Reviews You Can Rely On

The 8 Best Hiking Boots for Women of 2024

We put women's hiking boots from brands like La Sportiva, Salomon, Merrell, Altra, Keen, Hoka and many more to the test find the best
gearlab tested logo
Best Hiking Boots Women Review
Credit: Steve Mace
By Trish Matheny ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 8, 2024

The Best Women's Hiking Boots for 2024


We've bought and tested nearly 60 different pairs of women's hiking boots over the last 11 years, with 20 of the best models available today in our current lineup. From lightweight hikers to burly beasts, our experts test the top boots year-round and compare them based on their trail comfort, weight, traction, support, and ability to keep your feet dry. Our team of ladies crushed out hundreds of miles for multiple months to parse out each boot's strengths and weaknesses. We then took that data and real-world experience and crafted this detailed assessment of today's best options to help you find the right pair for your needs.

Itching to get out on the trails? If it's footwear you need, we've also tested the best women's hiking shoes, top women's trail running shoes, and even the best women's slippers for when it's time to relax at the end of the day. From the best hydration bladders for staying hydrated to all manner of camping tents, we've done the leg work of testing and comparing camping and hiking gear from all the top brands so you don't have to question whether you're making the right decision with your hard-earned money before heading out on the trail.

Editor's Note: This review was updated on April 8, 2024, to include new products from Columbia and Nortiv8.

Related: Best Hiking Boots for Men

Top 20 Hiking Boots - Test Results

Displaying 6 - 10 of 20
 
Awards Top Pick Award    Top Pick Award 
Price $155.97 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$190.93 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$137.97 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$218.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score
83
75
72
76
77
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Supreme comfort, high quality design, excellent traction, great ankle support, excellent waterproofingFrame construction is impressive, narrow and wide fit options, seamless Gore-Tex lining, good longevityDurable, stable, lots of ankle protection and supportVery supportive, exeptionally durable, protective soles, waterproofLightweight, all-day comfort, solid traction in varying terrain, excellent shock absorption
Cons Expensive, Gore-Tex does not breathe well in hot conditions, thicker sole takes some adjustmentNo arch support, expensive, bulky, heavyHeavy, expensive, bulkyDifficult to break in, very stiff, lacking flexibility in forefootExpensive, not built for extensive travel off-trail, only one metal hook for ankle support
Bottom Line Plush cushion, waterproof durability, and a stable design make these hikers a great choice for day trips or extended backcountry missionsThe all-leather construction of this boots provides burly protection and support for a modern approach to the traditional leather bootA burly boot designed to provide stability and support on long, rugged outingsAs a very stiff option, these all-leather boots take time to break in, yet offer unsurpassed sturdinessThis modern hiking boot is geared towards those looking to pursue fast and light missions without the additional weight, bulk, and stiffness of a leather hiking boot
Rating Categories Hoka Kaha 2 GTX - W... Lowa Renegade GTX M... Salomon Quest 4 Gor... Oboz Bridger Mid Wa... Scarpa Rush 2 Mid G...
Comfort (25%)
9.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
Support (25%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Traction (15%) Sort Icon
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Water Resistance (15%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Weight (10%)
6.0
4.1
4.0
6.0
8.2
Durability (10%)
8.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Hoka Kaha 2 GTX - W... Lowa Renegade GTX M... Salomon Quest 4 Gor... Oboz Bridger Mid Wa... Scarpa Rush 2 Mid G...
Measured Weight (per pair) 2.00 lbs (size 8) 2.33 lbs (size 8.5) 2.34 lbs (size 7.5) 2.00 lbs (size 7.5) 1.61 lbs (size EU 40)
Upper Waterproof nubuck leather Nubuck leather Split suede, textile Nubuck leather Recycled mesh, recycled microfiber
Width Options Regular Regular, wide Regular Regular, wide Regular
Waterproof Lining Gore-Tex waterproof booties, waterproof leather Gore-Tex Gore-Tex BDry Gore-Tex Extended Comfort
Heel Height 2.0" 1.3" 1.6" 1.4" 1.6"
Shaft Height 7.0" 5.5" 6.0" 6.3" 5.5"
Midsole Rubberized EVA DuraPU with Monowrap Frame OrthoLite Dual Density EVA, nylon shank EVA
Sole Vibram Megagrip rubber Vibram Evo rubber Contagrip rubber Granite Peak carbon rubber PRESA SuperGum rubber


Best Overall Women's Hiking Boots


La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX - Women's


84
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 9.0
  • Support 8.0
  • Traction 9.0
  • Water Resistance 8.0
  • Weight 7.8
  • Durability 8.0
Weight: 1.68 pounds | Upper: AirMesh, microfiber, TPU
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable
Lightweight and breathable
Impressive waterproof capabilities
High value
REASONS TO AVOID
Not as supportive as a traditional hiking boot
Runs small, but is available in a wide option

The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX is an exceptional lightweight hiking boot that offers superior comfort, breathable Gore-Tex protection from the elements, and a durable and aggressive lug pattern that will keep you sure-footed when covering uneven terrain. While our testers experienced comfort directly out of the box, we recommend sizing up about a half size in these boots as they run a bit on the small side. They are also available for order in a wide option for a more customized fit.

Besides impressive comfort, the Ultra Raptor also offers a 5-inch shaft and comfort collar that surround the ankle and a durable lacing system that creates stability while in motion. The traction was on par with the best hiking boots that we tested, featuring Frixion XF 2.0 rubber outsoles with an Impact Brake System and Trail Bite heels, allowing for excellent traction and control in various mountain landscapes. Did we mention this high-performing hiker is available at a reasonable price? This boot is an all-around champ. If you're an “every ounce counts” type of hiker, check out the Scarpa Rush 2 Mid GTX – it's one of the lightest hiking boots we've ever tested.

