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First Camino - what type of hiking boot needed?

LTfit

Veteran Member
Hi fellow/future pelegrinos/as,

I keep thinking of new questions so here I am again. Ones feet are important during such an endeavor (dahhhh!) and I am wondering what type of shoe/boot to wear. I have done hiking in the past where terrain has been rough (Alpes, Rocky Mountains) and was fine with my hiking boots but they are quite heavy.

I know that shoes/boots are quite personal but I was thinking about investing in new boots and would appreciate some advice...I live in The Netherlands so need brands that are available in Europe.

Thanks again for your help!

Abrazos,

LTfit (unexperienced pelegrina)
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Hello and welcome to the Forum. As you might imagine most of us spend a lot of time pondering the question of what kind of boots or indeed whether to take boots, shoes or sandals. If you type "shoes or boots" into the search box at the very top rightof the page a lot of threads will come up dealing with this - too many for me to list here!

Best wishes

John
 

elzi

Active Member
Of course it depends on the person and also the season. As John says this is a pretty popular question. More than anything the answer is that it doesn't really matter as long as they are COMFORTABLE! :)
 
I would recommend a pair of Brasher Supalite GTX boots. They're not cheap, they cost about £130, but they're a great boot.
Whatever you decide to wear make sure that they're well worn-in before starting the Camino.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Thanks for tips and links (great John - also lists you gave regarding budget/packing/spanish vocabulary)
Have been reading a lot about socks/boots/shoes and there are indeed many opinions and suggestions. Will just need to try on lots of models and take a leap and buy!

Cheers,
LTfit
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
LTfit - my advice is to find a reputable store and go mid week in the afternoon preferably after walking for a while. Mid week because that's when you are least likely to get weekend temporary staff and most likely to get a salesperson with experience. Afternoon and after walking because your feet swell as the day goes on especially after walking. Take a pair of thin socks and pair of hiking socks (often shops will have socks they can let you have) so that you are trying on the shoes/boots with the thickness you will wear when walking for real. Try on several pairs, as many as you want. Put on both boots and lace them up. Walk around and certainly use the dummy incline in the shop. Walk up and down several times. If you find a type/pair that you feel comfortable with I'd advise you not to buy them but to go to a couple of other shops and try some there. If you remain convinced the pair you selected are the ones for you go back and try them again. Then buy.

Then start walking so that your feet get used to them :)

Happy shopping

John
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Thanks John, actually have a good pair of hiking boots which are well worn in but have not used for several years...also heard so many different opinions as to whether boots are even necessary. Many say that lighter weight trail shoes are also a good option. Except for crossing the pyrenees, I assume that terrain is not too difficult (only doing first 3/4).

Did you put vaseline on your feet in the morning prior to walking? (read about that too) Sounds hot...Could you not get away with one pair of socks, rather than two if using a pair made of coolmax for example? Have done lots of hiking in the mountains and never wore more than 1 pair of socks...
Cheers,
LTfit
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I tried the Vaseline trick when I walked the VDLP. It worked pretty well.

I'd suggest New Balance trail shoes with a wide toe box.

The most blisters I saw on the Camino were on people wearing boots.

Also consider TEVA sandals. I never would have thought about doing this, but Lillian convinced me they were a great idea and next Camino, that will be my shoe of choice next to my New Balance shoes.

There is no place on the Frances, in my opinion, that is rough enough to warrant hiking boots. This is more of a meandering trail that you walk, rather than a "hike" as in mountainous terrain. There are a few places, where it's rocky and steep, but not many.
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Hi LTFit,
Opinions about boots and socks are always varied so I may as well jump in! People wear a whole range of footwear. If you have some well worn-in boots that you know are comfortable, you might want to stick with them. I chose a walking shoe (with a Vibram sole) rather than boot and was very happy for the most part, except in one instance where my feet got really wet over several days so I got blisters.

I am a great fan of two pairs of socks, and the theory is that the rubbing happens between the two layers rather than on your feet itself. I had a very thin CoolMax liner, and a summerweight woollen sock. The combo worked very well for me, and I would definitely repeat them. Some people swear by applying vaseline, but personally I thought that sounded too mucky. I did only have the one instance of blisters in over two and a half months of walking- and that time was due to saturation...

