10 Best Hiking Shoes For Women in 2021
If you are like us, you would prefer to don the ideal pair for your daily excursions in the backcountry. Having tested over 300 stellar hiking shoes for women, we give you top-of-the-line trail kicks that can level up your game out in the wild.
Do you need something agile yet fully capable of hauling a moderately heavy pack? Or maybe a hiker that underscores well-roundedness? What about an ultra-affordable shoe? Whatever you need, we got them all down below.
Overview of this guide
How we choose the best hiking shoes for women
At RunRepeat, we know full well that female hikers demand trustworthy and unbiased hiking shoe reviews. To be on top of that, we live by the following:
- We buy all women’s hiking shoes with our own funds.
- We hike in every pair under a variety of outdoor settings, including inclement conditions.
- We gather thousands of expert and user reviews and reflect them in ours.
Each hiking shoe then receives a CoreScore—RunRepeat’s in-house grading system that helps us define and flesh out the best trail hikers for women.
We don’t want to beat around the bush here. Making the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX your go-to kick for your everyday adventures would be the best hiking decision you will ever make!
Core to the X Ultra 4 GTX’s existence is ensuring that you get the most out of it comfort-wise. Yes, this sweet, sweet shoe will pamper your gentle tootsies from hour zero. And while it equals the men’s version when it comes to overall plushness, the women’s pair definitely knocks it out of the park with its cushy footbed!
Are you afraid of losing balance on the trail? Well, you can quell your worries in the X Ultra 4 GTX. Supremely stable underfoot (especially around the arch, this fantastic hiker dealt with rocks and uneven terrain like a real queen!
Extraordinarily grippy—is what we call the X Ultra 4 GTX’s rubber outsole. Its sticky tread pattern and aggressive lugs ensured our safety on pebbly terrain and muddy inclines alike. Going down soft-soiled and grassy slopes was also pretty confidence-inspiring in this Salomon kick.
This gem of a boot also left us in awe on the waterproofing front. Yes, much like most Gore-Tex shoes, the X Ultra 4 GTX fenced out all manners of moisture throughout our wet-weather outings!
A nimble piece that can cut through rough terrain? Yes, and that’s the Spire GTX from La Sportiva!
Whether on groomed trails or rugged ground, the Spire GTX made our jaws drop. Indeed, this fine alternative tour top pick dug itself to the terrain below us like a boss. There was not an instance when we felt uneasy about tackling inclines either, as the shoe’s toothy studs and clawing heel brake gave us all the control we required.
And golly, is the Spire GTX’s cushy heel amazingly springy or what!? Our landings felt as safe as ever thanks to it, and striding with it on man-made surfaces felt like a blessing from above!
The La Sportiva Spire GTX didn’t disappoint in the area of impermeability, either. Light splashes were kept fenced out during our walks across puddles, and we also encountered no seepage in moderate rain. A super-reliable Gore-Tex hiker the Spire GTX is indeed!
The Spire GTX’s enviable performance has the level of comfort to match, too. We give its padded heel extra credit in this regard.
At $190 (MSRP), the Spire GTX might be a tough sell for some. That said, the many aces it has up sleeve make the shoe in question a big win nonetheless!
Slip on the OUTline GTX and be the sleek hiking lady ninja that you’ve always wanted to be!
Crazy light at 300 g per shoe, the Salomon OUTline GTX can slip past many an obstacle, be it on trails or roads, with elegant quickness. This obvious lightness, coupled with the shoe’s ergonomically engineered sole unit, boosted our every stride.
The OUTline GTX’s Contagrip outsole made our speedy escapades on various terrain as secure as can be. The studs built on it latched on to sandy banks, moist mulch, and slightly muddy ground with little-to-no effort.
Equally convincing is the Salomon OUTline GTX’s MSRP of no more than $130. Sure, there are far more affordable offerings out there, but the shoe’s cunning speed and inclement weather protection bring forth undeniable value.