Read more: La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX review

The Gore-Tex in these Sportiva boots worked to keep our feet dry during our submersion tests.
Credit: Lisa Coleman

Best Bang for Your Buck


Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP - Women's


72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 7.0
  • Support 7.5
  • Traction 8.0
  • Water Resistance 7.5
  • Weight 5.6
  • Durability 7.0
Weight: 2.06 pounds | Upper: Leather and mesh
REASONS TO BUY
Well-padded ankle
Comfortable
Breathable
Improved traction
REASONS TO AVOID
Lacks ankle support for extended backpacking trips
Lacing system is not very durable
Heavier than other models in this review

The Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP received high marks across many of our testing metrics due to their 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.

While the Moab 3 Mid is one of the heavier boots we tested, it still feels light underfoot. Our testers are also happy to report that the latest version of the Moab has improved Vibram TC5+ traction with 5mm lugs, so we felt more confident trusting our feet even when moving over polished boulders. The lacing system is still secured with mesh, which we imagine could wear out over time, though we had no issues during our testing period. At the end of the day, this improved update is an affordable option for those new to hiking and who aren't primarily focused on top-of-the-line performance. If you want an even more affordable model, our team was shocked with the performance of the Columbia Crestwood, considering its price.

Read more: Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP review

Uneven and varied textures, such as those found on fallen logs, were ideal for evaluating the Moab 3's support and traction.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Maximum Cushioned Comfort


Hoka Kaha 2 GTX - Women's


83
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 9.0
  • Support 9.0
  • Traction 8.0
  • Water Resistance 8.0
  • Weight 6.0
  • Durability 8.0
Weight: 2.1 pounds | Upper: Waterproof Nubuck leather
REASONS TO BUY
Supreme comfort
Excellent traction
Durable and waterproof design
REASONS TO AVOID
Not as breathable
Expensive
Thicker soles take some adjustment

The Hoka Kaha 2 GTX stood out for its perfect balance of supportive comfort. This high-quality design is incredibly durable, thanks to the Nubuck leather upper and Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, 2+ inches of solid cushion underfoot, and three metal hooks that guarantee customized ankle support. Our only complaint about the waterproofing is that it performs so well that these boots aren't able to breathe as well in hot summer conditions.

While the stable design and plush comfort offer a solid and supportive hiking boot, we found it takes some time to get used to having two inches of foam underfoot. Once you've got the hang of it, the swallowtail design on the heel, which extends just beyond the back of the foot, along with the high ankle shaft, combine to provide superior stability and support. The Kaha 2 is a great choice for those who are after top-of-the-line performance and comfort for many burly adventures ahead.

Read more: Hoka Kaha 2 GTX review

The thickly-cushioned sole, stable and supportive base, and waterproof performance combine to create a high-performing and modern hiking boot.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Best Choice for Wider Feet


Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid 2 - Women's


77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 9.0
  • Support 7.0
  • Traction 6.0
  • Water Resistance 8.0
  • Weight 9.0
  • Durability 7.0
Weight: 1.48 pounds | Upper: eVent fabric
REASONS TO BUY
Wide toe box
Lightweight
Padded ankle support
Durable lacing system
Lugs and outsoles provide excellent traction
REASONS TO AVOID
A bit spendy
0mm drop takes some adjustment and training

The Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid 2 is an excellent choice for those with a wider foot and who prefer the agility of a trail running shoe with the support of a hiking boot. This boot is incredibly light without sacrificing stability, traction, or comfort. The ankle cuff is padded without adding bulk, and the lacing system latches twice over the ankle for maximum stability. Comfortable, yes; however, if you are new to Altras, you may want to allow for some time to adjust to the zero drop, which places the heel and forefoot at the same height. This feature encourages better alignment, which will benefit your entire body, but you have to work up to longer distances over time.

The TrailClaw feature allows for a sure-footed and very responsive shoe, meaning you can push hard in difficult terrain with peace of mind. Our testers were shocked by the waterproof technology, which kept our feet dry and warm during our submersion tests. That said, the waterproof bootie fabric is rather thin and prone to durability issues if snagged on sharp rocks or downed trees, and it's not particularly breathable. This is also a more expensive option when compared to other trail runners/hiking boot hybrid options. To be fair, every design has a few caveats, especially with the kind of extensive testing that we do. Overall, we love this lightweight design for the confidence it inspires on the trail. If you don't mind a little extra weight, the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX is also offered in a wide version.

Read more: Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid 2 review

The Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR performed admirably throughout our testing, keeping our feet comfortable and dry in all weather conditions like mud and snow.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Best Waterproof Protection


La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX - Women's


79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 8.0
  • Support 8.0
  • Traction 8.0
  • Water Resistance 9.0
  • Weight 5.2
  • Durability 8.0
Weight: 2.24 pounds (size 40 EU) | Upper: Nubuck leather
REASONS TO BUY
Superior water protection
Excellent support
Durable
Comfortable
REASONS TO AVOID
Less breathable
Pricey

The La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX bridges the gap between classic hiking boots and modern footwear. It delivers the familiar sturdiness and ankle protection of a traditional boot, but with a lighter weight and, potentially, more comfortable fit. Thanks to Gore-Tex Surround membranes, these hiking boots truly stand apart from the rest due to their unbeatable waterproofing. The Nubuck leather upper and 3D Flex Ankle Hinge also provide excellent comfort as the leather is stiff enough to provide support and flexible enough to mold to the shape of your foot for a more customized fit.

