In Patagonia, the wind can tear your arms off. It makes everything lean – the trees, the houses, even the people. It strafes the landscape, using rain, snow or hail as ammunition. So you need to be equipped for it. And, boy, are the tourists here equipped. They come armoured in layers of technical clothing, conspicuously branded with The North Face, Arc’teryx, Jack Wolfskin and, of course, Patagonia. Pick a sublime view, and the most prominent thing in it will be the red, yellow and blue Gore-Tex parkas scattered across the picture like Smarties.

In Punta Arenas I bought a woolly hat, and the first thing my host asked me when he saw it was whether it was “technical”. It’s made of wool, I said. But it wasn’t until he saw the brand, Arc’teryx, that he felt reassured. I’m starting to suspect that our faith in “technical” adventure clothing is just another fetish, one that owes more to the logic of consumerism than our desire to be in the great outdoors.

Ernest Shackleton survived his so-called voyage of Endurance back from the South Pole in homemade clothing. Edmund Hillary climbed Everest wearing waterproofed cotton canvas. Today, even amateur outdoor enthusiasts are better equipped than these hardy pioneers. The advent of synthetic materials such as polyurethane and Gore-Tex, which are lighter and more effective, have democratised access to extreme climates. But why do these clothes have to look and feel so awful? I saw a gaucho ride past wearing nothing but leather and wool – he looked warm and, more to the point, dignified. By comparison, we tourists look like awkward escapees from a chemical plant.

Part of the problem is the heavy branding – we look owned. The adventure clothing industry is years behind the fashion world, which has long since recognised the seductive appeal of non-conspicuous branding, subtle details such as the four stitches that signify a Martin Margiela jumper. By contrast, adventure clothing brands have information that they are desperate to convey. A good deal of clever design has gone into these clothes. The evidence of it is daubed on sleeves, lapels, trouser legs and shoes: Polartec, Titanium, Paclite, Pro Shell, Soft Shell, Triclimate, Windwall, eVent, Power Stretch and – my favourite – HemLock. Each of these is a registered trademark, each one a patented material or system. Technical clothing comes with its own language, the language of performance. The marketing strategy revolves around presenting clothes as engineering. Sometimes, though, I suspect that we are being blinded with pseudo-science.

Looking for a simple waterproof, I found one by Vaude that looked dependable, only to discover that it cost £300. I asked the store assistant why it was so expensive and he said, “It’s waterproof and, well, everything-proof, basically.” For that price it should be bulletproof. Most of the rainwear I looked at turned out not to be technically waterproof. I was amazed to discover just how many degrees of non-waterproofness are represented in these adventure clothing shops. Once you’ve eliminated everything that looks waterproof but is in fact only windproof, you’re left with two options: cheap, shapeless nylon cagoules or super-expensive, high-performance gear. The problem seems to be that synthetic materials solved the rain problem but created a breathability problem – and solving that will cost you.

Often, real innovation has gone into these products. Gore-Tex , for instance, invented by Robert Gore in 1978, is an ingenious material. Because its pores are 20,000 times smaller than a water drop, it keeps water out while allowing water vapour from an overheating body to escape. Like the smartphone of textiles, it might as well be magic. Similarly, the fleece, the mainstay of every outdoor enthusiast, is made of recycled plastic bottles – another stroke of genius. Patagonia – the brand, not the place – estimates that 25 bottles go into each garment. And instead of winding up in landfills themselves, fleeces can be recycled more or less infinitely. The only problem is that when you take off a fleece it crackles with static. Its artificiality is palpable. There is some irony in nature lovers braving the wilds wearing recycled rubbish.

However, nothing expresses the hi-tech aspirations of technical clothing like hiking shoes. I’m not talking about traditional leather hiking boots, which will last you a lifetime, but the newfangled hiking trainer. The visual language of hiking trainers is a lesson in communicating complexity. They are all ridges and ribs, meshes and membranes. They are designed to combine strength and shock absorbance with lightness, and that is a genuine achievement. It’s interesting, though, how each element – every rib and membrane – has to be articulated in a different colour, to show off how many elements are involved. Like the hi-tech architecture of Rogers and Foster, these shoe designers want to express structure – engineering translates into performance. Unlike them, however, there is no restrained palette.

While some of these shoes are genuinely great products, others are simply ludicrous. American brand Merrell seems to excel in the latter. The Chameleon3 Axiom Sport (with Ortholite Anatomical Footbed) reaches new heights of ugliness and spurious technicality. If Robocop ate nothing but All-Bran and tyres, this is what his turds would look like. Merrell’s marketing spiel describes it as “stripped right down to its bare essentials”, but it’s so burdened with superfluous nobbly bits that it’s positively baroque. If this shoe was the only artefact to survive the nuclear apocalypse, what would future civilisations make of us? Possibly that we imbued walking with shamanistic significance, or that we used to plug ourselves into our mainframes by our feet.

Of course, the excessive detailing on that shoe, indeed on much adventure clothing, is a form of decoration. Those ribs, stripes and seams are meant to connote performance. They aim to awaken in the potential buyer a sense of his latent potential. And that psychological effect should not be underestimated. You want to buy something that makes you feel like you can take on the wilderness, that you are protected and empowered. On the other hand, you don’t want to look like a berk. So much innovation goes into these items, but rarely can you call them good designs. Some of these brands would do well to consider Dieter Rams’ dictum that good design is as little design as possible.

