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European walking shoes?

AZgirl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012 , via de la Plata 2014
Madrid/frances Sept/Oct 2017
Next : mozarabe 2021
I was listening to a Rick Steve's podcast, and he was interviewing the author of Europe on foot. She mentioned she only hikes in "European walking shoes." I googled the phrase and based on the images I couldn't imagine hiking in them. Does anyone know what brands she may be referring to, or more about the term?

Ash
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Not sure what "European walking shoes" might mean -- Europe is a continent with many different Nation States, each having its own shoes and sportswear industries.

German walking shoes will not be the same as Italian nor British.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
I was listening to a Rick Steve's podcast, and he was interviewing the author of Europe on foot. She mentioned she only hikes in "European walking shoes." I googled the phrase and based on the images I couldn't imagine hiking in them. Does anyone know what brands she may be referring to, or more about the term?

Ash
Ash
Just guessing on my part -
having seen footwear on other pilgrims over the years, it appeared to me that ‘many’ Europeans preferred ‘leather’.
Usually brand names that I don’t see a lot of in Australia. Possibly Meindl, Lowe ?
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Right? It's the term she used. But she also wears toe socks.... :p
Hola - I have been wearing "toe socks" for the past 5 or more years. For me they really work, with each toe separated there is significantly less chance of blisters on the sides of the toes. I wear them as "liner socks" (they are much thinner) and then have a thicker outer sock. I also remove boots and outer socks each time I stop for more than 15 mins,. Cheers
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
Hi Arizona girl,

Like the other posts from European residents already stated, there is no such thing as European Walking Shoes. There are a number of European brands that produce excellent walking footware (as do American or Australian brands).

So the question should not be: "from which country/region should I buy my footwear", but: "which brand suits my feet best?". If it's an American brand, that's OK. If it's not, that's OK.

My feet are very happy wearing Meindl. I've tried another (quality) brand once, but regretted it. And I was surprised by the excellent service they provided. I had already walked on Meindl's for a year or two when my wife and I walked from our home town in Holland to Santiago. So I had walked about 3500 km. on them, when the upper part of one shoe was starting to come loose from the soles (at the seams). So I went to the shop where I had bought them to have it repaired. Because they didn't have the proper equipment to do so, they sent them to Meindl. I asked them to call me about the cost before I would give the order to repair them. Two weeks later I got a call that my shoes had been repaired by Meindl and that I could pick them up. So I went to the store and explained my concern because I hadn't received any notice about the cost.

They told me that there weren't any costs. Meindl had examined the problem and thought that this problem shoud not have occured to their products after only 3500 km. So they had replaced the upper part of the shoe by a new part without charging anything.

So, there's no such thing as European Walking Shoes, but you might want to try the Dutch ones...

1595835943810.png
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
I was listening to a Rick Steve's podcast, and he was interviewing the author of Europe on foot. She mentioned she only hikes in "European walking shoes."
As said already several times by other posters, there are no "European walking shoes". In the area Germany-Austria-Switzerland with their superb walking grounds that are the Alps, a "walking shoe" and a "walking boot" look like those shown below. And that is probably exactly what the author means by "European walking shoes" when you look at the photo of her own shoes on her website.

And yes, it's Meindl, Lowa, Hanwag, and Hanwag are the best. ☺

Shoes.jpg
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
This question is addressed in this Rick Steves forum.
And not at all helpfully from a European perspective as to what, exactly, is being talked about -- it's not certain hiking shoes/boots in Europe are generally made by "brands" as the respondents in that thread seem to think ; and by volume, as someone else suggested, the "brand" versions are not unlikely to be made elsewhere entirely.

As for my boots, is "French Army" a brand ?
I could get them hand-made rather than standard sizes if I wanted ... (well, French "standard" size 50 that is LOL)

There are still boots & shoes in Europe that will be hand-crafted, for example if you're looking in Italy ...

"European walking shoes" just seems like a very strange concept.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
So, while you can walk a camino in Hoka One Ones or a similar Merrell model (and I personally would recommend them for most of the kind of terrain and the kind of walking along the Camino Frances for example), this European would never regard such shoes as "walking shoes".
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I don't know if it helps, but in Europe we do tend to think of hiking shoes as being something like this :



And hiking boots like this :



Bearing in mind these are "cheap" mass-produced ones, not the properly hand-made that the more serious hikers would prefer.

