Calling all adventurous women!
Your hiking boots weighing you down (literally)?
Well if the weather is just right you need to discover the magic that is lightweight hiking boots.
But if you don’t know where to even start, we’ve got you covered because we have tried and tested the best hiking boots the interwebs has to offer to womankind.
So toss those clunkers and read on to discover the best lightweight hiking boots for women!
Light Hiking Boots and You
Table of Contents
- What a Lightweight Hiking Boot Is
- Water Resistance
- The Proper Fit
- Boot Comparison Guide
- Review of the 6 Best Lightweight Hiking Boots For Women in 2018
- 1) KEEN Women's Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot - Best lightweight boots for women with bad feet
- 2) Lowa Women's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot - Lightweight and rainproof
- 3) Merrell Women's Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot - Comfortable leather walking boots
- 4) Ahnu Women's Sugarpine Hiking Boot - Lightweight boots that are easy to pack
- 5) Danner Women's Mountain 600 4.5" Hiking Boot - Great ankle support
- 6) Oboz Women's Bridger B-DRY Hiking Boot - Editor's Choice for 2018
- WINNER of the Best Lightweight Hiking Boots for Women Review are...
What a Lightweight Hiking Boot Is
A lightweight hiking boot is the perfect in between when you want a tad bit more support than a hiking shoe has to offer, but don’t want to slip into some clunky backpacking boots.
Essentially, it is helpful to think of them as a hiking shoe with a little extra oomph in the ankle area.
Technically, a lighter weight hiking boot will range between 1-3 pounds, obviously depending on design and the size of your foot.
They typically have low to mid-cut ankle shafts, that never reach above 4.5 inches.
These kind of boots are ideal for day hikes and curt backpacking trips where you aren’t carrying over 20 pounds in your pack.
The ankle support is minimal and gives way for flexibility, while the thinner shaft keeps dirt and water from slipping into your shoe.
Additionally, the break-in period for lightweight models is breezy. Sometimes it only takes one day on the trail to fully relax the fabric and mold the sole to your foot.
Obviously, these lightweight shoes are meant for dry, easy conditions because in favor of lightness they lack heavy insulation and waterproofing, which ends up weighing a boot down.
Simply put, water resistance is measured by your boots ability to fend off water leaking into your boot. Many waterproof boots will only allow you to accidentally sink your boots into water for a few seconds.
But if you stand in the middle of the river for a few good minutes, your shoes will be soaked no matter what fancy fabric they made your boots with.
Typically the lighter boot’s ventilation flaps make the boots extra vulnerable to water.
Water resistance is achieved through a waterproof/breathable membrane (that only lets moisture be carried away from your shoe) or with an exterior chemical treatment (creates a techy wall that is impenetrable by water).
Although be warned that the chemical treatment will wear off over time, so you’ll have to do a bit more of DIY waterproofing to keep the boots moisture resistant.
A boot’s breathability keeps your feet ventilated, and ridding that foot eco-system of excess sweat and moisture that accumulates in the footbed and builds up in your sock.
Optimum air flow is encouraged through mesh panels, ventilation flaps and a concoction of other tough, but light fabrics add to the overall breeziness of your boot.
Additionally, these breathable fabrics sometimes offer anti-odor, anti-microbial, and climate control that’ll keep your feet extra happy on those dirty, strenuous adventures.
The Proper Fit
Fit is the most important factor to consider in your quest for the very best lightweight hiking boots for women.
Women’s feet are usually quite a bit more narrow than men’s boots, so female boots accommodate that gender difference.
These boots are going to carry you for hundreds of miles on the trails and let’s be honest, they cost a pretty penny.
First off you're going to need to start with your coziest piece of equipment: your socks. Always try on your hiking boots with the kind of socks you expect to wear while trekking.
Trying them on with your socks will give you a good idea about how much precious space your sock is going to eat up.
Additionally, try on boots in the evening, since all feet tend to swell daily, which will mimic the actual size that your feet will be when you are climbing your next 14’er.
When you have slipped into your boots you’ll want enough wiggle room in the toe box and enough space to fit a finger comfortably between your heel and the back of your shoe.
The accurate width and length in sizing will banish the possibility of blisters, stubbed toes and other run of the mill foot ailments.
Each boot company uses a specific foot mold to shape the inside of the boots. But feet come in all shapes and sizes which means some foot molds may not adjust to your feet as well as others.
Experiment and shop around, because the right fit is out there.
Lastly, if you have flat feet or high arches you might want to switch out the factory included insoles for some aftermarket footbeds and orthotics that are molded to your trouble spots.
How to Check If the Boot Fits
If you still aren’t sure about how to look for the perfect fit, this instructional Youtube by Go Outdoors TV will clear up any qualms or questions you still might have with a thorough explanation and some visual demonstrations.
But if you aren’t a sucker for informational Youtube videos like us, then the host goes through the basics, like wearing the appropriate socks, telling you to wiggle your toes before you lace up, make sure you are able to put your index finger in the back of the boot when you slide your foot forward.
