A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Boots, Shoes or Sandals On The Primitivo

2020 Camino Guides

mament

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Primitivo 24 Sep - 7 Oct 2015
Just finished the Camino Primitivo (Ovied0-Santiago) on 7 October 2015 and wanted to share my thoughts on the topic of taking great care of your feet during your journey.

Out of about 25 people who started the Camino with us on 25 September, only 1/2 finished. Of those who didn't finish, all but one retired either because of blisters or other foot issues. I'm sharing my experiences here so that you can make the best decisions for your feet and finish the amazingly beautiful Camino Primitivo.

For my trip I was really torn between leather hiking boots and low cut hiking shoes. In the end I opted for low cut hiking shoes and a pair of Merrell sandals for after walking and I'm very glad I did. I never even had a hint of a blister which I attribute to the shoes as well as a couple of other things I did.

Everyone I met on the Camino that wore hiking boots - even ones that were well broken in - had blisters or other foot issues. Hiking boots are really too much for this Camino in my opinion - unless you absolutely need the extra ankle support. If that is the case make sure you have your boots well broken in and follow the advice I give below for avoiding blisters.

I too was originally concerned for my ankles with the low cut shoes, but in the end I learned to walk carefully over the rocky parts of the trails and did just fine. (FYI, i have sprained my left ankle seriously 2 times dating back about 20 years). I was also concerned that my feet would get wet in the hiking shoes. They most certainly did - it rained like crazy for 2 days straight - but it didn't make a difference at all in terms of blisters or warmth. Why?

The day before I left, I invested in 2 great pairs of merino wool hiking socks made by a company called IceBreaker. I also purchased a special cream called "Hirschtalg Creme" (in Austria) and applied that to my feet daily while on the Camino It's a more natural version of Vaseline that many people recommend on these forums. The high quality socks kept my feet warm and the cream kept them from rubbing on the sock or shoe during the 13 stages of the Camino Primitivo.

Based on this experience, here is how I would summarize my recommendations.


1. Do not skimp on shoes, socks or cream for your feet when you do the Camino Primitivo. Spend whatever it takes to make sure your feet are comfortable.
2. Only use hiking boots if you have moderate to severe ankle issues.
3. Hiking sandals will most likely not be enough - especially in the muddy and rock portions of the trail. I recommend a sturdy comfortable hiking or running shoe.
4. Get the highest quality merino wool hiking socks you can find - bring 2 pairs and wash one and wear one.
5. Bring some "Hirsctalg Creme" or vaseline and use this on your feet everyday.
6. If you feel any hint of a blister forming during the day stop immediately and apply more cream.

Hopefully this will help you finish the Camino with happy feet!

Mark
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
All good suggestions though I'd also suggest changing socks at least once a day - or alternatively examining your feet a number of times each day just in case

And, if all else fails, bring a pack of Compeed blister plasters
 

HermanTheGerman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances '13, '14; Portuguese '13, '14, '17, '18; del Salvador '15; Primitivo '15; Mozarabe '16
Good information, glad to hear that the Hirschtalg was a success. We also used it on our first couple of Caminos. Living in Germany, Hirschtalg is readily available. What's even better is a product called Kaufmanns baby cream. It's closer to Vaseline in consistency and comes in small and large tins... Great stuff, don't leave home without it! I'd have to agree about the hiking boots in general, having vivid memories of our first Camino Frances. Since then we discovered the Salomon X-ultra GTXs and the Salomon Conquest GTXs which are the exception to this rule. Exceptional comfort comparable to running shoes but with the extra support. Buen Camino, the German.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
1. Do not skimp on shoes, socks or cream for your feet when you do the Camino Primitivo. Spend whatever it takes to make sure your feet are comfortable.
2. Only use hiking boots if you have moderate to severe ankle issues.
3. Hiking sandals will most likely not be enough - especially in the muddy and rock portions of the trail. I recommend a sturdy comfortable hiking or running shoe.
I agree with Mark on this. Frankly I wouldn't use running shoes either, but I think that is me. The trail is pretty rocky and uneven in many places. Having good lateral support will be important. YOu will do lots of steep up and downs and for fairly extended distances (the longest down hike is steady for about 6-8 km from Buspol to the dam before Grandas. I wore waterproof Merrill Moabs which I have been completely happy with previously. I needed something more breathable in the summer.... Not sure what I will look for. Liz
 

mountaingoat999

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
we are due out Jan 2016
Hi Mamen

some interesting observation and views.