Like :



Or :

 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
Mind you, most of them read 'Made in China' nowadays.
Actually, that is not true for the three companies I mentioned - Meindl, Lowa and Hanwag. Their walking shoes and walking boots are really produced in Europe (I checked): the production sites are in Germany, Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Croatia and Slovakia. So, yes, European products and that is partly reflected in the price.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
Actually, that is not true for the three companies I mentioned - Meindl, Lowa and Hanwag. Their walking shoes and walking boots are really produced in Europe (I checked): the production sites are in Germany, Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Croatia and Slovakia. So, yes, European products and that is partly reflected in the price.
'True, but the 'made in China' does apply to the typical Dutch walking boots.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Actually, that is not true for the three companies I mentioned - Meindl, Lowa and Hanwag. Their walking shoes and walking boots are really produced in Europe (I checked): the production sites are in Germany, Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Croatia and Slovakia. So, yes, European products and that is partly reflected in the price.
Quick check of several of my walking boots and shoes: Italy (two brands), Slovakia, Romania, Vietnam and one made in China. Not that I care - the issue is whether they are made on a last that fits my foot. And I am certainly not in the market for hand-made boots, much as I might like to be.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
OK, so here is Cassandra Overby's description of her "European walking shoe" during her talk with Rick Steves. "European walking shoes" are "one of the options" that one can use instead of walking boots. She describes them as follows:

a specific type of shoe that is kind of a hybrid between just a nice looking shoe that you would normally wear when you are travelling and something sturdier that's good for being outside. So it's waterproof, has a good sole but it blends in. They are usually black or brown. They are very light weight and so you can have the same shoe for when you are going to a nice museum or out for dinner as you do for when you are outside on trail.
I think she just means comfortable shoes suitable for walking ...

You can hear it for yourself in Program 575a: Europe Hiking; Exploring Athens; Grooviest Gardens.
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I was listening to a Rick Steve's podcast, and he was interviewing the author of Europe on foot. She mentioned she only hikes in "European walking shoes." I googled the phrase and based on the images I couldn't imagine hiking in them. Does anyone know what brands she may be referring to, or more about the term?

Ash
On Seinfeld Jerry had a "Man Purse" and he called it European. I bet if you find out where he bought it you can find European Walking Shoes there too.
 

evanscl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 2016
I am in line with kathar1na, walking shoes only come up to the ankle, more like a trainer in style but probably a boot-like construction in its sole and material but lighter . Walking boots come above the ankle giving more support to the ankle and are more robust and heavier. As i think of it anyway.
It is more protection and support in a boot vs lighter less enclosing/ankle supporting shoe is my precis, so its whatever suits you, the terrain and temperatures you are walking in.
Carrying a pack and being older and less confident in my ankles i always go for a supportive boot. (Currently Keen but previously merrell) I guess european probably means most of the brands you would find in the uk store cotswold camping, which sells walking shoes by salomon, merrell for example.
 

Sherpa47

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2008 and 2017
I was listening to a Rick Steve's podcast, and he was interviewing the author of Europe on foot. She mentioned she only hikes in "European walking shoes." I googled the phrase and based on the images I couldn't imagine hiking in them. Does anyone know what brands she may be referring to, or more about the term?

Ash
Hi Ash,
I think here Rick Steve is referring to shoes made on a 'European last', that is shoes made to suit European shape of feet as opposed to Far Eastern foot shapes. You would need to check with shoe/boot companies if they use a European last. I think Saloman and Meindl use this last. If you are thinking of walking the Camino I would suggest a lightweight soft boot offering great comfort and support. I walked my Camino in Salamon Tibia Boots, they were great.
Buen Camino!
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
I think the mystery is solved. "European walking shoes" are just sturdy shoes that are used for walking and that are not boots ... the photo below is from Cassandra Overby's book, Chapter 13 on footwear. She doesn't even mention any brand names for this kind of shoes in her book.


Footwear.jpg
 
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happymarkos

HappyMark
Camino(s) past & future
2013 CF
2014 Le Puy-St Jean. 2014&16 Volunteer St JP
2016 Portuguese
2017 Porto-Santiago
2018
I was listening to a Rick Steve's podcast, and he was interviewing the author of Europe on foot. She mentioned she only hikes in "European walking shoes." I googled the phrase and based on the images I couldn't imagine hiking in them. Does anyone know what brands she may be referring to, or more about the term?

Ash
Hi AZgirl
there are many ones manufactured in the EU, and other European brands that are manufactured in China or similar. I have both Meindl and Hanwag, two very old German manufacturers. One advantage is you can fully resole them and even have repairs on other parts including the uppers. Both these companies also have wider fitting ones. They make walking shoes as well as boots. Other well known ones include Lowa and Scarpa.
Some models are made in the EU and some in China etc. There is more detail on: caminowalkingguide.com including some history of popular brands.
Buen Camino
Mark
 

JudeD

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago "2016"
SJPP to Burgos "2017" Burgos to Hornillos "2018" SJPP to Finisterre "2019
I find that wearing Altra (foot shaped) trail runners with Injinji toe socks makes for ultimate comfort with plenty of room for toes to spread. I'm 75 and walked from SJPDP to Finisterre last summer during the heatwave and had no foot problems at all. My friend who started off wearing worn in leather Merrill walking shoes with toe socks, suffered badly with blisters and aching heels. In Burgos she managed to buy a pair of Altra Torin 3.5s like mine and promptly wore them for the rest of our Camino (needed no wearing in) and no more troubled feet.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I think the mystery is solved. "European walking shoes" are just sturdy shoes that are used for walking and that are not boots ... the photo below is from Cassandra Overby's book, Chapter 13 on footwear. She doesn't even mention any brand names for this kind of shoes in her book.