You might be surprised to find that the trail over the Pyrenees is not particularly rugged at all! There is a road that runs a fair distance up the Napoleon Route, and at the end I also chose the road rather than the steeper forest option for coming down into Roncesvalles. Near the top though, there were deep deposits of black leaves under some of the trees, and my socks just drank that blackness in: rinsing them out at Roncesvalles that evening was quite something!
Margaret
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Wow, everyone is so helpful!
Thanks Margaret for your thorough explanation - took a quick look at your blog (will return for sure!) great how you share your experience and pictures.
Signing off now, otherwise will spend the whole night online!
Cheers,
LTfit
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
The advice about a well-worn in pair of shoes is true.
I met a Mexican young man walking the Camino in cowboy boots!

::sigh:: If I were only 30 years younger... he sure was cute!
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
All of us have our favorites, but the general advice that's already been posted will be most useful to you. The one point I might add is that the sole of the boot or shoe should be thick and rugged enough that you don't feel every little rock and stone when you walk. That can really fatigue your feet quickly. Most gear shops where you'll be looking at shoes or boots have a simulated rocky road to walk on to test out this aspect, and I recommend a thorough test on this.

My husband has hiked in sandals as well as trail shoes, and he was very bothered with stones in his shoes. On the other hand, gaiters will help with this issue if you decide to go with shoes or sandals.

Oh, and yes - vaseline - a thick coat every morning has kept blisters away for me over the years.

Happy planning, packing and walking!

lynne
 

smallvillenyc

New Member
Hi There, I did the Camino last year, walked from Astorga to Santiago.
The question of what Boots/Sneakers/Sandals to wear , I was uncertain of, even when I left for my trip.
I have never found boots comfortable, so going by advice in shoe store ,I kept away from them.
I purchased a Waterproof Pair of Hiking Sneakers, and in the store it felt comfortable enough. The true test is in the walking outside.
So for a few weeks I did just that, and Honestly I really debated how comfortable I was in them?
In the end I used them, and strangely enough they worked like a dream. Yes I got blisters, I think nearly everyone does get them. I probably didn't do all you can do to prevent mind you.
It never rained, but since then have used in wet weather and they work. Also I actually get sore in them some days, and some days not sore??
Yes Feet and shoes is not always easy. I never did feel like They "Got worn in" so called feeling anyhow..I mean they still feel mighty new even after all the walking I did. Well Quality does count here, I really did get what I paid for.
In the end You really have to give them a test run..be it Boots or sneakers. Yes everyone says boots(maybe not everyone) but I got the impression when I was researching that it was the main choice..But if your like me, where Boots has always been Yuk,,then don't buy boots..although who knows maybe there is Boots out there that are comfortable..for me and for you?!! :)
 

crissy311

New Member
I definitely think that people over estimate shoes and forget about socks. Your socks are just as important as your shoes. You want to change your socks in the middle of your walk. As far as buying make sure they also have good support and are cool max/wicking.
I am considering taking a pair of new balances and a pair of tevas or other hiking sandals, in case it rains and my shoes get soaked. They will be more compact than two pairs of hiking shoes.
 

elzi

Active Member
Steve.Belfast said:
I would recommend a pair of Brasher Supalite GTX boots. They're not cheap, they cost about £130, but they're a great boot.
Whatever you decide to wear make sure that they're well worn-in before starting the Camino.

I've walked two caminos in two different pairs of these boots. They're great boots!

As for blisters etc get some "NOK". It's a cream, french I think (or french-canadian?) anyhow I wouldn't walk anywhere without it. Transformed my life on the Le Puy route once I bought some!!! :D
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
At Paderborn in Pamplona, I picked up a tube of some German foot cream in the Free Box.
I wish I had written down the name, because that was the best stuff!

It was the consistency of Petroleum jelly, but it was thick and white and rubbed in a bit better... leaving just a hint of silicone or something that let your toes slide across each other without pulling.

Kept my feet so nice!

Any German folk out there know what I'm talking about?
It was made especially for walkers....???
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Thanks for the link Ian - was about to ask about a more "natural" alternative to vaseline which is a petroleum product...also dislike the smell of vaseline.

