Planning for a trip to Hawaii?
If it’s your first time than you might be deciding to buy a new pair of hiking shoes or go with some sturdy-soled sketchers.
The weather in Hawaii is not so much fluctuating-not so cold or hot. But depending on the outside temperature on average you should choose some good pairs of hiking sandals(not flip flops) and shoes.
Choosing the right pair and type of shoes for your Hawaii trip is not a too complicated process. But the first question which arises is that…
Do you really need hiking shoes for Hawaii?
If you’re a comfort-guy than you should buy a good pair of waterproof hiking shoes, which we recommend later in this post. Otherwise, going with some old training shoes is also not a BAD idea.
While exploring Hawaii you will find visitors wearing every type of footwear, some also hike with barefoot on some trails.
What type of shoes to wear in Hawaii for hiking and trailing?
The following shoes are most recommended for hiking Hawaii and its islands:
These island staples are meant to keep a grip while walking and fishing on wet rocks. Their felt bottoms and ninja-style thong toe help the foot to hold on slippery surfaces.
Pros: Great for river crossings, rock hopping and clinging to muddy and slippery trails. Meant to get wet. Sock covers ankles, offering protection from the underbrush.
Cons: Once wet, these water socks need some strong sun to dry out completely. Long hikes in wet tabis lead to soft, soggy feet and blister farms. No arch support.
Many local residents only wear these lightweight rubber thongs. They’re easy to slip on and off, they keep your tootsies cool and they can weather the wet, no problem. Those who spend their island days in nothing but these shoes are often seen flip-flopping through the jungle in them, but for most, hiking in slippers is best reserved for the experts.
Pros: Lightweight, waterproof and easy on and off. Inexpensive. Provide the most basic coverage for the bottom of your feet. The next best thing to barefoot.
Cons: No arch support, little protection from underbrush and sun. Soles usually fare poorly in slippery mud and on wet rocks. Prone to “blowouts”. Thorns can easily pierce the bottom.
These are the shoes meant for cruising through jungles of the concrete variety. Made for pounding pavement more than puddles, at the very least expect your style whities to get down and dirty.
Pros: Offer arch support and protection from the sun and underbrush.
Cons: This footwear is typically unequipped for gripping uneven ground or wet surfaces (which you almost always encounter on Kaua`i trails). White shoes will not remain unmarred.
You’ll generally see those opting to hoof it a natural, having one of two kinds of experiences. The seasoned barefoot hiker may breeze past you with a huge smile, trotting through loose rocks whistling along in easy harmony with nature. The other, less experienced trekker, may be seen wincing through a slow hobble back to the car, their soft white feet cut and bruised. Hiking barefoot is recommended only for habituated soles.
Pros: You can feel that Kaua`i mud squish between your toes! Oneness with nature! You can really feel your feet wrap around surfaces.
Cons: You can really feel your feet wrap around surfaces. Hiking barefoot leaves no protection from rocks, roots, underbrush or sun. Your feet are your most valuable asset when hiking, if you injure them you can be in for a trail of pain.
These mainland imports are solid boots designed for the long haul. They usually offer great support for the arches and carry a pretty hefty tread, but they’re often out of place in Hawai`i’s tropical clime.
Pros: Good support for the foot. Covered ankles are protected from the underbrush.
Cons: Wearing a thick, cushioned boot in the tropics makes a sweatbox for your feet. Tread may slip on wet surfaces. Not good for river crossings.
Specialized to handle diverse terrain, these glorified running shoes are like four-wheel-drives for your feet. They’re built to travel through land and water while keeping your feet supported and protected. If you’re looking for a lighter version of hiking boot comfort, this shoe may be your best bet.
Pros: Great support and construction designed with the avid hiker in mind. Created to handle diverse terrain, including water.
Cons: Some potential for slipping on wet surfaces. For those used to a lot of airflows, the shoe may still be too hot for tropical climate.
These hiking sandals and other brands like them are meant to offer the airflow of slippers with greater support for the foot. Though it’s not at the level of a trail runner in its structure, it does provide a happy medium for those that want to hop through streams and truck over bumpy terrain.
Pros: Decent arch support with the ability to get wet and dry quickly. Foot stays well-ventilated.
Cons: Some may find the arch support is not sufficient for long hikes. Not much protection from underbrush and sun (watch for criss-cross tan lines). Break these in before long hikes to avoid blisters.