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There’s a huge range of choice on the market when shopping for walking boots, and the biggest decision is whether to go for leather or fabric boots.
Leather or fabric boots?
Leather is naturally waterproof but can be stiff and heavy, and takes a while to break in and mould comfortably to your feet. Fabric boots tend to be lighter and can feel more like wearing comfortable trainers straight out of the box, but are less durable and less warm than leather.
Leather is best for winter and mountain walks, while fabric is ideal for travelling and hiking in spring and summer. If you can afford to, it’s a good idea to own a pair of each.
Best women’s hiking boots at a glance
- Best all-rounder: Keen Targhee III Waterproof Boot
- Best for foul weather: Muck Boot Apex Lace-Up Boot
- Best for summer hiking: Columbia Peakfreak X2 Mid Outdry Boot
- Best for wider feet and bunions: Aku Trekker Lt III Gore-Tex Boot
- Best for quality: Hanwag Blueridge Lady ES Boot
- Best for comfort: Tundra Women's walking boot
- Best for style: Palladium Pampa Travel Lite + Boot
- Best for trekking: Jack Wolfskin Rebellion Texapore Mid
- Best leather boot: Meindl Kansas GTX Boot women's
- Best for cushioning: Hoka Anacapa Mid Gore-Tex
- Best budget boot: Vasque Breeze LT Boot
- Best vegan boot: Lowa Trek Evo Mid GTX Boot
What else should I look for in a women’s hiking boot?
Your boots must be waterproof (for wet weather) and breathable (for warm temperatures). Look for boots with built-in waterproofing technology such as Gore-Tex and with thick, bouncy soles with deep lugs (the indentations that help give good grip) – we always rate Vibram-branded soles on test.
Good boots should include a breathable membrane to wick away sweat and keep your feet from overheating.
Check that your new boots feel comfortable when tightly laced, with plenty of wiggle room for toes and without too much room to move your heel. If the boots have a high ankle, your ankle should feel nicely supported without any rubbing.
Wider feet? Look for boots that specify a wide fit, especially if you have bunions. Expect to pay around the £150 mark for a great pair of boots, although we’ve also included great options for tighter budgets.
Look after your new boots well and you’ll get many seasons of wear out of them.
Get kitted out for all of your camping adventures
Love to go off the beaten track? Keen’s Targhee III could be your new best friend. This high-performing leather hiking boot is warm, waterproof and instantly comfortable.
We loved the high, supportive and well-padded ankle, which doesn’t let rain in, the protective toe box and the thick soles, which offer great grip even on slippery surfaces.
The Targhees aren’t heavy, but they’re less breathable than some fabric boots, so they’re best kept for cooler weather. Take them outdoors from autumn to spring and they’ll do you proud.
Waterproof wellingtons meet sturdy hiking boots in Muck Boot’s Apex Lace-Up Boots. They’re ready to wade through mud and water thanks to fully waterproofed rubber outers, and are ideal for use in cold weather because they’re lined with neoprene, which keeps feet snug and traps in body heat.
The lace-up front and close-fitting neoprene ankle give a great fit that doesn’t let rain get at your socks.
Ideal for shorter hikes in wet weather, rainy dog walks and working outdoors in the winter.
While Columbias’s sturdy Peakfreak boot works well for hiking year-round, it really stands out in warmer weather – it’s highly breathable and lightweight, so you’ll barely feel like you’re wearing boots at all, even on the dog days of summer.
The flexible fabric feels comfortable even on all-day hikes, and is fully waterproofed with Columbia’s own-brand OutDry technology, which on test we found could withstand striding through puddles without a problem.
A great choice for walking holidays, travelling and backpacking.
There’s plenty of room for toes to wiggle about in Aku’s Trekker Lt III, which is designed specifically with hikers with wide feet or who suffer from bunions in mind.
These boots also have excellent supportive, close-fitting high ankles – a great choice for confident walking on uneven ground and trickier terrain.
Our favourite branded duo of Gore-Tex waterproofing and grippy Vibram soles make this sturdy boot ready to trek in all kinds of weather.
Hanwag’s Blueridge Lady ES, new for summer 2022, is part of the brand’s ever-popular Banks collection of boots, which we’ve always found performed brilliantly on test.
The Blueridge excels on groomed valley trails and more challenging hill paths alike thanks to tough rubber soles and deep lugs for great grip, even on wet ground. Deliciously soft suede uppers look and feel great to wear, and mold quickly to your foot for a custom comfy fit.
A well-made all-rounder.
A treat for your feet – TOG24’s Tundra puts comfort first.
The Tundra is made with moulded inner soles that offer lovely cushioning, and bouncy rubber outer soles feel light and springy even on all-day hikes. A thick padded collar hugs the ankle and offers reassuring support.
The Tundra is fully waterproofed and breathable enough to wear from autumn through to spring. If you find most hiking boots too clunky and uncomfortable, the Tundra might just make you leave your trainers behind next time you go out for a walk.
Is it a casual sneaker or is it a rugged hiker? We’d venture to call Palladium’s good-looking Pampa boot both.
This high-top sneaker-inspired boot is pleasingly comfortable and lightweight underfoot, and feels more like you’re wearing a sporty trainer than a hefty hiking boot.
If you do encounter tough terrain, the Pampa is ready, with a waterproof membrane and decent grip. The Pampa also has good eco credentials – it’s mostly made with recycled materials and is fully vegan.
A great quiver-of-one boot for travelling.
Whether you’re planning a multi-day hike far from civilization or just prepping for a Duke of Edinburgh expedition, you’ll need a walking boot that can keep up with days of trekking.
Jake Wolfskin’s Rebellion is ready for the outside – Nubuck leather keeps you warm and dry, Vibram soles keep you firmly on the trail and cushioning insoles keep you blister-free.
Jack Wolfskin have also got the eco credentials right for the Rebellion – it’s made with recycled materials and is PFC (Per Fluorinated Chemicals, which are harmful to the environment)-free.
These boots fit on the small size, so order a size up.
When heading out in wet, wild or winter weather we always recommend picking good old leather for your hiking boots – and our top-performing pair on test were Meindl’s beautiful quality Kansas boots.
The smart waxed Nubuck leather of these hikers is fully waterproofed thanks to a Gore-Tex lining and the boots trap in warmth well, so you can wear them in the rain or even in snow and feel snug.
A rugged rubber sole and toe box protect feet even on rocky terrain, so the Kansas is ideal for mountain treks and scrambles.
We always rate Lowa’s boots on test – the German brand has a hundred-year history making boots where buttery-soft comfort is matched with sturdy grip.
The Trek Evo stood out on test for lots of reasons – it’s super lightweight and also fully waterproofed, and is comfortable straight out of the box.
It’s also fully vegan (many hiking boots, even leather-free ones, use animal-derived elements in their glue or dye), so there’s no need to compromise if you’re trying to make ethical, animal-friendly shopping choices.
Shopping for fabric boots and not sure where to start? Decathlon do a great range of hiking boots to suit all budgets, with decent walking footwear for women starting from just £20.
Our pick of their designs is the Forclaz Waterproof Trekking boot, which ticks all our boxes – it’s fully waterproofed and features sticky Vibram rubber soles that offered great grip on test.
Lightweight fabric uppers are highly breathable and easy to clean, but durable enough to put up with knocks and scrapes. A good go-anywhere boot for warm weather.