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women's hiking boots

Some of our favorite hiking boots. Photo: Rebecca Parsons

The Inertia

Hiking is my jam. In college I was a member of my university’s backpacking club and regularly went on weekend trips with my friends and classmates. I’ve done thru hikes and day hikes in New Zealand, Iceland, Mexico, Fiji, Hawaii, Colorado, and California, and am always searching for my next adventure. Currently, I live on Oahu, Hawaii and am on a mission to do a new hike each month as the island has hundreds of incredible hikes on offer.

In the past, I haven’t been the biggest fan of hiking boots. An avid runner, my mindset is if I can run upwards of 20 miles in my running shoes, then I can hike in them, too. But as my adventures started taking me to colder and wetter regions, and I began embarking on lengthier trips, I realized boots were something I’d need to start wearing.

The first pair of boots I ever tried were a nightmare, leaving my feet achy and blistered on a 12-day trip. Luckily, technology has improved and there are some incredible options out there. Over the past months, I tried many of the top-rated hiking boots from some of the best brands to save you the trouble. These are the best women’s hiking boots of 2023.

For more information, check out our comparison table and buyer’s guide, and for men, check out our guide to the best men’s hiking boots.

What Are the Best Hiking Boots for Women?

Best Overall: La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX

Most Rugged: AKU Trekker Pro GTX

Most Comfortable: Lems Primal Pursuit Mid Waterproof

Most Stylish: Danner Mountain 600

Most Affordable: Merrel Moab 3 Mid Waterproof

Most Waterproof: Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GORE-TEX

Best Overall

La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX ($189)

Pros: Comfortable, minimal break in time.
Cons: Wide fit could be bad for narrow feet.

Comfort: 9
Fit: 9
Durability: 9
Support: 9
Overall: 9/10
Weight: 14.2 oz.

La Sportiva was a last-minute addition to this review, and I am glad they were put on my radar. After mentioning to some friends that I was working on a hiking boots review, numerous people recommended La Sportiva and said they were the comfiest boots they had ever owned, so I knew I had to give them a try. The TX Hike Mid Leather GTX didn’t disappoint.

Out of the box these boots were comfortable and performed well from their first hike on, offering the perfect combination of comfort and support right away. Made with the environment in mind, these boots feature a recycled collar lining, recycled and Bluesign certified GORE-TEX lining, recycled laces and nylon webbing, 15% recycled EVA Midsole, 100% PFC-free leather treatment, and a Vibram Ecostep Evo Outsole with 30% recycled content. The Mid Leather GTX sports a wide fit, but they performed well for me despite my narrow feet. The waterproof boots had plenty of cushion underfoot and the traction on the outsoles made it possible to navigate slippery and wet surfaces with ease. The break-in period was minimal and these boots provided all day comfort on the trail—I see lots of thru hikes in our future.


Most Rugged

AKU Trekker Pro GTX ($280)

Pros: AKU Elica Natural Stride System distributes weight across your entire foot, GORE-TEX.
Cons: Takes time to break in, expensive.

Comfort: 7
Fit: 9
Durability: 10
Support: 10
Overall: 9/10
Weight: 18.5 ounces

Designed for navigating technical terrain in the mountains, the AKU Trekker Pro GTX is one of the more rugged boots on our list. A unique feature of the Trekker Pro is the AKU Elica Natural Stride System technology that works to enhance bio-dynamic performance by distributing weight across your entire foot. This makes the boots more comfortable over long periods of time, making them a great option for backpacking trips.

Other standout features of the Trekker Pro is the Vibram Curuma outsole, that is incredibly reliable in all terrains—mud, water, snow, or ice. The boots feature a higher rise and a GORE-TEX membrane that allows them to be both waterproof while still remaining breathable. These boots definitely take some time to break in to reach their maximum comfort, but they are well-made and durable.



Most Comfortable

Lems Primal Pursuit Mid Waterproof ($145)

Pros: Lightweight & comfortable, wide toe box.
Cons: A little big for narrow feet, not the most rugged.

Comfort: 10
Fit: 8
Durability: 8
Support: 8
Overall: 8.5/10
Weight: 11.8 oz.

