Close banner

Support Outside Online

Love Outside?

Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today.

Contribute to Outside

Can I wear trail sandals to hike the Copper Canyon?

Which hiking boots are the coolest for hiking the Copper Canyon in Mexico? We're going in August. Would trail sandals be OK? We will be taking a day excursion with less than ten pounds per pack. Susie Kansas City, Missouri

A: I don't think trail sandals are ever OK—they just don't offer enough protection from rocks and thorns. What if you step on a rattlesnake? They have them there, you know.

Nike Orizaba

Of course, you're also going to be there when it's very warm, although I gather you already know that. So I would certainly take some sandals for casual use or around camp. But I'd arm myself with a bit more rugged footwear for the hike. Merrell's Chameleon Ventilator boots ($110;, for example, have breathable mesh panels to offer good support without a big penalty in hot feet. The Reactor Ventilator Mid ($90), also from Merrell, is a mid-high boot that's even a little cooler.

For something even lighter, take a look at Nike's Air Zoom Orizaba ($90;, a very breathable, lightweight trail runner that might work just fine given the fact you plan to stick to trails and light loads. The Orizaba's have a lot of mesh to keep you cool, but still offer better foot protection than ordinary running shoes or walking shoes. And great traction. So I'd sign off on those—just not sandals for any more than very short walks.

Check out Outside's Gear of the Year winners in the 2005 Buyer's Guide , then get yourself a copy of the issue, on newsstands now!

Support Outside Online

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.

Contribute to Outside
Filed To: Trail-Running ShoesHiking Boots
Lead Photo: courtesy, REI