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Gear Guy

What type of shoes do I need for rainforest hiking?

What type of shoes should I wear for day hiking in the Costa Rican rainforest—sandals, trail runners, or water shoes? I will be going in November, historically one of the wettest months of the year. Dion San Francisco, California

A: Frankly, I'd consider packing ALL those shoes you mention. For one thing, you're going to want to have extra shoes to change into from day to day, giving Tuesday's pair a fighting chance to semi-dry out while you wear Wednesday's, and so on. Or, you might want an evening pair that you keep dry, while your day shoes get soaked and you just put up with it.

I suppose I'd say "nay" to the sandals, though. Reason: Small biting creatures, whether snakes or insects. I don't think you want to step on a very large centipede in sandals. They might be OK for around town, but I'd stick with trail runners and water shoes in the rainforest. Get shoes with as much synthetic material as possible—it'll dry faster and stand up better to the moisture. For a trail runner, if you haven't already got some, consider the Adidas Supernova Trail ($80), which has a synthetic leather and mesh upper and deep lugs. For a water shoe, I like the Adidas Hellbender ($90), an all-synthetic shoe that's really like a light trail runner, but has drain holes so water can escape. Good support and traction on wet surfaces, too.

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