Costa Rica is a beautiful place to explore. With its rich flora and fauna, deep forests, volcanoes, beaches, and mountains, there is so much you can do while being with the magic of nature in this destination. This country in Central America is a traveler’s paradise and is best for hiking, surfing, and trekking.
You can visit Costa Rica anytime around the year since the dry and rainy seasons are good times to enjoy the place. Since this place has many adventures, you might have to pack several things that suit each activity. For example, the clothes you carry for your hike might not be the best to use for surfing. Therefore, if you are planning to visit Costa Rica, planning your adventures in advance and packing accordingly is essential.
Comfort is the key to enjoying the many outdoor activities. So when you are out to explore nature and go on some adventures, your footwear should top your priority list. The best pair of shoes offers a good grip and can smooth your journey.
If you are planning to visit Costa Rica and want to know about the best hiking shoes and other footwear essentials for this natural wonder, we have got you covered. This blog details the 11 best shoes for Costa Rica and helps you find suitable collections for your adventures in the cloud forests, beaches, and mountains.
1. Exploring Costa Rica’s Diverse Landscapes
Costa Rica is a beautiful place to relax, rest, and rejuvenate amidst the natural wonders. But each city has a natural place like that where people can go and explore, as they get lost in nature’s beauty. So, what do you think makes Costa Rica very special? It’s diverse landscapes.
There is something to enjoy for everyone who visits the country. You have beaches, volcanoes, mountains, national parks, rainforests, and cloud forests. Such a variety of adventures gives you the space to explore more about nature and enjoy different activities every day. You can also visit the wildlife parks here and go on a trek in the volcanoes or spend some time enjoying the water activities.
Matching shoes to rainforests and beaches
Flip-flops are the perfect shoes for beaches. They are comfortable to wear and are cheap and affordable. It is a good option only for the beaches and long strolls or casual roaming around the cities, though they might not offer you the protection needed in rainforests or the grip required for the valleys. But you can use flip flops even for other regular usage, so it is a good idea for investment.
The Havaianas Flip Flop organic sandal is made beach style, offering a comfortable and chic style. They are soft and durable and have a rubber sole. It has beautiful designs.
The landscapes of Costa Rica are mainly varied, and it might be hard to carry multiple kinds of shoes that would fit each of your adventure activities. That is why you must invest in hiking boots that can be used in most places, with beaches being the only exception. If you want one such option, check out the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX Hiking Boot.
Its Gore-Tex lining gives more protection from water, while its aggressive tread pattern makes walking on rough, muddy terrains comfortable. Something you should be concerned about while buying shoes is that they must be cleaned frequently.
You can easily remove the footbed in the Salomon Boots and clean the accumulated dirt or sand. You might encounter many such things since you frequent the jungle and natural areas. Therefore, this shoe makes for the best fit.
Footwear essentials for your travel itinerary
When you choose your footwear essentials for traveling to any place, it is crucial to look at your itinerary. A travel shoe might be different from the regular footwear you use.
But you might still be confused as to which footwear suits which place. At this point, there are a few essential footwear you should be aware of. Here are a few details.
Hiking sandals make for an excellent choice both for treks and ocean adventures. On land, it lets your feet breathe and gives you a proper grip. On beaches and water, it helps you to have the footing.
Besides, it quickly dries when you get back to land. So, these make for your essential footwear choice. One of the best brands in the market is Keen Sandals.
Hiking sandals are even better when they are closed-toe ones. The KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Closed Toe Water Sandal is one such product where you can tick off all the boxes and get a super comfortable shoe with a rubber sole and water-resistant quality. It comes with a lace lock bungee capture system, which helps you have a proper fit and is easy to wear and remove. Its rubber outsoles help on slippery terrain, and the insoles with the footbed give you more comfort.
Hiking boots are more like an alternate option for hiking sandals. You can choose the one that makes you feel more comfortable. You can specifically use them in high-hike areas like Chirripo, where the elevation is up to 12,000 feet.
Sturdy running shoes or hiking boots give you more comfort and safety in such situations. We have discussed the Salomon hiking boots before; you can opt for them. You can also choose the KEEN Targhee waterproof hiking shoes if you want other choices.
The shoe has a bruise plate that offers protection on uneven surfaces and has a breathable membrane that helps keep your feet dry and breathable. Since they are leather, these waterproof shoes can quickly dry and retain a high traction grip, even on rocky surfaces. There is also an external support shank with a contoured heel that provides you stability.
It is mainly helpful in places like Tortuguero National Park, Manuel Antonio National Park, Rio Celeste, etc., and only during the rainy season. You don’t have to pack them from your place, you can buy them in Costa Rica if you need them.
Sneakers are best for roaming around the city and urban areas in Costa Rica, similar to how we use them daily to take long strolls or visit a mall. But they aren’t a proper choice for outdoor adventures requiring sturdier, waterproof footwear with better traction. So sneakers are the wrong shoes for the place and are best avoided.
