Hiking may not be considered real “sport” but it is by far one of the most popular recreational activity among folks of all ages across the globe. After all, we are all hardwired to love nature and seek nature – especially when we are holed up in our four-walled cubicles for the most part of the year.
The outdoor trend became even more prevalent with the opening of national parks and official hiking trails. Add to that the booming population of millennials who are big on work-life balance and travelling adventures. In the U.S. alone, nearly 50 million men and women go hiking in a year. In the UK, the number is roughly 30 million annually, with 10 million of those going on hikes regularly at least once every month.
Both avid hikers and first timers are always on the look-out for the best set of hiking gear for their next trail escapade. When it comes to hiking boots, the old-school burly boots that protected like hell but weighed a ton have finally gone out of style – to the relief of many trekkers who hated feeling like soldiers on a drill halfway through the trail.
LIGHTWEIGHT AND WATERPROOF HIKING BOOTS – YOU WILL NEVER LOOK BACK
Lightweight, waterproof boots are the big deal – and will continue to be. Once you get your own pair of these comfortable and convenient protective footwear, you will never look back to how things used to be.
This new breed of hiking boots lets you keep going regardless of the weather condition. No more squishy, soggy steps during unexpected showers or watery patches. Different labels use different technologies to trim down the weight, provide additional protection from moisture and still give you enough traction and support for serious backpacking over rough terrain or a less strenuous day hike over easier trail.
The list below on the best hiking boot options for women touches on these different materials and make. But first, what do you need to keep in mind when you are looking for the most suitable hiking boot for your treks? Other than the colors that will go best with your hiking outfits, of course.
WHAT YOU NEED TO CONSIDER
Regardless of gender, we all want the same thing from our hiking boots when we are out on a long trek or rough patch hiking trip. Stiff heavy footwear may give you protection from the trail but will considerably slow you down and leave you uncomfortable even hours after the hike due to foot fatigue. Boots that are too light on the other hand, will not be much help when you have to go through the tougher legs of the trail.
The hiking boot is more complex than your regular running shoes or dress shoes, since every single part is functional. It has different components that all need to know a little about in order to make the most from your boot choice.
The materials used for a hiking boot’s upper region affects the footwear’s breathability, water resistance, weight and durability. Heavy-duty hiking boots often use heavier materials like full-grain leather, Nubuck, or insulated synthetic fabrics. These provide greater protection for your feet and greater resistance to moisture for serious backpacking trips.
Day treks and easier terrains do not require as much heavy upper protection so you can choose lighter, more breathable uppers that are more comfortable to your feet and are much faster to break-in for your treks.Lighter hiking shoes or boots often use nylon and split-leather, synthetic fibers, and especially engineered water-proof membranes.
Some hiking boots also use specialized materials like vegan uppers, which are vegan-friendly and use no animal ingredients or by-products. Other hiking boots also include synthetic insulation that keep the feet warm on snowy or high-altitude treks.
The midsole is the part that provides cushioning for your feet. The material used for your midsole determines the stiffness of your soles. Midsoles use varying densities of EVA or ethylene vinyl acetate (let us stick with EVA) to support critical foot areas like the ball of your sole and the forefoot area.
Other hiking boots use materials like Polyurethane, which is stiffer and more durable. This could feel uncomfortable during short hiking trips over easy trails but will provide more support and comfort in mountain routes and during extended backpacking climbs.
The hiking boot internal support is the portion below your midsoles that provide extra protection for your feet from jagged rocks or big roots along the path. This includes inserted shanks and or thin slightly flexible plates that make your soles sturdier and add to the midsole’s loadbearing capability.
Hiking boot outsoles or most often made with rubber, sometimes with different additives like carbon to make the soles even more robust. If you are planning to do regular hiking, whether relaxing day trips or serious backpacking, it is better to invest in a hiking boot with well-made outsoles from sturdy premium rubber to make sure that your pair stays in good condition after multiple trips.
Hiking boots could be further categorized as day hiking boots and backpacking boots. Day hikers are often lighter and comfortable, but provide less traction and sole protection than backpacking boots. The former is suitable for easy tracks and recreational nature trips that do not require you to carry heavy loads or do intense walking stretches. These ones are often more flexible and easier to break-in so you can enjoy using them almost immediately for your treks.
