Footwear for Lava Hikes

Footwear for Lava:

lava shoes, lava tours

Shoes with deep tread and sturdy uppers are needed to protect your feet and help you navigate the sharp, rocky, uneven lava field landscape. – Photo: Lavaland Hawai’i

Footwear for Lava must have good deep tread to grip uneven surfaces and loose rock. Uppers must be sturdy enough to stand up to sharp, jagged rocks. You’ll want lace up shoes that will stay on your feet and not slip off.

Hiking boots or shoes are ideal, but not necessary. Running shoes (trail runners and cross trainers) will work as well. If your tread is worn down, your shoes have holes, or are basically worn out you’ll want something new to protect your feet on the lava.

You will also want to wear thick socks that come up a few inches over the top of your shoe to keep tiny shards of rock out of your shoes (as in the photo above)..

The following shoes/ boots work well on lava  🙂 GREAT!!!

great shoes

Running shoes can also work well if they have good deep tread and sturdy uppers  🙂 GOOD!

good shoes


The following shoes are what you DON’T want on lava   🙁 BAD!

bad shoes

What you don’t want are sandals, sports sandals, slip on shoes or any shoe with holes (bits of sharp lava will sift inside – ouch!). You want to really protect your toes, so no toe shoes. You don’t want shoes that slip on rather than lace up because they may come off your foot. Tennis shoes, sneakers and basketball hightop shoes with thin cloth uppers and minimal tread don’t work on lava because you can’t get enough traction and the sharp rock can actually rip open the uppers.

Here’s a great example of what NOT to wear on lava! Save your feet and don’t commit a painful fashion faux pas when visiting the lava!

lava sandals, lava tours

Sandals are out of style this season on the lava fields. – Photo: NPS