Best Hiking Boots for Machu Picchu [2024]

Apus Peru > Trip Preparation > Best Hiking Boots for Machu Picchu [2024]

To begin, and as a background for this guide to the best hiking boots for Machu Picchu, here is my take on the things you need to know when buying hiking footwear. A while ago, my mum took one look at my beloved hiking shoes and stated – “wow, you need new shoes”! It’s true that this particular pair of Merrell hiking shoes for women had done thousands of kilometres over the years – but shoes can be like a good companion. You want to stick with them.

When you have hiked with one brand for many years, it is easy to just drop into your local shop and buy a new pair of Merrells. However, in this case, the truth was I’d been using my hiking shoes for everyday wear, even though they didn’t look that great with a pair of jeans.  So my latest purchase of women’s hiking boots was something more suited to my current needs. Practical and sturdy, yes, but also attractive, so that I could throw them on with my jeans and still look pretty good.

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I live in Western Australia, am a co-founder of Apus Peru (which offers the best hiking tours of Machu Picchu, incidentally) and also love to travel as widely as possible with my kids. So I need a versatile pair of hiking boots that can cope with a range of demands. Including, of course, hiking to Machu Picchu.

In this post, I’m sharing my experience to help you find the best hiking boots for the Inca Trail. Having comfortable footwear literally has the power to make or break your trip. It’s also the number one item, of course, on any self-respecting packing list for Machu Picchu.

Covered here is what to look for when choosing the best hiking shoes for Machu Picchu. Also included are frequently asked questions around the topic of Inca Trail shoes. My favourite contenders when you want to buy hiking boots for an epic Peruvian adventure are also listed – along with why they’re awesome.

Read on to find out all you should know about what boots are best for hiking to Machu Picchu. Beginning with a little about my own experience of buying hiking footwear.

This post may contain affiliate links, from which we would earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

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My Personal Experience of Hiking Boots

I was a relatively late bloomer when it came to hiking and trekking. I initially took on a few epic hikes, like the Tiger Leaping Gorge in China and then the Inca Trail, as part of my world travels during my mid-20s. Little did I know then that later I’d settle in Cusco, Peru, in the heart of the Andes Mountains, and that exploring that beautiful landscape would become a lifelong passion.

For me, it wasn’t just the beauty of the mountains, nor the achievement of crossing a series of mountain passes. It was the discovery of the people and stories along the way that I grew to love. So I hiked, trekked, and explored for years. I wore out a couple of pairs of hiking boots in the process. In 2006, I co-founded Apus Peru Adventure Travel Specialists, an adventure trekking agency based in Cusco, Peru.  The rest, as they say, is history.

We focus on offering unique, off-the-beaten-track adventures, designed to connect people with the real Peru. Many people who go into business know that the pressures of clients and paperwork means less passion and adventure, and sadly, that was indeed the case for me. I became desk-bound and my boots got dusty.

Having three children in a nine-year period also meant that any long-distance adventure trekking was seriously curtailed. Yet those mountains and trails still call to me every day. I can’t wait to get out and do some serious long-distance treks yet again!

Want to know more about what to take to Peru? Then check out our complete Peru Packing List or Inca Trail Packing List to find out what to pack for a Machu Picchu hike.

Machu Picchu Hiking Boots Comparison Table

Name Shape Waterproof? Key features Price
Keen Targhee 3 Mid-height Yes Breathable, good cushioning, stable & supportive Men


Merrell Moab 3 Mid-height Yes Gore-Tex outer, reinforced toe, range of colours Men


North Face Hedgehog Fastpack 3 Mid-height Yes DryVent membrane, Vibram sole, heel cradle Men


Salomon X Ultra Pioneer Mid Climasalomon™ Mid-height Yes Slick looks, lightweight chassis, glove-like fit Men


Teva Grandview GTX Mid-height Yes Part leather, part recycled materials, Vibram Mega Grip Men


Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Mid-height ​​Yes Great value, OmniGrip sole, wide/half sizes Men


Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry Mid-height Yes Ultra tough, very supportive, good protection Men


La Sportiva Nucleo II High-top Yes Ultra tough, moulded insole, breathable & waterproof Men


Hoka One One Anacapa Mid-height No Soft comfort, versatile style, great grip Men


Salomon Speedcross 6 Low-height No Sensifit tech, Quicklace system, low profile comfort Men



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The Best Hiking Boots for Machu Picchu Reviews

Keen Targhee 3

  • Waterproof
  • Mid-height

These Keen hiking boots are a great all-rounder from a leading outdoor brand.  With a mid-height top, they offer good support for the Inca Trail without being too heavy.  They’re available in several colours, with matching or contrasting laces.

