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What to wear to climb Snowdon + Can I climb Snowdon in trainers?

What to wear to climb Snowdon + Can I climb Snowdon in trainers?

I’ve walked up Snowdon quite a few times now. I’m very lucky to live less than an hour and a half from Pen-y-Pass, which is a popular spot to begin a walk up Snowdon. I’ve done it in the rain, in the snow, in the blazing sunshine and, more often than not, in the chilly Welsh drizzle!

I’ve also climbed up Snowdon at sunrise once before – something I 100% recommend as you get to the summit at the most beautiful time of day and it’s less likely to be shrouded in cloud.

There are countless guides out there with advice about climbing Snowdon but today I’d like to share some tips on what to wear to climb Snowdon.

Tips for walking and hiking up Snowdon

When you’re deciding what to wear to climb Snowdon you could be a little confused by the advice and photos you’ll see online.

I’ve seen some people walk up in Converse trainers, jeans and a jumper with nothing more than a bottle of water in their back pocket. I’ve seen other people hike up in the fanciest walking boots with enormous backpacks filled with all the latest survival gear and hi-tech clothing!

The season you’re hiking will make a big difference to what you wear to climb Snowdon. My husband loves climbing up Snowdon when it snows – but this is not something I’m talking about today. If you plan to climb up Snowdon in the snow then you’re going to need specialist equipment, ice picks, crampons, specialist boots, plenty of layers and the skills and expertise to get you to the top. Throughout the winter there may be snow and ice near the top and this is when you need the specialist equipment which is a whole different ball game!

Today I’m not talking about specialist equipment of climbing Snowdon when it’s snowing.

I’d recommend hiking up Snowdon in the summer (or the shoulder seasons either side of summer) and opting for clothing and equipment that’s somewhere in the middle of the two extremes I mentioned above.

You’re not exactly hiking Everest so you don’t need anything majorly specialised, but this is more than a stroll around the park so you do need to be prepared.

tips for walking up Snowdon

The hike up Snowdon is challenging but it’s something most people will be able to do. You see people of all ages up there and, last time, I even met a little girl who was 5 and her grandma who was 72. It looked like they were having plenty of tea and snack stops along the way but they’re definitely proof that most people can do it if you take your time.

If you plan to walk up Snowdon slowly then start as early as your possibly can (6am is ideal) to give yourself all day with no need to rush.

But first of all I’m going to answer that big question…can you climb Snowdon in trainers?

Can I climb Snowdon in trainers?

While the official answer to whether or not you can wear trainers to hike up Snowdon is definitely ‘NO!’ I actually think you’d be fine to hike up Snowdon in trainers if the weather is nice. 

All the online forums with serious hikers will declare that it’s madness to climb up Snowdon in your trainers. Maybe it is madness, but I’ve done it loads of times and I’ve seen hundreds of other people do it too.

Provided your trainers are comfortable, have good grips and you tie them securely, I think trainers would be fine if it’s a warm, dry day.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re climbing in trainers then you’ll have to go a little slower and take your time over rocks, slippery areas and narrow paths.

If you have any injuries or niggles with your ankles, knees or back then you’re probably best off wearing proper hiking boots. But if you’re injury free then good trainers should be fine ON A DRY DAY.

I wouldn’t recommend wearing trainers that are more like pumps. You know, ones like Converse or more fashion trainers like Veja ones. They just don’t have the grips you need to help you over the rocks.

If you don’t want to buy new shoes to hike up Snowdon because you think they’ll be expensive then I want to reassure you that you don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds on hiking shoes. Outdoor shops such as Mountain Warehouse have a great selection of budget-friendly hiking shoes and boots and they’re great quality – especially if you’re the kind of hiker who will only wear them 4-5 times a year.

Mountain Warehouse Outdoor Womens Hiking Shoes - Suede & Mesh Upper, Mesh Lined Trainers - for...
  • Suede & Mesh Upper - Durable and breathable, a lighter style of footwear for hiking, walking
  • Mesh Lining - Improves breathability to help keep your feet fresh whilst out and about
  • EVA cushioning - Moulds to your foot providing support & comfort

Hiking shoes like these are lightweight, comfortable and affordable.

