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Boots or good jogging shoes?

I still don't know which footwear is the best choice for a summer Camino. I'll start my Camino in the end of May and I hope that will be in Santiago de Compostela in the beginning of the July.
Should I wear my hiking boots which are almost like this ---> http://kauppa.lassinretkiaitta.fi/files ... Upload.jpg
or are good jogging shoes better. These shoes have also steady bottoms and Gore-text ---> http://www.zappos.com/images/715/715645 ... 3579-t.jpg
I know that there will be different kind of opinions, but I will be glad to hear your opinions. Then it would be easier to me to make my decision. :)

I suspect you will get some many different opinions amongst pilgrims the varying answers to your question might make the decision impossible! :)

Seriously - there is no right or wrong answer simply what works best for you. Some people like the ankle support that boots give others feel that the terrain on most routes is never so rough to merit boots. Others favour shoes as lighter and more flexible. Still others argue that when the weather is dry hiking sandals are the way to avoid blisters. In fact on the Camino Frances early in the year I met a chap who was walking with two sets of boots plus sandals for the evening - he said he couldn't decide so brought them all - this is of course a very bad idea :)

I'd say walk in the shoes or boots in which you are comfortable walking and have walked reasonably long distances with before.

For what it is worth and to add to the confusion I favour mid high walking shoe/boots which give the best of both worlds - but only because I wanted to have something I could use in all seasons.

Happy decision making



Active Member
I have spoken with a man couple of weeks ago, which have walked his camino last year in leather sandals. He said, that it was his best decision regarding the equipment.
I'm planning to use my hiking shoes and take one pair of lightweight sandals to use in the shower and to walk (if blisters became unbearable). I would not be afraid to take some light walking/jogging shoes in place of hiking ones- as terrain is not so rough (as most people on the forum said)- but I haven't got any;) so decision is made!
Buen Camino!

Don't forget the set of needles;)


Active Member
Personally I wear lightweight boots, or sandals when it is hot. But then I always wear lightweight boots or sandals, I don't actually own any other shoes (two identical pairs of boots, one pair of sandals, and I buy a new pair every year as the oldest ones wear out. While the camino frances is easy walking, the Puy en Velay route and the norte and primitivo can be fairly rugged. For those in UK, think Lake District. My donkey wear shoes with tungsten studs that cost more than a years supply of footwear for me :)
I wore jogging shoes which were very confortable and had good cushioning in the heel for the streches on roads/hard tracks. But ...... I did get blisters under the ball of my foot and some pain in the bones around ball of my foot which I suspect may have been due to too much flexibility in the shoe and not enough padding under the ball of the foot.

Next time I am going to wear Merrell Chameleon which are a sort of cross between the two



Active Member
Ah blisters
I hardly ever get blisters, sometimes just on the outside of my little toe, but only if my feet get wet. I suspect this is because I always wear the same shoes, so they are really well shaped to my foot. I know that when I get a new pair, it only takes a week or so for them to feel as comfortable as the old pair. I see no point recommending one make or style, you have to keep trying them on till you find one that suits your shape of foot. remembering that different countries sell shoes to the shape of their local people. Yes, really! Also men's fittings may suit you better if you are a woman with a wide foot. Two pairs of socks for long walks, with the inner pair very thin silk, and the outer pair wool or one of the specialist synthetics. Not ever cotton or nylon. make sure the socks are a good fit as well or they will bunch up and rub. I knit my own, and wear them every day. 75 percent wool, 25 percent polyamide, just above the top of the boot, and knit tight in fine wool (fingering weight on 2mm needles). Clean socks every day. No need for a big first aid kit that way, so I can take my knitting needles and make more socks on the way :lol: This will work whether you use boots or shoes.


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
boots would be my first choice, undoubtedly, not as high as yours, but boots nevertheless.


going uphill, do not tie the one or two top laces of the boots, give your ankle more freedom.
Going downhill, you can tie them to the very top laces, that will give you extra support
on flat land, do as if uphill.
that really helps!
In my opinion, boots ALWAYS, even in summer.

Best option to protect your ankles.
Best option (with goretex or similar, of course) o protect against water.
Best option when you stamp on any little stones that can damage your feet.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain
Hi all
I just finished my Camino Yesterday and seating at nice bar in Santiago.
My opinion on the issue is BOOTS.
There is a lot of mud on the camino.
Go waterproof
Buen Camino to everybody. It is beautiful experience


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Congratulations Andy!! Give old Jimmy a hug from all of us!
I did the question "Boots or good jogging shoes?. I have decided that it will be boots. I bought a good pair of sandals and I have walked with them. Those sandals are great and I think it's possible to use them on the Camino when the path of Camino is "easy to walk".
Yes, Mina, the yours is a good election. So, you can take your boots to walk, your sandals as your "second walking shoes" if it's necessary, and also to visit the towns where you are going to sleep after your shower.

Buen Camino, enjoy it.

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.