Water shoes are the most affordable choice on this list. They are much cheaper and can be used for adventures like rafting and horseback riding. It is a beautiful replacement for hiking sandals if you don’t need one.
But you might also have to purchase extra running or hiking boots when carrying water shoes. It is because water shoes do not offer the excellent grip that you need while going on a hike.
Trail running shoes are perfect for all your hiking adventures. They provide protection against mud and rocky surfaces while also giving your grip. What more? They are lightweight.
But many of us might not know the difference between trail running shoes and hiking shoes. The first fundamental difference is the weight; trail running shoes are lighter.
Since these shoes are made with mesh uppers, rubber outsoles, and flexible soles that are lighter, you can move around quickly without much foot fatigue. It is better than hiking shoes when you have to do long-distance running.
But bear in mind that they have less traction than hiking shoes. So, you can choose the shoes based on your needs. If you want to buy trail running shoes, check out the Salomon Speedcross Trailer Running Shoes.
The Salomon Speedcross trail running shoes are designed with deep, sharp lugs for better grip and stability. It helps you run in wet, dirty terrains. It has a precise foothold and rubber sole to give you proper traction and hold, and its mesh upper ensures the shoes are comfortable.
2. Hiking Shoe Selection
Sometimes, you don’t need the best shoes for short hikes or easy hiking trails. However, Costa Rica has fantastic hiking spots; its longest trek in the Chirripo mountains is 12,000 feet high. That is why you need the best hiking shoes with grippy soles when you are going on a trip to this destination.
Besides the tallest hike in Chirripo, another excellent option for a Costa Rican walk is the trails in Corcovado National Park. Some of the best long-hike spots include Arenal Volcano National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Cahuita National Park, and Rio Celeste, which has the Tenorio Volcano National Park.
Hiking boots: sturdy support for trails
These boots must be sturdy because the terrain is often slippery, especially during the wet season. Imagine walking up the hill for long distances without a shoe that offers proper grip and comfort. It is a nightmare for any traveler.
This is why rain boots and waterproof hiking shoes are commonly used in Costa Rica. When choosing shoes for hiking, ensure the outsoles are mostly made of rubber, at least provide mid-level ankle support, and cover your toes, among other factors.
Hiking shoes from the Adidas brand are one of the best shoes you must try. These hiking shoes are specially made in partnership with the Mountain Biking Division, so many minute nuances went into making these shoes. It is built with a soft midsole, which creates more comfort while walking, and a grippier outsole, which helps you walk easily on rough terrain.
These shoes include Adidas Outdoor Women’s Terrex Hiking Shoes and Adidas Women’s Terrex Tracerocker Trail Running Shoes. The Terrex trail shoes help even when walking through steep slopes, making them an excellent choice for your day in Costa Rica.
Lightweight trail runners: versatile and agile
You must also know lightweight trail runners are best for Costa Rica vacation. It is an excellent option because you might have to walk for a long time, and the ease of wearing these will help you save some energy. Besides, you can carry them wherever you go as they won’t make your packing heavy. These should also provide a cushioning effect so you don’t feel tiredness or pain in your feet.
La Sportiva brand is known for its innovative designs and lightweight options. It gives you an excellent grip and has the best traction as a hiking boot. Remember, when buying shoes for trekking, especially in wet areas like Costa Rica, it is also advisable to get waterproof ones.
The hiking special shoes in La Sportiva are made with breathable GTX waterproofing technology and high-cut ankle support, ensuring you always have a grip over the surface and enjoy steady and safe hiking. Whether it is easy hikes or long hikes, La Sportiva’s trekking shoes are ideal.
So, what is an ideal hiking shoe? There are both hiking boots and trail shoes available for your hikes. While hiking boots are heavier but have deep tread, trail shoes are lighter but have a minimal footprint. But don’t fret; we have a lot of hybrid boots in the market today that will help you enjoy the benefits of both types.
3. Sand and Surf Comfort
Beach-friendly footwear options
If your Costa Rica travel guide includes beach walks, you can opt for flip-flops or closed-toed hiking sandals, as they are the right shoes for beaches.
Water shoes: embracing aquatic activities
Water shoes make for the best hiking and beach-friendly options. This way, when hiking or walking in the jungle, these waterproof wears keep you safe in slippery areas and don’t get wet. Water shoes are made specifically for you when in water, making them best for water-friendly games and beach days out.
Teva’s water shoe is also very lightweight and has no extra cost. The price is less than $100 and occupies very little space. What else do you need?
4. Rainforest Trekking Essentials
Rainforest trekking is another fantastic experience you should have when in Costa Rica. You get to enjoy the essence of nature thoroughly while walking amidst the rainforests here. Even though many places are famous in Costa Rica, it is best known for its rainforests here.
With the beautiful greenery and rich flora and fauna, you can explore many new plants, trees, animals, flowers, and more as you go on this trek. Therefore, you must take a rainforest trek during your Costa Rica vacation.
