For the best combination of protection and support on the trail, look no further than a hiking boot. Compared to other forms of hiking footwear, boots are epitomized by their mid-height build, which offers best-in-class stability on technical terrain or while hauling a heavy load. A recent push has led to lighter and more flexible designs, but a number of quality traditional leather models are still available. Below we break down the best women's hiking boots of 2024, from lightweight, trail-runner-inspired designs and solid all-around models to rugged and protective boots built for mountain terrain. For more information, see our comparison table and buying advice below the picks.

Our Team's Women's Hiking Boot Picks

Best Overall Women’s Hiking Boot

1. Lowa Renegade GTX Mid ($255)

Lowa Renegade women's hiking boot_Category: All-around
Weight: 2 lb. 2 oz.
Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
What we like: Great support, comfort, and protection for covering long distances with a full pack.
What we don’t: Overkill for easy hiking; only offered in a waterproof version.

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 the 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 lightweight synthetic design like the Scarpa Rush Mid 2 GTX below, and our top pick for demanding backpacking trips that cover a variety of terrain.

But while the Renegade is a great option for hikers who prioritize support and protection, it will be overkill for some. In the age of fast-and-light travel, many modern trail-goers will be willing to trade some of the Lowa’s strong suits for a synthetic boot that feels lighter and nimbler underfoot. Further, the Renegade is only offered in a Gore-Tex version, which is great for shoulder season or mountainous hikes but will overheat in warmer conditions. Still, for tricky terrain or covering long distances with a full pack, the Lowa is a high-quality and durable all-rounder that puts it all together better than most… Read in-depth review
See the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid


Best Lightweight Hiking Boot for Women

2. Scarpa Rush Mid 2 GTX ($219)

Scarpa Rush Mid 2 GTX women's hiking bootCategory: Lightweight
Weight: 1 lb. 8.2 oz.
Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
What we like: Lightweight and nimble yet impressively stable underfoot.
What we don’t: The relatively low collar compromises ankle support.

There’s a time and place for traditional leather boots like the Lowa Renegade above, but in 2024 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 Scarpa’s Rush Mid 2 GTX: With the looks of a trail runner but the bones of a hiking boot, the Rush Mid 2 provides surprisingly good stability and support by way of TPU frame, relatively stiff midsole, and over-the-ankle collar. On the other hand, the generous cushioning, minimalist weight, and rockered sole will have you moving quickly and comfortably over long distances. Put it all together, and the Scarpa is an incredibly well-balanced shoe for those traveling fast and light.

We’re huge fans of lightweight footwear, but it’s important to be aware of the inherent compromises. In particular, the Rush Mid 2 features just one collar eyelet, which results in less ankle support on off-camber sections of trail or while carrying a heavy pack. Its streamlined build is also on the narrow side, which means you might want to size up (our tester did). But the Rush Mid 2 provides an impressively high level of performance for its diminutive status—in addition to underfoot stability and comfort, you also get a very sticky outsole (great for rock and wet terrain) and an effective waterproof membrane. We’ve even trusted the boot on technical trails and cross-country terrain with a lightweight climbing pack. 
See the Scarpa Rush Mid 2 GTX


Best Budget Women’s Hiking Boot

3. Merrell Moab 3 Mid ($130)

Merrell Moab 3 Mid women's hiking bootCategory: All-around
Weight: 1 lb. 13 oz.
Waterproof: No (available)
What we like: A legendary boot that's durable, comfortable, and affordable.
What we don’t: Lacks performance for long days, rough trails, or heavy loads.

If you’re looking to hit the trail without breaking the bank, Merrell’s Moab 3 is a no-brainer purchase. More than almost any other boot, the Moab has achieved legendary status for its combination of performance and comfort at a low weight and price point, and the latest "3" carries the torch. The nubuck leather upper is protective and durable, and mesh panels along the top and sides keep air moving on hot days. In terms of traction, Vibram’s TC5+ outsole offers decent grip on everything from hard-packed dirt to rock, and you get a nice amount of cushioning by way of EVA foam in the midsole. For hikers and backpackers who stick mostly to maintained trails in dry conditions, we wholeheartedly recommend the Merrell Moab 3 Mid.

What are our gripes with Merrell’s popular budget boot? On particularly technical trails—and especially on wet terrain like mud and snow—traction and stability fall short of grippier and closer-fitting designs like the Lowa Renegade above and La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II below. Further, despite clocking in under 2 pounds, the Moab can feel clunky underfoot, especially if you’re used to a more modern trail runner or lightweight boot. But the leather build is fairly tough to kill, and the Moab is truly in a class of its own when it comes to performance for the price. If you want added wet-weather protection, Merrell also makes the Moab 3 Mid Waterproof for $150. 
See the Merrell Moab 3 Mid


Best Max-Cushioned Hiking Boot for Women

4. Hoka Anacapa 2 Mid GTX ($195)

Hoka Anacapa 2 Mid GTX women's hiking boots_Category: All-around
Weight: 1 lb. 13.4 oz.
Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
What we like: Extremely comfortable; surprisingly stable and supportive.
What we don’t: Polarizing looks; outsole lacks durability.

Well, oh well, hiking boots sure are getting more fun of late. Popular running shoe brand Hoka, which is known for its lightweight and cushioned designs, has made a serious push in the hiking footwear market. Our favorite from their lineup is the Anacapa 2 Mid, which features Hoka’s well-known springy midsole, a rockered shape for a smooth ride on the trail, and a beefed-up construction that includes durable nubuck leather and a Gore-Tex waterproof liner. In testing the Anacapa on a backpacking trip in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, we were pleased with its fast-moving personality that nicely mixes a nimble, trail runner-like feel with surprisingly good stability and support—reminiscent of a hiking boot.

