Hiking boots are designed to provide adequate, if not excellent support to all parts of the foot as a person ambulates over lengthy and various types of terrain.
When the foot is placed under this kind of pressure and stress, a plethora of conditions can result and none of them are good if the footwear is not supportive, cushioned in the right places and does not have appropriate, non-slip soles. One other feature of hiking boots that is very important is that they be waterproof.
Hiking boots are also meant to be sturdy enough to give the wearer excellent protection from the ground and the many obstacles found on it including rocks, stones, heat, cold, pointed objects and rough surfaces.
List of Contents
- List of The Best New Hiking Boots of 2017 for Women
- A Good Pair of Women’s Hiking Boots
- Waterproof Hiking Boots
- Why Waterproof Hiking Boots For Women?
- Each Person’s Feet Are Different
- Women’s Feet VS Men’s Feet
- Women’s Waterproof Hiking Boots
- Do Women’s Waterproof Hiking Boots Cause Chafing?
- Guide For Buying Women’s Waterproof Hiking Boots
- Lacing Your Hiking Boots For Downhill Trails
List of The Best New Hiking Boots of 2017 for Women
|KEEN Targhee II Mid WP|
|Columbia Newton Ridge Plus|
|Timberland White Ledge|
A Good Pair of Women’s Hiking Boots
A good pair of women’s hiking boots will, most likely, be the obvious choice of footwear for any woman who is planning on taking a lengthy hike.
Low-cut hiking shoes are the preference for some women but the most frequently chosen are the sturdy hiking boots.
They’re not the easiest thing to buy, though. Get this wrong and you’re stuck with sore feet possibly for months.
I do not claim to be a foot gear expert, however I am quite familiar with the needs of backpacking feet. So, I’ll tell you a few things that you need to give special attention to:
* the women’s hiking boots that you buy must be ultra-light as possible for two distinct reasons: 1) heavy boots will tend to tire you out and 2) you’re going to be carrying your boots in your backpack once you change to hiking sandals.
* it’s important for your boots to be able to breathe if you want to be able to avoid wet, sweaty feet.
* it’s necessary for them to be waterproof. You may not be planning to walk through water or mud but if it’s out there, it’s going to find you and it’s a good idea to remember that wet boots are the cause of foot blisters.
Gore-Tex boot inserts are available and they repel water, should your boots not be waterproof already. You can also spray on some silicone to help repel water.
* they should dry quickly – just beware that if they get soaked (if water spills in over the top, for example) they make take days to dry completely
* the treads of the sole have to grip properly
* lacing up the boots should be a simple task and not a frustrating one each time that you remove them.
* not indispensable but helpful is a little loop above the heel to help pull the boot on
* do not let your heels slip/rub up and down as this will cause blisters. This is the very reason the heel lock is there.
* you should have good ankle support but sides shouldn’t be too stiff – you’ll have to find a compromise between protection and comfort
* make sure the sole is thick and stiff. If not, you’re going to feel every stone and pebble that you step on for a long way.
* and finally – need I say it? – they must be comfortable, and of course they will be since you will have already broken them in!
This is not a joke. You should not even slightly consider wearing a pair of new hiking boots on a backpacking journey. They should be totally broken in while you have them at home. This breaking in should take place over a period of several months. You should also perform this routine while toting a fairly heavy backpack. Take shorter hikes around the area where you live initially. Don’t just wear them around the house because this will not break them in properly. Breaking hiking boots in is an especially crucial task if your hiking boots are manufactured from leather.
Each brand of women’s hiking boot has a gimmick or specialty such as leather or Gore-Tex liners, special pads or innersoles, etc. However, it’s important to keep in mind that no two people’s feet are the same. That’s right. The boot that Jane wears well will make Betty’s feet feel like she stepped into a volcano. Yours will be different than mine. Don’t depend on your friend’s recommendations. Get your own personal hiking boots. The best fit for you.
Be careful where you buy, too. Go to a reputable outdoor shop, where you’ll get professional advice and the best selection. A professional will be able to help you determine whether a boot is too tight, or just snug enough. A standard shoe shop often has ‘amateur boots’ – they look like the real thing but are just glorified walking shoes.
Is there some confusion between hiking shoes and hiking boots?