The leather that attaches to the lacing system of the Nucleo High is built to last, making this one of the most durable boots we tested. Perhaps the only downsides to these modern hikers are their heavy weight, lack of breathability, and price tag. To be fair, many of the boots that we tested are trail runner/hiking boot hybrids and are focused on high performance in a less durable design. Also, leather is a more expensive and durable material than synthetic mesh. The bottom line is that our testers are confident that the features will make the price tag entirely worthwhile in the long run. These boots are excellent for the local trails or extended backpacking trips in wet conditions. We have reviewed several other waterproof boots that didn't earn quite as high of a score, including the Hoka Anacapa 2 Mid GTX and the Oboz Bridger, that are great alternative options if you are having trouble finding your size or you come across a good deal.

Read more: La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX review

This nubuck leather boot impressed our testers with its exceptional warmth and waterproofing during spring snow removal tasks.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Well-Priced High Performance


Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-Tex - Women's


78
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 7.0
  • Support 8.0
  • Traction 9.0
  • Water Resistance 8.0
  • Weight 7.6
  • Durability 7.0
Weight: 1.72 pounds | Upper: Synthetic, textile, rubber
REASONS TO BUY
Breathable yet still waterproof
Durable
Relatively lightweight
Versatile
Great price-to-performance ratio
REASONS TO AVOID
Longer break-in period
Bulky laces

The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-Tex is perfect for those seeking versatile performance within a modern hiking boot. This boot sheds the weight and bulk of a traditional hiker in exchange for a light synthetic upper that increases comfort with every mile. Though the boot favors those with a wide foot, an aftermarket insole can be a game-changer for those who prefer a narrow fit. The waterproof upper is on par with other high performers in this review and is far more breathable than the leather options we tested.

While we understand that this boot receives mixed reviews, both our current lead tester (who has a narrow foot with a high arch) and our former lead tester (who has a wide foot with a neutral arch) agree that this boot is one of the top contenders. The X Ultra 4 offers the best of both worlds. It provides the lightweight design you'd expect from a trail running shoe with enough support and stability for those looking to tackle multiple days in the backcountry, with or without a heavy pack, even on technical and demanding trails. If you're in the market for a top-tier boot and value comfort above all, the Teva Grandview GTX Mid is a solid choice.

Read more: Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-Tex review

If you love the idea of a boot that can do it all, from easy day hikes to rugged multi-day backpacking trips, the X Ultra 4 is one to seriously consider.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Fast and Light


Scarpa Rush 2 Mid GTX - Women's


77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 8.0
  • Support 7.0
  • Traction 8.0
  • Water Resistance 8.0
  • Weight 8.2
  • Durability 7.0
Weight: 1.61 pounds | Upper: Recycled mesh, recycled microfiber
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight
All-day comfort
Solid traction in various terrain
Excellent shock absorption
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Only one metal hook for ankle support
Not built for extensive travel off-trail

The Scarpa Rush 2 Mid GTX offers the lightweight performance, agility, shock absorption, and all-day comfort you'd expect from your favorite trail running shoe combined with a substantial amount of support and padding surrounding the ankle. This boot is built for those looking to shed the additional weight and bulk of a leather hiker in order to focus on light and fast mountain adventures. The recycled content found in the waterproof mesh upper not only kept our feet dry during every submersion test but actually breathed well enough to be worn in the alpine during the heat of summer.

Though we experienced no issues with this iteration of the Rush Mid GTX, the synthetic mesh upper will not offer the same durability as a leather hiker. Therefore, we recommend sticking to trails that are a little more maintained rather than forging your own path cross-country through significant talus and scree. Furthermore, the boot only features one metal hook for ankle support, but wrapping the laces twice around this hook effectively locks the ankle in place with or without the weight of a pack. Of all the lightweight hiking boots we tested, this boot stood out for its out-of-the-box comfort, excellent stability, solid traction, and breathable, waterproof performance. If you like the idea of a wider toe box, the Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid 2 accommodates wider feet and is also exceptionally light.

Read more: Scarpa Rush 2 Mid GTX review

In both spring runoff conditions and submersion tests, the recycled mesh upper effectively repelled water, ensuring dry feet.
Credit: Lisa Coleman

Best Hiking Boot Under $100


Columbia Crestwood - Women's


71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 7.0
  • Support 7.5
  • Traction 7.0
  • Water Resistance 8.0
  • Weight 7.1
  • Durability 5.0
Weight: 1.8 pounds | Upper: Leather, mesh, and webbing
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable
Available in regular and wide fits
Breathable waterproof performance
Affordable
Excellent traction
REASONS TO AVOID
Sizing runs small
Design is subject to durability issues

The Columbia Crestwood is a great choice for those seeking performance at a price that won't break the bank. These boots feature a flexible and primarily mesh waterproof upper that offers comfort directly from the box. The rather lightweight design features just the right amount of padding for the tongue to easily nest inside the ankle cuff before tightening the lacing system for a supportive fit without excessive bulky padding. The waterproof performance never let us down, whether we were negotiating snow fields or submerging the boots in rivers, to carefully monitor their performance. The multi-directional tread pattern was perfect for slippery boulders and trails though the lug pattern lacked the depth to really grip in sandy terrain.

Though we didn't experience any issues during our spring testing period, we can't help but wonder if the only caveat to this design is its lack of durability. The lacing system is constructed from mesh attachments without any eyelet to re-lace the boot should the mesh attachment fail. Therefore, we recommend reversing the final lace of the boot near the ankle to reduce the torque when you tighten the laces. We also can't help but wonder how long the threads on the mesh upper will withstand use and abuse on technical trails that often have sharp rocks and tree branches. Therefore, we recommend sticking to well-maintained trail systems for day hikes or overnight adventures. Overall, this boot packs a ton of performance that's available for an affordable price. If you're willing to make a larger investment for a burlier boot with a bit more traction, the Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP is also on our budget-friendly shortlist.

