In our review **Best Hiking Boots for Men** we discussed several of the most noteworthy men’s hiking boot models currently available on the market. We reminded you that one of the biggest draws to hiking is the minimal amount of gear needed to get going. All you need is a good pair of hiking boots or shoes and you are ready to hit the trails.
Granted, there are a lot of factors to consider when purchasing proper hiking footwear. But the first choice you must make is whether you are going to set out with a pair of boots, shoes, or trail runners, all of which have their own intended purposes, advantages, and drawbacks. In this feature we will talk about some of the best hiking boots currently available for women and what gives them an edge over their competitors.
Why Hike in a Boot?
In our discussions on men’s and women’s hiking shoes we discussed the merits that come with hiking in lightweight shoes. They tend to offer most of the protection and ruggedness of a boot and the flexibility and distance-covering potential of a running shoe. Depending on your individual level activity, hiking shoes can be great multipurpose outdoor footwear. But boots have always been a favorite of hardcore distance hikers and casual recreational dayhikers alike for their ability to keep your feet comfortable, secure, and protected from the elements and trail conditions time and time again.
Boots are typically made of heavy-duty and waterproof nubuck leather or synthetic materials and feature thick and beefy soles for trekking through all types of terrain. While they aren’t meant to be stylish, boots are the most highly functioning shoe for hiking in wet, muddy, snowy, and uneven conditions–particularly if you are carrying a heavy load.
Many women’s model hiking boots are designed with a woman’s figure and foot shape in mind, so they aren’t as clunky as most men’s models. The aesthetical options offered may not be as many as those on hiking shoes and trail runners, but you can be sure that a quality pair of hiking boots will keep your feet warm, dry, comfortable, and injury-free after hours of hiking on any trail. Below we will highlight a few of the better women’s hiking boots currently available and the features they offer that make them special.
Salomon Comet 3D GXTBuy now on Amazon
The Comet 3D GXT offers female hikers the protection of a boot with the performance of a running shoe. The boot features a 3D chassis design modeled off trail runners along with a shoe-like Contagrip sole so the Comet flexes and flows like a lightweight runner but stands up to tough work on the trail.
A mostly nubuck leather upper featuring a waterproof Gore-Tex lining allows the boot to stand up to wet and muddy conditions, while patches of fabric in the upper and an orthotic sockliner allow for a more breathable environment for the feet. The Comet 3D GXT is also built with a protective toe and heel cap and tall ankle shaft so the foot remains stable and secure during arduous trail conditions.
To accommodate a variety of women’s feet, the Comet uses an alternating fabric-to-eyelet Gilly lacing system and a gusseted tongue for a customized fit and level of comfort. Perhaps the only drawback to this boot is the lack of color options available. Otherwise, this boot can do everything and go everywhere a man’s boot can, and maybe then some.
Keen Targhee II Mid WaterproofBuy now on Amazon
For a great value, the Keen Targhee II Women’s Waterproof Boots are some of the most comfortable and high performing hiking footwear available. Perfect for dayhiking, weekend backpacking trips, and canyoneering, these boots are capable of going the distance, getting wet, and keeping you supportive throughout your journey. The Targhee II Mid Boot features a beefy sole with deep, multidirectional lugs for gripping loose and wet trails, while a nubuck upper and waterproof Keen.Dry membrane serve to keep the foot dry.
Like the men’s model Targhee II, the women’s variety offers Keen’s S3 (shock, suspension, stability) heel support system, dual-density EVA midsole, and Keen Metatomical EVA footbed offering maximum support and comfort even on the longest and hardest of trips. The toebox on the Targhee II looks a bit bizarre, but it gives your toes the ability to move around freely while the supportive heel cup prevents your foot from sliding.
In fact, the whole design of the foot is peculiar, but every feature adds to the boot’s performance and several available color patterns help to offset the eyesore. While cushy, the EVA soles may wear out quickly if used extensively, but the Keen Targhee II Women’s Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots are otherwise some of the best on the market.
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The Ahnu Montara Women’s Boot fits into a niche market for short dayhikers and light backpackers. A padded pigskin cuff and tall ankle shaft offer a comfortable wraparound fit around the ankle while keeping rocks and debris from entering the boot. However, despite being made from premium eVent waterproof leather the boot doesn’t offer much overall support for the heel or ankle. To that end, these boots aren’t designed to support the weight of a heavy pack but will keep you light on your feet on short trips with minimal gear.
With its Vibram sole the Ahnu Montara can grip dusty canyon trails and snowy mountain peaks with equal traction, so you never have to worry about missing a step or losing your grip. Another perk to the boot is the impressive array of feminine and outdoorsy colors, so the boot looks and feels good on the trail and around town.
The Montara is also wider than most women’s hikers, which may be preferable to ladies with wider feet. Don’t expect the Ahnu Montara to hold up to 4-day, 50 mile treks through the mountains like other much costlier and heavier shoes. But ladies who want a stylish, flexible, and comfortable waterproof boot, the Montara is a great value.
Asolo TPS 520 GVBuy now on Amazon
The Asolo TPS 520 GV is one of the most heavy-duty women’s hiking boots on the market, albeit one of the most expensive. For lady hikers wanting something lightweight, breathable, and good for short dayhikes, this is not your boot. For those wanting the most protection short of a mountaineering boot, this boot will help hold any load, take on any terrain, and keep your feet warm, dry, and injury-free.
The TPS (Triple Power Structure) sole of the 520 GV was a joint effort between Asolo and Vibram to create the ultimate shock-absorbing surface using three strategically placed, dual-density polyurethane shock pads to give your feet more bounce. Since the boots are designed to offer the utmost protection and stability and are made of tough Gore-Tex lined leather, the TPS 520 GVs are a bit stiffer than your average hiking boot.
However, a padded and gusseted tongue and metal eyelet lacing system make them easy to slip on and feel snug. They may take a while to break in and get going, but these boots are bound to last you a lifetime. The Asolo TPS 520 GVs are probably one of the only boots on the market that can truly be called waterproof and while they may not be suitable for hot weather, no weather or terrain will stop these boots from getting you to your destination.
Asolo Drifter GV
Buy now on Amazon
The Asolo Drifter Women’s Boot is a great heavy-duty boot with the high performance of lightweight trail runner. Made of synthetic materials and featuring a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, the Asolo Drifter GV keeps moisture out while remaining breathable and wicking moisture away from the interior of the boot. An Asoflex lasting board and compression-molded EVA midsole give the Drifter a great amount of support and stability, while the Anatomic Lite 2 footbed enhances the level of cushioning and support for the feet.
The Drifter also uses an Asolo/Vibram Radiant outsole with aggressive heel cleats and Aso-Break system integrated into the sole’s design to maximize traction on steep descents and uneven terrain. The boot is meant to fit lady hikers with wider and larger feet, which may deter more petite users, but the speed-hook lacing system helps to cinch and secure a perfect fit on the right feet.
The heel cup on the Drifter takes some break-in time and the boots are best worn with proper socks, as the synthetic collar is prone to chaffing the lower calf on long hikes. Overall, the Asolo Drifter GV is a versatile and high-functioning women’s hiking boot that can duke it out with any terrain.
Please comment below if you wear one of the models mentioned above, or if you prefer a different boot for hitting the trails. Keep in mind that women’s feet are different then men and all women have their own preferences when it comes to the fit and comfort of a hiking boot. Subscribe to our page and stay tuned for more reviews on women’s outdoor gear and other news.
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