With such a wide selection of ultralight and lightweight hiking boots and shoes on the market today it can be overwhelming to choose a pair, so we’re here to help.
Below you’ll find our curated list of the best ultralight and lightweight hiking shoes and mid-cut boots on the market today with a description of their construction materials, design, and why we love each of them.
What are the Best Women’s Ultralight and Lightweight Hiking Shoes, and Boots?
- Merrell Women’s Siren Edge Hiker
- Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe
- Merrell Women’s Moab FST 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe
- KEEN Women’s Voyageur Hiking Shoe
- Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
If you haven’t found your way over to our informative article about the different aspects of hiking shoe anatomy, and how to choose a pair of hiking boots or shoes, then go ahead and click this link below. There’s a lot of great information that will help you on your journey, and some hiking shoe vocabulary that you’ll learn which will be used in the ultralight hiking shoe descriptions ahead.
We’ve also written an article that details the possible injuries that you can sustain to your feet if you decide to not take foot care seriously and that can be found below. There’s a lot of great information in there as well about how to prevent injuries to your feet and how to treat them.
We hope that you’ll check out those awesome articles, but without further ado, here are our selections of the best ultralight and lightweight hiking shoes and boots on the market today.
Best Women’s Ultralight and Lightweight Hiking Shoes, and Boots
The immensely popular Siren Edge Hiker by Merell is a top of the line ultralight hiking shoe with every feature that you could need with maximum comfort.
Very small lugs line this shoe’s Vibram outsole which makes this shoe best suited for ultralight backpacking with low base weights on well-maintained trails.
The Siren Edge is constructed with a synthetic mesh upper, which is the outside top part of the shoe and this allows for super fast drying. The shoes also sport a mesh interior lining for maximum moisture wicking and a bellows tongue to keep water and debris out of the toe box, and heel.
The structure of the shoe comes from the shank which is a strip of material that gives the shoe its rigidity. In this shoe, it’s made of a molded nylon shaped into an arch to provide support to your foot’s arches.
For your heels, the shoe has a built-in air cushion to provide heel support and has a thick and comfortable heel cap pad to protect your Achilles’ heel from grinding on the shoe during full range of motion.
What we love about these shoes is that they’re super lightweight, on average the shoe weight around 12 ounces (~0.35kg), the shoe comes in a bunch of beautiful colors, and they’re very comfortable with every feature that you could ever need in an ultralight hiking shoe.
The Siren’s Edge is our top pick for women’s ultralight hiking shoes. We’re personally fond of the “Astral Aura” color in the image above, but it’s really difficult to get them in that color, so if they’re in stock you’ll have to jump on the opportunity.
Crafted from suede leather with interwoven mesh the Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe has a Vibram rubber outsole with larger lugs than the Siren Edge which provides better traction with heavier weighted backpacks.
With leather and larger lugs, these shoes are more sturdy and provide better traction off-trail, but this is at the cost of weight. The Moab 2 Vent weighs 27 ounces (~0.77kg) which is over double the weight of the Siren Edge.
However, this weight disadvantage is also an advantage in a couple of ways because these shoes are constructed with more dense materials which makes them more durable.
Also, with leather and thicker lugs, the shoes weigh more, and this added weight helps your foot press into the ground more deeply and improves stability and traction in each stride.
The choice is yours, but in general heavier shoes should only be used with heavier backpacks, and in fact, if you’re a true ultralight enthusiast, you shouldn’t use these shoes, because they’re just too heavy.
However, if you want to carry the upper limit of your carry weight, around 15-20 percent of your body weight, then these shoes are a great choice.
Also, the synthetic mesh interwoven and spaced out into the upper of the shoe provides much-needed ventilation which allows your feet to breathe and improves the drying rate of your shoes while you’re walking, or when you’re airing out your shoes in the vestibule while you’re sleeping.
As with the Siren Edge, the Moab 2 Vent has a Nylon Arch Shank to provide extra support and stability and is of very fine construction which will last you a long time.
If you’re fine with the extra weight and you’re looking for a sturdy hiking shoe with larger lugs to provide higher traction on more rugged terrain, then the Moab 2 Vent is a great choice to go with.
Constructed with nubuck leather and synthetic materials the Moab FST 2 by Marrell weighs in at 22 ounces (~0.62kg) and is durable and waterproof.
