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Dry Feet ... Is it possible?

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 05/17 brazo roto Portomarín
Francés 09/17 SJPdP - Santiago
(Portuguese: 09/18)
#1
I just got back home from the Francés last Thursday. I experienced much cooler temperatures, snow, and a LOT more rain this year than last year. I wore Hoka One Bondi 6s. They are great trail shoes but not waterproof. The rain and wind was almost tropical storm like at times. Even those with Goretex shoes were soaked. Many peregrinos tried to improvise with plastic bags on their feet to keep them dry. I tried the plastic bags, but they leaked. I put my insoles in the bags, and then put the bag / insole combo back into my shoes. Put my feet in the combo, and protected the top seal with some gaiters.

The second day I used a Sea to Summit dry bag in a similar fashion with good success. I have been looking for an alternative on the net and found the Rab VB Socks. They seem like a good solution. Does anyone have any experience with them?
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes, Aragones-Frances-Finisterre, Operation Sabre, Marin Ramble
#3
Dry feet -- does it matter?

I found the combination of Smart Wool socks and Altra (NOT waterproof or even water-resistant!) trailrunners worked great to keep my feet warm and comfortable while walking, but quickly drying overnight even in the coldest albuergues even after walking in torrential rain and snow this past April. Wife had similar and we both avoided any foot issues.

I am sure there are plenty of other combinations that work as well, so consider alternatives other than only have "dry feet" as the ultimate goal.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (October 3-18, 2015)
Frances w/2 Daughters (Sept 22 - Oct 20)
#4
It's not possible ;-) Remember that anything that keeps ALL water out will also keep ALL moisture in = blisters!!!

Andrew Skurka, one time National Geographic adventurer of the year explains well in this post:
https://andrewskurka.com/2012/why-waterproof-shoes-will-not-keep-your-feet-dry/

As Vacajoe mentioned, I go with wool socks and trail runners, nothing waterproof. This is what most long distance through hikers (2000+ mi) do today. Your feet will get wet during the day and they will be fine if they air out and get warm and dry at night.

Buen Camino!
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes, Aragones-Frances-Finisterre, Operation Sabre, Marin Ramble
#8
I have VERY similar pictures from my Camino!!! Easier to walk wet and then dry out overnight.
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 05/17 brazo roto Portomarín
Francés 09/17 SJPdP - Santiago
(Portuguese: 09/18)
#9
Thanks for all the replies. Maybe I should refine the question to: How to protect your feet during multiple days of heavy rain. I used Inji toe sick liners, and Darn Tough 1/4 Cushion socks. Most of the water worked its way out of my shoes, I still had to wring my socks out when I stopped or changed them. The problem was my feet were saturated, and pruney. The skin on my feet was very soft, and I was concerned about blisters.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#10
The Vapor Barrier technique with double plastic bags is generally only useful in subzero weather when you’re walking continuously in snow. Even then, it creates bulky layers that requires sizing up your shoes.

I’d follow the advice of wearing wool socks and non waterproof shoes in most conditions, though I switch to Goretex when it gets down to about 35 F / 3 C and colder.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#12
Proper walking boots keep your feet dry, unless you wade through mud or water that comes over the top (which I would rather walk a mile detour than do). Or if you don't wear rainpants so water runs down the legs into the boots. I really don't know why proper boots seem to have been forgotten on caminos these days (they certainly haven't here in the soggy British Isles).

To cross actual rivers, change to Tevas or crocs.

And btw Goretex boots need washing gently with tepid water and a soft brush, to keep the membranes clear. I wear them summer and winter, my feet never 'bathe in their own sweat'. People don't look after Goretex and then they moan that it doesn't work.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Planning Italy to Finisterre and back (20xx)
#13
Many peregrinos tried to improvise with plastic bags on their feet to keep them dry.
I can't count the number of people I saw getting trench foot by using "the foot in the bag in the boot method".