The outer is waterproof yet breathable, and there is also an integral leather mud shield. With multi-directional lugs for good grip, EVA cushioning, and a padded collar for comfort and stability shank to ensure support, they are among the top women’s and men’s waterproof walking boots.


  • Breathable & waterproof
  • EVA midsole & padded collar
  • Supportive and stable design


  • Outdoor look

Click here to see the Keen Targhee III boots for men

Click here to see the Keen Targhee III boots for women

Merrell Moab 3

  • Waterproof
  • Mid-height

Merrell hiking boots for men and women are hugely popular – and no more so than the Moab range. These Merrell boots are ideal for longer treks – like Machu Picchu hikes – or when carrying a pack (or child), as they have those mid tops combining comfort and support.

They come in a selection of colours, ranging from light grey to black, and have a stylish yet rugged look to them. Gore-Tex proves reliable waterproofing, while a reinforced toe cap protects your feet. Even the tongue is designed to prevent dust and dirt from entering the shoe.


  • Waterproof Gore-Tex
  • Reinforced toe cap
  • Range of colours


  • Heavier than some

Click here to view the Merrell Moab 3 boots for men

Click here to view the Merrell Moab 3 boots for women

The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack 3

  • Waterproof
  • Mid-height

A good alternative to Keen or Merrell hiking boots is offered by North Face – another top outdoor clothing and accessories brand. These mid waterproof boots for active men and women have the highly regarded Vibram outsole to cushion every step.

Other great features include the DryVent membrane outer, abrasion-proof mesh, a comfortable and supportive heel cradle, rustproof hardware, and a cushioned EVA midsole.  The outsole also offers a great level of grip on uneven or rocky ground – such on some of the paths around Machu Picchu!


  • DryVent membrane
  • Vibram outsole
  • Heel cradle


  • Only 1 colour

Click here to see The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack 3 for men

Click here to see The North Face Hedgehog Fastpack 3 for women


Salomon X Ultra Pioneer Mid Climasalomon™

  • Waterproof
  • Mid-height

If you want something that’s stylish, yet is rugged enough for walking and hiking wear, the Salomon X Ultra Pioneer is definitely worth a look.  The glove-like fit of this hiking boot is also super comfortable.

A specially designed lightweight chassis makes these boots responsive and stable, yet comfortable. The all-weather finish also offers total weather protection during Peru’s wet season, and the eyelets allow you to lace them up as high or low as you like.


  • Slick, seamless look
  • Lightweight chassis
  • Glove-like fit


  • Limited colours

Click here to see the Salomon X Ultra Pioneer Mid Climasalomon™ for men

Click here to see the Salomon X Ultra Pioneer Mid Climasalomon™ for women

Teva Grandview GTX Hiking Boots

  • Waterproof
  • Mid-height

Teva is also among the most sought-after hiking footwear brands. The upper on this hiking shoe is made from leather as well as fabric, giving it a softer look and feel than other hiking shoes. It’s a good compromise for anyone seeking something with the look of leather, combined with the practicalities of materials like Gore-Tex.

The Gore-Tex used for this women’s hiking boot is in fact made from 70% recycled materials; so it’s better for the planet too. A Vibram ‘mega grip’ sole and stabilising shank help to make this footwear ideal for longer and even multi-day hikes – such as the trek to Machu Picchu.


  • Recycled materials
  • Vibram ‘mega grip’ sole
  • Leather panels to upper


  • 1 colour only

Click here to see the Teva Grandview GTX for men

Click here to see the Teva Grandview GTX for women

Columbia Newton Ridge Plus

  • Waterproof
  • Mid-height

Columbia is also a good, reliable outdoor brand and the Newton Ridge Plus is ideal when you want to find broader hiking boots, as they offer a wider fitting in all sizes. Half sizes are also available, so you can get a great fit.

