Hiking Shoes & Boots

Womens Hiking Boots
Womens Hiking Boots

Are you looking for a pair of light hiking shoes or “boots” for dayhikes? You’re on the right page! Otherwise, if you’re looking for something with more support for more rugged terrain check out my tips on backpacking boots. Read below for my tips about what to look for in hiking shoes and boots!

Hiking Boot Features:

For day hikers, I recommend low-top or mid-cut hiking boots that are lightweight, have a durable rubber sole, and are made of a combination of leather and synthetic materials. When I am hiking on well-maintained local trails with a daypack filled with my 10 Essentials, a light hiking shoe is the best. They provide more protection and support than trail running shoes, but aren’t heavy and stiff high-cut boots. Unless you’re backpacking with heavy loads or traveling on rugged trails or blazing your own trails, light hiking shoes will be more than sufficient.

Hiking Boot Shopping Tips:

Hiking Lady’s Favorite Women’s Hiking Boots:

Vasque Mantra Women's Cross-Training Shoes Vasque Mantra Women’s Cross-Training Shoes: These are great light hiking shoes that provide a little more support than typical trail running shoes. Vasque shoes run narrow, so stick to Keen’s if you have wide feet.
Vasque Hiking Boots - Breeze Gore-Tex XCR Vasque Hiking Boots – Breeze Gore-Tex XCR: These Vasque hiking boots have built in Gore-Tex material, keeping your feet dry if you step in a puddle or when crossing a stream (or if you’re like me and tend to get caught hiking in the rain!)
Keen Targhee II Mid Women's Hiking Boots Keen Targhee II Mid Women’s Hiking Boots: My friend Patricia has that pair and swears by them, and wears them for short hikes, long hikes, and sometimes even backpacking trips.
Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex XCR Hiking Boots Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex XCR Hiking Boots: These Merrell boots are known for their comfort. If you find that all other hiking boots are too stiff for you, try out a pair of Merrell’s and I have a feeling you’ll have happy feet! They offer slightly less support, but enough for all dayhikes.




Read More About Hiking Footwear:

21 comments

  1. Shelly Herr says:

    Hi Vic,
    I’m going to Zion and Bryce National Parks for a week and plan to do day hikes everyday. I need to buy hiking shoes for the hikes. Do you think that I need mid high boots? I don’t want to limit my hiking options based upon my shoes but if possible. At the same time, I’d prefer to not purchase shoes that I use for only one week. I live in Illinois so most of my hikes at home are on fairly flat ground. I have tried on many mid high hiking boots but I find the low hikers more comfortable for regular walking. I’ve read about needing ankle support though for mountain hiking and don’t want to come home with twisted ankles. Do you think it’s important to have mid high boots for the Utah park hikesor that I’d limit my trail options while there if I don’t have them? Thank you!

  2. Mel says:

    I am a beginning hiker. I live in Southern Ca. I am in good shape, have been exercising 4 times a week for the past 2 months and completely “cleaned” my diet. How many times a week should I be hiking to prepare for field research ( mid-2016 for 2 weeks ) in AU at 10,000 feet?

  3. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Cheri,
    Great question. Yes, it does matter, especially if you have severe pronation. Unlike running and walking shoes however, hiking boot manufacturers aren’t great at letting you know which boots are ideal for people with pronation versus those of us with neutral feet. Many people correct the issue with enhanced insoles such as Superfeet.

    If your feet tend to pronate, look for boots that have extra firm material on the inside of the arch. This is where running shoes have extra support for pronators as well, so the shoe doesn’t compress as much when you walk. Most hiking boots are much stiffer than running shoes, which is why it isn’t as big of an issue as with running and walking shoes, but again, if someone has severe pronation, be on the lookout for boots that are extra firm in the middle under the arch.

    Hope that helps!

  4. Cheri Holbrook says:

    When selecting a hiking boot does pronation matter like it does when selecting running or walking shoes? Thank you for the help.

  5. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Nicole,

    Snake proof boots are used primarily by biologist and people who walk through areas full of rattlers. If you are planning on hiking on trails, rather than through dense brush, you’ll be okay if you stay alert and wear regular boots. Rattlers do their best to give a warning that they are near…you’ll hear the rattle! Bottom line is that for conventional hiking, snake boots are generally considered overkill, and won’t be very comfortable. Good luck and happy trails! Stay safe!

  6. Nicole says:

    What are your thoughts on snake proof boots? I’m new to hiking and am planning on traveling to some areas where rattlers have been spotted. I want to be comfortable, but would rather be safe!

  7. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Julie,

    You clearly have a right to be frustrated!