Great you never had blisters..
good advice on not skimping on footwear.


To avoid long term damage to a person ankles they need to wear at least light weight ankle support boots for a camnio, for a good majority of the time...it may not feel like a person is having any problems in the short term walking along mixed terrain such as the camino's... the damage can take its toll gradually

a sudden twist and they could be out of the game..in any good outdoor shop displaying advances in outdoor footwear a huge sum of money is spent on researching when manufactures design there footwear...
and fit for purpose is stated for a good reason....on each footwear type

I have never had a blister yet on a camino. some minor feet issues . and change my boots after two camnio's.
I change my socks as and when needed during the period of time I walk

the vast majority of people I have met on all my numerous camino have foot issues regardless of footwear,not just by wearing boots

you say hiking boots are too much in your view......and here lies the real underlying issues ......due to the very nature of the camino . compacted surfaces like roads......then trials etc there is not a idea all round footwear type to suit all for the varied terrain types the camino offers

a good compromise is a fabric light weight boot with ankle support....

before camino
much more time is required to match there feet to footwear & socks for the camino..with plenty of practice..then plenty more..

I see time after time brand new footwear worn, then days later the person has gone home, not having done enough practice.
even those with worn in footwear can be the worse offenders for not having there feet re-measured again before a long distance walk......at least once a year.

The amount of time. money and energy put into fixing blisters ,having to go home due to foot problems can be equal to doing it right with practice in the first place.....even after selecting a footwear any niggles while training before take them back...again and again if need be...

one day when I ever finish walking caminos my feet will probably be happy feet then
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Wait, wait, that's it! Please come back with more stories.

Yes, good solid shoes are fine, no need what so ever for super hicker stuff.

But more stories please!
 

evanlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
Just finished my Camino Levante a week ago. On the first day my right boot literary disintegrated. It was last used a few years ago on rhe camino del norte and I probably had underestimated the effects of long term storage and the salt water from walking near the norte's beaches from time to time.

Got a pair of running shoes on the second day (not much options in a small town/city and finished the rest of the camino with those shoes. Just a small blister (nothing like what I get when wearing boots). Even the 1400 meters mountain before Ávila was not a problem.

I am sold now to these shoes. Not the normal running shoes but probably trail runner like the ones from Salomon as they offer better external protection and ruggedness. My running shoe I needed super glue to attached a bit of an outer sole on the last week and not as rugged as I would like it to be.

No more boots for me.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Just finished my Camino Levante a week ago. On the first day my right boot literary disintegrated. It was last used a few years ago on rhe camino del norte and I probably had underestimated the effects of long term storage and the salt water from walking near the norte's beaches from time to time.

Got a pair of running shoes on the second day (not much options in a small town/city and finished the rest of the camino with those shoes. Just a small blister (nothing like what I get when wearing boots). Even the 1400 meters mountain before Ávila was not a problem.

I am sold now to these shoes. Not the normal running shoes but probably trail runner like the ones from Salomon as they offer better external protection and ruggedness. My running shoe I needed super glue to attached a bit of an outer sole on the last week and not as rugged as I would like it to be.