Read more: Columbia Crestwood review

Hiking boots like the Crestwood offer a ton of value and performance, yet are available for an affordable price.
Credit: Gus Landefeld

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
84
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX - Women's
Best Overall Women's Hiking Boots
$199
Editors' Choice Award
83
Hoka Kaha 2 GTX - Women's
Maximum Cushioned Comfort
$240
Top Pick Award
79
La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX - Women's
Best Waterproof Protection
$239
Top Pick Award
78
Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-Tex - Women's
Well-Priced High Performance
$175
Top Pick Award
77
Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid 2 - Women's
Best Choice for Wider Feet
$180
Top Pick Award
77
Scarpa Rush 2 Mid GTX - Women's
Fast and Light
$219
Top Pick Award
76
Hoka Anacapa 2 Mid GTX - Women's
$195
76
Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof - Women's
$200
75
Teva Grandview GTX Mid - Women's
$175
75
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid - Women's
$255
72
Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP - Women's
Best Bang for Your Buck
$150
Best Buy Award
72
Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex - Women's
$230
71
Columbia Crestwood - Women's
Best Hiking Boot Under $100
$90
Best Buy Award
70
Salomon Outpulse Mid Gore-Tex - Women's
$165
69
Keen Zionic Waterproof Mid - Women's
$170
67
Keen Targhee III Mid - Women's
$165
62
Salewa Alpenrose 2 Mid GTX
$190
55
Danner Mountain 600 - Women's
$190
54
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped - Women's
$100
53
NORTIV 8 Waterproof - Women's
$60

hiking boots womens - heading out onto the trail to test some of the highest quality and...
Heading out onto the trail to test some of the highest quality and most popular hiking boots for women available today.
Credit: Eric Bissell

How We Test Women's Hiking Boots


In the past decade, we've tested over 60 different pairs of women's hiking boots. For this review, we spent 250+ hours on the trail, evaluating the performance of each boot in the most demanding conditions. Breaking in dozens of pairs of hiking boots has given us plenty of experience in evaluating each model's overall comfort and support. Our lineup of boots went on overnight searches looking for lost hikers in remote corners of Yosemite National Park, assessing traction and stability. Stream crossings and slushy, early-winter snowstorms were great grounds for testing these boots' ability to keep feet dry and gain purchase on varying surfaces. We even wore the less comfortable boots for miles to report our findings, so you don't have to discover a boot's discomfort the hard way. We hope our findings help you to identify the best hiking boot for your next adventure.

Our traction testing of the La Sportiva Raptor on steep granite.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Our hiking boot testing is divided across six rating metrics:
  • Comfort (25% of overall score weighting)
  • Support (25% weighting)
  • Traction (15% weighting)
  • Water Resistance (15% weighting)
  • Weight (10% weighting)
  • Durability (10% weighting)

To find out more about our testing process, see our full How We Test article.

Why Trust GearLab


This review is brought to you by Trish Matheny. After growing up in Oklahoma, Trish has spent the last fifteen years of her life primarily in the wilderness, traveling all over the world. She cut her teeth in the Wind River Range, Tetons, Beartooths, Absarokas, and the Eastern Sierra Nevada, just to name a few of her favorites. Trish primarily learns through trial and error and is happy to share her successes and failures when it comes to finding the best boot to support your hiking experience.

After striking a rock on our second day of testing, we noticed the...
After striking a rock on our second day of testing, we noticed the significant impact to the softer sole of the Anacapa.
The only wear and tear on the Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid 2 was on...
The only wear and tear on the Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid 2 was on the sole of the boot after all those miles.
Ample cushion underfoot and a well-padded ankle on the Trailventure...
Ample cushion underfoot and a well-padded ankle on the Trailventure 2 offers a ton of comfort for those with a wider feet - we just wish there was more padding over the Achilles.
We've tested over all kinds of terrain and in every imaginable condition to bring you honest and well-considered assessments.

Analysis and Test Results


After extensive field testing and online research, we are confident in our evaluation of the hiking boots in this review. We've summarized all of our findings below to help you gauge which one is the right hiking boot for you. Our scoring method involves comparing each product relative to the others in this review.


Value


In addition to all of our testing criteria, most of us factor a product's cost into our purchase decisions. We often wonder if something is “worth” what we are paying and if a larger price tag equals better quality. Frequently, a higher price does correlate to better quality materials, craftsmanship, and design, but sometimes solid performance can be acquired for less. Often it is the addition of brand-name materials such as Gore-Tex waterproof liners and Vibram rubber outsoles that will tack on extra cost for the manufacturer and, subsequently, you. Some manufacturers have started using a proprietary rubber or waterproofing material to cut down on these costs. Though the name-brand components have proven very effective in our tests, we've also been thoroughly impressed with most brands' proprietary waterproof liners and outsoles.

hiking boots womens - if you're looking to save money, it's hard to beat the value of the...
If you're looking to save money, it's hard to beat the value of the Merrell Moab 3 Mid WP.
Credit: Trinity Robinson

Synthetic running shoe and hiking boot hybrids like the Salomon Outpulse Mid Gore-Tex offer ample comfort, support, and waterproof capabilities in exchange for a reasonably low price tag. We're also pleased to see that the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II rings up much lower in price than several other models in this review while performing at the highest level. The Merrell Moab 3 Mid-WP is another tried and true boot with a very reasonable price tag, though it's less technically inclined. If there's one thing we've learned over the years testing boots and outdoor gear in general, it's that price alone does not guarantee performance or satisfaction. Take the Columbia Crestwood for instance; this lightweight and super affordable hiking boot offers a ton of performance that's suitable for well-maintained trails, and it's available for less than $100. Allow price and our detailed assessments to help guide you to the right boot for you and your wallet.

