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Women's Hiking Footwear

(284 products)
Products (284)

Types of Women's Hiking Footwear

Hiking shoes and boots offer differing amounts of durability, support and traction, and generally fall into a few key categories that can help you narrow your choices:

Hiking shoes: Good for day hiking (especially with light loads), hiking shoes are lightweight, flexible and easily broken in. For an even lighter, more flexible option, consider trail-running shoes.

Day hiking boots: Ranging from mid- to high-cut models, they're designed for day hikes or short backpacking trips with light loads. They're more supportive, more stable and heavier than hiking shoes.

Backpacking boots: Designed for heavy loads and multiday trips, they're super supportive and rugged, and often have internal shanks to make them more stable and protective.

Winter hiking boots: Similar to backpacking boots, but most also have insulation and are waterproof.

Hiking Footwear Components

Materials: Leather and synthetic leather shoes and boots are more durable than fabric models, but also a bit stiffer. Many models combine leather and fabric for durability in key areas and breathability everywhere else.

Waterproofing: Waterproof shoes and boots have a high-tech membrane that breathes a bit but won't let water in when you splash in a stream or puddle. (They also won't let water out if you step into deep water that overflows their tops.)

Outsole material and lug patterns: Found on almost all types of hiking footwear, rubber outsoles offer a good balance between durability and traction. Some soles also have additives to increase durability, but harder soles can also be a bit slippery on wet rocks and logs. On dirt, wide-space lugs offer good traction and shed mud better than lugs with close spacing.

Midsoles: Cushioning materials like EVA foam in midsoles can make hiking more comfortable. Stiffer, more durable materials like polyurethane offer a bit more stability and protection from rocks and roots.

Internal support: Footwear built for rugged terrain and heavy loads, like backpacking boots, might also have a shank or plate to maximize stability and shield feet from the biggest, baddest rocks on the trail.

Hiking Footwear Fit

Hiking footwear should be snug everywhere, but not too tight. They should offer room to wiggle your toes and have enough space for your feet to swell during the day's activities. Buy footwear that is slightly larger than what you think you are in size, and try on the shoes at the end of the day when your feet are at their largest. If you wear orthotics, put them in any footwear that you try on for fit. Also wear the socks you plan to hike in.

It's wise to spend some time to break in your hiking footwear before your first trip. Note, too, that how you lace your footwear can change how it fits; see our article on lacing tips to improve your fit.