Woman in search of hiking footwear!
October 20, 2008 11:51 AM   Subscribe

Lightweight, waterproof, women's hiking boots/sneakers. more inside

My boyfriend and I are planning on a couple overnight hiking trips soon. Nothing technical or anything. I'd like to find a pair of hiking boots/sneakers for women that are everything one would want in a pair of hiking boots: lighweight, breathable, waterproof, ankle support.

It'd be great if I didn't have to spend a long time breaking them in. I haven't done much extended-time hiking, but I've heard horror stories of going out in new boots. I have never bought a pair of hiking anything, so I'm a little clueless here.

Any tips appreciated!!
posted by sio42 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My wife swears by these very simple, very sturdy REI brand boots, which are actually made by a firm called Raichle. She's on her 3rd pair, and we're pretty serious backpackers. They're very comfortable for long trips with lots of pack weight. Might be overkill for you, but we have found that the less separate leather/goretex/whatever panels are sewed together to make a hiking boot, the less chance exists that seams will blow under hard use.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 12:03 PM on October 20, 2008

Another REI rec: I love these and had no trouble breaking them in. I thought I was getting more boot than I needed for the light, beginner's hikes I've been doing, but they've worked out beautifully.
posted by juliplease at 12:06 PM on October 20, 2008

I bought the same ones the juliplease recommended. They're actually by Keen, not REI, but anyway I walked less than 4 mi in them before taking them on a hiking trip with multiple 10+ mi hikes and didn't have any problems. (I know it is not recommended but I had no time to break them in.) Both arch and ankle support are good, and they look really nice for hiking boots! Buy a size bigger if you're buying online though. Can't say much about breathability as it didn't rain.
posted by bread-eater at 12:55 PM on October 20, 2008

As much as I absolutely fucking hate their ad copy and their holier-than-thou attitude, I'm really liking my GoLite trailrunning shoes. No break-in period, good protection from rocks and such, excellent traction, just a couple ounces apiece, waterproof, very breathable and cool. The weight makes a huge difference in my fatigue levels.

However, I do not at all recommend them if you don't walk with trekking poles. Without the poles, plus a big ol' pack, the lack of ankle support is a liability. They have a sole that does pretty well at keeping you from putting your foot down funny, but uneven terrain can defeat that.

If you've got the poles, they're about a thousand times more comfortable than any boot I've ever worn.

P.S. You want trekking poles anyway. They radically reduce fatigue, since you can use your arms to partially support the load.

P.P.S. People other than GoLite make trailrunning shoes, if they offend you too much to give them money.
posted by Netzapper at 1:16 PM on October 20, 2008

I'm wearing a pair of Keen Targhee II's right now at work and they're awesome! I bought them two days before a trip to the Arctic a couple of months ago and they really stood up to to all the beating I gave them. I had no problems breaking them in and I bought a half-size larger than I usually wear. My family didn't believe that my feet didn't get wet when I stepped into some marshy tundra and I had to show them my dry socks before they believed me. If you wanted more ankle support you could go for the Targhee II Mid. Have fun!
posted by KathyK at 6:08 AM on October 21, 2008

keen is getting a lot of recs here!

i'm always a little wary of salespeople, especially with sports gear cause i'm a newb, so i'm thankful for the personal insights of the mefites.

this was my first askmefi post, btw.

i hope others keep adding and i will definitely post back after i make a decision and what wonders/horrors befall my feet on the trip.
posted by sio42 at 9:42 AM on October 21, 2008

I am not a lady so I don't have specific recommendations, but I do prefer light hiking boots over 'normal' walking shoes, even just for daily use. When I get new boots I usually go up a half-size or so and get some quality insoles to go with them, and I use Nikwax waterproofing treatment*. Be aware that some boot sizes can be misleading -- if it feels slightly odd in the store, I've found it'll hurt on the trail, even if the size on the label is right. Oh, and wear good socks that grip the inside of the boot so your feet don't slip.

Go to EMS or REI and talk to their people -- I've always had good experiences at both, and they tend to know their products from personal use.

*I've had boots with and without Gore-Tex over the years and it's nice, but a well-made boot with the proper waterproofing treatment is just as good. I wouldn't pay extra for it. Actually the first pair of hikers I had, a pair of Lowas, were Gore-Tex, and as I was bragging to my friends about their waterproofness, I stepped in a deceptively shallow-looking puddle and flooded them. Turned out they were waterproof in both directions... :)
posted by toxotes at 5:05 PM on October 21, 2008

i ended up going with a pair of columbia hikers on sale at Dick's Sporting Goods. they are waterproof, breathable, and lightweight!

with various economic factors wreaking havoc on our budgets, we ended up not being able to take the time off we would have liked to. so the hikers i got will be good winter sloppiness shoes and i'll try out the recs from everyone in the spring when hopefully the economy and our budgets will have resurrected to allow for vacations and consumerism.

thanks again mefites!
posted by sio42 at 6:46 AM on December 1, 2008

« Older Help me keep my vote.   |   Help finding a farming resources newsletter Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.