The Anacapa was recently updated with a focus on more sustainable materials, along with a few noteworthy changes to the midsole and upper. With a less intrusive heel counter, additional tongue padding, and slightly softer midsole, the 2 is arguably more comfortable than the outgoing version, and Hoka also enhanced the toe box for more durability and protection. However, we were surprised to see that the Vibram Megagrip outsole remains virtually unchanged—like the original, it features large sections of blown rubber that are susceptible to damage from rocky trail use. And it almost goes without saying that the boot’s appearance will be a deal breaker for some, but we’ve been impressed with the design, which goes a long way to mitigates foot fatigue without compromising much in the way of stability or protection. If you stick mostly to established trails and prioritize cushy comfort, the Anacapa has a lot to offer.
See the Hoka Anacapa 2 Mid GTX


Best Hiking Boot for Wide and/or Finicky Feet

5. Altra Lone Peak Hiker 2 ($150)

Altra Lone Peak Hiker 2 women's hiking bootCategory: Lightweight
Weight: 1 lb. 5.2 oz.
Waterproof: No
What we like: Flat and roomy footbed offers slipper-like comfort. 
What we don’t: Disappointing stability and traction on technical terrain.

Altra’s Lone Peak trail running shoe has developed a serious following among comfort-seeking thru-hikers, making the mid-height version an intriguing concept. Combining ankle support and protection with the Lone Peak’s trademark wide toe box, generous cushioning, and zero-drop design, the Hiker 2 offers instant comfort (no break-in period was necessary during our testing) alongside extra performance on tricky terrain or when carrying a load. Further, at just 1 pound 5.2 ounces, it’s among the lightest boots here, which is truly a game-changer for high-mileage days. We’ve recommended various iterations of the Lone Peak to dozens of friends and acquaintances who’ve struck out with more traditional hiking footwear, and have yet to lead anyone astray. 

But as a more serious backcountry boot, the Lone Peak Hiker 2 falls short. On a backpacking trip in southern Patagonia, we took to calling the boot our “mountain slipper,” referring to its comfortable yet sloppy feel. The lack of toe protection also contributed to this laid-back vibe, and the MaxTrac rubber outsole wasn’t super confidence-inspiring on rock and wet hardpack. But for easy trails and light loads, it’s still our favorite option for those with wide or particular feet. The Hiker 2 is also one of the best-built Lone Peaks yet, with a long-lasting suede upper and thoughtful attention to detail. For a different spin on the mid-height design, Altra also makes the Lone Peak All-Wthr Mid 2 ($190), which features a taller collar, synthetic upper, and waterproof membrane... Read in-depth review
See the Altra Lone Peak Hiker 2


A Staff Favorite for High-Country Backpacking

6. La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX ($199)

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather women's hiking bootCategory: All-around/mountain
Weight: 1 lb. 12.4 oz.
Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
What we like: A lightweight yet capable off-trail boot; roomy fit is comfortable and easy to break in.
What we don’t: Doesn’t bulldoze through loose terrain quite as well as a burlier, stiffer design.

La Sportiva’s TX collection has traditionally been home to some of our favorite approach shoes (including the TX4), and now the TX Hike Mid extends the lineup to hikers and backpackers. The result is a hiking boot that’s very capable in mountain terrain yet still agile, lightweight, and comfortable on long sections of trail. We tested the leather version on a five-day high traverse through Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness and found it to be the perfect tool for the job. It handled the trail approach with ease, and once in the high country offered ample stability, traction, and protection for crossing talus fields, boulder-hopping along ridgelines, and trudging up snow (the boot accommodated our aluminum crampons without issue). And unlike many leather boots, we suffered no break-in period, thanks to the wide, comfort-focused last that offers extra space around the mid- and forefoot.

If you’re planning to travel above treeline, there are a few ways you can go with footwear. Some hikers will want to shelter their feet in burly, stiff boots like the Salomon Quest 4 and Arc’teryx Acrux TR GTX below. These designs can bulldoze their way through snow and talus with ease, but they can be painful to break in and uncomfortable on long sections of easy trail. On the other hand, you can opt for a lighter and more supple boot like the TX Hike Mid Leather, which offers ample protection and stability for most terrain while keeping you feeling nimble and precise. And the nubuck upper also helps to bridge the gap: We found it to be impressively durable (it suffered very little wear even with a consistent crampon use), and it certainly helps isolate the feet from the elements. It all comes down to a matter of personal preference, but lightweight footwear is unquestionably the way of the future and the TX Hike Mid Leather (which also comes in a synthetic version) is one of our favorite mountain-ready designs to date... Read in-depth review
See the La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX


Best of the Rest

7. La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX ($239)

La Sportiva Nucleo High II women's hiking bootCategory: All-around/lightweight
Weight: 1 lb. 10.8 oz.
Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex Surround)
What we like: A lightweight leather boot with excellent breathability.
What we don’t: A bit narrow (wide sizes are available) and expensive.

La Sportiva’s Nucleo High II GTX is a quintessential modern boot: light and nimble but with enough support for day hiking and most backpacking trips. The headliner here is the boot’s impressive breathability, which comes by way of a Gore-Tex Surround liner and Nano-Cell technology. In short, Gore-Tex Surround breathes not only out of the upper like most waterproof designs, but also through the sole—which means your feet can dump heat on all sides. You also get patches of Nano-Cell mesh along the sides of each foot—great for keeping air moving—covered with a web-like patch of rubber to maintain durability. Monikers and fancy tech aside, it all adds up to a really breathable design, particularly for a leather boot.

The Nucleo also differentiates itself from other leather boots with a decently low weight. At just 1 pound 10.8 ounces for the pair, it’s noticeably lighter than many of the 2-plus-pound leather models here. And compared to most of the boots in its weight class (like the Scarpa Rush above), you get a big boost in durability and protection with large swaths of leather rather than nylon or mesh. In this way, it's fairly similar to the TX Hike Mid above, but you'll notice a more cushioned and sprightly feel with the Nucleo High, which is best suited for established trails. You do pay a premium for the breathable leather build, and like many La Sportiva offerings, the Nucleo runs narrow (wide sizes are available). All told, the Nucleo is a nice upgrade in performance and build quality from an alternative like the Merrell Moab 3 Mid above, albeit at a higher price. 
See the La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX


8. Salomon Quest 4 GTX ($230)

Salomon Quest 4 GTX women's hiking bootCategory: Mountain/all-around
Weight: 2 lb. 6.4 oz.
Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
What we like: A supportive and protective boot that’s still impressively comfortable.
What we don’t: Overkill for many hikers and backpackers.

