For many outdoorsy women, the start of the harsh winter is actually a time for adventure and activity! Be it hiking or even full-on mountaineering, the kind and quality of technical footwear you use has a huge impact on your safety and performance – and ultimately, on your enjoyment of your favorite outdoor winter sport. To help you pick a pair of high-performance hiking boots, we’ve put together a list of the eight best hiking boots for women. Plus, if you have any questions about what makes a great hiking boot good, head on over to our buying guide to know more![toc]Hiking boots are technical winter boots that are designed keeping certain specific factors in mind. Like all winter boots, hiking boots are sturdy, well-insulated and provide great traction or hold to the wearer. But unlike snow boots or pac boots, which are perfect for a short walk around town, hiking boots are meant to battle extreme weather conditions while remaining comfortable to walk in over long periods – like over a multi-day trek. But that’s not to say that hiking boots have to look industrial and unappealing!
In other words, it’s possible to find hiking boots that are functional as well as fashionable. We’ve saved you the hassle of shuffling through the many, many mediocre hiking boots that are available on the market and run up a list of the very best women’s hiking boots from 2017 for you to choose from. There’s even an option for the more committed hiking and mountaineering enthusiasts. Scroll down to find your perfect pair of hiking boots!
8 Best Hiking Boots For Women
The Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Boots are waterproof ankle-length hiking boots with lace-ups that feature a vibrant and very sporty aesthetic while offering Ahnu’s famous weather-beating performance and comfort. Ahnu uses a proprietary Numentum Technology to design these boots, which is meant to preserve the natural motion of your stride. Ahnu claims to engineer its products for those with an active lifestyle, who ‘prefer trails over treadmills’. If that sort of philosophy appeals to you, then be sure to check out the ten amazing colors the Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Boots comes in.
- Leather and textile
- Rubber sole
- Shaft measures approximately 5.75″ from arch
- Heel measures approximately 1″
- Padded, gusseted tongue
- TPU stability heel clip, Rubber toe protector
- Dual-density EVA, Non-marking Vibram outsole with self-cleaning lugs
Easy to kick on and off for hiking boots, the Ahnu Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Boots are a high-performance and fully waterproof hiking boot that’ll amp up your style too.
Ariat is a high-end luxury brand that’s renowned for its spectacular craftsmanship and the incredible versatility of its products. We’ve covered snow boots by Ariat in another article, and this time we’re focusing on one of their entries into the world of hiking boots – the Ariat Women’s Terrain Hiking Boot. We’ve chosen this boot in particular because it’s the original hiking boot design by Ariat, who are otherwise known for their expertise in crafting products for equestrian purposes. These boots are built for the long period use, with ATS footbed technology to keep your feet comfortable, and an EVA midsoles to reduce foot fatigue.
Ariat boots provide the foundation for great outdoors performance and safety, while offering you amazing comfort, versatility and high quality that should serve you through many seasons. The Ariat Women’s Terrain Hiking Boot in particular uses a leather and Cordura upper for added weather protection and style points.
- Rubber sole
- Shaft measures approximately 3.5″ from arch
- Platform measures approximately 3/4″
- Boot opening measures approximately 9 1/2″ around
- Heel Height: 0″
- Shaft Height: 4″ (Size 7)
- Fit: True to Size
- Outsole: Rubber
- Upper: Full Grain Leather/Cordura
Overall, the Ariat Women’s Terrain Hiking Boot is very well-constructed and durable, with good tread, quality leather and it comes in five sweet colors – sure to make heads turn!
One of the most out rightly beautiful winter boots on this list, the Frye Women’s Samantha Hiker Combat Boot has serious chic quotient! But don’t let the elegant looks fool you – under the hood (sort of to speak) is a high performance and super well-built boot to help you conquer the winter chill in style. To be sure, this Frye model is a lug-heeled winter boot and not a true hiking boot, so it won’t be comfortable over long treks or trails – and its water resistance is also similar to those of snow boots than proper hiking boots. But in terms of sheer raw appeal, few come close, and that’s why Frye Women’s Samantha Hiker Combat Boot has found its way onto our list.
- 100% Leather
- Lug Sole
- Shaft measures approximately 6″ from arch
- Heel measures approximately 1.5″
- Frye leathers on this beautiful hiking-inspired boot.
