15 best hiking boots for women in 2023 under $100, $200 and $500
Plus, what to look for in a hiking shoe, according to an expert.
While our climate could be kinder and our dollar stronger, there is one thing about Canada that's not up for debate: Its natural beauty.
As Canadians, we are privileged to live in one of the world's most scenic countries. Whether surf or ski, prairies or mountains, there is something for everyone up here in the Great White North. In fact, Canada is home to more than 25,000 trails, making it a global hot spot for hiking.
For those eager to tie-up up their laces this summer and experience the call of the wild, all you need to get started is a good pair of hiking shoes.
What should you look for in a hiking boot?
According to Trevor McConnell, a former hiking and rock climbing specialist at Decathlon, before deciding on a pair of boots, you need to ask yourself where you'll be hiking and how strenuous it will be.
"If you only want to go on single-day hikes on gently winding forest trails, your needs will be very different than someone who wants to do a week-long backpacking trip in Algonquin Park or someone hiking in the Rockies."
McConnell says there are four main things to consider when purchasing hiking shoes:
1. Do you want a shoe or a boot?
"Shoes are lighter, but boots offer much-needed ankle support," McConnell says.
2. Do you need waterproof shoes?
Waterproof shoes will help keep your feet dry by keeping water out, but their design also holds in moisture and won't allow your feet to breathe as easily as non-waterproof shoes.
"If you only plan on hiking in the dead of summer, consider non-waterproof shoes to avoid sweaty feet," he says.
3. How robust do your shoes need to be?
"If you're only doing day trips, a broken shoelace or small hole in your shoe is not the end of the world." However, if you're planning on completing that week-long trip in Algonquin, "a small problem can become a big issue, so you need to be able to rely on your shoes. Robust hiking boots will be heavier but won't fail you."
4. How much traction (pull) and grip (stick) do you need?
If you're hiking on flat ground, you don't need much traction to keep you on the trail "as gravity is doing that for you," he says. It's when you gain altitude and "falling off the trail could result in serious injury" that your grip really begins to matter. Investing in a pair of boots with good traction will "help pull you up the mountain."
As for materials, McConnell says hikers only have a couple of options: synthetic or organic.
"Synthetic shoes breathe better than leather, but they're not as waterproof. Leather is waterproof and very durable but not as breathable."
To shop the best hiking shoes, boots and sandals for women in 2023, scroll below.
Best hiking boots and shoes for women under $100
Columbia Crestwood Hiker
These affordable hiking shoes from Columbia have earned an average rating of 4.7 stars from DSW shoppers. The lightweight hikers feature a comfortable EVA midsole and rubber outsole with multidirectional lugs for excellent traction. "They last far longer than typical runners," according to one reviewer. They have a "fantastic grip and are super water-resistant (yay, no wet feet!)."
NORTIV 8 Women's Waterproof Hiking Boots
Affordable and functional, these waterproof hiking boots have earned an average rating of 4.4 stars from Amazon shoppers. The shoes are designed with a slip-resistant rubber sole and a durable suede exterior. They're the "best shoes ever," according to one reviewer. By far, the most "comfortable hiking shoes I've ever had."
Outbound Shore Sandal
These ultra-affordable women's hiking sandals come backed by an average 4.3-star rating. The summer-friendly shoes have a moulded EVA midsole for added comfort and support and a rubber outsole for improved grip and durability. This is my "second pair," writes one Canadian Tire shopper. You can "wear them anywhere!"
WindRiver Adriane Approach Tarantula Anti-Slip Hiking Shoes
These low-cut hiking shoes from WindRiver are designed with mesh panels, allowing your feet to breathe and stay dry. Mark's shoppers call them "light and solid" and say they're "very comfortable" for trail hikes, neighbourhood walks and more.
Keen Circadia Waterproof Hiking Shoes
These budget-friendly waterproof hiking shoes are "great on grass, gravel, pavement, stones and rocks," writes one Sport Chek reviewer. Adding, they're "sturdy and comfortable."
Best hiking boots and shoes for women under $200
Merrell Moab Speed Light Trail Shoes
Merrell's thick midsole provides support on uneven terrain and its lugged outsole helps keep you upright. They're "so comfortable and perfect for hiking," lauds one MEC reviewer.
Columbia Women's Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boots
Backed by 45,000 reviews, these leather hiking boots have earned an average rating of 4.6 stars from Amazon shoppers. The shoes feature a durable midsole for long-lasting comfort, superior cushioning and a traction rubber sole for slip-free steps.
The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack II Waterproof Light Trail Shoes
These best-selling hiking shoes are built tough and will provide ample support on uneven trails or when carrying mid-weight loads. With an average rating of 4.5 stars, MEC shoppers say they're "perfect for walking" and "very comfortable."
Salomon OUTpulse Gore-Tex Light Trail Shoes
Shoppers say these "comfortable, supportive and waterproof" shoes have "met all [their] expectations." Wearing the shoes are "like having your feet enveloped in a warm hug inside a great stable shoe," writes one shopper.
AKU Tribute II LTR Hiking Boots
These reviewer-lover TRIBUTE II LTR hiking boots provide tough durability and comfort on hills and mid-mountain hikes in damp, muddy, or dry conditions. The boots have earned dozens of five-star reviews, with shoppers noting how "comfortable" and "well made" they are. According to one reviewer, the AKU boots "didn't need to be broken in at all." They were "very comfortable and soft," and after a 20km hike in wet conditions, the boots "didn't leak."
Helly Hansen Switchback Waterproof Low Cut Hiking Shoes
With an average rating of 4.6 stars, Mark's shoppers call these the "best hiking shoes ever" and promise they are "well worth the money." The lightweight, low-cut performance shoes are waterproof and well-cushioned.
Best hiking boots and shoes for women under $500
Keen Targhee III Mid Wp Hiking Shoes
Designed for all-terrain adventures, these cult-favourite hiking boots feature KEEN's famous waterproof and breathable membranes for sweat-evaporating comfort. They're "boots you can wear for all-day comfort," raves one Altitude Sports shopper. "Great looking, excellent quality! This is my fifth pair of Keen hikers; [they're] just too good to bother with anything else."
Salomon Women's Quest Element Gore-Tex Hiking Boots
These top-rated Salomon boots are waterproof, breathable and feature a removable insole. With a near-perfect rating of 4.7 stars, Sport Chek shoppers say the shoes are "absolutely amazing." I wore them on a "13-day hike through the Tobeatic in Nova Scotia in early March," writes one reviewer. "The boots were extremely comfortable and required little time to break them in. My feet were never sore through the whole hike!"
Altra Lone Peak Mid All-Weather 2 Light Trail Shoes
These responsive trail shoes promote a natural gait for hiking in wet conditions and allow sweat to escape without letting rain in. MEC shoppers say the Altra Lone Peak's are "wonderful" hiking shoes and will continue to buy the weatherproof style "again and agai
On Cloudrock 2 Waterproof Hiking Boots
These lightproof (and stylish) hiking boots weigh in at just 405 grams. They feature a 20 per cent recycled waterproof membrane and a newly improved rubber sole, providing premium traction in dry and wet conditions.
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