The way I do things are basically 90% prevention 10% execution, which means taking care of my gear.
My leather boots not WP and more than 10 years old never let a drop of water wet my feet because I treat them regularly with wax (nikwax, grangers and so on). My Goretex boots and gear are regularly treated with water proofing products after heavy use or after awhile, the same goes for tents, gaiters, hats and so on.
I always carry with me a small brush to clean my shoes in case they get too muddy or dusty when I walk for more than a day.

I don't think it's even comparable having the feet wet from perspiration to completely soaked from rain. If it's summer everything will dry up quickly, in any other season if water gets into your shoes they will stay wet for awhile, unless you have a source of heat where you can dry (and ruin) them.

I've mainly camped in my life so I rely on staying dry rather than hoping to dry wet gear outdoor (in the tent when it's raining). For me walking with wet feet (from water) it's not an option.

And I stra-quote this:

Proper walking boots keep your feet dry, unless you wade through mud or water that comes over the top (which I would rather walk a mile detour than do). Or if you don't wear rainpants so water runs down the legs into the boots. I really don't know why proper boots seem to have been forgotten on caminos these days (they certainly haven't here in the soggy British Isles).

To cross actual rivers, change to Tevas or crocs.

And btw Goretex boots need washing gently with tepid water and a soft brush, to keep the membranes clear. I wear them summer and winter, my feet never 'bathe in their own sweat'. People don't look after Goretex and then they moan that it doesn't work.
 

Daxzentzu

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
FRANCES (2018) in planning
#14
I had two choices when preparing

Altberg leather mountain spec boots which were tried and tested and Salomon mudders

For 7 days, every day I walked in the cold sea shores near where I live on the Durham coast in each pair - to see which pair were the most suitable

The Altbergs kept the water out at first but when the saltwater got in over the tops - it stayed in and was difficult to dry out ready for the next day.

The Salomons mudders did let the water in but they dried readily with no additional heat required

Overall the mudders were more comfortable- they pushed the water out by the action of walking

So I’m on Camino now in Sahagun (halfway) and they are the right choice for me- I change my socks at the midday break if it’s wet

So far all is well and I’m happy with my choice - as they say - it’s your Camino

Dax
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
#15
I have worn Keene waterproof hiking boots which are heavy and they work well in the heavy rain and snow. The past couple of years I switched to Altra Lone Peak 3.5 trail running shoes, vented not waterproof. I wear smart wool socks with silk liners and my feet keep warm. Cleaning them is easy I washed them the same time I do my laundry when they need it and they dry quickly. Depending on the weather I change socks about mid day as I let my feet rest. I am on my second pair of Altras now. I get about 500 miles on a pair.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
#16
Whatever footwear you wear, if it gets wet while walking, take the insoles out overnight while your shoes or boots are drying. Not only will the shoes dry faster, the insoles will too. Stuffing crumpled newspaper into the shoes will speed up the drying process. Also, if you replace the original insoles with after-market insoles for better arch support, keep the originals and use them on days when the shoes don't get fully dry. They weigh practically nothing in your backpack. Above all, do not wear cotton socks!!!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#18
camino.ninja seems to have a good approach, but outside that sort of lifehacker tactic (with its several variants), well in the genuinely wet weather, it's usually just army boots that can keep your feet dry, and then only if you've got proper good quality genuine military grade ones bought new (not necessarily expensive, depending on foot size) instead of knock-off pseudo versions, but you **do** need to know how to locate a trusty vendor ...