Salomon’s X Ultra below is arguably their most popular one-quiver boot for hikers and backpackers, but for a big step up in performance check out their Quest 4 GTX. Built to provide serious stability and protection on technical terrain, the Quest features a generous dose of leather in the upper, deep and aggressive lugs, and a solid chassis that lends support underfoot and at the heel. It’s also home to one of our all-time favorite lacing systems, with locking eyelets that secure the heel in place and allow you to tailor fit at the forefoot and ankle. To top it off, comfort is surprisingly high—we wore the Quest 4 during a week of trekking in Nepal and were in no rush to take the boots off at the end of each day. 

The Quest 4 GTX toes the line between our all-around and mountain categories, and is one of the only boots here to excel in both environments. We’d have no qualms booting up steep snow or crossing loose talus in the Salomon, but it performs well on-trail too: The outsole is surprisingly flexible for being so burly, and you get a good deal of cushioning by way of EVA foam in the midsole. Compared to the Renegade above, it has a more precision fit and a thicker, more durable upper, but at the cost of a few ounces and a bit less of a planted feel. Keep in mind that both boots are overkill for those who stick primarily to well-established trails. Finally, it’s worth noting we found that the Quest 4 runs large—we’re generally between an 8.5 and a 9 in Salomon boots, and ended up in a size 8... Read in-depth review
See the Salomon Quest 4 GTX


9. Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid ($165)

KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid women's hiking bootsCategory: All-around
Weight: 1 lb. 12.4 oz.
Waterproof: Yes (non-waterproof available)
What we like: A durable trail workhorse.
What we don’t: Pricier than the Merrell Moab 3 Waterproof without enough to show for it.

Keen's Targhee III is a classic hiking boot that goes head-to-head with designs like the waterproof version of Merrell's Moab 3 Mid (above). The leather upper and sturdy outsole aren’t particularly lightweight (especially compared to modern trail runner-inspired boots), but the benefits are excellent stability over rough terrain, great long-term durability, and impressive all-around protection for your foot. The Targhee also boasts a noticeably wide toe box, which is great for accommodating swollen feet and a nice alternative to some of the narrower designs here. If you’re in the market for a leather hiking boot, Keen's Targhee III Mid is certainly worth adding to your list.

Among traditional day hiking options, the Keen Targhee III Mid and Merrell Moab 3 Mid are two of the most popular shoes on the market. Both are very comfortable right out of the box, offer plenty of support and traction for non-technical trails, and can even get the job done on shorter backpacking trips. But while the Targhee’s nubuck leather upper is a little more durable than the Moab’s partial mesh design, we’re not sure it’s worth the $15 bump between waterproof models. Further, within this price class, the Keen contends with more modern designs like the Scarpa Rush Mid 2 GTX above, which offers a more nimble feel and better performance overall. Still, for traditionalists looking for a true leather hiker, it doesn’t get much better than the Targhee, which also comes in a non-waterproof version (the Targhee Vent Mid) for $155. And while the III is still widely available for a sizable discount, it’s worth noting that the entire Targhee series was lightly updated this year: The Targhee IV Waterproof prioritizes a durable design (including a lifetime delamination-free guarantee!) and even more sustainable materials than the previous version.
See the Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid


10. La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX ($199)

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX women's hiking boot_0Category: Mountain/lightweight
Weight: 1 lb. 11.9 oz.
Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
What we like: A lightweight boot that's tough enough for the mountains.
What we don’t: Feels overbuilt on well-established trails.

La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor trail runner has earned legendary status amongst the mountain running community, beloved for its high levels of protection and stability alongside a lightweight, trail-runner-esque build. The Mid GTX here takes the low-top shoe to the next level, adding a respectably tall collar and waterproof membrane. The result is a piece of footwear that lands somewhere in between mid-height trail runner and hiking boot, taking with it the best features from both worlds. For fast-and-light mountain-goers, the Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX is a nimble and quick alternative to boots like the Quest 4 and Renegade above.

If you’re headed above treeline and looking for a capable yet lightweight boot, it’s a tough call between the Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX and the TX Hike Mid Leather GTX above. The Ultra Raptor has a more rockered platform (we’ve logged 40-plus-mile runs in the low-top version), and its Frixion XF 2.0 sole is even gripper on rock than the TX Hike’s Vibram Ecostep EVO rubber. And with beefy toe and heel protection, more padding around the ankle, and a stiffer midsole and outsole, the boot has an overall burlier feel that is right at home in above-treeline terrain. But we do have durability concerns with the design: The mesh upper does not hold up as well as the TX Hike’s leather, especially when paired with crampons. For serious climbers or backpackers the Ultra Raptor II Mid’s performance will be hard to beat, but most backpackers will be better served by the TX Hike Mid Leather GTX.
See the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX


11. Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 GTX ($220)

Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 GTX women's hiking boot_0Category: All-around/lightweight
Weight: 1 lb. 10.7 oz.
Waterproof: Yes (non-waterproof available)
What we like: Looks do deceive—this is a capable and well-built boot.
What we don’t: Middling ankle support.

It’s always fun to be pleasantly surprised by a piece of gear, and Adidas’ Terrex Free Hiker 2 did just that. At first glance—or fifth—the boot looks nothing like an outdoor-ready piece. But after sliding them on, our impression quickly changed. The Free Hiker has a sock-like fit that’s super comfortable with great cushioning on the tongue and collar, and the combination of an internal frame and soft Boost midsole does a great job limiting foot fatigue even on demanding days. Throughout our testing, traction also proved to be excellent on everything from wet rock to loose dirt thanks to the tacky Continental rubber and aggressive lug shape. Competitively lightweight and packing a proven Gore-Tex liner, the Free Hiker is a great addition to the market.

The Terrex Free Hiker 2 was a fantastic day hiking option on a recent trip to Patagonia, but it does come with some limitations. The most polarizing is its looks, which land in the love-it-or-hate-it category. A second more substantive concern is ankle support: While you get surprisingly good stability from the firm platform underfoot (especially compared to other models in the lightweight category), the Free Hiker's mid-height collar doesn't have much to offer over a standard hiking shoe. You do get a fair amount of rigidity in the heel (and a boost in above-the-ankle water protection), but the rest of the collar's materials are fairly soft and unsupportive. Still, the Adidas is a strong performer in the lightweight category, and well worth a closer look.
See the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 GTX


12. The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Mid Futurelight ($169)

The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Mid Futurelight women's hiking bootCategory: Lightweight
Weight: 1 lb. 5.3 oz.
Waterproof: Yes (Futurelight)
What we like: Comfortable and quick-moving; outsole offers great all-around traction.
What we don’t: Middling stability and protection compared to burlier hiking boots.

