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Altra Lone Peak 8

The best hiking shoes boast traction, durability, and comfort. Photo: Rebecca Sperry//The Inertia

The Inertia

Hiking is one of our favorite ways to get out and explore the natural world. Whether it’s close to home with friends, a multi-day thru-hike, or discovering a new trail on our travels, hiking is a great way to cover some ground and get your nature fix. While some may opt for sturdy hiking boots and others go for hiking sandals, women’s hiking shoes are often the perfect compromise between support, protection, and comfort.

There are plenty of great options out there, and in this guide, we wanted to focus on the best hiking shoes for women. Over the past year we’ve tested dozens of women’s hiking shoes and logged hundreds of miles to bring you the best of the best. Read on for our top picks, and for more detailed and comparative information, check out our Buyer’s Guide and Comparison Table. For men’s hiking shoes, click here.

The Best Women’s Hiking Shoes of 2024

Best Overall Women’s Hiking Shoe: Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoes
Runner-Up Best Overall Women’s Hiking Shoe: La Sportiva Mutant
Best Budet Hiking Shoe: Merrell Bravada 2 Hiking Shoes
Best Trail Running Shoe for Hiking: Altra Lone Peak 8
Best Lightweight Women’s Hiking Shoe: Astral TR1 Mesh Shoes

Best Overall Women’s Hiking Shoes

Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoes ($170)

danner hiking shoes

Pros: No break-in required, breathable, stylish
Cons: Runs a little big

Upper: Suede leather/textile
Outsole: Vibram 460 rubber with Megagrip technology
Weight: 1 lb 2 oz

We’ve worn Danner hiking boots in the past and have always been impressed with the brand, so it came as no surprise that the Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoes are a winner. Unlike a lot of the hiking shoes we tested, the Trail 2650s were comfortable from the moment we slipped our feet into them.

The Trail 2650 utilize a combination of leather and textile for the uppers, resulting in a lightweight yet breathable shoe with a cool aesthetic. They look good on the trail or with a pair of jeans to wear to your favorite brewery after a hike. At just over a pound, these shoes were a fairly average weight for a pair of hiking shoes, but they felt super light underfoot. The mesh lining ensures the shoes are breathable, which our tester greatly appreciated while hiking in hot and humid Hawaii.

Although the Trail 2650s claim they fit true to size, our tester felt they ran the tiniest-bit big. She didn’t find it to be a problem as her feet swell when hiking, but if you’re between sizes or prefer a more snug fit, you may want to order a half-size down. The Trail 2650s have Vibram outsoles that proved to be plenty grippy on gravel, dirt, mud, and rock. The heels of the shoes are reinforced, which we appreciate for extra support and enhanced durability. Although the version we tested aren’t waterproof, the hiking shoe can be found in a Gore-Tex version as well. The Danner Trail 2650 took the win for the best overall hiking shoes due to in-step comfort, support over long hikes, breathability, and cool aesthetics.

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Runner-Up Best Overall Women’s Hiking Shoes

La Sportiva Mutant ($165)

la sportiva hiking shoes

Pros: Incredibly grippy outsoles, easy to dial-in fit
Cons: Ankle support may be too prominent

Upper: Recycled nonslip AirMesh/TPU FusionGate reinforcements
Outsole: FriXion XF 2.0 compound
Weight: 1 lb 2.2 oz

While the La Sportiva Mutant is labeled as a trail running shoe, we found they worked even better for hiking. When we first slipped into these shoes, they didn’t feel like they were going to be a top performer. But after hitting the trail, we quickly changed our tune.

The quality of these shoes is evident. They feature an integrated lacing system that allows the the laces to lightweight and not cumbersome, but still provide a secure hold. The ankle region sports a four-way stretch gaiter system that provided added ankle support and helped keep debris out. Our tester noted that the ankle support was amazing on hikes but felt a little weird while running — women who prefer a true low-top won’t love the feel.

While most hiking shoes offer reliable traction underfoot, the outsoles on the Mutants are what really set them apart from the crowd. The outsoles feature an ultra-sticky FriXion XF 2.0 rubber compound that works incredibly well on soft, muddy terrain or wet rock (a regular occurrence in Hawaii). They also have an Impact Brake System, which was so nice for navigating tricky downhill sections. They’re also compatible with spikes should you need them come wintertime or for extra slippery hikes. To top it off? These shoes look super cool. The Mutants finished just behind the Danner Trail 2650 because they weren’t quite as comfortable.

