6 Best Hiking Shoes For Women in 2023

Jovana Subic
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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.

How we test hiking shoes

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.

Best hiking shoes overall

Danner Trail 2650

What makes it the best?

The Danner Trail 2650 is a supremely comfortable and capable hiking shoe, boasting a heritage and style that’s brought the early 20th century into the 21st these are more than just a statement piece. Grippy and comfortable there’s very little to pick at in the 2650.


  • Lightweight
  • Good grip
  • Incredible midsole
  • Protective TPU shank
  • Excellent lockdown
  • Fits true to size
  • Breathable


  • Ankle support isn’t there
  • No waterproofing
Full review of Danner Trail 2650

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Any color
Gray/Blue/Spectra Yellow (61283)
Brown/Red (61300)
Bronze/Wheat (61284)
Desert Taupe/Picante (61295)
Orange (61274)

Best lightweight hiking shoes

Merrell Moab 3

What makes it the best?

They say "third time's a charm," and for the Moab 3 from Merrell, that is quite the case. Indeed, this third-gen Moab hiker will push you to go further with extraordinary grip, all while charming your feet with plushness all over. Glorious in almost every way, the Moab 3 is also the one to beat when it comes to affordability and value for money.


  • Supremely comfy
  • Zero break-in
  • Boss-level support
  • Solid grip
  • Stable platform
  • Fantastic cushioning
  • Fits various foot shapes
  • Cheaper than average
  • Recycled materials


  • Heavier than average
  • Not quite sleek-looking
Full review of Merrell Moab 3

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Any color
Granite V2 (J03588)
Walnut (J03589)
Altitude (J03634)
Black/Multi (J03734)
Laurel (J13563)
Monument/Fuchsia (J03723)
Kangaroo/Coyote (J13554)

Best waterproof hiking shoes for women

What makes it the best?

If you’re looking for an almost indestructible, waterproof rugged low-cut hiking shoe, then look no further.


  • Lightweight
  • Fits perfectly
  • Amazing lockdown
  • Incredible heel cup
  • Waterproof
  • Decent traction
  • Good lacing system


  • Lacks breathability
  • Grip fails in wet conditions
  • Very firm
  • Not supportive
Full review of Adidas Terrex Swift R2 GTX

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Any color
grijs (CM7506)
legend marine/core black/tech copper (FV6842)
Mehrfarbig Rojsol Negbás Blamar (GX7611)
Beige Tone Beige Tone Victory Gold (GZ0363)
Azuleg Negbás Narsen (FV6843)
Magic Grey Grey Five Acid Red (GZ3048)
Black / Green (FX4681)
Blue (GZ0362)
More colors

Out of stock in all 50 shops

Adidas women's hiking shoes  

Best day hiking shoes for women

What makes it the best?

The Merrell Moab 2 GTX is a well-built hiking shoe. With heaps of comfort and a solid waterproofing system, the Moab 2 GTX might be your best choice for your go-to day hiking shoe.


  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Waterproofing that actually works!
  • Durable upper
  • Perfect for short one-day hikes
  • Soft, plush feel
  • Protects from sharp rocks underfoot
  • Flexible


  • Poor heel lockdown
  • Average grip
Full review of Merrell Moab 2 GTX

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Any color
Black (J03548)
Grey (J06036)
Black (J06040)
Grey (J06038)

Best breathable hiking shoes for women

What makes it the best?

The Salomon X Ultra 4 looks like the sort of hiking shoe you expect in 2021, lightweight, robust with a slew of features to get you walking further. While some are hesitant about the high ankle support, the benefits of the shoe (grip, weight, support) make up for this in heaps.


  • Lightweight
  • Exceptional breathability
  • Excellent grip
  • Comfortable midsole
  • Great ankle support
  • Insanely protective


  • Lacing system is not adjustable
  • Some issues with rubbing at the ankle
Full review of Salomon X Ultra 4

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Any color
Black (L412851)
vetiver/black/lunar rock (L412853)
Blue (L416228)

Best speed hiking shoes for women

What makes it the best?

Sporting the ultra comfy Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX has leveled up the hiking game for many. Taking inspiration from agile trail running shoes, this waterproof and grippy wonder will push you forward across technical terrain with or without rain.