Backpacker boots are for more demanding backcountry trips. They are often stouter, and are a little heavier than the day hiking ones. But they also provide optimal support for your feet, ankles, and soles while carrying heavier loads and going through multi-day trips in dense areas. During long stretches, stiff outsoles and midsoles are much more comfortable than lighter more flexible ones.
Different hiking boots use different lug patterns, or outsole bumps that provide traction to improve your footwear’s grip when going through rough terrains. Widely-spaced lugs are even better for rainy climbs or muddy trails because they prevent soil and mud from clinging to your outsole. Backpacking boots usually have better lugs than day hike boots since backpackers need more traction and sole support.
Backpackers also need better heel breaks, which is a clearly defined heel zone that helps you get better footing and prevents accidental slips during steep descents. While day hiking boots still should provide decent heel breaks, these are essential if you are planning to go backpacking quite often.
Lastly, the fit is important. No matter how functional your pair is, it will not take you far if you are not comfortable with the fit.
Some hiking boots are designed for narrow feet and will be very uncomfortable for persons who have wider or flat feet. Many labels make their models available in different variations though, to cater to hikers with different foot structures.
Men and women also have different foot structures and strides, so we created separate lists for men and women’s Top 10 Best Waterproof Hiking Boots to help you find the best pair of hiking boots for your next trekking adventure.
TOP 10 BEST WATERPROOF HIKING BOOTS FOR WOMEN IN 2018
|1. KEEN WOMEN’S TARGHEE II MID WP HIKING BOOT||Torsion stability ESS shank||$$$||4.6|
|2. COLUMBIA WOMEN’S NEWTON RIDGE PLUS HIKING BOOT||Omnigrip lugged outsole||$$||4.5|
|3. AHNU WOMEN’S SUGARPINE HIKING BOOT||Numentum Technology for efficient, stable stride||$$$||4.5|
|4. MERRELL WOMEN’S EVENTYR BLUFF WATERPROOF BOOT||Low-profile waterproof boot featuring D-ring eyelets||$$$||4.3|
|5. KEEN WOMEN’S DURAND MID WP HIKING BOOT||Integrated PU heel cushion and midsole||$$$||4.3|
|6. MERRELL WOMEN’S MOAB MID WATERPROOF HIKING BOOT||Waterproof and breathable M Select DRY membrane||$$||4.3|
|7. AHNU WOMEN’S MONTARA WP BOOT||Vibram traction outsole||$$$||4.3|
|8. HI-TEC WOMEN’S SKAMANIA MID-RISE WATERPROOF HIKING BOOT||Ghillie lacing system with rustproof hardware||$$||4.0|
|9. COLUMBIA WOMEN’S FIRE VENTURE MID WATERPROOF HIKING BOOT||Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber||$$||4.0|
|10. HI-TEC WOMEN’S WN LOGAN MID WP HIKING BOOT||Gusseted tongue keeps debris out||$$||4.0|
Without further ado, meet this fine, kick-ass women’s hiking boot from Keen called the Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot. This is a revamp to the much loved first model Keen Targhee, and is offers even better moisture protection, stronger outsole grip and all-day comfort for backpacking over canyons and mountainous terrains. There are also waterproof work shoes to choose from.
The mid-cut hiking boot’s upper is made from waterproof nubuck leather combined with hydrophobic mesh lining. This provides your feet with enough breathability while protecting them from getting damp while plodding through rain or crossing rivers along your course. The protective toe cap made of rubber that is flexible but reliably sturdy to keep your toes from feeling the rough stabbings of the dirt trails.
The boot has a removable dual-density EVA midsole which makes the pair versatile enough for either day hikes on the park or rugged adventures out back. The foam midsole is compression molded to better fit the natural curves of your soles so your feet stay comfortably supported from within throughout your hike.
The outsoles are made of reinforced rubber as well, and are supported on the inside with a Torsion stability SSS shank for complete foot support.
The Targhee II is a mid-height boot, which means that the cuff comes up midheight around the ankles. The mid-cut allows for greater mobility than full-height boots but greater ankle and arch support than the low-cut ones. For a hiking boot that is trying to perform both as a day hike and backpacking footgear, the mid-cut feels like the safest compromise, something that Keen chose for the Targhees and pulled off really well.
At 2.3 pounds, this is a moderately weighted pair, which is actually quite light for backpacking models. The laces are quite sturdy, and even have a rear pull-on loop so you can make sure the upper cuff clings tightly enough to your ankles while you hike.
