Best Hiking Boots For Women: Top 5 Trail Shoes Most Recommended By Experts

With the weather starting to cool down, some of you may be thinking it’s a good time to whip out that wide-brim hiking hat, strap on a knapsack, and hit the terrain. There are fewer things more rewarding in this world than getting to see the world’s natural beauty in landscapes, mountains, trees, streams, waterfalls, and more. But when embarking on a hiking trip, being prepared is crucial. That’s why having a good pair of hiking boots is crucial for any hike, for both the user’s comfort and safety. Whether you’re scaling a challenging mountain, hiking on uneven terrain, encountering muddy trails, or hitting unpredictable weather, what you’re wearing on your feet can make or break your hiking experience. Luckily, we can help you find the right pair with our list of the best hiking boots for women this season!

Is exercise not your thing? No judgment; we get it. If you’re struggling with getting yourself to go outdoors, a new study actually shows that the sounds of nature can decrease pain, lower stress, improve mood, and enhance cognitive performance. Whether you’re just enjoying a stroll through nature or want to challenge yourself with a more vigorous hike, enjoying the sounds of birdsong and the patter of rain is said to do wonders for your health. Scientists say the sounds of water boost positive emotions and health outcomes, while bird sounds combat stress. The new study, which uses recordings from 251 sites across 66 US national parks, reveals that the beautiful sounds come with a slew of striking health benefits. Not only are you serving your mental and physical health by experiencing nature up close in its natural habitat, but you’re also becoming more connected with it, which is an important thing to learn to do. 

According to a new study, living within walking distance of an urban green space is associated with improved feelings of happiness, self-worth, and overall life satisfaction. Researchers from the University of Warwick, Newcastle University, and the University of Sheffield have put together the first study ever to investigate and demonstrate the connection between natural, green areas and mental well-being on an individual level. Interestingly, they discovered that living close to nature and greenery is more relevant to mental health than income level, employment, or overall health. Luckily, the study’s authors are hopeful that their findings will be considered by city planners and other policymakers in the future when considering the creation of additional green spaces in cities and other urban areas. So, even if you’re not up for a mile-long hike just yet, taking a nice stroll around your local preserve or park could be just what your mental health needs!

Ready to explore the great outdoors? As always, we at StudyFinds have researched across multiple expert sources to bring you the top five best hiking boots for women for the season! Don’t see your favorite on our list? We would love to hear from you in the comments down below.

Some wearing hiking boots
Some wearing hiking boots (Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash)

The List: Best Hiking Boots for Women, Per Experts

1. Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP

The first pick on our list is going to be the tried-and-true Merrell Moab 3 — the ultimate choice, and for good reason. “The Moab 3 Mid Waterproof is an affordable, reliable, updated version of Merrell’s ever-popular Moab 2. Partially recycled fabrics, more supportive insoles, more cushioned midsoles, and even grippier outsoles set these apart from their predecessors. They are lighter as well, weighing in at one pound 13 ounces for a pair compared to the two-pound weight of the older version. We took this pair up gullies through meadows and across many streams all the way to the treeline. The five mm-deep lugs are very noticeable underfoot and provide great traction over rocky stream crossings and over talus fields and slabs,” describes Gear Junkie.

Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP
Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP

Waterproof, sturdy, and relatively affordable, the Merrell Moab (a.k.a. ‘Mother of all Boots’) is a classic of the hiking footwear genre for a reason. ‘Merrells are really easy to come by, and they’re always in stock,’ says Melissa Goodwin, a licensed outdoor guide and the founder of Girl Gotta Hike NYC. ‘They don’t take a long time to break in because they’re flexible from the get-go.’ For this reason, ‘they’re a lot of people’s first hiking shoes,’ and if you’re not planning on doing anything particularly technical, you could easily keep wearing them for life,” writes The Strategist.

“The Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP received high marks across many of our testing metrics due to its simple, supportive, and comfortable design and affordable price. The fit is suitable for a wide range of foot shapes (though it particularly favors those with a broader foot) and offers a well-padded ankle and tongue to increase comfort overall. The air-cushioned heel helps make up for the support that the lower ankle shaft lacks, and the EVA midsole, along with contoured insoles, provides extra support for the arch,” says GearLab.

2. Lowa Renegade Mid GTX

Another great option comes in the shape of the Lowa Renegade Mid GTX. A lightweight and sturdy option, “The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid tops more than one list of the best hiking boots for women. The materials tick all the boxes for durability, waterproofing, and comfort. A durable Nubuck leather upper has natural water resistance, and it breaks in faster than more expensive full-grain leather. Keep in mind that leather boots require regular care and conditioning, and Nubuck will show wear and tear more easily than full-grain leather. However, it balances durability, water resistance, and price to create a tough boot for difficult terrain,” adds SI.

Lowa Women's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
Lowa Renegade Mid GTX

“Lowa’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boots are popular among outdoor lovers for a reason—they’re comfortable, cushiony, and provide plenty of ankle support. On long hikes over steep terrain, you’ll forget you’re even wearing them as they’re so lightweight and don’t constrict your feet. They lace up to be perfectly fitted and don’t pinch or chafe with the proper socks (but we do recommend you wear a thick pair of hiking socks with these boots to avoid blisters),” notes Travel and Leisure.

