The Best Iceland Hiking Boots

Best Hiking Boots for Iceland

Finding a good pair of hiking boots can sometimes be better than making a new friend!  You laugh, but I’m serious.  After all some people spend hours if not days in their hiking boots trekking for miles or hours.  Especially when you are taking a once in a lifetime trip to Iceland.  Having proper shoes that can make or break a day adventuring around.

Choosing the best hiking boots for Iceland can be a lot of research and can be oh-so overwhelming.  But don’t fret!  We have created a guide that covers everything you need to consider when buying new hiking boots.  Fair to say, our Vik Expeditions team is well versed on choosing the best Iceland Hiking Boots!  Come along with us as we share with you our two cents on the topic…

Will I need hiking boots in Iceland?

 Depending on the kind of Iceland itinerary, you are planning you may or may not need hiking boots.  For example, if you’re a city explorer, just wanting to come to Reykjavik to experience the foodie spots and nightlife and do not want to run around in nature then your Iceland packing list could get away with no boots.

But if you intend on discovering Iceland’s magnificent countryside and natural wonders, you need to invest in a pair.  Why?  To keep your feet supported, comfortable, dry, and you adventuring on all types of landscapes safely!

Welcome to Your Guide to the Best Hiking Boots for Iceland

Choosing what type of Iceland hiking boots you need will depend on the activities you plan on doing.  For example, if you are just walking to and from the mainstream tourist locations like Gullfoss, Thingvellir National Park (Þingvellir), Seljalandsfoss, and Skogafoss Waterfalls then a pair of trail running shoes will suit.

Whereas, if you’re heading out on a full day hike, ice climbing, or exploring Katla Glacier, you’ll find that backpacking or mountaineering boots are best.  All that said, we would love to walk you through the different types of hiking boots for Iceland adventures to consider!  Disclaimer: Within this post, you will find Amazon affiliate links. Buying from our Amazon shop, supports our small company bring more amazing helpful content your way!

Hiking Sandals

Only in during the summer months in Iceland would we suggest bringing along a pair of hiking sandals to Iceland.  The main use would be crossing rivers in them because they offer traction and dry fast versus water logging your boots.  Our favorite brand is Keen for women and men for Iceland summer hiking:

Trail Running Shoes

Additionally, if your days in Iceland are going to be spent going to tourist locations and hiking around less than 30 minutes at time, then trail running shoes may be a good fit for you.  The Best Hiking Boots for Iceland Pro Tip:  If planning shorter hikes during your Iceland self-drive journey, then wearing these plus a pair of Sealskinz socks will keep you going strong during summertime in Iceland!

The Pros of Trail Running Shoes:
  • They are very lightweight.
  • Comfortable like a pair of running shoes.
  • Fast drying.
The Cons of Trail Running Shoes:
  • Not long lasting or durable.
  • No ankle support.
  • The grip is not suitable for winter hiking conditions (snow or ice).
  • You cannot attach crampons to them.

Our favorite trail running shoes for outdoor activities in Iceland follow:

  1. La Sportiva for women and men
  2. Salomon for women and men

Hiking Shoes for Iceland

Wait a second, are you confused by the title?  Believe it or not there is a difference between hiking shoes and hiking boots!  Let us educate you on the differences…  Basic difference is that hiking shoes, are basically stronger “trail running shoes” because they offer a stiffer reinforced support throughout the shoe and a bit better traction to tackle more rugged terrain.  In contrast, a hiking boot will offer ankle support and a perfect choice for sloped or longer trail hiking.

Hiking Shoes Pros:
  • The midsole and body of the shoe is stiffer.
  • Breaths.
  • If waterproof, they are suitable for Iceland in winter.
  • Great for rougher terrain day-hiking.
Hiking Shoes Cons:
  • Longer to dry.
  • Not good for several day hiking with wet conditions.
  • Not suitable for steep hikes or hard snow / icy terrain.

Furthermore, selecting the best hiking shoes for Iceland may begin at your favorite recreational outdoor store or online.  Our favorite in the United States is REI.  They by far, have the best selection of for Iceland hiking boots.  To illustrate, you can trust brands like Arc’teryx, Merrell (men and women’s), La Sportiva, Oboz, Salomon, Asolo will all withstand the test of time and hikes!

Finding the Best Iceland Hiking Boots

A pair of proper hiking boots can be the difference between a happy day trekking or a dreaded day end filled with blisters.  Spending a few extra bucks to ensure you have hiking boots that will support your ankles, feet, last for more than a few hikes, and allow you to reach tops of mountains without batting an eyelash.

