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The Best Hiking Shoes for Women of 2024

We hit the trail and traveled over everything from ice to sand to find the best hiking shoes for women. Whether you’re looking to go on short treks or weekend-long adventures, we’ve got you covered with women’s hiking shoes for every budget.

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No matter the distance of your outing or the kind of terrain that you’re navigating, what you’re wearing on your feet is critically important — imagine arriving at the perfect camping spot next to an alpine lake, only to admit that the thing that’s been on your mind all day is how much your feet hurt. This doesn’t have to be you; we’ve done all the legwork to identify the best hiking shoes for women on the market right now. Read on to avoid this scenario! 

If you don’t have the ideal hiking shoe, things can go sideways pretty quickly making the trip of a lifetime painful, or even worse, thwarting your plans for adventure. But it’s tough to know how a pair of hiking shoes will perform after just trying them on for a few minutes in a store or when buying them online. So we’ve thoroughly tested six of the newest women’s hiking shoes for 2024 to give you a deep-dive on all the important details. 

Lead tester Micah Ling, an avid hiker and trail runner, tested these shoes in rugged conditions in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and the steep slick rock of eastern Utah to see how they stacked up when pushed to the limits. They’ve seen varied weather conditions, including snow, rain, wind, and more than a bit of sunshine. We’ve considered such details as waterproofing, weight, breathability, tread, fit, materials, and overall comfort. 

After perusing our selections, check out our comparison table, buyer’s guide, and FAQs for a comprehensive look at everything you’ll want to know when considering a new pair of hiking shoes. 

The Best Hiking Shoes for Women of 2024

Best Overall Hiking Shoes for Women

Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 Low


  • Weight 1 lb. 9.7 oz.
  • Drop 10 mm
  • Outsole Continental Rubber
  • Upper 50% recycled synthetic/textile
Product Badge The Best Hiking Shoes for Women of 2024


  • Excellent BOOST cushioning
  • 4mm lugs provide reliable grip on a variety of terrain
  • Kept us dry in moderate conditions


  • BOOST cushioning is exposed, and might break down faster than others
Best Budget Hiking Shoes for Women

Merrell Women’s Moab 3


  • Weight 1 lb., 11 oz.
  • Drop 11.5 mm
  • Outsole Vibram TC5+ rubber
  • Upper Pigskin leather and mesh
The Best Hiking Shoes for Women of 2024


  • Super Rebound Compound delivers durable shock absorption
  • Vibram outsoles balance grip and traction with 5mm lugs
  • M Select DRY waterproof membranes seal out water and let moisture escape


  • Can feel bulky
Best Weatherproof Hiking Shoes For Women

La Sportiva Spire GTX


  • Weight 1lb 10.1oz
  • Drop Not available
  • Outsole Vibram soles with GORE-TEX Surround
  • Upper Nano Cell 2.0 mesh with GORE-TEX Surround
The Best Hiking Shoes for Women of 2024


  • Excellent waterproofing with GORE-TEX Surround
  • Vibram soles provide grippy hold on all terrain types
  • Good breathability despite waterproofing
  • Vegan materials


  • Runs large
  • Expensive
Best Minimalist Women’s Hiking Shoes

Altra Lone Peak 8


  • Weight 1 lb., 2.3 oz.
  • Drop 0 mm
  • Outsole MaxTrac rubber outsole
  • Upper Ripstop mesh
The Best Hiking Shoes for Women of 2024


  • Lightweight
  • Natural fit with roomy toebox
  • Super grippy outsole


  • Not super cushioned
Best of the Rest

Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX


  • Weight 1 lb., 11.2 oz.
  • Drop 11 mm
  • Outsole Contagrip MA Rubber
  • Upper Synthetic/textile
The Best Hiking Shoes for Women of 2024


  • SensiFit cradles the feet from the midsole to the lacing system, providing a secure, snug, and virtually customized fit
  • Waterproofing keeps feet dry, but not sweaty
  • Contagrip MA outsoles grab the terrain, even when it’s wet or slippery


  • Tongue slides around for some
  • Quicklace system can have glitches

Hoka Speedgoat 6


  • Weight 1 lb. 4.6 oz.
  • Drop 4 mm
  • Upper Mesh
  • Outsole Vibram Megagrip rubber with 5 mm traction lugs
The Best Hiking Shoes for Women of 2024


