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Packing tips: Choosing the right hiking shoes

Dec 12, 2017 by The Go Ahead Tours Team

Being able to incorporate your personal style while still packing practical clothing options that can carry you through a day of sightseeing and adventure is key while traveling. I tested a pair of hiking boots while on a trip to Costa Rica and I’m dishing out all the details on these shoes to help you beat the fear of tired feet.



I brought the Merrell Women’s Capra Bolt Waterproof Hiking Shoe with me to Costa Rica. These shoes are sold on Amazon and they’re available in a variety of colors. I opted for a colorful pink pair, but they also come in light purple and muted teal. Merrell sells the same style for men, which comes in green, light brown, and burnt orange.


Merrell has been designing shoes since 1981 and Backpacker Magazine called their hiking boots, “the most comfortable and functional boots in North America.” In addition, the company has four core values that drive the development of their new products—comfort, design, durability, and versatility. My checklist of needs aligned with what they focus on when creating shoes. When I was looking into which hiking boots to purchase, I knew I needed shoes that could withstand the tough terrain in Costa Rica and still be fun and comfortable. I was familiar with the Merrell brand and that, paired with their wide selection of hiking shoes and company mission, was why I purchased a pair from them.

Special features

One of the most important features to me was that the shoes be waterproof. I needed a pair that could carry me through a full-day of activities and stand up to the ever-changing weather in the Costa Rican rainforests. The conditions could go from being hot and sunny to a downpour in a matter of minutes. In addition, I was traveling during the rainy, humid season and needed the shoes to stay dry so I could wear them every day. This pair kept my feet nice and dry throughout the week even when we were caught in a storm in the forest while walking on hanging bridges. Learn about our Costa Rica travel tips here.


These shoes were breathable, yet reliable day in and day out, and the waterproof properties never made my feet feel stifled. That was likely due to the moisture-wicking materials and mesh liner. They could easily handle hikes through Arenal National Park, Manuel Antonio Park, and more adventure-based activities including ziplining. These shoes held up incredibly well and there was very little wear-and-tear from the muddy grounds, wet grass, dirt, rocks, and hills. They will easily last me at least three to five more years, but everyone’s level of wear will vary. As with most shoes, how much you wear them will determine their lifespan. The great thing about this pair is that they function well for novice hikers, but also have the durability that more advanced hikers need.


Another key aspect I was searching for in my hiking shoes was comfort. I didn’t want to travel with anything too clunky that would take up a lot of space in my bag. I also didn’t want anything too heavy that would weigh down my luggage. Finding a balance between stability and comfort was important to me. The soles on these are firm and worked well on uneven terrain. Another feature that stands out to me is how secure the laces are. I have wide feet and always struggle to find shoes that fit snugly without feeling tight. These have the right amount of tightness around the ankle to keep dirt and debris out of my socks, without needing to be tied so tight that my feet cramp up.


The men’s style retails for $130 and the women’s style for $135 on Amazon. The price can fluctuate as low as $55 depending on the size you’re looking for and when you look.


If you’re like me, then you want to go on Walking Tours, Safaris, and other nature-based trips. Plus, since they look more like sneakers than traditional hiking boots, these also work for more city-centric tours if you’re in need of something particularly stable or you know you’ll be walking a lot each day.

Which pair of shoes do you always bring with you while traveling? Let us know on Facebook!

Packing tips
About the author | The Go Ahead Tours Team
We’re a team of passionate travel experts, dedicated to helping people explore the world. From inspiring stories to tips for an amazing trip, the topics we cover are all about getting you out there and making discoveries.

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