Costa Rica is a beautiful place to go on a vacation, especially hiking trips. With its various trails and some challenging terrains, whether a beginner or an expert, you will have fun in Costa Rica and hike as much as you want. But hiking shoes are a critical accessory we need during a hike.
Now, even if you know that you need to buy a pair of hiking shoes for the Costa Rica vacation, you will be flooded with multiple show options, and there will be a thousand questions you need to answer to find the right pair of shoes. What material should it be?
Is there a specific king you should buy if you are going to Costa Rica? What kind of terrain would I be hiking? Are there any popular brands out there? And more.
The good news is that you can check out this full-on guide on the best hiking shoes for Costa Rica adventures.
Costa Rica is simply going to be a beautiful heaven for hikers. The place is filled with wildlife and nature. You can hike a few miles on mountains, volcanoes, and deep in the forest to explore the hidden and magical beauties of the place.
You have several places like the Manual Antonio National Park or Corcovado National Park hike where you can trek through the dry forest or choose to hike to the 300 beaches in the area, try Arenal hanging bridges walk, or also hike the volcanoes like the famous Rincon de la Vieja, Tenorio volcano national park or Arenal volcano national park.
Hiking shoes are the main thing of the hiking trip, especially in the Costa Rica packing list. If you don’t get the right shoes, it will spoil the fun of exploring nature. Besides, it could also hurt your toes and cause foot pain and other issues.
So you should choose durable hiking shoes that fit your size and offer excellent support to hike in a particular place and type of hiking you plan. Depending on whether you are planning long or short hikes, besides hiking boots, you can also pack in a few varieties, like closed-toed hiking sandals, open-toed shoes, travel shoes, closed-toe shoes, or other types.
Understanding Costa Rica’s Terrain
Costa Rica is an adventure lover’s paradise. No doubt about that. But there are many landscapes, and you have too many sports to try and places to trek.
Therefore, it is vital to understand the diversity in its landscape. The primary difference comes with the ocean and mountainous areas.
You get to enjoy the best of both worlds here. There are also wildlife parks and jungles of Costa Rica, so you can explore more greenery.
The best part is yet to come: the volcanoes. Similarly, the Costa Rica weather, which enjoys a tropical climate, is dry and rainy. While the dry season is from January to April, the rainy season is from May to December.
You should look for more specific details while selecting hiking shoes apart from the comfort and budget because Costa Rica is a host to multiple adventures, and you should pick shoes that fit most of those.
For instance, you might not need a waterproof hiking shoe to trek the Volcano or during a dry season. You can somehow manage without it. But a waterproof closed shoe becomes a must when you hike in other areas and is very important if your trip is during the wet weather.
Critical Considerations for Hiking Shoes
Since hiking trails will be uneven, the shoes should be strong enough to not tear and provide protection against hard things they come in contact with. When picking the best footwear, you should also consider whether it is a jungle hike or a beach one, the duration of the walk, etc.
The material and additional elements in the heel should help offer an extra grip so that you can have balance even when you are trekking in a slippery area.
Durability and breathability are essential, even for regular shoes. You want the products to last longer.
The ankle support in most hiking shoes, like the material, is essential to provide stability and support.
Trail-Specific Hiking Shoes
If you wonder whether trail-specific hiking shoes are essential, you must understand that each area is different, and the surface change might require a more comfortable outwear. Although you can always have shoes that fit most sizes, check out trail-specific hiking shoes to determine your needs.
Since it is a rainforest, waterproof hiking boots are a must. It must also have excellent grip for muddy trails and be made of quick-drying materials for river crossings. Like any hiking shoes, ankle-high lightweight types are better for the rainforests of Costa Rica.
Vibram outsoles are known for their quality and durability, which should be used for the hiking shoes you buy for volcano climbing. Since it is a volcano, you need shoes that meet the lava rock traction requirements and protection against ash and debris. Regarding shoes for Volcano climbing, shoes that offer protection and good traction are essential.
The best cloud forest hiking shoes should be lightweight for high-altitude treks and quick-drying materials for frequent drizzles. The paths will be slippery, so you need shoes that give support and stability while having materials that quickly dry and have waterproof quality.
Water shoes are the best for rafting, snorkeling, and other coastal adventures you want. These shoes are also best for some underwater explorations. For long-lasting durability, the boots should have properties like sand and rock traction essentials and saltwater resistance.
So, you should go for shoes with grippy soles specifically made for water-related adventures. You need to understand that these shoes are not actually waterproof. Instead, they have built-in draining facilities that help quick drying, and you can use it easily on land and water.
Top Hiking Shoe Brands for Costa Rica
Hiking shoes from Merrell Moab, made in the United States, are the best bet for a perfect hiking partner. It will be perfect to use during the trip to Costa Rica. You can try out their Merrell Moab 3 Waterproof Hiking shoes, which range between $89.79 and $135 in US dollars.
This show has a rubber sole and waterproof membrane that helps you with hiking in Costa Rica, especially during the rainy season and while enjoying beachside outdoor activities. The synthetic leather and mesh combination material helps make the shoe’s skin breathable.