The North Face’s footwear lineup has seen a lot of modernization in recent years, and the Fastpack Mid Futurelight is a case in point. Taking inspiration from their Vectiv trail running collection, this hiking-specific variation features a rockered profile for moving fast on the trail, a bouncy EVA foam midsole, and a lightweight yet durable performance mesh upper. The two-eyelet collar boosts ankle stability compared to a low-top shoe, yet balances mobility with a contoured patch of stretchy spandex at the rear. And for that extra security you want from a hiking boot, you get a TPU plate at the forefoot and a protective toe cap. Finally, TNF utilized their in-house Futurelight waterproofing, and the thin construction helps minimize overheating when working hard in mild temperatures. 

Throughout our testing, we were most impressed with the Fastpack's SurfaceCtrl outsole, which offered impressive traction on everything from slippery rock to mud. Further, the waterproof membrane held up extremely well despite the sloppy conditions and numerous creek crossings. And while the rockered shape did feel a little awkward at first, it really came to life and gave the boot a natural and poppy feel when hiking quickly. We wouldn’t push the Fastpack Mid too hard into cross-country terrain—it felt slightly tippy while crossing talus and boulder hopping—and it’s far from the most durable design: The thin mesh upper will gather abrasions in a hurry, and the soft foam will pack out over time. But for a nimble hiking boot that will feel just as comfortable on mile 20 as it does at mile two, the Fastpack Mid is well worth a look.
See The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Mid Futurelight


13. Salomon Cross Hike 2 Mid Gore-Tex ($190)

Salomon Cross Hike 2 Mid Gore-Tex hiking bootCategory: Lightweight
Weight: 1 lb. 9.4 oz.
Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
What we like: A sprightly hiking boot with impressive grip on soft ground.
What we don’t: Lacks a secure lock at the collar; subpar traction on rock.

If you haven’t yet noticed a trend in our picks, the Salomon Cross Hike 2 Mid GTX should make things abundantly clear. Gone are the days of hitting the trail in leather clunkers—lightweight and nimble hiking boots have all but taken over. And the Cross Hike 2 Mid is about as purpose-built as it gets: Salomon took their Speedcross running shoe (a popular choice for mountain terrain), beefed up the protection and support, added a mid-height collar, and lowered the stack height for greater stability. The result is a boot that’s light and speedy on the trail but robust enough to tackle everything from third-class scrambling to hauling an overnight load. And with a recent update to the “2,” the Cross Hike now features a grippier outsole, roomier fit, higher collar, and a revamped upper.

We wore the Cross Hike 2 Mid while backpacking in Patagonia, and—similar to our experience with the first-gen version—our reviews are mixed. The boot was predictably lightweight and comfortable, and offered impressive traction on soft and wet terrain (in fact, the sole almost looks like a track spike). But one of our biggest gripes was the single eyelet at the collar, which causes the boot to gape open, minimizing ankle support and allowing trail debris to enter (it doesn’t help that the Quicklace system loosens throughout the day). We also experienced early durability issues with the toe cap separating from the upper, and the sharp lugs means traction suffers on smooth rock. All told, the boot is another solid choice for the lightweight-focused crowd, but we’ll stick with the more well-rounded Rush Mid for treks that cover the full gamut of terrain... Read in-depth review
See the Salomon Cross Hike 2 Mid GTX


14. Arc’teryx Acrux TR GTX ($250)

Arc'teryx Acrux TR GTX women's hiking boot_Category: Mountain/all-around
Weight: 2 lb. 1.2 oz.
Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
What we like: Tough and capable yet lightweight.
What we don’t: We’d prefer more cushioning.

Arc’teryx can be a wildcard with their footwear, and previous designs have teetered on the edge of being too unique for our liking. In contrast, the Acrux follows a more traditional route with a clean one-piece upper, EVA midsole, and Vibram traction. But there are some fun surprises. In particular, we’ve found the synthetic SuperFabric upper to be especially durable and tough considering its thin build. That in many ways sums up our overall impression of the Acrux: Despite weighing just over 2 pounds for the pair, the boot provides excellent support and protection while hauling 50+ pounds over challenging terrain.

One disappointment with the Acrux is its general lack of cushioning. The thin upper is partly to blame, but underfoot, the stock OrthoLite insole is simply too thin and flat to be comfortable for full days of hiking. Replacing the insole is a good start (it’s removable), but the minimal cushioning strikes us as a weak point in the design and falls short of boots like the Salomon Quest 4 in terms of comfort. In general, most hikers will appreciate the added padding of a boot like the Quest, which also features a taller collar to keep out trail debris. These complaints push the Acrux down our rankings, but it’s nevertheless a high-performance boot for multi-day hikes in technical terrain. It’s also worth noting the Aerios Mid GTX, a unisex boot that blends Arc’teryx’s quality and performance with a lightweight design.
See the Arc'teryx Acrux TR GTX


15. Vasque Breeze ($160)

Vasque Breeze women's hiking shoesCategory: All-around
Weight: 2 lb. 2 oz. 
Waterproof: Yes (VasqueDry)
What we like: Great price for a capable and decently well-rounded hiking boot.
What we don’t: Dated look and feel; in-house materials can’t compete with Vibram and Gore-Tex.

Vasque has specialized in hiking footwear for over half a century, and the Breeze has long been the most popular boot in their lineup. With a recent revamp, it now touts a decently modern design and the brand’s new VasqueDry waterproof membrane, which is built with 25% recycled materials. The Breeze checks in at a similar weight to our top-ranked Lowa Renegade—both models use suede uppers, and the Vasque adds mesh cutouts for better breathability—but is almost $100 cheaper at just $160. For a great combination of price and performance, it’s well worth a closer look.

