Choosing the best hiking boots for women is a confusing and sometimes expensive proposition until you find the pair that makes your trail time comfortable and safe.
Hiking For Her is pleased to bring you this Ultimate Guide On Choosing The Best Hiking Boots For Women, brimming with facts and specific advice, written by James Menta of Solelabz.
It's not often that you have a chance to read pearls of wisdom from a hiker who also happens to be extremely knowledgeable about choosing the best hiking boots for women.
Soak up this wisdom, and then apply it to your next boot buying expedition.
Thank you, Solelabz!
If you have narrow feet, skip over to these tips on finding the best pair of womens hiking boots for you.
Disclosure: There is no affiliate relationship between Solelabz and Hiking For Her. The only intention of this guide is to bring you reliable information on how to choose the best hiking boots for your hard working feet.
All images on this page belong to Solelabz.
You’ve probably heard this one before:
“A single step is the beginning of every journey”.
Knowing that the average adult takes between 4,000 and 6,000 steps every day (it’s a given that serious hikers take many more), really puts the footwear choice into perspective.
In the guide, we’ll especially focus on the difference between choosing the right hiking footwear for him and her.
With so many options on the market, you really need to get your hiking boots ABCs down in order to make a completely informed choice.
I’ll pack this guide full of tips to get you there.
All you have to do is take that first step.
Our feet are incredibly strong and delicate at the same time.
That’s why you want to complement them with the best pair of hiking boots you can possibly find.
Here’s what makes them tick:
So, ¼ of our entire skeleton is in our feet.
Little known fact is that if those bones fall out of alignment, the rest of the body will quickly follow.
The soles of our feet contain more sensory nerve endings and sweat glands (250 K) than any other part of our body.
I’ll button it up without even boring you with nitty-gritty details like the hundreds of tons of pressure our feet have to endure every single day…
Women have 4 times more feet problems than men. Especially the active women, like hikers.
The good news is we can prevent all of those issues by simply picking a good pair of hiking boots.
But we’ll start “barefooted” for now by addressing some male/female feet differences.
A woman's foot is not a smaller version of a man’s foot.
The first relevant list I found was published in the Journal of American College of Sports Medicine.
Main differences (see the image after the list):
One study showed that 90% of women in the US wear shoes that are half an inch smaller than their foot size.
We’ll talk about proper fit at length later, though.
With that out of the way, we can start dealing with some specific footwear qualities, tips and recommendations.
Here are the benefits you’ll reap by putting hiking boots between your feet and the trail:
Bottom line, hiking boots are a preferred choice if:
Some hikers use trail running shoes and tactical boots as an alternative to heavy-duty hiking footwear.
You can certainly get away with it if you’re a seasoned hiker (I’ve done it myself).
If you’re just starting out, however, I wouldn’t recommend these kinds of hiking “acrobatics”.
Let’s delve a little deeper and take a peek at the anatomy of a hiking boot.
The upper material will influence some key features of your boots. I’m talking the overall weight, durability and water-resistance.
These are the most common materials used:
Full-grain features good resistance to abrasions and water alongside unparalleled durability.
Split-grain is a mixture with nylon mesh for extra ventilation and lighter weight.
Nubuck resembles suede, and it’s considered to be a “buffed” full-grain.
They are the parts between the outsole and the footbed of the boot.
Their main purpose is shock-buffering, but they also give additional cushion to the boot and determine its stiffness.
You can choose between:
Rubber has proven to be the best material for the outsoles of hiking footwear.
Here’s what we need to pay attention to:
Without beating around the bush too much, you want your hiking boots to fit. End of story.
Some of the most common feet conditions caused by tight footwear are:
This is just top of the list.
We can mitigate and prevent all of these by finding the boot that fits just right.
This is what your fitting session should look like:
We’ve answered some serious questions today.
Now you know:
Somebody once told me that a dream about shoes means you’re down to earth and well grounded. Well, those are the same qualities that make a good hiker.
I can’t be laser precise on what boots/shoes to get but I hope we took a step in the right direction in this guide. If there’s one thing that you should take away is the seriousness of the decision of footwear choice.
It makes all the difference.
Choose wisely and stay safe.
You might also like some Foot Injury Prevention Tips
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