Safety and protection should always be your number one concern before you even get to the trail because it can make the difference between a great time or a miserable memory. One of the best ways to stay safe and protect your body from the elements is to use proper hiking attire. When the temperatures rise, shorts are often the top choice because they can keep you cooler. But women often struggle to find a properly fitted pair of hiking shorts because of different body proportions and natural curves.

Top rated women’s hiking shorts should be designed to fit curvy waists and wider hips while still providing quality protection against the sun, scrapes, bruises, and other conditions of the trail. With the best women’s hiking shorts, you will be more comfortable for an all-day long hiking adventure. But if you are feeling lost on how to determine good quality and function, our list of the ten best walking shorts and guide are here to help so that you can hit the trails with confidence and style.

If you struggle with a gap between the waist of your shorts and your actual waist, shop for shorts that have a drawstring waist or a built-in belt. While these might not be the most aesthetically pleasing choices, they're the best way to ensure a good fit. 

Do the buttons, snaps or seams on your shorts chafe against you when you fasten your pack's waist belt? If the answer to that is yes, it's time to trade your shorts in. Look for a pair with chamois or other light padding around the waist.

If the weather is at all questionable, bring long underwear; you can always put it on underneath the shorts if the weather turns. That look might not be the height of style, but appearance takes a back seat to functionality out on the trail.

Hiking Expert

How To Choose A Pair Of Hiking Shorts For Women – Buying Guide



The material of ladies’ hiking shorts is an important consideration because you want it to be durable, lightweight, and protective. The most excellent women’s hiking shorts will use a synthetic material because it keeps the shorts lightweight, but strong. The most popular synthetic material is nylon because it can be made soft and comfortable, but withstand rugged use and wear.

However, nylon can be too stiff and some top-rated ladies’ hiking shorts will feature a blend of nylon and spandex. Spandex is a great material because it gives the shorts a better stretch, which means you have more freedom of movement. But you can choose natural materials too.

Cotton is the most popular natural fiber because it is breathable. Some women’s shorts for water hiking use cotton because of its breathability, which makes it quick drying. However, be aware the cotton is heavier than synthetic material, so it may be best for day hiking instead of backpacking.


Versatility is a key feature of what to wear hiking because it ensures that you are prepared for any location and or unexpected weather. While shorts aren’t suited for winter hiking, women’s quick-dry hiking shorts can still be versatile on the trail for a variety of conditions, both wet and dry.

Other features that make a pair of shorts versatile are the pockets. Women’s cargo hiking shorts will feature multiple pockets so that you can store small gear. Pockets are great for keeping small items within close reach for easy access.

But the fit of your shorts and style may affect the versatility too. High waisted hiking shorts for women may be used both on and off the trails. The same is relevant to women’s camping shorts. Classic fits and button closures make ladies hiking shorts more versatile for a variety of activities.

Water Resistance

Unexpected weather can hit at any time during a hike, so top-rated women’s hiking shorts will feature some level of water resistance. The best backpacking shorts for women will be fully water repellent and moisture-wicking. You can determine the level of water resistance by looking at the material and checking for any additional waterproofing treatments.

Hiking shorts for women reviews are also excellent to determine how water resistant a pair of shorts is before you make a purchase. The reviews may help you determine whether women’s shorts for water hiking are worth the investment and will keep you dry.

Sun Protection

Sun protection is another element on the trail that it is crucial you are protected from. While hiking pants for women will provide more coverage, they aren’t ideal in hot weather. In fact, women’s long pants may cause you to overheat and feel uncomfortable. Ideally, women’s outdoor shorts should have a UPF rating that protects your covered skin from sun damage.


Hiking shorts for women will have a specialized fit that is tailored for wider hips and curvy waists. This is why the best walking shorts for women are designed for women – to fit their bodies better than men’s or unisex designs.

While different lightweight hiking shorts for women each have their own fit, overall you can find the best fitting pair of shorts by following the brand specific size chart. Most brands will include a size chart or guide so that you can feel confident you are choosing the right pair of shorts with a comfortable fit.

Hiking shorts for women reviews are also excellent at determining whether the size is true to fit or whether you need to size up or down.


Pockets are always fun and they’re functional. The most excellent women’s hiking shorts will include a variety of multifunctional pockets so that you can store your gear. You should also look at secure pockets that use different closure systems to keep items from falling out. Zippers tend to be the most popular choice.



Q: What is the difference between men’s and women’s hiking shorts?


The biggest difference between men’s hiking shorts when compared to ladies’ hiking shorts is the fit. Men’s bodies are built differently than women’s, so the fit of their shorts are tailored differently. The biggest differences tend to be the length of the inseam, as well as the waist and zipper. Women need shorter inseams because they often have shorter legs. The waist and zipper may also have different features like buttons and elastic to make them more comfortable with a secure fit.

Q: Should I choose shorts or pants?


Whether you choose women’s long pants or a true pair of shorts will be determined by your hiking location and expected weather conditions. Pants are better in cooler conditions or extremely sunny conditions. While you typically want shorts to beat the heat, sometimes women’s long pants are better because they will cover more of your skin for full sun protection. If you are hiking in the desert, you may want to consider long pants over shorts.

 But shorts are ideal for sunny and warm days too. With the combination of sunscreen, you can reduce the risk of sunburns and sun damage. Ultimately, you will have to decide what you will be more comfortable while hiking. As we said, please don’t wear women’s outdoor shorts in the middle of winter.

Q: Are hiking shorts going to protect me?


Overall, yes. Lightweight hiking shorts for women today have been designed to have excellent protective features like water repellency, moisture management, and sun protection. Wherever your women’s quick-dry hiking shorts cover your skin, you’ll be protected. High waisted hiking shorts for women can provide more protection if you are wearing a shorter shirt because they cover more skin.

However, if you are worried about any scrapes or bumps with exposed ankles, a good compromise is to use tall hiking socks alongside your top rated ladies’ hiking shorts. Your ankles are most likely where you’ll bump into things and socks can provide the protection for the area that your shorts can’t reach.

Globo Surf Overview

Using the right hiking gear is important, whether you’re going for a few hours or a full day. With the best shorts for hiking, you can stay cool and protected on the trail. By using our comprehensive guide, we hope you will find a pair of walking shorts for women that you’ll rely on for all your outdoor adventures.

More Backpacking/Hiking Reviews:

More Shorts Reviews:

Do you own a pair of the women’s hiking shorts that made it on our list? Let us know how much you love using your hiking shorts for women in the comments section below.

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!