Best Hiking Shoes & Boots for The Inca Trail Trek and Machu Picchu

by | Sep 14, 2018 | Peru Travel Blogs | 2 comments


My Pass Experiences as a Tour Guide and Here are the Most and Recommended Best Hiking Shoes for the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu “and How To Choose The Righ Hiking Clothes“.

A nice pair of Appropriate Trekking shoes to do The Inca Trail is one of the most important accessories you’ll wear during your Classic Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu. Please read this detailed and important article and consider our top detailed day-by-day recommendations such as Altitude sickness in Cusco – Peru and Packing List for Machu Picchu Salkantay Trek

If you are considering Hiking the Classic Inca Trail tour Hike, Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5D/4N, or any other risky high-point hiking treks around the Andes of Peru, then you should know, that your most essential allies are your hiking shoes. Whether you are stepping on the hardscrabble trails above the Andes clouds or some of the wider, better-groomed trails in Peru,  having the right gear will make your hike infinitely more enjoyable.

best Inca Trail Shoes and Boots
Inca Trail Shoes

Why your Inca Trail Hiking Shoes for Machu Picchu is very important?

Your shoes are your home away from home; they protect your feet from the elements and provide comfort and support for miles on end. With that in mind, it’s important to choose a pair of shoes (or boots) that fit snugly, feel comfortable, and support your ankles and arches.

RELATED: Machu Picchu Packing List

If you are going to hike the Inca Trail, you need to make sure you have proper footwear. The last thing you want is for your shoes to fall apart on the trail and leave you stranded. There are a few things to look for when choosing the best hiking shoes for the Inca Trail.

First, you need to make sure the shoes are comfortable. You will be spending a lot of time on your feet, so you need to make sure the shoes are comfortable. There is nothing worse than having sore feet at the end of a long day of hiking.

Secondly, you need to make sure the shoes have good traction. The Inca Trail can be slippery, so you need to make sure your shoes have good traction. You don’t want to slip and fall on the trail.

Lastly, you need to make sure the shoes are durable. The Inca Trail is a tough hike, and you need to make sure your shoes can handle the tough terrain. You don’t want your shoes to fall apart on the trail and leave you stranded.

high-quality and durable hiking shoes are an absolute must Learn More in Our Recommended Travel Blob Complete Peru Packing List.

Chose the best Hiking shoes for the Inca Trail Tours To Machu Picchu – Peru

Salkantya Trek and Inca Trail 7D

Salkantay Trek & Inca Trail 7D


Short Inca Trail And Lares Valley Trek 4D

La Sportiva Spire GTX – Women’s

Hiking Shoes For Women's and for The Inca Trail
The La Sportiva Stream GTX is a mid-cut hiking boot featuring 360-degree breathability from the Gore-Tex® Surround™ Technology and an innovative midsole.

If you don’t choose carefully, you will tire soon and be susceptible to cramps and blisters, or set yourself up for twisted ankles and an array of more serious injuries while hiking the Inca trails or any other hiking trips in Peru.

What is The “Inca Trail Hike” In Peru?

The Inca Trail is the most famous hike in all of South America. It is even considered by many as one of the top 5 hikes in the world. Along the classic Inca trail hike of 4 days and 3 nights.

You’ll cross gravels and muddy terrains during the rainy season, zones of the half mountain, and view many archeological Inca ruins.

There are a lot of opportunities for carrying out trekking activities for hours in a lot of fun ways until you arrive at Machupicchu Inca Ruins. Just Make Sure to Prepare your Packing List for your Inca Trail what you Should Bring

Choose carefully while you are in the store or shopping online no rush please, first your security and comfort hiking in Peru or other trails in the forest is the priority.

To enjoy these activities, without thinking about your feet, you can choose between several options – boots, half-boots, slippers, or a good pair of Inca trail footwear.  Whether you opt for a waterproof version or not, with a breathable membrane or lesser protection, the variety of materials allows you to choose the most suitable Hiking shoes for yourself.

There are many fun activities in which you can indulge yourself, but the variety of those complicates our decision. The choice – What kind of women’s hiking shoes would be the right one for you? very recommended.

