Hi, Kathryn. . . .
The Speedgoats would hold up just fine.
As to blisters, that is unrelated to footwear as a direct
element. It is primarily related to how effectively one eliminates shear force friction to the skin of the foot, including achieving a proper fit of the footwear.
Likewise, one cannot predict comfort of a shoe based on the experiences of others. Hoka One One have models of shoes, like the Bondi, which are among the most cushioned and are also proven for backpacking and Camino trekking
Blisters are a product of friction.... often referred to as shear force friction. The skin of your foot, and the sock that is in contact with that area of skin, are sliding and rubbing together.
Strategies for the prevention of shear force friction and blisters have changed and matured over recent years.
- A properly fitting shoe. In brief, it needs to be long enough and wide enough to accommodate any insoles, orthotics, metatarsal pads, etc, PLUS the socks that you will be wearing, PLUS the increased pressure on the feet from wearing a loaded pack.
- Light padded Merino wool sock designed for walking or backpacking, or the same type of sock in a good synthetic blend. A heavy pad on a sock allows potentially more movement against the skin, takes longer to air out, and takes longer to dry when washed.
- A sock fit that is snug and form fitting to the foot, but not gangrene-inducing tight. You want the shear force to be between the sock and the interior of the shoe, not the sock and the skin. A snug fitting sock will help to make that happen.
- Allow the shoe to move over the sock a bit. By keeping the shoes a bit looser on the feet, the sock will take the brunt of the shear force. If a shoe is tied snug, then that forces the foot to move more in the sock, which means the sock and skin are absorbing the shear force. An exception occurs on long downhill grades; the shoes need to be tied tight enough to keep your toes from hitting the front of the shoe which can cause injury and trauma to the nail bed and toe joints.
- While there are foot lubricants, from Body Glide and Hiker's Goo to plain old vaseline, they have a fairly short viable working span as the material rubs off of the skin and is absorbed by the socks. For prophylactic protection from shear force friction to blister prone areas on the feet, a long lasting barrier is the better option. The placement of tapes, like Leukotape P, or moleskin-type products, if adhered correctly, will last the whole day.
- To apply tapes and moleskin type products,
- Clean off the area of application with a bit of alcohol to remove grease, dirt, and body oils. A bit of regular hand sanitizer works for this, in addition to hand cleansing.
- Cut a piece of your chosen barrier material to fit the area you want protected; be sure to cut rounded corners rather than square in order to help the material from rolling up away from the skin.
- Apply a thin smear of Tincture of Benzoin to the skin area where the adhesive will stick. This will increase the holding power of the tape or moleskin.
- If the tape or moleskin, etc. is going on top of a blistered area, avoid getting the Benzoin on the roof area of the blister, and add a thin coating of ointment/vaseline onto the blister roof, avoiding the surrounding skin area. This will allow removal of the product without hurting the blister wound.
- Place the barrier on the area, taking care to not handle the adhesive; spend a bit of time rubbing the material to create friction so that the adhesive will heat up and adhere more firmly.
- At the end of the day, remove the barrier and use some alcohol to wipe the area that was covered.
- Since fungus (athletes foot) and pathogens splash around in showers, shower shoes are not necessarily preventative to one's feet being exposed or infected. It is helpful to use an alcohol or astringent product applied to the feet after showering.
As you go looking for shoe, here are some tips which I have posted before that may help you.
The most important theme for achieving a proper fit is: You do not choose a shoe based on measurements, you buy a shoe based on its Fit N Feel regardless of instrument measurements.
- When you go to the store, do so toward the end of the day.... you will have been up on your feet, so that will help with getting the correct fit. Additionally, you will need to wear the same backpack with the same gear you will be carrying... you want this additional weight on you as this will put the same downward pressure on the foot that you will be having while on Camino.
- Wear the exact same sock(s) you will be wearing while you are walking on the Camino. And if you have a special insole or orthotic, bring it with you.
- At the store, the measuring that will be done on your feet is only to get you in the ballpark for the correct shoe size.
- Start by standing up; never measure while sitting. You want the full weight of your body, with the pack on, to put the same pressure on your feet to spread them out as will happen while walking. That alone will increase the volume and size of your feet.
- Make sure those 'Camino' socks are on your feet; if you wear socks with liners while walking, do the same thing at the store.
- While standing, have someone near to you that you can use to steady yourself. With the measuring device on the ground, step onto the instrument and center all of your weight onto the foot being measured. Do the same for the other foot.
- Start with that size, but be aware that both the width and the length need to feel like there is adequate room for your feet. Ideally, like Goldilocks, everything will be just right. But, don't count on it. Be picky.
- If you have special insoles or orthotics, put them into any shoe you try on as they will take up space inside the shoe.
- When you find what you think will fit you well, you will need to see if your toes have enough clearance. Toes should not be able to be forced to the front of the shoe and touch the shoe. Not even a little. If they do, long walking and downhill grades on the trail or path or road will traumatize the bed of the nail, and that is when toenails can blacken and fall off.
- With your shoes tied securely, but not too tight, walk around the store with your pack on. Go up stairs and down stairs, scuff the shoes to the floor so that your feet are forced to do any movement they will do and see if your toes so much as butterfly kiss the front of the shoe. Kick the front of the shoe into a post or stair or wall or someone's shin.... does that make any of your toes touch the front of the shoe? That goes for all the little piggies.
- Next, pay attention to the width of the shoe. It shouldn't feel snug on the sides and there should be no rubbing or pressure points at all. They will not go away with "break in". They will create soreness, pain, and blistering. Even if it seems to be tolerable, it is like water torture; as your feet are continually exposed to those pressure points your feet will break down against them bit by bit, and bruising, blisters, and soreness will follow.
- You may need to go up a size to a size and a half in length, and go with a wider width to avoid those things I mentioned above. The notion that one avoids blisters by wearing snug footwear has been shown to do just the opposite.