiple pairs of boots in your suitcase — this is the only pair you'll need, no matter what type of mischief lies ahead.
$220 BUY NOW
Forget the notion that the best supportive backpacking boots are overly burly and 100% leather. These boots will provide maximum support even when you're hauling 40-plus pounds on rugged, unforgiving trails, thanks to a foot-cradling upper with easy-to-secure lacing system and cushioned ankle support that give you support without being stiff and restrictive. Because the uppers are synthetic, they're lighter and more breathable than leather, too. The midsole is more stable and cushioned than boots with comparable weights, so carrying a heavy pack is easier, and the Vibram outsole boasts an aggressive lug pattern for next-level traction on technical trails.
$140 BUY NOW
Why use a shoe for short hikes, a light boot for day-long adventures, and a heavy boot for backpacking trips, when Merrell's new MQM Flex thrives in every scenario? It was designed by and for Merrell athletes to be quick and nimble for quickness on the ascent, surefooted and flexible for scrambling along ridges, and stable for safety when charging downhill. The company's FLEXconnect dual-density EVA midsole was engineered to be flexible yet strong, the M Select Dry membrane lets moisture out but not in, and the M Select GRIP outsole delivers stellar traction. Like skis that are made to handle the entire mountain, no matter how challenging the terrain or variable the conditions, this truly is a go-anywhere, do-anything boot.
from $170 BUY NOW
If you're still unsure whether a shoe or boot will suit you best, the Ahnu Montara III Event combines the best qualities of each — it fits and feels as comfortable as an athletic shoe, but delivers the security and traction of a boot. Ahnu's new Numentum Technology is a neutral positioning system that encourages natural foot mechanics, with added posts at the heel for the stability you expect from a hiking shoe, plus the mid- and fore-foot comfort you expect from an athletic shoe, mostly due to a shock-dispersing plate that disperses tough impacts.
From slick city streets to unmaintained backwoods trails, wear these to feel like you're walking on clouds during even the longest of hikes.