You’ve just purchased your tickets for Machu Picchu, (woo-hoo!) and you want to know what type of hiking boots to buy.
As someone who has been to Machu Picchu, and absolutely loved it might I add, I can assure you, you’ll want to make sure you have the most comfortable hiking boots for the trip.
This ancient citadel is not only a hidden gem but one that only a handful of people get to visit every year. Thus, you’ll want to make sure you make the most of your trip and truly enjoy every moment.
To help you do so, in this post, I want to share with you some tips to consider before making your trip. I also will mention 8 pairs of boots/shoes that I would consider to be the best hiking boots for Machu Picchu.
Let’s get started…
What Are The Best Hiking Boots For Machu Picchu?
Here is a quick preview of my top 8 picks (my top 4 for men and my top 4 for women). For more information on each pair, please keep reading below.
- Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
- Salomon Men’s Quest 4d 3 GTX Trail Running Shoe
- Arc’teryx Bora2 Mid LTR GTX Hiking Boot
- Salomon Men’s X Ultra 3 GTX Trail Running Shoe
- Hanwag Tatra Lady GTX
- Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boot
- Salomon Women’s Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boot
- Merrell Women’s Siren Edge Hiker
What you need to know before your trip…
Knowing your options:
First off, there are a few ways to actually arrive to the World Heritage Site. What trail you decide to take can help determine what type of boot to get.
For example, many decide to hike the world-famous Inca Trail to take in the full experience of the Sacred Valley. If you do decide to hike this renowned trail, you’ll for sure want a great pair of hiking boots as you generally walk around 7 miles a day over a course of about 4 days.
Also, keep in mind that the terrain throughout the Andes mountains is very unpredictable. For example, at times you’ll be hiking on muddy, flat trails and not soon after you’ll be hiking straight up mountains. You’ll even be trekking through a jungle-like forest, so footwear preparation is key.
If you don’t want to do the 4 day trek on the Inca Trail, and decide to take a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes (the little town known as the gateway to Machu Picchu) instead, you can reach Machu Picchu two ways- by local bus about a 20 minute ride to the entrance, or you can hike from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, a much shorter hike than the 26 mile Inca Trail, but still steep enough to make you feel like you got a great hike in.
Another thing to consider is if you will be doing any additional hiking once you reach the ancient city. For example, a certain amount of visitors each day are also given the opportunity to climb the famed Huayna Picchu, the mountain that is the focal point of all those iconic Machu Picchu photos.
Once again, as someone that has had the opportunity to get this special experience and see the Ancient city of the Incas from a different view, I know how hard a hike it is and how necessary a great boot is.
Huayna Picchu is not a super long hike, but it certainly is a very steep, difficult one, especially for inexperienced climbers. In fact, there were a few people on my hike up that had to stop and turn around due to the hard nature of this hike, so readiness is key.
Ok, so now that you have the basis for your Machu Picchu excursion, let’s check out some of the best footwear options available to you for this unforgettable adventure!
(You might also enjoy reading: How To Break In Hiking Boots Fast)
My Top Picks For Men
These Merrell Moab waterproof boots are the perfect choice for hiking the Inca Trail. First off, they are in the MOAB series, which stands for “Mother Of All Boots”, how’s that for an endorsement?!
These waterproof hikers have all the classic Merrell features as well as a leather and mesh body, protective rubber toe cap and breathable mesh lining.The built-in air cushion helps with stability during any tough trek and absorbs any shock that may occur.
Featuring a waterproof shell, your feet will be sure to stay warm and dry during your journey to the Ancient world.
The next on my list of the best hiking boots for Machu Picchu are Salomon Quest 4d. Without a doubt, Salomon is one of the leading brands in hiking gear and with these Quest 4D’s you’re sure to see why. They are designed with leather and synthetic material, a durable rubber sole, and a new lug design ready to give you the best traction possible on all surfaces.
These 4D’s also feature an advanced chassis which relieves the foot of fatigue during a long day en route. They come is 5 eye pleasing colors, sure to good great with your other hiking gear.
Arc’teryx is a newer footwear brand on the market, yet they are not new when it comes to excellent quality. These Arc’teryx Bora2’s check off all the necessary needs and even some wants for your trip to Machu Picchu.
They are completely waterproof, made from nubuck leather and designed with a removable liner, making these boots very versatile in all weather conditions. They would be my personal choice for the Inca Trail as they are certain to keep your feet warm on those frigid nights in up in the Andes.
If you are not planning on hiking the actual Inca Trail, nor Huayna Picchu and just plan on taking the local bus up to Machu Picchu, you will be able to get away with a pair of hiking shoes in place of actual boots.
Just as important the quality, a pair of hiking shoes will be a bit more breathable than the standard hiking boot and not quite a heavy. Here is my choice for best hiking shoe for Machu Picchu.
Salomon Men’s X Ultra 3 GTX Trail Running Shoe
I choose these Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX shoes because of their blend of durability, stability and their lightweight feel. They have excellent on-trail performance and are super comfortable for all-day treks.
I also was drawn to the new tread design, as it will surely provide you with that perfect grip while admiring the dry-stone structures firsthand. They also are a great option if you are doing some backpacking through the country and would like a lightweight option.
My Top Picks For Women
Hanwag Tatra Lady GTX
If you haven’t heard of Hanwag before, it may be because it is a European brand. However, they have been constructing high-quality mountaineering footwear for over 90 years. So when they make a product, these Germans really know what they are doing.
With a waterproof body, GORE-TEX inner lining and Vibram soles, you’re sure to take your hiking to the next step in the Hanwag Tatra Lady GTX. They also have a nice raised upper, protecting your ankles from any missteps.
Columbia is certainly a renowned brand here in the States and an excellent choice for your new pair of hiking boots. The Newton Ridge Plus has all the features you’ll be looking for on that walk around the citadel. With full-grain leather and suede, omni-grip traction and breathable material, you’ll love these Columbia staples.
They also are waterproof and feature a tech-lite midsole and rubber outsole to ensure a great grip, but also super comfortable wear.
Salomon Women’s Quest 4D 2 GTX
These Salomon Quest 4d 2’s are very similar to the Men’s 4D 3’s above, but for the mountaineering woman. They have all the great features of any Salomon shoe, but with even extra protection for those unknown conditions on the trail to Machu Picchu.
With GORE-TEX performance protection, you’ll be sure to keep the water out all day long. The toe guard and upper cuff give you added protection against those rocky summits and unstable ground.
The high traction grip will also keep you stable and secure on the famous trail. With 3 neat color options, these are sure to be your new favorite boot in your closet.
Merrell Women’s Siren Edge Hiker
If you intend to visit just the actual Machu Picchu ruins, these Siren Edge Hikers will undoubtedly fit the bill. They have Vibram soles, a shock-absorbing heel, breathable lining and a contoured footbed with odor control.
They also come in 9 eye-catching colors, so not only are they a great option for your hike, but also super stylish as well.
Once you have decided on the perfect hiking boot for your trip to Peru, be sure to wear them before your hike. As you know, you don’t want the chance of blisters, chafing or any other possible pains that can occur with any new pair of shoes, so before your hike, be sure to wear-in your new kicks!
As I mentioned before, Machu Picchu is considered one of the new seven wonders of the world, so be sure to not miss a minute of it by choosing the right hiking boots ahead of time!
After your trip, please come back and tell us what you have found to be the best hiking boots for Machu Picchu in the comments below.