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Best Budget Women’s Hiking Shoes

Merrell Bravada 2 Hiking Shoes ($110)Merrell Bravada 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Pros: Incredibly eco-friendly, breathable
Cons: Lacking in ankle support

Upper: Knit
Quantum Grip rubber
1 lb 2 oz

Our tester hadn’t tried Merrell hiking boots or shoes until recently, but it’s safe to say she’s now a huge fan. The Merrell Bravada 2 Hiking Shoes are eco-friendly and incredibly well-made. They are crafted from 50% recycled EVA footbeds, 100% recycled footbed covers, and 10% recycled EVA foam midsoles. Also, the knit uppers feature 100% recycled laces and webbing and 100% recycled mesh linings.

The Bravada 2 hiking shoes are super lightweight and breathable. We tested the waterproof version, which also boasted impressive breathability (a huge plus for waterproof shoes). The Merrell mountain-grade Quantum Grip outsoles provide ample traction and the Merrell Air Cushion in the heels provide stability and support. The only thing these shoes are lacking is support around the ankles due to the low cut, but we like that they’re comfortable and maneuverable. For the price, the Merrell Bravada 2 hiking shoes feature quality, performance, and eco-mindedness that is tough to beat.

Editor’s Note: We tested the Merrell Bravada 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes, which can be purchased for $130 at the time of publishing.

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Best Women’s Trail Running Shoe for Hiking

Altra Lone Peak 8 Trail-Running Shoes ($140)

altra hiking shoes

Pros: Zero drop, wide toe box, breathable
Cons: Minimal support, zero drop takes getting used to

Upper: Ripstop mesh
Outsole: MaxTrac rubber
Weight: 1 lb 2.3 oz

If you’re looking for a lightweight pair of hiking shoes, the Altra Lone Peak 8 may be what you’ve been searching for. Although technically a trail running shoe, the Lone Peaks work well for hiking too — just ask the thru-hiking community!

Our tester is an avid trail runner, so she likes shoes that work for both trail running and hiking to help minimize the number of shoes she has to pack when traveling. The Lone Peak 8 is a moderately cushioned, lightweight shoe that doesn’t take up a lot of room in a suitcase, making them a great all-around option when on-the-go. Sporting Altra’s classic wide toe box and zero drop midsole, the Lone Peaks are designed to promote a healthy stride while both hiking and running.

The mesh uppers are incredibly breathable and our tester found that her feet stayed cool while running and hiking near her home on Oahu. Unlike some hiking shoes, the Lone Peaks aren’t bulky at all, but in turn they do offer less support. The outsoles offer solid grip on a number of surfaces, and the shoes almost feel like you’re running or hiking barefoot with some extra grip and cushion.

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Best Lightweight Women’s Hiking Shoes

Astral TR1 Mesh Shoes ($130)astral TR1 mesh hiking shoes

Pros: Lightweight, antimicrobial properties
Cons: Minimal support

Upper: Ripstop mesh with thermoplastic polyurethane overlays
G.15 high-friction nonmarking rubber
8.9 oz

Out of the box, we loved the looks of this hiking shoe. The low-profile design comes in neutral color tones — we’d be excited to wear these hiking shoes straight from the trail to a brewery. The Astral TR1 Mesh Shoes features G.15 rubber for grip and abrasion-resistance and Trail Grip outsoles for added traction. Astral is a brand centered around water activities, so it’s no surprise these shoes feature Astral’s Water Ready holes on the front/back to drain water and provide ventilation and treated insoles with antimicrobial properties to manage moisture and odors.

These shoes are incredibly lightweight and breathable and were perfect for adventures in and out of water. While they were comfortable and provided ample traction, these Astrals are barefoot-style hiking shoes, so they had minimal support. With that in mind, the shoe performs best on shorter hikes.