Lems was a brand I had never heard of prior to this review, but I sure am glad they were put on my radar. Out of the box, the Primal Pursuit had a unique aesthetic and felt like they were going to be lightweight and comfortable. After trying them on and taking them for a test hike, I couldn’t’ believe how comfortable they were.

The Primal Pursuit Mid is 100% waterproof and features a suede and mesh upper, a Trail Traction outsole with 3.5 mm lugs, a 4.5 mm moisture wicking PU footbed, and a 100% moisture-wicking polyester lining. A unique feature of these boots is the zero-drop heel and wide tow box that allows your toes to remain free and splayed, while in motion. The only downside of the design is that the boots felt a little on the big side for someone with narrower feet—you might want to size down if your feet are narrow. Overall, these waterproof boots are lightweight, comfortable, breathable, and require no break in time—they’re a winner.


Most Stylish

Danner Mountain 600 ($190)

Pros: Good for both the trail and wearing around town, Vibram midsoles.
Cons: Require some break in time.

Comfort: 8
Fit: 8
Durability: 9
Support: 9
Overall: 8.5/10
Weight: 14 oz.

Inspired by Danner’s original Mountain Lite model, the Danner Mountain 600 is a waterproof mid-height hiking boot. When it comes to leather hiking boots, I tend to be a bit skeptical as I was stuck in an unfortunate pair for a 12-day thru hike. Leather boots tend to be more stylish and durable, but they typically come with a hefty break in period and I was worried the Danner Mountain 600 might be the same. But, I decided to leave my preconceived notions behind and give them a try.

Out of the box, the Danner Mountain 600s look and feel good. Upon hitting the trail, these boots are a little stiff but they still are comfortable and have plenty of give—they break in and become a little more comfortable with each use. The TPU heel frames add support and stability and the Vibram SPE midsoles are responsive and provide comfortable support. The waterproof suede leather uppers coupled with Danner Dry waterproof protection ensure your feet stay dry for the entirety of you trip.

Danner recommends sizing a half size down from what you typically wear, but I found that they fit pretty true to size. The Danner Mountain 600 are on of the more stylish pair of boots I tried and are something I’d feel good about wearing both on the trail and around town.


Most Affordable

Merrel Moab 3 Mid Waterproof ($145)

Pros: Comfortable and breathable, made from recycled materials.
Cons: Runs slightly small.

Comfort: 9
Fit: 9
Durability: 7
Support: 9
Overall: 8.5/10
Weight: 16.36 oz.

A popular boot among hikers for the past 15 years, the Moab 3 is an upgraded version of Merrel’s classic boot. Merrel’s most eco-friendly boot to date, the Moab 3 features 100% recycled laces and webbing and a 100% recycled mesh lining.

With the Moab 3, Merrel has included every detail you could possibly want in a hiking boot: a waterproof membrane, a pig suede leather and breathable mesh upper, a bellows tongue that keeps out debris, an abrasion resistant rubber heel and toe cap, a breathable mesh lining, and a removable contoured footbed with reinforced heel cushioning. Other thoughtful features include the Merrel Air Cushion in the heel, which works to absorb shock and add stability, the Super Rebound Compound, which also helps absorb shock, and the Vibram TC5+ outsole that provides reliable traction on all surfaces.

I was ambitious and wore these for the first time on an all-day technical hike that included river crossings, climbing, and steep and muddy up and downhill sections and they performed wonderfully. The Moab 3 hiking boots are comfortable, supportive, and breathable, making them a great sidekick for any hike. I typically wear a size 8 in hiking boots, but found that the 8.5 worked perfectly, so you may want to order a half size up if you prefer a little extra room.


Most Waterproof Women’s Hiking Boots

Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GORE-TEX ($175)

Pros: Super supportive, durable, GORE-TEX waterproofing.
Cons: Stiff at first, require break-in period.

Comfort: 7
Fit: 7
Durability: 10
Support: 10
Overall: 8.5/10
Weight: 10.1 oz. 

The Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GORE-TEX was made specifically with women in mind. Catered towards female hikers, the X Ultra 4 utilizes softer materials, especially around the collars and heels, as well as lower-density chassis. Inspired by Salomon’s trail runners, these boots are incredibly lightweight, weighing in at just 10.1 oz. While they are lightweight, they are also incredibly sturdy, providing plenty of ankle support and they feature GORE-TEX, ensuring that they are waterproof yet breathable.