The Via de la Plata was very wet and muddy in a lot of places. I was very glad of my boots for this reason alone.
I'm really intrigued at the idea of taking knitting needles to knit socks along the way - how do wool socks do being washed and dried along the way? Do they dry fairly quickly? What's the other material you use along with wool? (And what country are you in??)
Errrr...wool socks take ages and ages to dry. I use them as outer socks, wash the inner socks daily and this gives time for the wool socks to dry. See what Peter Robins says on his website:

As for socks, I would guess that these are the single greatest source of blisters. Many walking socks in the shops are wool-based yet, though wool is nice and soft when new, it soon mats from dirt or sweat after use, thereby creating precisely those unevennesses that lead to differential friction on the skin, i.e. blisters. Of course you could throw out the socks every few days and buy a new pair, but this is rather impractical. Washing them regularly would no doubt cure the problem, but regular washing on a long distance walk is also impractical as wool takes forever and a day to dry. We are always told (Tip no 4) that we should wear a pair of thick socks with a thinner pair underneath, and thinner socks are easier to dry. For this reason, I went over many years ago to wearing polypropylene inner socks on my long walks. Polypropylene’s claimed property of wicking sweat away from the skin may not be 100%, but I am certain that it dries a damn sight faster than wool; I wash these inner socks every evening and generally find they are dry by morning.
I hope this helps and isn't too controversial a view! :)

I see that many people support boots as the optimal foot wear even in summer. I walked from Pamplona to Burgos in 2007 in my Asics Kayano jogging shoes, and that worked beautifully for me, except some blisters under(!) my toes - but I believe that to be due to poor socks. I have problems with my back and knees, so I need "bouncy" shoes, I guess.

And: Open sandals for those lovely evenings in the Albergues... :)
Sometimes it depends on the weather. If it's good, it's fantastic a jogging shoes. But if it's raining, when your socks become wet you can have some blisters and problems.

And the boot protects your ankle. Usually you don't need that protection, but when you really need it the jogging shoe is not enough.

The reduce weight in your weight, for example, is good in all moments in your Camino. But boots may be necessary. You never will know it before your pilgrimage. But, to avoid a possible problem, yu need the boots.

I'm sorry, I don't feel able to explain better my opinion in english.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.


Active Member
Wool socks do not mat or become lumpy if they are knitted tightly with thin wool. It takes a long time to knit, yes. Drying in the sunshine takes about four hours if they are well wrung out. I do not make or wear thick socks. The 75 percent wool 25 per cent polyamide blend fingering weight sock wool sold by regia wears well, looks pretty, and is pleasant to knit with. It takes me about 30 this is not a typo hours to knit a pair of socks, using 2mm needles and 100 grammes of wool. They fit my feet, which is what matters. My inner socks are very thin silk. I do not get blisters. Voila!


Active Member
Barbara- could I order 4 pairs from you?
Certainly! Now let me see.... Thirty hours at say fifteen euros per hour times four


I could teach you to knit :)

Forum socks....
Blue and gold I think, with the name tound the sock just above the ankle.
Special made pilgrim socks, now there's a good idea! "Socks for pilgrims, by pilgrims" :p

Blue and yellow with an arrow pointing forwards, in case you forget which way to walk... :wink:


New Member
I walked in boots the first time my husband and I went on the Camino. I think it may have worked out a little better had they been better broken in (I had blisters all along the back of my heels). The problem with boots is that they do take a longer time to adjust to your foot than jogging shoes. So if you have little time go with a nice set of trainers. However, the problem my husband and I ran into with trainers is that they are not waterproof at all. While practicing for the Camino (in Florida) we got stuck out in a flash storm. The rucksacks were alright thanks to the rain covers we bought but our shoes were soaked. So what we're going to do is purchase a set of Teva crossover shoe/sandals (http://www.zappos.com/n/p/p/7373969/c/92874.html) for when it is wet and/or rainy. We also invested in some high-quality socks.
¡Buen Camino!

I would always go for boots, no question about it. Going down steep mountain tracks litteres with rocks means you need good support for your ankles - if nothing else it can help offset the possibility of tendonitis which is hell! Also, if tendonitis does develop and you need to keep walking (like i did last year..not enough preparation beforehand!) the support will help ease the pain.

I would NOT use gore-tex lined boots because gore tex (or similar materials) is basically a PVU membrane with tiny holes in it. The holes allow water vapour (sweat) out but dont allow the bigger drops of water (rain etc) in. This is fine until the material gets dirty and the holes become clogged. After that it's just a plastic bag...no breathability and the possibility of letting water seep in. This is why such materials need to be properly and specially cleaned (ie using proper technical wash or pure soap flakes...NEVER normal detergents).

On a jacket this isnt so much of a problem but when your boots are caked in fine dust (and they will be!) the breathbility of gore tex goes out the window. Leather boots these days are light and highly technical bits of kit - leather is naturally breathable and waterproof...just make sure you dry brush your boots off well when you finally stop for the day and then rinse them off in cold water..but dont soak them. Works for me!

