Which shoes will get me through rainforest hikes?
I do light hikes in the hot, humid, muddy Puerto Rican rainforest multiple times a year for work. My coworkers wear rubber wellies, and I usually buy essentially disposable boots (and throw them away after a week). Im sick of wet feet, but most waterproof boots seem made for winter. Any advice? Heather Mountain View, California
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Thats an exceedingly difficult question. You sum up the challenge nicely: Hot, humid, wet wreak havoc on seams.” Indeed it does. Plus, you really dont want anything that heavy and waterproof on your feet. Im surprised those other guys wear rubber Wellingtons. You would think their feet would just pool up in sweat.
Teva X-1 water shoeTeva X-1 water shoe
But, what else are you going to do? You can spend $150 to $200 for leather or leather-and-fabric boots with a waterproof liner, and before you know it youve stuck your foot into a foot-deep mud bog, overtopped the boots, and youre soaking wet. Plus, odds are good that they wont even last all that long.
Are there any serious objective hazards to contend with, such as poisonous reptiles? Nasty biting millipedes? Thorns? If not, then you might try a water-friendly shoe. Yeah, youre feet will still be wet, but at least the water will drain out, and the shoe is made to take the moisture. Tevas X-1 shoes ($90; www.teva.com) have running-shoe comfort in a design that lets water flow out quickly. Salomons Karma Amphib ($90; www.salomonoutdoor.com) offers a woman-friendly fit design that is supposed to keep crud out of your feettwigs, pebbles, and the like. That is a very good thing.
I think this water-shoe family is going to be your best bet. Otherwise, its disposable shoes, or those Wellies.
Also, check out this years more than 400 must-have gear items, including a comprehensive section of womens gear, in the 2006 Buyers Guide.