Furthermore, hiking boots is what we suggest you to wear while glacier hiking with us to an ice cave.  Why?  They offer higher support to stabilize your ankles and also allow crampons to flawlessly be put on to them.  Whereas if you did hiking shoes, the crampons would make your shoes collapse inward.

Pros of Hiking Boots:
  • Insulated and warmer.
  • Waterproof hiking boots for Iceland (most models are).
  • Thorough ankle support and extra stability
  • Suitable for longer hikes (scree slops, difficult terrain, and fresh snow).
Cons of Hiking Boots:
  • Do not allow you to be as mobile as the above options.
  • Heavier and do not breathe or dry fast.
  • If you walk through water and the water consumes the inside of the boot it’ll feel squishy as you walk.

Meanwhile, if you want your hiking boots to last more than a trip or two, it’s important to invest.  Our favorite brands of the best hiking boots for Iceland follow and also can be found in our Amazon Storefront if you need more ideas!

  1. Scarpa Hiking Boots
  2. Salomon Hiking Boots
  3. La Sportiva Hikers
  4. Merrell Hiking Boots
  5. Asolo Hiking Boots
  6. Salewa Trekking Boots (men and women’s)

Backpacking Boots for Iceland

Likely, you’re wondering what the difference if between hiking boots and backpacking boots, right?  Good question and we are thrilled to enlighten you more on that topic!  As you noticed in our descriptions above, hiking boots offer ankle support and are likely more waterproof.  While backpacking boots are meant for multi-day hiking and offer better boot balance overall.

Next, backpacking Iceland hiking boots can mean a lot of things to different people.  So choosing the best hiking boots really depends on what you intend on doing on your adventure.  Spend some time weighing the pros and cons to ensure you select the best for the terrain your trekking on.

For instance, some of the pros and cons of backpacking boots follow below.  Note: We do not recommend these for hiking in Iceland unless you truly are running around with a backpack for several days or ice climbing.

Backpacking Boots Pros:
  • They offer durability and protect your feet well from all terrain and weather elements.
  • Ideal boots for winter hiking conditions.
  • Higher cut on your feet allowing for full support of ankles, stability, and more motion control. Basically overall better balance for you doing your awesome activity!
  • Perfect for off trail hiking or steep mountainous terrain.
Backpacking Boots Cons:
  • They tire your feet quicker than other boot types.
  • You must spend a longer time “breaking them in.”
  • At times you could become “over confident” and have an ankle injury from the false sense of security they bring.

Many of our previous canyoneering or private hike clients have been happy in these at the glacier and beyond.  But in our opinion, they may be bit much for our regular adventure.  For example, these are ideal expedition boots.  However, for a custom expedition they would be perfect if you want more time on the glacier discovering other secret ice caves!

Our favorite backpacking boots follow:
  1. Lowa Tibet GTX Backpacking Boots because of the fearless design (for men and women).
  2. Asolo TPS 520 GV Evo Backpacking Boots because they last across unforgiving terrain, daily (for men and women)!
  3. Scarpa ZG Trek GTX Backpacking Boots for the thoughtful waterproof stable design.

Iceland Backpacking Boots

Icelandic Mountaineering Boots

If you’re interest lies in technical climbing both on mountains and on glaciers then it would be smart to invest in a pair of mountaineering boots.  Here in Iceland, there are many places throughout the country you can technically climb.  Specifically several of our glacier guides wear these to be able to set ropes in and outside of the ice cave.  For example, they would also do this for safety and to set paths that you will use.  The best Iceland hiking boots for mountaineering come with pros and cons for sure and here are some thoughts to consider…

Mountaineering Boots Pros:
  • The best boots for challenging conditions both terrain and weather (For instance, glacier adventures and high elevation hiking).
  • Rigid soles to apply technical climbing crampons.
  • High cut on your ankles for the best balance, support, control and overall stability.
Mountaineering Boots Cons:
  • Feel bulky (almost clumsy to some) and less responsive on and off snow or icy conditions.
  • Most expensive outdoor boot out there.
  • Need to be broken in before your big climbs.
  • Takes a long while to dry out.

Hands down the best hiking boots for Iceland mountaineering or ice climbing are Scarpa and La Sportiva.  Specifically following models our team often personally uses:

  1. Mont Blanc Pro GTX by Scarpa Mountaineering Boots (for men and women)
  2. La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX Mountaineering Boots (for men and women)

Where to buy Iceland Hiking Boots?

Where to find the best Iceland hiking boots, can be a loaded question.  Therefore, it is clever to do it in steps so you end up happy.  We’ll start with some helpful tips to consider before buying… Firstly, do not leave buying hiking boots for Iceland for the last minute or when you are here.  Iceland is one of the most expensive countries in the world and practically everything is imported and taxed at the high rate.  In fact, you are much better off buying your hiking boots before you come.