What should make your determination is the type of terrain that you’ll be walking over. If that terrain is going to be an uphill hike or through some rough and rocky or harsh terrain, you’ll want the boots. Why? Because they’ll give you the kind of support and protection that you need for this type of terrain.
Shoes will work for flatter, even, forest type terrain where there are few obstacles. But regardless of whether you get the hiking boots or the hiking shoes, do not scrimp on them. Always buy the highest quality that you can afford.
Waterproof Hiking Boots
So, why is it so important for hiking boots to be waterproof?
Actually, if the hiker knows for a fact that they will not be encountering any type of muddy or wet terrain, or if they are going on a reasonably short hike, waterproof boots are not essential.
If, however, the terrain is known to have water, mud, marshy area or swamp on it; or if the condition of the area is unknown or there has been a recent rain, snow or precipitation condition; or if the hike is going to be long and/or a multi-day hike, a hiker would be very wise to wear waterproof hiking boots.
Just about everyone, at one time or another, has walked through some form of water or moisture and the moisture has gotten into their shoes. The vast majority of people who have experienced this have also had to, at some time, wear wet shoes for extended periods of time. We’d be willing to bet that this was not considered a pleasant experience, in the least.
Wet shoes are both uncomfortable and damaging. When footwear is wet it tends to grab at the skin more and this causes severe blistering in a rather short time. Blisters can develop into very painful and debilitating wounds that will bring about infection or worse if they persist.
Walking for long distances over uneven and often difficult landscapes is virtually impossible when severe foot problems develop. The result can be the need for rescue or impromptu crutches as well as a great deal of misery. Wet feet alone can cause this problem and can be easily avoided with waterproof hiking boots.
So, our conclusion is that since there are so very many varieties, brands, sizes and types of hiking boots available, there is no reason for a person who is intent on hiking to have to suffer unnecessary foot discomfort.
The main lesson to learn from all this is that one should be absolutely certain that the hiking boots they decide to purchase will fit them perfectly. There should be no doubt that the boots will do the job they were intended to do and be comfortable to boot (pun intended).
Since each of us is different, it pays for a perspective hiker to invest in a very good pair of hiking boots. If a person is intending to hike often and for long distances, it would certainly behoove them not to hold back on their hiking boot investment. Get the best boots that you can afford.
With so many different varieties out there, there’s bound to be one that will please the most discriminating outdoors person.
Why Waterproof Hiking Boots For Women?
Why discuss waterproof hiking boots for women rather than simply “hiking boots for women?” Better yet, why differentiate between women’s hiking boots and men’s hiking boots?
The answer is really quite simple, if you know anything at all about either hiking, boots or, even more relevant, both.
Each Person’s Feet Are Different
First let us address the reason for the hiking boot in the first place. Hiking is not, as many would think, merely walking a bit. Hiking usually means walking for extended distances and often, over unfriendly or at least significantly varying terrain. By “unfriendly” we mean that the terrain is usually uneven, often calling for some degree of climbing. The climbing may be over obstacles or even under obstacles, and it is frequently unknown to the hiker, ahead of time, whether either condition will be present on the trail which they are challenging. As a matter of fact, the condition of the trail is often totally unknown to the hiker at all.
The further conditions of the terrain could be described with such terms as frozen, sandy, wet, muddy, hilly, rocky or many other friendly or unfriendly descriptive terms. Regardless of the condition of the ground, you can pretty much depend on it being somewhat hard on the hiker’s feet.
Each and every human being on this earth has different feet. The feet are like fingerprints or snowflakes in that each of them is different from the others. Yes, it’s true that all of them have some of the same characteristics but, if each foot characteristic was measurable, in some way, it would, most likely be found that no two were exactly alike.
Some feet are wide, some are narrow. Some are long, some are short. The toes on some feet are long while other people have short toes and long feet. Some people’s balance is on the outside or lateral side of the foot while still others balance on the inside or medial area of the foot. The differences are just too numerous to list and each of us has some of those differences in our feet that no one else has in the same combination. Weird huh?
Everyone walks differently from every other person too. The condition of your feet depends a lot on how we walk. Which area of the heel you come down on first makes a humongous difference in the shape of your arches. Ah, the arches.
