hiking shoes and boots


Guide to Selecting Hiking Shoes and Hiking Boots for Your Trek on the Kokoda Track


Embarking on the adventure of trekking the historic Kokoda Track is an exhilarating experience, and ensuring you have the right footwear is paramount to a successful journey. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best hiking shoes and boots for your Kokoda trek, covering essential aspects such as waterproofing, height considerations, and the connection to gaiters.

The Importance of Proper Footwear on the Kokoda Track

Trekking Kokoda demands reliable footwear that can withstand diverse terrains, river crossings, and varying weather conditions. Your shoes or boots will be your most loyal companion throughout the hike, offering the support and comfort needed to conquer the challenging trails.

Full vs. Half Height: Choosing the Right Style

Full-Height Boots

Full-height hiking boots provide excellent ankle support, crucial for navigating uneven terrains and rocky paths along the Kokoda Track. The added height protects your ankles from potential injuries, ensuring stability during your trek.

Half-Height Shoes

On the other hand, half-height hiking shoes offer more flexibility and breathability, making them ideal for lighter trails and warmer weather. The decision between full or half height ultimately depends on your personal preference and the specific challenges you expect to encounter on the Kokoda Track.

Waterproofing: A Necessity on the Kokoda Trail

Importance of Waterproof Footwear

Given the unpredictable weather conditions on the Kokoda Track, investing in waterproof hiking footwear is non-negotiable. Wet feet not only lead to discomfort but also increase the risk of blisters and other foot-related issues.

Waterproof Membrane Technology

Look for boots or shoes equipped with advanced waterproof membrane technology, such as GORE-TEX, to ensure your footwear remains dry even in the heaviest downpours. This feature is crucial for traversing the numerous river crossings and muddy sections along the trail.

Careful Drying: No Campfire Solution

While waterproofing is essential, it’s equally crucial to note that these shoes or boots should not be dried using a campfire. Excessive heat can damage the waterproof membrane, compromising its effectiveness. Instead, let your footwear air dry naturally.

Joining to Gaiters: Keeping Debris at Bay

Gaiters for Added Protection

To enhance the performance of your hiking shoes or boots, consider joining them to gaiters. Gaiters act as a barrier, preventing debris, mud, and water from entering your footwear during the trek. This is particularly beneficial when navigating the challenging terrains of the Kokoda Track.

Proper Attachment Techniques

Ensure that your gaiters are securely attached to your footwear, forming a seamless barrier against external elements. This not only keeps your feet dry but also adds an extra layer of protection against scratches and abrasions.

The Best Hiking Shoes and Boots for Your Kokoda Trek

Lightweight Options for Comfort

Opting for lightweight hiking shoes or boots is advisable for the Kokoda Track, considering the long hours of walking and challenging ascents and descents. Brands like Merrell and Salomon offer lightweight options without compromising on durability or support.

Traditional vs. Trail Running Shoes

While traditional hiking boots provide robust ankle support, some trekkers prefer the agility and comfort of trail running shoes. Salomon X Ultra 4, for instance, is renowned for its versatility, making it a popular choice for both trail running and hiking.

Hiking Shoes vs. Hiking Boots

The decision between hiking shoes and boots depends on the level of support you seek. Hiking shoes are more lightweight and suitable for well-maintained trails, while hiking boots provide additional ankle support, crucial for the rugged terrain of the Kokoda Track.

Choosing the Right Material: Leather vs. Synthetic

Leather Boots for Durability

Leather boots are known for their durability and ruggedness, making them an excellent choice for the challenging conditions of the Kokoda Track. They offer superior protection against water and abrasions, ensuring a longer lifespan for your footwear.

Synthetic Options for Breathability

Synthetic materials are often used in lightweight hiking shoes, providing breathability and flexibility. Consider your preferences and the specific demands of the Kokoda Track when deciding between leather and synthetic footwear.


Selecting the best hiking shoes or boots for your Kokoda trek is a crucial aspect of preparation. Consider the terrain, weather conditions, and personal preferences to make an informed decision. Investing in high-quality, waterproof footwear with proper ankle support will significantly enhance your comfort and safety during this unforgettable journey on the Kokoda Track.


Q: What are the key factors to consider when selecting hiking shoes or boots?

A: When selecting hiking footwear, you should consider factors such as terrain, distance, weather conditions, and the specific needs of the hiker.

Q: What is the best overall hiking footwear for long-distance trekking?

A: The best overall hiking footwear for long-distance trekking should provide excellent support, traction, and durability, such as a high-quality waterproof hiking boot or shoe.

Q: How important is comfort when choosing hiking shoes or boots?

A: Comfort is crucial when selecting hiking footwear, as uncomfortable shoes can lead to blisters and discomfort, which can significantly impact the hiking experience.

Q: What are the advantages of lightweight hiking shoes for backpacking?

A: Lightweight hiking shoes are advantageous for backpacking as they reduce fatigue and allow for faster, more agile movement on the trail.

Q: How do I know if hiking boots are suitable for mountain trekking?

A: Hiking boots suitable for mountain trekking should provide excellent ankle support, durable construction, and reliable traction for challenging mountain terrain.

Q: What are the benefits of waterproof hiking footwear?

A: Waterproof hiking footwear provides protection against wet and muddy conditions, keeping the hiker’s feet dry and comfortable during the trek.

Q: What are the key differences between hiking shoes and hiking boots?

A: Hiking shoes are typically lighter and more agile, suitable for day hiking or light backpacking, while hiking boots provide greater ankle support and are ideal for rugged terrain and heavy backpacking.

Q: Are trail shoes suitable for long-distance hiking?

A: Trail shoes can be suitable for long-distance hiking, particularly for hikers who prefer a more lightweight and agile footwear option. However, the suitability may vary based on individual preferences and the terrain.

Q: What should hikers consider when transitioning from regular running shoes to hiking footwear?

A: Hikers transitioning from regular running shoes to hiking footwear should consider factors such as support, traction, and durability, as hiking shoes or boots provide different features to cater to the demands of hiking trails.

Q: How can hikers determine the most suitable type of hiking footwear for their specific needs?

A: Hikers can determine the most suitable type of hiking footwear by considering factors such as the type of terrain they will encounter, the duration of their hikes, and their individual comfort and support preferences.

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