Buying boots made specifically for camping and trekking is always a good idea, because:
- They provide better traction on rocky, muddy, or snowy tracks. Your regular running shoes are more suited to urban roads and aren’t made for heavy dirt and stone trails.
- They keep your foot safe from external objects. Most hiking sneakers have toe caps that are twice as reinforced as regular sneakers.
- Trekking sneakers are highly customizable. You can easily alter the lace pattern of the shoe according to your wish and requirement.
- Lastly, hiking sneakers will last longer than regular boots in extreme conditions.
What To Look For When Buying Camping/Hiking Sneakers For Women
- Weight: The overall weight of your sneakers will impact your journey in many ways. Heavier boots will make walking a lot harder and tiresome. Many sneakers nowadays have a very hard and heavy outsole and toecap. So there are only light trekking shoes that can go. Try going for sneakers as light as 300-400 grams.
- Stability And Support: Stability and support come in two forms: construction of the layers and arch support. These two key factors decide your sneakers will be a lot stable and supportive. Many sneakers have three layers: insole (including the upper and lower material), midsole, and outsole. The outsole and the midsole are responsible for providing support. These boots should also feature a sturdy toe cap that keeps your toes safe.
- Comfort: Comfortable hiking shoes for women come in many forms. For most women, comfort means a modest arch with sufficient shanks and plates. For winter boots, you want to look for an inner lining that has been insulated. When trying out a shoe, make sure to check if it’s comfortable. You need to notice any bumps or open seams, toes hitting the front of the shoe, and tightness around the sides.
- Water-Resistance: Many sneakers are water-resistant, both from the inside and the outside. They don’t absorb moisture but provide adequate traction on wet trails. These boots have a special lug pattern that directs mud and liquids out from the shoe and away from your foot. Leather is naturally waterproof, but it can still succumb to water damage over time. Consider a water-coated boot with silicone sealant around the seams.
- Breathability: There are two ways trekking sneakers accomplish breathability: by using mesh, and by making the shoes open. Most utilize the first strategy, incorporating a mesh in the upper portion of the shoe. This allows enough air to get in but rejects both water and small rocks. The second strategy can be good if executed properly. Sneakers should not be open from the front and the sides of the foot. The heel of the shoe can be open though. But avoid these entirely in heavily muddy conditions or snowy weather.
- Lacing Systems: You may not realize it, but the way you lace up your trekking boots has a major impact on their performance. The most common type of lacing is the Surgeon’s Knot. It’s easy to execute and prevents your sneakers from skidding and slipping. Another knot, known as window lacing, is designed to relieve pressure from key points on your foot. If, however, during hiking, your toes start to hurt, you can try toe-relief lacing.
- Insoles: The insole is the part of the sole that’s directly in contact with your foot. This part should be designed to prevent blistering and in general, create a more comfortable environment for you. It is here that you get to see the shanks and the plates. The shanks are designed to lift the load of your foot and alleviate some pressure from the midsole. The plates are more concerned with preventing bruises and injuries from rocks and sharp objects.
- Hiking Shoe Upper Materials: There are several materials used for the upper, the most common being Nubuck leather. Nubuck leather is essentially the same as full-grain leather, except it looks like suede. Nubuck is also known for its flexibility and high durability. Split and full-grain leather are also good choices, but split-grain is too prone to water damage. These are, however, highly ventilated and lightweight. You can also try for some synthetic material such as nylon and leather. Of these, synthetic leather is highly recommended as it’s the most durable and breaks in more quickly.
- Midsoles And Cushioning: The midsole is where most of the cushioning and buoyancy are handled in the trekking shoe. Midsoles either use EVA or PU foam. PU foam is the same kind that is used in a lot of mattresses and car seats. It’s firmer than EVA and has more buoyancy. EVA is the lighter and cushier of the two, but it may cost you more. It tends to be less durable as compared to PU foam.
- Outsoles And Traction: Outsoles are where the main tread pattern is fixed. This pattern is made from lugs and heel brakes. The lugs may be oblong, circular, or diamond-shaped. These lugs may be more profound in snow boots. The heel brakes are designed to prevent skidding and slipping and are usually very thick and raised.
- Protection: Finally, consider the type of protection the sneakers provide. Your boots should be able to handle water, mud, sand, dust, sweat, and heat. They should also protect your toes from getting stubbed and your heels from getting blistered. Also, consider winter boots to keep you warm in the snow.
Hiking Shoes Vs. Hiking Boots
When buying hiking shoes for ladies, you may have come across trekking boots, which are similar but have a longer shaft. Hiking boots provide a firmer fit, and they have more eyelets to further strengthen the lacing.
However, due to this, they tend to be less flexible. Trekking boots are recommended in situations where normal trekking sneakers would simply slip off. Consider these if there are a lot of steep climbs on your trail. They’re also recommended for use in the winter, but only those that are insulated.
With the number of brands that offer women’s hiking shoes, it’s no surprise that you would get confused. Which is why we took it upon ourselves to review the 7 best waterproof hiking shoes for women.
Of the many shoes that we reviewed, the KEEN Women’s Targhee 3 topped the rest. This was mainly due to the special care taken to make it waterproof. They’re also very lightweight and easy to walk around in.
But if you find another pair of sneakers to suit you, then go for it. There’s no compromise on comfort and performance.