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A few thoughts on walking in winter in non waterproof low Altras.

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
I walked from Fromista on the 14th December arriving in Santiago on the 31st December. From leaving Moratinos to the other side of the Monte's de Leon and Molineseca, it pretty much rained non stop apart from a glorious sunny section between Astorga and Ganso. From Ponferrada onwards the days got better and better but were bitterly cold in the mornings, usually warming up by midday.
This was the first time I had used Altras on Camino, also the 1st time I had not used mids and waterproof footwear. Straight out I would say I will go with them again in future winter caminos. What worked for me was the feel of them and on good days the breathability and even on the bad days depending on what waterproof sock I used my feet still felt comfortable. i was worried about turning my ankle before I left and only once had serious concerns and that was on the final descent to Acebo in severe weather conditions, I was going to go the extra 2km by road but my walking partner insisted I go the Camino, I ignored my instinct and soon started regretting it as i nearly flipped my ankle over twice. I had two pairs of waterproof socks( Bridgedale storm and Sealskinz) and two normal pairs, in future I will keep the normal hiking socks and the Sealskinz, the Bridgedale proved troublesome for me for all kinds of reasons, pre Camino I expected the Sealskinz to be weak link not the Bridgedale. I'm going to look at my sock liners and foot creams to see how I can develop my options and maybe drop the waterproof sock but it is not essential. I will look at gaiters again not to keep my feet dry but for the more muddier sections, Galicia this time around was the muddiest I have ever seen it after the extended rains.
On the downside there wasn't really any, however my perception on non waterproof footwear could have been vastly different if I had experienced the weather the guys had in mid November or there had been deep snow, but I had planned for that so I think I would have coped. The Altra I took were the Olympus 3.5, one of their advantages is they have a wide heel at the sole level which gave stability for my ankles. So a big thanks to all the posters on here who have recommended Altras, as things stand they will be my Camino footwear in future.

Buen Camino
 

FSP

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(13)
Portuguese & Finisterre(16)
Norte & Muxia(18)
Olvidado&Salvador&Primitivo(20??)
Thanks for the report. Some months ago I acquired my first pair of Altra LonePeak 4.0 RSM model (rain snow mud). At this point I'm thinking of hiking the Olvidado which connects with the Salvador, then the Salvador where it ends in Oviedo and of course the start of the Primitivo to Santiago. So far in training the Altras seem to cause me no heat issues even though they are waterproof. I've always debated waterproof or not but when on the Norte in 2018 I was very happy I had waterproof boots. There were other I saw along the way whose shoes just didn't dry out because of the humidity. I could wash the mud off without worrying about creating clean but once again soggy shoes. This will be my first serious hike in this zero-drop trail runner type shoe so I hope they live up to the hype. The though hikers on the 2650 mile PCT sure seem to give them good reports for comfort. So far in training I really like the feel and that extra wide toe box is is long overdue.
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
I would have liked to have gone with waterproof footwear but from a comfort point of view the Olympus was exactly right for me and after the tortures of being on the Camino de Lana last year with footwear that hurt me every step of the way I decided that no matter what I wanted comfort.
Altra may bring out a similar stack and waterproof shoe in the future but it doesn't really matter to me now, I know I can walk in winter with what's out there. When I was looking at the responses on this forum to walking in winter with non waterproof low footwear before my camino the usual advice is don't do it, probably with good reason, but I had come to a critical point in my ability to walk caminos so I took a chance and it paid off. I hope by putting my little bit of info out there people in a similar situation can take something from it.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
When I was looking at the responses on this forum to walking in winter with non waterproof low footwear before my camino the usual advice is don't do it, . . .
That wouldn't have necessarily been my advice. My advice would be predicated on if the winter weather and conditions allows for the persistence of snowy or icy conditions over long stretches of the Camino.

I used trail runners for the Pacific Crest Trail. I ran into various early-spring conditions in the high Sierra with regard to snow and streams swollen from snow melt. In dicey areas, I used micro-spikes. My socks were varying thickness of Merino wool/synthetic blend, depending on the temperature.