The arches of the feet can make your life normal or completely miserable, depending on how high they are. This goes too with the area on the inside of the big toe (curieform). Same with the ball of the foot, the ankle, the back or Achilles tendon, they all are different on each person.
Though each of us has differing aspects to our feet, we also share many of the same characteristics and aspects.
When we are young, it is normal that we have fewer foot problems. Not all people have fewer problems when they’re young but, for the most part, people don’t have as many difficulties with their feet when they are in their early years.
Consequently, we tend to abuse our feet somewhat when we’re in our youth because we don’t have pain or aches most of the time.
However, as we grow older our feet begin to take on personalities of their own. As we are growing our feet are changing. Once we have reached physical maturity, our feet stop growing and are more affected by the way we walk and ambulate because they are no longer changing and our gait and body movements put more pressure in the same areas on our feet repeatedly. This causes problems to develop such as bunions, hammer toe, heel spurs, falling arches and just plain foot pain.
So, on we go living our lives and continuously, without meaning to, abusing our feet, day after day, week after week and year after year, constantly putting various degrees of pressure on our feet and legs.
Women’s Feet VS Men’s Feet
Women obviously treat their feet differently than men. That is a given fact. Women’s feet are not only expected to give them a means of locomotion but they are supposed to look good as they do it. Women are a more social animal than men when it comes to the way that they treat or mistreat their feet.
When they are young girls, they often go barefoot and often are seen walking on their tip toes. Maybe this is innate activity to prepare them for their adult lives but, nonetheless, they act very different when they are young than they do once they start to socialize and mature. Once they reach an age of menses, most of them are beginning to wear shoes with higher heels. As they reach their teens, most girls have begun to destroy their feet by wearing high heeled shoes. Most of them adapt to this torture quite readily and are able to walk quite naturally, after a time, on their toes. Alas, they do look good, for sure.
Men, on the other hand, are never expected to wear shoes that will eventually damage their feet. Most wear flat or near flat shoes for their entire lives. Still, they often develop some form of foot problem later in their lives.
Many times, the initial foot problem for men is a fungus such as athlete’s foot, during their young athletic years. Although they actually neglect their feet, the male’s feet, in most cases, develops fairly naturally and, unless they have a natural familial disease or condition of the foot later in life, most don’t have as many problems with ambulation as women do.
Women’s Waterproof Hiking Boots
Women’s feet, physical structure, needs and attitudes are quite different than those of men. If that’s not evident to you, you just aren’t looking close enough. Women, for the most part, are more social animals and whether they admit it or not, though they do demand comfort in a boot that is supposed to protect their feet from earthly encumbrances for lengthy distances and over varying terrain, they also demand a bit of style and fashion. Not a whole lot because, after all, who is going to be out there to actually notice their sense of fashion (you’d be surprised)? The main idea is to include a slight bit of “girlie” into the boots so that they are recognized both as awesome trail boots but also sending the message that “there can be style, even in the boonies.”
Waterproof: Today’s waterproof footwear is not your Mom’s waterproof footwear. In the “old” days (about 20 years ago) a “waterproof” boot was one that was made of leather and coated w/ a water[resistant] spray on material. It last for about a month (if you were lucky) and then the boot was no longer waterproof. Of course, you could always get some more waterproof spray-on coating and apply it once a day or so. The predominant modern waterproof hiking boot is made with Gore-Tex fabric so it is not only waterproof, but it breathes and allows circulation of air. It is also extremely light, so waterproof no longer means a heavy, bulky boot that weighs 4 lbs. Another aspect of the boots of old is that the tops and soles were sewn together and there was a tiny gap in the shoe at this point, regardless of how tiny the stitches were or how tight they were stitched. Water would always manage to find it’s way through. Gore-Tex is different and will not allow water through the fabric. It’s truly water proof.
Hiking: When you are in the market for hiking boots, you’re probably expecting to do some serious hiking over some moderate to highly rough terrain. You don’t want to do this wearing sneakers or running shoes. That works for very short distances and then becomes more of a hassle than a help. If you’re a woman wanting hiking boots, you’re expecting them to protect your feet, have a lightness to them, be waterproof and look good. You can’t get all those characteristics with a tennis shoe, sneaker or running shoe. If you’re looking for decent traction or lightness, yea, sure, a nice athletic shoe is a good choice but if you’re going to be walking for long distances through some serious land changes, you’d better get something that’s a bit more supportive and can handle the roughness of the terrain.