Then make sure to move around and double check that there isn't any heel lift. Typically size up to compensate for descents, as your feet will bump the front of the shoe if it is on the shorter side.
With that crash course in boot mechanics you’re ready to discover the best women's lightweight hiking boots.
Boot Comparison Guide
Leather and Fabric
Leather and Textile
(Editor's Choice for 2018)
Review of the 6 Best Lightweight Hiking Boots For Women in 2018
1) KEEN Women's Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot - Best lightweight boots for women with bad feet
The KEEN Women's Targhee II Mid WP Hiking Boot features new frame construction making this one of Renegade’s lightest boots without sacrificing stability.
It still features a full length super Torsion stability ESS nylon stabilizing shank to keep your ankles safe when the trail is treacherous (aka muddy).
These trekking shoes are waterproof, are constructed with breathable Gore-Tex lining and climate-control, moisture-wicking footbeds will keep your feet cool and sweat free.
The shaft measures approximately 4.5" from the arch, the heel rises to 1.5” and the platform is lifted 1”, which means these boots are going to keep your feet elevated and safe from rough, rocky trails.
It also features a rubber protective toe cap for keeping your fragile toes safe against stubs.
Then the rear pull-on loop makes it easy to pull these on and the removable dual-density EVA foam footbed allows you to customize the insole if you want to customize the fit.
- The contoured heel lock and the Torsion Stability ESS Flank kept our feet from moving around inside the shoe and provided cushion in places, like the heel, that can use some much needed support
- 4 mm lug depths make this boot tough on demanding trails and will bring your feet ease as you walk across slippery mounds of pebbles and leap across rocks
- Smart Gore-tex lining means that the boots are very water-resistant; and even in a few inches of water your feet will stay dry
- This boot’s ankle height is short, deep water and heavy rain will definitely soak your feet
- Like most lightweight boots a large portion of the shoe is constructed with mesh, and those areas will deteriorate much more quickly than leather
2) Lowa Women's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot - Lightweight and rainproof
The Lowa Women's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot is made with a waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX liners keep your feet dry when you're wading through shallow streams and hiking hard through slippery forests.
Then the water-repellent nubuck leather uppers feature Cordura nylon ankle bands for comfort and flexibility so your feet feel supported (not constricted).
Also, the polyester linings wick moisture away to keep your feet dry and less sweaty than usual.
The derby-cut lacing fits a wide variety of foot volumes; padded and gusseted tongues relieve lace pressure while keeping out pebbles and chunks of unwanted dirt.
Full-length nylon shanks offer great support for long days on your feet; polyurethane midsoles absorb shock when you leap, jump and scamper up challenging trails.
- External polyurethane Monowrap frames offer lateral stability and superior ankle support while reducing weight
- Vibram Evo rubber outsoles deliver grippy traction that keep your feet glued to slippery surfaces and demanding terrain
- The mesh fabric makes these comfortable right out of the box with no rigorous break-in required
- These boots run small, so make sure you have wiggle room and ample ankle space when you size up
- This pair of trekking shoes has some complex seam work that has a history of unraveling after consistent use
3) Merrell Women's Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot - Comfortable leather walking boots
The Merrell Women's Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boot is a light trekking shoe that is heavy duty enough to cradle your feet on longer, multi-day backpacking trips.
Its leather and mesh upper offers a synthetic leather toe cap and heel counter protection and breathability so you don’t get hurt, or worse end up with perpetually sweaty socks for the whole day.
The bellows tongue keeps debris out, the breathable mesh lining wicks to keep feet dry when you hop across creeks.
Additionally, the molded nylon arch shank and 5mm lug depth make these shoes grippy enough to conquer challenging, steep climbs.
Finally, the Merrell air cushion in the heel absorbs shock when you inevitably skip down the trail after a long day of hiking.
Most of all the Merrell M Select FIT.ECO blended EVA contoured footbed with organic odor control.
- The long-lasting M Select Fresh prevents sweat and moisture from affecting the freshness of your shoes so your feet don’t smell rank at the end of your hike
- Lug patterns that provide stability in all conditions, with no lugs placed under the arch, so your foot flexes more naturally and you don’t run the risk of bending your foot to an odd angle
- A removable compression-molded EVA foot frame ensures comfy, customizable fit
- These lightweight kicks are gym shoe soft and comfy straight out of the box
- Some report that the arch support is a little wonky, so if you have arches with special needs you might want to insert your own insoles, or opt for another boot that caters to your arch needs
4) Ahnu Women's Sugarpine Hiking Boot - Lightweight boots that are easy to pack
The Ahnu Women's Sugarpine Hiking Boot is a super lightweight trekking shoe that is constructed with waterproof leather and synthetic textile uppers that are flexible and tough, a kind of burliness that keeps adventuring feet happy.
Then the rubber toe caps protect uppers and feet from abrasion and avoidable scratches while the waterproof, breathable membranes protect feet from the elements while retaining excellent breathability.
