Women's Hiking Shoes

Equipping yourself for a hike with high quality, functional gear is crucial for both safety and enjoyment. And for a day on the trails, this starts with your footwear. At Mountain Designs we stock a huge range of hiking shoes for women, with styles in various colours and sizes from premier brands such as Zamberlan, Merrell, KEEN and Salomon, so you can step outside with the best comfort, support and protection on your feet.

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How do you choose the best women's hiking shoes?

There are many options available when it comes to hiking shoes for women and often the choice you make comes down to personal preference. But whichever style you opt for, the best hiking shoes should include some or all of the following features:

Protection - Hiking shoes should be constructed from durable materials to protect your feet from rocks, sticks and other debris on the trails. Ideally they also have some sort of weatherproof protection, like a waterproof treatment or waterproof lining.

Grip - A hard-wearing, traction-enhanced sole will make scrambling over rocks and crossing muddy paths much easier.

Weight - The advantage of hiking shoes over hiking boots is that they weigh less and give you're ankle more room to move within its natural biomechanical range. Without compromising on support, you should look for a lightweight pair that minimises your load across the trek.

Materials - Leather is hard-wearing, protective and stylish, but can be heavier, less breathable and take longer to wear in than synthetic materials. Either choice is suitable, just make sure it matches your end use.

What are the benefits of wearing proper hiking shoes?

Proper hiking shoes provide greater support, protection and comfort on hiking trails than other footwear choices such as running shoes or cross-trainers. They are constructed from highly durable materials, often with weatherproof properties, and with enhanced grip and balance to ensure high performance as you traverse rocks, dirt tracks, muddy paths and grassy fields. With constantly changing terrain, you need footwear that can adapt to all conditions while maintaining comfort and support, and the best hiking shoes are designed to do exactly that.

What outdoor activities are women's hiking shoes great for?

If your outdoor adventure involves hiking, camping or travelling with extended periods of time spent on your feet, you should invest in high quality hiking shoes or hiking boots. They are purpose-made with enhanced comfort, protection and support features to handle this type of workload and the demand of changing trail surfaces. Hiking shoes may be preferred over hiking boots if you want a lightweight option or you want more freedom of movement around your ankle, but either way make sure you're equipping yourself with fit-for-purpose footwear.

Which hiking shoes are the most comfortable?

Making sure your hiking shoes fit correctly will go a long way to ensuring comfort on the trails. Start with your normal shoe size, then adjust up half a size or even a full size depending on the socks you will be wearing. Many brands offer styles that have a 'ladies-specific' fit that cater to more narrow feet, so look out for these. Then consider construction materials - leather is more hard-wearing and protective than most other synthetic materials used in footwear, but it also takes longer to wear in. If you don't have time to get used to your new hiking shoes, choose synthetic materials that can basically be worn straight out of the box and onto the trails.

Are women's hiking boots waterproof?

Waterproof hiking shoes help to keep your feet dry while you navigate across streams and along wet trails, or when it starts raining. Waterproof outers and linings, such as those manufactured by GORE-TEX, provide the highest levels of weather protection but not all styles are designed with these features so do your homework if you plan to venture out on rainy days or into damp, wet climates.

Which women's hiking shoes are lightweight?

Most hiking shoes are lightweight by design, and they are certainly lighter in weight than hiking boots simply because they have less material in their construction. Premier brands who specialise in outdoor adventure footwear, like KEEN, Zamberlan, Merrell and Salomon, understand the importance and value of lightweight hiking shoes. Knowing that each step a hiker takes burns energy, they incorporate patented technologies into their designs that help to reduce weight and bulk. The lighter the load you have to carry, the better you will perform.

How long do hiking shoes last?

Hiking shoes are made from durable materials that are designed to withstand the harsh terrain, weather conditions and heavy workloads associated with hiking activity. But like all outdoor apparel, you need to care for your hiking shoes. Some tips include:

  • Regularly scraping away mud from the soles or outer.
  • Washing away superficial dirt from the outer and upper.
  • Washing the lining to remove accumulated salts.
  • Cleaning and drying your hiking shoes when they get dirty or wet, as soon as possible after your hike, to ensure they don't dry up, stiffen or crack.
  • Allowing your hiking shoes to breathe after use, and ensuring they are completely dry before storing them.
  • Storing your hiking shoes in a cool, dry place that has good ventilation (avoid direct sunlight or packing them up in bags for any length of time).

Each style of hiking shoe has its own set of product care instructions, as provided by the manufacturer, so make sure you follow these for best results. There is no guarantee on the exact amount of time your hiking shoes will last but with the right care and maintenance, you could expect to be wearing them for multiple seasons of hiking. Small but regular bouts of use will generally lead to a long lifetime.

Is there a difference between hiking shoes and hiking boots?

The main difference between hiking shoes and hiking boots is in the length of the cut. Hiking boots are mid and tall cut, giving your ankle greater support and a 'locked-in' feel. Hiking shoes are mostly low cut, like a running shoe, which allows your foot and ankle to move more naturally within its biomechanical range. As a result, hiking shoes have less material and therefore weigh less.

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