The Frye Women’s Samantha Hiker Combat Boots are one of the most popular choices among women for high-ankle warm snow boots, and are high on style without compromising on comfort.
Inspired by Merrel’s Crestbound hiker, this leather and textile constructed hiking boot has a lace-up vamp and features a leather heel counter. It’s no slouch in the style department either – its rugged mountain bravura is perfect for any winter occasion. Durable, comfortable and weather-proof, these hiking boots pair really well with a casual outfit, and are very lightweight as far as hiking boots go – a testament to their versatility. It’s no surprise that the Merrell Women’s Eventyr Bluff Waterproof Boot, which comes in three colors, by the way – turned out to be everything it promised to be –and then some.
- Leather and Textile
- Rubber sole
- Shaft measures approximately 4.5″ from arch
- Low-profile waterproof boot featuring D-ring eyelets a lace-up shaft and nubby trim at padded collar
Check out the classic and understated ‘Dark Earth’ color, or go with the more colorful ‘Bungee Cord’ option. For traditionalists, the Merrell Women’s Eventyr Bluff Waterproof Boot is also available in Black.
Keen has made a huge name for itself in the field of producing excellent winter boots for men and women, and if you, like many others, have already heard good things about Keen, then now might be a good time to take a plunge! We bring to you one of their most popular products – the Keen Women’s Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot – and it’s available in 6 fantastic color options. The boot features a mid-cut height which increases ankle support and the ESS shank provides torsional stability making this one of the most stable boots on this list.
- Made in the USA or Imported
- Rubber sole
- Shaft measures approximately 4.5″ from arch
- Heel measures approximately 1.5″
- Platform measures approximately 1″
- Mid-height hiking boot featuring breathable waterproof membrane and protective toe cap
- Rear pull-on loop
- Removable dual-density EVA foam footbed
- Torsion stability ESS shank
- Compression-molded EVA foam midsole.
A serious but trendy hiking boot which has received extensive support and feedback from its loyal fan base, Keen comes highly recommended from many committed trekkers and trail-blazers. At this price, to say that these boots are a steal would be an under-statement. These hiking boots don’t need much breaking in, but this style is running a ½-1 size small, sort of if you’re a street size 7.5, we suggest ordering upto sizes 8-8.5 to be extra comfortable.
The Scarpa Women’s Mont Blanc GTX Mountaineering Boot is the one super serious pick on this list that’s designed specifically for mountaineering. Mountaineering is no joke – and mountaineering boots are the highest performance boots you can get your hands on – and you’d need to. The Mont Blanc GTX Boot is automatic and semi-automatic crampon-compatible, and uses Gore-Tex and a double tongue to keep your feet warm and isolated from the snow.
The Scarpa Women’s Mont Blanc GTX Mountaineering Boot also has an ErgoFit System which offers omni-directional and natural range of motion at the ankle. The advanced Vibram Midsole System provides maximum shock absorption and better sensitivity. These boots are sized in half centimeter increments so you can determine the exact fit for placement in toe holds. The boot performs well under extreme conditions, and can even be used for vertical ice climbing – its rear randing allows you to lock your heels securely to ensure climbing safety.
- Vibram sole
- ErgoFit system offers omni-directional progressive flex allowing for natural motion with perfect support
- Rear randing locks heel securely for climbing performance
- Advanced Mid-Sole System provides maximum shock absorption improved sensitivity
- Lightest in its class
The Scarpa Women’s Mont Blanc GTX Mountaineering Boot is manufactured by a multi-generational, family-owned business which operates from the Asolo Mountain Area in Northern Italy. If you liked that little bit of trivia, and, more importantly, if you need to buy yourself a pair of reliable and resilient mountaineering and climbing boots, then you might have found yourself the right pair – they’re also the lightest in their class!
The Timberland Chocorua Trail Boot is a functional hiking boot designed with full-grain waterproof leather and a rugged outsole for excellent traction over all manner of terrain. It’s the perfect boot for hiking and other outdoor activities. The boot features a padded collar and tongue that offers snuggly comfort, while a breathable internal Gore-Tex membrane provides water resistance. An adjustable lacing system offers a superior customized fit over long treks.
Timberland’s Chocorua Trail collection is perfect for day hikes and all other outdoor activities. The leather and textile upper repel water well once they’ve been appropriately treated, and the boots are known in particular for their fit, though they need to be broken in. The dual-density EVA footbed is removable, meaning it can be pulled out to clean and dry as required. The active rubber lug outsole provides traction and grip over tricky surfaces.