Waterproof shoes for jungle exploration
These areas are usually slippery and wet and are especially skiddy during the rainy seasons. Therefore, you need to wear waterproof shoes. It helps have a better grip, protects your feet, and ensures the boots don’t take in a lot of moisture content.
Therefore, your shoes last longer even if you go on multiple treks in such areas. Good jungle boots offer enough ankle support as you might have to walk long, so they also double up as an excellent choice for walking shoes.
The KEEN Men’s waterproof boot is great for traveling in the tropical rainforest. Keen is a good-quality brand with excellent traction. Since it is comfortable and features waterproof leather uppers, there is not much you need to worry about. In addition, it also has a rubber sole that lends high traction and helps you walk easily in challenging, rugged terrains like volcanoes, which are available to explore in Costa Rica.
Traction and grip on slippery terrain
Not all rainforest terrains are slippery; some might also be muddy, and a few others could have a lot of greenery, and the algae could make it hard for you to walk. So, you need shoes that can give you good traction and grip. Compared to the volcanoes, beautiful beaches, and mountain areas, there are more chances to come in contact with several insects or reptiles when you are in the rainforest. Therefore, you should ensure that you have closed-toe shoes that cover your fingers and feet.
5. Urban Adventures in Style
If you opt for long hikes or other adventure activities, you can choose among flip-flops, closed-toed hiking sandals, running shoes, or casual sneakers. The urban style shoes resemble those we wear when roaming in our cities. You can go as bare as flip-flops or hiking sandals, whichever you prefer.
Stylish sneakers for city strolls
If you are someone who loves sneakers, this is when you can use them. Whether you want to enjoy their local food, explore the streets, or visit the local stores, you can roam around with stylish footwear and enjoy the city culture.
Comfortable shoes for cultural experiences
You can find many hand-crafted shoes made using colorful materials and recyclable products in several stories like Kiosco San Jose or Casa 927 and enjoy the local products. You can even find flip-flops in the local stores and buy them if needed.
Likewise, Merrell waterproof hiking boots are primarily preferred by Costa Rican guides. On the other hand, the Costa Ricans prefer wearing footwear like rubber boots, especially those who work in the country. Since there is more mud, boots are primarily preferred.
The national brand of flip flops in Costa Rica is Kam Lung. It is very comfortable, cheap, and looks classy. What more do you need than to support the national brand by buying a few pairs and encouraging their business and culture?
6. Navigating Costa Rica’s Cities
Footwear suitable for city exploration
We talk a lot about Costa Rica’s adventures and seldom notice that the country has some of the best malls and shopping experiences. Costa Rica is known for its pure vida, which refers to its pristine, simple life amidst the natural wonders. But it’s always nice to buy something nice that makes your memories more memorable. If you want to shop in the city, explore shopping centers like Mercado Central, Mercado Nacional de Artesania (Craft market), Avenida Escazu Mall, City Mall, and more.
Whenever you travel to any place and enjoy exploring the city, you can grab a pair of nice flats like penny loafers, flip flops, tennis shoes, hiking sandals, or sneakers. These are often lightweight and comfortable, which will create a wonderful experience.
You can visit the best places, but people always say your shoes make or break your trip. So, you can buy the most comfortable pair of shoes. If you have a favorite shoe but can’t wear it during your hikes or water adventures, then this is the time to enjoy being in your own comfort and getting some amazing pictures clicked.
Choosing comfort without compromising style
When you try to choose footwear for any adventure, ensure that you don’t have to compromise on comfort, style, or necessity for one another. You might like high heels, which are suitable for comfort and style but may not be ideal for adventure. For instance, there are both open and closed-toed hiking sandals. Both are equally good for hiking and even suitable for general city exploration.
But you should know why closed doors are prioritized by a lot of people. If you are more comfortable with open-toed shoes, you must also know they are lovely for beaches and long strolls but unsafe when exploring the jungle or rainforest. Here, you should use closed-toed because you will not be easily poked and can avoid getting bitten by ants or other insects. But ensuring both comfort and necessity also doesn’t affect your overall style.
Merrell Moab shoes are basically hiking shoes made in the United States and are affordable. Most people prefer the brand to enjoy outside activities. This shoe is waterproof and has a rubber sole that will offer you a grip.
So you can enjoy your vacation even during the rainy weather. It has air cushion material in the heel and EVA foam in the midsole that helps you reduce foot fatigue. You can enjoy comfort, style, and protection without compromising.
Having extra shoes in your Costa Rica packing list always helps. Checking the different sizes before buying the shoes is crucial and common sense. Since it will be your first time in Costa Rica, you could pack some additional shoes if you want to go water rafting, go on long walks and hikes, or go boating and sightseeing.
For instance, closed-toe shoes and closed-toed hiking sandals are beautiful options for cycling, kayaking, etc. You can even have closed-toe sandals for these. On the other hand, running shoes and hiking shoes are best for more terrain-related activities and adventures. Likewise, while it is good to have waterproof shoes for all these types, having a pair of water shoes or water sandals for water sports is essential.