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Mountain Warehouse Mcleod Womens Comfortable Boots - Breathable, Durable, Padded & Lightweight...
  • Synthetic & Mesh upper - Durable and breathable, a lighter style of footwear for hiking and walking
  • High traction outsole - Adds extra grip, support and stability to the sole
  • Breathable - Porous fabric allows air to circulate inside the shoe, keeping your feet cool and comfortable

These lightweight boots are better if you need some ankle support.

Mountain Warehouse Lakeside Trail Waterproof Womens Walking Shoe - Phylon Midsole Hiking Boots,...
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  • Mesh Lining - Improves breathability to help keep your feet fresh whilst out and about

Trekking trainers are the perfect compromise if you like the lightweight flexibility of trainers but want extra grip and support.

Here’s what I recommend you wear to walk up Snowdon…

tips for walking up Snowdon

Shoes

If there’s only one piece of ‘proper’ equipment you wear when you walk up Snowdon, make sure it’s a decent pair of shoes. You don’t want to get a blister half way up as that’s going to totally ruin your hike.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of hefty hiking boots as I often find them to be too heavy. If you have ankle or knee problems you might benefit from the extra support and stability of an ankle boot but I personally don’t.

I like to feel lightweight and bouncy on my feet so I prefer sports style walking shoes such as the Merrell Sport Siren Q2’s. These are almost like trainers with really good grips. They’re comfy and lightweight but give you the grippy support you need for those steep and slippy surfaces.

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Merrell Women's Siren Sport 3 GTX Waterproof Walking Shoe, Black/Blackberry, 7
  • GORE-TEX waterproof membrane, exceptional breathability and waterproof performance
  • Leather and mesh upper
  • Bellows tongue keeps out debris

Something like the Keen Targee III is very similar which they have in both an ankle boot and a shoe.

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KEEN Women's Targhee 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots, Weiss/Boysenberry, 3 UK
  • CLOSURE: Lace lock bungee capture system provides a secure fit while offering a quick and easy way to get footwear on and off
  • TRACTION: Siped sole channels water away for exceptional grip in the rain and on wet surfaces
  • TOE PROTECTION: High abrasion rubber tip for added durability and protection
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KEEN Men's Targhee Iii Mid Wp High Rise Hiking Shoes, Black Black Olive Golden Brown Black Olive...
  • WATER-RESISTANT: Washable polyester webbing featuring quick dry lining and a fully enclosed design for all day use and protection
  • TRACTION: Multi directional lugs with quick water channeling help provide superior grip on slippery and wet terrain; Non marking rubber outsole leaves no imprint when walking indoors
  • COMFORT & PROTECTION: Compression molded midsole for enhanced long lasting comfort; High abrasion rubber toe cap for added durability and protection

tips for walking up Snowdon

Clothing

Starting from the bottom up seen as we’ve already covered shoes…

Socks – My husband, Sam, swears by good quality walking socks and pays a small fortune for them. I’ll admit that I’ve actually never had a pair of really fancy walking socks! I’ve always hiked in normal trainer socks and I’ve been fine but maybe one day I’ll invest in some and I’ll be converted too!

YUEDGE Mens Hiking Walking Socks Cushioned Crew Casual Sports Socks Padded Work Socks for Men...
  • BREATHABLE FABRIC - More softness and comfort with 80% cotton, 12% polyamide, 5% polyester,3% lycra. Our socks can keep your feet cool and dry all day due to Exclusive Moisture Wicking Management.
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  • Y-HEEL DESIGN - Y-heel with ribbed arch and reinforced cushion makes our socks wearproof and comfortable, providing perfect foot comfort during hiking, walking or any other outdoor activities.