- Rubber sole
- Shaft measures approximately 4.5″ from arch
- Heel measures approximately 1.25″
- Platform measures approximately 4.5″
- Waterproof leather hiking boot featuring mesh panels and lace-up closure with metallic hardware
- Gore-Tex membrane and seam-sealed construction for waterproof protection
- Removable dual-density EVA footbed
- EVA midsole
- S.F.P. motion efficiency system with lug outsole for traction
The Timberland Women’s Chocorua Trail Boot is a great companion for hiking and casual wear, and super comfortable – great arch support! The boots come in two colors and upper options, so be sure to check them out to find the one that you like best! Timbaland has a huge reputation to protect, so you’re usually in a great place when you’re buying from them.
The Danner Women’s Mountain Light Cascade Hiking Boot is the classic beauty on this list, and comes with a hiking heritage that’s over 30 years old and all-American. No part of this boot is imported, and it’s built entirely in Portland, Ore. The style was originally conceived as a backpacking boot, and it’s a great companion for hiking through the woods, though it’s not meant to be worn in freezing or snowy weather.
The Danner Women’s Mountain Light Cascade Hiking boot features a rich, full-grain leather upper (crafted from one piece!) and wonderfully retro flat red laces. The rugged Vibram kletterlift outsole makes the boot perfect for outdoor or casual use. Danner are known for being master craftsmen and pride themselves on never compromising on the quality of their work and products. The extensive feature list of the Light Cascade boot is testament to the care which goes into the manufacture of each pair – check them out!
- Made in USA
- Rubber sole
- Shaft measures approximately 5″ from arch
- Dri-Lex lining provides increased breathability and comfort. Retro One Piece Leather Upper. Shank-fiberglass
- Danner’s hand-crafted stitchdown construction increases durability and underfoot stability
- Vibram Kletterlift outsole is specifically designed for comfort and durability on both wet and dry surfaces
- Danner’s 650 EE last offers a roomier fit without sacrificing support and stability. We recommend sizing down a half size for the best fit.
The Danner Women’s Mountain Light Cascade Hiking Boot is a retro classic that’s been built to stand the test of time – indeed, the upper is constructed from sienna cache leather that patinas beautifully over time – an implicit warranty about the exceptional quality of these hiking boots.
Buying Guide for Women’s Hiking Boots
It’s no secret that a well- built and fashionable pair of winter boots can help make the winter season seem more bearable and less drab. And whether you have to make your way through many feet of icy snow every day on your way to work, or whether you spend just a little time outside while you’re running errands, this guide will help you choose the perfect winter boot that best fits your needs – and in this particular guide, we’ll be focusing on women’s hiking boots.
The line between the various types of women’s winter boots can sometimes stretch a bit thin, with various brands and companies trying to produce multi-purpose and versatile winter boots that can, for example, double up as both a pair of casual snow boots and reasonable hiking boots for milder weather as well. This buying guide will help you clarify the differences and variations between the three major types of women’s winter boots – Snow Boots, Pac Boots and Hiking Boots – and explain in particular what makes the best hiking boots tick.
In this buying guide, we discuss the merits and demerits of the various types of winter boots. We also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type in terms of four major metrics – Tall vs. Short Boots; Style vs. Substance; Performance and Construction; and lastly, Comfort. Secondly, hiking boots are what are considered technical use footwear, meaning that they are expected to be constructed to a much higher uniform quality than other kinds of winter boots for women. We’ll take a brief look at some of these special features which make hiking boots special (and also, sometimes, dearer).
Through the brief discussions in each of these sections, we hope to be able to arm you with sufficient knowledge to be able to make an informed and empowered decision when it comes to your next purchase of hiking boots.
The Three Types of Women’s Winter Boots – Snow Boots, Pacs, and Hiking Boots
In one sense, all winter boots essentially serve the same purpose – to keep your feet as dry and warm as possible under mild to extreme cold weather conditions. Some winter boots do this job really well, while many mediocre options will let you down by failing to keep snow or icy water out – so pretty soon you’ll be squishing around with frozen feet.
