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Best Shoes?

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marstine

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
Hi - I am struggling between wearing running shoes and trail runners. REI folks say I should wear trail runners because I am carrying a pack, 10 pounds. However, my Asics running shoes are way more comfortable. Do you think I will be OK on the trails without the heavier lugs on trail runners?

Thanks!
 

MilerMilo

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Fisterra and Muxia May-June 2017
Hello! I think most of the time would be fine in regular running shoes, but there will definitely be times when you'll benefit from having the extra traction of a trail runner. Additionally, some trail runners have a (removable) rock plate, which will be helpful on golf-ball-sized gravel. Keep shopping for and trying on different trail runners--there are some out there that are like walking on clouds.
 

Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18, '19)
Many people do the entire journey in running shoes. Heck, there's a contingent that do it in sandals!

Your REI advisor isn't "wrong" about trail runners. And there ARE patches of the trail that are a bit more rugged and uncertain than a running shoe was designed for, but that doesn't make the trail impassible. The most important thing about shoes is fit, leading to comfort, leading to a blister free Camino. Blisters are the scourge to be avoided at all cost.

If the running shoe is what you have confidence in, then you should wear it. When you hit the rough patches, and there aren't that many, take it slow to avoid injuring your feet. You'll be fine.

Buen Camino
 

Camino Addict

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues (2013), Caminho Costa (2013), Frances (2014, 18) Mozarabe (2017), Portugues (2019)
If your pack weight hovers around 10 pounds and you are not prone to leg injuries, go with the road shoes. If you are going heavier and are prone to leg injuries, go with light hikers, but try to avoid trail runners. I used to work at REI, and as much as I love my old crew there, many of them don't realize how much more pavement walking is involved on the Camino, and any knowledgeable shoe retailer will know that trail running shoes can actually cause injury if you overuse them on paved roads.
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
Try it out before you leave. Load up your pack, put on your shoes, and walk for 10-15 miles. Then do it again the following day. Then walk with fully-loaded pack and your favorite shoes as often as you can, long walks as much as possible (Yes, we all have time limits on how long/often we can do this!). Go up and down hills and walk on a variety of surfaces. You'll begin to get a good idea of what works for you. Everyone is different. Good luck and e joy!
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
The biggest difference in road running shoes and trail running shoes are the amount of cushioning, a beefed up stability -- even for trail shoes described as a 'neutral gait or pronation shoe --, and the placement of a thermoplastic rock plate embedded between the sole and the shoe -- very lightweight and flexible -- which protects feet from being punched by rocks, roots and other debris. If you've ever had a bruise or soreness on the sole of your foot after coming down on a sharp protruding chunk of rock or gravel, then you'll appreciate the rock plate for hiking and walking.

Trail runners will also have a more aggressive tread, with the material being more slip resistant under wet conditions.

You'll undoubtedly be walking many hours of each day, much longer than when doing a recreational or workout run. Feet will swell. So, with your present shoe size, you may need to consider whether or not to adjust for a wider shoe size.
 

Kent Davis

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Completed CF in Oct 2016
You definitely want trail runners for the support especially as you descend steep and rocky terrain. you have a higher probability to have foot or ankle injury in running shoes and there is no reason to assume that risk. Plenty of the trail runners at REI are equally as comfortable as running shoes, I would suggest trying the La Sportiva and Brooks.
 

hotelmedicis

Commercial Interests
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2001 (+more)
VDLP 2013, 2018
On the Camino Frances I can count the number of "trails" on one hand. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating, but regular running shoes will work fine. Seriously. You do not need "trail runners." Many people do the entire camino in sandals! I did the entire CF in Merrell Moab Ventilator hiking shoes even they were overkill since most of the walking on the CF is on asphalt, concrete, cobblestones or hard-dirt. I have since switched to New Balance running shoes! I think your running shoes, which are "way" more comfortable, will be a great choice. I recommend some sort of insoles such as Superfeet, the green or blue versions. I use green. :cool:

Here is what I'm wearing on my VDLP this year:
IMG_2010.JPG
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Regular running shoes, trail runners or low hiking type shoes/boots. They're all good choices for the Camino and you will see them all worn on the Camino and successfully worn from Saint Jean to Santiago. Just depends on the person, their feet, their overall physical condition, their age, their body weight, prior injuries etc. You know yourself better than anybody. Certainly better that the outdoor store "pro".
If in doubt get some Asics trail runners (Gel Kahanas). I have a pair of them and they aren't any heavier than my regular running shoes. They just have a grippier sole with small lugs, which could come in handy sometimes on the natural surface sections of the Camino, especially when it involves downhill, wet surfaces.
 

Viggen

Vigo
Camino(s) past & future
CF June 2015
CP June 2017
Del Norte, Finisterre / Muxia Oct 2017
VDLP 2018
VF, SBP to Rome 2019
Trail runners are designed for uneven surfaces and varied terrain. They will have better cushioning, better grip, rock plates and generally more durable. These properties do make a difference over the long haul.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
Everyone is different, and all feet are different. Even on one person, their two feet are likely different. So, any footwear solution is necessarily highly individualized, and should be tailored to your specific needs.

As regards light running / training shoes versus specialized trail runners or low hiking shoes, I suggest the later for added foot support. Walking the Camino is not the same as a walk across town.

Consider that you will be in these shoes for 8 plus hours each day, in all weather. You will be carrying the added weight of a loaded rucksack, plus water. You will be walking up hills, and down hills. Do consider using hiking poles.

Surprisingly, going down hill is more difficult. Remember, gravity sucks! It WANTS to grab you and hurl you down the hill. Losing your footing makes this easier for Mr. Gravity...

Sometimes you will be walking on flat paved surfaces. However, at other times, you will be walking on broken rocks, gravel and uneven and angled terrain.

The stiffer trail runner and low hiking shoes will provide added stiffness and support to the bottom of your feet when you walk over uneven surfaces with protrusions. Conventional running / training shoes will transmit the pointy bits to your feet.

Stiffer trail runners or low hiking shoes will also provide more torsional support to prevent foot flexing to the side. This is how ankle injuries occur, and they are very common on the Camino.

Moving right along, many of us, myself included, wear mid-height (ankle high) hiking boots. The reasons for this are also personalized. In my case, my body is top-heavy.:eek: Adding a loaded rucksack affects my center of balance in a comical way... Plus, I have weak ankles, always have... Then, literally on top of that, I am not a petite fellow.

So, all of these personal attributes taken together, dictate the need for the added support one gets from mid-height hiking shoes. For reference, for my past five Caminos I have worn Keen Targhee II hiking shoes. I am on my second pair. After a full Camino Frances, I have them resoled. After three Caminos, my first pair had had enough and I retired them in favor of an identical third pair. In April, they will head out on their third (my sixth) Camino.

Just as an FYI, this shoe is available in a low-cut version and is available for both men and women. It offers excellent torsional stability and sole protection.

Hope this helps.
 
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Susu60

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, La via plata, Aragon,
Hi - I am struggling between wearing running shoes and trail runners. REI folks say I should wear trail runners because I am carrying a pack, 10 pounds. However, my Asics running shoes are way more comfortable. Do you think I will be OK on the trails without the heavier lugs on trail runners?

Thanks!
Wear the shoe that won’t give you blisters!!!
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Frances (2018}
Hi - I am struggling between wearing running shoes and trail runners. REI folks say I should wear trail runners because I am carrying a pack, 10 pounds. However, my Asics running shoes are way more comfortable. Do you think I will be OK on the trails without the heavier lugs on trail runners?