On your legs – I’d recommend wearing sports leggings to hike up Snowdon. They’re comfortable and flexible and if you’ve ever been to a gym you probably have a pair already. If it’s hot then any kind of shorts will do. I just wore normal cotton leggings last time I did the hike and they were fine but lycra ones would have been warmer and better when it rained.

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Under Armour Women HG Armour HiRise Leg, super-light sports leggings for women, comfortable and...
  • Ultra-light leggings - The athletic leggings are made using HeatGear fabric and deliver superior coverage without weighing you down during workouts.
  • Anti-odour material - The yoga gear wicks sweat away from the skin and dries quickly. Anti-odour fabric prevents the growth of odour-causing microbes.
  • Comfortable fit - The running leggings are made of 4-way-stretch material, allowing you to move better in every direction.

Base layers on top – Start with a normal workout vest or t-shirt and then add a thermal style long sleeve top.

I like the thermal base layers from M&S because they’re great quality but much cheaper than the outdoor brands. Then take a sweatshirt for on top of this but keep in mind that you’ll probably take this off pretty quickly and it will be stuffed in your backpack or tied around your waist. I usually wear my sweatshirt at the bottom of Snowdon when I’m first warming up and then again at the top when we stop for a rest.

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TCA Womens Thermal Tops Long Sleeve Compression Base Layer Running Gym Skiing Top - Atlantic Deep, M
  • #1 International best-seller. Super soft, stretchy, thermal long sleeve base layer for unbeatable comfort and warmth. Perfect for running, walking. hiking and outdoor activity. Endorsed by...
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  • 4-way stretch fabric creates a snug fit that moves with you and won’t restrict movement. Can be worn on its own, or underneath another top as a base layer.

A waterproof jacket – This is an absolute must! Take a thin, lightweight waterproof with a hood. In these photos I’m wearing a North Face jacket.

It wasn’t the cheapest but I’ve had this jacket for about 10 years now and it’s still doing well! It also packs up really small so it’s ideal to stuff into your backpack.

THE NORTH FACE - Women's Resolve Jacket - Waterproof and Breathable Hiking Jacket - TNF Black, S
  • Perfect For All Conditions: Waterproof, breathable, seam-sealed two-layer DryVent shell with mesh lining ideal for all trekking conditions
  • Fully Adjustable Hood: This jacket features a hood that stows in the collar
  • Stay Safe: Secure zip concealed pockets to keep your valuables safe while hiking

Waterproof trousers – I prefer the waterproof trousers you wear on top of your leggings or shorts so you can slip them on and off if you need them.

I wouldn’t recommend the really cheap waterproof trousers that look like you’re wearing a bin bag over your leggings (like these). They just feel horrible and you won’t want to put them on unless it’s pouring down!

Trousers Pocket Solid Colour Trousers Waterproof Insulated Women's Trousers Elegant Trousers Women's...
  • Jogging trousers women's large sizes 52 work trousers men black green men's trousers with elastic band jogging trousers women's large sizes Capri work trousers men black 58 fitness trousers women's...
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If you know it’s going to be cold and you’ll keep the same pair of waterproof trousers on for the duration of your hike then you might prefer to wear fleece lined waterproof trousers. These are cosy and warm, but if you’re hiking on a warm day then you’re going to get too hot.

donhobo Womens Walking Waterproof Trousers Thermal Fleece Lined Ladies Winter Outdoor Windproof Warm...
  • Fleece Lined Snow Trousers Womens: The outer layer is made of windproof fabric can block cold air, Inner layer made of warm ploar fleece give your skin a soft touch and effectively lock the heat.
  • Womens Waterproof Trousers:This Ski pants adopt lotus leaf bionic techology, Water splashed on the pants will quickly slip off. Keep you dry during the rainy day and humid environment.
  • Womens Outdoor Lined Walking Trousers:Elastic material at the waist, which can be stretched freely to make the pants fit comfortably, with multiple zipper pockets and knee-reinforced design, you...

Hat and gloves – Any hat and gloves will do unless you’re walking in the winter when I’d recommend wearing ski gloves. Take a winter hat if it’s cold and a cap if it’s warm.