Finally the socks..very personal preference. I tried bridgedales (wool socks, not very comfy I found) 1000 mile twin layer socks (ok but not good enough for the camino in my opinion) and Smartwool...awesome. With or without liners. I do use liners sometimes as well - especially if its very hot. I swear by smartwool walking socks now, wont use anything else. They didnt flatten or pinch - just great socks and heaven for my feet :)
I will be walking my first camino in late september, i have purchased good socks, a simple but well fitting colombia walking shoe, and bringing inexpensive sandels from Big 5. I totally respect all the experienced hikers and walkers, but after trying on merrels, teva and other expensive brands, it really is what feels good on your foot...remember in the days on past, the pilgrims wore what God provided for them, and as some of you will recall, the Zuni Indians in America, liked to walk their famous Pilgrimages barefoot.......mmmm...that might actually feel good at times when the earth is welcoming. It seems to me our journey is about what we discover, not wear.....not to say good quality jackets and shoes and socks and panchos and hats....are not important.....lets just not make it a fashion show. I cant wait to walk in the muddy earth barefoot on the camino as many of our previous pilgrims surley had at times. johnny :mrgreen:


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2005), Frances (2007), Madrid/Frances (2011), 1/2 VdP (2012),
Well, in old times pilgrims used donkeys, and even if walked they carried a cape/blanket, and a bit of food, not the 8-14 kg. of weight our modern pilgrims carry. Our modern knees and feet beg for a bit more support than our ancestors...
sillydoll said:
You can join the barefoot pilgrims Johnny!

Read Dr Machi's story here - with photographs.
http://www.barefooters.org/gallery/pilg ... index.html

Thanks sillydoll that article was very interesting! Dont get me wrong, i understand the need of good support for our feet, i actually trained in San Francisco, walking in my simple old navy flip flops up many of the hills, to strenthen my feet and ankels. And the post brought up a good point about the use of donkeys...I am on such a budget for this journey, i have to use what i can afford, and after trying on so many shoes at REI, and having the salesmen try to push all the expensive shoes, another brother who is a major walker, gave me the idea of a good simple fitting walking shoe, then sandels to allow your feet to breath, and i felt that was the best idea...for me. But,...i do plan on doing some barefoot walking on the path when the earth is welcoming to that choice. I love this forum, and am thankful for all in info i am getting here, before i leave the states on the 18th of september. barefootingly yours...johnny


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I've always worn light gortex shoes but after walking from Granada to SDC from may-never again! I got wet feet almost everday as well as wading through copious amounts of mud. I now have Asolo leather boots which are remarkably comfortable-I walked about 14 kms on the first day on taking them out of the box. And don't believe that because you'll be walking in july or august it will be dry!
I'm a knitter who is going to take his knitting with him on the camino. I am using 2.25 mm needles and good thin sock yarn. The problem is as always, weight. Carrying enough yarn for 4 pairs of socks is almost a pound, 400 gm. So what do I leave out of my pack?



Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Nigel, you could post wool ahead to yourself all the way down the trail. Here is a list of Post Offices - Correos - to post Lista de Correos.

Address the parcels:
Liste de Correos,
24080 León

You could also post your knitted socks to Santiago if you wanted to - check out Ivar's Camino Travel Centre website for details.

31080 Pamplona (Navarra)
31100 Puenta la Reina (Navarra)
26080 Logroño (Navarra)
09080 Burgos
24080 León
24700 Astorga (León)
24400 Ponferrada (León)
27600 Sarria (Lugo)
15780 Santiago de Compostela (A Coruña)

Good luck!

(PS: I think this thread should be ubnder miscellaneous or back packs)
Camino(s) past & future
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
I think you should search out Spanish wool shops along the way - you could take photos of yourself with the shop keeper and your work in progress - that would be a different take on the Camino and you would have material for a Camino book with a whole different market.

Last year's hot debate was about the unprepared German peregrinos who had read a German comedian's book (obviously now available in english, I see) - were they 'proper' pilgrims? (of course they were!)

Next year's hot topic, after you publish your book, could be all about knitting - using your swatches instead of compeed for blisters, barbecu-ing on your needles, what is the correct tension for optimum warmth, the mind boggles!

And I've just thought, if you don't hurry, Kaffe Fassett will jump on the band wagon and produce a book of Camino inspired knitwear and quilts.

Please, someone who knows how, can you move this topic to it's own thread - Knit your own pilgrimage!

Barbara said:
You leave out three balls of wool. Buy more as you go. Or get a donkey
I knitted a donkey once.
Camino(s) past & future
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
Barbara said:
I knitted a donkey once.
How much luggage could it carry?
It accompanies Mary and Joseph from house to house in our parish during Advent, and has two little pannier baskets (made by someone else) which hold a tiny shawl crochet'ed by somebody some time, and has had other things loaded on at various times, such as oats and cornflakes for it's own feed, a little baby gown. As time has gone on the donkey's legs have got weaker, and it tends to sit down without anyone wanting it to do so. As Mary is a bit unstable on her legs too, they do best if they prop each other up.

Barbara - I believe you are the donkey expert - is this true to life?


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