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Best of the Rest

HOKA Anacapa Breeze Low ($155)

HOKA Anacapa Breeze Low hiking shoes

Pros: Super supportive and grippy
Cons: Tongue rubs against ankle

Upper: rPET engineered knit
Vibram Megagrip rubber
1 lb 4.4 oz

HOKA is another brand that makes exceptional trail runners and have been getting more and more into the hiking game. The Anacapa Breeze Low features recycled polyester material in the collars, mesh, and laces and the polyurethane sock liners are derived from 50% soybean oil. Other features include Vibram Megagrip outsoles with 5 millimeter lugs, compression-molded EVA midsoles, molded sock-liners, anatomical achilles construction, and HUBBLE heels for smoother impact.

These HOKA hiking shoes were comfortable, breathable, and super supportive, and while many reviews claimed that sizing was off, our tester felt that they fit true to size (though they do have generous shoe volume). The only issue she noticed was that the tongue felt like it was rubbing against her ankle and while it didn’t hurt or cause blisters it was noticeable. For those who want plush comfort in a maximalist hiking shoe, we highly recommend the HOKA Anacapa Breeze Low.

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Vans UltraRange EXO MTE-1 ($120)

Vans hiking shoes

Pros: Cool aesthetics, good for travel
Cons: Not the most grippy or supportive

Upper: Water-resistant
UltraRange EXO MTE-1
13 oz

The Vans UltraRange EXO MTE-1 hiking shoes are possibly the coolest looking hiking shoes we have ever laid eyes on. They have the look of classic Vans skate shoes, but with added features for hiking.

Like a typical pair of Vans, the EXOs feel a little stiff and snug when you first get them. Initially our tester was worried they were too small but after walking around in them a bit, she realized they just needed to be broken in. Luckily, the shoes didn’t cause any blisters and continued to get more comfortable with each wear. The EXOs have a water resistant upper that works well for light rain and small puddles, but if you plan on doing stream crossings, your feet will get wet.

The EXOs have a thin insulation layer on the inside, that work to keep your feet warm while still remaining breathable. As such, we found that, if you’re hiking in hot climates, these Vans hiking shoes aren’t your best bet. The outsoles are grippy for light terrain, but don’t do well on overly technical trails. We felt that the Exos were best suited to moderate hikes and walks rather than a full-blown backpacking trip. We really appreciated the looks of the EXOs and found ourselves wearing them both hiking and around town. If you’re looking for a more supportive hiking shoes, the UltraRange EXO Hi MTE-1 have a similar look but with more ankle support.

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Teva Ridgeview Low Hiking Shoes ($150)

teva hiking shoes

Pros: Moderate ankle support, made from recycled materials
Cons: Slight break-in period

Upper: Textile; leather
Vibram Megagrip rubber
1 lb 7.56 oz

Our tester has been a fan of Teva hiking sandals for as long as she can remember, so she was excited to put the Teva Ridgeview Low Hiking Shoes to the test. Luckily, they did not disappoint.

Designed for day hikes and backpacking, the Ridgeview shoes sport waterproof leather and waterproof membrane booties to ensure your feet stay dry. Our tester wore these on a local backpacking trip with her pup and despite getting caught in a rainstorm, her feet stayed nice and dry. Made from a recycled polyester mesh, the Ridgeview hiking shoes are comfortable and breathable.

Due to the leather construction, the Ridgeview does have a slight break-in period. Out of the box they’re fine to wear on a medium-length hike, but we don’t recommend embarking on a longer trip without breaking them in first. Due to the higher cut, these shoes provide some ankle support and the footbeds felt cushy and supportive. Throughout our testing, we encountered wet, dry, smooth, and slippery surfaces and the Vibram outsoles performed like a champ.

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Oboz Katabatic Low Waterproof Hiking Shoes ($170)

oboz hiking shoes

Pros: Incredible traction
Cons: Tongue rubs a bit

Upper: Mesh with reinforced TPU overlays
Trail Tread rubber compound
1 lb 7.2 oz

The Oboz Katabatic Low are designed with technical trails in mind. The Katabatics are waterproof yet breathable, making them perfect for long days on the trail.

The Katabatics felt comfortable from the get-go, but we did find that the tongue rubbed the tiniest bit. They felt supportive throughout the entirety of our hiking. The Oboz tread compound and lug pattern are insanely grippy. Our tester wore these shoes hiking on Oahu where the hikes are steep, muddy, and slippery, and the Katabatic felt incredibly reliable regardless of trail condition. Although they are a bit heavy, we highly recommend the Oboz Katabatic Low for both day hikes and multi-day adventures alike.

