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About to buy my shoes.

Discussion in 'Equipment Questions' started by JeffV, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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    Hello everyone.

    I am very new here and I have already enjoyed and been helped by everyone's input. I am leaving from ST Jean in April
    I have some of my gear but I need to buy my shoes so I can get them broken in for the Frances.
    I am going to get some hiking sandals (I'm looking at the Keens). For my main shoe I am leaning towards the Merrell Moab 2. They seemed to be the most comfortable out of the gate. I am open to suggestions from the experts though. I want a shoe not a boot with great support. I am 6'2 200lbs
    With non wide feet

    Thank you!
     
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  2. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Camino addict

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    Hi Jeffv,

    How early in April are you walking? If later in the month, would you consider walking in your sandals?

    If leaving earlier when weather may still be iffy, or if you really want a shoe, your feet, podiatrist and trial and error are really the only experts. There are many excellent brands, like Merrel, NB, I walk in Salomon or Hoka One One. I need lots of cushioning, so even the Salomon these days are a struggle after a few days.

    Depending on the place you buy your shoes from, you may be able to buy a pair and try ot on for a few days.

    In early April, weather still possibly being iffy, I would not think twice about Gortex. For walking in sandals, look into waterproof socks ypu can put on if ot rains or gets cold.

    Happy shopping.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2017
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  3. jozero

    jozero Oh... That's what the shell is for... Donating Member

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    You could have a look at the Salomom X Ultra shoes, nice and comfortable but still a moderate amount of torsional resistance with a Gor-tex waterproof membrane and pretty rugged outsoles. They also have a speed lace if you want to shave off a few seconds of lacing time :D
     
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  4. gerardcarey

    gerardcarey Veteran Member

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    I've used Merrell Moabs on three Caminos.
    Initially I bought one full size larger than was comfortable due to receiving advice that this would better accommodate my feet when they swelled in the heat.
    Number one best piece of advice I ever received re going on Camino. I've never had a blister.
    My second purchase was for only a half size larger but in a larger width. That worked fine too. They just felt a little less clodhopperish.
    I replace the inner soles with some offering more arch support and comfort.
    Regards and buen blister free Camino
    Gerard
     
  5. Rick M

    Rick M Active Member

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    You've had some good advice here. I used the Merrill's as well, and they worked OK. Lots of pilgrims wear them....as long as it FITS! A gortex shoe is a good idea in early April. A lousy idea in July. Consider your socks as well. I had to play with sock composition and weight until I got the right fit. In general, start with a medium to heavy weight merino/synthetic blend, and try a few different ones. Yeah, they are ridiculously expensive if you are used to standard cotton athletic socks sold by the bag. They are worth every penny. Some like layered socks as well. Play with it, and your feet will tell you the truth!

    Congratulations on taking your first Camino, and taking your shoe selection seriously. Nothing matters more than a shoe that fits and you are comfortable in.

    Buen Camino
     
  6. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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  7. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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    Thank you for the advice. I am leaving in the first week to 10 days of April.
     
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  8. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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  9. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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    Thank you. I will look into those.
     
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  10. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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  11. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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    Thank you. I am concerned about going up a size with descents. But this is something to consider. I am certainly listening since you've completed 3 Caminos with them.
     
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  12. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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  13. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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    I agree, everyone is very helpful. I am on a budget but I will spare no expense on my shoes, socks and pack. I am looking for a blister free Camino.
    Gortex is the way I am going for sure. I expect to catch a fair amount of rain on my trip.
    I will have sandals too, for some air during the sunny days.
    Thank you!
     
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  14. Bajaracer

    Bajaracer Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre

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    Go shopping for footwear the late afternoon/early evening after you've been on your feet all day, your feet will have swelled up a little.
     
  15. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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    Great advice. Thank you!
     
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  16. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    I posted this a while back.
    -----------

    It is advisable to do these things when shopping for trekking or backpacking footwear:

    1. Wear the same socks which you will be walking in. If you are going to be using double socks, or liner socks underneath your trekking socks, be sure to wear those combinations when try on footwear.

    2. Bring your backpack loaded with the same amount of weight that you will be carrying. (I actually like to add 5 lbs --2.25 kg-- above my expected load). When you are trying on the footwear, put on the
    backpack.