Speaking of weather protection, the OUTline GTX made our mildly rainy adventures fun through and through. And by fun, we mean not a drop gave us moist, wrinkly feet!
Now, our test-focused rides wouldn’t have been that enjoyable had it not been for the OUTline GTX’s from-the-box comfort. Yes, this speedster made it easy for us by being exceptionally plush everywhere on day one!
Are you a big fan of Adidas? Then sport the Terrex Swift R2 GTX and conquer your favorite trails at half the time!
At around 310 g per kick (yes, it’s heavier than the OUTline GTX by a smidgen), the Terrex Swift R2 GTX can help you bolt across manicured terrain practically unhindered. This impressive lightness does not come at the expense of protection, so you can move fast in it without fearing for your safety.
Just like our top pick for lightness, the Terrex Swift R2 GTX felt amazing on our feet right from the beginning. From its snug yet flexible collar to its oh-so-cushy instep, this exemplary Adidas kick made our pedicured tootsies sing at high notes!
Is the Adidas Terrex Swift R2 GTX waterproof enough? Yes, quite so, even! Granted, we never got too adventurous with it around streams and in puddles. As long as you don’t plunge into something deeper than 3 inches tops, your chic feet should remain dry in it.
Built with a studded outsole from Continental, the Terrex Swift R2 GTX granted us safe passage across bogs, creaks, and muddy hills. Negotiating down slopes was also a reassuring experience in the shoe.
We just wish that the Terrex Swift R2 GTX had a stiffer midsole to protect against sharper rocks.
Now here—the Moab 2 GTX from Merrell—is a real comfort machine, and it’s coming your way in full force!
From its exceedingly plush liner down to its mighty cushy footbed, the Moab 2 GTX felt terrific on our feet from the box. Its padded backrest never gave dug to our heels, and the shoe’s instep didn’t bunch up.
Speaking of its liner, the shoe comes with a Gore-Tex membrane. With it, the Moab 2 GTX crushed it in moderate rains, negating all manners of wetness and keeping our longing-for-a-pedicure feet as dry as possible!
At around 370 g per shoe, the Moab 2 GTX didn’t weigh us down or make us struggle while going uphill. While there are less-weighty options out there, this Merrell kick felt quite light without neglecting support underfoot.
Traction-wise, we were floored by the Moab 2 GTX, too. Its creative tread pattern and multi-angled lugs made our journeys safe and slip-free. Whether on grassy hills, moderately muddy slopes, or wet mulch, the hiker gave us a to-the-nines level of surface traction!
So, if you’re serious about your trail game and comfort is way up high on your hiking needs list, the Moab 2 GTX has to be your “it” shoe!
Are rugged and dusty trails getting you down? Then fight back with the ultra-comfy Danner Trail 2650.
A real showstopper in the summer, the Trail 2650 doesn’t beat around the bush comfort-wise. Right from the start, the shoe made our tootsies walk on cloud nine. We give its midsole extra applause for giving us a springy ride through and through.
Part of the Trail 2650’s excellence in the comfort department is its enviable lightness. Yes, at 255 g per kick (women’s), the shoe nailed it with our bigger, crazier strides. Couple that barely-there weight with the hiker’s anti-sweat breathability, and you got the perfect shoe whenever the sun is high up!
Slip-free hikes were what we got in the Danner Trail 2650, too. On rocky terrain, the shoe glued our feet magnificently. Over damp soil and wet rock, the kick’s rubber outsole kept our momentum in high gear.
On uneven ground, the Trail 2650 also gave us as much support and stability as we needed. Basically, everything underfoot worked for our cause, allowing us to reach the tail end of our adventure scot-free.
We’d tell hikers with broad feet to get the shoe in wide, though, as the Trail 2650 can be a tad restrictive in regular.
Best for backpacking
Out of the literal hundreds of women’s hiking shoes we’ve put through the test, we have to give the Targhee II the highest praise on the backpacking front!