The mesh material in the upper and tongue of the shoe allows for maximum aeration during wet conditions which provides a more comfortable hiking experience in harsher environments.
The shoe also has large lugs in sections of the outsole which provide very high traction off the trail on rugged terrain. In addition, the Vibram outsole aids in your walking experience a great deal by helping you cling to rocks while scaling rugged and dangerous sections of terrain.
Also, should you be unfortunate enough to smash the front of your foot on a rock, these shoes have a sizeable toe cap to protect the tips of your toes from accidental damage out on the trail.
Overall, the Moab FST 2 has all the features you’d expect in a top of the line hiking shoe with everything you would ever need and a really nice outsole with unique jagged lugs for added traction.
While these shoes do weigh more than the Siren Edge Hiker, they also weigh less than the Moab 2 Vent, which makes these shoes a great middle ground in weight between the two. In conclusion, these Moab FST 2 shoes are excellent and we highly recommend them.
With a significantly larger arch and more pronounced lugs, these shoes would seem like they’re heavy and best for traditional backpacking, but they only weigh about 13.3 ounces (0.38kg).
Since these shoes are so light they’re great for ultralight backpacking, but with their larger lugs, they’re also awesome for traveling off-trail on rugged terrain.
The upper of the KEEN Voyageur hiking shoes is constructed from water-resistant leather and mesh which makes them durable, and breathable, but still exceptionally lightweight despite their more heavyweight materials.
The reason that these shoes are able to be made of leather, but still be so lightweight, is by having an EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) midsole which is a highly lightweight synthetic material that provides rigidity and ability to the shoe.
In addition, one notable feature of the shoe’s outsole is a section of the heel which extends downward and is essentially an extra large lug. This lug’s designed for walking down hills and prevents you from slipping and sliding down the slope while carrying your pack.
In conclusion, these shoes are very high quality and exceptionally lightweight. Their leather and mesh construction increases their durability while still allowing them to vent moisture with no trouble at all.
What we love about these shoes is their extreme light weight while retaining all the functionality of heavier boots including larger lugs. These shoes are unique in this way and one of a kind.
So, if you’re looking for a very lightweight pair of hiking shoes that can go off-trail on rugged terrain and can help you accomplish almost any task in three season backpacking, then these are the shoes for you.
Last on the list for the best ultralight and lightweight hiking shoes for women are the highly popular mid-cut and waterproof shoes, the Moab 2 from Merrell.
This selection may seem strange since we listed the Moab 2 earlier, but those were the low-cut vented hiking trail runner type shoes, while these are more mid-cut boots which also contain a waterproof membrane layer.
These boots cannot be called ultralight, but for hiking boots, they aren’t too bad at 32 oz (0.9kg) and can also be used for light snow hiking with ice cleat attachments such as these.
The well-spaced out mesh sections on the sides and top of the boot allow the semi-permeable membrane to vent the wicked moisture from the interior of the shoe toward the outside of the boot drying out your feet as you walk.
If you’re descending a hill these boots also have the same large heel lug to keep you from sliding down hills as you walk down steep sections of more treacherous trail.
We strongly suggest that if you’re going to choose this shoe that you read our article on how to properly wear a mid-cut or high-cut hiking boots linked above to avoid the growing pains of learning how to wear and use a shoe of this size.
Overall though, the mid-cut Moab 2 by Merrell is a versatile shoe that can handle four-season backpacking and is waterproof and durable enough to withstand very harsh treatment on the trails. While we do suggest a lighter shoe for most people, if you’re planning to do some winter hiking, these are great shoes for you to choose.
For the times when you’re looking to ultralight hike on a well-maintained trail, we suggest choosing the more lightweight shoes with the smaller lugs, such as the KEEN Voyageur, or the Merrell Siren Edge Hiker because they’ll have higher traction with lightweight backpacks, and they’ll also decrease the burden on your entire body since your feet aren’t carrying as much unnecessary weight.
In general, heavier shoes are better for heavier backpacks and often times heavy shoes come with larger lugs to increase their traction and digging power into the trail. In cases such as these, you’d be better off using the Moab 2, the Moab FST 2, or the mid-cut waterproof Moab 2 for maximum trail stability.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed our list and reviews on some of the most popular and durable ultralight hiking shoes on the market. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions we would love to hear them in the comments below.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you! Happy Trails!
Other High-Quality Women’s Ultralight Hiking Boots and Shoes