These Columbia hiking boots also come in a range of colours. Other helpful features for your Peruvian trek include Columbia’s OmniGrip system for traction; a breathable, waterproof upper; and a durable yet lightweight midsole.


  • Great value for money
  • Wider and half sizes
  • OmniGrip traction


  • Not as warm as some

Click here to see the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus for men

Click here to see the Columbia Newton Ridge Plus for women

Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry

  • Waterproof
  • Mid-height

If you want a very supportive pair of hiking boots for Peru, then the Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry is one of the sturdiest around. It’s made to last, and is waterproof yet breathable, keeping your feet dry during hot or cold weather.

This is one of the most waterproof options, and will also stand the test of time. As it’s so tough, though, allow a longer breaking-in period than with a softer pair of boots. The strong chassis and toe cap also help to protect feet.


  • Ultra strong
  • Great support
  • Protective build


  • Longer breaking-in period

Click here to see the Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry for men

Click here to see the Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry for women

La Sportiva Nucleo II

  • Waterproof
  • High-top

If you don’t mind paying a little more for hiking footwear that will last way beyond the Inca trail, then the Nucleo II for men and women from La Sportiva is a top pick. It’s made to combine strength, comfort and protection for your feet – perfect for hiking in Peru.

The nubuck upper is tougher than some synthetics, yet is fully breathable and waterproof. A moulded foam insole cushions each step, while large lugs provide superior traction. If you’re short of time before departing for Peru, then the 3D Flex ankle hinge even lowers the amount of time needed to break them in.


  • Built to last
  • Comfortable moulded foam insole
  • Breathable yet waterproof nubuck upper


  • High price

Click here to see the La Sportiva Nucleo II for men

Click here to see the La Sportiva Nucleo II for women

Hoka One One Anacapa

  • Mid-height

If you crave the comfort of a trainer or sneaker combined with the ankle support of hiking boots, then your perfect Machu Picchu footwear might be the Hoka One One Anacapa. It’s a high-top, soft hiking boot with a rugged Vibram outsole.

The Hoka One One Anacapa for men and women is the sort of shoe that you can wear anywhere, from the city streets of Cusco to your Aguas Calientes hotel. Its upper is made from recycled materials, too, plus certified Leather Working Group leather.


  • Sneaker comfort
  • Go-anywhere looks
  • Tough, grippy outsole


  • Not as rugged as others

Click here to see the Hoka One One Anacapa for men

Click here to see the Hoka One One Anacapa for women

Salomon Speedcross 6

  • Trail running shoe

If you’re willing to sacrifice added ankle support in favour of comfort, then a trail running shoe could be the right choice for tackling Machu Picchu. The Salomon Speedcross 6 for men and women is a top pick, and comes in an incredible array of colours.

The breathable mesh upper is tightly woven to ward off dust and debris, while Sensifit technology ensures a foot-hugging, comfortable fit. There’s a protective mud guard and toe cap, plus the QuickLace system for fast adjustments as you trek the Inca Trail.


  • Running shoe comfort
  • Sensifit technology
  • QuickLace system


  • Limited ankle support

Click here to see the Salomon Speedcross 6 for men

Click here to see the Salomon Speedcross 6 for women

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What to Look For in Machu Picchu Hiking Shoes


The fit is, without doubt, the very first factor to consider when investing in good hiking boots for Peru. Don’t be tempted to place form above function. They may be stylish, but hobbling along the trails in too-tight a hiking shoe – or one that gives you blisters – is not a good look.  And, things do not improve as the walk progresses.

So do try out – and wear in – your new walking boots before packing them for Peru. If you normally use footwear accessories like insoles or hiking socks, do use these when testing.  Make sure you walk up and down some hills or stairs when trying them out and wearing them in, too; it’s good practice for hiking trips to Machu Picchu!


In this case, it’s assumed that you’re buying boots while planning a trip to Peru. But – it is worth thinking about life beyond the Inca Trail. Will you be trekking elsewhere, either in Peru, in your home country, or during other trips?

