There are numerous ways to enjoy a trip to Hawaii.
You can lounge by the beach drinking wine and reading your favorite book, or you can go hiking and enjoy the volcanic landscapes and waterfalls.
If you choose the latter, you may wonder if its appropriate to carry your boots.
So, Should You Bring Your Own Hiking Boots to Hawaii?
If you can, you should always bring your own hiking boots to Hawaii. Hiking boots are functional and will help protect your feet when navigating difficult terrain. Bringing your own instead of buying in Hawaii saves you time, so you can enjoy your trip more. It also allows you to bring in boots from your favorite brand that will not hurt your feet during your trip, unlike new, rigid boots.
Why Should You Bring Your Own Hiking Boots?
Hawaii has a lot of beautiful scenery to enjoy, and the best way to experience it is through hiking.
Hiking can be stressful on your body if you are uncomfortable, which is why proper hiking boots are a must-have for such a trip.
In addition to keeping you comfortable, these shoes will protect your feet from undue pressure and injury, so you do not have to deal with sore feet or blisters at the end of the day.
But why exactly should you bring your own hiking boots instead of just getting a pair in Hawaii?
When you buy hiking boots before your trip, you have enough time to break them in and test their fit to ensure they are comfortable for you.
Wearing hiking boots straight off the rack can be stressful on your feet and can negate all the benefits of a good pair of hiking shoes.
Getting your shoes at a familiar location also means you can save time on shopping by walking into your favorite brand store and picking out boots of your choice.
This is better than spending the first half of your Hawaii trip looking for a pair of hiking shoes you like. You can get right into the fun.
Hiking Sandals Vs. Hiking Boots
Now that you know why you should bring your hiking boots to Hawaii, should you just opt for the lighter, easier-to-pack hiking sandals?
They are a tad heavier than regular flip-flops, but they provide more traction, allowing you to navigate terrains with dried-up dirt and loose gravel without slipping.
Hiking sandals also have a more open design than hiking boots, which can come in handy in Hawaii’s hot weather.
Because they are lighter, they are also easier to pack. If you are going to stick to shorter hikes with slightly more forgiving terrain, hiking sandals might be good for you.
That said, if you are a serious hiker looking to take on longer terrains with brutal terrain, hiking boots are your best bet.
They are more heavy-duty, provide better traction, and offer more ankle support than hiking sandals.
They also give more foot protection against sharp lava rocks and mud if you plan to hike on the Big Island or go on the Kalalau Trail on the Napali coast.
Four Hiking Boot Shopping Considerations
The next natural step is to buy comfortable hiking boots that protect your feet and keep you comfortable during your hikes in Hawaii.
But what exactly should you be looking for?
The perfect pair of hiking boots should meet the following criteria:
1. Lightweight Design
Boots are heavy by nature, but shoemakers have put a lot of effort into making them lighter over the years.
Look for a pair with a lightweight and versatile design that still maintains durability and good foot protection.
Hawaii is hot, and your feet will begin to feel caged inside a pair of boots if the material is stiff.
Find a breathable pair that offers an open-air feel and keeps your feet dry and comfortable.
While the soles should be thick for sole protection, the upper should be tough but light and airy.
3. Eco-Friendly Material
Hawaii has a beautiful ecosystem, and you can help protect it by buying hiking boots made of safe and sustainable materials.
Above everything, your hiking boots should be comfortable.
They should offer a slightly loose fit around the toes and a firm but comfortable fit around the ankles.
The midsole should be cushiony enough to protect you from aftershocks too.
Always buy hiking boots in your regular size or one size larger, depending on the brand, but never smaller.
Four Other Shoes to Bring to Hawaii
It is safe to assume that you will not spend your entire trip to Hawaii hiking.
As you are shopping around for the perfect pair of hiking boots, you should consider bringing along the following shoes too:
1. Hiking Sandals
Hiking sandals will do great for short hikes or extremely hot days when hiking boots just won’t do.
Since they dry faster, they will also allow you to keep hiking after you muddy your boots and need to get them cleaned.
Sandals are also perfect for hikes that involve crossing small streams because they dry faster.
Tip: Hiking sandals are often open-toed. While this means they provide more breathability, it also means your feet are less protected from jagged rocks and mud. This is why you should only wear them on short, simple hikes.
2. Trail Running Shoes
Trail running shoes were designed for runners and are, thus, lighter than hiking boots.
They provide a light balance while protecting your feet from rocks and dirt, which makes them the perfect compromise between hiking sandals and hiking boots.
That said, these shoes tend to have a very stiff sole.
3. Water Shoes
As the name suggests, these shoes are designed with water activities in mind.
They are perfect if you plan to spend most of your time in the water and don’t wish to get your other shoes wet.
If the hiking trail you are taking on a particular day passes through a water body, you can pack these light shoes and change into them when you get there.
This will protect your hiking boots from water damage.
4. Walking Shoes
Walking shoes are ideal for paved hikes. They are not built for jagged terrain, but if you only plan to walk the streets of Hawaii, they will do just fine.
So, should you bring your own hiking boots to Hawaii?
If you plan to hike through the forests, waterfalls, and hills in Hawaii, you should definitely pack a good pair of hiking boots.
These shoes will protect your feet during your excursions and allow you to focus on taking in the sites.
If you are going to be in Hawaii for a while, you can also bring along some sandals and water shoes for other activities.
Always remember to break in all your shoes before your trip to make sure they fit.