Throughout our testing, we found the Breeze to be fully serviceable for backpacking on everything from easy trails to above-treeline terrain. And with two eyelets above the ankle, you get a lot more stability and ankle support than the more streamlined, lightweight designs here. But the boot doesn’t particularly stand out in any way, and Vasque’s in-house outsole and waterproofing simply don’t measure up to name brands like Vibram and Gore-Tex. What’s more, it’s fairly heavy and dated-looking for the majority of modern hikers. But for the price, the Breeze is a wonderfully durable, comfortable boot that will certainly get the job done... Read in-depth review
See the Vasque Breeze


16. Danner Mountain 600 Leaf ($220)

Danner Mountain 600 Leaf women's hiking bootCategory: All-around
Weight: 2 lb.
Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
What we like: Classic Danner looks in a lightweight package; Leaf design can be resoled and rebuilt throughout its lifespan.
What we don’t: Not as stable or protective as most leather boots.

Danner is best known for their throwback, full-leather boots, but their modernized Mountain 600 has struck a chord with the day hiking crowd. The over-the-ankle design is surprisingly flexible underfoot with a cushioned, trail-runner-inspired sole, and has sharp looks with a full suede upper and quality lacing hardware. A Gore-Tex waterproof membrane combined with the water-resistant suede helps keep your feet protected from mud and wet grass, while also providing a light boost in warmth for wearing around town in the cold (to the detriment of breathability). And with a recent update to the “Leaf,” the boot is now designed to be worked on by Danner’s professional cobblers, whose services include both resoles and full rebuilds.

Despite being an ode to leather mountain boots of yore, the Mountain 600 shouldn’t be pushed into super technical terrain. The Danner can’t match the performance of boots like the Salomon Quest above or Zamberlan Vioz below in terms of underfoot stability and protection, and the soft suede upper doesn’t provide as much support as stiffer designs. And in terms of price, the Mountain 600 is pretty expensive at $220, especially when stacked up against other cushioned designs like the $169 Vectiv Fastpack Mid above. But if you prioritize out-of-the-box comfort, styling, and everyday versatility—and like the idea of spending your money on a boot that’s built to last—the Mountain 600 Leaf is worth a look. Finally, it’s also worth checking out Danner’s 2650 Trail GTX Mid, which features a sleek and athletic design more reminiscent of a trail runner.
See the Danner Mountain 600 Leaf


17. Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX ($175)

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX women's hiking bootCategory: All-around/lightweight
Weight: 1 lb. 10.1 oz.
Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
What we like: Out of the box comfort; protective yet lightweight.
What we don’t: Disappointing ankle support and finishes.

Salomon’s X Ultra 3 GTX held our top spot for years, and we’d be remiss not to mention their updated X Ultra 4 here. The fourth iteration of this classic boot features a modernized upper, redesigned cuff, and brand-new midsole that prioritizes stability at a low weight. But after wearing the X Ultra 4 during a four-day trek in Southern Patagonia, we hesitate to suggest it as an improvement over the outgoing model. While comfort and protection were highlights, the 4 lacked the high-quality finishes we’ve come to expect from Salomon and fell short in terms of ankle support.

Salomon’s update to the X Ultra lineup is an interesting one: Both the shoe and the boot feature an expanded toe box, which was overly roomy even for our wide-footed tester (we recommend sizing down at least a half size), resulting in a clunky and imprecise hiking experience. And while the X Ultra 4 low-top has a premium-looking upper with welded overlays, Salomon opted for a stitched upper on the boot, along with bulky laces and a difficult-to-cinch ankle collar. The result is overall a rather awkward design, and the oversized fit certainly doesn’t help. To be sure, it’s not all bad—we found the X Ultra 4 to be impressively protective and comfortable right out of the box—but the Salomon just doesn't put it all together as well as the picks above... Read in-depth review
See the Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX


18. Zamberlan Vioz GTX ($350)

Zamberlan Vioz GTX women's hiking bootCategory: Mountain/all-around
Weight: 3 lb. 1 oz.
Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
What we like: Beautifully made and a stalwart on rough terrain.
What we don’t: Dated design that’s very heavy.

The hiking boot market has been trending away from traditional heavyweight leather designs for years, but there’s still a time and place for these classics. In this category, the Zamberlan Vioz GTX is among the all-time greats. The Italian-made leather construction is gorgeous and built to last, the interior is soft and isolates you amazingly well from a rough trail, and the stiff structure provides reliable support. For long slogs with a serious load or even light mountaineering, the Vioz GTX is a proven choice.

Unfortunately for the Vioz, there is good reason why you see fewer of them on the trail these days. A heavy boot makes it that much harder to cover ground, and at 3 pounds 1 ounce, the Vioz weighs more than anything else on this list (and certainly feels like it as the miles add up). In the end, we think even serious backpackers will be better off with boots like the Lowa Renegade or Salomon Quest 4 above in most cases. But the Vioz remains a favorite among traditionalists who want a burly boot, and rest assured that it will be your hiking partner for years to come (you can even resole its Vibram rubber).
See the Zamberlan Vioz GTX


Women's Hiking Boot Comparison Table

Boot Price Category Weight Waterproof Upper
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid $255 All-around 2 lb. 2 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Leather
Scarpa Rush Mid 2 GTX $219 Lightweight 1 lb. 8.2 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Synthetic
Merrell Moab 3 Mid $130 All-around 1 lb. 13 oz. No (available) Leather/mesh
Hoka Anacapa 2 Mid GTX $195 All-around 1 lb. 13.4 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Leather
Altra Lone Peak Hiker 2 $150 Lightweight 1 lb. 5.2 oz. No Suede
La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather $199 All-around/mountain 1 lb. 12.4 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Leather
La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX $239 All-around/lightweight 1 lb. 10.8 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Leather/mesh
Salomon Quest 4 GTX $230 Mountain/all-around 2 lb. 6.4 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Synthetic/leather
Keen Targhee III WP Mid $165 All-around 1 lb. 12 oz. Yes (Keen.Dry) Leather
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid $199 Mountain/lightweight 1 lb. 11.9 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Synthetic
Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 GTX $220 All-around/lightweight 1 lb. 10.7 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Synthetic
TNF Vectiv Fastpack Mid $165 Lightweight 1 lb. 5.3 oz. Yes (Futurelight) Synthetic
Salomon Cross Hike 2 Mid GTX $190 Lightweight 1 lb. 9.4 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Synthetic
Arc’teryx Acrux TR GTX $250 Mountain/all-around 2 lb. 1.2 oz Yes (Gore-Tex) Synthetic
Vasque Breeze $160 All-around 2 lb. 2 oz. Yes (VasqueDry) Leather/mesh
Danner Mountain 600 Leaf $220 All-around 2 lb.  Yes (Gore-Tex) Leather
Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX $175 All-around/lightweight 1 lb. 10.1 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Synthetic
Zamberlan Vioz GTX $350 Mountain/all-around 3 lb. 1 oz. Yes (Gore-Tex) Leather