And as far as Teva's are concerned, love them (have in fact 2 pairs) but I can't imagine walking/hiking in them. In fact the first time I walked any considerable length of time in them I got a terrible blister on the BOTTOM of my foot. And don't you get problems with stones,etc.?

Tks again for help!

Cheers,
LTfit
 

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
Terry went for the 3 pairs of socks system. All the friction is taken by the middle layer sock. Inners were thin, flat seam, wicking. Middle lightweight (mohair) and outer cushion sole (also mohair). No vasleine etc needed and no blisters. Boots were Hi-tec 'Altitude IV WP'. They do both mens' and womens' sizings and we bought them wearing our socks to make sure we could wriggle our toes, but without our feet slipping.
We both follow this system now and it makes for very happy feet.
Buen Camino
Tio Tel and Tia Valeria
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
NOK's Karite (Shea) nut butter plant extract naturally reinforces the sknis defence mechanisms
I like peanut butter better, as long as it is not the chunky kind.
 

Mountainman

El Croco loco
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Camino Frances
(StJ-Santiago) 2007, 2009
(StJ-Fisterra) 2011, 2012
Future:
Camino del Salvador 8/2014
Camino Primitivo 8/2014?
Camino del Norte 9/2014,
and hopefully many more yet unplanned
Hi LT,

I'd go to Bever Zwerfsport and look for hiking shoes, not boots. My favorite brand is Salomon, which I combine with special inlays (inlegzolen), called "Superfeet", available at Bever as well.

Most women on the Camino I spoke shoes with, were very enthousiastic about the brand Keen (as you said you are a peregrina, not a peregrino...).

Good luck with the selecting process! And if you plan to do some training hiking around Utrecht (and can use some company), please let me know, we can talk Camino and I get some exercise as well :mrgreen:

Cheers,
Martin
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
This thread is getting a bit messy - I think I'll keep the peanut butter on my bread rather than between my toes :roll: ! But thanks, you did get a laugh out of me!

Tks Martin for you suggestions (also like your Mandela quote - my personal favorite is Ghandi's "We must be the changes we wish to see in the world"). Live near Leiden which also has a Bever Zwerfsport. Never heard of the brand Keen but will check that out. When did you do the Camino?

Cheers/Groet,

LTfit
 

Hazenklager

New Member
May I add my 2 cents ?
As to shoes I can recommend the German Mephisto brand. They walk like on a cloud.
The Nijmeegse Vierdaagse is a famous four days walking festival in Holland.
I use the shoes to cover the 200 kilometers that you do in four days.
They are also excellent for the Camino.
Invest in Merino wooll socks with them.
Before starting the day, treat your feet to some foot cream called GehWohl.
Thus you will never get blisters.
Crossing the Pyrenees is not the problem. The section from Roncevelles to Larasoana is the worst.
Here the path goes through forests and it is mud all over the place, slipping and a-sliding downhill.
But do not be deterred. Just put Nancy Sinatra's "These boots are made for walking" on your Yphone and sing along. It helps.
Buen Camino
 

Mountainman

El Croco loco
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Camino Frances
(StJ-Santiago) 2007, 2009
(StJ-Fisterra) 2011, 2012
Future:
Camino del Salvador 8/2014
Camino Primitivo 8/2014?
Camino del Norte 9/2014,
and hopefully many more yet unplanned
LTfit said:
Tks Martin for you suggestions (also like your Mandela quote - my personal favorite is Ghandi's "We must be the changes we wish to see in the world"). Live near Leiden which also has a Bever Zwerfsport. Never heard of the brand Keen but will check that out. When did you do the Camino?

Cheers/Groet,

LTfit

Hi LT,

I walked the Camino in 2007 and 2009, both times from St Jean, and I will go again either around august/september of this year of around april next year. And still pondering wether to walk the Camino Frances again, or to walk another Camino...

And I love your quote as well, 'll go and live/be/do it in the here and now!
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Thanks Hazenklager for adding in your `2 cents ´! I live in Holland so have of course heard of the Vierdaagse. For sure good training ground for the Camino.
Never thought about trying out Mephisto´s (more an image thing and didn´t think rugged enough) but here again another good tip. As I will be walking in July I hope to avoid the blubber and mud you mentioned but one never knows...