In this sense, all winter boots are essentially the same, and, in fact, the difference between ‘casual’ snow boots and ‘technical’ hiking boots is really one of degree, not of kind. That’s to say that all these various types of boots have a leather or textile upper; a rubber outsole designed to keep out water; and some form of synthetic or natural (like sheepskin or wool) insulation lining some part or the entirety of the boot. Usually the outsole has a tread-enhancing feature to ensure reliable grip or traction. This is true of all the boots on this list – the differences are of degree and quality, and that’s also what determines the price of these products – but all of these are built to serve the same essential function.
What are Snow Boots? How are Pac Boots different?
A snow boot is what most people think of when they think of casual winter boots. Snow boots usually feature a water-resistant upper and thin water-proofing rubber outsole that is designed to keep the boot light-weight while offering a decent amount of traction or grip. Snow boots are ideally used for light activity for short periods of time in cold weather conditions – like running errands around town or going out for a walk- and maybe a bit of puddle jumping.
What they don’t offer is absolute protection from the worst of cold conditions over a long period of time – say, a multi-day hike. For that level of protection from the elements, you need winter boots that are sometimes called Pac Boots, or Pacs. Pac boots offer an upgrade to smaller traditional snow boots and feature a thicker rubber shell and improved weather resistance. If performance and weather protection is more important to you, you may want to lean towards the taller, more Pac-style boots.
For those looking for even more technical winter boots, you’d need to check out Women’s Hiking Boots, which offer superior fit, protection and comfort than Pacs, and are the focus of this list.
What are Hiking Boots? What makes them special?
If you’re interested in taking long-distance multi-day trekking or hiking trips, or are a mountaineering or climbing enthusiast, then you need to get your hands on purpose specific technical boots such as hiking boots. Hiking boots are especially designed for optimal performance in the harshest temperature and moisture conditions. Once they’re properly broken in, they offer the greatest comfort while walking long distances – keeping your feet dry, warm and limber over many miles a day!
Hiking boots generally offer greater ankle support and a deeper tread than other types of winter boots- sort of they grip the snow better than most other winter boots. Also unlike snow boots or Pacs, hiking boots have snug lacing systems, rigid uppers, and a more precise fit (something which is an absolute necessity in the world of mountaineering and climbing). The rigidity of the boots also allows you to kick steps into the snowside if needed – another feature made specifically for climbers.
Advanced hiking boots also come with crampon compatibility and some winter hiking boots also feature a breathable liner that wicks away moisture that keeps feet warm all day long. Some come with removable liners which can help the boot dry out faster in case it does let some water in. Hiking boots are also generally better insulated than other snow boots, and represent the topmost class of footwear when it comes to beating the winter chill with panache.
Style vs. Substance Debate
Our choice of footwear plays a huge role in determining the effectiveness of our overall look. As with every other fashion choice you make, you ought to first consider the conditions under which you plan to use your new snow boots. When it comes to hiking boots however, it’s advisable to tend towards performance over fashion – trail-hunters and climbers often expose themselves to the most challenging weather conditions, and an ideal pair of hiking boots is essential for safety. Frostbite is nothing to trifle with over a ten-day hike or climb – so better to be safe than sorry.
At the end of the day, of course, style is immensely personal and subjective. And, when it comes to casual every day snow boots, you still have room to compromise. But when it comes to technical boots, you just have to go for the very best you can afford. But since all the hiking boots on our list have been reviewed and approved by us, you can go ahead and pick the one that most appeals to you. You might find one that brings the right balance between performance and style.
Performance & Construction
The weather-beating performance of a winter boot is strongly related to the quality of its construction. How warm a boot is depended upon the nature and extent of the insulation used, the material, thickness and quality of the outsole, and the design of the footbed. These factors are all the more important when you’re looking to buy a high-performance boot like most hiking boots. Most hiking boots feature at least 100 to 200 grams of insulation, and more isn’t necessarily better. A well-known and widely used insulation material is Thinsulate which is manufactured by 3M..
Factors like the height of the boot, often called the ‘shaft height’ and the quality of the seal at the top of the shaft (whether there’s a faux-fur lining) also contribute to keeping your toes warm. Some hiking boots benefit from having the entirety of the inner boot lined with insulating material, while other boots may only feature lining at the top of the shaft.
Construction also determines the water resistance of the snow boot. Namely, it is the choice of material for the outsole construction that influences the water resistance – materials like suede need to be periodically treated with a waterproof treatment, whereas rubber soles remain water resistant without the need for repair or treatment.