Should I wear hiking boots, trail runners, running shoes, thongs or even go the bare feet option on some sections? It’s a question we get asked all the time at Cape To Cape Explorer Tours! The short answer is: whatever you normally hike in and find most comfortable.
Some of our guides use hiking boots. Others prefer running shoes or trainers. And one even used to walk the entire day in bare feet (but we wouldn’t recommend this approach unless you’ve had plenty of practice to toughen up the feet)!
The different types of footwear stem from the fact that there is a fair amount of beach walking. But the Track also throws up granite scrambles, clifftop limestone sections, soft mulched forest paths, coastal heathland and some sandy four-wheel-drive tracks to negotiate.
For most of our hikers on guided tours tackling the entire Track over 5-7 days, the best shoes for the Cape to Cape Track are a comfortable pair of hiking boots. But it’s worth bringing a pair of trainers or running shoes as a back up. There will be times when you’ll want to take your shoes off to walk on a white-sand beach or cross a creek, depending on the season. And it can be handy to have a pack a pair of slip-on thongs or flip flops in your day pack as well.
Hiking boots on the Cape to Cape Track
Track guide Trevor Paddenburg wears a pair of Salomon hiking boots. “These give me great support in all kinds of terrain that we encounter on the Track,” he says. “From rocky sections to the forest, they’re a great all-rounder. Having saving said that, I always take my shoes off for the longer beach sections. It feels great to free the feet and feel the Track with your soles! Hiking boots are also good for keeping sand out, but they can be heavy if you keep them on for the beach walks.”
Cape To Cape Explorer Tours founder Gene Hardy opts for Keen hiking boots. “They’re my favourite boots to hike in. They’re really light and supple,” he says. “And they’re nice and wide which is what I need. That means I can step into a pair of these bad boys and hike the Track without getting any blisters. But the down side is they’re not particularly durable. I always recommend having a second pair of shoes as well. Particularly trainers or sand shoes that are really worn in, really comfortable. That way you’ve always got a back up!”
Work boots on the Cape to Cape Track
Our veteran guide Heather Schofield for many years favoured her faithful pair of Rossi Boots when hiking the Track. “Always the trusty Rossi boots for me when I’m on the Track,” she says. “These babies have done me many, many miles! You don’t get any sand in them. They slip on and off nice and easily. You’ve got good compression in the inners soles. And they’re good on the rocks because they give you good grip. But I wouldn’t recommend them if you’ve got weak ankles.”
Trainers on the Cape to Cape Track
Track guide Kristie Bower wears Brooks trail running shoes and says they’re “super comfortable”. “I love to wear them, whether I’m running or walking on the Track,” Kristie says. “I also recommend carrying a spare pair of socks. One pair might get wet if it’s raining. And it’s nice to have a fresh pair after crossing creeks.”
Bare feet on the Cape to Cape Track
It’s amazing to strip off the shoes and walk barefoot on some of the stunning beaches along the Cape to Cape Track. But our former “barefoot guide” Richi Bradley used to walk the entire day without shoes.
“Firstly, it slows me down,” Richie says. “So I’m not looking ahead all the time. If you look ahead, you think ahead. I’m spending more time looking where I put my feet. It makes me more present. Secondly, I do it for proprioception, which means having an awareness of the position and movement of the body. It’s very good for your balance and senses. And third, it’s really grounding. It’s a reminder of how indigenous people walked on country and how homo sapiens were actually designed to walk. If you want to know more, check out the book Born To Run. It was part of the inspiration for my decision to go barefoot.”.
We hope that helps answer any questions about the best shoes for the Cape to Cape Track. Hiking boots, running shoes or bare feet are all options. The key is choosing footwear that’s comfortable and worn in – and bring a back-up option!