Women have different needs from men’s, and that applies to women’s hiking shoes as well. Hiking shoes are made specifically for both sex, men and women, and we, ladies, deserve to get the best pair made specifically for women. A pair of comfortable hiking shoes leads to an enjoyable journey ahead, and wearing just an okay pair is not even an option. Learn all the essential considerations for selecting women’s hiking shoes here.
3 Main Styles of Hiking
- Day hiking. If you are a day hiker, you will probably plan to complete your hiking goal within a single day, and you will definitely carry light. While your pack will be light, your hiking shoes won’t necessarily lightweight. You must consider comfort, support, and durability when choosing the shoes for your day hiking. You know how the sport may give you surprises—sudden change of weather and diverse grades of track is the tip of the iceberg. Many day hikers would probably lean more towards the comfort factor when choosing their shoes when they are sure that they will be adventuring on the trails well-traveled.
- Light backpacking. This style of hiking is basically the day hiking that extends overnight. If you are day hiker that is open to the possibility of overnight trips, you will probably pack light but use the heavier gear instead, just in case you’d like to enjoy the landscape for another day. A pair of hiking shoes that provide greater support and durability will suit this style of hiking. Comfortable hiking shoes that weight about 20-30 pounds may be taken into your consideration when choosing the best women’s hiking shoes.
- Fast hiking. This style of hiking needs a pair of shoe that provides support and flexibility. If you are a fast hiker, you will probably plan to cover a specific distance in a quite short amount of time. The distance may be short and quick, but it may also be far and arduous. Moving briskly to mountain summits and peak bagging typically fall into this fast hiking style. A pair of light hiking shoes that provides support even on rocky terrain may be the right choice for those fast hikers.
Considerations for Selecting Women’s hiking shoes
- Hiking objective and destination. Women’s hiking shoes should be selected based on the most difficult terrain anticipated in the hiking plan. If you are a newbie and do not intend to have multiple pairs of hiking footwear, you should select a pair of hiking shoes for women that is versatile enough. You should know what style of hiking and how difficult the level of terrain you are going to go for the most, and your choice of hiking shoes should cover that primary use of yours. Comfortable hiking shoes may be the key to enjoying all styles of hiking. What manages the terrain under foot is the tread on shoes, and the more aggressive the tread of your shoes is, the more you will be able to move forward efficiently and comfortably.
- Weight. When it comes to women’s hiking shoes, light is right. The lighter you can keep your shoes and gear, the better you will move forward over time. Weight on your feet contributes to up to five-fold weight on your back. That hasn’t included the weight of your daypack or overnight backpack. Well, thanks to the evolution in hiking shoes’ design and construction, the hiking shoes available on the market these days generally weigh in around 2 pounds. However, just because a pair of hiking shoes weighs less than the other does not necessarily mean it is the best pair for your adventure. You should wear a pair of hiking shoes that feels lighter while hiking.
- Water resistance and breathability. Most hiking shoes fall into either the waterproof or the non-waterproof model. Water resistance is influenced by the hiking destination and breathability is determined by the climate and personal foot needs. In the cool climate, water resistance should be the main consideration than breathability, and vice versa, in the hot climate, breathability is more essential and water resistance is less important. When determining your needs for water resistance and breathability, you should take into account the hiking location, climate, and your personal foot needs. Sweaty feet definitely needs better breathability.
- Support and comfort. As mentioned before, comfort is probably the most important aspects of footwear. Comfortable hiking shoes are fit, supportive and well-padded. Incorrect sizing gives you blisters and inflammation, and improper padding results in muscle aches. Regarding support, all women’s hiking shoes demand good arch support, although each woman may need different degrees of arch support. Some of us are more comfortable hiking with flat hiking shoes, and some others are more comfortable hiking with inserts, increasing the arch support. Support and comfort basically depend on our natural arch and the best way to accommodate our feet, which is influenced by flexibility and firmness of the hiking shoes.
- Lacing systems. If your hiking shoes are not securely fastened, your ankle may twist every now and then. A good lacing system can keep shoes on your feet and prevent twisted ankles. There are two lacing systems in hiking shoes, the traditional and the quick lace cord systems. The traditional laces use cotton, nylon, waxed or unwaxed strands of fabric weaving across the top of the foot. The quick lace cord system weaves across the top of the foot and is secured with a plastic cord lock instead of coming to a knot. Both systems have their own pros and cons, but which is best depends on your preference.
Great Women’s hiking shoes
- Vibram Fivefingers Trek Ascent. Many people claim that this pair is one of the best hiking shoes for women. It weighs only 6 ounces, but it isn’t waterproof. Your hiking will be one comfortable journey supported by this great hiking shoes.
- Merrell Siren Sport Hiking Shoe. The brand is popular among hikers, and this pair is light and has great breathability. It weighs 20 ounces, but it isn’t waterproof. You can run and hike with this great hiking shoe.