So Martin, maybe going for your third! Sorry, can´t give you any intelligent advice about which route to take as this will be my first Camino. But whichever one you decide on will be the right one.
I only have about 3 weeks off so will not make it the whole way. Hearing all the stories, I hope that it won´t be a disappointment to have to turn around 3/4 of the way and head home.

Cheers,
LT
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
I've posted this link before, but it bears repeating, I think. Looking for international dealer sites will save you a lot of shipping and customs fees.

Keen Global Dealer sites:

http://www.keencanada.ca/international_dealers.aspx

If there is another brand you're interested in, just google the main page of that brand - most major brands will have global dealers as well.

lynne
 

mrtrok

New Member
LTfit said:
Thanks for tips and links (great John - also lists you gave regarding budget/packing/spanish vocabulary)
Have been reading a lot about socks/boots/shoes and there are indeed many opinions and suggestions. Will just need to try on lots of models and take a leap and buy!

Cheers,
LTfit
We walked in 2008 and used a pair of Merrell hikers with ventilation. Never had even a single blister, they were super comfortable. Am definitely using them again this summer. More important I think is that you wear proper socks. We use fairly heavy merino woollen ones and put liner socks inside of them. This will keep moisture away from your feet. :D Also, to avoid problems, take care of your feet: we used vaseline on an almost daily basis, and keep the toenails short.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Hi Mrtrok,

So you are a Merrell fan.
Seems that Keen, Merrell and Salomon are favorites.

And what about low, mid or high "tops"? Quite a few mentioned pelegrinos/as mentioned getting stones in shoes. Can imagine that being quite uncomfortable.

Merrell has numerous models for women (at least on site). Now need to check what's available here in Holland.

I will also be walking this summer (beginning July). What about you guys?

Tks for imput.
Cheers,
LT
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Yep, finally got a pair of boots: Solomon Explorer GTX + Falke TK2 trekking socks

Went out shopping kind of set on getting a walking shoe but got some great advice from the salesman who is an avid hiker. He picked out a few models after listening to needs/terrain, etc. He advised me against a hiking shoe/trail running shoe (I know others will disagree) given the amount of daily kilometers. This model fits great in the heel and was comfortable from the start. The Falke socks are also wonderful and fit like a glove (much better than the smartwool which I am going to take back).

Wanted to post a picture but not sure how :?

Anyway walked in them today for 5 hours with a pair of Falke socks (ergonomic right/left) - no liner and no vaseline just to try out. After 4 1/2 hrs felt a hot spot on one heel and once got home saw that I had a very small blister but overall pretty satisfied. So off and running!

Just thought that I would share in case other pelegrinos/as are still looking.

Cheers,
Lee
 

Frances73

New Member
Thanks for this topic, very useful.
This weekend I've been to the Bever in Groningen (Netherlands) and tried on all the Keen sandals they had, but unfortunately they were all too broad for my feet.
Also tried a pair of Salomon sandals, but when I tried to pull the chord I immediately demolished the small black cap on top of it :|

There probably already is a topic about sandals, but I couldn't find it right away, so: are there a lot of people who walk the camino on sandals? Aren't they too cold in the evening? Are they steady enough when carrying a backpack?
 

MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
Sandals can be ideal on those flat trails and roads. However, during periods of heavy rain, which causes inches of mud, you will suffer with sandals. Young people seem to really enjoy a light-weight hiking shoe. It works satisfactorily well in mud and going over rock/large pebble trails. Many older people, or those with weak ankles prefer a light-weight hiking boot that provides more support on the ankle. They work best on rocky trails and in the mud. The book will not be "sucked" off the foot and will not turn on loose stones.

The vast majority of the Caminos are not considered difficult trails and footwear really is a matter of choice. The less fit an individual is. etc. the better to go with more support. However, if you pick poorly there will places where you can purchase a different footwear of your choice.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Hi Frances,

If you read through the various threads about shoeware you will find many different opinions - some suggest hiking boots (high or midankle) and others advise walking shoes or sandals.