The X Ultra 4 feature SensiFit, which helps cradle the foot from the midsoles to the laces, providing a secure, custom fit. The outsoles sport Terrain Contagrip, which provide reliable grip on all surfaces, wet or dry.

Out of the gates, these boots weren’t super comfortable – they feel stiff around the ankles. But with time they break in and loosen up, and no joke, I’ve been stopped on the trail by people telling me how much they love these boots. So like a lot of things in life, the X Ultra 4 boots get better with time.


Other Hiking Boots We Loved

Zamberlan Circe GTX ($260)

Pros: Made specifically for women, Vibram Junko outsole.
Cons: Insole feels a little weird at first.

Comfort: 8
Fit: 9
Durability: 9
Support: 8
Overall: 8.5/10
Weight: 14.1 oz. 

Made in Italy, the Zamberlan Circe GTX boots are lightweight yet supportive. Designed specifically for women, the Circe GTX has a modern, leather-free, breathable upper and an elasticized tongue for enhanced comfort. The boots features a Vibram Junko outsole that has a wider heel and forefront for added stability coupled with Megagrip sticky rubber for secure traction.

Thoughtful features include PU rands to protect the toe box and uppers from debris, Zamberlan X-Active Fit for maximum comfort, EVA midsole, PE insole, and a GORE-TEX Extended Comfort membrane that ensures the boots are both waterproof and breathable. The uppers and gussets are leather-free and instead sport a suede-effect microfiber that is a more sustainable alternative.

Out of the gates, these boots are comfortable and felt good trekking on the local trails. The bottom insoles felt a little funky, but I’m sure they’ll get better with time, otherwise I’ll add inserts for personalized comfort. Overall, these boots are comfy and well-made and come in fun color options to boot (pun intended).


Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid ($180)

Pros: Super lightweight, zero-drop heel, wide toe box.
Cons: Runs small, not as supportive and durable as other options.

Comfort: 10
Fit: 8
Durability: 8
Support: 7
Overall: 8.25/10
Weight: 10.6 oz.

When I found out Altra made hiking boots I was really excited. As someone who would prefer to hike in running shoes over hiking boots, the Altra Lone Peak seemed like the perfect match for me. Originally a trail running shoe brand, the Altra Lone Peak is like a trail running shoe with added support for hiking.

The Lone Peaks feature Altra’s original FootShape Fit, Altra EGO midsole, mid-ankle support, and MaxTrac outsole. The bottom of the boots are nice and grippy and when you cinch the laces tight your ankles feel nice and supported. As far as hiking boots go, the Lone Peaks have a low heel and less support than other options. Personally, I like the more minimalistic design but if you prefer more support you may want to look elsewhere.

The zero-drop heel and wide toe box help prevent injuries, but can take some time getting used to. The eVent weatherproof bootie construction seals out the elements, ensuring your feet stay dry during rainstorms and stream crossings. These boots fit a little on the small side, so pay close attention when ordering. Comfortable and one of the lightest of all the boots I tested, I was a big fan of the Altra Lone Peak.


Vasque Breeze ($160)

Pros: Supportive and durable.
Cons: Take a long time to break in, heavy.

Comfort: 5
Fit: 7
Durability: 9
Support: 9
Overall: 7.5/10
Weight: 33.5 oz. 

The Breeze is a modern take on one of Vasque’s most popular boots with sustainable upgrades. The Breeze is the first boot from Vasque to include VasqueDry, which is reliable waterproofing that is derived from 25% recycled materials. Other features include recycled polyester mesh, a dual density EVA footbed, an Enduralast Bio EVA midsole, the Vasque Trail Strider outsole, and waterproof nubuck leather.

The Vasque Breeze boots are incredibly supportive and durable and I really wanted to like them but unfortunately, I didn’t love them. They’re difficult to get into and once they’re on they feel stiff. I figured they needed to be broken in and while they did get better, they’re still one of the stiffer boots I tried even after numerous wears. What they lack in comfort they make up for in support and durability—they’re incredibly waterproof, have good traction, and keep your ankles secure. 