For a boot that is this light, the grip and stability are surprisingly strong. Keen describes Targhee II’s outsoles as aggressive. And they very well are, with 4mm multi-directional lugs that provide excellent traction even in uneven and slippery zones.
Though the upper material is water-resistant and considerably sturdy, the layer of waterproof lining mixed with the nubuck leather gives it a highly breathable feel so your feet stay fresh and dry throughout the trip.
The Targhee II seamlessly combines comfort, reliable protection and strong midsole and outsole support, which somehow explains the rave among hiking enthusiasts over this goodie pair.
The Targhee II profile does look a little wide, and it feels just the same inside. Hikers with narrow feet may feel it is a little spacey on the sides but not too wide as to negatively affect their performance on the track. It is perfect for hikers with flat feet, who regularly have to deal with disappointments from finding an awesome pair of footwear but feel them bulge painfully under their shape.
It is also important to note that the feet swell on hikes, so getting boots that are too narrow or have no space allowance could lead to great discomfort during the activity so you have to factor that in as well.
- Lightweight but has sturdy outsole, great for both day hikes and backpacking trips
- Sturdy nubuck leather with breathable, water-resistant mesh lining
- Rubber toe protecti
- 3 pounds, lightweight for a backpacking boot
- Sturdy lace system with rear pull-on loop
- Aggressive outsoles with 4mm multidirectional lugs for strong traction
- Larger width to accommodate wider or flat feet
- Looks a little bulky for its weight, but the extra space is for flatter feet and to give allowance for swelling during arduous hikes
Columbia is one trusted label for heavy-duty active wear like hiking boots. And for the many women who choose the Newton Ridge Plus Hiking Boot, the label hardly disappoints. You can hit the trail at any weather with this pair of mid-height hiking boots by Columbia.
Like the Targhee II, the material for Newton Ridge’s upper section is a combination of leather and synthetic material. Instead of nubuck, Newton Ridge uses full-grain leather treated with Columbia’s Omnishield technology that resists water and stains. Full-grain leather is apparently less breathable than other synthetic boot fabrics, but Newton Ridge balances this out with breathable mesh lining around the lacing and tongue area.
Instead of donning a rubberized toe protector, the leather on the Newton is molded firmly to form a protective spacious arch above the toes so you can move your extremities freely beneath and avoid getting stubbed.
The leather toe cap effectively protects the feet, but on the downside the leather eventually peels off around this area as it tends to hit outlying rocks and rough surfaces along the way. That does end up looking a little battered and ugly, although it does not affect the boot’s protective performance quite considerably.
The rubber outsole is pretty solid, though flexible enough to keep you comfortable over the course of your trek. It does fall on the stiffer side of the outsole spectrum and would be a more comfortable choice for serious backpacking runs than lighter and shorter treks. It also sports a well-patterned Omnigrip lug system that treads rugged terrains with little effort.
The Newton Ridge is 0.3 pounds heavier than Targhees II, at 2.5 pounds. The weight is light enough for long treks though, and is around the average weight of most backpacking boots.
The Columbia boot also maintains a narrower profile compared to the Keen, which may or may not be good news depending on your foot structure. It does have a similar mid-height boot cut, which provides ample protection for the ankles and lower leg and a much snugger fit along the lace line and cuff.
This one does not have a pull-on string to reinforce its knot, but the clamshell lacing is held fast by triangular D-rings that help the leather stay in good shape around the lacing area and eases the process of tying your boot laces.
The midsole also sports a compression-molded EVA foam that comfortably hugs your sole and arch for a much better inner support. The boots shaft extends roughly 5 inches from the arch, which means total sole and arch support while hiking.
Although the width of the Newton Ridge is not exactly narrow, it is slightly slimmer than most heavy-duty boots. This may be due to aesthetic constraints, since a full-leather ladies boot would look a little to burly when they are wide, plus the weight would go up a few notches as well.
There is no problem with this though with medium-sized to narrow feet, although some may find the form a little constraining on the sides especially when one has a larger build and wants to wear thicker socks.