No more boots for me.
At last sosmeone admitting shopping on the Camino offers limirpted options. And thank you for the heads up regarding storage.
 

fraluchi

RIP 2019
Camino(s) past & future
One every year since 2007
A lot has been written about boots/shoes and no doubt the opinions-experiences were related faithfully. I have been wearing out many hiking boots, walking 365 days a year in our mountains with perfect climate (including rain during the season) and the many Caminos. Maybe I have easy feet, but every time when I had to renew boots, I would pay attention to the fit. Half a size larger than other shoes, in afternoons when feet are larger, with double hiking socks and not making any concessions if the fit wasn't perfect. I bought Merrell, Timberland, and other brands, and I cannot say which was better: they all had to pass my careful initial test at the shop. No concessions: if the product was not up to standard (each person has different issues) I would say thank you and go to the next shop. Take your time and be fussy when shopping for an item which is so important for a major part of your happy Camino!
 

mament

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Primitivo 24 Sep - 7 Oct 2015
All good suggestions though I'd also suggest changing socks at least once a day - or alternatively examining your feet a number of times each day just in case

And, if all else fails, bring a pack of Compeed blister plasters
Good point about the Compeed. I had some along and never used them. 4 of the other people walking with us, however, used compeed and still decided to retire - perhaps they didn't use it fast enough. I'm not sure about that, but I believe that the point is worth making that avoiding blisters however possible is much better than dealing with them once they form. :)
 

mament

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Primitivo 24 Sep - 7 Oct 2015
Just finished my Camino Levante a week ago. On the first day my right boot literary disintegrated. It was last used a few years ago on rhe camino del norte and I probably had underestimated the effects of long term storage and the salt water from walking near the norte's beaches from time to time.

Got a pair of running shoes on the second day (not much options in a small town/city and finished the rest of the camino with those shoes. Just a small blister (nothing like what I get when wearing boots). Even the 1400 meters mountain before Ávila was not a problem.

I am sold now to these shoes. Not the normal running shoes but probably trail runner like the ones from Salomon as they offer better external protection and ruggedness. My running shoe I needed super glue to attached a bit of an outer sole on the last week and not as rugged as I would like it to be.

No more boots for me.
Interesting to know. I also thought that running shoes would probably do it for me too. Actually one of our fellow travelers almost bought a pair once a blister started showing on her heel. Instead she decided to take a pain killer and keep walking in her hiking boots. The next day she was at the local doctor's office and making plans to fly home as the blister had become huge and much too painful to continue.
 

mament

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Primitivo 24 Sep - 7 Oct 2015
Hi Mamen

I see time after time brand new footwear worn, then days later the person has gone home, not having done enough practice.
even those with worn in footwear can be the worse offenders for not having there feet re-measured again before a long distance walk......at least once a year.

The amount of time. money and energy put into fixing blisters ,having to go home due to foot problems can be equal to doing it right with practice in the first place.....even after selecting a footwear any niggles while training before take them back...again and again if need be...

one day when I ever finish walking caminos my feet will probably be happy feet then
It's a great point you make about worn in shoes too. We traveled with a guy who had some 5-6 year old hiking shoes that he loved. The problem was that the soles had just gotten too thin and he ended up getting a major blister on the ball of his foot. He was able to walk 2 days with Compeed and might have made it to Santiago that way. But the blister changed his gait enough to where he strained a muscle in his lower leg to the point that a doctor recommended he go home and rest.
 

mament

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Primitivo 24 Sep - 7 Oct 2015
Wait, wait, that's it! Please come back with more stories.

Yes, good solid shoes are fine, no need what so ever for super hicker stuff.

But more stories please!
One interesting thing that happened to our group on this Camino was this. Somewhere while a few in our group were walking out of Grandas de Salime, a medium sized dog started following. The dog followed and followed for at least 1km. Some of the group tried to send her back and encourage her to go "home" but she kept on following. Eventually they just gave up and the dog just kept following us. She came with us all the way to Fonsagrada where we tried to call the Guardia Civil to inform them, but with no luck. We thought maybe in the night that she might disappear, but in the morning she was waiting right outside the door of the albergue. That day she followed all the way to O Cadavo Baleira. Again, a call to the Guardia Civil came up empty. Now she was at least 50km from home, so we weren't surprised the next morning to she her. She followed the first pilgrim out of the albergue, a tall, quiet German guy. On the way to Lugo, he fashioned a long leash out of some discarded twine to keep her in control around the many road crossings on that stretch of the Camino. The algergue in Lugo wouldn't allow the dog to stay (understandably) plus we wanted to return her back to her owners. Even though it was late Saturday afternoon, and the first weekend of Lugo's month long San Froilan celebration, we were able to find an animal right association open. The dog was taken and place in a large, clean kennel and was later to be checked for a chip. If that was not found, she was to be put up for adoption. As sweet as the dog was, I'm sure she's had no trouble finding either "home" or a new home. Interestingly, though, I do believe she would have continued with us right into Santiago if that had been possible. Maybe she wanted to complete the pilgrimage too.
 

evanlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
Sweet story. Have a smiliar story with a park cat named Mancita whom a kid claims is her own but actually lives in the garbage can in the park (warmth?). When I fed her she told me her mom says not to feed the cat. The next day walking out of the town she followed us all the way to the edge of town. I couldn't bear it and open my last can of tuna and ran while she was distracted eating the tuna. Breaks my heart.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Good point about the Compeed. I had some along and never used them. 4 of the other people walking with us, however, used compeed and still decided to retire - perhaps they didn't use it fast enough.:)
Or maybe they didn't take it off fast enough.

I have seen advice that when you use Compeed, you should keep it on until it falls off. Wrong. When I needed to go to the hospital in Merida (VdlP) because of serious blister problems, the Spanish doctor said that he often saw injured feet with plenty of Compeed on. He said that they only kept moist inside, and made things worse. He told me to use Iodine wash every morning, then put on a fabric patch for airing during the day's walk, and then repeat immediately after stopping each day. I have never had any blisters after that: If a small problem arises, I use Iodine & patch for a day or two, and the problem is gone. Never again any Compeed for me.

There are many opinions on blister prevention, but most people reallsy do not know what causes blisters: f.ex. rubbing underneath the skin causes blisters, not on top of it!

You can have the best socks in the world, and still get blisters.

Here is a useful study if you want to prepare and be pro-active in avoiding blisters totally.:

http://www.blisterprevention.com.au/the-advanced-guide-to-blister-prevention#.Vhzn5_ntmkp

By having educated myself from this report, I had absolutely no blister problems whatsoever on my last Camino.
 
Last edited:

spursfan

Veteran Member
Good point about the Compeed. I had some along and never used them. 4 of the other people walking with us, however, used compeed and still decided to retire - perhaps they didn't use it fast enough. I'm not sure about that, but I believe that the point is worth making that avoiding blisters however possible is much better than dealing with them once they form. :)
You're very right - prevention is so much better than cure - I walk in trail runners and there is no movement of my heel whilst walking (which was my main problem with previous shoes)
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I would have not thought it possible, or wise, but I had a US companion who cheerfully and without the slightest problem, walked the Primitivo in sandals.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
Well, on my first Camino in2009, I met and walked (I managed only 2 days with him) a young man from Hungary, without money, who stayed in donativos and relied on helpful fellow pilgrims for support/some food. Fair enough. He walked between 35-60+ kms each day - BAREFOOT. His feet looked like elephant hide: Asphalt/gravel tracks were no problem for him. He had walked all the way from Hungary to Spain for months (barefoot), then joined the CF. No blisters there:rolleyes:
 

Gerry Sinclair

CdnDadio
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2016
Just finished the Camino Primitivo (Ovied0-Santiago) on 7 October 2015 and wanted to share my thoughts on the topic of taking great care of your feet during your journey.

Out of about 25 people who started the Camino with us on 25 September, only 1/2 finished. Of those who didn't finish, all but one retired either because of blisters or other foot issues. I'm sharing my experiences here so that you can make the best decisions for your feet and finish the amazingly beautiful Camino Primitivo.

For my trip I was really torn between leather hiking boots and low cut hiking shoes. In the end I opted for low cut hiking shoes and a pair of Merrell sandals for after walking and I'm very glad I did. I never even had a hint of a blister which I attribute to the shoes as well as a couple of other things I did.

