Top 5 Absolute Best Hiking Shoes For Women In 2019

best hiking shoes for women

Today we will be comparing the top 5 best hiking shoes for women. Footwear is where the walker and the ground meet so this is by far the most important piece of kit to consider. A hiker should not have to gingerly avoid puddles and sharp rocks. Instead, she should bestride the landscape, head up, and with a confidence that a good pair of hiking shoes provides.


For this reason, hiking shoes should not be left to chance or an ill-considered, spur-of-the-moment, shoe shop purchasing decision. For the serious hiker, the choice of shoes benefits from serious thought and analysis.

I, along with fellow members of my hiking club, have been doing just that. In a spirit of curiosity and open-mindedness, we’ve tried on dozens, tried out a good few and shared our experiences and opinions. By collating these, I have compiled here a list of the absolute best hiking shoes for women.

Of course, your choice would depend a lot on the kind of hiking you do. You may be highly adventurous, go out in all seasons for days on end, with the wind in your face, carrying heavy backpacks and bearing all that the elements throw your way. Or you could be a fair-weather ambler, gently taking in the scenery and noticing things you would not notice during the course of your humdrum working week.

This list assumes you are somewhere in between these two extremes and concerns itself with shoes not boots. I will make your purchasing decision more informed and less anxious.

Below Are Reviewed Top 5 Absolute Best Hiking Shoes For Women In 2018.

1: Merrell Women’s Siren Edge HikerMerrell Women's Siren Edge Hiker

This shoe tops the list by managing the delicate balancing act between the conflicting demands of lightweight/rugged and waterproof/breathability. This is how the Siren Edge Hiker scored so highly on that most important criterion: comfort.

After being taken out of the box these shoes take a minimum of breaking in time. Taking their inspiration from Irish dancing apparel, (not the most obvious source I must admit) Merrel use stylish ghillie laces which lend the shoes an attractive feminine touch. The arch support and air cushion in the heal have that curious foot-caressing quality that makes the Siren Edge Hikers a delight to wear.

This well-fitted snugness avoids the blistering and chaffing that hikers endure from low-quality footwear. The bellows tongue keeps out that stray stone that invariably and mysteriously manages to get inside a shoe during the course of a long walk.

The shoes are light with a low ankle so perhaps not for those who need strong ankle support. The Vibram traction outsole and air cushion in the heel allow the wearer to tackle rough stony paths with ease. The thick tread allows the hiker to tackle slippery surfaces and precipitous inclines with aplomb.

If you’re lucky enough to be under thirty you may well have what is politely called a ‘hot foot’. So for you, breathability is a crucial feature and the Siren Edge Hiker delivers on this big time with its breathable mesh lining.

The Vibram sole enables the shoe to score highly on its ability to repel water. The hiker may banish the demoralizing effect of the soggy sock to oblivion. Of course, you wouldn’t want to ford a stream – that’s what wellies are for.  (For a further in depth review of this woman’s hiking shoe, read here)

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Rugged
  • Waterproof
  • Breathable mesh lining
  • Minimal breaking in time
  • Ghillie laces (a deal breaker for me)
  • Good arch support
  • Air cushion in the heal
  • Bellows tongue
  • Strong ankle support
  • Thick tread
  • Competitive price

Cons:

  • Weak ankle support
  • Long-term durability is untested

To access the latest Amazon price Click Here

2: The North Face Women’s Hedgehog Fastpack Gore-Tex

In at a close second, this shoe also proved popular among my fellow hikers. In their frequent forays into the Big Sur Trails, these intrepid and experienced hikers soon began to appreciate the time-tested and dependable system. This makes this shoe completely waterproof while allowing air to reach the feet.
The North Face Women's Hedgehog Fastpack Gore-Tex
The tongue and lace system allows the shoes to follow the shape and contours of the feet so I heard many plaudits regarding overall comfort.  The arch support and front toe design add to the general sense of this. The traction is good and the shoe’s flexibility gives it an everyday wearability normally found in standard sneakers.

North Face are noted for their consistent shoe sizing so purchasing can be easier than is often the case with other brands.
(For a further in depth review of this hiking shoe, read here)

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Flexible
  • Effective tongue and lace system
  • Arch support
  • Good toe protection
  • Excellent traction
  • Consistent shoe sizing

Cons:

  • The most expensive on the list.

To access the latest Amazon price Click Here

3: Adidas outdoor Terrex AX2R Hiking Shoe

Adidas outdoor Terrex AX2R Hiking ShoeThese shoes happen to be the least expensive choice on our list. And there seems no obvious sacrifice for this wallet-friendly alternative. As is the case with all the footwear in this article, the shoes need no breaking in. They are of optimum comfort as soon as they’re taken out of the box. When picking them up I noticed how light they are.

I don’t like a heavy shoe, I don’t mind foregoing a little extra protection if I can walk without the too much weight wrapped around my feet. But there were other reasons why I put this shoe at a lofty number three.

Though billed as a hiking shoe, the Terrex AX2R has the flexibility and weight to serve as a road runner. This is an excellent choice if you cherish the road as much as the trail. The grip and high traction rubber sole are carefully designed for both and can even cope with some rock climbing.

