With the variety of boots currently available on the market, making the right purchasing decision can be a bit overwhelming. As usual, the important thing is to know exactly what you’re looking for, so you can narrow down your search results considerably. Since we’ve covered waterproof rain boots for women in a previous article, we are going to focus on waterproof hiking boots in this article.
As you try to find the best waterproof boots, you are going to come across 3 different types and I want you to take the time to read a few words about each type. This way, you will be able to tell the difference between them and then later establish which one you want to go for.
What are hiking shoes?
People often will often refer to hiking shoes and hiking boots as if they are identical. While this is not the biggest mistake you could make, shoes do come with slight differences. Hiking shoes are often more flexible than boots because they aren’t made of such rugged materials. Being less rugged, shoes also offer less support. In other words, you should buy hiking shoes if you go on moderate trails and aren’t carrying a lot of weight.
In general, hiking shoes are often made out of leather and suede and textile with synthetic reinforcements. Visually speaking, there are a couple of tips for you to recognize hiking shoes out of the crowd: their shaft is shorter than that of a hiking boot and they also look like a more rugged version of your regular running shoes.
To choose the best hiking shoes, you need to know in which conditions you’ll be using it. If you want a pair for warmer seasons, it’s important to find one that allows you feet to breathe as much as possible. A mesh construction will often help in such a situations. Having materials that also absorb sweat is important because sweaty feet can often end up with sores or blisters. If you want a pair of hiking shoes for colder seasons, you need to find something more waterproof and preferably, with insulation. If you ever find a pair of hiking shoes with GTX in their title, you should know that these come with Gore-Tex technology included.
What are hiking boots?
Compared to hiking shoes, boots provide more support and cushioning for their user. Their shaft is often times higher, to provide extra protection for your feet. The downside is that these shoes are generally heavier, which means they are not suitable for average day-to-day use, unless that means you hike every day. Since they mostly have reinforces midsoles, you are able to carry around more weight and still feel comfortable. They were particularly made for terrain rougher than your average asphalt.
In terms of materials used in fabrication hiking boots are not that different from shoes. They also combine textile, leather, suede and synthetic reinforcement. The difference is that the percentage of textile is lower because they need to be more focused on protection and waterproofness. You can even purchase hiking boots that are made completely out of leather.
What are backpacking boots?
There are lots of people that have never heard about backpacking boots. They are the ultimate form of hiking boots that money can buy, mostly because they are meant for heavy hikers that carry around a lot of weight. Backpacking boots are extremely durable, with a long lifespan and provide all the traction you could ask for. They are stiffer and taller than your average pair of hiking boots. The downsides are the price tag and the total weight of the shoes.
Since they are meant to withstand harsh weather conditions, these are not your average walk-in-the-park boots. Most backpacking boots have a longer break-in period because their ruggedness will make it difficult for your feet to adjust to them in shorter periods of time.
Salomon Women’s X Ultra Mid 2 GTX Hiking Shoe
Our list of waterproof boots, women’s edition is opened by this very good-looking pair of Salomon shoes. They are some of the nicest waterproof hiking boots for women that you can buy for under $200. From the first moment you put them on, you can tell that you’ve paid for extremely comfortable padding around the heel and ankle. Not to be sexist, but you can tell that the manufacturer put extra thought into these waterproof boots “fit for a queen”. However, you will also be able to tell that there is not that much padding underfoot.
One particularly awesome thing about these waterproof boots for women is the lacing system. It will provide you with extra support and adjustability in the ankle. There seems to be a perfect balance between the laces and the stiff soles, as to allow your foot to naturally flex, even while keeping it comfy. The boots will snug up tightly as you lace them and the combination between the mesh and synthetic upper will fixate the shoe on your feet, without compromising movement.
To our surprise, the boot is not as heavy as you’d expect a hiking boot to be. Even with its moderately light-weight, the Ultra does provide enough traction for you to stay above any rocky terrain. As I mentioned above, the Ultra excels in terms of waterproof capabilities & foot breathability. Once again, the combination of mesh and leather upper will provide a lighter feel compared to similar Gore-Tex boots. After being tested on a long day of trailing, you’ll probably be inclined to think that these boots will last you a lifetime. While I sincerely doubt that’s the case, the Ultra’s durability is not to be contested. Even its toe box is protected with leather, so the boots will not wear out as fast as you’d think.
Due to their waterproof capability and their lightweight and sustainable design, the Ultra is a boot made for hiking! It can withstand rough trails and light hiking together,
Oboz Women’s Bridger B-DRY Hiking Boot
Waterproof hiking boots for women have become more and more stylish, so it’s no surprise that the Bridger is such an appealing red shoe. Even if you can’t tap your heels together in hope that “there’s no place like home” will actually take you there, these boots will do some other cool stuff, especially if you’re in a need of a stiff trail companion. While I agree that this is not the most comfortable trailing boot that you can buy, it does offer the most support in the long run. The moment you tuck your foot inside this shoe, you will feel that it stays stable, with virtually no movement from side to side. That’s because the manufacturer has balanced thick soles and a decent amount of side padding. There is thick rubber protecting the toe box, which hints that these boots are not just good for hikes; they are also good for working.