Adventure gear deploys the classic trick that marketing plays on the consumer, that sense that only certain equipment will do. We buy into it so readily that we convince ourselves we need things that we don’t – especially men, who are natural gear queers. Is the equipment a substitute for our physical abilities? Here I am with a mountain to climb. I’m togged up in technical gear. I haven’t done any exercise in two years but – technically – I’m ready.

Contents

Hiking Boots are the Worst

So you want to strap on a backpack, slap on some rugged hiking boots and travel the world. Good for you. Traveling around the world is awesome.

There’s just one problem with your adventure travel fantasy: Hiking boots might just be the worst thing you can pack for a long trip—even if you plan on hiking a lot.

Hiking boots are heavy, expensive, a pain in the ass on travel days, and immediately mark you out as a tourist (or worse a clueless tourist) just about everywhere on earth.

You really shouldn’t pack hiking boots for your next big trip. And here’s why.

Hiking boots are expensive

Hiking boots may be a lot of things — ugly, heavy, bulky, difficult to pack, uncomfortable, unfashionable (I can go on), but they certainly aren’t cheap.

Even with Amazon, and off-season REI Garage sales, you can expect to spend around $150 for a decent pair of boots. And that’s on the low end. It can escalate well above $300 if you’re not careful.

Of course, you can find a budget pair for $80, but those things are even worse than “good” hiking boots — which are already terrible. Have fun with those.

So assuming you buy an average pair of hiking boots for around $150, here’s what you can expect:

  • The Forge from Tecnica ($270): Gear Patrol Editor’s Pick: They’re literally from a company that makes ski boots…
  • Danner Mountain 600 Enduroweave ($127-$160): Gear Patrol also likes the (which honestly looks…fine, but isn’t even waterproof)
  • Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX ($172): Outdoor Gear Lab’s #1 pick weighs more than 3 pounds!
  • Keen Targhee II ($80-$250): Amazon’s top-rated women’s boot looks awful, and again weighs nearly 3 pounds

Yes, I’ve seen nice(ish) hiking boots out there. Some are (kind of) light, (sort of) “comfortable,” heck, a few are even “fashionable” — but we can’t all afford the Moncler Matterhorn Trekking Boots, can we?

The point is, you can buy a flight to Iceland for the price of a decent pair of hiking boots.

Travel is already expensive enough. Don’t waste your hard-earned cash on bad shoes that you just don’t need (and honestly won’t wear very often).

Hiking boots are heavy

Let’s say you lucked out and found a good deal on a sweet pair of boots. Congrats. That still doesn’t address the biggest problem with hiking boots: They’re way too heavy for travel.

If you’ve ever lugged around a hairdryer, a sack of “souvenir” coffee beans, or a DSLR (with multiple lenses), you know the exquisite pain of carrying something heavy that you can’t use all the time, but also can’t bear to throw out. The Vasques St. Elias ($198) — one of Outdoor Gear Lab’s favorite hiking boots — weighs a whopping 3.25 pounds. That’s 20% of your total carry on allowance for most airlines. And that’s one of the better boots around.

Hiking boots are too bulky and heavy to pack in a carry on bag, which means you’ll either have to wear them all the time—have fun unlacing those bad boys in airport security—or worse, check your bag every time you fly.

I don’t know about you, but I travel to enjoy a little freedom. Wearing the same heavy, dirty boots day in and day out, or waiting for my bag every time I land isn’t my idea of a vacation.

Hiking boots just aren’t designed for travel. Period.

“But hiking boots are super useful!” you scream at your computer.

No, actually they’re not. Let me show you why.

Hiking boots are only good for one thing

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

Ok, here’s the thing about hiking boots: Hiking boots are specialty footwear.

Just like climbing shoes, running shoes, and dancing shoes — they’re really only good for doing one thing (spoiler: it’s hiking).

Yet, despite the fact that hiking shoes are literally designed to do one thing and one thing only, these clunky foot prisons somehow became synonymous with “travel.” And I don’t know why.

Sure, there’s a slightly higher chance you’re going to do a little light trekking on a trip to Mexico, but very few people will strap on an 80L backpack loaded with rations and gear for a 20-day thru-hike on a trip to Cabo.

But that’s the only thing hiking boots are good for — managing heavy loads while supporting your foot and ankle for long-distances on rough terrain.

And that’s just not how people travel anymore — even “backpackers.”

Hiking boots can be useful for very specific types of travel — but we’re talking about a razor-thin slice of destinations and modes of transit. If you’re summiting Kilimanjaro or spending weeks on a thru-hike, like the Camino de Santiago or Appalachian Trail, then yes, hiking boots might be a good idea.

But even in those niche scenarios, you probably want to get lightweight durable trail shoes. That’s right, hiking boots aren’t even the best choice for hiking trips. So why the heck would you wear them to somewhere like Rome, Paris, or Bangkok?

Honestly, I can’t think of a single trip I’ve taken in the past decade where hiking boots would have been a good idea. And I’ve been to over 40 countries, including walking the Camino across Spain (three times), driving a rickshaw across India, and all kinds of adventurous travel from Iceland to New Zealand and plenty of places in between.

Hiking boots are bad for travel

Carry on packing is all about maximizing every item in your bag by reducing weight and increasing versatility. Boots do neither.

A few years ago, I spent four weeks traveling all over Peru, and I never wished for anything other than my slip-on shoes. And yes, I hiked up to Machu Picchu. And it was glorious.