View attachment 79491
What's "European" about them ?

They look factory-produced and International ...
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
This question is addressed in this Rick Steves forum.
Right. That post in the forum refers to Cassandra Overby's book:


I just happen to have her book, I believe (Explore Europe on Foot by Cassandra Overby). She refers to "European-style walking shoes". Based on her comments, I think of low-rise hiking boots; I have a pair from Oboz that I got at REI and love them. She does go on to say "I really like Naturalizer, Aragon and Merrell."


Funny, I don't think that the brands mentioned; Naturalizer, Aragon and Merrell are European brands.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
What's "European" about them ?
Europeans wear them and you see them in Europe ☺.

As I said, I think they are just comfortable shoes with soles with some traction that you can wear for walking outdoors on good comfortable paths - of which there are many, even in our "wild" outdoors, like the Alps. We don't really have much wilderness or backpack country here in Europe in general, and I guess when you come from the USA to Europe you see people wear these shoes while back home they would wear sneakers or trainers or trail shoes and they look different.

Through no fault of my own, I have the whole book on my iPad and I am going to post the relevant paragraph in the next two messages to settle this issue once and for all. She says optimistically. 😅
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I remember, more decades ago than I care to admit, seeing Mephisto shoes hyped as the ultimate shoes for long distance walkers. That was what first came to mind when I heard the phrase "European walking shoes". Of course, when I started researching gear for my first 21st century Camino, decades later, no one was talking about Mephisto walking shoes.
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
I remember, more decades ago than I care to admit, seeing Mephisto shoes hyped as the ultimate shoes for long distance walkers. That was what first came to mind when I heard the phrase "European walking shoes". Of course, when I started researching gear for my first 21st century Camino, decades later, no one was talking about Mephisto walking shoes.

A friend of mine is a big fan of Mephisto.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
A friend of mine is a big fan of Mephisto.
Oh, they still exist, for sure, and obviously have their fans. But when I look on the footwear threads of these forums, I see Hokas and Merrells, and Keens, etc. mentioned a lot more than Mephistos. And <cough>thirty</cough> years ago I would have expected different from people who were really into long distance walking.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
Not to be confused with Kiwi walking shoes, which in general are ultrawide. I personally look for 4E (men's) when I am looking at European or American shoes.

I was browsing in a local Merrell's store one day when a woman with an English accent was trying on walking shoes with the help of the assistant. The woman asked why all the shoes seemed to be wider than normal. The (young) assistant replied that he didn't know but that was what they mostly sold.

I decided to explain, I said "it is because Kiwis often go bare footed as children and even adults often walk around in bare feet when out and about. As a child I had never worn shoes at all before I was 6 years old".

Mind you I was a slightly unusual case both because of my age and that I was born in and grew up in Fiji until the age of 6.

When we first moved to NZ I used to impress the local kids by lightning a match and holding it on the soles of my feet. My callusses were so thick that I could do this without pain. 😁
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
"European walking shoes."
I have full light on this as it is early afternoon as I write.

Having stuff from a variety of countries we are used to seeing that stuff with lists showing sizes in UK, US, EU and JPN "denominations". So I would understand "European (walking) shoes" to be those made in Europe to their sizings (with translations to other sizes for comparison).

Of the scribblings above, I prefer those by @Kathar1na as being the most likely explanation.
 

enjoyingthejourney

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
What a fun discussion. I am German and I don‘t know what a European walking shoe is. I remember though I could spot another German pilgrim from far away on the camino: deuter pack, Falke socks and meindl shoes...🤣
I had the deuter pack and the Falke socks haha, but I love my Italian scarpa shoes a lot. And I love my arcteryx jacket. All countries have great stuff, but I guess for shoes in Germany the „European shoes“ are more marketed. Hopefully the woman will solve the puzzle for us at some point ;)
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
From previous posts I gather that it's not so much about European walking shoes, but more european style walking shoes.

I've got a pair of them:
1595918426331.png

I checked, they are made in China.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
I've got a pair of them:
Screenshot shoes.jpg
I dunno ... aren't they somehow lacking on the "elegant enough for restaurants and museums" side?