Made especially for hiking on rough trails, the shoe has an EVA foam in the midsole, which helps reduce foot fatigue. The heel also has air cushion material, allowing you to stand longer. The comfort and protection it offers make Merrel Moab an excellent option for the shoes you need, whether going on the tallest hike or traveling a long distance.
Having been in the footwear industry for over a decade, KEEN has slowly built a brand that excels in many kinds of footwear. With the best technological uses, they also have some of the best hiking shoes. They have different offerings like waterproof, weather shoes, mid-wide shoes, hiking shoes for people with wide feet, and more. They are best suited for day hikers and people who love casual, easy hikes.
KEEN shoes have a comprehensive toe box feature, giving you more room for your toes. Besides that, the protective toe caps also help protect your toes while hiking. EVA foam gives a cushy feeling and a sense of comfort.
They are quality ones available at affordable prices. KEEN is an excellent choice if you are primarily one with wide feet and struggle to find the best fit.
When you travel, you need to pack light. So, what’s better than a lightweight hiking shoe? La Sportiva is the best option known for its lightweight shoe options.
With their innovative designs, they have several types, including hiking boots, hiking shoes, and trail shoes. It is best for people with narrow feet.
Traveling in Costa Rica means you could be in the deep forest exploring something new one day, and the next day, you could be trekking in challenging mountainous or rocky terrain. So, you need a hiking shoe that can go well with all these areas. La Sportiva shoes provide a perfect grip and are known for their best mountain traction. It also offers high-cut ankle support and has breathable GTX waterproofing.
Selecting the Perfect Fit
Shoes and sandals should always fit you right. If they are uncomfortable, your whole commute to a trip or work will be very troublesome. In such a case, hiking boots need to fit even better. It should also offer some space to wiggle your toes.
If you plan to order your hiking shoes, measuring the size at home is always best. You can also opt for famous brands and those you’ve worn before to get the proper size. You can also try the shoes in-store, which will help you get a better glance at the boots and gauge if they fit you.
- You can try the boots at the end of the day.
- Always wear your usual socks while testing; it helps ensure that the shoes are perfect for you.
- Try taking a stroll when you try the shoes.
- Use your hiking shoes once or twice before using them during a hike.
Hiking Shoe Care and Maintenance
Hiking shoes are unique and custom-made to last in harsh conditions. So it comes with a price. You might want it to stay long since you have also spent a lot on it. However, you must care for and maintain it properly to extend its life.
There is a simple 5-step method to maintain hiking shoes. You have to regularly clean and dry the boots and properly store them in a safe place. You must repair and give a re-touch whenever necessary.
- Cleaning and Drying – You must clean your shoes after each trek. Your boots are for sure going to get dirty again and again. The accumulation of mud and other dirt could affect your shoes. Clean it with a soft brush or sponge and use lukewarm water.
- You need to dry your shoes regardless of whether you cleaned them. You must dry the water that seeped in because of rain or sweat. It also helps your shoes to breathe better.
- Treating – You don’t have to treat it with exceptional care as regularly as you clean or dry. However, when you dine, you can use re-waterproofing sprays or greases that will help maintain its waterproof efficiency for a long time.
- Repairing – If you find any shoe issues, kindly repair them immediately. You might think it is only a tiny stitch issue, but it might ruin the product.
- Storing – You can keep the hiking shoes in an arid space and away from the sunlight. If you feel the shoe odor or the moisture-related smell is strong, you can have some tea bags in the shoes and put newspaper inside them to keep them in shape.
You can select the best hiking shoes by weighing in factors like the terrains you want to visit, how frequently you will use the shoes, the right size, and quality checks like sturdy soles, waterproof, leather material, etc.
If you want to buy a hiking shoe pair but are struggling to find one that can be used for various terrains, the best way is to check out brands like Keen, Merrell, La Sportiva, Altra, Asolo, Hoka, and others.
A few of these best-fit people with narrow feet work well for those with wide feet. Nevertheless, buying extra shoes and carrying flip-flops or tennis shoes is always great. Based on your requirements, you can plan your purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The best hiking boot materials for Costa Rica are leather, synthetic, suede, or combination. You can choose between the shoes available in these synthetic materials: hiking boots, hybrid boots, or trail shoes. It offers you a good grip that is needed and helps with the traction.
It is not advisable to use regular sneakers for hiking in Costa Rica. Since the place is about adventures, you need a waterproof shoe with the best traction.
A regular sneaker doesn’t have both of these qualities. So, a good idea is to use hiking shoes or other footwear that suits the waterproof trail.
No, you don’t need hiking boots for all trails in Costa Rica. Some of these trails are well-maintained and easy to walk. However, if you choose any challenging terrain or plan to go on treks that take a lot of time, you need hiking boots.
The lasting period for some of the best shoes varies with each brand. However, on average, most companies suggest hiking shoes can last between 500-1000 miles.
The rainy season is a particular time to visit Costa Rica. Since it will be raining and the weather will change, you should buy proper waterproof hiking boots or quick-dry socks. It will be the only thing that will help you while walking deep in the forest.