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Are Hiking Boots Needed for These Bernese Oberland Trails

Hello,

My wife and I will be travelling with a relative who is in her early 70's who does not want to pack hiking boots. Would hiking boots be needed for the trails listed below?

1) Eigergletscher to Kleine Scheidegg
2) Kleine Scheidegg to Wengernalp
3) First to Lake Bachalpsee
4) Day trip to Schilthorn
5) Murren to Gimmelwald
6) Mannlichen Royal Walk
7) Iseltwald - Grandhotel Giessbach
8) Männlichen - Kleine Scheidegg
9) Day trip to Schynige Platte ( Daube Trail )
10) Day trip to Mt Rigi

Thank You,
Daniel

Posted by
2775 posts

I have done most of those in just my running shoes—brooks ghosts.

I have watched some videos of some walks where I thought, if I did those, I might want a shoe will a little better grip on the bottom. I think Schynige Platte was one of those.

I’m in my 40’s. So, I don’t have any knee for ankle issues that an older person might have.

Looks like you have a great trip planned.

Posted by
16709 posts

What would she wear instead of hiking boots? Is she an experienced hiker?

I am in my 70’s and do all those hikes and more in low-cut hiking shoes (Salomon Alp-X). They have a good lug sole and are much sturdier than regular sneakers (which I would not recommend). They fit in the bottom of my daypack for the flight over; I do not wear them on the plane.

And I do use hiking poles, which help if I should happen to slip on ball-bearings on the downhill.

Posted by
1080 posts

I've done many of those hikes just in my Merrell Moabs.

Posted by
24 posts

She is planning on wearing her HOKA sneakers on these trails.

Forgot to mention our Switzerland trip will begin the first week of September.

Posted by
203 posts

She should be ok if the shoes have good tread with the caveat below:
Hiking poles are a must for us- just one apiece- although you will see many Europeans on the trails you mentioned using two. They can be rented in the region or if collapsible, in a checked bag. We have been using hiking poles since 1990 when we were in our 30s!

Posted by
2775 posts

If you do convince her to get new shoes, I’d suggest getting them ASAP. You want her to have enough time to break them in and make sure they’ll be comfortable.

Here’s my favorite video on the walk from Mannilchen to Kleine Scheidegg.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsp2XG8lPyw

This will show you what that trail looks like. You might be able to find videos on some of the others so you can see what the terrain looks like.

Early Sept. is a great time to be in Switzerland.

Posted by
16709 posts

She might be OK if the sole has good tread. But my husband gave up on his Hokas because the extra-thick sole seemed wobbly to him on the uneven terrain of trails. It threw him off-balance. Has she actually hiked on rocky trails in these shoes?

Posted by
528 posts

I agree with Lola, both times.

Best to use something with a grippy sole. I have seen people slip on the loose stones and twist their ankle, one person even needed to have the rescue helicopter come for them as they could not put weight on their foot to walk further - and this was on only a very very slight incline, not a difficult trail at all.

Would not use Hokas for the same reason - not enough grip, too high/wobbly - easy to loose your balance when walking on uneven ground.

Posted by
24 posts

I thank you all for your input.

Thank you, Carrie for the Video. This is very helpful.

Here is the solution: New Hoka trail shoes will be purchased and used for the gravel/uneven trails instead of Hoka sneakers.

Thanks again,
Daniel

Posted by
2461 posts

As an older person, I travel with collapsible hiking poles in my checked luggage. They give me extra stability. I highly recommend this.

Posted by
2775 posts

Glad you were able to convince her to get the trail shoes. Hopefully, they won’t feel much different from her HOKA sneakers.

Posted by
94 posts

Looks like you have done extensive research of hikes. Can you tell me how you came to your list? My husband and I will be staying in Interlaken and Luzerne in late September (4 days total). While we are not accomplished hikers, we know that there are plenty of easier hikes that offer great views and scenery. Plus, we have our hiking poles that we used on trails in Sedona!

Posted by
24 posts

Here are some of the websites I used to view walking/hiking trails. I also use Alltrails (free version) to read reviews of all the hikes.

Walks:
https://jungfrauregion.swiss/en/summer/see-and-do/hiking/walks/

Hikes:
https://jungfrauregion.swiss/en/summer/see-and-do/hiking/hikes/
https://www.myswissalps.com/hiking
https://www.alltrails.com/

I also create a Google My Map and add all of my trails/walks along with points of interest. Here is a copy you should be able to view.
https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1xBMhb93xBrIwmjnuqFwU5IIziEUTkJo&usp=sharing