That’s me smirking at hiking boots

Hiking boots are awful for airport security, long bus rides, and just getting from A to B. They’re hard to take on and off, smelly, and will not make you any friends on a flight. Don’t even get me started on how stupid you look in hiking boots at the bar.

Don’t buy hiking boots. Please.

For decades everyone thought a “good” backpack meant more room for tons of stuff. The bigger the better. 80L was the gold standard. Now traveling with a 30L carry on is the only way to fly.

Why? Because people realized that you don’t need to check a huge suitcase to have a great trip. Less really is more. Hopefully, it’s just a matter of time before travelers realize that the “best” hiking boot isn’t a hiking boot at all.

Stop packing hiking boots, please. You’ll thank me later.

The idea of a “dad sneaker” has always been a little lost on me, personally. When I think back to what my father stomped around in during my childhood, it wasn’t a chunky, white trainer—more often than not, he was clad in some kind of hiking boot. (As were many other parents in his upstate New York town, who spent as much time as possible escaping the suburbs for the nearby mountain trails.) And while I never would have predicted it back then, the fashion gods have recently turned their gaze to his footwear of choice, deeming hiking boots to be the it-shoe of winter 2018.

Although, let’s be clear: The options available today go way beyond the ones you normally see in the wilderness, all high-performance materials in varying shades of muddy brown. Proenza Schouler’s take on the hiker is rendered in graphic, black and white leather, with a chunky lug sole and bold red cord laces. Gucci dropped a few different styles for fall ’18—its Flashtrek boot is sleek and sporty, while its Flat Trip Leather Hiking Boot is on the extra end of the spectrum, emblazoned with gold stars and faux pearls (not to mention a three-inch heel and ’90s combat-boot vibes). Moncler has a leopard-print calf hair version named Blanche, while Copenhagen-based brand Ganni collaborated with mountaineering mainstay Diemme to create leather-and-suede boots with ultra-grippy Vibram midsoles, like you’d find in a performance hiker. (The first batch of Ganni + Diemme boots sold out globally on Net-a-Porter, leading the retailer to order over 100 more hiking-boot styles for fall 2018.) Similarly, Sam Edelman’s Browan boot, cut from Merlot-colored velvet, has pretty much sold out in every size, save for a few—lucky you, size 6s or 9.5s.

“The return of the hiking boot is part retro-rewind to the early 90’s grunge resurgence and designers embracing a function-meets-fashion attitude with a sports motif,” says Ken Downing, fashion director at Neiman Marcus. Given fashion’s obsession with active footwear over the last few seasons—and the fact that the gorpcore movement, which favors hiking boots that are actually made for hiking, is in full swing—it makes sense that designers would start reinventing this kind of performance footwear, too.

Stylist Simone Harouche. Photo: Cole Haan

Even brands that specialize in more technical kicks are elevating the hiking boot to Kilimanjaro-level heights. Cole Haan enlisted celebrity stylists Simone Harouche, Erin Walsh, and Karla Welch to reimagine a few of their popular hiking boots for fall 2018. “I think that the hiking boot is a great example of truly functional fashion,” says Harouche. “Nowadays, are really looking for a pair of shoes that provide just as much support and durability as they do style. We wanted shoes that were warm, versatile, durable, but also inspiring, fashion-forward, and something you’d want to wear and show off.” Her sold-out take on the brand’s ZERØGRAND All-Terrain Waterproof Hikers, for example, blended olive-green leather with a speckled-wool cuff and rose-gold hardware. Walsh’s winter-white, croc-embossed iteration is surprisingly still available—but not for long….

When it comes to styling your hiking boots, it’s really an anything-goes kind of situation. “I’m particularly fond of the heft of a hiking boot with an ankle-length floral dress and biker jacket,” Downing says. “Hiking boots also give an eclectic edge to leather and knit leggings. Many designers even showed them under evening dresses and ballgowns—not a look for the faint of heart, but certainly attention-getting!” He’s partial to styles with the traditional red laces, like the Kodiak Surrey II style that’s a best-seller at REI right now. To wear them like a fashion girl, Downing adds, lace them to the top of the foot and then wrap the laces around the ankle. Harouche agrees that hiking boots are easy to match with just about any winter look. “They’d go great with a pair of jeans, a cute coat—really, anything in your closet,” she says. Watch your back, dad sneakers.

You heard it here first: Your sneakers are getting a hiking boot-inspired upgrade for 2019. And if you’re more of a minimalist, Stan Smith kind of gal, those definitely aren’t going anywhere either.

Stylish and Comfortable Hiking Outfits for Women

Getting out into the great outdoors and going for a hike can be an incredible experience. There’s the fresh air, the endorphins from exercise, and all those fantastic views providing the perfect Instagram backdrop. But, finding the ideal outfit to wear hiking can be a challenge. After all, striking the right balance between fashion and function isn’t easy. Luckily, we’re here to help with some expert advice on the subject. Whether you’re going for an hour-long stroll through the bush or an all-day trek to the top of a mountain, we have your wardrobe inspiration covered.

Winter Hiking Outfits

When it comes to winter hikes, thick pants, a warm top and a puffer jacket make an excellent option. However, you can also consider thermal layers if the weather is going to be exceptionally cold. When it comes to footwear, hiking boots tend to make the best choice as they provide warmth and plenty of grip on slippery terrain. Also, remember that no cute winter hiking outfit is truly complete without a beanie. Not only can a beanie add a fashionable touch to your look, but it’ll also help keep you toasty while outdoors.