Bottom line though ... yes, it is most certainly possible to keep your feet dry, and even BTW whilst walking in water inches deep and in the genuinely horrendous Galicia downpours that turn roads into rivers !!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
#19
I wear Meindl walking shoes, I prefer shoes to boots, the one thing I've never been able to get on with is the insoles that come with shoes/boots etc, I always change these for my preferred insoles. To date i've not experienced wet feet, maybe I've just been lucky, but I always carry a spare pair of insoles just in case.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte ( Irun to Luarca), Camino Primitivo-Fisterra: April-May 2018
Via de la Plata 2019
#20
I love reading these kinds of threads. I think the bottom line is to try the various systems and see what works. I have tried goretex boots, as well as goretex jackets, and sealskinz socks, and other “waterproof breathable membrane” footwear and garmets, and for me they simply never have worked well for any length of time. And I have scrupulously followed the manufacturers instructions. Perhaps its because I prespire quite heavily, maybe it is body chemistry, who knows! I come from the Seattle area, and I have spent most of my life in the wet, and I have done lots of experimenting to see what works for me.
For me the only choices seem to he “wet and cold” or “wet and warm”
This past April/May the Camino del Norte/Camino Primitivo were both VERY wet. Temps were down below 3C on the Primitivo.
Yes, my feet were wet, but they WERE warm. In addition I had no blisters whatsoever and not a whiff of foot rot, and I am very susceptable to foot rot.
My advice is find what works for you.
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
#21
I wear Meindl walking shoes, I prefer shoes to boots, the one thing I've never been able to get on with is the insoles that come with shoes/boots etc, I always change these for my preferred insoles. To date i've not experienced wet feet, maybe I've just been lucky, but I always carry a spare pair of insoles just in case.
I always carry an extra pail of insole and change them out every few days.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Muxia 2012. Arles to Puente la Reina 2013. Puente la Reina to SdC 2014 European Peace Walk 2016 Portuguese 2017 Ingles 2017
#22
You could try Sealskinz waterproof socks. I know that @Kanga and other forum members use them. I just bought a pair that I plan to take on my next Camino. I'll wear them with my sandals.

I wore Sealskinz with Teva Toachi sandals through the deluge in France this year. Even in weather most foul, the injinji liners were completely dry under the Sealskinz. And, FYI, even on the hottest, sweatiest day..... Wouldn’t walk without them......
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Finisterra-Muxia 2017; SK Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017; El Norte March 2018; Ingles Nov 2018
#24
I love reading these kinds of threads. I think the bottom line is to try the various systems and see what works. I have tried goretex boots, as well as goretex jackets, and sealskinz socks, and other “waterproof breathable membrane” footwear and garmets, and for me they simply never have worked well for any length of time. And I have scrupulously followed the manufacturers instructions. Perhaps its because I prespire quite heavily, maybe it is body chemistry, who knows! I come from the Seattle area, and I have spent most of my life in the wet, and I have done lots of experimenting to see what works for me.
For me the only choices seem to he “wet and cold” or “wet and warm”
This past April/May the Camino del Norte/Camino Primitivo were both VERY wet. Temps were down below 3C on the Primitivo.
Yes, my feet were wet, but they WERE warm. In addition I had no blisters whatsoever and not a whiff of foot rot, and I am very susceptable to foot rot.
My advice is find what works for you.
@david marquez when are you thinking if starting the VDLP? And from Seville or another location? Im looking at late Feb/early March (and fantasizing about starting in Cadiz).
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
#25
@linkster asked "Dry Feet ... Is it possible?"

I gave up decades ago! Tracks through the southern Tararua range, near where I live, often crossed from one side of the valley using the simple process of wading the river or stream. And I found, in my case at least, the warmth of my feet helped evaporation. And I also found I rather liked the slight coolness of the wet thick socks. The season was late Spring to early Autumn so exposure was a limited issue to consider.

For the last seven years I have used running shoes with open weave tops. And thick hose (long socks).

A short trip this week was in persistent drizzle with occassional puddles fully across the track (bank on one side and drop on the other).

A side bonus was the damp merino wool hose acted as a fine sandpaper and abraded the dead (and now damp) skin I had not been able to fully remove before.

In my last long trip of three weeks in September, I dont recall ever changing my hose until the end of the day.

I do not look to have wet/damp feet. But I do not reject that it happens. Which reinforces for me: physiology is not the same for everyone. My meat may be your poison.

So @linkster , you may need to experiment. Question accepted wisdom, incuding mine, to see what works for you. And that takes time. And many training trips.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Finisterra-Muxia 2017; SK Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017; El Norte March 2018; Ingles Nov 2018
#26
@linkster asked "Dry Feet ... Is it possible?"

I gave up decades ago! Tracks through the southern Tararua range, near where I live, often crossed from one side of the valley using the simple process of wading the river or stream. And I found, in my case at least, the warmth of my feet helped evaporation. And I also found I rather liked the slight coolness of the wet thick socks. The season was late Spring to early Autumn so exposure was a limited issue to consider.