    3. If you use a third party insole or an orthotic for your other athletic, walking, or backpacking footwear, and you want to use them for your new shoes, be sure to bring them along and, if possible, take the factory insole out and switch with the one you brought.

    4. When you are trying to get a feel for the shoes/boots, walk around the store, walk up stairs, take as long as you need.

    5. With the shoe laces properly tied to minimize your foot from sliding, try to jam your feet in the shoe so that you can feel if your toes touch the front of the shoe. Toes touching the front of the shoe is a BIG no-no. Forget about what size you normally wear, you are shopping for a trekking shoe in the size that you need!!!!! That can mean a shoe size one or more sizes larger than you normally wear.

    6. Pay attention to the width of the shoe.... you do not want a shoe that is snug at the widest part of your foot. This, again, is why it is important to wear your backpack and to have the same socks on when trying out shoes. If you are needing a wide width shoe, it is a sad fact that some of the better trail shoe and running shoe manufacturers don't make wide width shoes. So if the store that you are shopping in doesn't carry what you need and want, go to another store. Period.

    7. When you get your new shoes home, do not wear them outside until you are convinced that your purchase is what you want. Some stores --- very, very few --- will let you wear them anywhere during the STORE'S warranty period, and either refund the purchase or exchange them should you find the shoes unsatisfactory..... even if they are well used and blemished to heck and back.
     
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  17. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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  18. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Join REI, and buy your shoes there. You can actually wear the shoes for a while, including outside, and you have up to a year to return them.
     
  19. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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    Excellent. Thank you!
     
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  20. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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  21. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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    Yes, I just became a member last week when I bought my pack and am looking at the Merrells there. They told me the same thing but it's nice hearing it from someone else. Thank you.
     
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  22. Juspassinthrough

    Juspassinthrough Active Member

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    I wore Keen Trail walkers from REI. I second working with them because of their exchange policy. I noticed many blisters on the outside heel of many Pilgrims, including minor blisters on my feet in the same location. Your feet slide forward on the down hill portions of the Camino, pay attention to how the heel fits. Surgical tape may help for hot spots. With all that said, take care of your feet but don’t obsess. Buen Camino.
     
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  23. gerardcarey

    gerardcarey Veteran Member

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    You'll need to utilise a "Lock heel" lacing technique.
    Whether or not your footwear is slightly oversized you'll need to utilise this!
    As the name suggests this lacing technique ensures your heel is securely locked into the back of your footware. Then your feet won't slide forward on descents, thereby banging and damaging your toes against the front of your shoe/boot.
    There are several good demonstrating utube videos. I'll pm you one when I've got time.
    Regards
    Gerard

    Here 'tis
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  24. edandjoan

    edandjoan Active Member

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    Personal choice, as shoes are a personal thing as everyone's foot is different. As a distance runner I won't buy a shoe that has to be "broken-in". It needs to feel good the first time I put in on and go out for 6 miles. I have worn trail runners in Spain, France, Switzerland, Croatia etc. I find gortex un-necesary, it makes my feet sweat and if/when it rains they will get wet and take longer to dry out. I have a wide forefoot so I won't suggest any shoes. Just my thoughts.
    Good luck on finding a good fit!
     
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  25. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I wore my shoes just once before my Camino this year. They are New Balance trail runners.
     
  26. MTtoCamino

    MTtoCamino Veteran Member

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    The only thing I really push is take whatever shoe you plan on using for at least a 15 mile walk, you will discover usually sooner than later if they tear up your feet. I thought Merrills would be just right but I found they did not work for me. REI return.
    Walking is the only way to verify how a shoe will work out. I am also not a fan of goretex.
    Good luck!
    Keith
     
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  27. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Yes, very good advice. I had actually been wearing an identical pair of shoes to train in prior to my Camino. In addition to at least one 15 mile walk, I suggest that you should walk at least 10 miles for 3 or more consecutive days. Sometimes you can have no problems after one long walk, but the real test is doing it day after day.
     
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  28. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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  29. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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    Great. Thank you!
     
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  30. PlutseligPilegrim

    PlutseligPilegrim Frances-Norte-Levante-Portugues

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    I will never go by Gore-Tex.....why ?......the challenge is not getting wet , but how you get dry afterwards.....and april is not particulary wet in my reasoning....you will bee fine with whatever you choose.