Women’s Hiking Boot Buying Advice

Women’s-Specific Hiking Boots

In 2024, the vast majority of hiking boots come in both men’s and women’s versions. In general, women’s boots are designed to fit narrower heels and ankles and higher arches, and come in women’s sizing and a different set of colorways. There are also a few hiking boots that were designed specifically with women in mind, including the Merrell Siren 4 Mid GTX and Keen Terradora Explorer Mid, although unfortunately these are not generally top performers. While the majority of our female friends wear women’s boots, it’s important to note that some women might be better off opting for a men’s model (this is particularly important for those with high-volume feet and ankles). As with all clothing and footwear, your best bet is to try on before buying. 

Hiking in Patagonia in KEEN Terradora (women's hiking boots)
Backpacking in Patagonia in the women's-specific Keen Terradora Flex

Women’s Hiking Boot Types

Perhaps no single piece of gear epitomizes the lightweight revolution more clearly than the lightweight hiking boot. These designs are flexible, cushioned (we see a lot of EVA foam here), and—of course—lightweight, which makes them a comfortable and speedy choice for fast-and-light enthusiasts and well-conditioned hikers. And even though some boots in our lightweight category actually look like trail running shoes, it's important to note that they generally feature a noticeably stiffer and more stable underfoot feel—take, for instance, the Scarpa Rush Mid 2 GTX, which features a TPU frame and dense midsole foam. However, compared to models in our all-around or mountain categories, lightweight boots are much less supportive and protective overall (especially at the ankle), and their durability falls particularly short.

Topo Athletic Trailventure 2 WP women's hiking shoe (close-up)
The lightweight Topo Athletic Trailventure 2 WP

Our all-around category represents the core of the market, running the gamut from lightweight synthetic designs to more traditional leather models. All of these boots extend above the ankle and offer great support and protection by way of sturdy outsoles, relatively stiff midsoles (look for additions like a TPU shank), generous rands and toe bumpers, and robust upper materials. Boots on the lighter end of the spectrum (like La Sportiva's 1-lb.-10.8-oz. Nucleo High II GTX) will feel more sprightly underfoot at the cost of a bit of durability and support, while beefy designs like the 2-pound-2-ounce Lowa Renegade GTX Mid are better for those looking for that traditional hiking boot feel. Most hikers and backpackers will settle for a boot in our all-around category, while those with particular needs can bump up or down to a lightweight or mountain boot. 

Vasque Breeze hiking boots (backpacking in Patagonia)_0
All-around boots are a great choice for demanding backpacking trips

Most of the designs on our list offer ample support for rooty and rocky trails, but when the going gets tougher (think off-trail terrain or sustained snow), you might want a bit more boot. Somewhere on the spectrum between hiking boot and mountaineering boot, designs in our mountain category are the most robust here and go one step further than a traditional hiker in terms of support (look for slightly taller collars and stiffer midsoles), durability and protection (most feature leather uppers), and traction. Given their rigidity, these boots also pair with aluminum crampons better than more flexible options. Mountain boots will generally be overkill on established trails (the Zamberlan Vioz GTX clocks in at a whopping 3 lb. 1 oz.), but those venturing into the alpine or carrying a particularly heavy load will appreciate the added performance. On the other hand, experienced hikers and those with strong feet can get away with lighter weight—yet still very capable—designs like the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX and TX Hike Mid Leather GTX.

Scarpa Rush Trk GTX women's hiking boot (close up)
For mountain terrain, you might want a bit more support and protection


Looking at our list above, women’s hiking boots run the gamut from ultralight trail-running-inspired designs like the Altra Lone Peak Hiker 2 (1 lb. 5.2 oz.) to sturdy mountain-ready models that clock in well over 3 pounds for the pair. In general, the weight spec can tell us a lot about a boot: A lighter design will be less protective, supportive, and durable overall, but the benefits include less strain on the body (as the saying goes, a pound on the foot equals five on the back) and more flex and cushion, which often translate to increased comfort. Hikers and backpackers will want to aim for that sweet spot between performance and weight. If you’re sticking to the trail with a light load you can get away with a lightweight hiking boot, while those hauling extra gear or traveling cross-country will appreciate the added support of a heavier boot.

Hiking on trail in the San Juan Mountains (Altra Lone Peak ALL WTHR Mid hiking boot)
A lightweight boot is a great choice for casual hikes on well-established trails

Stability and Support

Hiking boots are designed to be stable underfoot, which typically involves a firm outsole and a piece of hard plastic inserted between the midsole and outsole, known as a shank. The length of the plastic can vary from just under the arch to the full length of the boot, depending on intended use. The benefit of a stiff boot is that with a solid platform, the feet will not have to work as hard during ascents and descents, and on off-camber terrain. For this reason, boots in our mountain category are among the stiffest here, and a great choice for off-trail travel with a heavy load. On the other end of the spectrum, lightweight boots generally forgo the additional structure of a shank, which translates to greater flexibility but less stability overall.

Hiking on talus field (Salomon Quest Prime GTX women's hiking boot)
For technical mountain terrain, you'll want solid stability and support

For day hikes on flatter or less technical terrain or if you're aiming to move fast and light, we can’t recommend a lightweight and flexible hiking boot enough. Boots like the Scarpa Rush Mid or The North Face Vectiv Fastpack Mid Futurelight are standouts for these uses, provided that you’re fairly well-conditioned and have no pre-existing ankle issues. As your trips get longer and your pack gets heavier, a more substantial boot that increases ankle support is a better decision, including the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid or Vasque Breeze. On the extreme end, mountain boots like the Salomon Quest 4 are excellent for hiking in areas that require maximum support: off-trail bushwhacking, traversing an exposed area, or trekking over rough ground.

