Last updated: August 10, 2021

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Finding the perfect women's walking shoe can be incredibly difficult. It can cost a lot of patience, time and money. After all, we have very high demands on our hiking shoes. Depending on the hobby, hiking shoes have to be able to withstand certain weather conditions and types of terrain.

This means that there are many aspects to consider when buying and choosing the perfect hiking shoe.

With our women's hiking shoes test 2021 we want to help you find the best hiking boot for you. We have compared all hiking boots for women with each other and listed the advantages and disadvantages. This should make your purchase decision easier.




The most important facts

  • First of all, you should be clear about what you want to use your women's hiking boot for. In what weather conditions and on what terrain will it be used?
  • The hiking boot for women should fit you perfectly. It is important that the shoe is slightly larger, that you wear the right socks and that you have the right footwear
  • When choosing your hiking boots, the look should be secondary. It is relatively difficult to find a suitable hiking shoe for women. The look would unnecessarily limit the choice.

The Best Women's Hiking Shoes: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for women's hiking boots

In the following section we look at what you should consider when choosing a hiking boot and which aspects are important. These are the criteria that will help you compare hiking shoes for women:

In the following, we will go into detail about the respective criteria and explain what is important.

Shoe sole

The sole of the shoe has several functions that you should consider when making your choice. The sole influences the cushioning, stability, slip resistance and durability of the shoe. Depending on the purpose of your hiking shoe, a certain amount of cushioning is necessary.

This can make hiking and your tour relatively comfortable. For a long and intensive tour, we recommend a certain amount of cushioning to prevent fatigue of the feet and knees. For shorter hikes, less cushioning is sufficient.

The sole of the shoe influences stability. With a rough tread with a certain flexibility, the hiking shoe has a self-cleaning effect. This means that dirt does not stick to the sole so easily, but is regularly blown out. With this sole, the adhesive effect of the tread is maintained.

The sole should be stable and firm to provide some protection against sharp objects. If it is too hard, long hiking becomes difficult. The following materials in the sole are suitable for the hiking boot.

A high rubber content makes the sole very slip-resistant and grippy. The carbon content, on the other hand, provides abrasion resistance and grip. Glass parts are sometimes used in the sole to prevent slipping on ice.

Stability

On a hiking tour there is a certain risk of twisting and slipping. This can quickly lead to an injury and consequently to the end of the hike. Therefore, a hiking boot should meet certain requirements to minimise this risk.

The right shoe sole improves your grip on the ground, which gives you more stability.

Depending on the trails you want to walk, your shoe should support stability in the ankle. The upper is responsible for this. On paved trails, ankle protection is probably not necessary.

On routes with a lot of scree, the ankle should be fixed accordingly by a high shaft. Furthermore, the weight of the shoe is decisive. The more stability the shoe promises, the more material has been processed and the more a shoe weighs.

If a lot of material is used, the shoe loses flexibility. This gives you more stability, which can make hiking easier.

Material / workmanship

The quality of the workmanship and the use of certain materials is decisive for the characteristics of a hiking shoe. Most of the time, leather is used for hiking boots. Full-grain leather and nubuck leather are highly recommended.

They are hard-wearing and robust. Lining leather, on the other hand, ensures a good foot climate and can absorb moisture. Leather has the advantage that the shape adapts over time. The shoe therefore adapts more and more to your foot.

Synthetic materials have the advantage that they are lighter in weight. Instead, they hardly adapt to the shape of your foot. Find out about the properties of the fabric and whether it is suitable for your use. Artificial fabrics are usually used to reinforce the robustness of the hiking boot.

In the case of stitched and pinched finishes, the sole can be replaced at any time.

There are also some things to consider when it comes to workmanship. The highest quality is a double or triple seam between the sole and the upper leather. This ensures maximum stability.

Another type of processing is the pinched processing, in which a wire is pinched for fastening. This processing also ensures sufficient stability. In the strobelled processing, the materials are sewn and glued, which means that the sole loses stability.

In the direct moulding process, the sole is directly injected, which makes the shoe less flexible. These two types of processing have the disadvantage that the life of the shoe is linked to the sole. However, they are usually cheaper to buy.

Robustness

The robustness of the hiking boot is particularly important on tours with rocks and lots of scree. This is because there is a risk of larger stones falling on your feet. To avoid injuries, the hiking boot should be as robust as possible.

If the shoe is too robust, the natural rolling of the foot can be prevented.