hiking boots womens - the outpulse mid is an affordable option that provides enough...
The Outpulse Mid is an affordable option that provides enough support and comfort for day hikes and short backpacking trips.
Credit: Lisa Coleman


Comfort


Comfort is typically the most important consideration for boots. If you sense discomfort in the fit, sizing, or performance of a pair of boots when you first put them on, it might be worth trying some different options. A comfortable boot for one person can be a living nightmare for another. Someone with a narrow foot might never get a good fit (and therefore feel discomfort) in a wider cut pair, like the Keen Targhee III Mid or the Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid 2. The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid Gore-tex has plenty of room in the forefoot for wide-footed hikers, as well. We have rated each pair of boots based on overall comfort while noting potentially uncomfortable design features. We focus on padding, supportive comfort, materials, lacing systems, and how our feet felt after many miles on the trail.


While we recognize the Altra Lone Peak Mid 2 for its phenomenal support, this unique zero-drop boot is also one of the most comfortable options in our review. In most cases, comfort and support go hand-in-hand. The cushioned sole that provides a stable base also offers unparalleled comfort. We also like how the lacing system and the upper design work together to pull everything snug against the ankle. That said, this design, while comfortable right out of the box, might also take some getting used to, as the 0mm drop places the forefoot and heel at the same height. This creates better alignment for your body, but it's also very normal to feel some soreness in the calves while getting used to this profile, as many shoes are not constructed this way.

hiking boots womens - altra's original foot shape features a roomy toebox that...
Altra's original foot shape features a roomy toebox that accommodates a wider range of foot shapes, offering increased comfort for both wide and narrow feet.
Credit: Trish Matheny

The Hoka brand is known for their iconic midsole cushion — these shoes and boots offer maximum comfort thanks to 2+ inches underfoot. One of the highest performers in this metric is the Hoka Kaha 2 GTX, which features over two inches of thick and durable foam underfoot. When standing on our feet all day for work obligations or taking on more committing backcountry objectives, this quickly became our go-to. Another impressive Hoka model is the HOKA Anacapa 2 Mid GTX, which is a lighter weight, mesh, and nubuck leather combination allowing for a greater range of motion without sacrificing that plush Hoka cushion. The Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX is impressively comfortable but has a more streamlined, sleek profile conducive to hiking through talus and alpine terrain. While less burly than other boots we tested, we appreciated the immediate comfort of the Teva Grandview GTX Mid and the Keen Zionic Waterproof Mid. The Grandview especially gave us a spring in our step thanks to plush cushioning underfoot and a design that offers support without being rigid.

The Ultra Raptor II are comfortable for a wide range of foot shapes...
The Ultra Raptor II are comfortable for a wide range of foot shapes but also available for order in a wide fit.
A seriously padded outsole and ankle cuff create the ultimate...
A seriously padded outsole and ankle cuff create the ultimate experience in comfort.
Springy cushion, flexible stability, solid traction, and waterproof...
Springy cushion, flexible stability, solid traction, and waterproof performance make this boot an excellent choice for the great outdoors.
A comfortable boot will allow you to push your adventure as far as the rest of you wants to go.


A lot of our assessment of comfort comes down to personal preference, but construction, materials, and design all play a strong role here, too. Some people find that stiffer soles provide more comfort, while others prefer a more flexible ride. For the most part, this comes down to the type of terrain you plan on traveling most in your boots (i.e., talus, smooth trails, mud, steep and rocky, etc.). On a smooth dirt path, a boot with a thin sole will likely be sufficient. However, in rocky terrain, a thin sole and flexible forefoot may cause pain and sensitivity over time. Difficult terrain generally calls for stiff soles, while smoother terrain is best matched with a softer, flexible sole.

hiking boots womens - the salomon x ultra 4 mid are stable and supportive enough for...
The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid are stable and supportive enough for rugged desert terrain like this.
Credit: Alexa Flower

Adjustability in the lacing system factors into our comfort evaluation as well. Being able to lock your foot into place within the boot can increase comfort in difficult terrain, and some lacing systems are better at this than others. The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid has an adjustable lacing system that can be tweaked to provide more support in the ankle than the foot. There's a locking mechanism at the flexing part of the foot that leads to more comfort. The Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex and the La Sportiva Nucleo also feature this lace lock and some seriously substantial laces. Again, having adjustability in the midfoot is key for wide-footed hikers, so make sure to check the range of the boots you're considering if your foot shape requires it.

The La Sportiva Nucleo's tall ankle design offers exceptional support while remaining flexible for natural movement and agility on the trail.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Support


Boot support is determined by sole stiffness, midsole construction, arch support, and forefoot flexibility. The height of the boot also lends support to the ankles and feet — the higher the ankle shaft, the more stable and supported the ankles will feel. This ankle height is the main difference between a hiking boot and a hiking shoe regarding support. For rugged trails where the ankle is prone to roll, boots with relatively high ankle heights are optimal, along with effective lacing systems. Stability is another important aspect of this metric. All of the boots in this review have a stiff sole that limits flexion under the ball of the foot and lateral flexibility through the midsole.