“Year after year, Lowa’s Renegade is one of the most beloved hiking boots on the trail, combining the look, feel, and performance of a traditional design with an impressively low weight. As we’d expect from a burly leather boot, it features a hardwearing design and stable construction that translate to great support and protection on technical trails. But Lowa nails the comfort equation, too: The boot comes in wide, narrow, and regular widths and—unlike the more streamlined boots here—features a tall and stiff collar for noticeable ankle support. All told the Renegade is a great middle ground between a bulky leather boot and a lightweight synthetic design like the Topo Athletic Trailventure 2 below, and our top pick for demanding backpacking trips that cover a variety of terrain,” explains Switch Back Travel.

3. Topo Athletic Trailventure 2

The Topo Athletic Trailventure takes a different approach than the other boots on this list, making it a standout. “There’s a time and place for traditional leather boots like the Lowa Renegade above, but in 2023, lightweight footwear has all but taken over. And for good reason—shaving just a few ounces off your feet conserves precious energy and translates to better comfort, mile after mile. This movement is epitomized by Topo Athletic’s Trailventure 2 WP: With the looks of a trail runner but the bones of a hiking boot, the Trailventure 2 WP provides decent stability and support by way of an external TPU heel counter, a reasonably tall and padded collar, and a full-length rock plate. On the other hand, the 33-millimeter stack height, plush ZipFoam midsole, and minimalist weight will have you moving quickly and comfortably over long distances. Put it all together, and the Topo Athletic is an incredibly well-balanced shoe for those tackling easy trails with a light load,” describes Switch Back Travel.

Topo Athletic Trailventure 2
Topo Athletic Trailventure 2

“Who can resist these eye-catching, vibrant boots that are vegan and made with recycled materials? They’re also made well, with a high-quality sole that perfectly seals to the upper mesh for a secure, waterproof exterior. Even on the hottest days, the boots are comfortable and breathable. The toe box is roomy enough that toes can wiggle around without feet sliding around, even on steep declines,” adds Travel and Leisure.

“Topo’s Trailventure 2 is a supportive, rugged boot for backpacking or off-trail hikes over uneven terrain. Lead tester Blair Braverman found that the full eVent waterproof inner bootie construction stayed dry on an eight-mile hike through Wisconsin’s Nicolet National Forest in heavy rain and several stream crossings (at one point, her feet were the only dry body part she had left). A full-length rock plate between the ZipFoam midsole and Vibram Megagrip outsole did a good job protecting Braverman’s feet from sharp surfaces,” notes Backpacker.

4. Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

Next up is the ever-popular Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX. A comfortable, cushioned option for even the most novice of hikers. “It’s easy to tell that the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX is made by a running shoe manufacturer. These boots aren’t technically the lightest in our lineup, but they feel light and agile on our feet regardless. Softer materials around the collar and heels and a lower-density midsole are design features that make this a more women-specific fit. This boot is undeniably comfortable and noticeably softer than other boots we tested,” writes GearJunkie.

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX Hiking Shoe - Women's Quarry/Black/Legion Blue
Image from Amazon

“Straight out of the box, Salomon’s X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-tex Hiking Boots are comfortable enough to get you through a demanding all-day hike. The boots are so breathable that we were skeptical that they could also be waterproof, but the Gore-tex treatment proved to keep feet 100 percent dry even when fully submerged in puddles, mud, and snow. We found them to be incredibly lightweight, keeping us swift whether we were running or climbing,” says Travel and Leisure.

“A versatile and cushioned everyday hiker, the X Ultra 4 GTX takes ultra-technical details and brings them together in an aesthetic and comfortable package. The X Ultra 4 GTX has just enough cushioning without feeling too squishy or weighed down by its own materials. The collar is substantial enough that I could feel its support on inclines and through more technical sections of the trail, but it didn’t rub or provide friction on longer treks,” explains Gear Patrol.

5. La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX

Are you looking for something that will keep you dry even in the steepest of puddles? The La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX may be the right choice for you. “Make like a mountain goat when you throw on La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX, a super nimble yet super supportive leather hiking boot that excels on rougher trails and above treeline. Its high ankle collar and beefy armor protect tootsies—’ no issues wedging my toes between boulders when climbing California’s Mount Ritter,’ one tester says—but this is no clunker. The Nucleo High II GTX is trim and snugs the foot more like an approach shoe, allowing for precise steps and edging, which our testers appreciated on alpine hikes that require negotiating the path of least resistance. To that end, the Nucleo High II GTX is available in wide sizes—a welcome addition this year for those of us with broader feet,” comments REI.

La Sportiva Womens Nucleo High II GTX Hiking Boots
La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX

“These award-winning hiking boots are appreciated for their comfort, durability, and support. These boots are on the lighter side for a high-ankle hiking boot, making them a great option if you want stability without the weight. I found them to be comfortable right out of the box, with no break-in period. They’re also waterproof and offer excellent traction from the Vibram soles,” adds Bearfoot Theory.

“Keeping your feet dry isn’t always an option when puddles, snow, or wet weather pop up, but La Sportiva’s Nucleo High II GTX hiking boot makes it easier to keep pushing forward. A Gore-Tex Surround lining combines with a Nubuck leather upper to not only seal out water but also dry quickly when the boot happens to get wet. The gusseted tongue attaches the bottom and sides of the tongue to the shoe, preventing water, dirt, and debris from interfering with your hike. Weighing under 1.5 pounds per pair, it’s a surprisingly light package given the robust protection and compression-molded EVA cushioning that delivers superior support,” concludes Forbes.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.