For the last seven years I have used running shoes with open weave tops. And thick hose (long socks).

A short trip this week was in persistent drizzle with occassional puddles fully across the track (bank on one side and drop on the other).

A side bonus was the damp merino wool hose acted as a fine sandpaper and abraded the dead (and now damp) skin I had not been able to fully remove before.

In my last long trip of three weeks in September, I dont recall ever changing my hose until the end of the day.

I do not look to have wet/damp feet. But I do not reject that it happens. Which reinforces for me: physiology is not the same for everyone. My meat may be your poison.

So @linkster , you may need to experiment. Question accepted wisdom, incuding mine, to see what works for you. And that takes time. And many training trips.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
I agree re mesh top runners, i recently walked the C Ingles in rain in Hoka One Areh and double smartwool socks. Although i “knew” that my feet were wet, they didn't “feel” wet and at the end if the day the inner Darn Tough sock layer kept my feet dry. I’m sold on lightweight, nonGoretex trail shoes for MY feet.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Finished: See post signature.
Upcoming: Nothing planned
#27
You could try Sealskinz waterproof socks. I know that @Kanga and other forum members use them. I just bought a pair that I plan to take on my next Camino. I'll wear them with my sandals.
Remember that them membrane is sensitive and wear out quite fast. Use them under a pair of thick wool socks to protect them from small rocks, sand etc.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte ( Irun to Luarca), Camino Primitivo-Fisterra: April-May 2018
Via de la Plata 2019
#28
actually my favorite footgear is sansals, in almost all conditions. If its cold I generally wear heavy expedition weight merino wool socks...or better yet, Alpaca/Merino blend. Wet and warm is the ticket.
The added bonuses for me are that I am not spending nearly as much on footwear and the weight difference between classical hiking boots ( Almost 2 Kg per pair) and my sandals (less than 1 kg per pair) really adds up over the course of long day. Especially if its a hilly day. Should mention here that I wear Euro size 46/47.
I have found some sandals actually are good for more Km of walking than the trailrunners that I have used in the past.
Recently read an account of a man who spent 35 years trekking around the Amazon Basin. His footwear of choice: lightweight ankle height mocassins.
I am going to experiment with the mocassin idea this year.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte ( Irun to Luarca), Camino Primitivo-Fisterra: April-May 2018
Via de la Plata 2019
#29
@david marquez when are you thinking if starting the VDLP? And from Seville or another location? Im looking at late Feb/early March (and fantasizing about starting in Cadiz).
I really want to start the VdlP in Tarifa, and due to the way my year is shaping up, I will probably start around the end of Sept. 2019. Good luck to you Peregrina! Buen Camino!
 
D

Deleted member 12253

Guest
#30
Gortex boot with good trekking socks. 16000km over 25 caminos no blisters no wet feet no chest or head colds or worse. Sandals for town walking good but 30 to 40km daily trek with backpack ??
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances spring( 2017). Vía de plata Spring (2018)
#31
I just got back home from the Francés last Thursday. I experienced much cooler temperatures, snow, and a LOT more rain this year than last year. I wore Hoka One Bondi 6s. They are great trail shoes but not waterproof. The rain and wind was almost tropical storm like at times. Even those with Goretex shoes were soaked. Many peregrinos tried to improvise with plastic bags on their feet to keep them dry. I tried the plastic bags, but they leaked. I put my insoles in the bags, and then put the bag / insole combo back into my shoes. Put my feet in the combo, and protected the top seal with some gaiters.

The second day I used a Sea to Summit dry bag in a similar fashion with good success. I have been looking for an alternative on the net and found the Rab VB Socks. They seem like a good solution. Does anyone have any experience with them?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances spring( 2017). Vía de plata Spring (2018)
#32
Last spring on the Via de La Plata we experienced similar conditions. I wore REI rain pants to keep the rain water from running down my leg into my boots. I also wore very good ASOLO leather hiking boots that have a gortex layer built in.. I treated my boots with waterproofing before I left and then again in Salamanca. My feet were always dry. Every night `I removed the insole to air out my boots inside the Albergue. I train in Seattle, in wet conditions, and have not found any substitute for the best leather boots one can afford. The fabric "water proof" boots worn by others did get wet on the inside. Wearing plastic inside the boots seems like a bad solution, since your feet sweat, and you can get wet from that alone. Good luck on your quest for good foot gear.
 

