Before I embarked upon my Peru adventure with On The Go Tours I was racked with indecision about what footwear is suitable for the Lares Trek. After reading every blog I could find and now having completed the Lares Trek, I thought I’d throw in my two pennies!
I opted to wear mid height walking boots (North Face Women’s Syncline GTX to be precise, perhaps they’ll pay me for sponsorship now!) which were very comfortable. I recommend that you wear boots to protect your ankles. The terrain on the Lares Trek is rough – lots of loose rocks and very steep hills. Going downhill it is often very slippery so you must have boots with a good grip on the sole. Also if you’re travelling in rainy season make sure they’re waterproof. Pack thick socks as well, not only to keep your feet nice and warm but to also act as padding between your skin and the inside of your boot to save it rubbing.
There were other people in my group with walking trainers who coped fine, so I guess it depends on what is most comfortable for you. If you need the extra ankle support, walking trainers won’t cut it as they’re just not sturdy enough.
Whichever type of walking shoe you do end up choosing, make sure you wear them in before the trek. The last thing you want is blisters and sores from new shoes that rub against your skin. Buy them a good few months’ in advance so you have plenty of time to test them out before arriving in Peru.
Another tip: rent walking sticks for the trek, which are around $5 per stick (you’ll need two) and I thought they were an absolute God send! Good for leaning on in exhaustion when going uphill and stopping you from slipping downhill. This advice applies to the Inca Trail trek just as well.
The Lares Trek, while somewhat less well-known than the Inca Trail, is in many respects a better choice for those wishing to experience the magic of the Andes without the crowds. If that sounds like your cup of tea, check out On The Go Tours’ options in South America and prepare for the trip of a lifetime. Just pack the right shoes!