    My latest pair was 1,5-2 sizes over....swelling occours and homesoil is the absolute best place for realtime experience with weight and distance in accordance with the camino...

    Pictures from El Norte in December.

    You will have a great walk.
     
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  31. MTtoCamino

    MTtoCamino Veteran Member

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    Very good advice. I am adding a bit more, I found that you need to not only need a good shoe that works but you should also try:

    Custom orthotics if available or do what I did & use aftermarket insoles, my feet love the "Sole" brand that are blue. Put them in oven & stand on them they match the contours of the foot.

    Socks, try combinations to see what works for your specific sweaty dogs.
     
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  32. J F Gregory

    J F Gregory Preparing for the Norte

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    I purchase my hiking equipment at except my backpack at REI. They give you a month to try out the shoe and return it at no cost if it doesn't work for you. I tried about 3 brands before I found the ones that were good for my feet. My fourth did the trick. low cut Keen's that are waterproof along with Dirty Girl Gators they are great protection of the ankle and prevent dirt and pebbles from getting into your shoes. I also use after market shoe inserts because I have bad feet.
     
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  33. Gilmore Girl

    Gilmore Girl New Member

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    I have the Salomon Ultra X shoes and they are great, but I was so glad I wore the lightest Salomon boots instead. Definitely feel that the sturdier, thicker soles protected my feet and were a dream to walk in. The terrain on the Camino is quite a hard surface, even the bits that aren't tarmac. However, I realise shoe preference is a very individual thing. I didn't get any blisters, so quite lucky.
     
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  34. JohnMcM

    JohnMcM Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Hello JeffV,
    Welcome to your forum.

    Whatever type of shoe/boot/sandal you decide to buy I would like to offer you some personally learned advice.

    When you do decide to buy it can be useful to be in your chosen shop a few hours after you've risen and perhaps have walked around for a while. This give time for your feet to 'expand' or if you like 'swell' to their load bearing size.

    Consider wearing the socks you intend to walk in and, if possible, wear your walking or a weighted pack when you try the shoes on.

    I expect there will be professional 'feet experts' who will read this and agree or disagree. All I offer you is what works for me in helping me be comfortable, and, usually blister free.

    Buen (comfy-feet) training and eventual Camino.


    I could have saved a couple of minutes by reading all the replies you've had before mine.

    Oh well, not to worry. Happy to reinforce what others say.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
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  35. jimmyc

    jimmyc New Member

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    I have a pair of Merrell that I bought in 2013 and have done the Wainwright coast to coast in England, The Caminos from SJPDP and Lisbon and numerous other walks and the are still going. I will probably wear the same shoes next year for the Madrid Camino.
    I have experienced some blisters early in the walks but they soon disappeared.
     
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  36. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith New Member

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    Someone introduced me to Gehwol foot cream to avoid blisters on my last jaunt. Worked a treat, no blisters!
     
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  37. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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  38. MTtoCamino

    MTtoCamino Veteran Member

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    I am so bummed when they didn't work for me as they have great Vibram soles. The Keen I wore by the time I arrived in Finnesterre I had superglued & duct taped them they had no lining or sole left they actually had holes in the soles. I laugh because I returned them to REI back then the return policy was more like 3months. I bought them just prior to leaving they were about 1.5 months old. I explained that I walked 35 days in them & felt they should at least have sole left. No problem they said & gave me a new pair. Good value :p
     
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  39. HedaP

    HedaP Active Member Donating Member

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    And what did you buy?o_O:)
     
  40. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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    Thank you.
     
  41. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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    I still have not purchased yet. To be honest, this thread has slowed me down a bit, LOL!!
    But it's good info and I think everyone has helped. I've just been doing a bit more research. I might be headed out to try on some more tomorrow.
     
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  42. HedaP

    HedaP Active Member Donating Member

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    Can completely understand. I’m confused too and I know what shoes I like.:p:p:pIn my opinion if a shoe is comfortable in the shop on first wear in your usual size that is a good starting point and that I think is where you are. The next step (excuse the pun) is to get at least one and even one and a half sizes too big in those same shoes and chances are they will be fine. Walking every day, day after day, will make your feet swell so you need the extra space of a bigger size. Various lacing techniques (do your homework) will keep your shoes tight around your heels.
    You don’t have to listen to me. You are in a good position and have heaps of time to test shoes out on long walks. I spent way too much trying to get to this point and still believe it was worth it because for folks like me from Australia it costs so much to get to the camino that it is worth investing money in testing shoes. And really testing. I wore mine every day for months even at work.
    Don’t worry too much about the goretex/non-goretex debate because you are walking in April/May when the weather will be cooler and you can expect some wet weather. I started 2 April with non-goretex but was grateful that I had put a pair of waterproof socks in at the last minute.;)
    I would still buy my same old shoes because they are tried and tested and unlike you I have wide hobbit feet though hopefully not hairy. :p
    You’ll be fine.
     