Robi

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2018
#33
In May/June this year I was on my first Camino and my feet was dry whole trip. I have Salewa ms ultra flex mid gtx shoes and sox from Dechatlon, I can not be more satisfied. I had also windbraker and overpants from Dechatlon, I did not care about rain. And I didnt get blister.
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 05/17 brazo roto Portomarín
Francés 09/17 SJPdP - Santiago
(Portuguese: 09/18)
#34
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I really like lightweight trail runners like my Hoka One Bondi 6. My shoes were a size and a half bigger. My sock combo Inji liners, and Darn Tough 1/4 cushion kept me warm. I just had wet feet. I did pull the insoles out every night and stuff with a little newspaper. My shoes and insoles were mostly dry in the morning. I had 3 pairs of socks. I changed my socks midday, and still had a pair in my dry kit for later. I did not get blisters during the ~week of rain, but sure thought I might.

I used to use leather boots on my canoe trips for wet foot landings. Nowadays I use Muck Boots for early season trips ... warm dry feet. Very effective for portaging, but not hiking. In the summer I always use Keen H2s ... I like the toe protection.:D:cool:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Full Camino, St Jean Pied de Port - Santiago de Compostela and on to Finisterre, planning now from Friday 25 August 2017 to Monday 2 October 2017
#35
I wear Meindl walking shoes, I prefer shoes to boots, the one thing I've never been able to get on with is the insoles that come with shoes/boots etc, I always change these for my preferred insoles. To date i've not experienced wet feet, maybe I've just been lucky, but I always carry a spare pair of insoles just in case.
I have worn the same Meindl Bhutan boots on my last two Camino's Saint Jean Pied de port to Santiago/Finisterre/Muxia, brilliant in every respect, dry feet, no blisters. Got new pair of heels for this years walk. Planning much the same walk again next year, I will probably get a new pair of Meindl Boots, as my boots now have over 2000 miles on then, with training and walking the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
#36
I have worn the same Meindl Bhutan boots on my last two Camino's Saint Jean Pied de port to Santiago/Finisterre/Muxia, brilliant in every respect, dry feet, no blisters. Got new pair of heels for this years walk. Planning much the same walk again next year, I will probably get a new pair of Meindl Boots, as my boots now have over 2000 miles on then, with training and walking the Camino.
Peter, I take it your aware that you can get your menial's resoled, I had a pair done this year and was really impressed with the outcome. Mind you it's only worth it if the uppers are in good shape.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Full Camino, St Jean Pied de Port - Santiago de Compostela and on to Finisterre, planning now from Friday 25 August 2017 to Monday 2 October 2017
#37
Peter, I take it your aware that you can get your menial's resoled, I had a pair done this year and was really impressed with the outcome. Mind you it's only worth it if the uppers are in good shape.
I considered this last year, it costs nearly as much as a new pair of boots, so I got the heels done locally, they will need doing again. The uppers could be better and inside the left boot is not good, although it does not cause me any problems at the moment. So I think it will be worth getting a new pair now. What I like about them is the support they give to my arthritic feet and toes. The rigid soles are brilliant for that purpose.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#38
(which I would rather walk a mile detour than do)
Agreed. I always detoured around the mud-holes and standing water. Most of the time it only required a short detour, after a little bit of looking about. I did not understand why some pilgrims just slogged on through it, water and mud going over their footwear and inside.
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
#39
Agreed. I always detoured around the mud-holes and standing water. Most of the time it only required a short detour, after a little bit of looking about. I did not understand why some pilgrims just slogged on through it, water and mud going over their footwear and inside.
Depending on the time of year and the weather there is no detours across the muddy Meseta .;)
 

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