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boots or hiking trainers

now the question about feet is huge for this trip! i have been recommeded to wear a pair of shoes that are more like trail running shoes than boots. they do not have ankle support but the guy from the shop promises me they will be sufficient and good for walking long distances. sorry for the arbitrary question, but do you think boots are better than hiking trainers?
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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:
Boots or trainers

Hi Bev,
Ah- this is the $6m question!
You will get as many opinions as there are pilgrims (and there were over 650 000 in the last Holy Year!)
On one of the other Yahoo forums you will find over 1000 posts on boots-vs-trainers and will still not have a definitive answer.
Are you a Rambler or a Backpacker? Are you used to wearing boots? If you have to buy them now do you have time to wear them in?
In the end, you will have to decide what is best for you.
Whatever you decide on, tak a pair of sandals as well to change into when you get to the albergues. Rocky have got very nice, lightweight hiking sandals that can be worn in the showers as well.
Good luck!


Veteran Member
having just walked it, i'd vote for the light trail shoes that i wore - 1.1kg - (but with a spenco insole) - only a few areas of muddy paths and only a couple of steeper gradients so hiking boots with vibram soles are overkill in my opinion- and hopefully drier as the summer goes on - but change socks during day, air your feet and bring compeed just in case


last week whent shopping for footwear!
and got a pair of SALOMON MANDJARO`S wit ortholite soles and contragrip!
they weight lest then air! :wink: (1.4lbs a pair)
the best shoes iv ever got!
iv already walk 100km wit then on(last weekend) and my feet didnt hurt
nor get blisters!! :shock:
Hiya Beverly (sp?)

I've been agonising over this one as well! Think i've got to information overload now!

From what I can see...the answer is really "it depends".

It depends on:

When you're walking (how wet will it be?)

If you're doing the whole thing (= more slopes and therefore possibly more need for ankle support)

Whether you want to use them for other things (we're planning to go on the Inca trail as well and many walks in the Lake/Peak Districts in the UK so we need strong boots)

Your budget!

I've taken advice from friends that are either rabid climbers/hikers themselves or also work in the industry and the consensus from them was to get leather boots. But this is for our purposes - it might not suit you.
There are a wealth of extremely good fabric boots available that will be more than adequate I think but for us we need strong sturdy boots.

The leather Scarpa and Meindl boots we've been looking at have a few features in common that we thing we need:

Waterproof and breathable (no gore tex membrane though - just the natural properties of well cared for leather)

Light (the boots we've seen recently weighed the same or in some cases less - than the fabric boots we looked at)

Sturdy, with great ankle support

Long life expectancy if we look after them properly.

So for sheer value for money I would say they're the best....we may pay £100-150 for them but I would expect them to still be in good service in years to come.

Most importantly though is fit. Absolutely nothing else matters as much. If they're right for your feet - and they'll do what you need them to do then thats all that really counts. Find a really good specialist outdoor shop and get properly fitted shoes/boots. Try them out at home (most good shops should encourage this to make sure they're right - just dont wear them outside until you're sure!). From what I've heard/read gore tex membranes in boots are a bit dodgy - and unecessary...there's always gore tex socks if need be.

Hope you find what you're looking for and Buen Camino!
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Last year (walking from O'Cebreiro over 7 days), I took medium weight leather walking boots, a cheap pair of trainers and sandals for the shower. The boots were good but where rubbing my ankles by the end of the week so the last couple of days were done with the trainers.

This year, I'm going to take the boots again but am looking into getting some walking sandals (durable soles and toe caps) - much of the walking is on good trails, pavements and roads and the boots are definitely a bit on the heavy side for that.


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