Overall, boots like the Hoka Kaha 2 GTX and the Altra Lone Peak Mid 2 provide more support for the feet and ankles than almost any other models we tested. The Kaha 2 features padded ankle support and a rubberized EVA midsole, while the Lone Peak offers the Altra EGO midsole and a 5mm cushioned footbed. Both lacing systems are incredibly durable and run from the forefoot to the top of the mid-rise padded ankle, allowing for two durable laces that cross over each other, stabilizing the ankle while in motion. While the 0mm drop Balanced Cushioning of the Lone Peak can take some getting used to, the Altra EGO midsole achieves the responsiveness of a trail running shoe with the support and stability of a hiking boot. Differently, the 2+ inches of foam in the Kaha 2 design take some adjustment over time, teaching our testers to lift their foot higher when stepping over debris to avoid tripping. Ultimately, we gave higher scores to the Kaha 2 than the Hoka Anacapa 2 Mid due to the difference in the shoe's base. While the Kaha 2 has a wider base for increased stability, the Anacapa 2 Mid is a long and narrow design that didn't inspire as much confidence underfoot.

Healthy flex under the metatarsals in addition to a secure and...
Healthy flex under the metatarsals in addition to a secure and durable lacing system help support both the foot and ankle in the Lone Peak.
Three burly metal lacing hooks create a customized fit that truly...
Three burly metal lacing hooks create a customized fit that truly holds your foot in place.
Good support and stability are important considerations, especially for long days or with a lot of weight on your back.


The Oboz Bridger Mid Waterproof was also a high performer here, thanks to nylon shanks and thermoplastic urethane forefoot plates. We felt very little side-to-side movement, and no matter the terrain, we felt safe and secure. Thick ankle padding and soles, coupled with rugged toe caps, make for an impressive hiker when the going gets rough.

hiking boots womens - 360-degree stability is the name of the game with the bridger mid.
360-degree stability is the name of the game with the Bridger Mid.
Credit: Alexa Flower

Another high achiever in this category is the La Sportiva Nucleo, which offers the support of a more traditional hiking boot but with flexible Nubuck leather for a better range of motion. We felt stable and supported yet remained agile even off trail. On the other end of the spectrum, the Salomon Quest 4 almost feels like a mountaineering boot in terms of stiffness, which may be too much support for some situations and preferences.

hiking boots womens - with padded support that extends over the ankle, in addition to...
With padded support that extends over the ankle, in addition to compression-molded midsoles, the Nucleo offers the support you need for extended time on the trails.
Credit: Steve Mace

The Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 Gore-Tex scores well for support because it has a sleek but still cushioned ankle and a very supportive sole. These boots strike a happy medium between the ultra-stiff Salomon Quest and less burly models like the Salomon Outpulse. Boots like the Merrell Moab 3 Mid, the Teva Grandview GTX Mid, and the Keen Zionic Speed have lower ankle heights and offer less support than those with a taller shaft.

hiking boots womens - though very comfortable for shorter hikes with a lighter pack, the...
Though very comfortable for shorter hikes with a lighter pack, the Grandview has less support than those with a taller ankle shaft.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Traction


Tread on the soles of footwear acts similarly to tread on a bike or car tire. The pattern, spacing, density, and depth affect purchase, stability, and handling. The majority of the brands you'll see in this review use some form of Vibram or ContraGrip rubber for their outsoles, hence the excellent performance by so many options. Vibram MegaGrip is becoming a favorite among many top brands, and in our testing, these outsoles received some of the highest scores in our metric comparisons.


Tread patterns that have spaced lugs in variable patterns manage dirt, sand, mud, and snow by pushing them out from the bottom of the shoe. When these accumulate on the bottom of shoes and boots, it is a result of poor tread design and depth. Semi-aggressive to aggressive tread patterns are found on most hiking boots. Well-placed lugs can also provide additional stability and support on uneven terrain, making for a more stable walking experience. Though this plays more into the support metric, it is worth noting that lugs and tread patterns have a large impact on the overall performance of a boot.

hiking boots womens - a variety of tread patterns is shown here. some brands use...
A variety of tread patterns is shown here. Some brands use proprietary rubber compounds, while others use products like Contragrip and Vibram.
Credit: Jane Jackson

Boots that received the highest scores in traction were able to stick to rocks and talus, handle themselves in wet and muddy conditions, and protect the foot from debris. The Hoka Kaha 2 and the Hoka Anacapa 2, for example, performed well in this metric due to their Vibram Megagrip rubber soles. The Salewa Alpenrose 2 Mid has an intricate and aggressive tread pattern that provides traction in wet, muddy conditions as well as rock slabs. Salewa uses a Pomoca rubber compound for its outsole, and they work very well. Speaking of wet and muddy conditions, we found the Duratread rubber (and water-resistant bootie) of the Altra Lone Peak Mid to aid in forward progress at the change of season when the snow melts and the mud gets thick.

hiking boots womens - altra's updated maxtrac outsole on the lone peak features a...
Altra's updated MaxTrac outsole on the Lone Peak features a redesigned lug pattern with additional tread under the big toe. This enhancement provides an improved grip on technical and rocky terrain.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Another unique favorite of our testing team is the Scarpa Rush 2 Mid GTX, which features a PRESA rubber outsole with Supergum rubber compound and a strategic tread pattern that maximizes grip and agility on the most technical trails.

hiking boots womens - the intricate design of the rush 2's presa supergum rubber outsole...
The intricate design of the Rush 2's PRESA SuperGum rubber outsole. Note the different tread patterns for optimized grip and the braking system for secure footing.
Credit: Lisa Coleman

High performers like the Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX also feature innovative technology combinations such as the Fixion XF 2.0 rubber outsoles, a Trail Bite Heel, and an Impact Brake System Axis. That's a mouthful, but the technology worked to give us the confidence to move over any terrain. Another impressive La Sportiva model in regards to traction is the Nucleo, which features Vibram Nano XS-Trek rubber on the outsole that ensures confidence with every step, whether moving through mud, ice, snow, slippery granite, you name it.