We’ll try to help you clarify that later, but in general, the choice of your Inca trail hiking shoes will depend on a combination of external factors like:

  • The kind of activity you’re looking for
  • Place in which it realizes your Hike
  • Orography
  • Terrain
  • Meteorology
  • the weight of the shoes that we must load

And a few Personal Factors you should consider:

  • Physical form
  • Hiking experience
  • Morphology
  • Elevation
Breathable Membrane for Hiking boots

Hiking Shoe and Boots Requirements for the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu

1 . Protection:

Hiking Boots and shoes are meant to protect our feet. That is why most hikers do their research by reading numerous travel articles related to trekking shoes. When you walk into mother nature or climb onto the mighty mountains, it is easy to receive or to give blows to stones and roots. Therefore, our trekking shoes or boots must wear a reinforced rubber front to protect our toes, a heel to protect the back of our feet, and lateral and instep protection. Without these protections, we risk serious injuries, along with losing confidence in complex terrains, leading to unfortunate results and losing security.

These protections also serve to hold the foot, something very necessary, for example, to cross a half-slope. With a normal athletic shoe, the foot will force the shoe towards the slope, preventing our movements. With a trekking shoe, you will be able to stand firmly, hike a rugged trail to Machu Picchu, and travel safely through all types of terrain in the Andes. For this reason, We created this article Inca Trail Shoes to hike Machu Picchu.

HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat Mid 2 GTX Hiking Boots – Men’s

These speed hikers get an upgrade with GORE-TEX® protection and more ankle support. The HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat Mid 2 GTX boots with Vibram® Megagrip outsoles are a force to be reckoned with any day.

Important to Note

The main protection that we need from men’s and women’s hiking shoes along the Inca trail is their sturdiness, comfort, and ankle protection. So in many cases, the choice of medium or high boots will be adequate.

Note: We’ll talk more later about slippers, medium boots, and high boots

And let’s not forget something that tends to be ignored Hiking in Peru

There is a difference between hiking – The Inca Trail or Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu – with weight or without it. When we are carrying a backpack for days, it is essentially a nice pair of shoes or boots that stabilize us on the trek. It makes the difference between having itches, pains, and irritations, versus not having them at all. That is an addition to the security that comes with stability because nothing is more dangerous than losing our balance and focusing on the mountain.

One most important parts to consider while selecting hiking shoes and boots

All trekking shoes must have a sole that allows you to practice the sport for which it is designed. On the mountain, while talking about the Vibram Soles, we are not only pointing toward something that helps us in practice but also, toward our safety and physical integrity.

Arc’teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX Hiking Boots – Men’s

Taking cues from long-distance trail-running footwear, the Arc’teryx men’s Aerios FL Mid GTX® hiking boots combine stability and protection with nimble construction so you can tackle any route.

The Hiking Boot’s Asole is the thing that binds you to the terrain and allows you to move through the complex landscapes. The compound with which they are made and their design – are fundamentally crucial and require a lot of research beforehand.

In addition, they have to endure dry, wet, compact, loose terrain, snow, mud, etc. To achieve this, the designs must show a multidirectional degree of freedom that allows you to climb effectively, not skate. Enable you to make half slopes with confidence, or slow down in descent plain.

The sole also acts as a protective barrier. A very soft shoe, for example, will make you regret uneven areas, with stones and edges. Most leading brands rely on Vibram and its different soles to fit their model, but others use their soles, such as Columbia hiking shoes, Keen, and Stealth rubber. Salomon with their Contagrip soles, or Haglöfs brand with their Asics rubber, which offers a total guarantee.

It is easier to fall for the low-range products in the market of trekking footwear, with soles of dubious origin. At that time, you should remember, that in the mountains, quality and performance are directly related to safety.

KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid-Hiking Boots – Women’s

The fit, durability, and performance of Targhee boots have earned them a loyal following around the globe. KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid-women’s hiking boots are lean and tough and ready to hike.

2. Breathability impermeability

Impermeability is something very important to make it through the Inca Trail. Every time we talk about mountain material, the breathability-impermeability binomial seems fundamental.

On the one hand, we need to go comfortable, and dry, and avoid overheating. For that, we need our footwear to transpire. On the other hand, we need to be protected against the elements, in the open air. Not only in the rain or snow but, in the mountains, there is also mud, puddles, and rivers to cross, and the meadows in the morning are moist with dew.

The membrane footwear solves this problem, as it allows the foot to transpire while maintaining its waterproof ability. But keep in mind, despite being breathable, it is not so much like Hiking Shoes or hiking boots without the membrane.