Do bear in mind how long your other hikes will be – and how challenging the terrain is – when making your choice. It also makes sense to buy a good quality pair of boots that will last for longer.


Breathable boots are a good idea when you’ll be tackling Machu Picchu – and not least because they smell better! Many hiking boots are made for breathability, as companies are aware that many people trek during hot weather. Even when it’s cold, your feet will sweat due to the exertion of trekking uphill.

You can buy walking boots for Peru that are water-resistant as well as breathable. Just look out for technical fabrics, such as eVent and Gore-Tex.

Water Resistance

When I was younger, and doing a lot of hiking, leather high ankle boots were considered awesome for keeping moisture at bay. I used to polish them often to keep them supple. Now, though, many manufacturers use technical materials like Gore-Tex or eVent instead.

Both of these materials are breathable, as well as water-resistant. This means you don’t have to choose between the two when buying men’s or women’s hiking boots that are waterproof. This is especially important if you’ll be hiking during Peru’s wet season.

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Machu Picchu Footwear Tips

Wear in Your Hiking Boots Well

This is my number one tip. Don’t end up like my brother, who had to complete his Peru trek in an unsuitable, unsupportive pair of sandals due to blisters! Wear in your hiking boots at home, gradually, starting at least weeks before you leave.

It ensures a far more comfortable – and therefore enjoyable – experience when following the hiking trails to Machu Picchu.

Pack a Pair of Flip Flops

It might sound surprising, but a pair of flip flops can be invaluable for Machu Picchu. You can wear them around the campsite, and at your hotel. They will also come in handy if you want to take a soak in the hot springs at Aguas Calientes.

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Machu Picchu Footwear FAQs

Do I Need Hiking Boots for Machu Picchu?

Do you need hiking boots for the Inca trail, or other routes to Machu Picchu? While they’re not strictly necessary – and you will see the porters hiking in sandals and all sorts – hiking boots are very highly recommended.

This is because the terrain can be challenging. Thus the added ankle support offered by boots rather than hiking shoes or sneakers might make all the difference. The last thing you want is to be limping your way to the Lost City of the Incas, due to a strained or sprained ankle.

What Kind of Shoes Do You Need for Machu Picchu?

Trainers, sneakers or tennis shoes are not ideal for Machu Picchu. You’ll need footwear with a really good grip for those sandy, uneven uphill trails, rocky surfaces, and stone steps. Hiking boots also offer better ankle support and cushioning.

If you really hate hiking boots, then at the very least, pack a decent pair of trail running shoes. As compared to regular running shoes, this type is designed for superior grip and support over stony or slippery ground.

Are Hiking Shoes or Boots Better for The Inca Trail?

Due to the added support and extra padding, hiking boots are better than shoes for the Inca Trail. However, for some, the minus points outweigh these positives. Hiking footwear is heavier, which can reduce comfort.

The trick, then, is to ensure your Inca Trail footwear is well worn-in prior to tackling the route to Machu Picchu. If you really cannot deal with hiking boots, wear good trail running shoes instead. These are at least designed to cope with challenging terrain.

Can You Hike Machu Picchu in Trainers?

Though some do take on the Inca Trail in sneakers, tennis shoes, or trainers, hiking boots are a better choice. They offer superior cushioning and support. If you really dislike hiking boots, then hiking shoes or trail running shoes might suit you better.

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Best Hiking Boots for Machu Picchu – Final Thoughts

We hope this post has helped you find the perfect men’s or best women’s hiking boots for Machu Picchu. It’s the number one purchase you can make for this trip. The right pair will make so much difference to your comfort level – and therefore your enjoyment.

Buy a great pair of hiking boots for Machu Picchu, and you can also use them elsewhere in the world. Whether that’s the trails close to your own backyard, or in the next far-flung destination on your list. It really is worth the investment! If you’re in the market for quality hiking poles for your Peru trek, or seeking tips and recommendations for your hiking adventure, look no further! Explore our blog posts covering what to pack for the Inca Trail, how to prepare for a hike, and a comprehensive guide to conquering the Inca Trail.


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