One easily avoidable bugbear is the sizing. Now it could be that Adidas is right and all the other manufacturers are wrong but the shoes tend to be a half size too big. Bear this in mind when ordering online otherwise, you will have to either return the shoes, yes that normally means a trip to the post office and a wait in the queue, or else wear them with a thick sock.
(For a further in depth review of this Hiking Shoe, read here)

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • No breaking in needed
  • Lightweight
  • Flexible
  • Also serves as a running shoe
  • High traction rubber sole

Cons:

  • Insole comes loose easily
  • Sizing: half size too big

To access the latest Amazon price Click Here

4: KEEN Women’s Voyageur Hiking Shoe

KEEN Women's Voyageur Hiking ShoeIn at a respectable number four in our list is the mighty Voyageur. The first thing I noticed with these shoes were the pull on loops on the heal and the tongue. What an inspired idea! It’s like suitcases with wheels – why did no-one think of it before? I suspect, patent law permitting, other manufacturers will follow suit.

The second thing that caught my eye is its rugged look that seems to want to let the ground know in no uncertain terms who is boss. The macho look may offend the more delicate sensibilities of some women, but hikers generally are of a no-nonsense disposition and have no problem with such frivolous matters.

Keen cater for the more-exuberant or some unkind people would say, attention-seeking, hiker. So for this demographic, more garish options are offered. Remember it’s called the Voyageur with a u. Don’t you just love that French touch?

I really liked the way the Voyageur exudes dependability and trust especially to a hiker who is contemplating a trek over more challenging terrain and to do so in less clement weather. The toe protection is reassuringly robust and chunky. This makes the shoes ideal for descending steep inclines as it prevents toes knocking into the ends – a potentially painful experience as previous experience has taught me.

After repeated walks, I noticed early manifestations of wear and tear. These weaknesses did not in any way impede the performance of the shoe but as I mentioned before, confidence is important in how we relate to footwear and these signs make me wonder how the shoes would perform in the long term, say after clocking up 300 miles. (For a further in depth review of this woman’s hiking shoe, read here)

Pros:

  • Pull on loops on the heal and the tongue
  • Stylish rugged looks
  • Cool color choices
  • Robust and protective
  • No breaking in needed
  • High traction rubber sole

Cons:

  • Insole comes loose fairly easily
  • Sizing: half size too big
  • Expensive

To access the latest Amazon price Click Here

5: Merrell Women’s All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Water Shoe

Merrell Women's All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Water Shoe

The Merrell website boasts a plethora of trademarked systems: Omni-Fit™, M Select™ , UniFly™ and Vibram® with no clear indication as to what these are. So rather than be bamboozled by these terms, I based my judgment and opinions on observation and experience.

I had to include the All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Water Shoe in the list for the sheer counter-intuition of its designers. It’s another from the ever-inventive Merrell stable. Instead of treating water as an enemy to be kept out at all costs, it embraces it as an integral part of the hiking experience. This is a kind of sandal/trainer hybrid.

The onus is on being easily dryable. To bring this about Merrel eschews leather which takes a long time to dry.  In fact, Merrel describes the shoes as vegan-friendly. For the sake of research, I asked one of my vegan hiking friends to taste them but sadly, she declined.

It’s called a water shoe because the onus is not on being waterproof, but allowing the wearer to walk in water and be able to dry them quickly. I tried these out on a hot summer’s day. I pounded my regular local trail for most of the day. The mesh material gives the shoes a sandal feel – I could actually feel the wind caressing my toes. Merrell aspires to the one-shoe-fits-all foot shapes through its Omni-Fit lacing System. It works.

Despite less than average sole cushion, blisters are kept well at bay and the Vibram TC5+ outsole and 5mm lug give the hiker a go-anywhere spring in her step. The tongue and lace system works effectively to keep out stones. Dust gets in of course but this is not a problem because the whole point of the All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Water Shoe is that shoes and feet can be cleaned at the next stream. On a hot day, this is a most pleasant tactile experience and it is this which this wonderful shoe can bring about.

It is very much a summer shoe. Its specialist nature made me put it further down the list. As I mentioned before, the list gives a balanced all-around picture.
(For a further in depth review of this woman’s hiking shoe, read here)

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Water-friendly
  • Easily washable
  • Easily dryable
  • Breathable
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Protective
  • No breaking in needed

Cons:

  • Less than average sole cushion
  • Only suitable for warm summer days

To access the latest Amazon price Click Here

 Verdict

All five of the above shoes have made it to the absolute top five so putting them in a particular order was a difficult task for me. Every foot shape is different and no two hikes or hikers are alike. The Keen was put through a particularly punishing try-out so it may be a little unfair to subject what is an outstanding hiking shoe, to more critical examination.

The order also comes down to personal taste. I’m a sucker for looks as much as anyone else and there are times I have to put my critical faculties aside when I see a color combination I really like. This may be why the Siren Edge Hiker edged in front, in all honesty.

Any of these pairs will give you many miles of happy hiking. The whole purpose of this article was to present to you 5 of the best hiking shoes for women on the market today, so we will conclude the winner, in many aspects, is the Merrell Women’s Siren Edge Hiker shoes.

Go pick your pair and we wish you many many miles of hiking happiness to come.

 

 

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