Inca Trail Gore-tex Hiking Shoes
GORETEX product technologies have been the gold standard for waterproofing, but our new product range offers other benefits for your adventures.

The hard and resistant trekking boots and shoes perspire little due to the accumulation of materials on them. So, if you travel through warm and mild humid areas, you can choose models with less resistance and no membrane.

For other cases… we insist on safety and protection, always ahead of other factors.

Hike in the Andes with the best Travel Tour Operator but before we highly recommend you the Best Hiking Shoes for the Inca Trail Trek and Machu Picchu

Humid areas on a path of the Pyrenees; Throughout the day, the membrane becomes indispensable

3. Security

This is the consequence of all of the above. Hiking shoes & Hiking boots that grip in all situations, protecting us from blows, rubbings, ores, and inclement weather. Shoes, allow us to load a heavy backpack and make our trek safe in complex terrains – such as on mountains and in wild landscapes.

4. Comfort Care

Comfort is important. It allows us to enjoy the activities on our trek (and we all prefer to be comfortable).

But what happens when our hiking footwear hurts us, causing chafing and blisters? It will make our trek tremendously insecure by increasing the chances of an accident.

Complex areas that require Hiking boots or hiking shoes that give us the proper safety – Our Group hiking THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHUPICCHU 4D/3N 

But we must not confuse our comfort that emanates from the choice of a suitable product with our comfort in general. For example, we all feel more comfortable with slippers than with boots. Or with a softer shoe than one somewhat stiffer. But every unique situation requires a unique type of footwear.

Comfort is important once you have chosen the type of footwear. If you opt for boots, you must look for a model that, with all the required benefits, feels more comfortable. But you must not risk wearing sandals or slippers without protection just because you find it more “comfortable”.

Why is Important to Buy Professional Hiking Shoes or Boot

In addition, today,  Hiking shoes or boots are not like what they used to be before. Not like the punishment boots that you just need to wear and suffer. Nowadays, hiking boots and other similar footwear, are of equal or even superior comfort to any slipper. They don’t hurt and fit like a glove.

This is crucial to emphasize in a time when due to the influence of speed and some professionals, a poorly understood security comfort is a priority. We have to understand that they have a physical form, a technique, and an experience that most of us lack, and which, moreover, do not usually carry just weight in their activities.

Let’s make an important rule of thumb today. “Security has to be the most important factor that motivates our choice, Always“.

High, medium boot, shoe-slipper? Which Hiking shoes do you prefer for the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu?

Trekking shoes (here we could include the most resistant trail running shoes for ultras, like the Ultra Raptor of the Sportiva) are very comfortable. But unlike running or other types of sports shoes, they usually are higher from below the malleolus, which rests on them, allowing an ankle attachment. It’s less than that of a boot but provides solid protection at the end of the day.

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor Trail-Running Shoes – Women’s

Stability and comfort combine in the women’s La Sportiva Ultra Raptor trail-running shoes.

Grip Soles also incorporate front, side, and heel protection, and are suitable for the mountains. (although in the case of the trail slippers, and the lighter, they can be too soft, and not completely protect us from the irregularities of the terrain). And having no cane, they sweat better.

Does this mean that we can use them as trekking and hiking shoes? yes or no? Are they designed for any situation? The quick answer is NO.

Salomon X Ultra 3 Low GTX Hiking Shoes – Men’s

Tackle the trail comfortably and confidently take on tough descents, even in wet conditions, in the men’s Salomon X Ultra 3 Low GTX hiking shoes.

Slippers are more agile and lighter. This has its advantages, but also its inconveniences.

The lower shank of the slippers protects our ankles, and these are good for easy terrains or short excursions. But on a very long day, when your energy is drained, the support that hiking Shoes or boots give us is irreplaceable. Who has not felt that ankle-twisting at each difficult step due to a lack of energy? And a much worse condition with a hefty backpack on your shoulders.

This all depends on the physical form and the experience of each person. That, in no case, is the same as a professional or someone with much better shape and experience, than an occasional practitioner in better or worse shape. Before you imitate the way they dress, fit, and do things their way, you have to evaluate whether you are truly like them and whether you can do it. Or not.