The robustness depends on the material used. A sturdy upper protects the ankle. A sturdy toe cap, on the other hand, protects your toes from falling stones. Generally, rubber bands are used to reinforce the shoe.

Sturdy hiking boots are a must, especially for mountain tours. Here, it is not primarily about walking comfortably. On this occasion, the mountain boot should give you as much support as possible when climbing the mountain.

Water resistance / breathability

When hiking, it is not necessarily a bad thing if your clothing is not completely water resistant. But if liquid gets into your shoes, it can mean the end of the tour. The liquid causes friction and abrasion in your shoes. As soon as you have blisters or abrasion marks on your feet, hiking can become unbearable.

That's why many shoes have a Gore-Tex membrane. It is waterproof on the outside, but lets liquid through to the outside. This keeps your feet mostly dry while hiking and you can hike carefree.

Nevertheless, we recommend that you only use these shoes if you know that you will be hiking in humid areas. If you prefer to hike in dry seasons, you should do without them. This is because the breathability of the shoe is rather limited with the membrane, which can have the opposite effect.

Decision: What types of women's hiking boots are there and which is the right one for me?

If you want to buy hiking boots for women, you have four alternatives to choose from:

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Multifunctional shoes Flexible use Not suitable for longer tours
Light hiking boots Light stabilisation, Low weight Not suitable for long tours
Classic hiking boots Stabilisation, Suitable for long tours Higher weight
Mountain boots Maximum stabilisation Only suitable for mountaineering

Depending on the terrain you want to cover, there are different types of hiking boots. They differ mainly in how stable they are. These are the most common hiking boot categories.

Multifunctional shoes

Multifunctional shoes

The multifunctional shoes have a flexible sole and a low upper. This makes them suitable for normal everyday use. These shoes are mainly suitable for paved paths.

Advantages
  • Lightweight
  • Flexible
  • Versatile
Disadvantages
  • Little stability
  • Only suitable for short distances

The advantage of multifunctional shoes is their versatility. Because the sole is relatively flexible, these shoes are usually comfortable and ideal for short distances.

However, it becomes difficult for longer and more intensive tours. With few paved roads, the feet, ankles and knees can quickly become overstressed. This can also lead to pain when hiking. In addition, the risk of twisting an ankle is increased.

Light hiking boots

Light hiking boots

The light hiking boots are made a little more stable than the multi-functional shoes. They are usually characterised by an ankle-high shaft.

Advantages
  • Medium stability
  • Comfortable
Disadvantages
  • Short to medium distance

Due to the slight stabilisation of the ankle, medium-length hikes on paved trails are now possible. These shoes are also used for trekking.

Classic hiking boots

Classic hiking boots

Classic hiking boots are characterised by the fact that they have a sturdy shaft. In addition, there is usually a rolling sole function. The is sole of the foot clearly than in the previous hiking boots.

Advantages
  • Stable
  • long distances possible
Disadvantages
  • Weight

The advantage of classic hiking boots is that they are very stable. This means that longer distances are possible and you can also hike over uneven paths. The disadvantage could be the weight of the shoes.

This is because a relatively large amount of material is used. You should make sure that the natural rolling function of your foot is not restricted.

Mountain boots

Mountain boots

The mountain boots are particularly sturdy and are characterised by a climbing resistance. Crampons can be used on these boots, allowing you to climb rock faces.

Advantages
  • Maximum stability
Disadvantages
  • Limited usability

The advantage of mountain boots is maximum stability due to the high and firm shaft and the rough profile. The disadvantage is that a natural rolling of the foot is not possible. Therefore, these shoes should be used less for hiking. However, no other shoes should be used for climbing either.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about women's hiking boots answered in detail

If you're thinking about buying hiking boots, you probably have a few questions. In this section, we will answer the questions that are most frequently asked by customers. We want to help you find the perfect walking shoes.

What are the special features of hiking boots for women?

It tends to be said that women have anatomically slimmer feet than men. Men tend to have wider feet and therefore need wider shoes. In practice, it is therefore often the case that women's shoes are narrower and one size longer than men's shoes. Men's shoes are wider and shorter.

Wanderschuhe Damen-1

Hiking shoes should always fit perfectly. As soon as you feel a pressure point during the hike, it is too late. Therefore, prepare yourself thoroughly.
(Image source: Christopher Jolly / Unsplash)

We generally recommend trying on women's shoes first. The reason for this is that the shoes must not be too wide in order to avoid any slack in the shoe. If you have a rather wide foot, try on the unisex shoes first, before possibly trying on the men's shoes.