Thanks!
Depends on time of year. In early spring, trails can be deep in mud. In my opinion, in these conditions, only boots will keep your feet dry. The rest of the year shoes are probably fine but personally, I stick to lightweight boots.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Português da Costa (Fall 2018)
My Camino has been delayed for several years - first caring for my elderly Mum, overlapping and now full-time caring for my youngest sister, who has ALS. In the meanwhile, I keep on doing long hikes with my overloaded Camino backpack and these boots that came recommended here in the forum. They are lightweight, breathable, and supportive. Perhaps they are overkill, but they have worked well for this now 73-year old over all types of practice terrain. New Balance 978. They are just part of my feet now. I'm on my third pair. FWIW, my inserts are orange Superfeet.
New Balance 978 - 2018-02-26.png
 
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MethaV

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014 Camino Frances
2017 Le Puy en Velay-Cahors
2018 Cahors-SJPdP
Le Chemin Piemont Pyrénéen (2019)
Hi - I am struggling between wearing running shoes and trail runners. REI folks say I should wear trail runners because I am carrying a pack, 10 pounds. However, my Asics running shoes are way more comfortable. Do you think I will be OK on the trails without the heavier lugs on trail runners?

Thanks!
If you feel that the Asics are good and comfortable with you, then use them!
 

adricor44

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
1
If you feel that the Asics are good and comfortable with you, then use them!
I totally agree with you. I did the Camino the Santiago twice already and both already in my 60s.

My number #1 recommendation to all of you falks who want to do the camino the sanitago is to wear a supportive footwear...

I suffer from heel pain and the best decision I could have made was doing the camino de Santaigo with Brooks running shoes. You are going to walk a lot so make sure you find a good cushioned shoes especially if you have suffered from plantar fasciitis.

All of the shoes listed below are a great choice on my opinion.

https://treatplantarfasciitis.com/blogs/recuvita-blog-sources-and-investigation-articles-on-health-gadgets/ultimate-best-13-sport-shoes-to-treat-plantar-fasciits-in-2019
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2019)
Hi - I am struggling between wearing running shoes and trail runners. REI folks say I should wear trail runners because I am carrying a pack, 10 pounds. However, my Asics running shoes are way more comfortable. Do you think I will be OK on the trails without the heavier lugs on trail runners?

Thanks!
Yeah! I think it is Okay. You can try trails runners for running.
 

albert1london

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
no
Being a shoe size 14 4E I have always found it impossible to buy wide trainers and would usually have to order them from the US until I came across a UK company who stock an amazing range of New Balance trainers and hiking shoes https://www.widefitshoes.co.uk/men/wide-trainers/

I have now purchased 6 times and would definitely recommend them if you are looking for comfortable wide footwear!!
 

shazade

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2020)
New balance trail runners
Anniesantiago, for a newbie would you recommend practicing in one pair and bringing a new pair to walk? Most of the info I've seen says you don't need to break the trailrunners in, and I don't want to wear my NB's out before I even start...
 

Viggen

Vigo
Camino(s) past & future
CF June 2015
CP June 2017
Del Norte, Finisterre / Muxia Oct 2017
VDLP 2018
VF, SBP to Rome 2019
Anniesantiago, for a newbie would you recommend practicing in one pair and bringing a new pair to walk? Most of the info I've seen says you don't need to break the trailrunners in, and I don't want to wear my NB's out before I even start...
I casual wear my trail runners for a few months before I start my Camino.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Anniesantiago, for a newbie would you recommend practicing in one pair and bringing a new pair to walk? Most of the info I've seen says you don't need to break the trailrunners in, and I don't want to wear my NB's out before I even start...
It is correct that there is no breaking in required for trail runners, street runners, and many models of hiking shoes. The materials used in the construction are lightweight materials that are ready to wear. In fact, ifa pair of trail runners is feeling a bit tight or with areas of pressure points, or they just don't feel 'right' out of the box, they will not get better down the road with miles on them. The shoe needs to fit and feel good when trying them on.

As to whether or not to use a new pair for Camino, a lot depends on how tough you are on shoes :). Mileage wise, the useful cushioning for a trail runner is between 450 to 600 miles. On my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike, I sent myself a new pair of the trail runners I was wearing about every 450 miles, in my re-supply drop boxes.