  • Moderate cushioning with rugged soles
  • Vegan materials
  • Heartier, double-layer jacquard mesh is made with recycled content


  • Run narrow
  • Not much waterproofing

Women’s Hiking Shoes Comparison Chart

Women’s Hiking ShoePriceWeightDropUpperOutsole
Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2$1601 lb., 9.7 oz.10 mm50% recycled synthetic/textileContinental Rubber with GORE-TEX Layer
Merrell Moab 3$1201 lb., 11 oz.11.5 mmPigskin leather and meshVibram TC5+ rubber
La Sportiva Spire GTX$2091 lb., 10.1 oz.NANano Cell 2.0 mesh with GORE-TEX SurroundVibram soles with GORE-TEX Surround
Altra Lone Peak 8$1401 lb., 2.3 oz.0 mmRipstop meshMaxTrac rubber outsole
Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX$1601 lb., 11.2 oz.11 mmSynthetic/textileContagrip MA Rubber
Hoka Speedgoat 6$1551 lb., 4.6 oz.4 mmMeshVibram Megagrip rubber with 5 mm traction lugs
We put in the miles testing the best women’s hiking shoes to take the guesswork out of it for you; (photo/Micah Ling)

How We Tested Women’s Hiking Shoes

For our first look at the best women’s hiking shoes on the market today, we looked at six pairs from the vast array of hiking shoe options available in the spring of 2024. We not only took these shoes out for various distances and on different kinds of terrain, but we also put them through the ringer when it came to weather conditions. There are certainly test perks to living in the mountains of Colorado during one of the most diverse spring seasons on record. 

Lead tester Micah Ling is no stranger to many miles in the mountains and the desert. She lives in a mountain town in southern Colorado, right in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. Besides her backyard playground of mountain trails, she also has regular weekend access to Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona for desert escapes. We took variety seriously in these tests since we recognize that most of you don’t buy hiking shoes for just one type of setting. We want shoes that allow us to go on all kinds of adventures in all kinds of places. 

As a regular contributor to several national outdoor publications, Ling spends as much free time as possible playing on the trail and is always thinking up a new challenge or goal. In 2022, a major magazine commissioned her to tackle as many close-to-home trails as possible in one summer.

After covering thousands of miles and climbing several 14,000-foot peaks, Ling felt like she knew her backyard intimately. She also spends a fair amount of time trail running, mountain biking, and camping with her husband and pup.  

To get a real feel for how all of these women’s hiking shoes performed in various settings, we considered weatherproof components, traction, comfort, support, and durability. We also didn’t ignore aesthetic features — how the shoes looked on our feet, and how they made us feel. Although looks aren’t everything, we know it’s important to feel stylish and have the option to easily go from trail to tavern. If you want to round out your kit for your next hiking adventure, check out our guide to the Best Women’s Hiking Pants.

Pausing to take it all in on a hike in the Hoka Speedgoat 6; (photo/Micah Ling)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Hiking Shoes for Women


In the cycling industry, women-specific bikes got a reputation of “shrink it and pink it,” meaning they were just men’s bikes made smaller and with “girl colors.” But there’s a lot more to making a quality women’s-specific product, especially when it comes to shoe fit. The main reason to buy a women’s hiking shoe is the fit. Many women have narrower heels than men, and many women have smaller and narrower feet overall than men.

But again, it’s not just about size. It’s also common for women to have a higher arch. Women’s-specific hiking shoes are all built with these dynamic differences in mind. Hiking shoes for women aren’t just smaller and in more feminine colors (whatever that means), they’re actually built to fit a woman’s foot better. 

Not all women have small, narrow feet or high arches. Plenty of women have wide feet, large feet, or flat feet. The length, width, and volume vary across each shoe brand. Some hiking shoes have a wider toebox area, and some run narrow throughout the heel. Each has its own version of construction that will work with some feet but not with others. 

The Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX cradles the feet from the midsole to the lacing system, providing a secure, snug, and virtually customized fit; (photo/Micah Ling)

Hiking Boots vs. Hiking Shoes

In general, hiking boots are more rugged than hiking shoes. They often offer more support, protection, and traction, and have a higher upper. This means they’re also heavier, made of more materials, and overall provide more shoe than you might need for many hiking outings. 