Boots: Boots are not good for walking in certain types of terrain. Namely, harsh, sandy desert conditions or flat, asphalt-like conditions for long distances. You’d be better off with hiking shoes or even hiking sandals in those conditions. Hiking boots are great though for walking in rocky, bushy, prickly, extreme cold, rough ground conditions. They will protect you and keep your feet in good condition. Waterproof boots will make sure you don’t get blisters caused by turgor rubs and you’ll be a whole lot more comfortable. The weight of good waterproof hiking beats is almost as light as hiking shoes because the Gore-Tex materials you’ll be wearing just have that kind of nature to them.
So, while we could have put up a site for just “Hiking Shoes” we may have been neglecting a specific type of hiking shoe that would have become lost in the plethora of varieties to be found. So, enjoy the information and let us know what you think.
Do Women’s Waterproof Hiking Boots Cause Chafing?
Is it true that women’s waterproof hiking boots cause chafing just by their nature of being “waterproof?”
Short answer is an emphatic “no!”
Let’s look at what “chafing” is in the first place.
Chafing is when two parts (material and skin) rub against each other and cause irritation to the skin. It’s that simple. Once the skin actually begins to break down, it’s no longer just chafing. It then becomes “injured skin,” or “broken skin,” which is a much more serious problem.
Many people believe that certain materials cause chafing just because they don’t allow moisture to enter boot. The truth is that moisture is one of the main causes of chafing.
Moisture, when sitting on or around human skin is a nice cleanser, but it also has a property called “turgor”, which is the resistance of it’s surface to pressure. Guess what? Skin also has “turgor.”
When you get two pieces of material, both of which have high turgor, you’re going to create friction.
When friction is created on two surfaces rubbing against each other and one of those surfaces is much stronger and more resilient than the other, the weaker of those surfaces is going to break down.
When one of those surfaces is made up of living cells and the other is of another property that is hard and sturdy, the surface made of living cells is going to lose the battle 9 times out of 10, maybe even 10 times out of 10.
When turgor is applied to a non-living surface, as when water is coating a material and it, in turn, rubs against skin, the skin will begin to become irritated and eventually will break open. Before it breaks open, it will become inflamed and will try to protect itself by building a layer of water between it’s outer surface and the next layer of skin. This is called a “blister.”
As the rubbing continues, the blister grows larger until it finally can hold no more pressure and the membrane holding it together breaks, causing a break in the skin and the introduction of harmful bacteria into that break.
The inflammation process then continues and the open wound gets worse as time goes along.
That’s the whole process, starting with the rubbing of the skin by the underlying material.
This only happens when a couple of things occur:
1. The skin on the feet or toes has a lot of undue pressure on it, causing it to rub very hard on the dry material, or,
2. When the non-skin material becomes wet and builds a stronger turgor pressure which causes even comparatively loose fabric to grab hold of skin and abrade it continuously.
So how does one prevent this from happening?
In the past, people would put talcum powder in their boots so that the surfaces would not bind to each other and would slide by each other when pressure was applied. This worked to a certain extent, but then when the surfaces got wet, the talcum powder only added to the problem when it absorbed the moisture.
Many folks also tried wearing thicker socks under their boots. This works for short outings but for long hikes, the thick socks tend to absorb a lot of moisture and hold it, thus causing the turgor problem with increased pressure from the larger socks.
What’s the answer to foot chafing and blistering then?
One word: Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex fabrics to be precise.
Gore-Tex allows boot fabrics to circulate air very readily. With the circulation of air, moisture is reduced and actually pulled away from the material toward the outside. When this happens, the materials and skin slide by each other with reduced turgor which is usually of a pressure that the skin can easily tolerate.
The dryer the feet and socks are, the less friction is produced. The less friction produced, the less skin irritation and the more comfort occurs.
So, there you have it. The solution to your waterproof hiking boots.
Women’s feet are naturally more dainty, less calcified and tender than most men’s feet. This is why it is important that any woman who is intent upon purchasing a high quality pair of waterproof hiking boots be very aware of what they need to prevent chafing, scraping and rubbing on their feet and toes.