Maybe we have to go for Italian models after all, I mean just look again at these beautiful Italian boots Italian boots.jpg in post #16.

Perhaps this Scarpa model of a walking shoe is more like the ones the author of Europe On Foot has in mind? Plus, they are brown.

Shoes.jpg
 
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André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
1595944422653.png
I dunno ... aren't they somehow lacking on the "elegant enough for restaurants and museums" side?
Not at all. I've had some very pleasant meals in them.

But you're right, in these I might really be the smart one climbing to O'Cebreiro:
1595944511885.png
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I dunno ... aren't they somehow lacking on the "elegant enough for restaurants and museums" side?
For some years now, my sister-in-law and I had fun evaluating all new clothing items in terms of whether they can be stuffed into a 30 L backpack and serve as both walking clothes and attending the opera. With those extremes, I can fit a business meeting into the trip too.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Not at all. I've had some very pleasant meals in them
I don't know why, but at first glace I thought it was a pun indicating you "ate" your meals which were served 'inside" the boots! 🤣
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
For some years now, my sister-in-law and I had fun evaluating all new clothing items in terms of whether they can be stuffed into a 30 L backpack and serve as both walking clothes and attending the opera. With those extremes, I can fit a business meeting into the trip too.
And haven't we talked about binging along a multi use "ladies' scarf"? ..useful at times in keeping us warm, but if we choose just the "right one", definately doable for a night at an expensive posh restaurant. Once seated, no one will notice we are wearing hiking pants under the table. 😛 I am always "overdressed" at dinner eating my pilgrim meals...it's the scarf I tell ya, the scarf!
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
OK. One final post about the Dutch walking shoes. If you watch this short video, you'll realize that, if you can do this with them, you can walk several camino's wearing them.

Warning: not for the weak of mind. It might cause lasting brain damage...

 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
OK. One final post about the Dutch walking shoes. If you watch this short video, you'll realize that, if you can do this with them, you can walk several camino's wearing them.

Warning: not for the weak of mind. It might cause lasting brain damage...

Argh I see Andre Rieu's name appearing and I know I must NOT watch ;) . Not my cup of tea at all how he mishandles classical music. But people seem to pay enormous money to see his orchestra perform.
Sorry for hijacking the thread! ;)
 

P Rat

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino VDLP/Sanábres April 2019
Camino Mozárabe when we can again...(2021?)
I don't know if it helps, but in Europe we do tend to think of hiking shoes as being something like this :



And hiking boots like this :



Bearing in mind these are "cheap" mass-produced ones, not the properly hand-made that the more serious hikers would prefer.

Like :



Or :

I would not like to undo the leather laces when they have become wet!!
 

P Rat

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino VDLP/Sanábres April 2019
Camino Mozárabe when we can again...(2021?)
OK. One final post about the Dutch walking shoes. If you watch this short video, you'll realize that, if you can do this with them, you can walk several camino's wearing them.

Warning: not for the weak of mind. It might cause lasting brain damage...

We grew up in the country in the Netherlands, wore clogs a lot and even played soccer in them. More often than not it wasn't only the ball flying towards goal...Once you're used to them I can't see why you wouldn't walk a camino in them (I wouldn't!) but you'll need several pairs as they wear out quick. They're made for the paddocks, not gravel/bitumen etc. Oh, and that sticky mud?...nuhuh!
 

Sakami

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (April - May 2015), Camino Primitivo (May 2018), Finesterre (June 2018)
Chiruca is a Spanish hiking boot firm. I don't know anything about their products, but about 7-8 years ago they commissioned famous Spanish bike racer Peio Ruiz Cabestany to hike the Camino Frances. His 40 or so videos, less than 10 minutes each, are on Youtube and very worthwhile. All in Spanish, but still accessible. Find them <
>Here.<P>Still my favorite Camino videos.
 

Cicada

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances St Jean -Santiago April -June 2017
Portugues September 2018
I was listening to a Rick Steve's podcast, and he was interviewing the author of Europe on foot. She mentioned she only hikes in "European walking shoes." I googled the phrase and based on the images I couldn't imagine hiking in them. Does anyone know what brands she may be referring to, or more about the term?

Ash
My wife has a pair Zamberlan walking shoes that she swears by they're made in Italy and have lasted very well! A Frances and a Portugues and could probably do another if we were able!
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Coul
I think the mystery is solved. "European walking shoes" are just sturdy shoes that are used for walking and that are not boots ... the photo below is from Cassandra Overby's book, Chapter 13 on footwear. She doesn't even mention any brand names for this kind of shoes in her book.


View attachment 79491
could do with a little (a lot) of TLC
 

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