If you use trail slippers for hiking or trekking, keep in mind, that the soles are softer. This is good for walking on the roads, and regular terrains, or for those who are in shape and experienced. For those who like to “feel” the terrain. But for most of the occasional practitioners, who go “off-road”, a much better option will be with the protection and safety of a stiffer sole.

In short, when we are carrying a heavy backpack while crossing the landscape for several days, in molts of winter, etc., slippers do not help us with stabilization and they cushion us less.

Results for “KEEN Men’s Targhee Iii Mid Height Waterproof Hiking Boot”

Hiking shoes for the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu

Hiking Boots:

Hiking boots are heavier and less agile but provide good protection and stability when we carry a hefty backpack. And let’s not forget that there are many different heights of cane. Half-cane boots are like SUVs, the best of both worlds.

These are the best tips for the Inca Trail shoes.

* The most protected, high-cane boots are multifunctional, and you can use them for non-technical mountaineering purposes without any problems.

* Boot’s cane not only protects your ankle but also from the elements (like mud, rain, snow, humidity, etc.). It prevents them to enter our feet.

SALOMON Women’s Trail Track and Field Shoe

When to wear the slippers and when to wear Hiking shoes for the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu trip?

As we have said, in addition to the external factors. The physical, technical, and experience of each is a very important element. But in general:

* For short outings and clear weather conditions, you can wear shoes or slippers.

* For longer outings and chillier weather conditions, or in case of humidity and irregular mountain terrains where you’ll be crossings the land for several days while carrying the hefty backpack on your shoulders, you should wear rain protection shoes.

Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 Gtx, is a perfect example of medium-sized boots, mid-way between both worlds.

There is no use for a perfectly designed membrane, boot, or slipper if we do not wear the right Socks. They are going to be in direct contact with our skin, and therefore their design should be seamless (flat seams). They must adjust perfectly and be made with materials that guarantee the evacuation of sweat and thermal regulation of cold and heat. Normal socks should never be worn, with seams, etc. You’ll only get friction, blisters, and discomfort.

Consider what Type of Terrain You’ll Hike when you Visit Peru

When choosing a hiking shoe for the Inca Trail, it is important to consider the type of terrain you will be hiking on, the length of your hike, and the weather conditions you will be hiking in. For example, if you are planning on hiking in extremely rocky terrain, you will need a shoe with more support and protection than if you were hiking on a well-maintained trail.

Additionally, if you are planning on hiking in hot weather which is from May to September, you will want a shoe that has good ventilation to prevent your feet from getting too sweaty.

Finally, be sure to try on a variety of different hiking shoes before making your purchase. Every person’s feet are different, so what may be comfortable for one person may not be comfortable for another. It is important to find a shoe that fits well and provides the support and protection you need for your particular hike.

Best Affordable Hiking Shoes For Peru

01 Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes

$93.93 Compared to $135.00 *

Best Use: Hiking

Footwear: Height Ankle

Footwear: Closure Lace-up

Waterproof: Yes

Type of Waterproofing: Waterproof breathable membrane

Upper Suede leather/mesh

Lining: Mesh

Midsole: EVA

Support: Nylon arch shank

Outsole: Vibram rubber

Weight (Pair)2 lbs. 1 oz.

Gender: Men’s

Our Advice: Very comfortable, Breathable, and Amazon Choise great Good Prices in REI

What we like: Classic shoes—still one of the most comfortable shoes on the market.

What we don’t: Not as protective or rugged as some of the newer designs. Merrell has long been one of our favorite brands in the outdoor hiking Trails, and they continue to impress us year after year.

See Men’s Merrell Moab 2 – See Women’s Merrell Moab 2

02 Lowa Renegade GTX Lo Hiking Shoes – Men’s

$229.95 Compared to $240.00*

Best Use: Hiking

Footwear: Height Ankle

Footwear: ClosureLace-up

Waterproof: Yes

Type of Waterproofing: GORE-TEX waterproof breathable membrane

Upper: Leather/fabric

Lining: Synthetic

Midsole: Polyurethane

Support: Full-length stabilizer with medium stiffness

Outsole: Vibram Evo-Trac rubber

Weight: (Pair)1 lb. 7 oz.

Gender: Men’s

Our Advice: Very comfortable and Amazon Close great Good Price

What we like: A classic leather boot with great traction and comfort.