For me, the deciding factor was fit - pure and simple. I was not originally looking for a boot (have no problems with my ankles) but width and heel fit were perfect so I went with a light-weight hking boot (see bellow). I personally can not imagine walking 8 hours in a sandal...I have several pairs of TEVAS but they give zero stability.

Bever usually has qualified personnel so tell them what you will doing and ask for their advice! Have them check the fit and then walk around the store. Be sure to take your socks with you!

Good luck!



Salomon Explorer GTX Womens

Authentic, lightweight and supremely comfortable,the Salomon Explorer GTX is the ideal boot for hiking and trekking.
Its GORE-TEX® lining membrane with full bootie construction ensures your feet remain dry in all weather conditions, and its intelligent features ensure your feet are protected and comfortable over long distances and rough terrain.
Salomon 2D Advanced Chassis ™ maximizes motion control and stability.
Dual-density EVA provides superior cushioning, stability and motion control.

Ortholite™ insoles provide step in comfort and enhanced durability while controlling odor with an anti-microbial treatment.
 

Frances73

New Member
Hi LTfit,

I recognize what you say about walking on tevas, they also give me blisters under my feet. I'll try Salomons too this weekend.
Have you walked around on them some more (or have you already started your camino)?
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Hi Frances,

I made 2 longs walks of 7 hrs each on 2 consecutive days to get adjusted to them. Not that the boots needed breaking-in but rather my body :) !

As mentioned somewhere else used 1 pair of Falke K2 Trekking socks and no liner. There is one spot on my right heel that always develops a blister so I put Compeed on that spot. That worked just fine and now I have a hard callus which I hope will protect me.

I won't know until after the Camino if I made the right choice. It seemed soooooo far off when I decided to do the Camino in March and now it is only about a month away. I will be flying from A'dam to Biarritz on July 2nd and plan on starting off from SJPP on July 3rd. And you?

Enjoy planning - your Camino :arrow: has already begon!
LT
 

Frances73

New Member
Hi LTfit,

I will fly from Amsterdam to Bilbao on the 10th of July, and travel to Burgos the next day, so a week after you have started from SJPP.

Wow, walks of 7 hours already :shock:
I just took a walk of about 15 kms on walking boots I bought from a cheap shoe store (Scapino) last year, and I must say that they are quite comfortable. My feet got very hot however, even though today is a cool day. I wonder if all walking boots are so hot - if so I think I'll go for lighter footwear.

Buen Camino to you, too.
 

vjpulver

Crazy Chicken Lady with the Camino on my Mind!
Camino(s) past & future
Apr-Jun 2009 - I solo walked from Roncesvalles to Santiago. I hope to return as a hospitalera in 2016.
I counted about 40 pairs of hiking bookt abandoned along the roadside between Roncevalles and Santiago de Compostela during my 40 days on the Camino (April-June 2009). There's a couple snaps of abandoned boots on my blog. A couple hikers I walked with sent theirs home.

One guy I kept running into wore Crocs to walk in. :cool:

I was inclined to take boots since I am retired US Air Force and looooooooove walking in my combat boots (heavy leather version). I listened to others and finally bought some ankle high Gortex shooes that look like boots. Saloman brand (sp?) There's a photo on my blog. They were great.

The blisters I got were from wearing my sandles when my feet were damp from the shower - ick...took a long time to get rid of the blisters. Also walking down hill gave me blisters once. They healed pretty fast.

Life is good.

"Ginn"
In Sunny Santa Fe
 

voyagermoon

New Member
Hey, you know what about boots?

Personally I love my very light hi-techs - but my son - who walked from Canterbury to Jerusalem (7000 kms, 16 countries and therefore knows a thing or 10 about boots) in the end wanted only standard Gore-Tex runners.

When we walked together for a while (from Rome to the snow-covered thunderous mountains of Macedonia) he nagged me the whole way about getting a pair of Gore-Tex runners. By the time I was ready to listen to him, there were none to be found.

If you're up for sharing our journey, you can get my book My Pilgrim's Heart from http://www.voyagermoon.com.au

Bon Camino!
http://www.voyagermoon.com.au
 

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