A hiking shoe is typically low-cut, less rigid, and often more comfortable than a boot. It can incorporate more synthetic materials, which make it more breathable and easier to move in. Hiking shoes these days tend to have many similar features to their trail running cousins.

Many are inspired by running shoes in terms of comfort and feel, such as the Hoka Speedgoat 6, the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2, and the Altra Lone Peak 8, which offer the same rugged tread of a hiking boot, paired with a more flexible upper and more breathable materials.  

Hiking boots still tend to be the go-to pick for traveling big miles, especially if you plan to carry a lot of weight. But don’t assume hiking shoes can’t stand up against harsh conditions. Shoes such as the La Sportiva GTX can still perform well through various weather conditions, creek crossings, and all-day adventures.   

In general, hiking shoes are a great choice if you’re looking to hike a little faster, want something a little lighter on your feet, and prefer a little more minimalist feel. Other highlights for hiking shoes over boots include that they can also be used for trail running, are easier to pack for trips, and do better in warmer climates where breathability can make or break your day. We stuck to hiking shoes, but if you’re looking for more of a hiking boot, we have the best picks in our guide to The Best Women’s Hiking Boots.

The La Sportiva Spire GTX is ideal for muddy, marshy conditions and just about anything else; (photo/Micah Ling).


If breathability is essential — as in, you’re going to be in warm weather with less threat of snow and rain—hiking shoes are the way to go. Certainly, there are hiking boots that can be waterproof and less breathable, but hiking shoes are generally made to breathe. That’s because hiking shoes tend to be made with breathable upper materials.

Certainly hiking in the Hoka Speedgoat 6, with a mesh, breathable upper, will make you feel lighter and faster on the trails. If you want an extremely breathable option or expect to spend a ton of time walking in the water, take a peek at our guide to the Best Hiking Sandals for Women.


Stability is all about how the shoe feels underfoot. Cushioning, heel-to-toe drop, outsole materials, lugs, and ankle height affect your stability. The Merrell Moab 3 and the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 are examples of shoes with good stability. Most people want a hiking shoe that feels stable on varied terrain, even when carrying a heavy pack, but not so overbuilt that they can’t move fast when they want to. 

 The 4mm lugs and added stability found in the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 provide reliable grip on a variety of terrain and in all weather conditions; (photo/Micah Ling).

Outsole (Tread)

The underside of the hiking boot or shoe is the outsole or tread—the surface that comes into contact with the ground. The outsole is made of rubber and is usually made by a different brand from the shoe company. Vibram has recently cornered the market with their outsoles, but Adidas partners with Continental, the same brand that makes tires. Each outsole has a lug pattern that helps with traction in all kinds of conditions. While it might seem like the bigger the lugs, the better, just like tire treads, that’s not necessarily true. 

  • Shallower lugs: Good for pavement, dirt, grass, crushed gravel, fallen leaves, fairly flat (easy to moderate steepness)
  • Moderate lugs: Best for looser terrain such as mud, gravel, scree (moderate or greater steepness)
  • Deep lugs: Ideal for the most supple surfaces like mud, snow, loose rock, mixed terrain, typically on mountaineering or backpacking boots (best for steep slopes)
  • Wider-spaced lugs: Improve friction for an enhanced grip, such as on rock, and more easily discard debris like mud
  • Angled (versus round) lugs: Shaped like a V, these lugs provide even more bite than round lugs (good for steep hikes)

The heel often also has its own special tread or “brake” system in the back of the boot, beneath the heel, that helps provide traction. The La Sportiva Spire GTX has an “impact brake system” on the heel, made especially to avoid falls in slick conditions. This heel brake, also called the heel shelf, is where there’s a shelf in the back of the boot, beneath the heel of the foot, that helps provide traction, too.


When you think of midsoles, you think of cushion and comfort. This is the area between the upper, which goes over the top of your foot, and the outsole. The midsole plays the biggest role in how your hiking shoes feel. It is where the shock absorption happens and where the protection is between you and the ground. 