Comparison Table

Hiking Boot Overall Rating Weight Waterproof?
La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX 9 14.2 oz. Yes
AKU Trekker Pro GTX 9 18.5 oz. Yes
Lems Primal Pursuit Mid Waterproof 8.5 11.8 oz. Yes
Danner Mountain 600 8.5 14 oz. Yes
Merrel Moab 3 Mid Waterproof 8.5 16.36 oz. Yes
Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GORE-TEX 8.5 10.1 oz. Yes
Zamberlan Circe GTX 8.5 14.1 oz. Yes
Altra Lone Peak ALL-WTHR Mid 8.25 10.6 oz. Yes
Vasque Breeze 7.5 33.5 oz. Yes

What Are the Different Types of Hiking Boots?

Low Cut

Generally, low cut hiking boots are more of a hiking shoe and less of a boot. They usually hit below the ankle, leaving your ankle exposed and unsupported. On the flipside, they offer plenty of freedom and flex and are generally the most comfortable option.

women's hiking boots

Danner makes solid mid-rise hiking boot options.


In my opinion, mid-rise hiking boots are the best of both worlds option. They typically hit just above the ankle, providing ample ankle support and protection from mud and water. They tend to be more comfortable and flexible than their higher cut counterparts.

High Ankle

High ankle hiking boots are the sturdiest option and offer the most ankle support but can also be the most bulky and cumbersome. They typically hit a few inches above the ankle—the laces will help tighten up the boot, so it fits snugly. High ankle boots also can help keep water out during stream crossings or muddy conditions (so long as they are waterproof).

women's hiking boots

Oahu’s rugged verticality makes for incredible boot-testing terrain. Photo: Rebecca Parsons

How We Tested

To test these boots, we went hiking, naturally! I tried to test the boots in a variety of different terrains: wet, dry, flat, hilly, etc.  That said, the best hiking boots are ones that will last you for hundreds and hundreds of miles, so we’ll be keeping this review updated down the trail as these boots undergo continued testing. For reference, I wear a women’s size 8 and my feet are on the narrow side.

What Makes a Good Hiking Boot?


When it comes to hiking boots, comfort is paramount. You’ll be spending almost all your time in your hiking boots on your feet and moving. You want a boot that is comfortable and that won’t give you issues after wearing them day in and day out.

women's hiking boots

The Lems Primal Pursuit is the most comfortable boot on our list. Photo: Rebecca Parsons


Fit is essential for a positive experience in your hiking boots. An ill fitted boot could result in discomfort and blisters form your foot sliding around. Although fit varies from person to person, I based this on general sizing guides.


If Cheryl Strayed can wear the same pair of hiking boots for the entire PCT, then you too should be able to wear your hiking boots for day hikes, thru hikes, and everything in between.


Best Overall Hiking Boot
Best Overall Hiking Boot

The La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX has everything you could want in a hiking boot. Made from recycled materials, they are lined with GORE-TEX, have plenty of cushion underfoot, have generous traction on the outsoles, and require little to no break in time.

Check Price on REI



The entire point of hiking boot is the support they provide. They’re not nearly as comfortable as their shoe counterparts, but a good pair of hiking boots will provide generous ankle support and keep your feet protected to help you stay injury free.


What Else Should I Look for In a Hiking Boot? 


When buying a pair of hiking boots, I take into consideration whether they are waterproof. Although everyone isn’t after a waterproof pair of boots, it’s something that is important to me because I tend to wear my boots exclusively on thru hikes, when I want to make sure my feet and socks stay as dry as possible.

The Merrel Moab 3 is a comfortable and affordable hiking boot option. Photo: Josh Ginting


Hiking boots tend to be heavier than shoes, but weight varies from brand to brand. A heavier, chunkier boot will likely offer more support, whereas a lighter boot may feel more comfortable and springier. There is no wrong choice, but it’s something to factor into your decision.

Heel Height

As someone who tends to be barefoot or in sandals, my hiking boots are my highest pair of heels in my shoe collection. Heel height varies between brands and models. I prefer a lower heel, but others may like a higher heel for the added support. Heel height should be noted on the box or the website, so take a look if it’s something that is important to you.

Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

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