Everyone I met on the Camino that wore hiking boots - even ones that were well broken in - had blisters or other foot issues. Hiking boots are really too much for this Camino in my opinion - unless you absolutely need the extra ankle support. If that is the case make sure you have your boots well broken in and follow the advice I give below for avoiding blisters.

I too was originally concerned for my ankles with the low cut shoes, but in the end I learned to walk carefully over the rocky parts of the trails and did just fine. (FYI, i have sprained my left ankle seriously 2 times dating back about 20 years). I was also concerned that my feet would get wet in the hiking shoes. They most certainly did - it rained like crazy for 2 days straight - but it didn't make a difference at all in terms of blisters or warmth. Why?

The day before I left, I invested in 2 great pairs of merino wool hiking socks made by a company called IceBreaker. I also purchased a special cream called "Hirschtalg Creme" (in Austria) and applied that to my feet daily while on the Camino It's a more natural version of Vaseline that many people recommend on these forums. The high quality socks kept my feet warm and the cream kept them from rubbing on the sock or shoe during the 13 stages of the Camino Primitivo.

Based on this experience, here is how I would summarize my recommendations.


1. Do not skimp on shoes, socks or cream for your feet when you do the Camino Primitivo. Spend whatever it takes to make sure your feet are comfortable.
2. Only use hiking boots if you have moderate to severe ankle issues.
3. Hiking sandals will most likely not be enough - especially in the muddy and rock portions of the trail. I recommend a sturdy comfortable hiking or running shoe.
4. Get the highest quality merino wool hiking socks you can find - bring 2 pairs and wash one and wear one.
5. Bring some "Hirsctalg Creme" or vaseline and use this on your feet everyday.
6. If you feel any hint of a blister forming during the day stop immediately and apply more cream.

Hopefully this will help you finish the Camino with happy feet!

Mark
Thanks Mark. All good info.

Gerry
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
We are still confirmed members of the boot brigade. No danger of twisted ankles, good grip, no stones to shake out, no wet feet and no blisters etc. The boots are well broken in before walking although at home we have found we can wear them 'straight out of the box' without problem. Chosen boots are by Hi-tec, the upper end of their range. We have tried others but they either don't fit well enough to buy or one (well fitting) type were so sweaty to walk in that I gave mine to a charity shop.
Triple socks, good well fitting boots with ample toe room, no blisters in 5 times on the Camino.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I echo those who say boots. I walked about 900 miles in 90 days, and the only foot problem was losing a small toenail on one foot by Pamplona---which I expected since I always lose that nail from long road marches or marathons (ever since my Nijmegen march, when I damaged the nail bed with steel toed flight boots). The boots were relatively new but not brand new. I had not trained. I wore one pair of seamless running socks each day. But the boots and socks fit well, I covered my feet with ointment each morning and night, and changed my socks ASAP if my feet were wet (especially if they were wet and hot). On the few hot days I walked, I took my boots off every hour or two to cool and check my feet, and rotate socks. I gave boots and feet a chance to breathe at the end of the day and wore Tevas. I believe in ankle support, and I think no matter what else you wear, the important thing is that it fit well, and your feet stay cool and dry.
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
I echo those who say boots. I walked about 900 miles in 90 days, and the only foot problem was losing a small toenail on one foot by Pamplona---which I expected since I always lose that nail from long road marches or marathons (ever since my Nijmegen march, when I damaged the nail bed with steel toed flight boots). The boots were relatively new but not brand new. I had not trained. I wore one pair of seamless running socks each day. But the boots and socks fit well, I covered my feet with ointment each morning and night, and changed my socks ASAP if my feet were wet (especially if they were wet and hot). On the few hot days I walked, I took my boots off every hour or two to cool and check my feet, and rotate socks. I gave boots and feet a chance to breathe at the end of the day and wore Tevas. I believe in ankle support, and I think no matter what else you wear, the important thing is that it fit well, and your feet stay cool and dry.
I suppose we had better agree to disagree