SHOP THE LOOK



Summer Hiking Outfits

For a stylish summer hiking outfit, forget head-to-toe black and opt for a light and bright look instead. Up top, try a lightweight, breathable tank over a sports bra. Down below, opt for either shorts or leggings, depending on your location. Then, finish your outfit off with breathable sneakers and a chic pair of sunglasses. Also, don’t forget to apply and reapply sunscreen throughout your hike to keep your skin from scorching. You may also want to wear a hat to help shield your face from those harmful rays.



Rain Hiking Outfits

If there’s any chance of rain on your hike, be sure to pack a chic waterproof jacket or coat. After all, there’s nothing more miserable than trudging around in wet clothes all day. Also, be mindful of your feet. While runners are comfortable, they may leave you with damp socks. As such, hiking boots are a better option if you’ll likely be traipsing through large puddles. Alternatively, consider treating your sneakers with a waterproof spray for quick protection from splashes and light rain.



Cute Hiking Outfits

As a rule, the shorter and easier your hike, the more you can opt for fashion over function. So, if you’ve planned a relaxed Sunday afternoon hike with friends, get ready to look seriously cute. This is your chance to show off just how cool you can be while hitting the trail. For a cute and fun outfit that’s also practical, pick up a pair of gym leggings and a matching crop top in a playful print, such as palm leaves. Then, add a fashion-forward jacket and cool sneakers. Also, don’t be afraid to have fun with accessories, such as hats, sunglasses and even jewellery.



Casual Hiking Outfits

For casual hikes that are quick and easy, your outfit options are vast. In fact, even jeans can work well for a walk during autumn or winter. Not only will they look stylish, but they’ll also keep you warm and provide plenty of protection for your legs. Just ensure you choose a slim or skinny pair with stretch to make walking a breeze. Alternatively, sweatpants can also make an excellent option. When it comes to your feet, choose between sneakers and boots or opt for a hybrid pair. Then, complete your outfit with a cute and comfortable top and jacket.



Layered Hiking Outfits

Layering is essential for long hikes that can last from the frosty morning to the sunny afternoon. To successfully layer your hiking look, start off with a base item, such as a tank top or t-shirt. Then, add more garments over the top, such as a flannelette shirt, sweater and puffer vest. If the weather is extra cold, you can even layer leggings or tights beneath your pants. Also, don’t forget about accessories, such as scarves, hats, thick socks and gloves, which can easily be added or removed as needed, and remember to bring a backpack to stow those peeled off layers.



Hiking Date Outfits

Hiking is a surprisingly popular and fun date activity. But, dressing for it can be tricky. Naturally, you’ll want to look good, but you’ll also want to feel comfortable to ensure you enjoy the date. Thankfully, most date hikes aren’t eight-hour treks into the mountains. As such, your wardrobe options are a little more open. To nail a cute and comfy hiking outfit, pick pieces that are simple yet stylish. Also, be sure to add in a touch of your personality give your date a good sense of who you are. Oh, and don’t forget to pack a backpack with some delicious snacks for a romantic picnic along the way.



Hiking Outfits with Shorts

If you’re hiking in hot weather, shorts can make an excellent option. Not only will they keep you cool, but they’ll also allow you to move more freely. However, you should be mindful that shorts don’t offer much protection for your legs. Also, you’ll need to select a design that’s suitable for your hike as well as your style. To do so, be sure to take into consideration fabrication, shape and length. Additionally, you should take note of whether your shorts have pockets or not. If you’re not planning to bring a backpack, pockets can be a useful addition.



Hiking Outfits with Leggings

Leggings make an excellent pant choice for hikes. Unlike looser options, leggings won’t collect dust or mud on their hems. Additionally, they’re ideal for protecting your legs from bug bites and scratches and can look stylish with either sneakers or hiking shoes. To make the most of your hike, select a pair of high-performance leggings that’ll help you keep cool or warm depending on your needs. These days, many big-name sports brands and outdoor activewear labels offer leggings that are perfect for hiking and that look great. For a seriously chic appearance, try picking a patterned pair and partner them with a matching crop top and sleek sports jacket.



What to Wear Hiking

  • Check the weather before your hike and dress accordingly.
  • Make sure your outfit is suitable for the length and difficulty of your planned hike.
  • For long hikes, layers that you can easily remove are ideal.
  • While sneakers are suitable for short and easy hikes, more challenging treks will likely require hiking boots.
  • Leggings and shorts can both make excellent hiking pant options but, leggings provide more protection from the sun, bug bites, and scratches.

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Womens Footwear

CAN I PURCHASE WOMENS FOOTWEAR AT ANACONDA?

Yes, with hundreds of different designs from dozens of major manufacturers such as Merrell, GTX, Keen, Columbia and Newton Ridge. Anaconda partners with major brands and provides highest quality women’s hiking boots, waterproof shoes, running shoes and breathable boots, with an extensive range of low cut, mid cut and high cut options available. With so many styles on offer, you will find women’s footwear and hiking boots constructed from waterproof and breathable materials such as gore-tex, with options available for every season and all types of conditions. So whether you are looking for a lightweight pair of thongs for the beach, walking shoes for visiting the park, running shoes for hitting the trail, backpacking boots with extra support, trail running shoes for difficult terrain or waterproof boots for your next ski trip, Anaconda has your feet covered.