The main thing is that the shoe fits you. Visually, there is often no difference between men's and women's walking shoes.

What are Hallux walking shoes?

Hallux valgus is a deformity of the big toe. In this case, the toe points outwards instead of forwards, revealing the toe joint. This toe joint is therefore very susceptible to pressure points and quickly leads to blisters on the feet.

To avoid this, your hiking boot should have more free space, especially in the front area. This allows your toes to move better and less pressure is exerted on the toe joint. We recommend that you consult an orthopaedist or shoe specialist. They can give you special tips for your individual foot.

What size hiking boots should I buy?

Basically, hiking boots should be neither too loose nor too tight. If the shoe is too loose, your surefootedness will be lost and you will have more friction in the shoe. If the hiking boot is too tight, pressure points can occur. Both can lead to you having to stop the tour early.

Wanderschuhe Damen-2

First check the size. If the width does not fit, then the model is probably not suitable for you.
(Image source: Emma Van Sant / Unsplash).

As a general rule, hiking shoes should be slightly larger than everyday shoes. To determine the right size, simply take out the insole and compare it to your foot. If the insole is 1.5 to 2 cm bigger than your foot, then the shoe is just right for you.

If the shoe fits in terms of length, take a closer look at the width. If the shoe is too narrow or too wide, then it is the wrong model and you should try another pair. If you generally have rather wide feet, you can also try the men's hiking boots. These are usually similar in design.

How much do women's hiking shoes cost?

The price of women's hiking shoes depends largely on the workmanship and materials. Synthetic materials are usually a little cheaper than leather. A glued or cast finish is cheaper, but make the life of the hiking shoe dependent on the sole.

Type price range
Multifunctional shoes 60-150 euros
Lightweight hiking boots 90 - 200 euros
Classic hiking boots 150 - 200 euros
Mountain boots 150 - 300

In principle, we recommend that you place great value on quality. Only the fit of the shoe should be decisive for the purchase. Especially if you are aiming for very long tours, it is important that the shoe fits you.

What alternatives are there to women's hiking boots?

It depends on what purpose the shoe should fulfil for you. Do you want a shoe that you use often in everyday life, but that is also suitable for shorter hikes on paved terrain? Then most sports shoes are suitable.

Wanderschuhe Damen-3

The longer and more intense the hike, the less sense it makes to use a non-specific alternative. (Image source: HONG FENG / Unsplash)

For longer and more intensive tours, simple sports shoes are no longer suitable because the sole is usually too soft. This is because the feet can quickly become overloaded. We recommend shoes with a firm sole to relieve the sole of the foot. Hiking shoes have the advantage that they also have a high shaft for the ankle and can prevent injuries.

How do I prepare my hiking shoes for hiking?

Before you use your hiking boots, you should break them in. This should take place several weeks before the actual tour. This gives the shoe the opportunity to adapt to your foot. The shoe should neither slip nor cause pressure points when you try them on.

However, pressure points can occur when breaking in the shoe. After several attempts, the leather should slowly adapt. We recommend that you try out different socks and gain experience during the breaking-in period.

How do I clean and care for my women's hiking shoes?

In order to preserve the life of your hiking boots for as long as possible, there are a few rules that you should follow:

  • Cleaning: Clean your hiking boots as soon as possible after each tour. Dirt dries out the leather and causes it to lose its flexible properties.
  • Care: Treat the leather regularly with leather wax and waterproofing agents. This will protect the surface and shape of the leather.
  • In case of bad smell: Rinse the inside of the hiking boot with lukewarm water. You can then rinse it with wool detergent and then with clean water.
  • Gore-Tex: The pores can become clogged with sweat. You can counteract this by regularly soaking the shoes in water. The shoes should then dry well.

Which socks should I use for hiking?

The choice of socks is at least as important as the choice of shoes. Choose socks that let sweat through and do not absorb it. Otherwise, the increased fluid in the shoes will cause more friction and promote blisters.

Make sure that the polypropylene content of the socks is as high as possible, as polypropylene has this water-permeable effect. The higher the percentage, the more breathable the socks.

The combination of Gore-Tex and cotton socks is rather counterproductive. The socks absorb the liquid, which means that the liquid cannot escape through the membrane. This increases friction, which can lead to blisters.

Photo source: olegdudko/ 123rf.com

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