  • Instant comfort
  • Impeccable waterproofing
  • Very lightweight
  • Exceptional grip
  • Excellent support and lockdown
  • Stable platform
  • Roomy toebox


  • Quicklace is not for everyone
  • Too-high collar
Full review of Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX

Today's best price

Any color
Black (L412896)
Grey (L416231)
Red (L417400)
Brown (L412897)
Blue (L414529)

Comparison of the 6 best hiking shoes for women

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# of colorways

Historically, hiking shoes were mainly designed with the male hiker in mind. Nowadays, most hiking shoe manufacturers design female versions of their hiking footwear to complement their male counterparts.

In some cases, there are even women-specific hiking shoes that do not have a male counterpart. 

Women’s hiking shoes vs. boots

The most significant difference between women’s hiking shoes and boots is the height. Hiking shoes have a low-ankle design, while boots usually have a high-ankle design.

Hiking boot Hiking shoe


Merrell Moab 3 Mid



Merrell Moab 3

Veteran hikers herald the high-ankle design of hiking boots for extra support and protection.

The additional coverage is irreplaceable for exceptionally rugged and rocky trails, especially if you are prone to rolling your ankles or hiking with a heavy load on a multi-day effort.

Those of us hiking on more moderate terrain with mellow and intermittent sections of technical terrain do not need all of the support and protection that boots provide.

Average weight (women's)

460 g

315 g

The classic hiking boot characteristics of extra traction and waterproofing are excellent for this type of hiking, but the hiking boots' added weight and bulkiness might be unwarranted. That is where the hiking shoes shine.


These days brands like Merrell, Salomon, and Adidas, among others, offer technical hiking shoes for women that help you move confidently uphill and downhill over dirt, gravel, rock, sand, and other terrain types without the bulkiness of boots.

In the past decades, hiking footwear has been trending towards lighter-weight materials and designs. Hiking shoes exemplify this new trend–they are designed to get many of the qualities of hiking boots without the extra weight. Gone are the days of big and bulky leather boots.

What sets women-specific hiking shoes apart from men's

Women-oriented last

Generally, women-specific hiking shoes are designed to accommodate higher arches and narrower heels. They have less volume in the toe box and heel cup to accommodate the smaller, slimmer female foot.

Lighter weight

Women’s hiking shoes typically weigh less than men’s shoes. 

  Men's version Women's version
Merrell Moab 3 460 360
Salomon X Ultra 4 360 315
Adidas Terrex AX4 371 340

Different colorways

Lastly, women’s hiking shoes boast different colorways than their male counterparts. 

Hoka Anacapa Low GTX

Danner Trail 2650

Converting women's size to men's

However, it is essential to note that some women might be better off wearing a men’s model. This is particularly true for women with higher-volume feet.

To get the right size, go down 1.5 US size from your regular boot size. Example:

Men's Women's
US 5.5 US 7
US 6.5 US 8

Waterproofing isn’t only for hiking boots

It is inaccurate to think that to get waterproof trail shoes, you need to invest in hiking boots. In the past, before the conception of hiking shoes, this may have been true when the only other option would be to go hiking in tennis shoes or sneakers. However, modern women’s hiking shoes now boast waterproof materials just like boots.

With that said, however, it is essential to consider how much water you intend to deal with before investing in a pair of shoes.

Waterproof hiking boots Waterproof hiking shoes Breathable hiking shoes

If you are preparing for a multi-day trip with the potential for multiple water crossings, then hiking boots are the preferred footwear. The same could be said if your local climate and hiking terrain gets a lot of precipitation.

See our selection of the best waterproof hiking boots for women.

If you like dry feet when dodging the occasional storm and not-too-deep puddles, there is no better option than a waterproof shoe.

See our list of the best waterproof hiking shoes for women.

And, of course, if you are a fair-weather hiker (there’s no shame in that) or if your local climate is arid and does not experience a lot of annual precipitation, waterproofing may not be unnecessary for your hiking footwear in the first place. Waterproof hiking shoes may even inhibit your comfort in dry environments because their waterproof materials are notoriously less breathable.

See our catalog of the best breathable hiking shoes for women.

Gore-Tex is one of the most effective and popular waterproofing membranes used on top-rated hiking footwear. Learn more in our guide on Gore-Tex hiking shoes.

Reapplying the waterproofing on women’s hiking shoes

As you can imagine, when hiking shoes are brand-new, the waterproof layer functions very well.

However, unfortunately, the waterproofing on your shoes may degrade over time. Regular wear and tear and exposure to grime, dirt, insect repellent, detergents, and other materials can reduce its lifespan.

Once water no longer beads and runs off your shoes, it’s time to reapply a durable water repellent (DWR). A DWR is an ultra-thin water-repellent polymer applied to the exterior materials of the upper of your hiking shoe.

