Do I Have to Wear Hiking Boots on Kilimanjaro?

When choosing your footwear for Kilimanjaro, you should consider these factors:

  1. warmth
  2. waterproofness
  3. ankle support
  4. weight
  5. traction

Womens-Hiking-BootsFor most people, the appropriate footwear is boots.  Compared to trail shoes, boots offer superior warmth, which will be immensely important should temperatures dip below zero.  Additionally, boots support the ankles that can help prevent the risk of injury.  Because of the height of the boots, your feet are less likely to get wet while stepping in puddles, snow or ice.  Lastly, the tread on a boot is also deeper, enabling a better grip on the terrain, whether it be mud, scree or rock.

So given the above, why would anyone choose trail shoes?  The main reason is weight.  It is said that a pound on your feet is equivalent to carrying five on your back.  Therefore, an average pair of boots, which weighs more than three pounds is like adding fifteen pounds to your pack.  Walking with boots can be much more tiring when you think about how many steps you take on the climb.  But unless you are comfortable and used to hiking in trail shoes, in perhaps extremely cold weather, then Kilimanjaro is not the place to experiment.

Recommended boots:
Asolo TPS 520 GV Hiking Boots - Men's
Asolo TPS 520 GV Hiking Boots – Men’s

Asolo Stinger Gore-Tex Boots – Women’s

Recommended trail shoes:
Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra CS WP Trail-Running Shoes - Men's
Salomon XA Pro 3D Trail-Running Shoes – Men’s

Salomon XA Pro 3D Trail-Running Shoes – Women’s