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Boots or running shoes??

I am going to do the Camino in June. As I prepare, I have heard that boots are better than running shoes and I've also heard that lightwieght running shoes are better.

Does anyone have an opinion on this?

Fr. Marc


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
The vdlp is about 250 longer than the CF and I wore columbia goretex boots-not the ones up to the ankle but the ones in the style of runners.I encountered no rain and found them excellent. There is some rough terrain but most of it is on tracks/paths. I think runners may wear down a bit more than boots but others may have other opinions
I did the camino portugues in July of last year and managed with a pair of Chacos and some trail runners. I probably could have made it with just my Chacos, but liked being able to put on shoes to cover my feet from the elements (primarily heat and dust!). My mother had a pair of boots with her, but said they were too hot and ended up wearing her Keens the whole way.

Depending on which camino you travel, the terrain might be dry enough for just some running shoes, but there are people in here who swear by boots.


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:
Boots vs shoes

Hello Fr Marc,
The boots vs shoes debate is the most prolific, recurring subject on all of the camino Forums with as many opinions as there are pilgrims!
One would think that a foot-is-a-foot-is-a-foot, but some pilgrims can walk in hiking sandals, others in trainers, some in hiking shoes, yet others in lightweight boots and the rest need high, ankle grabbing, army supply leather clod-hoppers!
The most amazing pilgrim story I've read is that of a wonderful doctor who walks everywhere barefoot and walked the camino barefoot as well.
You can read his story here:
http://www.barefooters.org/gallery/pilg ... index.html

This is what he said about walking barefoot.

"Dear Sil, dear fellow pilgrim;
For a barefooter, El Camino is "the great experience" plus one. Touching the earth, feeling the ground - literally - at each step, is magnifiying a sensorial realm - the touch - to dimensions usually developed by other senses like sight or hearing. Day after day of that richly changing path, it was inebriating, overloading all fuses! I made the last day singing and dancing.
If I should not have been a devoted barefooter before the pilgrimage, I sure should have been one by now; I cannot imagine me with my feet encased into a rigid envelope, unable to touch, more than I can see me living with permanent earplugs.
Not touching the earth is sensorial deprivation, in neurogical sense; and for me, equally important, sensual deprivation also, not touching her, not caressing, not kissing her, the female par excellence. I shall never cease to be her lover steadfast and true, her knight in shining armour, and only to her I surrender all my defences, to her I offer my vulnerability! and get my pleasure, obviously :)
In short, dear Sil, I live barefoot, not only at airports and restaurants. I never cover my feet, not even in the hospital where I work, nor in my political and social activities. Dear Sil, I wish you the best aimed yellow arrows."


Active Member
Hmm... for me and my particularly weak ankles, I'd say boots, although I think trail walking shoes would be your best bet, IMHO.

Boots do get hot, but you have the benefit of ankle support when travelling over uneven ground and normally quite a bit of grip from the sole...


Hi marcvicari. Shoes on the Camino...a totally personal choice, the best investment you will make in "gear." I've used boots for my winter Caminos, trekking shoes that come up as far as the ankles, in the summertime. Goretex. Wool socks. Buen Camino 8) xm
i'm debating this issue myself at this very minute:)

i will be going in may and personally am leaning towards sneakers. (in fact today i bought my (don't laugh) sixth pair of shoes.) my feet are VERY challenging to fit, and i've never worn a boot without problems. but i can find a good fit with sneakers. so i say, ask your feet AND your brain.


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Good thinking-if you have trouble with boots then runners seem to be the answer. I walked with a bloke who walked in sandals-not very successfully as they didn't seem to give him much protection or padding, the soles were very hard.Make sure you wear in your runners though.



...am leaning towards sneakers...my feet are VERY challenging to fit...find a good fit with sneakers...ask your feet AND your brain.

Sounds good. Just watch out for those ankles twisting!

Apertas 8)

xm how tortuous is camino frances? i had an assumption they were well trampled with all these people doing them for all these years. are there lots of roots or rocks or potentially twisting encounters to be had?


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:
rocks rocks and more rocks

The paths from Roncesvalles to about Uterga are rock, gravel, river boulders, shale, mud, more rocks, shale and mud, more rocks!
Some paths through fields and forests are narrow tracks and there is one section where the path is actually a torrent course - a stony river bed with large blocks laid down to walk on - even if the river is coming down!
Then there are the long, straight, never ending asphalt paths that run alongside the tarred roads.
The 'camino paths' are never very far from the road and sometimes you can wave to the cyclists as they whizz by on a road below you.
I will post a few photographs in the Photos section today.


this may seem a bit obvious, and someone already touched upon it; but lets say something about socks. As an avid walker/hiker, I can vouch that GOOD socks are almost if not every bit as crucial as good shoes/boots or whatever (sandals?!) you decide. Do not skimp on socks. That aside, please say a prayer today for all the pilgrims on their way to Chimayo (and everywhere else). I will be with them. VP


Buena :!: , What do u consider a "tortuous" road? U got great adescription re: the Camino Frances from Sil, and on shoes from Athena, Omar504, and Minky. On the subject of socks: go wool wool wool :!: Buen Camino, xm 8)
i am planning to do wool. i'm just wondering if they don't take forever to dry. i plan to take various thicknesses but even the 'thin' ones are substantial (and heavy).


Take 'em, peregrina :lol: , as long as they're wool, u'll be fine. They dry overnight, most of the time. When not, u can carry them over ur backpack the foll. day.


xm 8)

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