If I mentioned in the beginning that these boots weigh a little over.2 pounds, you would have considered it too much. However, if you think about the materials used in their construction, you’d see that they are quite light. The weight is mainly due to the amount of leather used in the Bridgers. The all-leather upper is combined with the heel and toe rubber, adding to the total weight of the boots.
Since these boots use waterproof Nubuck leather uppers, they are capable of keeping your feet dry and protected even if they’ve been completely submerged underwater (for less than 2 minutes). That means that stepping in one of those nasty forest puddles after some hours of heavy rain, won’t actually affect you too much. You might get the bottom side of your pants wet, but your feet will stay high and dry. Shallow puddles are no match for the Bridger since the sole is very high and the combination between leather and rubber are doing a mighty fine job in waterproofing these shoes. Even if the upper side of the boot gets wet, your feet will remain dry.
Since this is one of the most rugged waterproof boots for women you’ll ever see, it’s also one of the most durable ones out there. As I mentioned earlier, the combination of materials used in the manufacturing process will provide you with a long-lasting pair of shoes. One downside? They are pretty hard to break into.
There is no doubt in my mind that these boots were made for hiking. They are capable of supporting your feet through rough and uneven terrain and since they are fully waterproof, it doesn’t even matter if you’re facing some mild form of rain. The Bridger will turn out to be a worthy companion even on the most pretentious of hiking trails, though I would not recommend it for winter use.
Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi WP Hiking Boot
There are a number of reasons we’ve included the Tors in this list. Even if they are labeled as being water resistant and not waterproof, their features may just convince you that they are the best hiking boots a girl can buy in 2017. In terms of comfort, these boots will totally score 10 out of 10. Even if their soles are softer and thicker compared to their competition. Even so, they have 3 essential aspects that make them stand out from the crowd. First, there is the midsole. It’s oversized in both width and height and this provides a lot of comfort for your feet. Second, you have the rocker. This is an addition on the sole and it helps even the height of the toes and heels. Last, but not least, you have the bucket seat. This acts as a deep heel cup that provides the perfect support for your heels.
It’s important that your hiking boots have as less break in time as possible. This is the period that it takes for your foot to adjust to the new boots and bring your feet to the highest level of comfort possible. One thing to love about the Tor is the fact that it can be used both for long town walks and for off-trail hikes. That’s just how comfortable it is.
Whenever you want to purchase a pair of hiking boots, you should always know as much as possible about the support that they can offer. This means that the boots should be both comfortable and stable. When you first glance at the specs of the Tor boot, you may think that the height of the midsoles doesn’t offer as much stability as bots with lower midsoles do. You could not be more wrong. With these boots, height is not an issue that affects stability. The height of the ankle shaft will actually contribute to the support of your foot. They will keep you up and running through creek beds, muddy terrain, loose rocks and uneven grounds.
Traction is important when you’re looking to buy boots to face tough terrain. The Tors stand up to the challenge, especially if you look at those 5 mm lugs. The tread pattern is also very aggressive, which makes these boots the ideal candidate to the top spot of this waterproof boots, women’s edition list. The rubber compound used in the manufacturing process of the Tors is one of the best features you’ll ever see on a pair of hiking boots. Their Vidram MegaGrip outsoles add extra stability on boulders. Can’t say no to extra stability now, can we?
Let’s talk waterproof. As I mentioned before, these are not the boots that you can completely soak underwater and expect them to stay dry. However, their water resistant feature, combined with their level of comfort and traction, do make them the ideal hiking-companion candidate. The company uses something they like to call eVent waterproof technology. The uppers are made of Nubuck leather which, as we’ve already established, is a top choice amongst waterproof boot manufacturers. The mesh used on the uppers is what allows the foot to breath, eliminating discomfort caused by heat and sweat. Thanks to the height of the sole, water from puddles won’t even get passed them, so no worries there. Recap: aside from the water resistant coating, the Tors also have thick soles that will keep you above the water when you’re in the forest after a solid rain session.
We’ve established their level of comfort and we know they are water resistant and provide traction, but how durable are they? Considering the $230 price tag, you should be able to count on your boots for years to come. While the lifespan of your pair of Tors depends on how often you use them and in which conditions, I can tell you that they are build to last. The leather upper cover an eVent membrane, to make you feel like you’ve spent your money on something that will last. The large sole will show little signs of wear even after your first few trails. Unlike other hiking boots, the Tors are well made and durable even if they have a more complicated design.
As we mentioned, these boots are for every type of woman that loves some outdoor activity. They can handle long runs, but they can also handle rough terrain. The oversized midsole will provide enough cushioning for your feet to stay fresh and comfy even after an entire day of trailing. They make a great pair of boots for the adventurer who isn’t afraid to spend the day climbing, crossing or skipping.