Factors affecting useful life include how much someone weighs, whether they have pronation or supination/motion control issues, types of terrain, gait, etc. They all play a significant role in how long a pair of street or trail runners will actually last. If you have the budget, buy a new pair for Camino. Even if there is plenty of useful life in the pair you train in, starting with a fresh pair is nice. And you will then have both pairs of the shoes at home after camino that will still have plenty of life left.

If you are pinching pennies, then evaluate how many miles your trainers have when you will leave on Camino, how the outersole and uppers are holding up to wear and tear, and then decide if you need a new pair.

If you do decide to go with two pair, I would not buy the second pair until you are sure you are comfortable with the performance and feel of your training pair.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Anniesantiago, for a newbie would you recommend practicing in one pair and bringing a new pair to walk? Most of the info I've seen says you don't need to break the trailrunners in, and I don't want to wear my NB's out before I even start...
When I used trail runners I brought a new pair of the same model that I trained in, which I wore a few times just to make sure that they didn't have any defects in them.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
Anniesantiago, for a newbie would you recommend practicing in one pair and bringing a new pair to walk? Most of the info I've seen says you don't need to break the trailrunners in, and I don't want to wear my NB's out before I even start...
No. I wouldn't worry about it.
I've worn the same shoes on two Caminos back to back with no issues.

And honestly, most people get their training ON the Camino by starting out a little slow and gradually increasing distance. It really doesn't require "training" if you are in good general health.
 

Hilarious

Hilarious
Camino(s) past & future
Planning stage Camino Frances from SJPdP (Sept. 2019)
The biggest difference in road running shoes and trail running shoes are the amount of cushioning, a beefed up stability -- even for trail shoes described as a 'neutral gait or pronation shoe --, and the placement of a thermoplastic rock plate embedded between the sole and the shoe -- very lightweight and flexible -- which protects feet from being punched by rocks, roots and other debris. If you've ever had a bruise or soreness on the sole of your foot after coming down on a sharp protruding chunk of rock or gravel, then you'll appreciate the rock plate for hiking and walking.

Trail runners will also have a more aggressive tread, with the material being more slip resistant under wet conditions.

You'll undoubtedly be walking many hours of each day, much longer than when doing a recreational or workout run. Feet will swell. So, with your present shoe size, you may need to consider whether or not to adjust for a wider shoe size.
Thank you Dave for explaining this. Are the Hola Bondi 6 classified as trail runners or road running shoes? I bought a pair and have been alternating between my Salomons and the Hokas on my training walks to see what are the most comfortable. My podiatrist favoured the hokas for cushioning and lightness.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Thank you Dave for explaining this. Are the Hola Bondi 6 classified as trail runners or road running shoes? I bought a pair and have been alternating between my Salomons and the Hokas on my training walks to see what are the most comfortable. My podiatrist favoured the hokas for cushioning and lightness.
The Hoka One One Bondi are classified as a road running shoe, but they are quite adequate for Camino as far as traction is concerned. I use them backpacking and dayhikes with a variety of trail conditions and they work well.

If you do not need an extra wide width in a shoe, the Hoka Women's Stinson ATR v 5 shares about the same level of cushioning and support, but they have a deeper lug for an outer sole.
 

Hilarious

Hilarious
Camino(s) past & future
Planning stage Camino Frances from SJPdP (Sept. 2019)
The Hoka One One Bondi are classified as a road running shoe, but they are quite adequate for Camino as far as traction is concerned. I use them backpacking and dayhikes with a variety of trail conditions and they work well.

If you do not need an extra wide width in a shoe, the Hoka Women's Stinson ATR v 5 shares about the same level of cushioning and support, but they have a deeper lug for an outer sole.
Many thanks Dave. 👍
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I have worn 5 different brands of trail runners on 5 varying caminos and didn't really have issues with any of them, but my absolute favorites were Hokas, which I always describe as "walking on marshmellows". My son loves La Sportivas for his long distance hikes, but I've not tried them myself.
 

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