We will not tell you which specific DWR to apply in this article. However, we will make a necessary recommendation– only use DWR treatments recommended by the shoe manufacturer and always double-check the manufacturer’s care instructions.

Restoring the DWR on your hiking shoes will help ensure your feet stay dry, comfortable, and more protected.

Lacing types in hiking shoes for women

The lacing design and closure system of hiking shoes is vitally important. They play integral roles in the shoe's fit, comfort, and performance.

For example, if a shoe's lacing design or closure system needs to be better designed, you may constantly make adjustments while on the trail. Or worse, you might end up with hot spots and blisters from your foot swimming around the interior of the hiking shoe.

When dealing with lacing or closure system issues, stopping and identifying the problem before injuring yourself is essential.  Once you’ve identified what might be wrong, hopefully, it’s a quick fix. Otherwise, you may need to move on to better-fitting shoes.

Here are some tricks you can try to troubleshoot the problem.

  • Try replacing the laces.
  • Switch out the socks you have been wearing.
  • Lace your shoes with a “runner’s loop” or one of these lacing techniques depending on the problem you are experiencing.

What’s up with single-pull lace designs?

Most of the women’s hiking shoes we’ve reviewed in this article have a standard lacing system. The laces run from the front of the shoe, crisscrossing on their way to the eyelets located at the top of the shoe by the tongue.

Suppose you have finicky feet or specific standards for how you like your hiking shoes to fit. In that case, you will enjoy the traditional lace design and closure system because it allows you to customize how the shoe fits every time.


However, what about the single-pull closure system such as the Salomon Quicklace?


Single-pull closure systems were designed with convenience in mind. With a few quick tugs on the lower laces or arms of the shoe, you can then pull tautly on the remaining single shoelace and tighten everything at once. For some shoes, like the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX, you can tuck the excess laces into a shoelace pocket on top of the tongue.

When designed correctly, single-pull closure systems secure your foot and create a uniform fit around your foot without getting into the weeds of micro-adjusting each lace. This is perfect for those who like to lace up quickly and get moving.

Frequently asked questions about women's hiking shoes

Can I wear my hiking shoes on the pavement?

Yes, you can wear your hiking shoes on the pavement. This makes the hiking shoe ideal for getting to and from the trailhead, running errands after a hike, or going to the bar for happy hour after a long day in the mountains.

However, the outsoles of your hiking shoes will wear out faster if you consistently wear them on the pavement. For that reason, if you can help it, try not to wear your hiking shoes on dog walks around the neighborhood.

Save traction for the trails. 

What socks are best for women’s hiking shoes?

Choosing the right socks to wear with your hiking shoes could be a full-length article. 

However, ankle-height or crew socks are your best bet for hiking shoes. The material you choose and the thickness of the sock will depend on the local climate and your cushioning preferences. That said, wool is the most popular fabric for hiking socks.

Do shoes really breathe?

Yes, believe it or not, shoes do breathe. Therefore, the breathability of a shoe, or lack thereof, should be an item you consider when investing in hiking shoes.

The breathability of a shoe is affected chiefly by the materials used to construct the upper part of the shoe. The type of upper material a shoe is constructed with is also directly correlated to the shoe’s intended longevity (durability) and waterproofing.

Woven synthetic nylon and mesh are typically considered the most breathable. On the other side of the spectrum, leather materials and Gore-Tex are considered less breathable.

Breathability is crucial if you know your feet run hot. Breathability is also important to consider along with the climate. If you know the climate you enjoy hiking in or plan to hike in will be hot and arid, breathable shoes will improve your comfort. However, you don't need to worry about breathability if you are gearing up for wet or cold weather.

How long will it take to break in my new women’s hiking shoes?

If you are investing in hiking shoes to prepare for a big trip or a new hobby, properly breaking in your shoes will be vitally important.

To properly break in your shoes, we recommend spending at least two weeks (if not longer) wearing your hiking shoes to help break them in. We recommend wearing them around the house for prolonged periods. This will help you break in the shoes without dirtying or damaging them, just in case you want to return them.

Breaking in your shoes for at least two weeks will soften them up and ensure they have time to conform to your feet. Plus, if you run into any issues with hot spots, you can address the problem before you treat an injury while you are on the trail and miles deep in the backcountry.    

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic

Whether it's a vertical kilometre or an ultra, climbing in the Alps or exploring local mountains, Jovana uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails. She logs at least 10h/week on trails, with no off-season, and 4x more on research on running and running shoes. With a background in physics and engineering management, she prefers her running spiced with data.