Second, do not buy hiking boots used.  Never ever do this!  Many companies put a material inside of the sole that molds to your foot shape to increase comfort.  Therefore, your foot isn’t going to likely be a match with someone else’s and will cause blisters or irritation to your foot.

Thirdly, the steps you should consider as you figure out the best place to buy your Iceland hiking boots:

  1. Make a list of the activities you will do using the boots.
  2. Determine what type of boot will suit the trip.
  3. Research online the different brands.
  4. Read reviews.
  5. If the brand is sold near you anywhere, jump into a store and try them on!
  6. Figure out where you can get the best price. It’s been our experience that REI has incredible selection.  And Amazon, if you are ready to buy a specific brand and model.

How Much to Spend on Hiking Boots for Iceland?

Choosing the best Iceland hiking boots for your trip, is not dependent on price.  Rather, the quality and comfort of the boot you need for the activity you are embarking on.  Meanwhile, it is important we know to have in mind how much you may need to budget for the type of hiking boot you need.  On that same note, we would like to share with you a quick guide on how much to spend on shoes for hiking for your upcoming trip to Iceland.  Ranges follow by type…

  • Sandals for Hiking: $50-120 USD
  • Hiking Shoes for Iceland: $75-200 USD
  • Iceland Hiking Boots: $100-350 USD
  • Backpacking Boots: $250-350 USD
  • Mountaineering Boots: $275-625 USD

How to Clean and Store your Hiking Boots

High pathetically let’s say that you take the plunge and buy new hiking boots… Hang on a sec, now how do you take care of them after you break them in after your hiking adventures in Iceland?  Valuable question!  Allow us to provide some steps to follow:

  1. Remove the insoles (Iceland Hiking Boot Tip: If they smell, sprinkle baking soda on them!).
  2. Take out the laces.  To wash them, use dish soap and warm water.  Hang dry.
  3. Grab a brush and go to town on the outside of the boot removing dirt deposits.
  4. Using a tooth brush (soft bristles) and dish soap, gently scrub away!  Hiking Boot Cleaning Tip: You can use a pencil eraser to remove stubborn scuff marks.
  5. Wipe away the soap with a wet warm cloth.
  6. Time for waterproofing again!  Make sure the boots are dry before applying.
  7. Condition your hiking boots with wax or oil depending on the material.
  8. Dry your boots away from direct sunlight or extreme heat.
  9. Do not put your hiking shoes away until they are completely dry.  Then store them in a cool dry area until you’re ready to adventure again!

Caution: Never put your hiking shoes or boots in the washing machine, you’ll damage them!

Accessories for your Iceland Hiking Boots:

Did you know you can accessorize your hiking boots?  I don’t mean bling them out.  For instance, there are things you can purchase alongside of the best hiking boots for Iceland to make them even more amazing for you.  To illustrate, please read on…

  • Waterproofing Spray – When you first buy your boots, you’ll want to spray them and reapply after you wash them. It’s important to the cleaning and storing process as we alluded to above to ensuring your trekking boots are long lasting!
  • Oil or Wax – Dependent on if your boots are leather or suede, you’ll need one or the other to condition the outside of the Iceland hiking boot.
  • Sealskinz Socks –The ultimate socks for adventures! If you choose to go the lightweight hiking shoes for Iceland, then pairing them with these is a killer combo!  Imagine crossing rivers and not even feeling your toes get wet!
  • Extra Laces – Not many people consider having an extra set of laces on hand. But if you’re an active hiker, you’ll likely need to change them because of fraying, splitting or breaking.
  • Extra socks – As a general rule of thumb bringing along extra socks while hiking in Iceland is a smart decision. In fact, we often bring two!

Best Hiking Boots for Glacier Adventures

When it comes to picking out the best hiking boots for Iceland glacier adventures, we would suggest formal hiking boots.  Trail running and regular hiking shoes are not comfortable once you slip on our crampons.  Throughout winter in Iceland, we recommend you wear a pair of snow boots for hiking.  Which mainly means that they are insulated against extreme conditions.

Hopefully working your way through this thorough advice post on the very best hiking boots for Iceland has educated you.  And if you need more ideas head over to our Amazon Storefront for more inspiration!  Specifically also made you more confident in your next purchase of them too!  We dare you to pick your favorite bespoke expedition from Vik Iceland and give those new hiking boots a whirl at our amazing offbeat locations!

Lastly, if you really want to be challenged, then book a custom expedition with us if you’re into more technical adventures on the glacier.  We’re happy to make sure you get good use out of hiking boots, that’s for sure!!  Feel free to contact us to get that conversation started today!

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