- Full-grain leather and breathable mesh lining for the upper section
- Effectively resists water and stains
- Solid outsole with Omnigrip lugs for rugged terrains
- Light to medium weight for backpacking boots, at 2.5 lbs
- Mid-height boot cut provides ample support for the ankles
- Sturdy D-rings for lacing support
- Compression-molded EVA foam midsole for comfortable internal support
- Slightly narrower width
- Leather toe cap prone to faster wear and tear after multiple traverses
Compared to the previous hiking boot models, this Sugarpine Hiking Boots for Women by Ahnu looks sleeker and more stylish. But does it promise as much durable comfort, durability and weather-proof protection as the others?
The Sugarpine upper is crafted from leather and and heavy-duty nylon cordura. The leather are concentrated around the area above the insoles, creating a considerably sturdy frame for the upper section.
The toe cap is secured by a piece of rubber toe protector, which shields your toes and helps maintain the upper’s overall form and design.
The rest of the upper consists mainly of the light and breathable nylon mesh, which is not as robust as leather but does provide ample water protection so you stay warm and comfortable in the middle of rainshowers or river crossings.
The outsole is made of dual density EVA, which is less sturdy than most reinforced rubber soles but are more lightweight and flexible for a more ergonomic foot and sole interaction. Hiking boots with EVA outsoles are often more suitable for short day treks since the flexible heels will begin to hurt your feet more during difficult and long hikes. These are also less durable than rubber soles so wearing these for your serious trekking adventures may cut their sweet stylish lives short.
The SugarpineWomen’s Hiking Boot also has a mid-height cut, although it looks a tad more pristine and graceful than most hiking boots and stand out quite fashionably over most of its rugged-looking contemporaries.
Quite understandably, it also performs better as a comfortable day hiker rather than a serious backpacking footwear. It does however, have excellent heel break clip and non-marking Vibram outsole lugs that are capable of tramping over slippery terrains, gravelly patches and muddy areas. What makes it such a sweet deal is its self-cleaning lug design that keeps dirt off as you go so you don’t have to worry about losing your footing or constantly slowing down to do major outsole clean-up every so often along the way.
The lace-up system is also a charmer, which uses direct eyelets sewn into the nylon textile and reinforced by leather vamps to keep the material strong. The laces come in matching colors but are the flimsier flat variety instead of the usual round or oval strings that are easier to control when knotting. Given you don’t have to go on some serious backcountry trip, these should hold up alright.
The support on the ankle may be less snug though since flat laces tend to stretch as you move about, but there is a pull-up loop at the back that could help get them better secured. If that does not work, you can always buy a nicer pair of shoestrings.
Like the Newton Ridge, this comes a little narrower than Targhaee II. However, the nylon mesh is more flexible than leather so it does stretch a little and accommodates your feet better as you break them in – assuming you chose the right size of course.
The boot cuffs are mid-height but they feel even higher than most, which also makes your ankles feel more supported and comfortable as you walk. Ahnu uses its Numemtum Technology to give this pair an efficient and stable stride and give you that sure-footed feeling with every step.
- Upper is light and breathable nylon cordura reinforced by leather and rubber toe cap
- 100% waterproof
- EVA outsoles with non-mark Vibram self-cleaning lugs
- Mid-height boot cut with padded cuffs
- Stretches overtime to accommodate your feet’s unique shape
- Numentum Technology by Ahnu for steady and stable stride
- Flimsy boot laces for a hiking boot, which is reinforced with pull-on loop or easily replaced by better ones
- Good for easy to moderately difficult trails but not recommended for long backcountry treks
This waterproof leather charmer by Merrell may not hold up too well for some rugged mountain treks, but it is an excellent pair if you need something to keep you warm and comfortable on your winter day hikes. And the pair only weights 1.3 pounds so you can go ahead and enjoy it as your all around boot for the whole winter. Merrell is also considered one of the best brands of work boots.
The Eventyr Bluff Waterproof Boot has thick full-grain leather upper and textile cushioned collar. The leather material does not breathe much, which explains why they are perfect for winter or cold-weather use. The combination makes for a warm and comfortable feel during low-temperature walks.
For warmer environments, the material could make your trip a little more uncomfortable than it should be. This may be a little disappointing for trekkers on summer hikes or in hotter climates since many find this boot rather sturdy and stylish. On the other hand, too few hiking boots are made especially for winter and low-temperature hikes so this one is a rare gem for sure.
The outsoles are made of sturdy rubber, which is often used for backpacking boots and winter boots because of their durable hardiness. The arch is also well-supported with 4.5 inch shaft. The lugs look quite simple but they put on good traction for the moderately rough trail. The raw leather of the upper is not too comfortable though, unless you put on a pair of good socks to keep your feet from blistering and keep your load light to get easier strides.