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (up close)
The La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather deftly balances support and walkability


The vast majority of hiking boots are waterproof, keeping your feet dry while crossing streams, dodging puddles, or hiking during a light rainstorm. Most designs achieve this by way of a waterproof and breathable membrane inserted just inside the outer fabric. Gore-Tex liners are the most popular and reliable (as seen in designs like the Hoka Anacapa 2 Mid GTX), but even in-house technologies like Vasque's VasqueDry are similar in terms of waterproofing performance (however, breathability can suffer with some of these designs). And in addition to the membrane, most boots also feature a water-repellent coating on the outside that helps to bead up and shed water droplets.

Stream crossing (Salomon Quest Prime GTX women's hiking boot waterproofing)
Most hiking boots use a waterproof/breathable membrane to keep water at bay

But before springing for a waterproof boot, it is worth asking if you need the added protection. There are a number of downsides to this technology: The extra layer adds weight, impacts breathability fairly significantly (discussed below), and will run you around $20 to $30 more. Further, if you do happen to get water inside your boot (this can easily happen in deep snow or water), it doesn’t drain as well and won’t dry out nearly as quickly as a non-waterproof option. In the end, we like the added assurance of a waterproof boot for shoulder season hiking or backpacking in the mountains, but recommend a non-waterproof design for summer hikes or uniquely hot and dry environments like the Utah desert. For more on the waterproofing debate, see our article Do You Need Waterproof Hiking Shoes?

Hiking in mud (Salomon Cross Hike Mid GTX women's hiking boot)
Waterproof hiking boots are great for shoulder season conditions


No matter what marketers say, making a boot waterproof inherently impacts breathability. By keeping water from entering from the outside, less moisture (your sweat) can quickly and easily escape from the inside, which means all forms of waterproof footwear can run warm in the summer months. There are, however, big differences between boot models in their ability to ventilate.

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid hiking boot (standing on rock above lake)
Leather boots often suffer in terms of breathability

We’ve found that heavyweight leather boots with a Gore-Tex lining are often the worst performers, while the Gore-Tex Surround in the mesh-heavy La Sportiva Nucleo High II is a step above. In between, the Lowa Renegade and Salomon Quest 4 both perform decently with their nylon and leather construction and Gore-Tex liners, and are completely suitable for summer backpacking trips. And if you are willing to ditch the waterproof lining altogether, boots like the Merrell Moab 3 Mid and Altra Lone Peak Hiker 2 are great options for hikers and backpackers.

Salomon OUTpulse Mid GTX hiking boot (hiking in Utah desert)
You'll want to prioritize a breathable boot for warm-weather hiking

Lacing Systems

Laces are an overlooked feature on hiking boots but play an important role in fit and comfort. Most laces extend to the ankle with standard eyelets and continue up the collar using hooks that come completely undone so you can get in and out of your boot with ease. Some of the more advanced designs feature locking hooks at the crook of the ankle, which both locks your foot in place and allows you to tailor your fit throughout (loose in the forefoot to accommodate for swelling and tight around the ankle for stability, for example). Every so often we see a single-pull speed lace design used in a hiking boot (such as Salomon’s Quicklace in their Cross Hike 2 Mid). While we’re fans of the convenience of the Quicklace system in a hiking shoe, it’s a tricker sell for us on a mid-height boot as you only get one option for tightening or loosening your boots, compared to the versatility of a standard design.

Salomon Cross Hike 2 Mid GTX hiking boots (long laces)
Tightening the Quicklace on the Salomon Cross Hike 2 GTX

Upper Materials

A hiking boot’s upper refers to the material above the outsole and the midsole—essentially, all of the fabric that surrounds your foot. Most often, a boot’s upper will be made with a mix of synthetic (typically nylon), mesh, and leather. The type of material correlates directly with the boot’s durability, water resistance and breathability, and weight. Below we spell out the pros and cons for the most common materials used for hiking footwear.

Synthetic Nylon and Mesh
Woven nylon as well as open mesh nylon panels are common on boots in our lightweight and all-around categories. These synthetic materials usually excel in terms of breathability and weight savings, and they can dry out more quickly when wet. However, they are not known for their durability, and don’t offer as much protection as a thicker leather boot. Synthetic materials also don’t conform to your foot over time as well as leather, but in most cases, the overall fit is still comfortable and snug. Many designs here feature fully synthetic uppers, while others (like the Salomon Quest 4 GTX) have a mix of synthetic and leather for the best of both worlds.

KEEN NXIS EVO WP hiking boots (standing on rock)
The modern Keen NXIS EVO features a mesh upper

Suede or Nubuck Leather
Suede and nubuck leather have a very similar brushed appearance, and are common sights on hiking boots in our all-around and mountain categories (the lightweight Lone Peak Hiker 2 is also suede). Both materials are lighter and more flexible than traditional full-grain leather, which means they offer more breathability and an easier break-in period, aren't as prone to showing scuff marks, and shave precious ounces from your feet. Expect nubuck to be tougher than suede—suede is derived from the underside of an animal's skin, while nubuck comes from the outside (and is sanded down to achieve the velvet-like finish)—which is the main reason we see it used more in heavy-duty hiking boots. In the end, both materials are great alternatives to thick full-grain leather, and much more prevalent in today's modern boots.

__Scarpa Rush TRK GTX hiking boot (steep descent)
Nubuck offers a flexible and breathable alternative to traditional leather

Full-Grain Leather
Compared to nubuck and suede, full-grain leather is thicker, stiffer, and tougher overall. You’ll find one-piece leather uppers on high-end boots like the Zamberlan Vioz GTX. These designs are neither lightweight nor particularly breathable, but they’re incredibly tough and water resistant. Leather does require some maintenance to keep in good shape (you’ll want to treat it with a conditioner like Nikwax), but the payoff is a solid construction that’s built to outlast everything else on the market. As an added bonus, some designs can be resoled, so you don’t need to replace the whole boot once you wear down the lugs.

Salomon Quest 4 womens (side profile of boot)
The Salomon Quest 4 GTX features a combination of leather and mesh

Midsole Types

Hiking on off-camber terrain or while carrying a heavy load can put a decent amount of stress on your feet, so you’ll want to make sure your hiking boot offers a sturdy platform. Combined with the rubber outsole, the midsole plays an essential role in stability, shock absorption, and protection from sharp rocks underfoot. Depending on the design, midsoles vary from very thin and flexible (as with lightweight boots) to stiff and substantial (like we see in leather mountain boots). Most include EVA foam, TPU, or a combination of both in their construction.

