Whether you're a hardcore backpacker or a casual day hiker, the right hiking boots can make or break your trip. Finding hiking boots with the right fit, flexibility, and support is crucial to your comfort. And if your adventures take you through streams, lakes, snow, or wet climates, you'll want your feet to stay warm and dry too.
We combed the internet to find the best women's waterproof hiking boots for all terrains and skill levels. Our favorite pair? Columbia's Newton Ridge Plus. These bad boys are constructed with a combination of leather and mesh to provide support and ventilation without weighing you down. They come in a host of cool colors and are just the right mix of function and fashion. For more of our favorites and tips to help you pick your own pair, read on!
When choosing a waterproof hiking boot, the goal is to balance flexibility, support, breathability, and durability with the weight of the boot. You want to be adequately supported but not weighed down too much. Keep reading for our top buying tips!
The type of waterproof hiking boots you choose will depend largely on the difficulty and terrain of the hikes you like to go on. Generally, the longer and harder the hike, the heavier the boot.
If you’re more of a casual day hiker, you can get away with a lightweight boot like a hiking shoe. For long hikes or short backpacking trips, look for a midweight boot that offers more support, like dayhiker boots. For mountaineering or multi-day hikes, heavy backpacking boots are ideal to help support you and the weight of your pack.
Most waterproof hiking boots are made with a thin membrane of plastic polymer that keeps liquid water out but allows water vapor (aka sweat) to pass through. Goretex is the most common waterproofing material, but some brands have their own proprietary membranes, which are often equally as effective.
While waterproof hiking boots can be super useful for wetter climates, don’t forget that they tend to trap heat and are less breathable than non-waterproof boots. If you do most of your hiking in a hot, dry climate, you may decide to go with regular hiking boots and forego the waterproofing.
For those who want a middle ground, try a hiking boot with a water-repellent outer layer, rather than a waterproof membrane. There are also waterproofing sprays that you can use on the exterior of your boots.
The material used on the outside of the boot will affect its durability, water resistance, and breathability. Synthetic nylon, mesh, and leather are the most common materials. You’ll often find boots that contain a combination of these.
Synthetic fabrics, like nylon and mesh, are often used in the construction of entry-level hiking boots. They provide flexibility and comfort while being lightweight and breathable. You'll often see mesh panels along the sides and top of the boot to help with ventilation.
Synthetic fabrics can come in a wide variety of colors, which can be a fun way to jazz up your hiking outfit. However, they do tend to absorb moisture more quickly than other materials. In addition, boots made of 100% synthetic materials are typically not as durable as those made from leather or a combination of leather and synthetics.
Nubuck and suede leather are very similar and are often just referred to as suede. They look essentially the same--they’re just made using different sides of the leather. You'll often see boots that combine nubuck or suede with mesh to increase breathability.
In terms of flexibility and durability, nubuck and suede lie somewhere between synthetics and full-grain leather. They aren't as sturdy as full-grain leather, but are more breathable. Suede and nubuck also have a signature brushed finish that is resistant to scuff marks.
Full-grain leather is most often found in heavy-duty hiking boots. It’s not as light or breathable as the other options, but it’s extremely durable and naturally water-resistant. You can find hiking boots that use a combination of full-grain leather and other materials, or boots that are only leather.
Leather hiking boots do tend to be stiff when you first purchase them and often require a breaking-in period. They will also require some maintenance to keep up the leather's flexibility and durability. But like other leather goods, if cared for properly, leather hiking boots will only get better with age!
The midsole provides cushioning and buffers feet from shock. It also determines the overall stiffness of the boot and contributes to weight distribution and stability. The most common materials used to make midsoles are EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) and polyurethane.
EVA is cushier, lighter, and cheaper. EVA midsoles use varying densities in different areas to provide support where it’s needed most. Polyurethane is firmer and more durable and is usually reserved for hiking boots intended for mountaineering or extended backpacking.
Hiking boots are made for walking long distances, so above all, make sure you get boots that are comfortable! Everyone’s feet are different. For example, you may have high arches or need extra ankle support.
Once you’ve found a boot that feels good on, consider how it will fare on the trail. If your hikes are often rocky, you might want to look for a boot with a thicker sole to prevent you from feeling every single rock. If your hikes are strenuous and involve uneven surfaces, a less flexible boot may be better at providing support with every step.
Don't forget to look at the lacing system too. Boots that don’t stay tightly laced will need to be constantly readjusted and can even lead to blisters. Locking hooks can be super helpful for keeping laces in place.
Remember that some boots will need to be broken in, so you may want to buy them well in advance of your adventure. Take a look at the reviews to get a feel for how much breaking in different boots will need. Also account for feet swelling or thick socks; it might be better to go half a size or a full size up from your normal shoe size.
There are tons of options out there for waterproof hiking boots, but we narrowed it down to our top ten picks. We included boots in a variety of materials, styles, and price points, so there's a boot for every type of outdoor adventurer!
Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot
Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Terrain H2O Hiking Boot
Dimo Waterproof Hiking Boot
Norwood Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Pioneer Hiking Boots
Thermator High-Top Hiking Boot
Mountain 600 4.5" Waterproof Hiking Boot
Adventurer Hiking Boots
Women’s Hiking Boots
Rugged Comfort for All Types of Terrain
Mesh Details Let Feet Breathe
Long-Lasting Leather Boots for Heavy Hiking
Comfortable, Stylish, and Vegan-Friendly
A Sleek, Low-Profile Boot
A Classic Look With Bright Colors
High-Top Boots for Additional Support and Protection
High-Quality Comfort for All Outdoor Activities
A Boot for Casual Hikers
Trendy Streetwear Details for Hiking in Style
|Upper material||Leather, suede, mesh||Suede, mesh||Leather||Synthetic||Leather, textile||Suede, textile||Synthetic||Suede or leather||Synthetic||Suede, mesh|
|Midsole material||EVA||EVA||EVA||EVA||EVA||EVA||EVA||Rubber and EVA blend||Not listed||EVA|
|Sizes||5-12, 5-11 wide||5-11, 5-11 wide||5.5-11, 6-9 wide||6-11||5-11, 5-11 wide||7.5-9||6-11||5-11||6-10||5-12, 7-9 wide|
|Upper material||Leather, suede, mesh|
|Sizes||5-12, 5-11 wide|
|Upper material||Suede, mesh|
|Sizes||5-11, 5-11 wide|
|Sizes||5.5-11, 6-9 wide|
|Upper material||Leather, textile|
|Sizes||5-11, 5-11 wide|
|Upper material||Suede, textile|
|Upper material||Suede or leather|
|Midsole material||Rubber and EVA blend|
|Midsole material||Not listed|
|Upper material||Suede, mesh|
|Sizes||5-12, 7-9 wide|
You've got your hiking boots, but that's not all you'll need. Check out our recommendations for more gear so you'll be ready to hit the trail in no time!
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