A SMALL backpack – You don’t need to pack a lot to hike up Snowdon. Most people are up and down in less than 5 hours so leave the kitchen sink at home! Go for a bag that’s around 20L and preferably with a waist belt so you can carry the weight on your hips rather than on your shoulders.

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deuter Speed Lite 23 SL Women’s Lightweight Hiking Backpack
  • Lightweight (680 g)
  • Side compression straps for maximum compression and attaching gear
  • Hydration system attachment (compatible with deuter Streamer 3.0 - not included)

tips for walking up Snowdon

What to pack in your hiking backpack

  • About 1 litre of water
  • Suncream
  • Blister plasters
  • Snacks – Include a few high energy options in case the walk takes longer than you think and you get really tired. Personal favourites include bananas, cereal bars, Snickers bars and jaffa cakes.
  • Packed lunch – an optional one. I like to stop at a café for a big breakfast on the way to Snowdon and stop again at the pub on the way home for some hearty pub grub!
  • Camera
  • Phone
  • Ibuprofen – You may find you need some painkillers for the way down. This is when my knees start to hurt
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I personally prefer to hike with a hydration bladder rather than a bottle. You can then have the tube conveniently placed near your shoulder so you can have a sip of water without removing your bottle from your bag.

Piz Buin Mountain Sun Cream with SPF 30, 50ml
  • Piz Buin Mountain Suncream SPF30 40ml
  • From the designer house of Piz Buin
  • Women
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Compeed Medium Size Blister Plasters, Pack of 6
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This stuff is great to prevent blisters. Definitely take some if you’re wearing new shoes!

Snickers Funsize Chocolate Bars, Chocolate Gift, Party Bag Fillers, 13 x 18g
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Nurofen Targeted Pain Relief Ibuprofen 200mg Tablets 16s
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tips for walking up Snowdon

Other tips for walking up Snowdon

Take a thermos for tea or coffee and leave it in the car. There are cafes around but you might want a hot cuppa as soon as you get back. The café at Pen-y-Pass closes early so it might be closed by the time you get down. I wouldn’t bother taking a thermos in your backpack as it’s unnecessary extra weight to carry.

Leave water and food in the car – Just in case you’re absolutely starving when you finish the hike.

Don’t wear mascara – either the sweat, drizzle or rain will wipe it all off. You always see girls walking back down the mountain with mascara smeared across their cheeks.

If you’re not much of a hiker then wait for good weather and go in the summer. I love hiking in all weather but hiking up Snowdon is much more enjoyable when it’s sunny.

It gets busy – really busy! Between about 11am-3pm the tracks are crowded and in the places where only one person can pass at a time you’ll need to constantly wait to allow people to pass. I definitely recommend an early morning hike!

Leave little dogs at home – unless you’re happy to carry them. Towards the end of the hike there are lots of steep sections and rocks you need to climb up. Bigger dogs can usually jump these but little dogs struggle and you always see them being carried. Little, lightweight dogs seem OK being carried but my little chunk of a pup is too heavy.

If you’re going to be camping in the area, I recommend staying at Llyn Gwynant Campsite. It’s lovely and very close to Pen-y-Pass carpark. It’s next to the lake, has gorgeous views, allows campfires AND has a pizza oven food truck!

What to wear and tips for walking up Snowdon

Photo taken at Llyn Gwynant

Pen-y-Pass carpark gets full very quickly and if you don’t get a space in there you may need to park quite a long way away or on the road. DO NOT park in an area where you’re not meant to because they do give out parking fines. I’ve seen a row of about 50 cars before, all with parking fines slapped on their windscreens. This isn’t a huge issue but when you’re tired on the way back it’s torture walking past the car park while you walk another mile to get to your car. Once again, go early to get a space!

After your hike, stop for a pint at Pen-Y-Gwryd Hotel. It’s a real old fashioned pub and filled with history because it’s where Hillary and Tenzing stayed when they were training to climb Everest in 1953.