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HOKA Skyline-Float X ($175)

hoka hiking shoes

Pros: Incredibly comfortable, feels like they spring you off the ground
Cons: Underfoot support may be too much for some people

Upper: One-piece engineered knit upper
Outsole: Vibram XS Trek outsole
Weight: 14.9 oz

Although HOKA is best known for making running shoes, they deliver in the hiking shoes department as well. Case in point: the HOKA Skyline-Float X.

The HOKA Skyline-Float X is one of the most comfortable pair of hiking shoes we have ever worn. They feel lightweight, spacious, and breathable and with each step, it feels like your foot is spring off the ground. Advertised as a “hybrid” shoe, the Skyline-Float X works well for hiking on rugged trails as well as walking the dog around the block.

We are always a fan of HOKA materials and tech, and the Skyline-Float X features a soy-based sock-liner, 30% sugarcane midsole, 89% bio-based Pebax plate, and a Vibram XS Trek rubber outsole. The stack is tall, the cushioning is plush, and the tread is grippy underfoot. Step into this pair of shoes, and it feels soft, comfortable, and supportive. Plus, the Skyline-Float X has a trendy Gorpcore aesthetic that make you want to lace up and set out.

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La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Hiking Shoes ($149)

la sportiva hiking shoes

Pros: Insanely grippy, rock guards
Cons: Break-in period

Upper: AirMesh 
Frixion XF 2.0 X-Axis rubber
1 lb 4.8 oz

The La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Hiking Shoes are possibly the grippiest hiking shoes we have ever worn. These shoes sport aggressive 4.5 mm lugs, a sticky rubber outsole, an Impact Brake System, and Trail Bite heels.

Translation? The Ultra Raptors offer an incredibly reliable grip on both uphills and downhills, wet and dry surfaces, and everything in between. We’ve seriously never felt so confident on a technical trail than when wearing these bad boys.

The Ultra Raptors also provide a lot of support. They sit a little higher on the ankle than some other hiking shoes we tested, resulting in better ankle support. They also have a lacing harness, which helps provide a secure fit. The mesh uppers help keep your feet cool and the rock guards work to keep debris out. The only downside of the Ultra Raptors is that they do require a break-in period. Our tester wore them on a longer hike for her first go with them and had a pretty sizable blister on her heel to show for it. But like most shoes, they get more comfortable with time and their grip is unmatched.

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Timberland GreenStride Motion 6 Low ($130)

timberland hiking shoe

Pros: Unique aesthetic, made from recycled materials
Cons: Tongue rubs, heavy

Upper: Leather/fabric
Outsole: Rubber
Weight: 2 lbs 9.6 oz

Out of the box, we were really impressed with the aesthetic of the Timberland GreenStride Motion 6 Low. But Timberland has more of a reputation as a fashion outdoor brand than a technical hiking brand, so we were curious how the shoes would hold up on the trails.

At first, the Motion 6 Low aren’t the most comfortable pair of shoes. It feels like an insert is missing underfoot and the tongue rubs a bit if you’re not wearing higher socks. But once we hit the trail, we adjusted quickly and actually found them to be really comfy (although tall socks factored in).

Made with the environment in mind, the fabric lining contains at least 50% recycled plastic, bio-based midsoles contain a combination of 25% EVA and 75% sugarcane and naturally grown rubber. The outsoles also contain 55% naturally grown rubber from farms committed to regenerative agriculture. The look and construction of the shoes is super cool, but we could see them being uncomfortable on a long trek. That said, for shorter efforts they felt lightweight, breathable, and provided good traction on a wide range of surfaces. The Motion 6 Low is a great town-to-trail hiking shoe.


Xero Shoes TerraFlex II Hiking Shoes ($110)

xero hiking shoes

Pros: Heel cinch + adjustable mid-foot, super grippy outsole
Cons: Not supportive, require break-in period

Upper: Synthetic mesh
Outsole: FeelTrue rubber
Weight: 14 oz

Calling the Xero TeraFlex II a hiking shoe is a stretch. Out of the box, they look similar to a rock climbing shoe, with minimal (if any) midsole. After testing them out, we felt they best fall into the category of an approach shoe. Approach shoes are essentially a blend between a hiking shoe and a climbing shoe.