    If all else fails, I’d recommend wearing a pair of trail running shoes with desert gaiters on top to keep out dirt and rocks on your Grand Canyon hike. You can read about them here on HikingLady.com: Gaiters.

    Happy trails!

  8. Julie says:

    I can’t seem to find a comfortable hiking boot. I have been getting
    blisters and sore toes. I”ve tried many different boots and even have
    a pair of professionally made orthotics. Nothing is working! I’m
    almost ready to have a custom boot made, it that is even possible. I’m
    going to the grand canyon in April 2015 and am starting to panic. I’m
    going back to REI and try a pair of men’s boots. Any other
    suggestions? Thank you, Julie

  9. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Jess, great question.

    You should go for a brand that tends to run wider, but that also offers good ankle support (I’d recommend a mid top to high top shoe for more ankle support). Merrell hiking shoes tend to run wide, so you should try something like the Merrell Crestbound or the Merrell Siren Waterproof for something a bit more comfortable (I picked this one for you because you’ll likely want waterproof shoes for the Inca Trail).

    If you order online, I recommend buying a couple of different pairs from a store that offers free shipping BOTH ways (i.e., Zappos, or various Amazon shoes). That way you can find exactly the right ones. Good luck and have a fabulous trip!

  10. Jess says:

    Hi Hikinglady,

    I was hoping you could give some advice.

    I am hiking Machu Picchu in August of this year and will need to get some hiking shoes/ boots. I want to get them early enough in advance so that I can use them prior to break them in abit.

    I have a wider foot and my ankles slightly roll out. Is there a particular brand you would suggest I look at as a starter?

    Look forward to hearing from you!

  11. Ricki says:

    Hey Hikinglady,

    I am an intermediate hiker, I have high arches, the trails I go on are mixed and I do day hiking. What do you suggest for hiking shoes?

    Thanks!

  12. silvia tritanto says:

    hi there,

    im planning to go to kalapathar nepal in may 2015, what would shoes compatible for it? is it hiking boots or mountainering boots , i love ur blog

    thx alot

  13. Eileen Lohrer says:

    Any opinion on timberland Chocorua. Just ordered. I need wide so choices seem limited

  14. Sara Anderson says:

    Just got the Keen Targhees and they are like walking on pillows. With the Injinji sock liners and keen mid high socks, it makes walking so much easier. They truly are great shoes. Thanks for your recommendation.

  15. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Dawn,
    Great question. I would recommend trail shoes instead of running shoes for a couple of reasons: (i) trail shoes tend to have much better traction than running shoes, since they are designed to be used on dirt and rocks and (ii) trail shoes tend to be much stiffer than running shoes, which will help prevent your feet from being exhausted after all of that trail walking. Most importantly, make sure that whatever you choose to wear fits well, has space for your toes (you’ll want that on the downhills) and that you’ve worn them a bit before the trip to make sure your feet like the shoes! Also many readers have found this shoe lacing technique helpful, especially on downhills (it helps keep your heel from slipping in your shoe). Have a great trip!

  16. dawn says:

    I’m going hiking on the south kaibab trail this summer and was wondering if it would be smart to wear just running shoes or trail shoes. I don’t really want to get hiking boots for this one trail, but I also want to be comfortable and safe. What do you think? Its 7 miles in and 9 miles out.

  17. Hiking Lady says:

    Hi Vic,

    You’ll be better off with a stiffer boot and one that is at least a mid top. You definitely don’t want to be rolling your ankles when you’re out backpacking! Brands that run a bit wide are Merrell and Keen. Merrell boots tend to be the most comfortable because they are the least stiff and Keen’s are known for their sturdy toe protection. Boots that have a less flexible shank will provide more support for your feet and joints after a long day, even if they might seem less comfortable at first.

    I recommend that you go to your local outdoor gear store and try on a few pairs of mid to high top hiking boots. You should either add your own arch supports or buy enhanced insoles to offer you more support. I have a narrow foot and love my Asolo Styngers for backpacking because they are stiff enough to provide all day long support under the heavy load of a backpacking pack.

    Have fun getting back into backpacking!

  18. Vic says:

    I backpacked a very long time ago, when my body was much younger and my joints were in far better shape (well, truth be told the rest of me was in far better shape too.) I have very high arches and typically add an over the counter arch support to any shoes I will be wearing for any length of time. I have medium to wide feet, but part of that is to help accommodate the addition I just mentioned. I am looking to get back into hiking and maybe move on to some short backpacking trips. I was thinking of maybe getting something that has a bit higher of a collar simply because even in my tennis shoes I am clumsy enough that I manage to roll my ankle. Any thoughts on what might be the best things for me to start off with or suggestions?

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