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  43. HedaP

    HedaP Active Member Donating Member

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    Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
    PS I should have said that the bigger shoes might feel like clown shoes to start with and you do need to get used to the extra length especially when walking up and down stairs. Take care. But it takes surprisingly little time to get used to the extra length.
     
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  44. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    I am planning the Camino for April 2018
    Haha.. too funny. Although I am weary about going that much bigger. I've never really had that much swelling in my feet.
    Australia is far but I am coming all the way from Arizona which will be the longest distance I have ever travelled. I have never been to Europe so this is a big deal for me. the Camino is the catalyst for this but I am going to travel around Europe for awhile and get lost a little and enjoy as much as possible. I going to be there for 103 days total. The shoes are gonna get a real workout.
     
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  45. HedaP

    HedaP Active Member Donating Member

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    Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
    Sounds great. What an adventure! Buen camino, peregrino.
     
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  46. Rick M

    Rick M Active Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    April ('16,'18)
    Many people on this board recommend getting walking shoes 1-2 sizes larger than what you usually wear. I received this advice too, and for many, I assume its good advice. It was not good advice for me. My feet did not, and still do not swell in any noticeable way when I walk. For me, getting a larger shoe would have been a blister factory, and I am glad I did not do it. You have no choice but to take your best guess, and start walking. Maybe your feet swell after a few 20 km back-to-back walks, and maybe they don't. Unfortunately, Try It is the best advice

    As a side note, I'm not sure that you can visit Europe for 103 days in a row legally....I may be wrong but make sure there is not a 90 day limit to a tourist visa for the Schengen area which is what the EU calls itself for visa purposes. Oh, and don't miss Paris!

    Buen Camino
     
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  47. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    Camino Frances...
    St Jean Pied de Port to Burgos, September 2017
    I am excited and happy for you. You are doing the best thing by asking advice, doing the necessary research, and being on this forum where the members here can offer encouragement and support as you go forward.

    Despite what some think, purchasing trekking/backpacking/hikking shoes one size larger than your regular street shoe size has nothing to do with the feet swelling. Foot swelling occurs, but it occurs across the width of the foot, not the length. On the other hand, when doing extensive walking, a foot will, for many people, increase slightly in length as well; that is not swelling, it is from foot muscles and ligaments slightly adjusting to the daily long-distance walking routine. Swelling in the foot's width is from the accumulation of fluids as well as the compression of the foot's muscle outwards.

    Buying a shoe in a larger size allows for space to keep your toes from being damaged from their being crammed in the toe box while doing downhill descents. Losing toenails, inflammed joints in the toes, and even more severe injury to the bones in the toes can occur. Likewise, making sure the width of the shoe, with the number and type of socks you will wear and wearing the backpack you will wear with the weight you will be carrying will allow the foot to spread out when trying on footwear. You want a shoe that does not press in at the sides of your feet. it is better to have a shoe that is slightly too wide, than one that is not wide enough.

    Please keep this in mind: You do not buy shoes by measurement, you buy shoes by the 'fit'. Measuring the feet is only a guideline; it is how the shoe feels that is the most important factor. So when one says to purchase a shoe a size larger or smaller, wider or narrower than your normal size, that is only a bare starting point. With your wearing the socks, pack, and insoles that you will be using, that will allow you to dial in the best fit possible.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017 at 6:47 PM
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  48. Prentiss Riddle

    Prentiss Riddle Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada

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    Location:
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    Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. (2015, 2016 & 2017)
    Count me as another Gore-Tex hater. It is not actually waterproof enough to keep out water in prolonged exposure (heavy rain or walking through puddles), and it is not actually breathable enough to dry out once the water does get in - in my opinion the worst of both worlds.