The TerraFlex II features a wide toe box and a “Xero-drop” design. While the design allows your toes to spread out and promotes a natural stride, you’ll definitely want to break these shoes in before taking them on a long hike. We’d suggest a few walks around the neighborhood before setting out on anything over a couple miles otherwise you’ll end up sore.

Minimalist in all aspects, the TerraFlex II is lightweight and breathable with a wicking mesh-liner that helps keep your feet cool and dry. If you’re even more of a glutton for ground-feel, the 3mm insoles are removable. The heel cinch and adjustable mid-foot are excellent design features to fully lock-in the fit. Finally, the rubber outsoles are super grippy for hiking and climbing, and as a result make great approach shoes.

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Altra Olympus 5 Hike Low GTX ($200)Altra Olympus 5 Hike Low GTX hiking shoes

Pros: Wide toe box, zero drop heel, lots of support
Cons: Require acclimating to zero drop, somewhat heavy

Upper: Leather
Vibram Megagrip rubber
1 lb 10.5 oz

Altra is known for making exceptional trail running shoes, so we were excited to test their hiking shoes. Altra hit the nail on the head with their Olympus 5 Hike Low GTX shoe. The Olympus 5 — like the vast majority of Altra shoes — includes a wide toe box and a zero drop heel for a more natural stride. Additionally, these hikers boast a testing-team favorite: Vibram Megagrip outsoles, which provide incredible traction in both wet and dry conditions.

Gore-Tex technology ensures your feet will stay dry on wet trails and shallow stream crossings. Our tester has pretty narrow feet, and while other pairs of Altras have felt big, these were comfortable and fit true to size. While Altra is competitive in the minimal-hiker space, the Olympus 5 Hike Low represents an excellent max-cushion hiking shoe.

To learn more about the Altra Olympus 5 Hike Low GTX, read our in-depth review here.

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Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 GTX ($160)

nike pegasus trail running/hiking shoes

Pros: Waterproof, gaiters keep debris out, nimble
Cons: Funky design, not as grippy as top choices

Upper: Elite engineered mesh
Outsole: High-abrasion rubber
Weight: 1 lb 0.5 oz

When we think of Nike, our mind jumps to popular team sports, but the brand is crushing in the hiking and running category as well. The Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 GTX was originally designed as a waterproof trail running shoe, but it doubles nicely as a hiker as well.

When we first slipped into these shoes, we thought the built-in gaiter design was little funky, but we quickly got used to it. While the gaiters don’t work as well as a separate unit, they keep light dust and rocks out. The design also adds a little bit more height to keep your feet dry on creek crossings (which the trails in Hawaii have a lot of).

The Pegasus Trail 4 GTX is lightweight and comfortable, but provide plenty of support underfoot. Although they’re promoted as a running shoe, we actually preferred them as a hiking shoe. The tread pattern and tacky rubber outsoles provided ample traction for wet, dry, and muddy terrain. That said, the lugs aren’t very deep, so these aren’t as grippy as some of our top picks. The Pegasus makes a great road-to-trail shoe, and we like the somewhat funky design and bold colors.

Editor’s Note: At the time of publishing, the Nike Pegasus Trail 5 (non-waterproof) has released. We still highly recommend the Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 Gore-Tex waterproof version, and we will be testing the 5 as soon as we can to update this guide.

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Oboz Sawtooth X Low ($160)

oboz hiking shoes

Pros: Incredibly durable, made from recycled materials
Cons: Not the most comfortable

Upper: Oiled nubuck leather/CORDURA fabric mesh
Outsole: True Tread rubber
Weight: 1 lb 12.2 oz

Oboz has been around for a long time, and the Oboz Sawtooth X Low was named for the 10th anniversary of the original Sawtooth hiking shoes. The Sawtooth is well made, durable, and provides incredible traction, but due to the stiff construction, it sacrifices a bit in the comfort department.

We definitely had to ease into wearing the Sawtooth X. For her first go, our tester wore this hiking shoe on a one-mile dog walk and found them to be rigid and clompy. The shoe certainly get better with time, but they’re never going to be the most flexible or nimble option out there.