Some people like a closer-to-the-ground feel, like the Altra Lonepeak 8, and others like lots of cushioning, like the Hoka Speedgoat 6, between them and the rocks. It’s all about preference. The midsole materials are typically EVA, which is plush and lightweight, or polyurethane, which is more dense. EVA tends to break down faster and costs less.

The lightweight Altra Lone Peak 8 is great for days when you want to carry a little less and go a little faster; ([hoto/Micah Ling)


The upper is the area that covers the top of the foot and attaches to the materials beneath the foot, including the midsole and outsole. Upper materials can vary greatly, from rigid and waterproof to flexible mesh. 

Sometimes, upper materials include leather or suede and are resistant to weather, such as the Merrell Moab 3, and sometimes, they are synthetic and light, such as the Hoka Speedgoat 6. Upper materials are what determine its breathability. Any upper materials that are designed to be waterproof will automatically be less breathable. 

Arch Support

There’s a huge variety of feet out there, and everyone has different preferences regarding arch support and how they like their feet to feel in a hiking shoe. 

For instance, the Merrell Moab 3 has a zonal arch and heel support made for high arches. These shoes were designed with support in mind; since the arches of our feet support much of our body weight while hiking, we appreciate that Merrell incorporates this into its design.

The Altra Lone Peak 8, on the other hand, has a zero-drop design, which means there’s no height change between the heel and forefoot—there’s the same amount of cushion throughout. This lack of support is supposed to encourage more natural foot movement and build foot strength, but it is not for everyone and can take some getting used to.

The Vibram TC5+ rubber on Merrell’s Moab 3 makes even the rockiest terrain feel good under foot; (photo/Micah Ling)


Are hiking shoes or hiking boots better for hiking?

There are several things to consider when choosing the right footwear for hiking. But generally, stability and breathability are the first things to consider. Do you want more structure on your feet because you’re carrying a huge pack on your back? Then go with boots. Or would you rather have breathable shoes that are easy to pack and let your feet feel some air? Then, hiking shoes would be the better choice. 

Hiking boots are great for carrying more weight, traveling big miles, or taking on variable weather and terrain conditions. Boots might be the way to go if you’re doing a multi-day traverse with everything from mud to snow to creek crossings. However, certain hiking shoes like the La Sportiva Spire GTX and the Salomon X Ultra 4 GTX can also fit this bill. 

But if you’re trying to hike a little faster, aren’t carrying a week’s worth of gear, and aren’t going to encounter every kind of weather or terrain in the book, hiking shoes are definitely more than adequate. Hiking shoes often offer more movement and can be a good crossover for trail running. They’re also easier to pack if you’re traveling. 

Choosing the best hiking shoe for your needs, lets you enjoy the view; (photo/Micah Ling)
What added features should I look for in a hiking shoe?

If you’re going with a hiking shoe over a boot, one added feature is the ability to attach a gaiter to a shoe, like we see in the Altra Lone Peak 8. A gaiter usually clips or Velcros onto the upper of a shoe to add protection from sand, stones, and grit getting to a shoe. They’re often lightweight and can be easily added and removed. 

Another feature that’s very common these days, but still a huge benefit, is hiking shoes with loops on the back so they’re easy to clip to a pack with a carabiner. We can’t count the number of times we’ve clipped shoes to a pack when they’re wet or there just isn’t room for them anywhere else. This is a total lifesaver. 

What are the best lightweight hiking shoes?

Any hiking shoe that’s billed as a trail runner tends to be exceptionally lightweight. The Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2, Altra Lone Peak 8 and the Hoka Speedgoat 6 are excellent hiking shoes in the lightweight camp. They’re made of vegan, breathable synthetic materials that make them wick sweat and dry quickly. 

What materials are best for hiking shoes? The short answer, it depends. 

It mostly depends on how you’re using your hiking shoes and what’s most important to you. Leather is very durable, but it tends to be heavier and requires waterproofing if you’re crossing creeks or encountering rain. 

Synthetic materials tend to be less durable but often breathe better and are less expensive. 

Sometimes, it’s all about tradeoffs. Be sure to choose the materials that will be most comfortable and durable for your use. 

hiking shoes for women
The lightweight feel of the Adidas Terrex Free Hiker 2 makes tackling steep rocks easy; (photo/Micah Ling)

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