Lowa Women’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
I’m not gonna lie, the first time I saw a picture of the black Renegades, I thought they were men’s hiking boots. It’s safe to say that design is one of their strong points… but not for women looking to make a fashion statement while climbing up the hill. In all other aspects, the GTX Renegades seems to be slightly above average. However, comfort is something that they really could have worked on. Due to the stiffness of the sole which is actually an upside to some people, the Renegades aren’t particularly comfy.
Even so, we have to give credit where it’s due: their lacing system. Formally known as the Durby Cut, the lacing system allows you to fully adjust the tongue of the boot, for a better fit. Even with the lack of extreme comfort, these boots compensate in durability and stability. There are some full-length nylon shanks that run along the base of the boot and this is what contributes to the stiffness of the sole. Using Monowrap technology (external polyurethane), there is no doubt that the Renegades have upped their stability game. With a shaft height of 140 mm, they surely rank high in terms of ankle height.
It is important to mention that these boots are darn right heavy. They have a total weight a bit over 2 lbs. and even if they are not the heaviest waterproof boots for women, they are heavier compared to models such as the Tors. Thanks to their constructed Vibram soles, the Renegades will keep you steady on steep rocky terrain.
The fact that they are also water resistant is yet another contributor to the greatness of these boots. The ankle height is combined with the gusseted tongue so that your feet will stay dry from water looking to sneak into the shoe. Since the upper is uniform and it has very few seams, it acts as a barrier. Even more, the upper is made of Nubuck leather and comes with a waterproof coating. Inside the boot, you will benefit from Gore-Tex liners, meaning that the Renegades can wick moisture to keep your feet sweat-free.
Durability is also another matter that must be discussed and this is where the Renegades really shine. Lowa claims that they build this boots with a lifespan of 6 years. Since the mesh is one of the first things to give out, the Renegades have no mesh in their construction. The upper which is made out of leather is a great repellent for dirt and mud.
There is not a doubt in my mind that these boots were made for the heavy hiker. They wouldn’t feel that comfortable if you’re looking for something to get you through a walk in the park on a rainy day. You can find something with more cushioning and less weight than the Renegades if all you want is a pair of waterproof boots for women who want to walk their dog.
The North Face Womens Shellista II Mid Boot
As the final piece for our waterproof boots for women list, we’ve chosen a higher boot, made by none other than the popular The North Face. While we haven’t really focused that much on the fashion aspect of your next potential waterproof boot, the Shellista does have a certain visual appeal to it. It is advertised as being one of the best choices for a woman’s winter boot, but how well does it really perform?
Since it’s designed for winter use, we have to talk about warmth. If you combine the Shellista with a pair of thick socks, like the ones you use for skiing, you’ll end up with warm feet throughout the entire winter. The thick rubber sole makes this a great pair of women waterproof insulated boots. The shaft of the boot measures 11 inches, so you can see that it’s quite different compared to your average hiking boot. The shaft comes with Nubuck waterproof leather which is combined with Primaloft Silver Insulation Eco. If this is the first time you’re hearing about it, what you need to remember is that this generation heat while you are in motion. The toe box is tall and wide, which allows you to move your toes freely so you can avoid that feeling of numbness. Even so, there are waterproof winter boots that use a lot more insulation so if you’re living in an area where snow takes over 3 months per year, you may want to consider another pair of winter boots.
The seams of the Shellista are water tight, which is going to allow you to cross some puddles and hike through slush. However, some testing has revealed that the leather becomes saturated after a whole day in the snow, so you may want to question this boot’s durability. While it does keep water away, the boot doesn’t really do that well when it comes to wicking your feet’s moisture. Even if it can withstand your average snowstorm, it’s not the best boot to have on a full day of playing outside in the snow.
In terms of comfort, on the other hand, there are very little cons. The Shellista provides great support, meaning that being on your feet all day is quite a breeze. While the sole provides great arch support, the oversized knitted upper located at the top of the boot is soft. The leather shaft is flexible, which means that it will move together with your leg as you are walking. Since they are also light, it’s safe to say that “these boots are made for walking”.
Since they are winter boots, they can easily guide you through icy terrain and slippery asphalt. The lugs will provide extra-safety since they stick to wet rocks. This is mostly due to the fact that the rubber sole is capable of “sticking” to the surface you walk on. Thanks to all that, you can use the Shellista for light hiking.
One thing that I find particularly annoying about long winter boots is the average of time it takes to put them on and off. With the laces fairly loose, it’s easy to do that. The inner lining is made of silky fleece, whose slippery surface allows your foot to slide right in. However, if you cinch your laces really tight, it’s gonna take some time to take off these boots.
Weighing in all the pros and cons of each pair of boots we reviewed here, my vote goes to the Hoka One One. There are very few disadvantages to these boots, you can completely leave them out when making a purchasing decision. Not only are the comfortable and provide a very good amount of support to your feet, but they are also breathable, water resistant and have a short to non-existent break-in period.