Adventure Kokoda Gear Guide: TREKKING BOOTS

The trekking boots you select should be lightweight, fit well and have a good tread. We recommend boots with a synthetic upper in preference to leather. Synthetic uppers are usually made from cordura and suede, are lighter, more breathable and some have waterproof membranes like Gore-Tex. You will not be able to keep your feet dry as they will be wet from your own sweat during the trek so the way you care for them is more important than the boots you wear – it is therefore more important for them to have a mesh upper. Synthetic boots do not need to be ‘broken-in’ like leather boots – you can trek in them the day you buy them as long as they fit properly. To test the fit first, with the boot unlaced, you should be able to get two fingers easily down behind your heel, then you should lace up the boot you intend to buy and kick the ground with your toe. If your toe hits the end of the boot it is too short – this means your piggies will not be happy on the downhill sections of the track! The boot needs to support your foot without compressing it. Some brands fit narrow feet better than wide ones; other brands do the opposite. Don’t be conned by a brand name – buy the boots that fit your feet. The boots you choose should have good ankle support to assist with stability. You should also make sure the sole of the boot flexes at the ball of the foot and not in the middle. Check the under-foot cushioning to ensure it is firm and supportive.  Click here to view the Australian Bushwalking Forum on hikig boots and blisters.

Comments

  1. For those on a budget it’s worthwhile planning ahead and waiting for seasonal sales to get a bargain.

    Boots and socks go together make sure you buy your socks before your boots.

    Try the boots you intend to wear with those (style of) socks you intend to trek with.

    Don’t buy your boots wear them in and then buy a new pair of sock to do your trek.

  2. There is no more important clothing item for a trekker on the Kokoda Trail than well functioning boots.

    Boots should be of good quality, well fitting and worn in prior to the trek in similar conditions to those experienced on the Trail. (Foot and ankle injuries and medical issues concerning feet are a fact of life on the Trail.)

  3. Chad Sherrin says:

    I too have tried all manner of boots before settling on the AKU Taiga, available from Snowgum http://www.snowgum.com.au/shop/product/8535/taiga-gore-tex-boots-unisex
    These are a light and very durable boot, perfect for Kokoda. Click on the photo of the sole in the link above and you’ll see it has lugs pointing forward and backwards, which gives great grip both uphill and downhill – and that folks is Kokoda! Moreover the sole is soft enough to give you good ‘feel’ when crossing log bridges, stepping across rocks, etc.

    In terms of their durability I get 10 treks out of a pair of boots – the best I have got from others is five treks before the uppers give out.

    My final comment on boots is to avoid buying full leather boots – while they are very durable, they are heavy, and once you get a good load of Kokoda mud on them you won’t be able to lift your feet.

    On socks, I agree wholeheartedly with Simon’s comment – buy your socks first and then fit your boots. I used to be a ‘woollen socks’ man – that’s all the Army issued – but since discovering ‘Koolmax’ socks I wouldn’t go past them for Kokoda. There are lots of brands that use the ‘Koolmax’ technology but my favourites are ‘Horizons’, available at Mountain Designs.

  4. Craig Staub says:

    All the comments above are well worth trying to stick with.
    My recent trip (April2013) I followed the advice and completed the trip without one single blister. Not to say my feet were not peeling away layers of skin. They were, if you all remember being in the pool for too long and getting out all wrinkled up that is what your feet do along this trail.
    I dried them as often as possible with a car chamois, changed into dry socks as often as I could, covered my feet with Bepantham and Tea Tree oil of a night. And had an extra pair of innersole’s that I would rotate for the trip (helps keep the feet dry)
    Last tip alot of us had slip on shoes of a night the Crok style was great for when washing up etc but the rubber in these are very harsh on very soft wet feet. It is very easy to pull your skin off at this time so I always had my socks on with these shoes as it prevented my skin peeling off.

    My Boots were from Katmandu I trained in them for months prior to attempting this trip. They were even worn to the gym. They have a great range to choose from. I have a very broad foot and trying to fit them was a challenge as you don’t want extra room in the length. Going down the hills your foot pushes to the very front of your boot, lots of pressure on your toes.

    Hope this helps further treckers! Good luck all 🙂

  5. I’ll add to this excellent advice and recommend wearing thin inner socks too, Woolen preferably, inside coolmax type main socks. Many brands have socks with an almost mesh on top with cushioned sole, have not used these yet but they look good for hot climates. I find using inners really helps prevent blisters. Cut your toe nails real short too or they may end up black (if your nails contact boots especially one down hills) then eventually fall off! Yep personal experience on that one.

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