Hiking shoes and waterproof apparel are essential for serious outdoor adventurers. Suitable hiking shoes or hiking boots will protect your feet from scrapes, knocks and impact injuries, while also ensuring any lurking creepy crawlies of the Australian bush keep their distance. Trekking is more popular than ever thanks to state of the art GPS devices and communications equipment, also available from Anaconda, making quality products from Teva, Timberland, Hi-Tec, The North Face, Aqua and Scarpa worth checking out before heading off on your next trekking or camping adventure.

Appropriate hiking shoes provide the necessary ankle support and foot protection while trekking away from civilization, and you will thank your quality walking shoes when you finally reach your destination. In addition, women’s hiking boots, hiking shoes and snow boots available at Anaconda are both practical and stylish. From hard-wearing waterproof boots to hiking boots and walking shoes, Anaconda women’s gear is adaptable. Explore walking shoes, women’s shoes, running shoes and waterproof boots that are equally at home coupled with trekking pants or casual wear. The best women’s shoes are all available under one roof at Anaconda. Explore online options or visit our store locator for your nearest Anaconda retail outlet.

With options such as Merrell Women’s Moab 2, Siren Edge Q2, Keen Women’s footwear and Vibram initiatives, plus new arrivals, best sellers and special weekly deals, it’s time to upgrade your outdoor apparel and equipment, the Anaconda way.

HOW WILL I FIND THE RIGHT WOMENS FOOTWEAR AT ANACONDA?

To help you narrow down your search, we have divided the women ‘s footwear into several main categories, such as sandals and thongs, apres and snow boots, casual shoes, running shoes, work and safety shoes, cycling shoes and gumboots to name but a few. Once you have decided on your chosen category, our product pages will show you the different styles on offer, with individual product details. You can further pinpoint your selection by filtering by size, price, colour or brand, or select our top-rated shoes in each category.

WHAT ELSE IS INCLUDED IN THE RANGE OF WOMENS FOOTWEAR?

Also included in the range are some excellent footwear cleaning products, which you will find in the footwear accessories category. With these you can clean, wax and waterproof different types of footwear. Also popular with many hikers, walkers and climbers are our gaiters, which will allow you to protect your feet and legs as well as your trousers from mud, thorns and other nasty obstacles along your path. Lightweight and easy to add to a pocket or backpack, they are ideal to slip on if the terrain changes suddenly.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE RANGE OF WOMENS WORK AND SAFETY FOOTWEAR?

This is where you will find shoes and boots that will protect your feet in a variety of different jobs. From lightweight safety joggers which will help you if you have to spend many hours on your feet, to neat leather performance shoes ideal for shop or office work, as well as rubber or waterproof safety boots that will be essential in many professions, you can find a large range of work shoes and boots here at Anaconda.

DOES ANACONDA OFFER OTHER TYPES OF FOOTWEAR TOO?

Yes, you can also find a whole range of men ‘s footwear at Anaconda, to cover everything from beaches to ski slopes, as well as a large range of cycling, running and other sports shoes, and of course kids are not forgotten with their own extensive range of sandals, shoes and boots in a range of colours and sizes.

Over the last few seasons, a slew of designers have offered new interpretations on the rugged hiking boot. And while we can’t guarantee these fashion-forward boots will be the most practical choice when it comes to actually scaling a mountain or trekking through trails, they do add just the right amount of stylish grit when worn anywhere else. Whether for city expeditions or mountain getaways, the lace-up boot has been on the rise among stylish celebrities since 2017—with early adopters including Zoë Kravitz, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Emily Ratajkowski.

More recently Kylie Jenner posed for a mirror selfie balancing a pair of durable calf-grazing hiking boots with minimal knitwear and a plethora of Chanel accessories. Perhaps Jenner felt inspired to bring her epic mountain style off the slopes and back home to Calabasas, proving that you don’t need to be in snowy weather or rocky conditions in order to break out a pair. And while Southern California doesn’t see much snow this time of year, for the rest of us these heavy-duty lace-ups are a sleek alternative to an otherwise bulky snow boot without sacrificing the rubber lug soles and cozy linings.

Bella Hadid also makes the case for the everyday hiking boot—even when there isn’t a hiking trail in sight. Hadid has been no stranger to demonstrating how to make the outdoorsy boot city ready, confirming that the hiker can (and should) be your ultimate throw-on-and-go boot of the season for effortlessly cool, grounded winter style.

So, whether you’re prepping for a ski trip or mountain weekend or are just in the market for a new winter boot, there’s a pair of lace-ups at every price. Take your pick between flashy metal- or matte-hardware lace hooks, mixed-media or smooth leather fabrics, rope-inspired laces, and even an added strap for extra fastening. One pair offers a little extra styling with a wooly sock lining that extends up to the calf. Lace up into 21 of the best hiking boots for winter and beyond.

The 20 Best Hiking Shoes and Boots for Women

Image zoom Getty Images

One should never underestimate the sole-saving power of a good hiking shoe. I believe there are few experiences more miserable than being caught in a downpour in the middle of a longer-than-we-realized loop trail and one of them is that exact experience but with sopping-wet, unsupportive, and painful shoes. Can you tell I’ve been there?

Well, dear reader, I survived it and I learned. On a pursuit wherein your feet are carrying you the entirety of the way, your shoes matter — more than your leggings, rain jacket, deodorant, and maybe even your backpack. And that’s why I’m taking it upon myself to call out the very best hiking footwear you can buy. For research, I consulted other Travel + Leisure editors, hundreds of customer reviews, trusted sources like Outdoor Gear Lab and REI’s blog, and my own two feet whenever possible.

