Machu-Picchu.org

Best hiking boots for Inca Trail

From lightweight hiking boots to more rugged footwear for tough hikes like the Inca Trail, here are the best hiking boots for the Inca Trail.

Hiking boots are essential for comfort and performance on the trails, but that no longer means a stiff, heavy model that will hurt you. The trend is toward lighter materials that still offer decent support, and waterproof boots are by far the most popular (some are offered in a non-waterproof version for hiking in hot or dry climates).

Our selection of the best hiking boots for the Inca Trail 2022 falls into 2 categories: lightweight boots for day hikes and quick trips like visiting Machu Picchu, mid-weight options that work well for most backpacking trips.


Our Team’s Hiking Boot Picks


Best overall hiking boot for Inca Trail

1. Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX ($130)

  • Category: Lightweight.
  • Weight: 1 lb. 15.7 oz.
  • Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
  • What we like: Fast, lightweight, flexible and reasonably priced.
  • What we don’t like: Thinner and less stable than the Salomon Quest 4.
Best overall hiking boot for Inca Trail: Salomon Men's X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking
Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

Built like a trail running shoe but with more support and ankle protection, the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid is our favorite hiking boot for 2022 is ideal for Cusco hiking trails like the Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Ausangate trek and even visiting Machu Picchu. These boots offer an impressive combination of comfort and low weight while retaining solid toe protection, a stable chassis and a lug design that grips exceptionally well. You also get Salomon’s proven build quality, which tends to take more abuse on the trail than other boots in this weight and price range. The Inca trail is regulated by the Peruvian state and this does not allow hikers to carry a lot of weight and so the X Ultra 3 Mid is perfect for being lightweight and ideal for the Inca trail.

Naturally, there are a few things we don’t entirely like that come with the lightweight construction of the X Ultra. The most significant is the lack of underfoot protection, which is thinner than the beefy Salomon Quest 4 below. Also, the X Ultra is quite flexible and doesn’t sit as high on the ankle as the Quest, so it’s not as rugged in technical terrain or when carrying a heavy pack. However, for the Inca Trail you won’t have any problems.

Salomon Men's X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking
Salomon Men’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking
Women's X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots
Women’s X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots

Best budget hiking boot for Inca Trail

2. Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof ($100)

  • Category: Lightweight/Midweight
  • Weight: 2 lb. 4 oz.
  • Waterproof: Yes (M Select DRY)
  • What we like: Great price, fit and comfort.
  • What we don’t like: Not as rugged for tough trails or heavy loads.
Best budget hiking boot for Inca Trail: Merrell Men's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof

This boot is ideal if you only want to use for the Inca trail and maybe gentle routes. Ideal for those light backpackers
who stick mainly to maintained trails. What makes this boot so popular is its light weight and comfort at a reasonable price. For $145, you get good underfoot cushioning, the trusty Vibram sole, and a waterproof membrane (there’s an upgraded Gore-Tex model for $165).

What are the downsides of the Moab 2 Mid Waterproof?

The boot lacks support compared to some of the more expensive models on this list for carrying a heavy load or hiking on rocky or rough trails. Secondly, it is not as durable as some of the more expensive models on this list. The Moab is a well-built hiking boot overall, but the lack of premium materials means it may eventually need to be replaced a bit sooner than we’d prefer. But at a significant discount to other boots on this list, the Moab offers the right mix of comfort and performance for many day hikers and weekend adventures.

Merrell Men's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Merrell Women's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot

The best backpacking boot for rough terrain and the Inca Trail

3. Salomon Quest 4 GTX ($230)

  • Category: Medium/heavy weight
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 14.2 oz.
  • Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
  • What we like: Rugged, protective and comfortable.
  • What we don’t: Pretty heavy and overkill for most day hikes.
Salomon Men's QUEST 4 GORE-TEX Hiking Boots
Salomon QUEST 4 GORE-TEX Hiking Boots

If you’re looking for a rugged boot to do the classic 4-day Inca Trail, Salomon’s Quest 4 GTX is the complete package. The fourth generation of the line features a top-notch performance fit, an aggressive stance, and one of our all-time favorite lacing systems: eyelets at the base of the ankle do an excellent job of locking the heel in place. Plus, the latest model (released in 2021) has a modernized but very durable upper, and the cushioning and underfoot protection impressed us on rocky trails, when carrying a heavy load, and on high-mileage days. Overall, the Quest is a rugged boot that really excels in the backcountry.

