Women's Hiking Boot Comparison
There are four main elements you have to consider when purchasing hiking boots: weight, comfort, durability, and weatherproofing/waterproofing. You then need to decide on whether a hiking shoe or a boot will be better suited for your purposes. I chose to go with a lightweight boot that provided adequate ankle coverage.
After reading a ton of hiking boot review sites, the main contenders for me were:
Ahnu's Montara Boot (sz 7 - 13.5 oz / 383 g)
Keen's Aphlex Waterproof Boot (14.3 oz / 405.4 g)
Ahnu Sugarpine Boot (sz 7 - 11.7 oz / 332 g)
Keen Targhee II (14.2 oz / 402.6 g)
Mammut Comfort High GTX (sz 7 - 13.8 oz / 391 g)
Merrell Moab 2 (31.8 oz / 904 g - I think the other reported weights are for singles and this is for the pair, in which case that would put these at 15.9 oz / 452 g).
My favorites were the Montara and the Aphlex: they are both very lightweight, provide good ankle coverage and support, are comfortable right out of the box, and they're both waterproof. The Aphlex has more rubber coverage over the toe so I feel like the toe might last a bit longer than that of the Montara, but the Montara weighs slightly less, seems a bit more breathable, and is available in more colors.
At the end of the day it came down to cosmetics for me - I wanted a neutral color so that I could wear the boots for more than just hiking, so I went with the black Ahnu Montara boot. They held up very well on a 10 day trip to Iceland, including climbing craters, trekking through a snowstorm, and plowing through 4" water to reach a waterfall.
The Montara's did not give me blisters, but just as a preventative measure I also taped my ankles before each hike. I have heard that duct tape works, but I recommend picking up some sports tape from your local drugstore. It's not as sticky as duct tape so it won't leave glue on your feet after you peel it off. Another blister prevention to consider is picking up some dual layered 'runners socks', the extra layer prevents friction which in turn helps prevent blisters.
***I did find in quite a few of the pairs of hiking boots that I tried on, including the Montara, that they run a little small (except the Aphlex), therefore I recommend ordering a half size up from your normal size***
(I actually ordered the Montara in both the 8.5 and the 9 from Amazon (thank you free returns lol), and I found the lengths to be very similar, if not identical, but the ankle was very tight in the 8.5. The 9 fit way better in the ankle - so if you have normal or wide feet definitely order a size up. If you have narrow ankles order your normal size)