Related: The Best Waterproof Hiking Boots for Men and Women

If you’re a true newbie, I recommend two things: First, read through a comprehensive guide about what sort of hiking shoe will best suit your needs. Second, do not waste your money buying cheap hiking shoes. I can almost guarantee you will regret spending less than the $80 that the most affordable shoe on this list costs. Consider the purchase an investment in future you’s well-being, both physical and emotional — thinking “wow, my feet hurt so much,” on repeat with little to distract you but the occasional spiderweb to the face (ah, the woods!) is no good for your mental state, friends. Nature is supposed to be resorative!

With the latest technology in comfort, traction, and support, these picks are the first step to happier feet when you’re out exploring the wilds. Here, the best women’s hiking shoes in every category.

  • Best Ventilated Hiking Shoes: Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator
  • Best Ventilated Hiking Boots: Keen Targhee Vent Mid
  • Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes: Oboz Sawtooth II Low B-Dry Hiking Shoe
  • Best Waterproof Hiking Boots: Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boot
  • Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes: Adidas Outdoor Terrex Speed GTX
  • Best Lightweight Hiking Boots: Altra Footwear Lone Peak 4 Mid RSM
  • Best for Ankle Support: Vasque Talus Trek UltraDry Hiking Boot
  • Best for Arch Support: Lowa Aerox GTX Lo Surround
  • Best for Wide Feet: Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Wide Width
  • Best Traction for Wet Conditions: Ahnu by Teva Montara III Event
  • Best Insulated Hiking Boots: Women’s Storm Chaser Boots with Arctic Grip
  • Best Leather Hiking Boots: Keen Targhee II Mid Hiking Boot
  • Best Hiking Sneakers: The North Face Ultra Fastpack III GTX
  • Best Hiking Sandals: Chaco Z/Cloud 2 Hiking Sandal
  • Best Water Shoes for Hiking: Keen Whisper Sandal
  • Best for Trail Running: Altra Superior 4 Trail Running Shoe
  • Best for Rock Scrambling: La Sportiva TX2
  • Best Minimalist Hiking Shoes: Merrell Vapor Glove 4
  • Best Cute Hiking Shoes: Merrell Siren Edge Hiker
  • Best Vegan Hiking Boots: Women’s Moab 2 Vegan
  • Need Hiking Socks, Too? Darn Tough Socks

Best Ventilated Hiking Shoes: Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator

Image zoom Courtesy of Merrell

There’s a reason Merrell’s best-selling Moab has earned the nickname “mother of all boots.” It’s an excellent hiking shoe. My first pair of hikers were Merrell Moabs, as suggested by my Appalachian Trail alum boyfriend, and they’re still holding up to this day. They’re comfy from mile one and have plenty of grip thanks to a Vibram sole and a 5mm lug depth. I’d especially recommend this pair for day hikes in the summer; they’re delightfully breathable.

To buy: merrell.com, $100

Best Ventilated Hiking Boots: Keen Targhee Vent Mid

Image zoom Courtesy of Zappos

Mesh panels bring breathability to Keen’s most beloved hikers so you don’t end up feeling like you slogged through a swamp on a hot summer day hike. The rubber outsole is made to take on any terrain, and the mid-height offers added ankle support. And the footbed is supportive, but also removable in case you prefer to use your own insoles.

To buy: zappos.com, $135

Best Waterproof Hiking Shoes: Oboz Sawtooth II Low B-Dry Hiking Shoe

Image zoom Courtesy of Zappos

Crowned the Editor’s Choice hiking shoe for women by the intrepid testers behind Outdoor Gear Lab, the Sawtooth II is an excellent pick for both beginners and experts. The B-Dry waterproof membrane allows moisture to vent out of the shoe while keeping the water from puddles or streams from making its way in. Your steps will be amply cushioned and sculpted arch support will make for happy feet, even after you’ve logged some serious mileage. It also delivers on traction with its sticky rubber soles, though these do weigh the shoe down a bit.

To buy: zappos.com, $140

Best Waterproof Hiking Boots: Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boot

Image zoom Courtesy of Columbia

Anytime we’re heading somewhere where it’s recently rained or if there’s a chance the weather may take a turn for the worse, these are the hiking boots I grab. The waterproof suede uppers are sturdy; the rubber soles have a ton of grip; and they’re great quality boots for how affordable they are. A bonus: they wipe clean easily once you’re back at home. And the red-laced style also makes me feel like Cheryl Strayed, but with far fewer blisters.

To buy: columbia.com, $80

Best Lightweight Hiking Shoes: Adidas Outdoor Terrex Speed GTX

Image zoom Courtesy of Zappos

This hiking shoe–trail runner hybrid weighs only 7.5 ounces (for a size 7). They’re fully waterproof (I’ve puddle jumped to prove it) and are just as well suited to city sidewalks as they are nature trails — I’ve even worn them to the gym on several occasions. The Continental Rubber outsole also makes sure you’ve got lots of grip in wet conditions.

To buy: zappos.com, $180

Best Lightweight Hiking Boots: Altra Footwear Lone Peak 4 Mid RSM

Image zoom Courtesy of Zappos

The same hiking-inclined boyfriend did a section of the Pacific Crest Trail last summer and reported back that no less than half the shoes he saw hikers wearing were by Altra, a popular running brand. This mid-cut pair offers a ridiculous amount of support for weighing only 12 ounces. Praised for their unique Footshape toebox and flawless zero drop construction (where your heel and forefoot are the same distance from the ground), the Lone Peak 4 is equipped to stand up to rain, snow, and mud (what the RSM in the name stands for). Though many reviewers say they’re a bit of a struggle to put on and lace up, they’re worth it.