For winter backpacking, at altitude with snow and ice and freezing temperatures, I use my Lowa boots (Camino).
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
I was going to take yaktrax trail runners because I fully expected there to be snow, on the night I was going off to Bristol airport I had 2nd thoughts and decided I would cross that bridge when I got to it and took them out of my bag and left them at home, glad I did.
Going with non waterproof footwear is a learning curve for me and I could get a few things wrong. I'm probably going to book flights tonight or tomorrow and be back the 1st week of April on the route from Braga, one of the places I might stay at in the mountains posted a video last April of snow in their village, so I might get to come up against it soon.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
April 2019: Frances, Salvador, Primitivo
I too walk in non-waterproof Altras. I never had a problem with really wet feet, I wear toe sock liners and Darn Tough wool socks.

Once I was hiking in the Smokies and a huge thunderstorm came up. I was on the Dry Sluice trail, and it was a running stream up to my ankles. Another time I had to do several stream crossings wading in the water.

My experience is, the shoes dry out quickly and the wool prevents my feet from being soggy. I never felt much discomfort beyond the first few minutes after a soaking.
 

jozero

Been there, going again...
Camino(s) past & future
CF x 3
I would have liked to have gone with waterproof footwear but from a comfort point of view the Olympus was exactly right for me and after the tortures of being on the Camino de Lana last year with footwear that hurt me every step of the way I decided that no matter what I wanted comfort.
Altra may bring out a similar stack and waterproof shoe in the future but it doesn't really matter to me now, I know I can walk in winter with what's out there. When I was looking at the responses on this forum to walking in winter with non waterproof low footwear before my camino the usual advice is don't do it, probably with good reason, but I had come to a critical point in my ability to walk caminos so I took a chance and it paid off. I hope by putting my little bit of info out there people in a similar situation can take something from it.
Wondering if you checked out the Timp 1.5's? They are just a couple mm shorter midsole than Olympus (but a couple mm more than the Lone Peak 4.0's) and do come in the waterproof option.
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
The Timp 1.5 was what I was thinking about, but the more I trained in the Olympus 2.5 I realised that despite my initial reservations about the over springiness that they felt right, I took a chance before I was due to go and purchased the Olympus3.5. What I kept reading about the Timp 1.5 that eventually put me of them was that that the uppers kept braking down after 200 miles, at £ 140 a pop I wanted more than that.
 

Allyson Hughes

just one more...
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances fall of 2017
Le Puy en Velay Aug-Sept 2019 and
Camino Frances Sept.-November 2019
I walked in Altras Lone Peak 3 from Le Puy En Velay to Santiago, over 1,000 miles last Summer and Fall and they were perfect. I also had a pair of Hokas and I alternated them on different days, but the Altras were always for the hikes and rocks...Hokas mainly for the flats and roads, where I needed cushion. Both were great...no injuries, no blisters....
 

PlutseligPilegrim

Rota Vicentina, fisherman’s trail, is sweet...
Camino(s) past & future
St Olav’s way Novgorod - Åbo
- Stiklestad - Nidaros (2019)
Via del a plata from Cadiz (2019)
Altra’s fourth pair just brought in house......

Two thoughts/references brought forward;

•Weight
•Temperature

Altra Duo weigh in just over 200 grams. (They are long distance, max damping, zero drop, neutral, running shoes) Ten thousands of steps each day and weight saved equals proportionally less strain in lingaments, muscle and so forth...

The closer we can walk with normal feet temperatures, the less risk of swelling and/or circulation issues. And the challenge is not when getting wet, but how fast the feet can dry up again....

Just sayin.....

P.S. And of course....I have first hand experience walking long distance/for weeks with Gore tex membran....and of course....I bring nordic walking poles with me as safety meassure...

Ultreia!7E450828-474F-4948-A363-C091997EB4A5.jpeg
 

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