What the Sawtooth lacks in comfort, it makes up for in other departments. Made from Oiled nubuck leather and CORDURA fabric mesh, the Sawtooth is a shoe that’s going to be in your closet for a long time. In addition to a durable construction, these waterproof boots have incredibly sturdy rubber outsoles that provide the type of traction you’d expect in a solid hiking shoe. And if you’re wearing a lot of weight on your back, the added support and rigidity can help you balance that load. While we felt the Oboz Sawtooth X Low felt more like a hiking boot than a hiking shoe, we still recommend it for those looking for a stiff, low-top option.

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Best Women’s Hiking Shoes Comparison Table

Hiking Shoes Price Upper Outsole Weight Waterproof?
Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoes $170 Suede leather / textile Vibram 460 rubber, Megagrip technology 1 lb 2 oz Available
La Sportiva Mutant $165 Recycled nonslip AirMesh / TPU FusionGate reinforcements FriXion XF 2.0 compound 1 lb 2.2 oz No
Merrell Bravada 2 $110 Knit Quantum Grip rubber 1 lb 3 oz Available
Altra Lone Peak 8 Trail-Running Shoes $140 Ripstop mesh MaxTrac rubber 1 lb 2.3 oz No
Astral TR1 Mesh Shoes $130 Ripstop mesh with thermoplastic polyurethane overlays G.15 high-friction nonmarking rubber 8.9 oz No
HOKA Anacapa Breeze Low $155 rPET engineered knit Vibram Megagrip rubber 1 lb 4.4 oz No
Vans UltraRange EXO MTE-1 $120 Water-resistant UltraRange™ EXO MTE™-1 13 oz No
Teva Ridgeview Low Hiking Shoes $120 Textile; leather Vibram Megagrip rubber 1 lb 7.56 oz Yes
Oboz Katabatic Low Waterproof Hiking Shoes $170 Mesh with reinforced TPU overlays Trail Tread rubber compound 1 lb 7.2 oz Yes
HOKA Skyline-Float X $175 One-piece engineered knit upper Vibram® XS Trek outsole 14.9 oz No
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Hiking Shoe $149 AirMesh Frixion XF 2.0 X-Axis rubber 1 lb 4.8 oz No
Timberland GreenStride Motion 6 Low $130 Leather/fabric Rubber 2 lb 9.6 oz No
Xero TeraFlex II $110 Synthetic mesh FeelTrue rubber 14 oz No
Altra Olympus 5 Hike Low GTX $200 Leather Vibram Megagrip rubber 1 lb 10.5 oz Yes
Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 GTX $160 Elite engineered mesh High-abrasion rubber 1 lb 0.5 oz Yes
Oboz Sawtooth X Low $160 Oiled nubuck leather / CORDURA fabric mesh True Tread rubber 1 lb 12.2 oz Yes

A collection of hiking shoes

The best hiking shoes in the game. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia

How We Tested Women’s Hiking Shoes

Our female testing team lives across the United States, from Oahu to New England, and they spend tons of time hiking local trails. Our lead tester was in her college’s backpacking club and has done numerous overnight trips and countless day hikes since. She’s also an avid runner and prefers to do most of her miles on trails. To test out these hiking shoes, we took all options to our local trails and tested them out in as many conditions as we could — dry, wet, flat, hilly — to see how they performed.

Editor’s Note: This review originally ran in June of 2023. Since then, our testing team has logged additional mileage in our original picks as well as tested new options. We updated this review in October of 2023 with additional picks and testing notes. 

We updated this review again in May of 2024. We added six new pairs of hiking shoes to recommend for 2024, and the Danner Trail 2650 narrowly edged out the La Sportiva Mutant as our best overall hiking shoe. We also removed some of our previous picks, including outdated versions of hiking shoes and out-of-stock hiking shoes. We will continue to add to this review as we test additional shoes and add any additional information that arises after spending more time on the trails. 

altra hiking shoes

Hiking in the Altra Olympus 5 Hike Low GTX hiking shoes. Photo: Sarah Parsons//The Inertia

Women’s Hiking Shoes Buyer’s Guide

What Are Hiking Shoes?

