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Hiking Inca Trail

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Level Contributor
79 posts
2 reviews
Hiking Inca Trail

I know this may seem like a dumb question but....Do I need heavy hiking boots to hike the Inca Trail or would trail running shoes and. or Keen whisper closed toed shoes work? I hike the volcanoes in Costa Rica and read before I went that hiking boots wasnt necessary and mine are heavy so just wondering . Will be hiking first of April.

Thanks for the help.

Yorktown, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Machu Picchu
Level Contributor
6,084 posts
15 reviews
1. Re: Hiking Inca Trail

We used lightweight hiking boots & feel that the ankle support prevented bad sprains a couple of times. There are some sections with loose rocks that can twist underfoot. However, we saw a fair number of trekkers wearing trail runners or even just regular running shoes.

We wore our boots on the plane to save suitcase space & weight. Also wore them throughout our 2 weeks in Peru. Ours are similar to: merrell.com/US/…

BTW, I also recommend hiking poles -- but not many trekkers we saw used them.

Level Contributor
79 posts
2 reviews
2. Re: Hiking Inca Trail

Thank you.

Cusco, Peru
Level Contributor
578 posts
14 reviews
3. Re: Hiking Inca Trail

On the Inka Trail it is not really necessary to have heavy hiking boots. There are many steps to climb and this can be tiring on the legs as you trek. Anything light weight and grippy is fine. In April however, there is still a chance of rain, so something water proof would also be a wise idea.

Little Canfield...
Level Contributor
780 posts
345 reviews
4. Re: Hiking Inca Trail

As redhead says go with lightweight boots and ankle support as the path can be uneven.

I also found walking poles useful. If you take poles then make sure they have rubber stoppers on the tips.

Chelmsford, United...
Level Contributor
163 posts
5. Re: Hiking Inca Trail

If you can bring hiking boots then it's better as they protect your ankles from sprains or twists - however they are so heavy that most people don't. Like others have said, it's not uncommon for people to do the trail with running shoes.

Good grip is the most important thing in my opinion.

Chorley, United...
Level Contributor
20 posts
38 reviews
6. Re: Hiking Inca Trail

We are due to do the trek in May and will be using our proper walking boots and poles. With all those steps I'm not taking any chances f a twisted ankle.

Chicago, Illinois
8 posts
7. Re: Hiking Inca Trail

Hi TNbiker,

I'll also be hiking the Inca Trail April 1st. What company are you with?

I purchased Salomon X/A pro ultra mid 2 gore-tex boots. Lightweight but good ankle support. :)

La Jolla, California
Destination Expert
for La Jolla
Level Contributor
2,607 posts
97 reviews
8. Re: Hiking Inca Trail

tnbiker, thanks for asking a "dumb" question. I had been wondering the same. From what I read here, anything lightweight and grippy will work. I am planning on wearing my trusty Teva Dozers for my Inca Trail hike and travels in mid-July. They are like your Keen Whispers. Not much ankle support I suppose, but I have used these on many a rocky mountain trail. Lightweight, airy, close-toed, and fit like a glove.


Virginia Beach...
Level Contributor
123 posts
11 reviews
9. Re: Hiking Inca Trail

I've hiked the IT 4 day and 1 day treks several times. The first time I wore full sized hiking boots but since then have lightened up with waterproof trail runners. I added quick laces so I can wear them through airports and on the flights. I take one pair shoes when I travel, so they have to be multi-functional.

There are so many steps, stairs & rubbly areas that trekking poles are absolutely essential. Your tour operator should have them if you don't want to carry them with you.

It's awesome hike and April is great time to go. Everything will be lush and green.

Level Contributor
250 posts
15 reviews
10. Re: Hiking Inca Trail

The alternative shoes you mention will be fine, in fact better than heavy ones