The boot is as waterproof as any winter hiking boot could get, and has a sturdy frame that’s a little wide to make room for thicker and warmer socks inside.
The way the tongue hangs attaches to the upper, it is a little difficult to secure a tight knot with the lacing which affects how the cuff fits around your ankles. It does feel quite snug though, despite the unusual tongue design.
The Eventyr Bluff boot has mid-height cut, which gives enough ankle support.And the heel counter is reinforced with another layer of leather so your feet get good heel and arch support.
The whole boot feels pretty solid and comfortable, especially the outsoles that looks sleek but is very durable and has good lugging pattern for easy to moderately difficult trails. This does feel a little too light for strenuous treks, so you may want to get a different pair if you are planning on a low temp multiple-day wilderness hike.
Merrell’s sizing chart is often on-point. But it will not hurt to get a pair that is a size or a half size bigger than your actual since your feet tend to swell during hikes. This will leave some room for some warm and cosy woolen socks as well.
The Eventyr Bluff is not cumbersome at all even though there is no other way to secure the lacing system except to make a good double knot. The collar is too wide for the lace to tie around the ankles and there is no pull-on loop attached. It is easy to replace the laces though, since it is secured in place with convenient and sturdy round D-rings.
- Especially made for winter and low-temperature treks
- Full-grain leather upper with soft textile collar
- Does not breathe so keeps your feet warm
- Reinforced heel counter
- Rubber outsoles with effective lug pattern
- Excellent for low temperature day hikes in light to moderately difficult trail
- Short boot laces and no pull-on loop in the rear for securing knot
- Design not comfortable for long, strenuous hikes
- Too warm for summer hikes or hotter climates
- Thick socks needed to keep blisters from forming
Keen has another excellent option for women who would like to take it all out on the most difficult terrain. The Durand Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot is a stockier sister to Keen’s Targhee II. There is no compromise in this one, and easy-goers will make an overkill for choosing this pair that’s packed with power and durability for the harshest weather and backcountry terrain.
The Durand is made from the same upper material as Targhee II, nubuck leather and hydrophobic mesh lining, so it provides roughly the same level of breathability as the Targ but has significantly sturdier build because of the leather pattern. The Durand also has a more pronounced rubber toe cap, which means greater protective level for more rugged tracks.
The lacing system is more sophisticated for the Durand. The round nylon lace is leather loops at the base and a couple of sturdy metal hooks towards the collar. It sports a convenient pull-on loop around the ankle base as well, making sure that your boots cling snugly and provide excellent ankle support.
The midsole is similarly build with compression foam that hugs your feet nicely for some superior arch, heel and toe support. What makes Durand much better than Targhee II for long and difficult treks is the former’s synthetic rubber composite outsole, which is more refined than regular rubber soles, more durable and much easier to clean.
The Durand is also a mid-height hiking boot, although it has a slightly higher façade than most mid-height boots. The cuff dips down a little at the back though, to keep your feet more mobile and free.
The shock-absorbent outsole is supported by a 5-inch shaft so your arch stays comfortable even during long trips over mountain trails spanning several days.
The Durand also has an intricate lug pattern that forms a solid grip on slippery and jagged surfaces. The sole alone will help you enjoy the trip without painful joints and blisters forming.
As with many real backpacking shoes, the trade-off to this much power and protection often comes in the boot’s weight. This boot weights roughly 4 pounds, which is on the heavy side for women’s hiking boots.
For some hiking shoes the weight could start to wear after several hours on rough terrain, but Durand is engineered to provide maximum comfort in the ankle and arch regions so that the weight is evenly balanced and does not take too much toll on your feet.
The make is medum as well, which may feel just a little wide for hikers with narrow feet. The sizing may also tend to feel a tad smaller than other labels so getting a size or a half bigger could save you some time getting your pair replaced. The excess space is good anyway as allowance for foot swells and thick boot socks.
- Nubuck leather upper with breathable hydrophobic mesh lining
- Sturdy rubber toe cap
- Sophisticated lacing system with pull-on loop
- Compression foam midsole
- Shock absorbent outsole with intricate lug pattern
- Weights 4.0 pounds
The Women’s Moab Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot by Merrell is on the other side of the spectrum from the label’s Eventyr Bluff Waterproof Boot. Whereas both shoes are great for day hikes and moderately challenging treks, the Moab is queen of summer treks and warm weather hikes.