It behooves all women to use waterproof hiking boots anytime that they hike. Waterproof hiking shoes may also be adequate, depending upon the terrain they’ll be facing and the conditions.
Always take care of your feet and you’ll always be able to enjoy a great pastime of hiking in beautiful places.
Guide For Buying Women’s Waterproof Hiking Boots
This is definitely not a “tell-all, end-all” guide. This guide for buying women’s waterproof hiking boots is compiled from years of experience on the hiking trail and the purchasing of “many” and various types of women’s hiking boots. I do know a bit about which I speak but I’m not the final say…. you are, OK?
For any gal who might be planning a long multi-day hike, it would be assumed that they’d be thinking along the lines of hiking boots as the appropriate footwear and waterproof hiking boots as the ultimate hiking footwear.
There are some women who may prefer low-cut hiking shoes as they believe them to be light and less taxing on the energy. However, the women who are most experienced and know better will almost always choose a good, dependable pair of top-of-the-line waterproof hiking boots.
Buying women’s waterproof hiking boots that fit right is a very essential part of the process because if you get this part wrong, you’re going to be touting some mighty sore dogs for a good while.
Though I don’t consider myself any kind of “expert” when it comes to choosing the perfect hiking boots, I am quite an experienced backpacker and I know what one needs for backpacking in general. This usually includes quite a bit of hiking. Here are some of the things that you might want to be thinking about.
* you should always consider buying lightweight hiking boots, for sure because if they’re too heavy you’ll tire easily. Also, there may be parts of the hike in which you’ll be toting your hiking shoes in your backpack and using hiking sandals for flat, even terrain.
* air circulation (breathing) is very essential in order for you to be able to dissipate the sweat or moisture from your feet.
* your hiking boots need to (yes “need” to) be waterproof because you never know when water is going to show up like an unwelcome guest, on a hiking trek. Even muddy areas will cause your feet to get soaked and wet feet mean foot blisters. (You can get Gore-Tex inserts to put inside your boots and this will make them even more waterproof. You can also buy some silicone spray that will do a good job of repelling moisture).
* Lacing your boots should not be a ten minute, frustrating experience. They should easily and quickly lace up and stay tied so you’ll be able to continue to move on. There should be a little loop on the top of the cuff, at the back of the boot, that allows you to pull your boot on easily. One problem with these loops on some boots is that they’re not even big enough to get your fingers through, much less pull on a pair of boots with them.
Speaking of heels, it’s very important that you do not let your heel area slide up and down on your foot because this will inevitably cause some serious blisters. A top-line hiking boot will have a heel lock. This is simply some lacing latches that are slightly recessed from the rest of the lacing grommets, above the heel area. When you pull your lacing, make sure that this area is pulled up very tight. This will keep your heels from sliding up and down.
* When shopping for high quality women’s waterproof hiking boots, be certain that you get some with soles that are nice and thick and also very stiff. The reasoning behind this advice is that if you do not get good soles, you’re going to wind up bruising your foot bottoms and you’ll feel every little pebble and stone that you step on. This gets annoying and painful after a while.
When you get your new hiking boots, don’t even think about going on a hiking trip until you break them in. If you do attempt a hiking excursion prior to breaking them in correctly, you’ll wind up with stiff shoes that will make your hike miserable. Once they have been broken in well, they should be wonderfully comfortable and give you lots of protection and foot joy.
In order to break them in correctly take short hikes around your neighborhood or general area for a couple of hours at a time. If possible, wear a backpack that is going to weigh approximately the same as the one that you’ll be taking on your hiking trip. The whole breaking in portion may actually take several weeks or even months, depending on how much time you take to break them in. You will, however, be very glad that you broke them in correctly once you begin your long hike and if you’ll keep in mind that no two pairs of feet are alike, you’ll understand why there are so many various and sundry pairs of women’s waterproof hiking boots available.
Every women’s hiking boot manufacturer has several styles that it specializes in. You can find Gore-Tex lightweight boots or full-grain leather or various types of insoles and padding so it’s important that you look for and find the particular hiking boot features that you want in a boot.
Don’t try to buy top quality hiking boots from a “standard” shoe store. You will want to look only in “outdoor” stores or sporting goods outlets who have specialty hiking boots in their inventory.