Like the name suggests, hiking shoes are shoes designed specifically for hiking. They’re essentially a slimmed down version of a hiking boot, often in a low-top. Hiking shoes tend to be lighter and generally more flexible than hiking boots. They still offer a good amount of support, but don’t have the same ankle support that hiking boots do for carrying heavier loads.

Types of Hiking Shoes

True Hiking Shoes

True hiking shoes are built specifically for hiking and offer a combination of support and traction. They’re durable and often are waterproof. Hiking shoes aren’t ideal for running in, but make a great shoe for the hiker that plans to log long miles and wants extra support, but not as much support as a hiking boot.

Danner 2650 Hiking Shoes

The Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoes are stylish, rugged, and comfy. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia

Trail Running Shoes

Trail runners are running shoes with added traction for navigating trails, but they double as great hiking shoes. They tend to be lighter and have less support than a true hiking shoe, but they are often more comfortable and maneuverable. They typically don’t last as long as hiking shoes either. If you like to trail run and hike, or prefer lighter, more nimble shoes, these are a great choice.

Wearing Altra Lone Peak 8 hiking shoes

The Altra Lone Peak 8 is an excellent lightweight trail running shoe for hiking. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia

What Should I Look For in Women’s Hiking Shoes?


When it comes to hiking shoes, traction is super important as most of the time in the shoes will be spent off-roading. We want shoes that we can rely on in both wet and dry conditions on a variety of terrains, so we can focus on our surroundings instead of my footing.

the bottom of a pair of hiking shoes while walking on a trail

Reliable traction underfoot is essential. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia

Lug Pattern

The lug pattern plays a big role in the overall traction of your hiking shoes. The lugs are the traction-giving bumps on the outsoles of the shoes. Generally speaking, deeper and thicker lugs will provide better grip. Lugs that are spread further apart also provide generous traction and help shed mud.


Often, the reason you’ll be opting for women’s hiking shoes over hiking boots is because you want to shed some valuable ounces. Our favorite hiking shoes were lightweight without sacrificing support.


You don’t want your feet sliding around while you’re hiking or rubbing up against the sides causing blisters, so fit is important. You want a hiking shoe that fits fairly snug, but still gives your toes some wiggle room, as swelling feet while hiking is normal.

Best Overall Hiking Shoes
Best Overall Hiking Shoes

The Danner Trail 2650 hiking shoes took the win for the best overall hiking shoes thanks to their comfort, breathability, and cool aesthetic. These lightweight hiking shoes perform as great as they look.

Danner Trail 2650 Hiking Shoes: $170

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If you plan to spend a lot of time on the trail, you’ll want some support underfoot. Too little cushion can get uncomfortable, but too much can feel unstable. We sought out hiking shoes that balanced support with maneuverability.

a close up of hiking shoes and a dog on a trail

Durable, grippy shoes are a win on the trails. Photo: Kip Tousuell//The Inertia


It’s no secret that hiking shoes cost a pretty penny. As such, we want a shoe that will last. You’ll likely be spending a lot of your time outdoors in the elements, so you’ll want your hiking shoes to be able to withstand water, mud, rocks, and anything else the trail may throw your way.

hiking in hiking shoes

Exploring Hawaii’s trails in the HOKA Anacapa Breeze Low. Photo: Madeline Price//The Inertia

What Else Should I Look For in Women’s Hiking Shoes?


Some hiking shoes are waterproof, others are not. If you plan on hiking in wet and muddy terrain, waterproof shoes like those with Gore-Tex are great. That said, waterproofing typically reduces a hiking shoe’s breathability, so if you primarily hike in hot, dry climates it’s best to opt for non-waterproof shoes.


Trust us, you want to make sure your hiking shoes are comfortable. Due to the various conditions and uneven terrain that hiking brings, you want to ensure your hikers feel good underfoot and won’t cause rubbing or blisters. If possible, try them on and walk around in the store before purchasing. Or, if you order online, make sure they have a solid return policy in case they’re not everything you hoped they would be.

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Editor’s Note: Looking for something a bit more supportive? Check out our guide to the Best Women’s Hiking Boots. Prefer to let your feet breathe? We recommend the Best Hiking Sandals. For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

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The Best Hiking Shoes of 2024
We tested the best men's and women's hiking shoes on the market to come up with this list of our top picks for comfort, technical stability, light weight, and more. Read more…


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