    My solution is to wear breathable shoes with double socks plus a layer of vaseline on my foot. I wear wool outer socks because wool provides warmth even when wet. The liner socks should be thin and breathable - I like those crazy Injinji toe socks, because my worst blisters occur between my toes. The point of the vaseline is to keep excess moisture from soaking into the skin (because wet skin gets soft and blisters easily), and to bind the foot to the inner sock so any slipping and friction will be sock-on-sock rather than skin-on-sock.

    I love my classic Merrell Moabs (not the Gore-Tex version) but haven't yet tried the Moab 2. I hope they're as good!

    Oh, and has anybody yet told you the trick to having dry shoes in the morning? At the end of the day, remove the liners and stuff newspaper into the shoes. Works like a charm. Most albergues provide newspaper for that purpose.
     
  49. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    I am planning the Camino for April 2018
    Great tips. Thank you. Yes, I have heard the newspaper trick but only once so it's good to get a confirmation on that.
     
  50. MTtoCamino

    MTtoCamino Veteran Member

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    Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
    The problem with going to Europe is it is very easy to love everything! Great transportation systems, good food, You can get by without a tent, no need for a gun ..the list is endless :)
     
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  51. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Camino Frances August - September(2016)
    July - August (2017) - Camino Frances, Muxia and Finisterre
    Yes! Be very careful about this.
    Read up on Schengen zone rules. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_the_Schengen_Area
    You are limited to 90 days in any 180 day period in the Schengen Zone.
     
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  52. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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    I am planning the Camino for April 2018
  53. JeffV

    JeffV New Member

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    I am planning the Camino for April 2018
    Yes, I will be. I will only be in Shengen for 86 days.
     
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  54. Suzanne H

    Suzanne H New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    2017
    Finishing up my walk now, so will add a note or two to consider:
    - don't put too many training miles on the pair you wear on the trail. I'm convinced some of my pain during the past few weeks may be from shoes with too many miles on them. Concrete became a chore to walk on.
    - socks do matter. I wore medium weight while walking around D.C. for months... chose to wear thinner socks once I arrived here. That's MY experience, just a suggestion to try a variety. Lorpen, Wrightsox, Injinjin became my best friends.
    - listen to your body. It will tell you what you need. Slow and soft are good.
    - wearing a pack while walking every day WILL change how you experience your shoes. Come with that mindset and you won't be surprised
    Buen Camino!!
     
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  55. josephmcclain

    josephmcclain New Member

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    I couldn´t get comfortable with my new Moab's and bought the new HOKAs. I can only say that I have now walked maybe 500 KM and they are simply fantastic. I bow down every night to them. They are comfortable, light and I have no blisters even though I am pone to them. I know a lot of people swear by their Moab's. I just couldn´t get them to work and left them behind.
     
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  56. MichelleElynHogan

    MichelleElynHogan Active Member

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    Ho, that is a lot of information and suggestions.

    No matter what shoe, sandal or boot, well, maybe not sandals, wear the good, heavy socks you plan to use on the trek. No sense buying something a size or so larger and filling the space with as many pairs of socks as it takes.

    I bought some nice Nike runners six months ago. They have flexible fabric uppers and a reasonably shock resistent sole/heel, and quite colourful. I have used these on my daily training hikes and have covered about 600 km (400 miles) in them.

    The reason I mention them is they are forgiving and fit well, if a couple of socks on one foot is required. The sock to shoe size fit is essential. Of course, socks are used to keep feet clean and warm, wick moisture away and cushion each footstep.

    I wish for you, "NO BLISTERS."
     
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  57. Phil Krenc

    Phil Krenc New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino de Santiago - Frances (2016)
    I hiked the Camino Frances in a broken-in pair of Merrill Moabs. They were shot by the time I arrived in Finisterre. I had worn Moabs for five years and thought they were as good as I could expect. When I returned home after my last Camino, I decided to try Oboz Sawtooth shoes. I’ve hiked hundreds of miles in them in the New Mexico mountains and will never go back to Merrill’s. Try Darn Tuff socks with whatever shoes you choose and you should have a blister-free Camino! Buen Camino.
     
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  58. zzotte

    zzotte Active Member

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    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    Camino(s) past & future:
    2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
    I did the Canimo del Norte in April/May I use Moab non Gortex it dries very fast, I prefer non waterproof shoes

    Buen Camino
    Zzotte
     

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