And sweaty hikers will really dig the boot’s nylon linings that wick moisture away from feet.
Its dual-density EVA midsoles supply lightweight, cushioned support underfoot so your feet don’t get prematurely tired while on the trail.
Then lastly the nylon and fiberglass arch shanks combine with EVA shock plates for stability and support so you can confidently hop, skip and leap all day without battering your feet.
- The boots' Vibram rubber outsoles add some major traction to the bottom of your boot so you can climb steep cliffs without worrying your feet will slip
- 70 Durometer EVA stability postings on medial and lateral sides of the shoe provide some stellar support and protection for accident prone ankles
- The shock dispersal plate in forefoot allows you to ascend rough rocky trails without ever battering your tender adventurous feet
- This boot is on the wider side, so narrow footed ladies might want to steer clear
- The boots also require a rigorous break in process, which is rare for lightweight hiking boots that typically can be worn right out of the box
5) Danner Women's Mountain 600 4.5" Hiking Boot - Great ankle support
The Danner Women's Mountain 600 Hiking Boot is an adept lightweight hiker for conquering wet and rugged terrain.
Even though it is constructed with waterproof suede, the Danner dry liner transports sweat and moisture away from your skin and socks.
The removable OrthoLite insole offers ample underfoot support while the TPU heel frame lends the wearer lightweight stability that is vital for hot, long treks.
Additionally, the Vibram SPE midsole enhances stability, rebound, and comfort so your feet don’t get tuckered out halfway into your hike.
Finally, the Vibram Fuga outsole will grip to any tricky or treacherous surface.
Also, this snazzy low profile design means you can easily don these on a trip to the supermarket or bar without looking like a wild woman.
- Smart midsole construction makes sure that you have the optimal combination of support, rebound, cushioning, and stability for comfort while you’re conquering 14’ers
- The waterproof suede upper and Danner Dry liner keep the those pesky elements and debris in check, while providing moisture-wicking, breezy comfort
- This boot also features a Vibram SPE (Specialized Performance Elastomer) midsole, an all-new, technical compound engineered to offer hikers stellar support without all the clunkiness that comes with supportive boots
- These comfortable suede boots are equipped with a tough toe box, so if you stub your toes often this boot isn’t going to save you
- The boots tongue isn’t waterproof, so if bad weather is brewing on your adventure, your feet might still get soaked despite Danner’s water resistant suede fabric
6) Oboz Women's Bridger B-DRY Hiking Boot - Editor's Choice for 2018
The Oboz Women's Bridger B-DRY Hiking Boot is a waterproof all-leather hiker that essentially means zero break-in time since the Bridger BDry delivers EVA cushioning, is a stable platform for bumpy terrain, and aggressive traction for even the roughest of trails.
Oboz BDry membrane for waterproof protection and breathable comfort while the waterproof nubuck leather upper offers some backpacker boot level protection and support.
The boot has a nylon shank for stability and midfoot rigidity but is just loose enough to allow forefoot flexibility.
Then the TPU Chassis prevents stone bruising without inhibiting forefoot flex.
Additionally, the lightweight, high-friction Granite Peak carbon rubber outsole offers some hardcore traction, that won’t be whittled down over time.
The super beefy 4 mm directional lugs offer stellar propulsion and braking; toothy side lugs hug uneven trails so you’re feet aren’t going anywhere, even if the trail is a muddy mess.
Then the dual-density midsole is outfitted with shock-absorbing cushioning and support so you can confidently jump and climb because your boots are going to absorb all that bitter shock.
- The rubber outsole with multi-directional lugs offer enough traction to conquer any mountain or trail
- Its nylon shank, molded rubber toe cap and heel counter offer a massive amount of protection and stability so even if you take a small tumble your feet should emerge unscathed
- The dual-density EVA foam midsole is super shock absorbing, so you can leap, climb trees and run down the trail without a second thought
- These boots may be tough and aggressive but they virtually require no break-in process meaning it won’t be a total chore getting these plush shoes to adapt to your feet
- Despite the heavy duty traction some people say that the ankle support isn’t top notch
WINNER of the Best Lightweight Hiking Boots for Women Review are...
Oboz Women's Bridger B-DRY Hiking Boot
The Oboz Women's Bridger B-DRY Hiking Boot! Even though the competition was tough, this boot really outdid the rest of the boots in our lineup.
First reason why is because of the insanely grippy, 4mm directional lugged outsole that’ll have you scampering up sheers cliffs like Spider-man (or Spider- Gwen perhaps?).
The shock absorbing EVA footbed combined with a pliable extra-comfortable nubuck leather collar will keep your feet feeling fresh and un-cramped no matter how many miles you conquer in a day.
Then the board-lasted construction provides increased water protection so you can have all the protection that a bulky backpacking boot offers without the extra poundage.
At the end of the day all of these lightweight hiking boots for women will keep your feet happy and healthy on the trail, so you really can’t go wrong.
So strap on a new pair of lightweight hiking boots and set out on an rip roaring adventure!