FAQs about what to wear to climb Snowdon

Can you wear trainers to climb Snowdon?

I’ll be honest here. The expert climbers out there will tell you that climbing Snowdon in trainers is a big no no, but I honestly don’t see why you can’t. If you’re walking up Snowdon when the weather is nice then I think you’d be fine in a comfortable pair of trainers with a good grip.

You’ll need to tie the laces to make sure your feet are secure. If your trainers are loose there’s more chance you’ll slip, fall over or they’ll rub your feet and give you blisters.

Choose trainers with a good grip and don’t wear brand new trainers. I’d wear them in first to make sure they don’t give you blisters.

How long does it take to walk up Snowdon?

If you’re relatively fit and you’re leaving from Pen-y-Pass car park then you should be up and down in about 5 hours.

Some people will sprint up and down and some people will spend all day.

I always aim to get to the top as quickly as possible and then take my time coming back down. If you hike up slowly and then you get cold, tired and hungry it’s going to feel like a long walk down.

What’s the best time to hike up Snowdon?

It gets very busy so I’d aim to leave as early as you can. If you can start hiking at 7.30am then that’s absolutely ideal. You’ll also be down in time for a big lunch!

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What to wear and tips for walking up Snowdon

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Watch my video featuring the hike!

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Francesca

Thursday 28th of April 2022

This is exactly what I needed - just an honest guide. Thanks so much for this :)

Bella

Saturday 11th of July 2020

Hey, thank you for all the advice. I'm climbing Snowdon tomorrow I've got everything and I have a pair of running shoes to climb up. A couple of sites say to not wear trainers on their advice but why? Id rather not spend ridiculous money on new shoes if they're just going to hurt. I've worn my running trainers in and my boyfriend is also wearing his running trainers. Would we be okay with this? What is the main issue facing shoe wide, we are walking up the easiest path bear in mind. Would it be the incline? The weather, the distance the aches? I just want to make sure because not everything works for everyone but for some things work better. Thank you

THE MOUNT SNOWDON WALK IN WALES (GUIDE) - TheNorthernBoy

Tuesday 5th of March 2019

[…] have created this list of Mount Snowdon advice. This included the top paths in which to take up the mountain such as Llanberis path or the Watkins […]

Chris mutton

Saturday 3rd of November 2018

Hi, I’ve just came across and read your “snowdon” blog - I can’t believe some of the nonsense you advise people - I really hope not many take your advice , the vast majority of the 200+ rescues carried out on the mountain so far this year are for people Vastly under prepared with little or no proper kit or sufficient clothing for mountainous areas , there is no mention of basic kit you need like a personal first aid kit, emergency whistle , map , emergency shelter , all basic and essential kit in the mountains - it’s obvious you have no real knowledge and then to pour your drivel on to others is just downright dangerous - it’s a mountain environment it’s not about looking like you’ve just came out of primark or wherever you get your clothes from it’s about being prepared for any eventuality on the mountain

TheTravelHack

Tuesday 6th of November 2018

After having climbed Snowdon 10+ times, I'm not pretending to be an expert, this is just my experience. If you read the post (which I suspect you didn't) you'll see that I don't recommend hiking up in the winter as this is when you'd need specialist equipment. I haven't included a personal first aid kit on the list as they generally seem to be filled with plasters and bandages and the vast majority of rescues on Snowdon didn't require a plaster that is only suitable for a paper cut. I also recommend following the footpath, so a map isn't necessary.

AmyJasp

Wednesday 10th of October 2018

Hi, I just wanted to say thank you for writing this blog. I probably would have attempted to walk up Snowdon in the most inappropriate outfit with the whole of Decathlon in tow! So thank you. My husband and I have just returned from an amazing weekend feeling extremely smug that we were so prepared.... thanks to you :)

TheTravelHack

Thursday 11th of October 2018

That's the loveliest comment ever. Thank you so much for letting me know and I'm so happy I helped you prepare and you had a great weekend!