hiking boots womens - features like a fixion xf 2.0 rubber outsoles and trail bite heel...
Features like a Fixion XF 2.0 rubber outsoles and Trail Bite Heel, kept us sure-footed on the trail.
Credit: Steve Mace


It is also good to think about the types of surfaces you travel over when looking at different boots' tread patterns. Overall, deeper lug depths, like those on the Lowa Renegade GTX and the Keen Targhee III, provide more traction than boots with a less aggressive tread.

hiking boots womens - the use of vibram rubber makes the renegade a sticky shoe on granite...
The use of Vibram rubber makes the Renegade a sticky shoe on granite slabs and boulders.
Credit: Alexa Flower

Salomon also really nails it in terms of tread pattern on the X Ultra 4 Mid. This boot grips hard surfaces and digs into loose sediment better than any others in our lineup, thanks to the multi-directional chevron lug pattern that performs especially well on steep descents. Another worthy mention here is the Oboz Bridger Mid, which features very aggressive lugs that have proved excellent on all kinds of trails.

hiking boots womens - salomon's x ultra 4 features a contagrip rubber outsole with a...
Salomon's X Ultra 4 features a Contagrip rubber outsole with a chevron tread pattern. Thanks to its superior grip, this design excels on diverse terrain.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Water Resistance


To measure water resistance, we wore each pair of boots through creek crossings up to five inches in depth. We first tested each boot while walking from one side of the shore to the other without stopping, and we're happy to report that most of the models in our review succeeded. Then, we examined the water resistance when fully submerged in water up to the flood level of the boot while standing in place. Within just a few minutes, while submerged in inches of standing water, all of the boots began to absorb water, and some even leaked through the “waterproof” upper.


Boots with tall shaft heights, like the La Sportiva Nucleo High and the Salomon Quest 4 Gore-Tex, easily withstood deeper creek crossings. The taller the ankle shaft height, the better chance you can keep your feet dry in seriously wet conditions — no real surprise there. The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II and the Salomon X Ultra Mid 4 are both great, lightweight waterproof options. And all-leather boots, like the Lowa Renegade GTX and the Oboz Bridger, are solid choices, but the La Sportiva Nucleo impressed our testers the most. Featuring Nano-Cells technology and an unparalleled Gore-Tex-surround membrane, these boots kept our feet dry and allowed moisture to escape the boot for increased comfort on the trail. Not only did our feet remain dry, but the membrane also kept our feet warm, which we appreciated during the winter, making this boot one of our favorites during some of the coldest weather conditions.

hiking boots womens - la sportiva nucleo high gtx impressed with its exceptional...
La Sportiva Nucleo High GTX impressed with its exceptional waterproofing, a key feature for keeping feet dry and comfortable on the trail.
Credit: Steve Mace

The Gore-Tex waterproof membranes used on the Lowa Renegade and the Salomon X Ultra 4 are comparable in breathability to the eVent liners of the Altra Lone Peak Mid 2. In other words, both the Gore-Tex and eVent liners are impressively waterproof but can often be too hot during the summer months. The Gore-Tex Extended Comfort treatment found on the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II provided superior waterproof protection while also releasing moisture. While these waterproof membranes can limit breathability, we found that all of the liners were adequate in keeping water out — our feet remained mostly wicked and dry, depending on the time of year and the thickness of the sock that we chose for that day's adventure. Breathable mesh panels on the sides of the boots and tongues help to increase airflow and help maintain dry, comfortable conditions inside.

hiking boots womens - impressive waterproof protection on the ultra raptor ii mid thanks...
Impressive waterproof protection on the Ultra Raptor II Mid thanks to Gore-Tex Extended Comfort technology.
Credit: Steve Mace


When evaluating the Hoka boots, we couldn't help but notice the difference in airflow between the Kaha 2 and the Anacapa 2. Though both boots have a Gore-Tex waterproof treatment combined with a Nubuck leather upper, the Anacapa 2 offers more breathability, thanks to the addition of a recycled polyester mesh that combines with the Nubuck leather upper and surrounds the ankle collar. Though still somewhat less breathable due to the waterproof protection, we at least noticed more air could permeate the sportier design of the Anacapa 2.

hiking boots womens - the gore-tex laminate membrane on the anacapa 2 performed well...
The Gore-Tex laminate membrane on the Anacapa 2 performed well during our submersion test in the Tuolumne river.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Similar to the breathable performance we noticed in the mesh design of the Anacapa 2 is the Columbia Crestwood. This affordable boot performed well whether we were crossing lingering snow fields or submerging the boot in a stream in order to assess how well they measured up. Featuring a primarily mesh upper and a 4" flood height from the sole of the boot, these boots allowed our feet to breathe more efficiently while navigating hot days on the trails. They also don't have a ton of excess padding in the tongue or the ankle cuff, which also enhances overall breathability.

hiking boots womens - the columbia crestwood performed well, whether we were navigating...
The Columbia Crestwood performed well, whether we were navigating snow or submerging the boot in a stream. Excess moisture would simply bead off the waterproof coating on the mesh upper.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Leather models provide a heavier feel than mesh and synthetic uppers commonly found on hiking shoes, thus offering less breathability. The Keen Targhee III Mid delivers the protection of a leather boot while having enough mesh to remain breathable, which sets it apart from other fully leather models in this review. Breathability is an essential consideration for mid-summer hiking in hot climates. If you intend to hike mostly in dry climates and regions, a pair of boots that do not have a waterproof lining (but instead feature mesh on the uppers) may be the most comfortable option. Most of the models that we reviewed are available in both waterproof and non-waterproof versions. It's important to realize that waterproof liners can also increase the time required for the boots to fully dry, especially if they end up wet on the inside. It's worth noting that in our quest to find the ultimate budget friendly hiking boot, we discovered that the NORTIV 8 Waterproof does an excellent job of keeping your feet dry. Sadly, it earned such a poor overall score that the only reason we would recommend buying this shoe is if water resistance is by far and away the most important purchasing factor for you and you're shopping on a shoestring budget.

