Yes, Lightweight Hiking Boots Exist — And They'll Put Your Old Pair To Shame

fotolia/Sergey Furtaev

When you’re hiking through the wilderness, you don’t want bulky, clunky hiking boots weighing you down. Not only are thicker boots heavy, they get hot and uncomfortable too, especially if you’re trekking in hot weather. Investing in a pair of the best lightweight women’s hiking boots will make your wilderness excursions more enjoyable. But what should you look for when shopping around?

The first thing to consider is comfort. It’s hard to appreciate even your favorite hike, if your feet are aching from wearing cheap hiking boots all day. To ensure optimal comfort, you’ll want solid cushioning and efficient shock-absorbing properties to keep your feet from tiring fast.

Another consideration is traction, particularly if you plan to be trekking through rugged terrain. Look at the sole and make sure it’s made of high-quality rubber or other robust materials with good grip and well-designed tread patterns.

Lastly, think about what types of activities you’ll be doing. For example, if you'll be hiking in the rain or crossing streams, you might want to look for a waterproof boot, or at least one with water-resistant properties. If you'll be doing some activities on land and others in the water, you might opt for an amphibious selection designed for both scenarios.

To help you find the perfect fit, I’ve gathered a list of the best lightweight women's hiking boots to keep you happy and pain-free on the trail.


Best Overall

These low-rise hiking boots offer the best combination of features in a trekking shoe — they're lightweight, comfortable, and durable. The versatile boots are built with ultra-light, breezy mesh and a tough Vibram sole outfitted with 4-millimeter lugs for extra traction. The cushioning technology showcases a soft, contoured footbed with tons of shock in the heels to absorb impact. As a bonus, these shoes are odor-resistant so your feet won't smell as you work up a sweat. Best of all, the $75 price tag makes them an affordable option to boot. (No pun intended.)


Runner Up

These hiking boots are slim and bulk-free yet tough enough to handle the most grueling hikes, and have slightly more rise in the ankle for additional support. They feel lightweight on your feet without sacrificing any performance features. The heels showcase a technology called G-Heel which is essentially a polyurethane reinforcement meant to bolster their stability without being stiff or rigid. On top of that, the shoes are constructed with Garmont's anatomically directed design fit that boasts an asymmetrical lace closure system that makes them more flexible as you move, and a padded tongue for extra comfort.


Best Fully Waterproof

A lot of hiking boots advertise some waterproofing capabilities but if you plan to be hiking in the rain or trekking through wet, moist climates, these fully waterproof hiking boots are the best ones for the job. Featuring a KEEN.Dry waterproof exterior, they're specifically designed to block out moisture and keep your feet dry when you're traversing through rain, mud, or other nasty weather. The boots have a comfy insole that's fully removable and a cushioned ankle panel to lift pressure from your achilles, preventing your feet from tiring quickly. Additionally, the versatile hiking boots feature an odor-resisting technology called Cleansport NXT to keep your feet from smelling after a long day.


My Personal Favorite

The sole of these amphibious hiking boots offers traction specifically designed to withstand slippery creek beds or rushing rivers, preventing you from falling on mossy rocks or other water hazards. The material is quick-drying so you won't have that gross, squishy feeling once you're back on dry land. The midsole drains and they have hydrophobic mesh to round out their water-friendly features. The boots are perfect for hikes with creek crossings or waterfalls, or for folks who want a more versatile outdoor boot you you can use for for hiking but also take on things like river rafting trips or kayaking expeditions. And don't let a lack of Amazon reviews discourage you from purchasing this pair, I've tested them myself and they live up to their impressive list of features.

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