Before you ever go hiking, you have to decide whether you would be better served by hiking boots or hiking shoes. Shoes have a couple of important advantages over boots, the biggest one being weight. Shoes weigh a lot less, and you end up expending a lot less energy wearing shoes instead of boots. Men’s and women’s hiking shoes are a little different, of course, but metrics like weight are equally important, regardless of the intended gender of the hiking shoes. With lightweight hiking shoes, you can go farther and feel fresher when you get there.
Women’s Hiking ShoesThings to try and find on a new pair of women’s hiking shoes.
- Weight – As alluded to above, weight is important when it comes to shoes. Every pound on your feet is equivalent to about 5 pounds on your back, in terms of energy expenditure. You wouldn’t fill your backpack with unnecessary weight, so don’t put unnecessary weight on your feet by getting a heavy pair of hiking shoes.
- Waterproof or Breathable – The more waterproof a pair of hiking shoes are, the less breathable they will tend to be. There are some materials, like certain kinds of Gore Tex, for example, that do a decent job of giving you both, but generally, you have to choose one or the other and go with it.
Best Women’s Hiking ShoesA select few of the better women's hiking shoes that are available to choose from.
- Montrail Mountain Masochist - If you'd prefer something lightweight and minimalist, then the Mountain Masochist is an ideal choice for you. It's very breathable, and not at all waterproof, making it a great choice for good weather conditions. It has a low profile and not much in the way of features, besides being well made. What really stands out about the Mountain Masochist is the weight, which averages just 18.4 ounces, or 514 grams for the pair, which is quite a bit lighter than most other hiking shoes.
- Merrell Siren Sport GTX XCR - This is a hiking shoe that occupies the waterproof end of the waterproof / breathability spectrum. It does use the XCR version of Gore-Tex, which is supposed to be a little more breathable, so there's that. They also have a vibram sole, which is a definite plus. At 1.5 pounds, or 680 grams, they're not too much heavier than the Mountain Masochists, which makes them a good hiking shoe option for women who want to stay dry.
- Salomon XT Wings 2 - The XT Wings 2 are something more suited to those that want a sturdy, hefty hiking shoe. With these shoes you get plenty of support, cushioning and comfort. All that comfort does have a cost in weight, however, because at 23 ounces, or 650 grams, they're only marginally lighter than the Merrell shoes above, and these aren't waterproof like the Merrells. But if you want padding and support, you cant expect to have the lightest pair of hiking shoes.