The 4 Best Lightweight Women's Hiking Boots

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.

1Best Overall

Merrell Women's Siren Edge Hiker



These lightweight boots are odor-resistant and built with breezy mesh to keep your feet cool. They also have extra traction on their soles, and cushioning to absorb any shock when you hike. They're also the most affordable boots here, at $75.

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.)

2Runner Up

Garmont Women's Tower Hike GTX Lightweight Hiking Boot



For a bit more money, these hiking boots have a higher rise to protect your ankles when you're out on the trails. Their lightweight frame features enough support, without gaining bulk, and their flexible sides make them even more comfortable.

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.

3Best Fully Waterproof

KEEN Women's Terradora Mid Waterproof Hiking Shoe



This pair of boots is fully waterproof — a standout feature — and are the best for trekking through water and wet climates. They also have a cushioned ankle panel, and a soft insole to keep your feet comfortable as you hike.

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.

4My Personal Favorite

Astral TR1 Merge Women's Water-Resistant Hiking Shoe



This boot is made with quick-drying material and water-resistant soles that will protect your feet from getting wet on your hike (not as much as the pair above, though). They also have extra traction for slippery surfaces, and are a personal favorite of mine.

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.

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.