With its rigid-yet-comfy midsole, the Targhee II gave us superpowers for our multi-day trek. By superpowers we mean high protection underfoot and a long-mileage type of comfort.
In the realm of waterproofing, we can confidently say that the KEEN Targhee II beats out most GTX hikers out there. Armed with a proprietary membrane, the shoe remained impermeable across creeks, puddles, and shallow streams. As long as you don’t wade through waters beyond three inches in depth, your feet will be fine and dry in this trekking shoe.
And what is a heavy-pack-ready KEEN hiking shoe without a grippy outsole? Fortunately, the Targhee II has it, and its blocky and triangular lugs clawed into whatever surface we trampled on. Mossy and muddy routes were also a cakewalk in this fantastic women’s hiker from KEEN.
Equally and undeniably impressive is the Targhee II’s affordability. Indeed, this remarkable backpacking shoe has an MSRP of $130, which is quite a steal in this day and age!
Make your pack travels as fast and worry-free as can be in the Mountain Trainer Lite GTX!
Light at around 370 g per shoe (the women’s average weight is 450 g, by the way), the Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite GTX boosted our pace, even on ascents. Yes, this bad boy is similar in a lot of ways to approach shoes in that it made scrambling a breeze!
This means, of course, that the shoe comes with a super-reliable outsole. Saw-like in design, the lugs on it anchored us in on both dry and muddy terrain. And if you’re a woman and daring downhills excite you, the Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite GTX’s aggressive heel brake will very much oblige!
Like most kicks engineered with Gore-Tex technology, the Salewa Mountain Trainer Lite GTX scooped up no water during our moist-laden trips. Heavier splashes beaded right off it, making our stream-crossings as watertight as possible.
While it’s a bit more expensive than our top pick, the Mountain Trainer Lite GTX’s many strengths made our purchase worthwhile. We just wish its laces were longer, though.
Best budget shoe
Are you in the red but can’t give up your outdoorsy life? We have the best hiker for you—the Moab 2 Ventilator by Merrell!
With an MSRP of $100 a pop, the Moab 2 Ventilator pre-deals will dance to the tune of your quaint budget and more. To put things into perspective, its price tag puts the shoe neck and neck against most rugged sandals on the market.
The Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator, to us, lives up to its name (the Ventilator part). Engineered with a breathable liner, the shoe flushed out heat and wicked away sweat as we dealt with the obstacles in front of us.
And for a budget kick, the Moab 2 Ventilator impressed us so much with its Vibram outsole. We got pretty much the same amount of grip and slip resistance as our time with its Gore-Tex counterpart—the Moab 2 GTX. This means that no semi-slick surface or tricky descents made us lose our footing!
And if you are a thrifty lass like us, you should be delighted to learn that the Moab 2 Ventilator can take a serious beating. Its leather overlays passed our durability tests with flying colors, coming away with only microscopic scratches and mild dents!
Proving itself worthy to be a great second pick price-wise, the Terrex AX3 from Adidas reinforces the saying, “hiking is not an expensive hobby.” Yes, its 80-dollar price tag is one for the books!
Are you tired of experiencing hotspots or sustaining blisters on your initial hikes in a new pair? You’ll get none of that in the Terrex AX3. In our strong opinion, this hiker is among Adidas’ comfiest kicks. It, however, requires a short break-in period (a couple of days, give or take).
Perhaps the aspect about the Terrex AX3 that can really give you the most bang for your buck is its high tenacity. Engineered with a Continental outsole, the shoe granted us safe passage where slippery surfaces were involved—think damp forest floors and slopes around bogs.
Just like our top pick (the Moab Ventilator), the Adidas Terrex AX3 is a force to be reckoned with where temps are in the high 80s. We didn’t sweat in the shoe at all, saving us completely from getting heel or toe blisters!
The Terrex AX3’s arch support could be better, though.