The standard shoe stores will not carry the tough soled, waterproof hiking boots that you need. If you buy a nice looking pair of hiking boots from them, you’ll wind up with very sore feet and a bunch of blisters by the time it’s all over.
Your outdoor and sporting goods stores should have representatives who are experienced hikers and can show you the best hiking boots to look at and consider. The standard shoe stores will usually just have “sales” persons who will often tell you anything to get you to buy a cheap pair of nice looking worthless hiking boots.
There is information available that discusses the advantages and disadvantages to buying women’s waterproof hiking boots both locally and online. You should read that information in order to determine which you prefer.
If you’re still confused about whether to buy hiking boots of hiking shoes, here’s something to think about. Do you know the terrain you’re going to be hiking on? Is it rough and tumble, rocky, uneven terrain? If so, you’d be better off with hiking boots.
If the ground is going to be flat most all the way, with no water crossings (that you know of) and little in the way of uneven ground, you could get by with the hiking shoes.
Regardless of whether you go with the boots or the shoes, buy the highest quality that you can afford because in the world of hiking footwear, you actually do get what you pay for. Be smart use this guide to buying women’s waterproof hiking boots to help you wind up with the perfect pair of hiking boots for you.
Lacing Your Hiking Boots For Downhill Trails
Why would you need to lace your hiking boots for downhill hikes?
If you’re going to be traversing some very steep trails and going down them, into some valleys or canyons, your toes are going to take some serious beating, even if you have top grade hiking boots.
The reason for this is because when walking downhill, your feet tend to slip forward, further toward the toe box of your boots. As this occurs, your toes will be mashed towards the front of the boot causing tremendous pressure on them.
First of all, before you go on any hiking trip make certain that you clip your toenails as short as possible so there won’t be any undue pressure on them from your boots pressing against them on downhill slopes.
If the trail is just a short one, there is probably not much of a problem, however, if the trail is fairly long, even an hours hike, or so, you’re going to be suffering some very sore toes, as well as pain in the ball of the foot, before very long.
If you are already wearing some high-quality hiking boots, you’re already ahead of the game, especially if you’ve taken the time to break them in appropriately. Even though they are superior quality boots, they still need to be laced correctly in order for you to keep your foot in the proper area of the boot for as long as possible.
There is a proper way to do this and it will keep your toes a lot more comfortable during the hike. You may have to stop a few times and re-tie the boots but each tying should last quite a while, depending on the grade and your own gait.
The vast majority of top-quality, first grade hiking boots will have some excellent grommets or lace eyelets. There are several types that are found on superior boots.
There are the D-ring types, which are simply metal rings that the laces run through, there are regular O ring grommets and there are also some small pulley-type lacing rings that are popular on certain brands of boots.
Many boots will have the open front or “quick-release” grommets on the upper ankle support region of the boot.
Another thing you may notice on top end boots is that one set of the grommets/eyelets will be set further toward the back of the boot, usually where the lower region attaches to the ankle cuff.
This off-set grommet is also known as the “heel lock.”
The proper way to lace your hiking boots when anticipating a steep downhill path is as follows:
Tighten your lower lacings rather loosely. Not so loose that your foot slips a lot but just loosen them up a little so there’s some give in the laces.
Now, the last grommet prior to the ankle cuff, you’ll want to pull very tight. Next, you should be going through the “heel lock.” Again, tighten the laces very snug in this area.
Through the next set of grommets, lace up normally (not extremely tight and not too loose). Remember, your crisscrossing with each grommet set.
Now, make the rest of the loops, to the top very snug and make your usual bow knot. Not so snug that you cut off your blood supply but tight enough that they’re very snug and you can still move your toes easily.
Now, just tie another cross knot with your laces and pull them tight. They should not come loose from this position.
When you tie your boots like this what you’re doing is allowing the heel lock and the upper lacings to hold your ankle and, thus, your foot further towards the back of your boot, allowing your toes to move freely in the toebox, even on a downhill slope.
If you’re not sure whether or not this method will work, we advise you to tie only one of your boots in this manner and then tie the other in your normal walking manner and compare the pain in your feet after walking downhill for about 100 yards or so.
You’ll be a believer by then.
Again, when you start to feel your toes binding up, it is probably time to take a break, sit down and re-tie the boots.
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