Nike Orizaba
Nike Orizaba

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

Nike Orizaba

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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 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.

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