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What Shoes to Wear on our Waterfall & Rainforest Hikes (And Which Ones Not To!)

Flora and Fauna Hiking Waterfalls

Believe it or not, this is a very important topic. The right or wrong shoes can completely make or break your waterfall and rainforest adventure with Hike Maui. If you haven’t hiked with us before, you might not know what to expect; but we do want you to be prepared. So what works for these experiences and what doesn’t?

First, consider you may need to walk through water to get to some of the waterfalls. How much? It changes based on how much rainfall we’ve received. Sometimes it’s a few inches; other times it can be up over your knees.

The main thing to know about footwear is you’ll want to wear shoes that can get WET & MUDDY! There are some rocky and muddy areas on our trails, and there are slippery rocks to traverse at the waterfalls, so you’ll want to wear shoes with good treads and a firm sole. Also, footwear with reliable traction is essential for climbing up the rock ledges above the waterfalls before doing that adrenaline-inducing cliff jump.

DO WEAR  Tevas, Chacos, or Keen-type water shoes or sandals that are made for this type of terrain. Sandals are fine as long as there are straps over the toes and around the heels to prevent your feet from sliding around once they’re wet.

a woman standing on a beach

Tevas -vs- Chacos—both are good

a close up of a person sitting on a sandy beach

Women’s water sandals

a person wearing a costume

Men’s water shoes with a thick sole

a man that is standing in the sand

Hiking sandals are excellent for our hikes

DO WEAR  Running or athletic shoes that can get wet & muddy. You can wash or rinse them with fresh water after the hike and leave them out to dry overnight. You’ll want to wear shoes with a grippy sole for some traction. Skate-style shoes like Vans will do the job, but they aren’t the best choice.

Wet & muddy shoes

a person standing on a sandy beach

Regular running shoes work very well

a woman standing next to a forest

Grippy soles for some traction are a must

 

DON’T WEAR flip flop-style sandals. Or as we call them here in Hawaii…slippahs. Don’t do it. You’ll be miserable by the time you reach the first waterfall. Really.

Slippahs (flip flops)

DON’T WEAR your brand-new (very expensive) Jordans or Yeezys. You certainly can if you want to…but you’re going to get them wet and muddy. If you have footwear you’d like to keep in pristine condition, you’re best off leaving them back at your hotel while on tour with us.

a close up of many different types of shoes

The shoes here sell for $6,000 – $100,000!

DON’T WEAR hiking boots that cannot get wet. In other climates, leather hiking boots or boots that fully enclose your foot and ankle make sense. We find they become heavy and uncomfortable after they get wet or waterlogged. Plus, they take up a lot of room in your suitcase that could be better used for all the great souvenirs you’ll buy while here.

a close up of some shoes

Suede hiking boots

Snow hiking boots

DON’T WEAR water socks with a thin, flexible sole, like those intended for use in a swimming pool. These are okay to bring along to wear while you’re enjoying the waterfalls, but generally are not substantial enough to support your feet for the duration of the hike.

a close up of a stuffed toy

Water socks with a thin sole

DON’T WEAR high heels. Stilettos, platforms, wedges, block heels, and any other type of ankle-breaker are simply wrong for our tours. You’d think common sense would prevail on this, but believe it or not we once had a woman show up in 4-inch stilettos. None of the shoes pictured below are suitable for our tours.   

a person standing in front of water

Wedge sandals

a woman sitting on the ground

High-heeled sandals—don’t do it

 

ACCEPTABLE believe it or not…Crocs. While we don’t recommend them for our hike, they really do work well for some people. They have grippy, anti-slip soles, and people who wear them say they’re okay on our hikes. At least you can clean them off easily no matter how dirty they get. 

a man that is standing in the dirt

Crocs are acceptable

 

Please be aware Maui has a limited number of stores that sell shoes, but there are a few of them around. Some of you may remember Hike Maui previously rented tabis (fisherman sandals) for $2. With COVID-19 health and safety precautions now being a priority, we no longer offer this option. If you have questions about footwear, please don’t hesitate to contact us for further clarification.

We can’t wait to get back out on those (sometimes) wet and muddy trails! A hui hou! (Till we meet again.)

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