The upper is made primarily of synthetic mesh panels enhanced by nubuck leather frame. The heel counter is reinforced on the outside with additional layers of sturdy leather to provide good support for the heel and ankle. The toe cap is reinforced by leather as well, which gives enough protection from root and rock outcrops along rough trails.
The mesh fabric and leather are treated with Merrell’s M Select Dry technology, which keeps moisture and precipitates from seeping into the interior while allowing moisture from your feet to leak out to keep them dry.
The outsole is made from sturdy rubber, and hides a 4.5 shaft that provides support to the arches for long and challenging hikes.
The Moab Hiking Boot for Women has a mid-height cut although the cuffs are a little lower over the ankle than other mid hiking boots like the Durand. Still, it gives pretty reliable support for the ankles.
Its lacing system is pretty straightforward but is reliable for maintaining good fit around the ankles. It also has a rear loop that secures the laces if you tie yours around your ankles.
The Vibram lugs are also quite special for a hiking boot. The lugs are positioned strategically away from the arch so you can flex your feet as you walk and stay totally comfortable.
The waterproofing holds up well also and you can wade quickly through a river crossing or keep plodding under rain showers and still avoid your feet getting all soggy and cold.
As with most lightweight boots, the Moab is more suited for leasurely day hikes and camps rather than vigorous cross country treks.
For a comfortable and easy to break-in boot, the Moab is pleasantly sturdy. The boot is also quite lightweight at 2 pounds, which would make this a great pair for day treks in warm weather and short trips.
Merrell does have a slightly different sizing chart than most labels. You may find your usual size a little too tight when you are dealing with Merrell’s boots so you probably want to order up a half size or one for these pairs. Other than getting the right size, there seems to be no issues about the fit. It has medium width that accommodates your feet after break-in so you can enjoy them for your treks whether you have narrow or flatter feet.
- Synthetic mesh panels supported by nubuck leather frame
- Guaranteed water-proof with M Select Dry technology
- Supported ankle and leather protected toes
- 5 shaft to support arch
- Rubber outsole with Vibram lug design
- Breathable, comfortable and lightweight at 2 lbs
- Suitable for day hikes
- Sizing issues
- Not suitable for extremely challenging hikes
Designing hiking boots is a serious business, and for the sake of functionality most labels push style and aesthetics to the side until all the essentials are put in place. Ahnu is decidedly not most labels. Like the Ahnu Sugarpine that is higher up this list, this Montara Waterproof Boot seamlessly combines style, durability and functionality.
The Montara’s upper is a combination of full-grain leather that looks sleek and firm but is breathable enough when combined with nylon panels along the lacing and tongue. The toe and heel are overlaid with rubber protectors integrated into the modish design.
The collar and tongue are lined with leather to maintain their forms through continuous wear and tear. The interior on the other hand is lined with padded nylon underlay to keep your feet warm and comfortable during your walks.
Ahnu put in quite an effort on balanced aesthetics and functionality in the Montara design. The boot is a mid-height hiking boot although its profile is slightly taller and slimmer than most of the hiking boots featured on this list.
The height in itself provides excellent support for the ankles and heel. In addition, the heel counter has a ridged design that allows the boot to fit comfortably along the natural curves of your heel and ankle for greater support.
The lacing features round D-rings, 2 pairs of rivets near the cuff and a rear loop for securing the laces. The laces themselves are flat and easy to control. They are not flimsy but may stretch a little over time so you have to tighten the knot well to keep from getting the laces too loose halfway through the trail.
The Montara rubber outsole is rigged with Vibram traction lug patterns to keep the boot flexible and comfortable while providing the needed traction for difficult terrains.
The interior of the Montara is engineered to keep your feet centered and guided, to ensure that you make stable and sure strides. At 14.1 ounces, the boot is even easier to walk in, and could let you go on for miles even with a moderately heavy pack on your back. The width is also medium, which is a good compromise for ladies who either have flat feet or high arches.
