When it comes to hiking boots, a good fit is essential. Unfortunately, it can also be quite difficult to come by for those of us with wide feet.
The good news? More manufacturers are recognizing the problem, which translates into better options. Here’s a guide to choosing the best women’s wide width hiking boots that you can find.
Choosing a Wide Width Hiking Boot: What You Need To Know
Hiking Boots vs. Hiking Shoes
What’s the difference between a hiking boot and a hiking shoe? Typically, the answer is all in the laces. While a shoe’s laces are usually confined to the boundaries of your foot, a hiking boot will extend partway up the leg, giving you added support.
When shopping for wide width hiking boots, it’s best to steer clear of any product labeled as a “hiking shoe.” It can be difficult to find a shoe that offers a wide width option, so sticking to the boot category affords you a broader range of options.
Day Hikers vs. Backpacking Boots
You should also consider the type of hiking that you’ll be doing. Are you a casual day-tripper, or a serious thru-hiker planning an intensive tour of the Appalachian Trail?
For shorter camping trips and hikes, choose a day hiking boot. These offer greater flexibility than backpacking boots, and are available in both mid- and high-cut models. Backpackers should choose a heftier, more durable boot with a high cut for added support. The manufacturer will usually advertise the boot type in the description, but be sure to ask if you have any questions.
The upper portion of a quality hiking boot is typically comprised of either split-grain or full-grain leather, with synthetic soles (rubber is the most popular choice). Split-grain, which is made up of the bottom layer of cowhide, is an inexpensive choice, but it lacks durability. On the other hand, full-grain leather offers superb water and abrasion resistance, as well as a higher price tag.
You’ll also need to spend more time breaking in a pair of boots with full-grain leather uppers, so keep that in mind before making your selection. No hiking boot is a perfect fit, but check out this YouTube tutorial to learn how to lace a boot for the best possible fit.
Important Terms To Remember
Here’s a list of some of the words and expressions you’re most likely to encounter during your search:
- EVA—short for ethylene vinyl acetate, this is an inexpensive cushioning material that makes up the midsole of many hiking boots
- Insole—the part of the boot’s interior that cradles your foot
- Membrane—the interior layer of the hiking boot
- Midsole—the portion of the boot that’s responsible for impact protection
- Outsole—the rubber bottom portion of the boot
- Plates—Flexible inserts sandwiched between the midsole and the outsole to provide extra cushioning
- Polyurethane—a firmer alternative to EVA, found in the midsoles of many backpacking boots
- Shanks—Customized inserts that can be added to the boot to improve their load-bearing strength
Here is a helpful women’s width chart.
Best Women’s Wide Width Hiking Boots: Product Review Guide
1. Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Hiking Boot
The Newton Ridge Plus is constructed of waterproof full-grain leather, with a mesh tongue to boost ventilation. The slip-resistant rubber soles provide good traction on wet or uneven terrain. While some breaking in is required, this is a decent backpacking boot that’s set at an affordable price.
2. Timberland Women’s White Ledge Mid Ankle Boot
Timberland’s offerings run on the heftier side, making them a good choice for thru-hikers. The White Ledge features shock-absorbent cushioning, a waterproof full-grain leather construction, and an impressive lug pattern for traction. The soles provide excellent water protection, with a shaft measuring 4.5 inches from the arch.
3. Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
The Moab 2 sits a bit lower than most mid-height boots, but the high shaft offers decent water protection. The leather-mesh combination gives these an intriguing blend of style, breathability, and longevity without sacrificing comfort.
4. BEARPAW Women’s Corsica Hiking Boot
This budget option is equipped with flexible leather soles for easy day hikes and uppers constructed of a breathable leather-and-synthetic blend. Be forewarned that you should probably go up a size with this brand, especially if you have wide feet.
5. KEEN Women’s Targhee II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
The EVA midsole on the Targhee II provides all-day comfort, even when hiking on rugged terrain. With its waterproof leather construction and shaft that measures ankle-high from the arch, they’ll also keep your feet dry in all types of weather.
The Final Step
Now that we’ve reviewed several of the top options, which one would we feel most comfortable recommending?
For these purposes, we would award the top spot to the KEEN Women’s Targhee II. This is an all-around great hiking boot, with a top-notch lug pattern and superb ankle support. Although you can expect to spend a bit more than you normally would on a mid-high boot, you’ll also enjoy a decent return on your investment—especially if you often hike in cold, wet conditions.
To top it off, they’re available in a wide fit, which helps to take the guesswork out of the sizing game.
Best of luck, and happy trails!