This boot is ideal for demanding hikes and backpacking trips with steep climbs and descents and off-trail adventures while carrying a full pack. However, the boot is a bit stiff and overkill for those who don’t need the extra protection or want to move fast and light on well-maintained trails. Those people will be better off with a lighter, more agile boot option like Salomon’s own X Ultra 3 Mid GTX above.

Salomon Men's QUEST 4 GORE-TEX Hiking Boots
Salomon Men’s QUEST 4 GORE-TEX Hiking Boots
Salomon Women's Quest 4 GORE-TEX Hiking Boots
Salomon Women’s Quest 4 GORE-TEX Hiking Boots

Best for trekking and Inca Trail enthusiasts

4. Asolo Falcon GV ($250)

  • Category: Light/medium
  • Weight: 2 lb. 2.6 oz.
  • Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
  • What we like: Well constructed, extremely comfortable and durable.
  • What we don’t like: Expensive and not as comfortable as other heavier boots on this list.
Asolo Men's Falcon GV Hiking Boot
Asolo Falcon GV Hiking Boot

When we think of Asolo, the first thing that comes to mind is a classic leather hiking boot like their TPS 520 GV Evo. However, the sleeker and more modern Falcon GV represents where hiking footwear is headed: a little less weight and support than a traditional hiking boot, but with serious technical abilities.

The biggest drawback of the Asolo Falcon GV is the stability, which we rate as moderate. If you’re used to a high-top boot with a lot of support, the Falcon is not it. However, when laced up tightly, we used them as backpackers with a relatively heavy load on everything from ice fields and glaciers to steep rocky passes without any problems. For those who don’t need maximum levels of stability and want a lightweight, comfortable boot for everything from day hiking to serious backpacking, you’ll love the Falcon.

Asolo Men's Falcon GV Hiking Boot
Asolo Men’s Falcon GV Hiking Boot
Asolo Women's Falcon GV Hiking Boot
Asolo Women’s Falcon GV Hiking Boot

Best of the rest for the Inca Trail and other trails

5. Lowa Renegade GTX Mid (245 $)

  • Category: Mid weight
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 7 oz.
  • Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
  • What We Like: Lightweight and comfortable; enough support for most backpackers.
  • What we don’t like: Not the sturdiest construction.
Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid

The Lowa Renegade has the look and feel of a traditional mountaineering boot at an impressively low weight. Unlike the more aggressive and modern Quest, the leather Renegade offers better ground isolation and feels more planted and rugged. It gives up a bit of the fun factor and performance fit of the Quest, but the trade-off is worth it for those carrying a heavy pack or wanting more protection underfoot on rocky trails, which is the case on the 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Lowa has kept the weight down in part by shifting some of the stabilization duties to a very efficient polyurethane external frame. This makes the Renegade perform like a true backpacking boot while weighing less than 2.5 pounds. In addition, its leather upper is relatively thin, saving ounces and reducing break-in time. The sacrifice of all this lightweighting is the lack of long-term durability-high-mileage users have reported needing a new pair almost every year. However, they keep coming back for the comfortable feel and the right balance of weight and support. And it’s easy to find a good fit since the Renegade is made in narrow, regular and wide widths.

Lowa Men's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
Lowa Women's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot
Lowa Women’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot

6. La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX ($175)

  • Category: Lightweight
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 1.2 oz.
  • Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex)
  • What We Like: Excellent stability and durability in a lightweight, trail runner-type design.
  • What we don’t like: Shallow lugs are prone to slipping in mud.
La Sportiva Mens Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX Hiking Shoe
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX Hiking Shoes

The La Sportiva’s Ultra Raptor model has earned legendary status among the trail running community, beloved for its high levels of protection, durability and stability along with a lightweight, trail runner-like design. Here, the Mid GTX simply elevates the design, adding an over-the-ankle collar and a waterproof membrane. The result is a shoe that sits somewhere in between the mid-height trail runner and the hiking boot, taking the best features from both worlds. It is ideal for the Inca Trail, as you won’t be carrying much weight or luggage, a maximum of 10 kilos.

