Can You Go Hiking in Your Sneakers? – Let Me Show You the Best Hiking Boots for Women

Waterproof Hiking Boots For Women

Are you a big fan of hiking? I totally understand why. Who would not want to get some exercise while being surrounded by some breathtaking nature? Studies show that hiking can help reduce stress, improve your heart health, and even your balance! There is no better way to clear your mind. I have been fitting women’s shoes for many years, and one common question women ask me is: Can you go hiking in your sneakers?

There are so many benefits when it comes to hiking, but do not forget to do it with the appropriate shoes. Although hiking terrains vary, you might encounter rocky, muddy, and very irregular paths. This calls for a specific type of shoe as you will need more support and a shoe that can handle hiking trails. You do not want to cut your hike short because of foot pain! Let me help you find the right type of shoe for you.

My Experience Fitting Shoes for Women 

For the past 10 years I have been working for a family shoe store where we specialize in helping women with varied foot shapes. I have fitted hundreds of different shoes and I am familiar with which shoe styles are better when it comes to hiking. Not all women’s feet are the same, that is the reason why the hiking shoes I will show you in this article will be capable of accommodating different foot shapes such as narrow, medium, and wide feet.

So, Should You Go Hiking in Your Regular Sneakers?

I do not recommend it. Sneakers will not provide the traction and support you need to go through muddy and rocky terrain. Even if the trail is not rocky it will be irregular, and you want a shoe that will keep you stable and comfortable throughout your hike. Also, you will want it to be made of durable materials, so you don’t get hurt if you bump into rocks, thorns, or any other obstacle. It is also a welcome bonus that most hiking shoes are also waterproof. It is hard to make it through a hike with wet feet! 

However, if you tend to hike on paved trails, your sneaker will be able to handle it. This does not mean that you wouldn’t be more comfortable in hiking shoes. There is always the option of trail runners which are more similar to a sneaker.

Features That You Should Look for When Shopping for Hiking Shoes:

➡️ Shoes that have deep treads. This will help you with performance as the sole with lugs on them will grip to the terrain and make you feel more stable. They will also help you not slip and handle rocky terrains much more comfortably.

➡️ Durable materials. You must look for shoes that will take bumps into rocks, thorns, or different obstacles you might encounter without being torn or punctured. Getting hurt is an easy way to cut your hike short. 

➡️ Reinforced toe caps. This feature provides extra protection against the elements and terrain or if something like a rock was to fall on your foot.

➡️ Waterproofed shoes. No matter if you are hiking in snowy, rainy, slippery, or rocky terrain, you don’t want to get your feet wet and cold for a potentially long period of time during the remainder of your hike.

➡️ Shoes that provide a comfortable padding underfoot. This will make impact on rough surfaces easier on your feet.

➡️ Lightweight shoes. If the shoe is too heavy, you will quickly get uncomfortable.

So, if I Can’t Wear My Sneakers to Go Hiking, What Should I Wear?

There are basically two options on the market: trail running shoes and hiking boots. Your decision will depend on the type of hiking you do. Let’s look at them!

Trail Running Shoes

➡️ Stability – The range of grip will vary model to model, but they tend not to be as great when compared to hiking boots.

➡️ Support and protection – the lightweight shoes are a plus when you are hiking at a fast pace and want to accomplish many miles in the same day. However, it does not provide you with as much support and protection for challenging hikes.

➡️ More breathability – Great when it comes to hiking in the summer. They will not provide you with warmth.

➡️ No break-in period – They will be comfortable right out of the box.

➡️ Durability – you will have to replace them way more often than a hiking boot.

➡️ None to little ankle support.

➡️ Waterproof – they are usually not waterproof, since they are so breathable, but there are some models that are, so keep that in mind!

Hiking Boots

➡️ Stability – the wide and thick soles will keep you comfortable when it comes to hiking through rocks, roots, and irregular paths!

➡️ Durability – they are sturdy and made with very durable materials. It is an investment that will last you a long time.

➡️ Support and protection – they will cover your foot and ankle with sturdy materials that will protect you from getting hurt. You will not have to worry when you are hiking through roots, sticks, sharp rocks, and mud.  They will also keep snow and water away. 

➡️ They have a break-in period. Wear them in slowly, you don’t want to get blisters!

➡️ Extra cushion. This makes the boot more comfortable, reducing impact forces on your feet.

Which Option Is Better?

This depends on a lot of factors. As I mentioned before it depends on the level of challenge of the hike, if you tend to run or just walk, how long the hike is and other various factors.

If you tend to go running and the hiking trails are not as challenging – with more paved paths – trail running shoes will be enough. However, if you prefer walking and hiking on more irregular paths with more obstacles, I will suggest hiking boots for you. Keep in mind that this is a personal choice, and you need to weigh the different factors to make your decision.

What Are the Best Hiking Boots for Women?

I have put together a list that showcases the best hiking boots for women. Please note that these hiking boots can fit women with different foot shapes such as medium, wide, and extra wide.

If you prefer to wear hiking sneakers then I suggest that you take a look at the resource below:

Best Hiking Sneakers for Women with Wide Feet – Waterproof, Extra Deep, and Round Toe-Boxes!

Regardless of Your Decision, Don’t Forget the Socks!

As important as it is to choose the right pair of shoes for your hiking adventures, it is also important to choose the right pair of socks! They play a vital role in keeping your feet healthy and preventing blisters and bacteria!

Getting socks specifically meant for hiking will allow your feet to breathe better and keep them warm and comfortable throughout the hike. You can have the most comfortable hiking shoes but if you don’t pair them up with the correct socks you may cause all sorts of foot issues such as blisters, calluses, and corns. Keep in mind, that they also need to be the same length as your hiking shoes.

When it comes to materials, you can’t go wrong with merino wool. It will keep your feet warm in the winter and cool in the summer due to its breathability capabilities. Avoid wearing cotton socks, it will make your feet perspire, and you will end up hiking with cold and damp feet.

I created a different resource that describes the best hiking socks for women:

The Best Hiking Socks for Women — Breathable, Soft, Comfortable, and Durable!

Make sure to look at the shoe size on the sock label instead of the sock size. This is the most accurate way of buying socks that will fit you correctly.

Still Can´t Decide? – Contact me Directly

Do not hesitate to contact me if you are unsure about which hiking shoe will work best for your feet or if you are looking for a different pair of hiking shoes:

Let me know in the comment section below if you have found a specific hiking shoe you love! I am sure other women will benefit from reading about your experiences!

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