- Seamless combination of style, durability and functionality
- Leather upper with breathable nylon panel
- Rubber toe and heel protectors
- Ridged heel counter for better support
- Mid-height boot with high profile for ankle support
- Vibram traction lug pattern for sure grip
- Lightweight at 14.1 ounces
- Stretchy flat boot laces, though easier to control when tying
- Not for intense hiking treks over extreme landscapes
Hi-Tec’s Skamania Mid-Rise Waterproof Hiking Boot is a good option for hikers with wider or stockier build. And for a robust boot, it comes surprisingly light and comfortable. It’s a pair you definitely need to check out especially if you have flat feet and need better-fitting boots for your arch.
The Skamania Mid-rise upper is a combination of waterproof suede and durable, breathable mesh. The Dri-tech waterproof suede lines the area around the outsoles and lacing to provide a sturdy build, while the mesh provides your feet with breathing holes along the sides to keep you fresh without letting moisture into the interior.
The boot features removable contoured insoles that could be removed in case you need to use special orthodontics. If you don’t need to swap these for prescribed foot beds, you can just keep them as is and enjoy the way they hug your soles firmly yet comfortably with their soft and non-skid material.
The outsoles on the other hand are made of EVA rubber molded with pronounced lugs that provide good grip on highly technical trails. The outsoles are not too high at 1.5 inches, and the arch maintains a pretty steady contour which is great when your arches are not too high. A 5-inch shaft also supports your arch further and protects your soles when you are treading uneven grounds.
This mid-rise has a high façade but takes a steep dip at the rear, which makes for a comfortable fit for the front while leaving the ankle enough space for free movement at the back.
The ghillie lacing system is pretty simple to control and is supported by rows of rustproof hardware and a convenient pull-on loop in the rear. The round nylon boot lace is pretty sturdy as well as stays secure with a well-done single knot.
As for comfort, the compression-molded midsole is designed to absorb impact to keep your strides steady and secure. The collar is also lined with soft padding that keeps lines your ankles and heels snugly to ease foot swellings during hikes. The mesh panels and waterproof membranes also do a good job at keeping your feet breathing while staying warm and dry even in intermittent weather conditions.
The multi-directional traction of the outsoles ensures that each step gets a good grip on the trail and protects you from accidental slips. The lugs are also designed to repel caked dirt and foreign objects from getting lodged and marring your footwear’s topnotch performance.
Quite certainly, this is a serious hiking boot that could stand up to harsh territories and even harsher weather conditions. This can take you a long way if you are into real backpacking wilderness adventures in both warm and cold climates.
For all it’s worth, this is where the bad review comes in,which is not totally terrible since you can get around each of these negative points quite easily.
For one, a sturdy, stocky shoe like this one could not be expected to weight as light as a boot built for much easier trail like Merrell’s Eventyr Bluff waterproof winter boots. However, at 3 pounds, this is hardly as heavy as the robust Keen Durand. For a heavy-duty hiking boot, the Skamania is still one of your lighter options. Do not get them if you are not planning to do some real tough treks though since the weight will be an unnecessary burden.
For another, the boot has a flattish build, which is great for wide or flat feet but may lack the necessary arch support for narrow footed hikers. This is one reason it stays at the bottom of the list, because the design just is not great for everyone, ergonomically speaking. For the right person though, this pair is easily the best fitting shoes to go with.
- Waterproof suede and breathable mesh upper
- Contoured removable insoles for comfortable fit
- EVA rubber outsoles with multi-directional traction
- 5-inch shaft to support arch
- Open rear design to allow optimal ankle movement
- Suitable for serious backpacking trips in both warm and cold weather
- Weighs 3 lbs although that is light for a heavy-duty shoe
- Best suited for flat-footed woman hikers
- Not too comfortable for short easy day hikes
If you’ve been scrolling down to find a jazzier option, you might find this Fire Venture Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot by Columbia more suited to your taste. More than being stylishly functional, the Fire Venture has a distinctively feminine look.
The upper is mostly suede lined with waterproof synthetic textile lining the cuff and tongue. The upper does not have visible breath holes like mesh boots but do feel breathable and fresh enough for day hikes. The suede makes for a slim, well-shaped profile that comes in different lively color combinations.
The heel and toe support are made from leathery synthetic material that provides enough protection for the toes in smooth tracks. It is not as solid or as thick as rubber toe caps though, so you may still feel a little uncomfortable on rougher trails despite the provided support.
On the other hand, Columbia designed Fire Venture with a Techlite lightweight midsole that has superior cushioning and lasting comfort to ease the strains from dirt tracks and minimize foot fatigue. Given that, the rubber sole is still not designed to take too much wear and tear from rough terrains since it is a light boot that is better suited for day hikes in paved roads and easy tracks.