The Ultra Raptor offers noticeably more protection around the foot with a generous toe cap and TPU heel, and the stiff shank contributes greatly to improved stability. In addition, the FriXion XF 2.0 outsole is stiff and designed to grip well on rock (unfortunately traction falls short in mud). True, the Altra will offer a more cushioned, agile feel on well-settled trails, and its wide toe box provides relief on high-mileage days. This model is best for rocky trails, which is the case on the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu.

La Sportiva Mens Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX Hiking Shoe
La Sportiva Mens Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX Hiking Shoe
La Sportiva Womens Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX Wide Hiking Boots
La Sportiva Womens Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX Wide Hiking Boots

7. La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX ($209)

  • Category: Lightweight
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 1.6 oz.
  • Waterproof: Yes (Gore-Tex Surround)
  • What we like: Lightweight, fairly durable and comfortable.
  • What we don’t like: A bit narrow (though wide sizes are available).
La Sportiva Mens Nucleo High II GTX Hiking Boot
La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX – Hiking Shoes

The La Sportiva’s Nucleo High II GTX is a quintessential modern boot: lightweight and nimble, yet supportive enough for day hikes and most backpacking trips. Its most notable features are the Gore-Tex Surround lining and Nano-Cell technology. In short, the Gore-Tex Surround not only breathes through the top of the foot, like a traditional waterproof design, but also through the bottom of the footbed and the sides. La Sportiva’s Nano-Cell technology is the net-like mesh seen along the sides of the foot. While giving the boot a distinctive look, these cutouts only seem to have a modest impact on breathability.

Where the Nucleo really differentiates itself from other 2-pound models is in durability: the boot features large leather stripes instead of mesh for climbing and hiking in difficult terrain. Its mid-height design provides moderate flexibility, so it doesn’t require prolonged break-in, and traction is excellent on rock and mud. In summary, the Nucleo is a nice upgrade in performance and build quality from a boot like the Merrell Moab 2 above, albeit at a higher price point. This boot will serve you well for hiking the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu and other trails in Peru and Cusco such as the Colored Mountain which in rainy season gets slippery.

La Sportiva Mens Nucleo High II GTX Hiking Boot
La Sportiva Mens Nucleo High II GTX Hiking Boot
La Sportiva Womens Nucleo High II GTX Hiking Boots
La Sportiva Womens Nucleo High II GTX Hiking Boots

Hiking Boots for Inca Trail Comparison Table

BOOTPRICECATEGORYWEIGHTWATERPROOFUPPER
Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX$130Lightweight1 lb. 15.7 oz.Yes (Gore-Tex)Leather / textile
Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP$100Light/mid2 lb. 4 oz.Yes (M Select)Leather / mesh
Salomon Quest 4 GTX$230Mid/heavy2 lb. 14.2 oz.Yes (Gore-Tex)Leather / textile
Asolo Falcon GV$250Light/mid2 lb. 2.6 oz.Yes (Gore-Tex)Suede / polyester
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid$245Midweight2 lb. 7 oz.Yes (Gore-Tex)Nubuck leather
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II$175Lightweight2 lb. 1.2 oz.Yes (Gore-Tex)Synthetic
La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX$200Lightweight2 lb. 1.6 oz.Yes (Gore-Tex)Nubuck leather

The best trekking boots for your Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu

All of the boots we’ve mentioned above are suitable for a wide range of trips! If you just want to hike the Inca Trail you can choose the most economical option or pick one that will work for your next treks. Any of them would be great for treks to Everest Base Camp and for hiking Mera Peak, Isla Peak, Elbrus, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro or any other trekking trip we have in Cusco, such as the Salkantay Trek, the Lares Trek, Ausangate Trek or the famous Rainbow Mountain in Peru.

Note 1: This information is based on personal experiences, travel blogs, comments and reviews from trekking lovers around the world.

Note 2: All links lead to Amazon and are with affiliate account. It is a way to help this blog to continue providing quality information.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.