There are lots of sensible suggestions in here (change socks and cool feet frequently -I wear two pairs of socks but need no ointment) but that doesn't imply that you must wear boots - whatever you do wear should be worn in and trusted at home before you start (a few long walks should reveal any major problems) - my trail runners don't have ankle support but they do have Vibram soles just like boots - they are though much, much lighter than boots (400g the pair), fit very snugly so that there is no movement of the heel when I walk and dry very quickly after getting wet - and I don't need sandals since I can wear my trail runners in the evenings
 

BeatriceKarjalainen

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Finished: See post signature.
Upcoming: Nothing planned
Walked all my caminos in sandals even the rocky parts of primitivo. There is really no right and wrong regarding footwear. I have twisted my feet stepping in the wrong places but never been hurt afterward. I have really stretchable ligaments or something. If you wear sandals or low shoes you are usually a little bit more careful as well. I have seen people in boots thinking that they can't twist their ankles. Afterwards it is really hard to get the fot out of the boot.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
There is no perfect footwear for everyone. We all have different shaped feet and strong or weak ankles. That said, this is the advice I would offer.

Shoes, boots, sandals should be well broken in before walking a Camino. If not you will more than likely get blisters.

When you get a hot-spot (feel friction or any discomfort), stop immediately and address the problem area. Use Compeed, tape, band-aids, duct tape :) or whatever you have available. Do not wait.

Wear good socks. You are going to be walking for a month.

Take care of your feet at the end and beginning of each day. I massage and put Vaseline (or equivalent) on my feet each day after showering and before I start walking each morning.

No care is 100% foolproof for all feet but this process has been effective for me.

Happy feet = Happy Camino.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

Adrian Chaffey

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Frances: July/Aug 95 StJean to Burgos, then March/April 96 Burgos to SdC.
Second (uncompleted): Camino Aragones: Aug/Sept 04 Somport to Burgos.

Third Leon to SdC on Camino Frances March/April 16.
Just finished the Camino Primitivo (Ovied0-Santiago) on 7 October 2015 and wanted to share my thoughts on the topic of taking great care of your feet during your journey.

Out of about 25 people who started the Camino with us on 25 September, only 1/2 finished. Of those who didn't finish, all but one retired either because of blisters or other foot issues. I'm sharing my experiences here so that you can make the best decisions for your feet and finish the amazingly beautiful Camino Primitivo.

For my trip I was really torn between leather hiking boots and low cut hiking shoes. In the end I opted for low cut hiking shoes and a pair of Merrell sandals for after walking and I'm very glad I did. I never even had a hint of a blister which I attribute to the shoes as well as a couple of other things I did.

Everyone I met on the Camino that wore hiking boots - even ones that were well broken in - had blisters or other foot issues. Hiking boots are really too much for this Camino in my opinion - unless you absolutely need the extra ankle support. If that is the case make sure you have your boots well broken in and follow the advice I give below for avoiding blisters.

I too was originally concerned for my ankles with the low cut shoes, but in the end I learned to walk carefully over the rocky parts of the trails and did just fine. (FYI, i have sprained my left ankle seriously 2 times dating back about 20 years). I was also concerned that my feet would get wet in the hiking shoes. They most certainly did - it rained like crazy for 2 days straight - but it didn't make a difference at all in terms of blisters or warmth. Why?

The day before I left, I invested in 2 great pairs of merino wool hiking socks made by a company called IceBreaker. I also purchased a special cream called "Hirschtalg Creme" (in Austria) and applied that to my feet daily while on the Camino It's a more natural version of Vaseline that many people recommend on these forums. The high quality socks kept my feet warm and the cream kept them from rubbing on the sock or shoe during the 13 stages of the Camino Primitivo.

Based on this experience, here is how I would summarize my recommendations.