Once feet become wet, they are prone to blisters and hot spots. If you intend to hike in a region that could get your feet wet, bring an extra pair of socks. Keeping your feet dry is aided by choosing the best boots for your intended uses, as well as noticing when your feet become wet and attending to them.

Weight


Weight is an important thing to consider when purchasing any piece of outdoor gear, particularly your footwear. The old saying that weight on the feet translates five-fold on the back is pretty spot on, and who wants to feel dragged down by their feet when hiking? While hiking boots are typically heavier than hiking shoes, the difference between the two categories is becoming less and less significant. This is great for those of us who prefer to hike in a full boot but are not into the stiff, rigid, and heavy construction of the traditional models from years past. Backpackers and thru-hikers delight.


Boots like the Altra Lone Peak Mid 2, Keen Zionic, and Salomon Outpulse toe the line between a hiking boot and an athletic trail running shoe. These boots all have impressively low weights, which is significant, especially considering they all hold their own in other metrics as well. Many of our testers and friends are stoked that boot design is trending toward lighter models because a light boot feels nimble and makes boulder hopping and off-trail travel feel all the better. A perfect example of this lightweight performance is the Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX; at only 1.68 pounds, it offers the comfort of a running shoe along with the support and waterproof durability that you'd expect from a hiking boot.

Weighing in at only 1.6 pounds, the Outpulse is one of the lightest...
Weighing in at only 1.6 pounds, the Outpulse is one of the lightest boots that we tested.
The Ultra Raptor offers a ton of comfort, support, and durability...
The Ultra Raptor offers a ton of comfort, support, and durability within a lightweight and modern design.
We measure every boot we test to confirm manufacturer claims.


Weighing only 1.61 pounds per pair, the Scarpa Rush 2 Mid GTX features high performance in a lightweight and agile package. We found this boot to be much more flexible and far less rigid than the Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX, so we recommend sticking to well-maintained trails rather than forging your own path through burly and aggressive off-trail terrain.

hiking boots womens - the rush 2 was one of the lighter models that delivered such high...
The Rush 2 was one of the lighter models that delivered such high performance.
Credit: Trish Matheny

We also considered each pair's weight on the trail; while some boots weighed less than others, the lighter models did not always feel the most nimble. The low end of this weight spectrum continues to decrease. Boots like the Salewa Alpenrose 2 Mid GTX also fall into this trend toward lighter with a running shoe-inspired design. We tend to prefer lighter boots for most situations, though there is a use for the heavier durability and support of boots like the Lowa Renegade, Hoka Kaha 2, and Salomon Quest 4 that allow for extended travel through cross-country terrain.

hiking boots womens - while the kaha 2 gtx may be slightly heavier than some competitors...
While the Kaha 2 GTX may be slightly heavier than some competitors, testers felt the extra weight was outweighed by the benefits of the shoe's performance features.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Durability


While companies can cut down on weight by choosing lightweight materials, this sometimes results in a sacrifice to long-term durability. A full leather boot will typically last longer than a shoe made from synthetic leather and mesh. Lightweight boots generally require a shorter break-in period and are more comfortable when trekking long distances (when compared to a clunky heavyweight boot). Most of these boots have a longer lifespan than, say, a standard running shoe, though the lightweight mesh options won't last as long as a full-blown leather boot.


It is challenging to fully assess the durability of a boot after only three months of use. If a model doesn't last through our official testing period, the manufacturer likely needs to do some serious re-evaluation. Nearly all of the boots in this review come from reputable brands that generally make solid, durable goods. For our favorite models, we continue wearing them for years to report back on their long-term durability.

hiking boots womens - the most durable of all the synthetic models, the la sportiva ultra...
The most durable of all the synthetic models, the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II features a protective toe cap and an abrasion resistant air mesh upper.
Credit: Steve Mace

Overall, we are pleased with the durability of all of the models reviewed and believe they can last for a couple of seasons or more when seeing regular use. We continue to put miles on our favorite models after formal testing ends to see how they hold up long-term, too. For example, a previous pair of the Salomon X Ultra 3 lasted over 300 miles and was only replaced because Salomon came out with their 4th iteration of this boot, not due to wear. While we don't expect synthetic uppers to last as long as leather ones in general, we've seen these boots time and time again last several hundreds of miles.

hiking boots womens - our thorough testing of the x ultra 4 revealed no problems with its...
Our thorough testing of the X Ultra 4 revealed no problems with its durability.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Our testing period provides a standard period where we can assess each boot's overall performance. Minor signs of wear and tear include wear marks on the widest part of the toe box, failures or weaknesses in the lacing system, and subtle delamination issues on the upper or sole. The models with all-leather uppers tend to be more durable because they have fewer seams (commonly, the first place to show weakness). All leather boots, such as the Lowa Renegade GTX, the Hoka Kaha 2, and the La Sportiva Nucleo stand up to wear quite well.

hiking boots womens - the renegade is one of the more substantial and long-lasting boots...
The Renegade is one of the more substantial and long-lasting boots we've tested.
Credit: Alexa Flower

Conclusion


We hope this information helps guide you toward the perfect boots for your next outdoor endeavor. There are hundreds of options out there, and we've whittled our list down to these top-performing contenders. Investing in a solid pair of boots can improve your hiking experience immensely, so take your time and make sure you settle on the right pair that suits your needs. Happy hiking!

Trish Matheny