To buy: zappos.com, $113

Best for Ankle Support: Vasque Talus Trek UltraDry Hiking Boot

Image zoom Courtesy of Amazon

Our Digital Executive Editor, Deanne Kaczerski, has been taking to the trails in Vasque’s Talus Trek for the last few years and we think it’s an awesome contender for those with touchy ankles. The easy speed-lacing construction allows you to customize how tight you’d like them to hug your ankles. Deanne vouches that they can get a bit hot in the summer, but, overall, keep her feet dry and steady, especially on super rocky terrain.

To buy: amazon.com, from $136

Best for Arch Support: Lowa Aerox GTX Lo Surround

Image zoom Courtesy of Zappos

At only 11 oz., these no-break-in-required hiking shoes from Lowa make for an excellent crossover shoe if you don’t have a lot of suitcase space. They can easily go from the backcountry to biking to the gym. I tested a pair on the red-sand trails of Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park and they took a lot of the stabilization strain out of hiking in soft sand — and were a breath of fresh air for my arches, which always appreciate a lift for long days on my feet. If you need to shorten the top quick-pull lace like I had to, here’s a quick trick: If you pull on the lace right by the tab that reads “Gore-Tex Surround,” you can shorten the lacing system to your preferred length, cut it, and melt the ends back together with a lighter, as it’s made of plastic.

To buy: zappos.com, $188

Best for Wide Feet: Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Wide Width

Image zoom Courtesy of Merrell

I’ve already sung the Moab’s praises above, but the brand is also known for its execution of comfy hiking shoes for those with wider-set feet. The plush padding of the tongue and collar balances well with the airflow from the breathable mesh panels of the upper. Again, these aren’t water-resistant; they’re great for hiking on a hot, dry day. Merrell does make a waterproof wide version, if you prefer.

To buy: merrell.com, $100

Best Traction for Wet Conditions: Ahnu by Teva Montara III Event

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I hate the slightly queasy feeling of trying to keep solid footing on a slick slab of rock. If you do, too, the Montara III earned a 9/10 score on traction from the testers at Outdoor Gear Labs. With Vibram MegaGrip rubber soles, they’ll help to keep your footing secure when the incline gets weird. One critique reviewers have is that they’re better suited fit-wise to those with narrow feet.

To buy: zappos.com, $170

Best Insulated Hiking Boots: Women’s Storm Chaser Boots With Arctic Grip

Image zoom Courtesy of L.L.Bean

Your feet have two big asks of boots during cold-weather hikes: please keep me dry and warm. With the Storm Chaser, those toes won’t need to worry about either. The uppers are made to shield you from snow and slush with durable waterproof leather. For warmth, they’re lined with water-resistant 200-gram PrimaLoft insulation and a SolarCore aerogel foam for retaining underfoot heat. The latest rendition also includes Vibram’s Arctic Grip tech, which is definitely not a substitute for spikes or crampons, but will adhere to cold surfaces with unparalleled traction.

To buy: llbean.com, $129

Best Leather Hiking Boots: Keen Targhee II Mid Hiking Boot

Image zoom Courtesy of Zappos

A hiking boot I see women wearing rather often on the trail, the Targhee II Mid delivers in so many ways. Starting from the bottom, the multi-directional lug soles give these boots the traction of what Keen calls “four-wheel drive for your feet.” They have a flexible, but durable EVA (Ethylene vinyl acetate, a porous material similar to rubber) midsole and footbed. The uppers are made of waterproof, wear-resistant nubuck leather. And the mid cut gives your ankles a secure step even on difficult terrain. Do note that they’re known to run small; Zappos recommends ordering up a half size.

To buy: zappos.com, $126

Best Hiking Sneakers: The North Face Ultra Fastpack III GTX

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If you’re not into the look and feel of a more bulky hiking shoe or boot, I’d recommend trying out a sneaker. These knit hikers from The North Face may look trend-forward, but don’t let that decieve you; they hold up on the technical side, too. Gore-Tex membranes will keep your feet dry while an Ortholite footbed offers tons of support and comfort.

To buy: thenorthface.com, $160

Best Hiking Sandals: Chaco Z/Cloud 2 Hiking Sandal

Image zoom Courtesy of Chaco

As their name suggests, Chaco’s Cloud sandals are engineered for all-day comfort. Whether you’re wearing them around town on a “zero day” or hiking in them all weekend long, the adjustable straps allow for a perfect fit to your foot and the sole is packed with cushion and support. The ChacoGrip rubber outsole will give you plenty of grip, too. They’re also 100 percent vegan-friendly.

To buy: chacos.com, $110

Best Water Shoes for Hiking: Keen Whisper Sandal

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More than 2,700 reviews back up this uber-popular, women’s-specific Keen sandal. It’s got Keen’s signature toe-bumper to protect you from stubs, an anatomical footbed that will mold to your feet with wear, and a quick-draw lacing system that makes for easy on and off. Plus, we have to give an extra shout out to the built-in antimicrobial and anti-odor treatment, because water shoes can get funky.

