What are the best shoes for Iceland?
There are cobblestone streets to explore in Reykjavic, black volcanic sand beaches to stroll in Vik, waterfalls to walk behind in Seljalandsfoss, and otherworldly deserts and mountains to hike in the Highlands. Not just any shoe will do in these varied conditions. You will need a fully waterproof shoe that can traverse puddles, mud, sand, rocks, beaches, mountains and more while keeping your feet dry, warm, comfortable and safe.
For myself, I needed a versatile shoe that could handle all of these situations. For my visit to Iceland I had planned to explore Reykjavik by foot as well as do some day hikes in the Highlands. I wanted to pack light and not bring an extra pair of shoes.
My pick for the best shoes for Iceland
After a bit of research, I decided to go with Salomon’s XA Pro 3D CS waterproof mountain trail shoes for my trips to Iceland. Salomon shoes have served me well. I have owned a number of Salomon shoes over the years, including several pairs of Salomon’s XA 35 Ultra 2 adventure trail shoes that have been perfect for the wet climate of Kauai.
Part athletic shoe, part trail running shoe, and part hiking shoe, Salomon’s XA Pro 3D CS shoes are a perfect combination for Iceland.
Weighing in at 480 grams (16.1 ounces, each shoe) the shoes are heavier than traditional tennis shoes but lighter than traditional hiking boots. They are light enough to not tire you out while walking Reykjavik but heavy enough to handle popular day hikes and attractions.
Waterproof shoes are a must for Iceland, and the XA Pro 3D shoes deliver. The shoes feature Salomon’s ClimaShield waterproof technology and are designed to excel in wet conditions with a wet traction grip and waterproof lining. In my travels around Iceland, including to some very wet spots, I never had a problem with water seeping in to the shoes.
The shoes are also tough. There is a rugged protective toe cap and an advanced 3D chassis that provides protection and stability.
Salomon’s XA Pro 3D CS shoes are actually comfortable. They feel good when you slide your feet in, and they feel good all day. I’ve never had a problem with blisters or any other kind of problem with these shoes.
The lacing system is different than a normal shoe, but the thin, wiry laces are also basically waterproof and will not retain water like traditional shoelaces. So, to me, the lacing system is better.
I wear a size 11 in all of my shoes, to include these Salomon shoes, and they fit perfect. They don’t run big or small in my opinion. Order the size you would normally order.
I usually wear normal crew-length athletic socks with these shoes, and they work fine with the shoes. But the shoes will also accommodate thicker socks such as cold weather wool socks.
If you’re just doing some light sightseeing in Iceland, such as the Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik and the Golden Circle, there’s really no need for you to spend $100+ for a pair of specialty shoes. Any walking or tennis shoe will do just fine. But if you’re planning to venture out to the beaches, glaciers, trails and waterfalls of South Iceland or the rocky interior of the Highlands for example, you would be well-served by these shoes.
The best type of shoe, in my opinion, is one that you don’t even have to think about, because the shoe is doing its job while you are concentrating on other things. I don’t think about these shoes for a second, except to remember these shoes will handle wherever I am going.