If you will be walking the 14-16 day Everest Base Camp trek, the most important article of clothing you will have is your shoes. Mind you, by the end of your Himalayan trek, you will probably never want to see them again (one of our Langtang guides threw his shoes off the top of a bus and came back barefoot to Kathmandu), but during your sojourn they will be your best friend. So, choose the right shoes (and have a back-up) and plan wisely.
So many people ask me, do I buy my trekking shoes (clothes) at home, or wait until I get to Nepal? For shoe advice, I can not be too clear — broken in is better. So, get your trekking shoes as early as possible and be sure the are well worn-in.
Here’s what you need to look for:
Flexible (walking soles)
Semi-Waterproof (at least in toe area)
Wide enough to wear a good pair of socks (but not loose after you lace them)
At least 1 size bigger than you normally wear (your toes will take a pounding on the way down if they are your regular size)
Lightweight (every kg you have make a difference on this trek)
I like the hiking sport shoes that seem to be everywhere now. They are half hiking boot, half sport shoes and they work really well. Check out anything from affordably priced Nike to higher end Keen, 5.10, and other outdoor/climbing specific shoemakers.
Take a pair of slip-on sandals for your trek. I recommend a pair that you can leave your socks on with (as opposed to thong flip-flops), because it will be cold where you are. You will want to take off your shoes each day as soon as you get to your tea house stop, and after the 4th or 5th day, the thought of putting on your trekking shoes more than you have to will be daunting. Just slip on the sandals, you will be happy you have them.
I recommend packing light, and never taking more than you absolutely need. But if you are not sure about your trekking shoes and if you may get blisters or toenail bruising, take a pair of lightweight sport shoes in your pack just in case. YOU HAVE TO TREK NO MATTER WHAT. So make sure your feet are top priority.