To buy: zappos.com, $63

Best for Trail Running: Altra Superior 4 Trail Running Shoe

Image zoom Courtesy of Amazon

Runners are Altra’s bread and butter so you can expect a truly delightful ride from the Superior 4. The roomy toe box, women-specific, hugged-in heel, and strategically positioned lugs for more traction on your toe off all add up to a smart and supportive shoe for many, many miles ahead.

To buy: amazon.com, $108

Best for Rock Scrambling: La Sportiva TX2

Image zoom Courtesy of Zappos

Approach shoes serve as a hybrid between shoes designed for hiking and those intended for rock climbing, so on difficult trails with a good amount of boulders — looking at you, Precipice Trail at Acadia National Park — they’ll offer extra grip where you need it. The TX2 is great for hikes with technical terrain. It’s got a sticky outsole and a lacing harness that extends all the way to the toe to help you get a snug fit. Rubber rands on the toes and heels add grip and protection, and a stiff midsole supports your feet when footholds are less than ideal.

To buy: zappos.com, $130

Best Minimalist Hiking Shoes: Merrell Vapor Glove 4

Image zoom Courtesy of Merrell

If you actually like feeling the earth’s patterns and textures beneath your feet, opt for a zero drop, “barefoot” hiker like Merrell’s Vapor Glove. The Vibram sole gives you grip but not much else, so you can feel connected to the trail with each step. This pair is perfect for packing, too!

To buy: merrell.com, $80

Best Cute Hiking Shoes: Merrell Siren Edge Hiker

Image zoom Courtesy of Amazon

Merrell’s feminine Siren line is contoured to fit a woman’s foot with gender-specific support, alignment, and stability. The Edge’s mesh upper makes it super lightweight and an air-cushioned heel absorbs the shock of each strike. The real standout on this pair, however, is the insole, which supports not only your main arch but all three arches of the foot to keep you comfortable for miles. For what it’s worth, it’s also currently Amazon’s No. 1 best-selling women’s hiking shoe.

To buy: amazon.com, from $78

Best Vegan Hiking Boots: Women’s Moab 2 Vegan

Image zoom Courtesy of Merrell

Merrell just released the Moab 2 with a fully vegan-friendly, synthetic construction. It’s got all the same benefits and technology, just no animal products.

To buy: merrell.com, $110

Need Hiking Socks, Too? Darn Tough Socks

Image zoom Courtesy of Zappos

Socks will 100 percent affect the way your hiking shoes fit, so try them on with a pair you’d be using on the trail. I love Darn Tough, a Vermont-based company that has specialized in making premium, all-weather performance socks for more than three decades. Their Merino wool socks are so comfortable, durable, and well-designed that they’re actually guaranteed for life. If you are able to wear a pair out, you can replace them free of charge with a comparable style and color.

To buy: rei.com, from $23

Hiking boots may not have a reputation for being lightweight, packable, or fashionable, but these 10 stylish hiking boots are in a whole different class.

Stylish Hiking Boots for Travel for Men & Women

Read on to find the perfect pair for your next active vacation, for adventures both big and small.

Forsake Tract Boots

These stylish hiking boots for women are comfortable and made of stylish suede, nubuck leather, and micro mesh. Plus, they’re waterproof.

LOWA Innox Evo Low

LOWA’s popular Innox Evo gives you coverage and support while still looking more like a fitness shoe. The lightweight construction and waterproof material make them great stylish hiking boots for travel in rougher, wet terrain.

Rockport Men’s Century Plain-Toe Boot

(Photo: Rockport)

Rockport makes a great pair of hiking boots for travel that are well-suited for the style-conscious traveler. This is a classic pair of boots with traction soles that are ideal for a variety of weather conditions and terrain.

Vasque Grand Traverse Hiking Shoe

(Photo: Amazon)

These fitness-inspired stylish hiking boots for travel are available in both men’s and women’s styles. The Vibram sole and webbing heel lock are great features for serious hikers, but these shoes won’t take up much room in your suitcase and really look like a pair of sneakers.

Danner Men’s Mountain 600 Low

(Photo: Amazon)

Available in both brown and black, these stylish hiking boots are a solid choice for multi-use travel shoes. The sleek shoe doubles as casual wear and a hiking boot all in one. Notable features include a Vibram sole, OrthoLite footbed, and MegaGrip technology for wet and dry surfaces.

Danner Women’s Tramline Hiking Boot

(Photo: Amazon)

A more toned-down version than Danner’s famous Mountain Light Cascade boot, the Tramline is made with the same high-quality leather and construction. You can easily wear this pair of stylish hiking boots on the plane, with a casual outfit, or out on the trails.

KEEN Jasper Hiking Shoe

(Photo: Keen)

If you’re looking for a shoe that can hold up while climbing, then the Keen Jasper (available in men’s and women’s) is for you. Bonus: These stylish hiking shoes are very affordable, and reviewers love the full-length laces for support and comfort.

L.L. Bean Women’s Katahdin Waterproof Hiking Boots

(Photo: L.L. Bean)

The vintage L.L. Bean Women’s Katahdin Waterproof Hiking Boots are suitable for everyday wear but durable enough for inclement weather thanks to L.L.Bean’s TEK 2.5 waterproof system.

What to Wear with Stylish Hiking Boots

Women’s Comfy and Casual Train Ride Outfit for the Fall

More from SmarterTravel:

  • 13 Things You Need to Pack for an Active Vacation
  • Essential Hiking Gear for Travelers
  • 10 Camping Gear Essentials That Are Easy to Pack

Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

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