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid hiking boot (hiking down steep rocky section)
A stable midsole is particularly helpful on off-camber terrain

The majority of lightweight hiking boots use EVA foam in the midsole. The cushy, soft material takes some of the sting out of your heel or midfoot impacts and is also extremely lightweight. Not all EVA should be treated equally, and the proprietary versions can vary from super soft to mildly stiff. For logging serious miles on tougher terrain, we prefer a firm and supportive midsole as opposed to too much cushioning. If we’re planning on moving quickly on easy trail, softer cushioning is a better bet and commonly found in trail-running-inspired designs like the Scarpa Rush Mid 2 GTX. However, soft midsoles have a tendency to break down over time, so expect these boots to pack out more quickly than dedicated hiking boots.

Vasque Breeze women's hiking boot (midsole foam)
Most lightweight hiking boots have a generous dose of EVA foam in the midsole

For tougher applications or when you want to isolate your feet from rough impacts, manufacturers will use a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) midsole. This durable material is far less cushy than EVA but provides better protection and stability underfoot—for this reason, it’s common in boots in our all-around and mountain categories but not used in the trail-runner-inspired designs above. Boots with TPU in their midsole will also keep their shape longer and won’t be prone to compressing like EVA. Because both midsole types have valid applications, it’s common for a manufacturer to use a TPU frame or heel for stability and toughness and add in EVA underfoot to increase comfort. 

Hiking up trail in the mountains (women's hiking boots)
TPU increases underfoot support and stability

Outsoles and Traction

One of the hallmarks of a hiking boot is good traction on a variety of terrain. In a way that more casual footwear can never match, hiking and trail running footwear are leaps and bounds better when the going gets rocky, slippery, and steep. Vibram is the gold standard when it comes to outsole rubber, but not all Vibram compounds should be treated equally: The rubber manufacturer tailors their blends and designs for the specific footwear and brands. Some boots have much larger and sharper lugs underfoot for serious grip in mud, while others prioritize sticky rubber for scrambling over rocks. There are also more entry-level options that just do well on easier trails, like the lugs you’ll find on the bottom of the Merrell Moab 3 Mid.

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX (outsole traction)
The La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather offers excellent traction on rock

Salomon is one brand that doesn’t outsource their traction needs. Instead, they use their in-house Contagrip for all of their hiking and trail running models. We’ve found the level of quality and performance is on par with Vibram’s offerings, from anything from their fast-and-light Cross Hike 2 to the burly Quest 4. Keep in mind that, like Vibram, Contagrip compounds can vary from boot to boot (there are a number of different compounds, including Contagrip MA, MD, and TA). 

Scrambling Mt. Sneffels (Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid women's hiking boot)
Some boots excel on rock, while others offer great traction in soft and wet terrain

Toe Protection

Toe caps or rubber rands cover the front of many hiking boots, and we consider them an essential element of backpacking boot design. These thick pieces of rubber are there to keep your toes in one piece should you accidentally—and in our case, eventually—kick a rock on the trail. Some standouts from our list above include the Arc’teryx Acrux TR GTX and La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX, which have protection that wraps completely around the front of the foot. To cut weight, some manufacturers will occasionally take away or diminish this feature, including the Altra Lone Peak All-Wthr Mid boots. After stubbing our toe multiple times while scrambling a 14er wearing the Altra, we definitely prefer that it included more substantial toe protection, but it’s just a compromise in opting for a minimalist boot.

Oboz Katabatic Mid Waterproof hiking boot (closeup on driftwood)
For rocky and rooty environments, you'll want a boot with good toe protection


Getting a proper fit can be a real pain, and in many cases the blame is a generic, flat insole. Thankfully, removing your stock insoles is super easy, and replacing them with an aftermarket model that’s specific to your foot size and shape can remedy most boot maladies. New insoles can provide more or less volume to fill out the boot, improve the fit under the arch, and increase or decrease the cushion and impact shock. We recommend checking out Superfeet insoles for their wide selection of options and trusted reputation in running shoes, ski boots, and hiking footwear.

Putting on the Altra Lone Peak Hiker 2 hiking boots
Given its limited arch support, you might want to add an insole to Altra's Lone Peak Hiker


In 2024, one of the main ways that brands are innovating is with sustainable design practices that seek to mitigate our impact on the planet. When it comes to footwear, manufacturers are turning to recycled and recyclable materials for everything from laces and lining to foam midsoles and rubber outsoles. It’s in the interest of brands to advertise their products’ recycled content, and this information can be easily found on product webpages and tags. Another way to shop sustainability is to keep durability in mind—if it fits your hiking style, a boot with a more hardwearing upper and sole might last you twice as long as a lightweight design, which cuts your consumption in half. It’s also worth noting services like Danner's Recrafting, which is committed to rebuilding and resoling footwear to keep it on the trail and out of the landfill. And when the time does come to retire your beloved hiking shoes, consider recycling them via programs like Ridwell or Terracycle.

__Scarpa Rush TRK GTX hiking boot (overlooking mountains in Peru)
We appreciate programs that help keep used gear out of the landfill

Hiking Boots vs. Hiking Shoes

One of the key decisions in choosing hiking footwear is selecting either an over-the-ankle boot or low-top shoe. Each style has its respective strengths, and we use them interchangeably for hiking and backpacking trips. The key differentiators are protection, stability, and weight. For rocky terrain, water crossings, snow, and carrying a heavy backpacking pack—or if you have weak or injured ankles—a boot is our preferred option.

Hiking in snowy mountains in Nepal (women's hiking boots)
Hiking boots are our recommendation for carrying heavy loads in technical mountain terrain

On the other hand, a low-top style trims away material and weight, making it the clear choice for those focused on moving fast and light without a large pack (especially in milder weather conditions or on easy trail). Lightweight mid-height designs can be a nice middle ground, with some of the added protection of a boot alongside the nimble feel of a shoe. There isn’t a definite right answer in this debate, but the weight of your gear and style of hiking can make the decision a lot simpler. For more on the topic, see our article on the best women's hiking shoes.
Back to Our Top Women's Hiking Boot Picks  Back to Our Women's Hiking Boot Comparison Table

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