1. Do not skimp on shoes, socks or cream for your feet when you do the Camino Primitivo. Spend whatever it takes to make sure your feet are comfortable.
2. Only use hiking boots if you have moderate to severe ankle issues.
3. Hiking sandals will most likely not be enough - especially in the muddy and rock portions of the trail. I recommend a sturdy comfortable hiking or running shoe.
4. Get the highest quality merino wool hiking socks you can find - bring 2 pairs and wash one and wear one.
5. Bring some "Hirsctalg Creme" or vaseline and use this on your feet everyday.
6. If you feel any hint of a blister forming during the day stop immediately and apply more cream.

Hopefully this will help you finish the Camino with happy feet!

Mark
 

Adrian Chaffey

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Frances: July/Aug 95 StJean to Burgos, then March/April 96 Burgos to SdC.
Second (uncompleted): Camino Aragones: Aug/Sept 04 Somport to Burgos.

Third Leon to SdC on Camino Frances March/April 16.
Bring some "Hirsctalg Creme" or vaseline and use this on your feet everyday.

This really doesn't seem a good idea to me at all. Vaseline would make the feet soft, and to my mind more prone to blisters. I took precisely the opposite approach: rubbing surgical spirit on my feet for several days beforehand to toughen them up a bit. Can't say I didn't get any blisters, but those I got seemed to be on the bits that were less toughened.

Good socks though I agree with.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Bring some "Hirsctalg Creme" or vaseline and use this on your feet everyday.

This really doesn't seem a good idea to me at all. Vaseline would make the feet soft, and to my mind more prone to blisters. I took precisely the opposite approach: rubbing surgical spirit on my feet for several days beforehand to toughen them up a bit. Can't say I didn't get any blisters, but those I got seemed to be on the bits that were less toughened.

Good socks though I agree with.
Sorry to disagree. Vaseline, Vick's Vapour Rub or a anti chaffing product like ProShield Plus that uses dimethacon will save your feet. I also use St-John's Wart oil. Harden your feet at home 3 weeks before leaving home, "oil" well en route.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Again we are all different. I never vaseline my feet and only powder between my toes at night, never in the morning. Terry is the same apart form using powder in the morning not evening. Maybe we just have tough feet. Or maybe it is because we do wear boots. At home I can get blistes with either shoes or sandals with normal walking, not hiking ......
 

Stephen Nicholls

Steve Nicholls, Suffolk, U.K.
Camino(s) past & future
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
There are so many letters on various forums on this subject.
We are all different. What suits one may not suit another.
This was the bottom of my foot on Pilgrimage III ......
DSCF4844.JPG

It didn't stop me finishing the trip.
On Pilgrimage IV I started using panty-liners. ON MY FEET.
Place liner sticky side up on floor.
Position foot over liner.
Carefully lower foot, so protecting delicate skin.
This helped me - but didn't totally remove effect of walking.
I had tried ..... surgical spirit, vaseline, powder, etc., to no avail. :eek:. Still got blisters.
Each to his own.....
 

Attachments

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I am a fan of @Stephen Nicholls panty liner trick. I did not get any blisters wearing my sandals 840km on the Norte (with no socks) but I attribute that in part to sticking a panty liner to the sole of each sandal - for me that worked best - so opposite sides to the way Stephen used them - ie sticky side on the sandal. If I had to wade through water I would just put on a new dry panty liner. So did my husband. It caused much hilarity and some curiosity among other pilgrims.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I am a fan of @Stephen Nicholls panty liner trick. I did not get any blisters wearing my sandals 840km on the Norte (with no socks) but I attribute that in part to sticking a panty liner to the sole of each sandal - for me that worked best - so opposite sides to the way Stephen used them - ie sticky side on the sandal. If I had to wade through water I would just put on a new dry panty liner. So did my husband. It caused much hilarity and some curiosity among other pilgrims.
Kanga, how does it work if you are putting the plasticky side on your skin?
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Anemone I don't put the plasticky side next to my skin - I put that on the sole of my shoes with the soft absorbent side up next to my skin. Stephen does it the other way round. It seems to work for him but not sure how.
 

