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footwear on the Camino


New Member
Hi everyone,
After much deliberation, I've decided to wear trainers/runners rather than boots on the Camino for this time around, mainly because I wear orthotics and my feet, orthotics and boots don't all get along with each other! Although my feet are very comfortable in my trainers, and I've done lots of trail walking in them, I'm concerned about rain and general wet weather.
Does anyone have any suggestions about keeping feet dry on the Camino? I've seen products that can be sprayed to improve waterproofing, and have also seen waterproof socks (!) but maybe I'm worrying unnecessarily? Would love to hear people's ideas!
Thanks! Meena :D


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
You can get trainers which are leather with waterproof lining or gortex trainers. My husband has foot problems and he swears by Asics, it is a really individual thing though. I wore Solomon shoes, they were fantastic, waterproof and very comfortable and not too hot to wear. the ortholite sole though rubbbed too much under the arch and I got plantar fasciitis. After days and days of walking most shoes do end up giving you some sort of trouble somewhere.Good luck with your shoe hunt. Regards, Gitti


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2009, Portuguese 2012
Frances 2016, (Frances 2019)
I use gaitors to keep stuff out of my socks and shoes. They fit over the ankle portion of the shoe and above my socks. I am planning to take my short ones which are not waterproof but they do keep my shoes a little drier if the rain is not too severe. You can get waterproof gaitors but the toes are exposed. If you are going to use sthe shoes you've broken in--highly recommended!--then you will need to look at how you can better protect them. I am also carrying a nail brush for both my nails and for cleaning my hiking shoes. Keeping boots clean helps them breathe better and I think helps with keeping your feet a little less irritated from dirt. I know there are sprays advertised to make things waterproof--I wouldn't count on it working all that well for day after day walking. Another consideration is using sandals with socks on rainy days. Water doesn't pool in your shoes and things begin to dry out quickly when the rain stops.

I have essentially the same model of hiking shoe (Garmont) in goretex and non-goretex. I have been using both (I too wear orthodics). These are not "trainers" but hiking shoes--heavier soles but not as rigid or as heavy as my beloved hiking boots. Goretex shoes are heavier and warmer than the non-goretex. Goretex will keep most moisture out of your shoe/boot which will help prevent rain induced blisters. But then your foot is hotter and in hot weather, will sweat which creates more moisture which leads to blisters. You didn't say when you are walking. Early spring/late fall? Gore-tex probably would be good. Otherwise considering using gaitors if you are concerned. Nothing will ever be perfect.


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Camino (2009), French Camino (2011), Via de la Plata (2012), Camino Inglês (2014),
I wore trainers for the whole of my Camino without any problems. I used two pairs of socks, a thick outer one and a thin liner. In light rain or drizzle my feet remained perfectly dry. I was caught in very heavy rain only once one morning, when I got drenched and my feet squelched as I walked along. Since nothing was rubbing I kept going rather than stop and put dry socks on that would then get wet. At the end of the day my feet were fine, and the next day although the trainers were still damp they did not wet my socks. I never had any blisters or foot trouble for the entire Camino (I started in Roncesvalles). I know this goes against accepted practice but I can only comment on my own experience.
Sandra :arrow:
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 also wore trainers with no problems.
Nice thing about trainers is that they'll dry overnight, unlike most boots.


New Member
thanks everyone for the great comments. so many good ideas! I think I'll keep with the trainers I've broken in, and I like the idea of two pairs of socks.

five weeks go - am VERY excited now! have been planning to go back ever since I last walked the way in Sept - Oct 200! anyone else walking from St Jean Pied de Port around mid-late September?

cheers, Meena :D


This is a topic which has been debated ENDLESSLY between myself and my husband. I will be wearing goretex boots with good ankle support and the old man will be in goretex approach shoes.
You can get waterproof socks - Sealskinz is one brand I think.
We are starting from SJPP mid Sept so may see you around.
I have a similar question and hopefully I could get some advice in this thread or another similar to this one. I bought a pair of Gore-Tex lightweight hiking boots and been wearing them for the past week at work to try to "break" them in. I'm using Smartwool socks with them during this break-in period so my feet will get used to the feel of the boots. It has the fabric orthotics but I'm thinking on buying a pair of silicone orthotics for the 800km+ trek. I'm a bit worried about the fit of them, they fit just right, but I'm wondering if I need to order them a size larger so my toes have room when the road goes downhill. Currently I have about 1.5cms of room in my toes, but if I decide to go to the next size up, it will be a whole size, not the half size (from 12 to 13, there is no 12.5 made for this boot.)

I might be worried for no reason at all and should continue wearing the boot until it naturally expand, but the "what if's" are circulating my grey matter! :? Should I go to the next size and put thicker socks to compensate the extra room? Thanks in advance for your helpful replies!

¡Buen Camino!


Veteran Member
but I'm wondering if I need to order them a size larger so my toes have room when the road goes downhill. Currently I have about 1.5cms of room in my toes,

Hi goonerpilgrim :)
1.5 cms. seems like loads of room - when walking downhill all you have to do is kick your heel right back into your boot - ie. right against the heel of the boot - and do the laces up tighter, so they keep your heel back in the boot - then your feet shouldn't slip forward and you won't bash your toes into the front of your boot.
Hope this is clear - if not, post again and I'll try again ! 8)
Buen Camino


Veteran Member
meenas said:
five weeks go - am VERY excited now! have been planning to go back ever since I last walked the way in Sept - Oct 200! anyone else walking from St Jean Pied de Port around mid-late September?

cheers, Meena :D
Hi Meena :)
We'll be walking from St Jean 18th/19th September - I'll probably be quite slow - so if you start a bit later, you'll no doubt catch us up. Hope to meet you :)
buen camino


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Listed in my signature
I read somewhere that one should readjust one's shoe/boot laces before going down a hill (ie. tighten) so as to prevent the foot sliding forward in the shoe, then readjusting for flat or uphill. Basically, the article said that one didn't just tie up your laces and forget about it but that it was a constantly changing process throughout the walk.


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
This issue seems to have been well covered however one more consideration please. The Camino is not a difficult walk, after that first climb from St Jean most of the rest is easy. People starting from Burgos or Leon may expercience some difficult climbing to O Cebreiro but it is not overwhelming. Just long. Carrying 10 kilograms on your back, plus two litres of water-another two kilo - plus maybe a bit of food plus maybe a few souvenirs, a book, the rock for Cruz de Ferro hey thats quite a load for a pair of trainers over say 30 days. A good pair of softer soled hiking boots - not the hard sole type since their are a lot of sidewalks and pavement to cover, is truly a better solution.


Active Member
im with you scruff1
after having done my phd in camino footwear, i have to say "i cocked it up"
i wore great trail shoes, but they were too light for 1000kays and stones and acorns and 10kg on my back
i seriously considered: 1.changing to boots 2.going home 3.catching a bus 4.crying 5.going barefoot 6.slashing my wrists 7.donating my body to medical research
i think the sole was too light, too flexible, too thin, not enough padding, not rigid enough
i got to stiago, but am paying the price now
the only time i felt comfortable was after the first hour of walking, when me feet were numb and i could no longer feel the pain
i lived on painkillers so that i could sleep - at night, as the feeling came back into my feet, it was unbearably painful
but....i had focused so hard on having no blisters, and i had not one (i wore double liner sox)
im sure i will be a bit more updeat after they're actually completed both amputations
now, on my next camino.......


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese '08, Frances '11, del Norte '14, Invierno '16, Ingles '17, Primitivo October 2018
tamtamplin said:
im with you scruff1
1.changing to boots 2.going home 3.catching a bus 4.crying 5.going barefoot 6.slashing my wrists 7.donating my body to medical research
Excellent options all, esp the highlighted ones. Only problem for me is I am no longer, in manufacturing parlance, OE! So don't think that number 7 is an option, soooo personally, a good boo hoo, and off to option 1 again! Still working on the foot gear, so between me and the foot Dr., we should have it figured out before next fall.! God willing! :roll:

PS .. Glad to hear you made it! :)
For my long walk of more than 600 miles, I decide to use the "Sabot High", Oakley military boots, the best I ever wore, only thing is that they tend to get very wet in rainy conditions, but you get to dry'em out easy. And beacuse of the material they never look dirty. Once you finish the camino, they're ready for more action in some other long distance walks...



Active Member

I have a pair of Goretex walking boot style trainers. I tried both my actual shoe size and a size larger in the shop where i purchased them. The shop was in an undercover shopping centre and i was able to walk around in both pairs (no - not at the same time lol) for an hour before settling on my purchase.
I went with my own shoe size and in the UK we have just experienced a fair bit of snow so i have been walking a lot in very cold wet conditions.
I am pleased to report that although my boots were soaked on the outside my feet remained totally dry inside.
Also the soaking has softened the boots wonderfully and they fit like the proverbial glove now :D

I too wear waterproof gaiters which cover my calves to my ankles leaving only the toes of my boots exposed.

I recently came upon this site for boot toe protectors and wondered if anyone had any experience of a similar product?
http://www.braceshop.com/productcart/pc ... p1659.html

God bless your journey


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Hi goonerpilgrim, re your boots, I have tried a multitude of footwear and socks on my 3000 km of walking and finally I believe for me lightweight gortex boots, I have a pair of Meindl, well fitting, not too big, with thinnish "dry socks" by Nike work best for me, my feet stay dry, the socks don't wrinkle, they dry very quickly and weigh next to nothing. I find wool socks wrinkle, are too thick and take too long to dry. My last 630 km walk was blister free and foot pain free for the first time. No swelling of the feet either. Cheers, Gitti


Active Member
It's all personal, of course. I have my own ideas, but am very glad to have these suggestions as a back-up in case my methods aren't quite Camino-proof. That tends to happen with very good theories; and test conditions aren't hike conditions.

I'm likely to be taking extra gear for camping next time. There's also a chance of a very extended tour taking in the Francigena. So I'm opting for boots, probably my lighter non-Goretex Asolos. I have Goretex boots, but the extra heat and weight, plus the drying time, make me prefer something less complicated.

A problem with many modern boots is the lack of give in synthetic parts, particularly the rubber reinforcing on most models. I have size 10 heels and size 11 forefoot...so it's been something of a puzzle to find the right footwear. But I may have solved the puzzle!

I'm buying size 10.5, and leaving the lacing off the two first rows of the forefoot. Why didn't I think of something so simple before now? I'm also stabilising my feet with Powerstep insoles, which I can now accommodate thanks to the added room in front. Today I walked 10k up and down through wet forest and then pavement. For the first time, not a single problem!

The idea of not lacing the forefoot is an old trick worth reviving for some people. The only ingredient I'll be adding is silk liners, which I'll wash rarely, and only with lukewarm water.

Bit of a gross-out, the under-washed silk liners, but many old hikers have done it to avoid blisters. (Rom and Aideen at Moissac tell me there's a certain "pilgrim pong" that Camino folk have learned to live with.)

Anyway, thanks for another illuminating thread.


Active Member
Never had trouble drying goretex boots. Sure the outer dont dry as rapidly as some other boots, but as the inside never gets wet thats hardly a problem.
As for weight there are many lightweight types out there now and i have not noticed any extra heat from goretex. Used various boots over the years and i tend to go through phases of a particular favourite anyway lol.
The thing with advice is it can only be personal. One persons favourite footwear wont necessarily be anothers.
As a walker in all ways of life not just the occasional 'marathon' walk or pilgrimage etc i enjoy trying new footwear and have been know on numerous occasions to give inappropriate footwear to charity shops when i discover they dont suit me in practice.
Always trial and error. The trick is not to worry if you purchase what turns out to be unsuitable boots. Dont suffer them for the sake of money spent.

For a walker footwear like life is a continuing evolving journey of discovery lol.

Oh dear! Time for my medication methinks.

God preserve us and our feet


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 solo and 2013 with wife and toddler
I wore hiking shoes by Merill...also had heel inserts...the shoes were ok- there were times though that my ankles were strained...next time I will likely wear a pair of light hiking boots. Buen Camino!


New Member
i just purchased a pair of la sportiva FC Eco 3.0 GTX hiking boots from rei after spending three hours trying on different boots with different insoles and climbing around their test route to see how they felt. though all the boots i tried on were selected because of their particularly narrow make (i have pretty narrow feet), i ended up going with these because my feet didn't slide forward at all when i bounced around on the 45 degree downslope. however, this is because there is nowhere to slide to. they fit my feet perfectly...but are they too perfect? i am used to lacing up ice skates, where you find the tightest fit possible and if your feet can't move you're good to go (if you can move your feet will not be happy after a two hour practice), but alas i have never had to hike downhill in ice skates. how much toe room do you need?

i feel like i've read a thousand posts on this, and talked to several people, but i'm still not sure.

thank you!


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
I found this previous post useful for boot-lacing techniques:



  • Boot Lacing Technique.doc
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