Hiking Boots Or Shoes For Inca Trail? Which One Should You Choose?

Hiking Boots Or Shoes For Inca Trail? If you are wondering about this question, don’t skip this post. I will give you a quick and detailed answer.

Top Rated Best Budget Hiking Boots and Hiking Shoes for the money

Hiking Boots Vs. Shoes For Inca Trail: Comparison Table

Both the Hiking Boots Vs. Shoes offer some great experiences for hikers. With that in mind, you may wonder, which is better. Let’s find out more below


Hiking Boots


Designed for
  • Hiking on most of the Inca Trail route with rough and rugged surfaces
  • Wearing on resting time when you stop to have a meal and air your feet.
  • Excellent protection for your feet and ankle
  • Can resist scratches and insects on the road
  • Firm texture and high durability
  • Greater ankle and leg support, reducing fatigue.
  • Can resist water and keep your feet warm throughout the trip
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Easy to hygiene, carry, and store
  • Great breathability, making it suitable for the hot summer months
  • More fashionable look
  • Heavyweight
  • Low breathability
  • The big size makes it inconvenient to carry and store
  • Poor protection for your feet and ankle
  • Prone to scratches, moisture, and dirt

What Are The Differences Between Hiking Boots Vs. Shoes For Inca Trail?

The debates between hiking boots and shoes for the Inca Trail have never heated down. In the following sections, I will discuss each product’s pros and cons to help you make the wisest selection for your preferences.

Protection and Support

Hiking boots give better protection and support for your legs. They are made of firmer and more durable materials like leather and rubber to protect your feet against scratches and small insects on the road.

In addition, most hiking boots are waterproof, giving you more confidence and comfort when hiking through wet terrains. They also come with medium to high tops that fully cover your ankles.

As a result, you can trek with more confidence and peace of mind even on the roughest roads. This excellent level of protection is necessary with such a harsh route as the Inca Trail.

In addition, the temperatures in the high mountainous areas like the Inca Trail are very low. Therefore you need warm hiking boots to maintain a suitable temperature and protect your feet from freezing weather.

For these reasons, the shoes can never compete with hiking boots regarding protection and support for the Inca Trail.

Convenience and Comfort

However, it’s a different story when considering the convenience and comfort these two categories bring. Hiking boots come with some significant disadvantages that you should not overlook.

Firstly, they are much heavier than shoes. As a result, you will feel more strained and tired, especially when walking on the Inca Trail for many hours. Meanwhile, shoes are very lightweight and comfortable to wear.

In addition, the large sizes of hiking boots make them very inconvenient to store in the backpack. As a result, you have to wear them for the entire trip. On the other hand, you can put the small shoes fitly in the bag.

The low breathability of hiking boots is a disadvantage in the hot summer months when most people choose to join the Inca Trail. It will make your feet very hot and sweaty without the inflow of air.

Therefore, wearing thin sneakers or shoes would be much more comfortable. They also make you look more fashionable with a trendy and familiar design.

If you want more in-depth comparisons between these two types, follow this video to learn more.

Hiking Boots Or Shoes For Inca Trail: Which One Is Best For You?

Hiking boots are indispensable if you want to challenge the rough and rugged Inca Trail route comfortably. You have to go through high stairs and off-road surfaces, which pose numerous threats to your ankles and feet.

However, do not use brand-new hiking boots that your feet are unfamiliar with.

It will strain your feet, causing blisters and muscle pain on the ankles and toes. In addition, the scratches and dirt on your shoes are inevitable.

Therefore, I recommend wearing a good old pair of hiking boots that you have used for a long time. The boots should meet these requirements to ensure a safe and satisfying trekking experience:

  • The boots must possess a medium to high top that fully covers your ankles. It should protect your ankles from scratches on the road.
  • They are made of firm and durable materials like leather, with rubber soles and rugs.
  • They should not be too heavy because your feet will get fatigued quickly on the road.
  • The hiking boots should have water-proof inner membranes if you are trekking in wet and rainy seasons.

The hiking boots are indispensable, but I also recommend you bring an additional pair of hiking shoes or sneakers. After a tiring day of trekking, you will want to take off the hot and dirty boots.

The lightweight and more breathable shoes are an excellent substitution for hiking boots in these breaking times. Therefore, my final advice is that you should bring both hiking boots and shoes for the Inca Trail.


I hope that the information provided can help you decide on the most optimal footwear and have a fantastic experience on the Inca Trail.

The additional details below will help you prepare better for your coming trip.

Are Hiking Shoes Necessary For Machu Picchu?

Hiking shoes are indispensable if you plan a Machu Picchu trekking trip. The terrains and roads in this location are very rough and unbalanced, which can easily damage your feet.

Therefore you need to bring really tough shoes with excellent ankle support to ensure a safe and comfortable trekking experience.

Can I Hike The Inca Trail In Sneakers?

Though you can wear sneakers for the Inca trail, I would not recommend them. The sneakers will wear down very fast and don’t provide sufficient support and protection for your feet.

Therefore, you should invest in a high-quality hiking boot for the Inca Trail.

Are Sneakers Ok For Machu Picchu?

Similar to the Inca Trail, sneakers are not an ideal option for Machu Picchu. They are not tough and supportive as hiking boots to facilitate your hiking process. However, many participants even wear flip-flops and sandals for this trip.

If it’s for fashionable reasons, sneakers are still applicable for Machu Picchu.

Do You Need Walking Sticks For Inca Trail?

The walking poles or sticks are a must-have for the Inca Trail. You will need to climb miles of high stairs and rough terrains, which will quickly hurt your knees and legs.

The walking sticks may seem too extreme, but they will protect your legs and maintain your stamina along long and tiring trips.

Is It Worth Hiking The Inca Trail?

For adventurous people, the Inca Trail trekking trip to Machu Picchu is one of the best experiences. You can immerse yourself in the breathtaking mountainous and natural views.

In addition, this trip is also a chance to train your body stamina and gain more satisfaction in life.

Can You Hike The Inca Trail In Running Shoes?

Wearing unsuitable shoes on the Inca Trail route is one of the biggest mistakes people make. It will bring you pain and ruin the entire experience after just a few hours.

Running shoes are far from enough for the Inca Trail. I recommend you choose high-quality hiking shoes designed specifically for this trip.

What Kind Of Shoes Should I Wear To Machu Picchu?

Hiking shoes are the best choice for Machu Picchu due to their excellent protection, durability, and ankle support. However, if you just take a quick transit to the area, just wear regular trainers or walking shoes for more comfort.

Do You Need Hiking Boots For Machu Picchu?

The rugged terrains on the route to Machu Picchu are very rough. It can quickly damage your feet’ skin and make your ankle hurt after many hours of walking. Therefore, hiking boots or shoes are a must-have for this adventurous trip.

What Is The Best Time To Hike Machu Picchu?

Nobody wants to walk on the rough terrains to Machu Picchu under bad weather and heavy rain. Therefore you should avoid the rainy seasons.

The best months with nice weather conditions are April, September, October, and May. You can also choose late March or early November, but ensure to check the weather forecast.

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