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Summer is the ideal time to take over the great outdoors and explore some new scenery. Whether you’re climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, hiking the trails in your favorite forest or taking a stroll through your lush backyard, you’re going to need a great pair of hiking shoes to help you persevere without any blisters, scratches or aches.
For the thrill-seeking nomad, the best protection against environmental factors stems from the right footwear choice. Below, you’ll find the best hiking shoes, hiking boots and hiking sandals for women, according to reviewers. Plus, learn from a hiking expert on how to choose the appropriate footwear for a great journey to the top.
What should I look for in quality hiking boots?
"When it comes to hiking shoes, you have the option between a boot and a trail runner. You have to ask yourself what is the terrain and what do I need for the type of location you're exploring," shared Chelsea Rizzo, co-founder of the outdoor apparel brand Hikerkind.
Rizzo recommends trail runners for terrains that are not rugged, while hiking boots are better for traversing rocks and other bumpy landscapes.
"I wear low tops and mid-rise trail runners. The mid-rise styles are a great option if you're looking for the security of a hiking boot but the mobility and ability to run," she added.
Finally, much like any pair of footwear you're eager to wear, you'll want to test the shoes before setting out on the trail.
Should you buy hiking shoes a size bigger?
When it comes to sizing, Rizzo always sizes up. She advised going up one size to a size and a half in certain styles. Certain hiking shoes can't go the extra mile, so it's important to change them if they're starting to wear down.
Best hiking sandals
One of the most popular hiking sandals on the market, this functional yet cute pair from Teva has over 5,500 glowing reviews on Zappos. Reviewers love this sandal because it’s comfortable and provides support when doing a lot of walking, so that you don’t have to wear a pair of sneakers while hitting the trails.
You can’t go wrong with a classic Chaco sandal. Not only do they come in a ton of fun colors and patterns, but they’re great for outdoor and in-water activities, too. One Amazon reviewer said, “We hiked, waded through water, climbed inactive volcanoes, walked on cobblestone streets, took them in the ocean, [went] just about everywhere. I had no pain at all.”
Looking for a closed-toed sandal to hike in? Look no further than the Keen Women’s Whisper Sandal, which comes in a ton of colors and sizes. Fans love these because they’re a bit more supportive than an open-toed hiking sandal, but also are airy and light for warmer weather months.
What makes these Kuru sandals so comfortable are their footbed technology and water-ready material to help you take on new heights. With a five-star rating from over 100 shoppers, these sandals are great for those extra humid days thanks to their non-wicking properties. One reviewer said, “These shoes are very well made, sturdy and very comfortable from the first day.”
A great shoe from a classic brand, this pair from Teva is ideal for anyone who is constantly having issues with their feet and needs a super supportive sandal. One reviewer loved how comfortable these were "while on vacation in the Virgin Islands. My feet and ankles felt good and stable through the rocks and loose stones on the trails."
This pair of sandals from Merrell are made with a Vibram outsole for traction in all weather and temperature conditions and are super supportive and easy to strap on and off. Reviewers really love these shoes for summertime, especially when hiking through trails that involve water.
These sandals from Xero are very travel-friendly and will fit in your carry-on easily. Since they’re on the thinner side, they’re great for everyday use, but not so much for wet, muddy trails. One reviewer said, “A lack of stimulation in the feet contributes to a bunch of other physical maladies, and I love that this lets me feel what I'm walking on while still giving me protection.”
Best hiking sneakers
For warmer day hikes when your feet need some extra air, this Adidas pair will give them a breather. The lightweight cushioning, drainage ports and stealth rubber outsole will give your foot confidence to take on water streams.
Rizzo suggested this pair for people with narrow feet that need to feel super secure. The shoe has wider and deeper lugs to help your traverse muddy forests. One customer said these shoes "provide plenty of support but you can feel the trail beneath your feet, and the soles are grippy even on wet rock and roots."
Match the color of the sky with these ultra-comfortable shoes. Rizzo recommended this pair for its zero-drop technology and super-wide footbed, but it's also a favorite amongst shoppers for the extra room on the footbed. Altra's shoes provide their signature Footshape design which accommodates your feet comfortably with wiggle room.
Add a bold statement to your hiking ensemble with this Merrell pair. The rubber outsole will survive any terrain while the cushioning heel provides stability to your foot. Thanks to their low-top design, they can be worn off-trail and on the sidewalks.
"They're comfortable, fully supportive, and seem to stabilize my foot and ankle well," said one verified buyer.
Shoppers love these hiking shoes because they’re not super clunky and get the job done with support. The trail-built sole will grip onto wet and dry terrains, helping you avoid any falls on the trail. Plus, these are great for novice hikers that need breathability and comfort.
A lightweight version of their bestselling Moab shoes, this pair from Merrell is a winner amongst hikers on shorter trail runs. Reviewers love them because they’re never too hot or bulky, and one reviewer said that the shoes “have lots of cushioning, it feels right on my feet and I can already tell it will do the job comfortably [while giving me] support on my daily walks.”
This shoe from Keen is ideal for those who need a bit more heel support. One Amazon reviewer said, “These hiking shoes are rugged and actually a little stylish with the lavender accents. Although they provide firm support, I really find Keen footwear comfortable as they have a wide toe box and are contoured well around the ankle/heel.”
Best hiking boots
If you’re in need of more ankle support during your outdoor hikes, this pair has got you covered. The design combines a durable upper and breathable lining to overcome any physical stretch while hiking. Also, your feet will be protected against bumps thanks to the reinforced outer rubber that protects against impact.
With less than 10 percent of all Amazon reviewers rating this less than four stars, this pick from Columbia is a true winner. Customers love them for their durability and ankle and arch support. One reviewer even said they’re “good for running away from snakes!”
Reviewers love that these kicks are affordable, have great ankle support and are vegan, which is hard to find in a pair of hiking boots. One reviewer said, “These are the best walking boots I've ever owned. As suggested in previous reviews, I bought a size larger which fit perfectly. Great to get such quality vegan boots at a reasonable price.”
Probably the most stylish hiking boot of the bunch, this pair from Danner is made with full-grain leather and will last a very long time. One reviewer said, “They're adorable and very good quality. I wore them on a trip to Norway where we were walking in the city and hiking in the mountains. They were great for all activities.”
Best waterproof hiking boots
There's something chic about brown and bold colors. This feminine boot offers a TimberDry waterproof system to keep your feet dry. Also, the spongy footbed will transport you into a wonderland while on your hilltop journey. Customers recommend sizing up since the toe box is a bit narrow.
If you want to try a minimalist hiking look, this pair from Ryka hits all the right notes. The lace-up boot is made with a waterproof fabric and heel support to deliver long-lasting comfort while trekking.
"The soles have great anti-slip ridges. The ankle support is soft and the shoe is quite comfortable," shared one shopper.
If you're just starting to get into hiking, give this pair a test. For a fraction of the price, you can get great waterproof properties and a supportive boot to help you walk with confidence.
One Amazon reviewer said these boots are, "definitely waterproof, went through a few puddles. Traction is great going through trails with wet leaves everywhere!"
For more stories like this, check out:
- 27 moisture-wicking styles to keep you dry in humid heat
- Planning a road trip? Travel experts say you need to pack these 11 products
- 16 travel backpacks for every kind of summer vacation
- 13 walking sandals made for all-day comfort