New Version

GORE-TEX® fabric waterproofs and breathes in the Lowa Men’s Renegade III GTX Lo shoe, a versatile hike shoe perfect for any terrain or weather conditions. full-length stabilizer provides support on even the most uneven surfaces. The LOWA Vialta outsole delivers power with every step, from start to finish.

Read in-depth review See Men’s Lowa Renegade – See Women’s Lowa Renegade

03 La Sportiva Wildcat 2.0 GTX Trail Running Shoes

Although La Sportiva designed this shoe for trail running, it works better for hikes because it’s lighter.


Best UseTrail Running

Trail-Running Shoe TypeRugged-Trail

Running Shoe CushioningModerate Cushion

Heel-to-Toe Drop (mm)12

Heel Stack Height (mm)27

Forefoot Stack Height (mm)15

Footwear HeightAnkle

Footwear ClosureLace-up


UpperNylon air mesh/polyurethane reinforcements

LiningGore-Tex XCR waterproof breathable membrane/nylon


SupportNylon shank


Rock PlateNo


Weight (Pair)1 lb. 12.3 oz.

Our Advice: Great stability on rocky and rooty terrain; waterproof yet breathable upper

What we like: The most comfortable boot in our review and great traction on all surfaces.

What we don’t: A bit on the pricey side and not as supportive as some of the competition.

04 ASICS Women’s Gel-Kayano Lite 2 Running Shoes

$119.95 Compared to $160.00*

Best Use: Road Running

Footwear: Height Low-top

Footwear: Closure Lace-up

Waterproofing: No

Upper Mesh/synthetic leather

Lining: Textile

Midsole: EVA foam

Support: None

Outsole: Rubber

Weight (Pair): 10.6 oz. (men), 8.8 oz. (women)

Gender: Men’s, Women’s

Our Advice: A lightweight and comfortable shoe that’s great for long runs

What we like: A versatile and affordable shoe that’s comfortable for long distances.

What we don’t: Not as much cushioning as some of the competition.

See Men’s ASICS Gel Kayano – See Women’s ASICS Gel Kayano

05 Salomon Out Pulse Gore-Tex Low Hiking Shoes – women’s


Best UseHiking

Footwear HeightAnkle

Footwear ClosureLace-up


Type of WaterproofingGORE-TEX waterproof/breathable laminate



MidsoleFuze Surge foam

SupportTPU Plate

OutsoleContagrip rubber

Weight (Pair)1 lb. 5.2 oz.


SustainabilityContains recycled materials

Our Advice: A comfortable and waterproof shoe that’s great for day hikes

What we like: The Out Pulse Gore-Tex Low is a comfortable and waterproof shoe that’s great for day hikes.

What we don’t: The shoe is on the expensive side and doesn’t provide as much support as some of the competition.

See Women’s Salomon Out Pulse Gore-Tex Low

06 Oboz sawtooth x low waterproof hiking shoes – women’s & men’s


Best Use: Hiking

Footwear: Height Low-top

Footwear: Closure Lace-up

Waterproofing: Yes

Upper Mesh/leather

Lining: Waterproof membrane

Midsole: EVA foam

Support: None

Outsole: Rubber

Weight (Pair): 1 lb. 3.2 oz. (men), 1 lb. 1.6 oz. (women)

Gender: Men’s, Women’s

Sustainability: Contains recycled materials

Our Advice: A comfortable and waterproof shoe that’s great for day hikes

What we like: The Oboz Sawtooth X Low is a comfortable and waterproof shoe that’s great for day hikes.

What we don’t: The shoe is on the expensive side and doesn’t provide as much support as some of the competition.

See Men’s Oboz Sawtooth X Low – See Women’s Oboz Sawtooth X Low

Do you need hiking boots for the Inca trail?

Absolutely! This is an essential item for your hiking adventure. Do not mess with your shoes as they are your best ally in the rocky terrain of the Andes Mountains. Hiking boots are tough, waterproof, provide some comfort, and most important of all they are a reliable tool for your hiking trip.


  1. Carolina Calvo

    This is so helpful. Muchas gracias! 🙂

    • Cesar Conde

      Thanks Very Much and have a great trip to Peru.


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Cesar Conde

I’m Cesar Conde, owner of Tour Leaders Peru & Travel Advisor and my other side job is Nomadic Digital. I share my own amazing Tour Experiences, travel stories, guides, and itineraries for travelers like you and me!


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