Despite being a lightweight day hiking boot, Fire Venture also sports a good pair of Omni-grip non-marking traction. The multi-directional lugs are not too deep so they cannot provide a firm grip on slippery patches and steep inclines, but perform relatively well on more mellow areas.
As opposed to the level sole of Skamania, this Columbia boots has a high design that includes a slightly steep arch. The sole comes with a 5.2 shaft as support but if you do not have narrow high-arch feet, the insole could still feel uncomfortable as you progress in your trek.
The boot has a mid-rise cut as well, which does not bank considerably to give free room for unrestrained strides. Given the high arch, this is not necessarily a problem, since your ankle is already positioned favorably over your arch.
For day hikes and light action activities, this could be a great boot. It could even help you slay a femme fatale look while donning on some hardy active wear outfit.
Like some of the hiking boots that were covered in this list, this pair runs a little small on the size. It is normal to get a half-size or so bigger when you want to stay comfortable in your hiking boot. But for this one, at least a full-size larger would give you enough room for comfortable hiking socks plus a little extra too keep your toes from getting hurt especially during descends.
On another note, it was already mentioned that this hiking boot goes better with high-arch and narrow feet. So it will not fare well with everyone although it sure is a great-looking boot for those who can rock it right.
- Made of suede and waterproof synthetic textile
- Comes in different lively color options
- Synthetic toe and heel support
- Shock-absorbent Techlite lightweight midsole
- Rubber outsoles with omni-grip traction
- 2 inch shaft for arch support
- High arch and narrow design not suitable for flat-footed trekkers
- Sizing issues, runs small against standard size
- Only suitable for day hikes along paved road to mellow tracks
The Logan Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot by Hi-Tec is another footwear alternative for serious backpacking trips. What makes it distinct from the Skamania Mid-Rise? This one has a narrower profile but an even sturdier build, which also has an even bigger trade-off. Surprise, surprise? That will come in a few.
As to the material for the upper, the Logan uses leather and mesh textile combination instead of Skamania’s suede. This pair maintains its breathability by enhancing its mesh breathing holes and placing the mesh panels in strategic areas around the upper region.
As for the toes and heels, they are protected by a double layer of full-grain leather, stretched widely to provide protection as well as support to these critical areas.
The insole sports an ortholitesockliner that makes the interior feel comfortable and warm although completely breathable to keep your feet fresh and prevent profuse sweating from building up.
The mid-rise hiking boot has a snug design around the collar to keep your ankles well supported during long, arduous hikes, although this same level of support is balanced evenly throughout the whole length of the boot to help you feel steady and sure with your every step in slippery or unusually jagged terrain.
The lacing is strong with its round nylon laces supported by rust-proof triangular D-rings and hooks. Tying a secure knot is can be done in a few snappy gestures and could be relied on to stay secure, especially with the convenient rear pull-on loop that completes the lacing system.
The outsole is sturdy yet flexible enough when they are properly broken-in. They provide enough lateral support that you don’t feel a thing even when you are stepping over a quagmire of rocks, upturned roots and what-nots along the way. Instead of the usual straight shank, this pair’s outsoles are reinforced by forked shanks to keep the support balanced along the width.
The traction is also aggressive and firm. You can hike over uncharted mountainous territories and brave any weather with this pair. Rough passes and extreme weather conditions are exactly what these boots are made for. And that makes Skamania seem mild in comparison.
As with the previous model, all this show of power has a cost. For the Logan, the price is a heftier weight to lug around on your backpacking travels. The Logan is 3.5 pounds and could feel a little heavier than that once exhaustion starts to sink in. The stiff form and substantial weight does add a little to the protective balance and grip, which is what comfortable is about when you are in a vigorous backpacker escapade.
Given you can take the weight, make sure you break them ahead of the trip as well. The Logan is cosy once they are broken but is stiff and wieldy when they come straight out of the box so take some time getting them toned down before the start of your next hiking trip.
- Upper is leather and mesh textile combination
- Highly breathable and waterproof
- Comfortable ortholitesockliner insole
- Snug mid-rise design
- Secure lacing with pull-on loop
- Effective lateral protection with rubber outsole and fork shanks
- Too heavy for leisurely hikes
- Requires long break-in period
- May be too wide for narrow-footed trekkers though that is great for wearing thick socks
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