Stephen Nicholls

Steve Nicholls, Suffolk, U.K.
Camino(s) past & future
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!
Anemone I don't put the plasticky side next to my skin - I put that on the sole of my shoes with the soft absorbent side up next to my skin. Stephen does it the other way round. It seems to work for him but not sure how.
If it sticks to the bottom of my feet, then socks/shoes can't rub my feet - they rub againt the liner. However .... I'm not convinced all blisters are caused by rubbing. I think some people have 'princess' feet - I do - they are very suceptible to PRESSURE. If I walk 2,000 paces per mile and walk 12 miles, that's 24,000 pressures of my [excessive] body weight on the sole of my feet.
Just a thought ..... unproven, but quite possible.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Yes, Stephen, I think the padding in the liners is half the value of them, and the moisture absorbing properties the other.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
Here is a useful study if you want to prepare and be pro-active in avoiding blisters totally.:

http://www.blisterprevention.com.au/the-advanced-guide-to-blister-prevention#.Vhzn5_ntmkp

By having educated myself from this report, I had absolutely no blister problems whatsoever on my last Camino.
I want to echo the value of the "study" (it's actually a synthesis of multiple professional studies) that Alexwalker referenced above. The recommendations (and the science and study results behind them) are really valuable, and some challenge the common wisdom. Two examples of that are 1) with extended exertion, foot moisture production exceeds ability of waterproofing, such as Gore-Tex and the like, to transport it, and therefore shoes with highly breathable uppers are better, and 2) use of Vaseline and powders have a limited benefit (usually less than 90 minutes) followed by an increased(!) risk after the 90 minutes.

Of the various techniques and factors, here's the short-list with the highest rating adapted to Camino:
1) Pro-actively training and conditioning the feet and the gear by walking in the footwear system for at least several weeks and preferably a month in advance.
2) Proper fit and lacing techniques.
3) Moisture wicking socks are more valuable the double-sock techniques. But, if double socking, there's good info on how to get best results. Wicking the moisture ALSO requires ability to rapidly transport the moisture out (i.e. highly breathable, and not waterproofed, uppers).
4) Targeted friction-reducing treatments in known blister areas (the author advocates Engo patches, but has a open acknowledged bias due to business relationship).

Some lesser rated options include:
1) double socking
2) orthotics
3) cushioning and insoles, with good advice on what to look for; though not mentioned, there are often specialized insoles that double to provide orthotic-like benefits, such as Superfeet or custom molded insert available through professional running stores
4) taping and dressing

Lowest rated options include (the reasons and science behind why these are lowest rated are VERY interesting):
1) antiperspirants, powders, astringents, and lubricants


Although the article doesn't address changing socks, the arguably obvious reason is that it compensates for socks that don't wick effectively and/or footwear that aren't breathable to keep up with sweat production.
 

fraluchi

RIP 2019
Camino(s) past & future
One every year since 2007
Wow! Imagine what all those pilgrims have missed over the centuries, struggling to Santiago. No GPS, no iPhone or tablet, no Jacotrans nor Brierly, no Internet, and probably improper footwear. No wonder there were all these hospitales scattered along the way.:eek:
 

micamino73

Active Member
All good suggestions though I'd also suggest changing socks at least once a day - or alternatively examining your feet a number of times each day just in case

And, if all else fails, bring a pack of Compeed blister plasters
I used bamboo socks and i have never had a blister with them, i would change once or twice a day depending on how much i was talking. Just stop every 10km or so and take off boots and socks and check the feet and put on new socks.

Had a problem on the portughese when it rained 3 dayd solid and i could not get anything dry, but i didn't get a blister.
 

Get on our Mailing list for new products on the Camino Store and news from the Camino Forum








Advertisement

Booking.com

Latest posts

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter






Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.3%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 54 4.2%
  • April

    Votes: 193 15.2%
  • May

    Votes: 318 25.0%
  • June

    Votes: 91 7.2%
  • July

    Votes: 23 1.8%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.1%
  • September

    Votes: 362 28.5%
  • October

    Votes: 154 12.1%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 6 0.5%
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock