Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Footwear Debate - Annapurna Circuit
Display Avatars Sort By:
Jasmin Schuster
Footwear Debate - Annapurna Circuit on 06/29/2010 20:59:35 MDT Print View

I'm planning on hiking the Annapurna Circuit this coming Sept. and am in the process of acquiring the gear necessary to make this trip comfortable and enjoyable. So far, I think I've got a handle on everything EXCEPT for footwear.

Here's the grand debate. I have extremely wide feet (huge bunyons) and have had terrible relationship with hiking boots in the past - as a result of this I've done a lot of big hikes, including scrambles up mountains in running shoes/trail runners - so I'm not that inclined to invest in a pair of hikers for the Annapuran Circuit.

Based on what I've read, it seems like it could be done in a light trail shoe. Thoughts from those who've done this trek?

I've been looking at some of the shoes listed on these pages.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Footwear Debate - Annapurna Circuit on 06/29/2010 21:08:42 MDT Print View

Yes, I think you are looking in the right category. Thorung La is about 17,000 feet, so that means that you need to be prepared for some cold, some rain, and some old snow (which depends on the monsoon season).

Personally, I would not take the very heavy boots, nor would I take the low-cut runners. A mid-height boot would be good. Take a good selection of socks for different combinations, and take some thin plastic sacks to put between inner and outer socks in the event of major rain and mud.


Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Re: Footwear Debate - Annapurna Circuit on 06/29/2010 21:15:38 MDT Print View

You'll be good in runners - the sandwich bags are a good call, but you can dry your feet out in the tea-houses at night. The locals wear flip flops.

Edited by Steve_Evans on 06/29/2010 21:16:12 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Footwear Debate - Annapurna Circuit on 06/29/2010 21:57:54 MDT Print View

If you are going through Thorung La I would suggest something a bit more substantial than runners.
I was in that region 2 years ago in September. We only did part of the circuit and then went another way. As we were camping at around 3,300 M in heavy rain , at about 3,500M it was snowing so the group decided on a detour. A couple of days later a Russian helicopter flew (below us ...) taking back 2 tourists and 2 or 3 Nepalese that had died in a snow storm on the other side (around Thorung La) .
Sort of out of season but at 5,400 m not by much.

ramon thomson
(ramonthomson) - F
Light Hikers on 06/29/2010 22:24:56 MDT Print View

I did the circuit in may of 07 and wore teva sandals for 17 out of 21 days. I rented a pair of boots in Pokhara and wore then over the pass and on a hike up to the Dhaligari ice fall and through some leach territory at the end of the Sanctuary trek. We had been traveling light for 7 months before and I didn't have any of my trick gear (no gore tex just a big trash bag) or clothes and was still able to go real light, like 10 to 15 lb. pack. If I did it again I would bring a light hiking boot for sure.

carlos fernandez rivas
(pitagorin) - MLife

Locale: Galicia -Spain
footwear annapurna circuit on 06/30/2010 01:27:49 MDT Print View

I been on the annapurna circuit twice (and everest base camp trekking plus mera peak) .......... I wear Innov 8 390 shoes..... perfect

light trekking boots and "heavy" trail runners can be used (depending the month, of course)

Only remember to wear a pair of thick shocks for the thorung la pass ...

Edited by pitagorin on 06/30/2010 01:43:40 MDT.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Footwear Debate - Annapurna Circuit on 07/06/2010 13:34:41 MDT Print View

I hiked the Khumbu but back then I still wore boots. I think it could have been done easily in trail runners.

However, I went in November. From what I understand, there is more snow before November. So your feet may get more wet in September than in November.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Footwear Debate - Annapurna Circuit on 07/06/2010 17:45:54 MDT Print View

We walked around Nepal at altitude in very light joggers. The erstwhile trip leader was horrified, but with the right size shoes and good thick socks we were very comfortable.

On the other hand, one girl on the trip who had taken the leader's advice and hired big heavy plastic boots was in screaming agony on Taschi Lapcha. Actually crying in pain. Her feet had swelled up, but plastic boots don't stretch...

There is very little difference between what you have already done and what you are prioposing to do - except for myth, superstition and bias. By the way - all the porters do the trips (and over the passes) in Chinese 'tennis shoes'.


Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Footwear Debate - Annapurna Circuit on 07/06/2010 18:26:06 MDT Print View

"By the way - all the porters do the trips (and over the passes) in Chinese 'tennis shoes'."

On my first Khumbu trek, it was very easy to distinguish the Sherpa guides from the porters.

Below 11,000 feet, the porters were mostly barefoot and the guides wore Chinese tennis shoes. Above 11,000 feet, the porters went home and were replaced by yaks (who also went barefoot). The guides switched over to high-top leather climbing boots. That was a trick in itself since the Sherpa people tend to have a short/wide foot. Most Westerners who tell their used climbing boots have a longer/narrow foot. So, finding a boot that fit was the challenge. Similarly, the trekkers who did not know how to shift the lacing for uphill or downhill had a challenge.