Backpacking Boots

Backpacking Boots (at the top of Mt. Whitney!)
Backpacking Boots (at the top of Mt. Whitney!)

Backpacking boots are more technical than hiking boots, and have to be able to handle a lot more abuse that you’ll put them through during your outdoor adventures!

Terms to Know Before You Buy Women’s Backpacking Boots:

There are a few terms you’ll want to know before you start shopping for your women’s backpacking boots:

  • Shank. The shank is an insert built into backpacking boots that determines its stiffness, and therefore ability to provide support on rocky surfaces. They are made of either nylon or steel. If you grab a boot with both hands and try to bend the toe towards the heel, you’ll see how stiff the shank is. If you travel with heavy loads and/or off trail, you’ll need a stiff shanked boot to provide support and enable you to “edge” well on small footholds.
  • Gore-Tex. While you may not need waterproof hiking boots if you generally take short hikes in dry locations, you’ll definitely want waterproof backpacking boots! You never know when you’ll be caught in that surprise summer thunderstorm. Boots made with Gore-Tex have a thin layer of material to prevent moisture from reaching your feet. This not only keeps you comfortable but also helps prevent blisters. Wet feet and soggy socks are a recipe for blisters!
  • Full-grain Leather. Leather boots are known for their durability and versatility. When you’re backpacking you may encounter mud, brush, sand, boulders, streams, snow, ice, or maybe just a nicely maintained trail. Because conditions can change so quickly, your backpacking boot needs to be versatile. Full-grain leather offers good waterproofness and can handle trail abuse quite well.
  • Nubuck Leather. This is leather that is buffed to look like suede, and is just as durable as full-grain leather.
  • Synthetic Materials. Womens backpacking boots constructed with synthetic materials weigh much less than full leather boots, and are easier to break in. If they get wet, they usually dry very quickly. The only drawback is that they are generally less durable than Full-Grain Leather and Nubuck Leather boots.

Women’s Backpacking Boots Shopping Tips:

Hiking Lady’s Favorite Womens Backpacking Boots:

Asolo Stynger GTX Women’s Boots: I have a pair of these that I’ve worn on rugged terrain, in snow, rain, sand, and mud, and they’re still going strong! They are lighter than most backpacking boots because the upper is constructed of a mix of synthetic materials and leather, and the shank is less stiff than some other boots. What these boots lack in stiffness they more than make up for in comfort.

Asolo TPS 520 GV Women’s Hiking Boots: These are an ideal backpacking boot because of their stiff shank and full-grain leather construction. They will take some time to break-in!

Read More About Hiking Footwear:


  1. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi JL,

    Unfortunately Asolo no longer makes the Asolo Stynger GTX boots. You can find selected sizes at discount sizes still. Here’s a link to where you can find some. Hope that helps!
    Happy trails!

  2. JL says:

    These sound perfect for my trip to the highlands!
    However, I can’t find them for sale anywhere…any recommendations?

    Many thanks!

  3. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Bob!
    I’d suggest – you can order a few pair, and the returns are free. has a decent selection too, but you’ll have to pay for returns unless you can take them up to the San Antonio store. Good luck!

  4. Bob says:

    New to Corpus Christi, TX, and am looking for boots for my wife, and backpacks for both of us. Neither Academy nor Dicks have much to offer, and don’t know where else to look locally. Any suggestions?


  5. Amy in Tennessee says:

    Brenda I might have to try them…still have serious blister issues even after trying the lacing techniques…I have been taping my heal/foot with medical tape but that at times still doesn’t prevent the blisters from forming! Thanks for the tip!

  6. Brenda Brackmann says:

    I hear you about the narrow heels! I found the SCARPA Women’s Kailash GTX Backpacking Boots to be my special find for my narrow heels. I just bought my 2nd pair I loved them so much.

  7. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Amy!
    Sorry to hear you are getting blisters! Definitely try that boot lacing technique? That may help keep your narrow heels down in the boot. Any movement of your heel will cause the blisters. Have you tried wearing liner socks that will wick moisture to your outer sock?
    Let me know how the lacing technique works for you. If that doesn’t work I’ll try to think of some other tweaks you can make before your big trip! Good luck!

  8. Amy in Tennessee says:

    I have a pair of the Asolo Stynger GTX Women’s Boots (just like you) I love these boots, but am having some difficulties with blisters…I’m thinking it’s one of two possible things, if not both. I have really high arches so they could be falling and I have narrow heels. Just last night I went to the park to walk (getting ready for a 24 mile weekend hike (hiking the Manistee River Trail/North Country Trail Loop, michigan) the park offers a 3.3 mile track. So 3.3 miles 1 hour later 1 major blister. I’m hoping the tying tech. will work. Any other thoughts or suggestions for me? Thanks so much

Comment or Question:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *