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footwear question for april 2018

andywild

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
april '2018'
#1
Hi, I am planning on walking Camino Frances in mid April 2018.. This gives me about 12 weeks to get my equipment together. My main concern is footwear for the type of terrain at that time of year, (I'm assuming there will be a fair amount of wet weather). I'm hoping to get away with spending about £100 on a pair of boots but assume that I need to get them as soon as possible so i can test them out and get them worn in a bit.. im just wondering how technical i need to get. Do I go for material trail boots or a more rugged option? will £100 be enough or should I spend a fortune? I'm planning on taking my time on the trail (mid 40s with a pizza/kebab based lifestyle). I will be spending the next three months preparing by getting as much walking in as possible so want to get my boots on and get started :)
thank you in advance.
Andy.
 

Kurt5280

Crazy Enough To Try It Again!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: SJPDP to Finisterre & Muxia 9/15 (MTB) - Norte: Bayonne to Muxia & Finisterre 9/18 (MTB)
#2
1st...whatever type of shoes you buy...you need to wear them everyday for the month before the Camino...2nd...two pairs of socks and Vasoline help solve most of the foot problems I saw on the Camino...3rd...there are different opinions on the type of proper footwear to wear during the Camino...boots...athletic shoes...hiking sandals...or even barefoot...I am from Colorado and I wore hiking sandals with two pairs of socks and Vasoline...and I never had a foot problem from SJdPP to Muxia...the reason I choose hiking sandals is that moisture causes foot problems and in dry climate my feet stayed perfectly dry...in wet climate my hiking sandals did not fill up with water...except for one day when it rained hard all day...my feet would dry while I was hiking...lastly...bring a second pair of very light shoes to wear at night so your day footwear can properly dry...and I guarantee you that your feet will appreciate another shoe choice too.
Hiking Sandles.jpg Night Shoe.jpg
 
Last edited:

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#3
Advice on footwear is a difficult thing. Too many factors in involved.
All I can say is this:
The Camino Frances is not a technical hike. A great deal of it is on blacktop, concrete and the like, but there are sections where a sole with good grip is needed.
I saw a wide range of footwear types on the Camino. Everything from regular running shoes, heavy mountain climbing type boots, tech type hiking sandals (Keen, Columbia, etc), trail runners and the in between type shoes made by Merrell, Keen, etc.
I saw one guy walk the entire Camino Frances in a pair of flip-flop sandals. Not the tech kind, but the cheap kind. One's you can buy for around 5 euro at a discount store. He walked into Santiago wearing them, with no problems. I also saw another guy walk the entire distance wearing cotton canvas boating shoes. The kind made by Sperry or Vans. He seemed to march right along happy and healthy. Mind you, both those guys were in their 20's. Still indestructible.
I can only say choose your footwear wisely. Bad shoes=a bad Camino experience. If you find a pair you like and they seem to fit well, take them out on a pre-Camino 10 kilometer walk. Any deficiencies will reveal themselves in 10 kilometers. Also, I would guess you don't have to have a set of waterproof boots or shoes to walk the Camino in April. Personally I wouldn't. I'd want a set of footwear that breathes and dries fast.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#4
wondering how technical i need to get. Do I go for material trail boots or a more rugged option? will £100 be enough or should I spend a fortune?
"Technical" is not necessary, nor is a fortune.

Look for all-day comfort, and the level of support that gives you confidence on variable terrain but does not tire your feet unnecessarily on flat even terrain.

I'd say that the most common type of foot wear is light weight fabric boots or shoes designed for walking or light hiking. Remember all us grannies out there skipping along the Camino in our walking shoes from the local sports store.
 

hotelmedicis

Commercial Interests
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2001 (+more)
VDLP 2013, 2018
#5
I hiked in April 2017 and wore a pair of non-waterproof Merrell Moab Ventilators which ensured excellent ventilation of my feet. I also carried a pair of waterproof socks for really wet days but by and large I didn't need them and would probably not bring them again. Four people in my group ended up mailing their boots home and only walked in Teva or Keen sandals.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#6
If you are a tall or heavy / "big boned" person like me, I recommend ankle-high (mid-height) hiking boots. Remember, you will be carrying a load on your back for a month as well. Personally, I need the extra ankle support.

Also, there is a lot of rain, and even some snow at this time of year along the Camino Frances. Snow commonly occurs through the end of May at elevations above about 700 meters ASL. The ankle high boots are better at remaining waterproof, or keeping the wet out than lower shoes or sandals. While getting wet, including your feet is a quintessential part of the Camino, there is no need to make it easier to get wet feet...:eek:

In the end, each pilgrim makes their own choices. Many DO complete the full Camino Frances in low cut shoes, trainers, or even some sort of sandal. I choose to err on the side of comfort and support. I do carry walking sandals for evening and day-off wear. I also carry cheap flip-flops for shower use.

All said, whatever footwear you do buy, DO NOT SCRIMP! The two most important items of gear you will buy are your backpack and your footwear. If you take care of your feet, they will take care of you.

Also, and as others have stated, wear your boots at home, training BEFORE you start your Camino. Learn what insoles work best, learn what spots on your feet are more susceptible to rubbing and potential blisters.

Finally, experiment with various methods for tying the laces to obtain the best fit. Different lacing methods affect how your foot is retained or how it can or cannot slide in the boot or shoe. Consult You Tube for videos on how to lace hiking boots. You would be surprised. There is even an app for this.... "Ian's Laces."

Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#7
I have walked in sturdy trail runners on my three Caminos and been very happy. I love how lightweight they feel. However, I do not have ankle problems, so cannot say they would work well for everyone. For showers and walking around town I bring a very lightweight, waterproof sandal that can be worn with socks if needed, so no flip flops for me. Mine are made of "croc like" material...(from Walmart.;))
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#8
As always, t2andreo, you give very good and thorough advise, covering "all the bases"!:)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre 2017
#9
One factor that is not usually mentioned regarding walking in April/May is what the general climate is for that year. As a whole walking in the spring of 2016 was cooler and wetter than in 2017 which even had a few spring heat waves. So, nothing is ever really predictable which is one thing that makes the Camino fun and entertaining!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
#12
Hi Andy and welcome,

I am also not unfamiliar with the delights that the fast food industry has to offer. One of the joys of the camino for those of us with, shall we say....a more famine ready body type, is that you will lose weight and get fitter pretty quickly on the trail and with even a modicum of luck have an amazing time while doing so.

For my first Camino I started a couple of weeks later in the year than you plan to and wore mostly fabric, though still waterproof mid-ankle boots. For last Summer's Camino I wore exactly the same Keen walking sandals as appear in Kurt's picture. Now I've been incredibly lucky that in over two months of walking on those two trips I experienced maybe four hours of total rain. Based on those experiences I'd probably go no heavier than a trail running shoe starting out when you are. But of course you could always get unlucky and hit a wet patch, even then I think I'd put up with a few soggy days with regular sock changes rather than constantly wearing heavy boots that can overheat and lead to blisters.

A couple of final points. First don't over break in your footwear, it's a long trip and if you're bulky you'll be putting a lot of stress on your footwear. After both my caminos my boots-sandals were pretty much only good for the bin as they were falling apart from the wear. Second, as someone else has mentioned vasoline for me worked far better than trying to keep my feet dry with talc etc.

Buen Camino,

Rob.
 

Ray T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April and May (2013)
#13
In 2013 it was wet and muddy in early April starting from Pamplona and there was later snow in O'Cebreiro. Each year the weather can be different but I would recommend you be prepared for wet and muddy conditions and be pleased if it turned out to be not that way.

So, consider light, waterproof and breathable trail shoes (this is what I will be using this April!). I prefer ankle support so use a mid-height boot. I do not not recommend heavy duty hiking boots.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#14
Started 2 April last year. Altra trail runners. Not waterproof but quick drying. Good treads. Did pack a pair of waterproof socks in case of snow but instead did wear them on days of consecutive rain when I was getting tired of walking in wet feet. Had no problems with my feet the entire way.
It’s my opinion based on no scientific basis whatsoever that the problems start after several consecutive days of walking when your feet swell. For me the solution is lightweight beathable runners with a large toe box, narrow heel and decent treads in a size larger than normal.
Please note this is what suits me when walking the Frances at that time of year and I am not saying it would suit anyone else.
Buen blister-free camino.
 
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Debora

Beautiful Burgos
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago May (2016)
#15
I used a Salomon Gor-Tex hiking shoe. In U.S. these are anywhere from $90-$160 for a good waterproof shoe. I did not pick a high top since I was afraid in would rub my ankle too much and be uncomfortable after hiking 8 hours a day. My shoes were perfect. Just enough support and feet kept dry and I had zero blisters - but I did lose a toe nail or two :) . Buen camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April/May 2017
#16
I started out of StJean on 18 April last year and walked through sun, hail, sleet, rain and morning frosts to reach Santiago 29 days later. I used Salomon Ultra X shoes with Orange Superfeeet insoles. As Solomon come rather on the thin side in toe box width my outdoor retailer stretched them in-shop, I also took their advice and purchased a full size larger than I would normally buy my trainers. I started walking in Injinji toe socks with a Bridgedale ultralight hiking sock over the top, but by the second week I opted to wear the toes socks with Bridgedale coolmax liners over the top. About every 2-3 hours of walking I would stop to air my feet. I start walking the Via and Sanabres in 10 weeks time and am going with a new set of the same combination. Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
walked Camino Frances 23 April- 23 May (2018), Camino Portuguese 2018/19
#17
Hi, I am planning on walking Camino Frances in mid April 2018.. This gives me about 12 weeks to get my equipment together. My main concern is footwear for the type of terrain at that time of year, (I'm assuming there will be a fair amount of wet weather). I'm hoping to get away with spending about £100 on a pair of boots but assume that I need to get them as soon as possible so i can test them out and get them worn in a bit.. im just wondering how technical i need to get. Do I go for material trail boots or a more rugged option? will £100 be enough or should I spend a fortune? I'm planning on taking my time on the trail (mid 40s with a pizza/kebab based lifestyle). I will be spending the next three months preparing by getting as much walking in as possible so want to get my boots on and get started :)
thank you in advance.
Andy.
As you in England, i would personally recommend going to your local Cotswold Store as they always offered sound advice and I've bought several pairs from them over the years (mostly been high altitiude hiking). Tell them what you need them for, as the staff seem very experienced to me! I normally hike in a boot size larger than shoes, with Superfeet and Bridgedale socks. Buen Camino
 

Lucy Longpath

Lucy Longpath
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015), Puy Way (2016), North Wales Pilgrims Way (2017), Camino Vezelay(2018) &(2019)
#18
Andy, I also went to Cotswold in January of the year I was walking the Camino Frances. They measured my feet and gave me good advice. They did not have my size as I have rather large feet and they were a half size. I do get a size that is larger than my every day shoes. I went home and ordered about 4 different pairs from Cotswold on a click and collect basis. I went back there and tried them all on and chose the one I thought best. All of them were mid boots. I chose a pair of Meindl boots that cost more than £100 (maybe about £120). The boots were very comfortable (with a pair of inner sock liners and walking socks both Bridgedale also from Cotswold). The following year I did the same thing in January before walking the Puy Way. This time I bought a pair of Salamon mid boots (cost £130) and these were also good (I did get one blister on the Puy Way but it was on a rest day when I wore my sandals to walk around a town!!). I hope you can find something.
 

Lucy Longpath

Lucy Longpath
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015), Puy Way (2016), North Wales Pilgrims Way (2017), Camino Vezelay(2018) &(2019)
#19
I forgot to say that we walked in April and May for both walks (Camino Frances and the Puy Way). We did have a little rain but not that much overall. It was a good time of year as there were lots of flowers out.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#20
Walking from May to July last year I had to purchase a pair of new shoes on the Camino as my feet grew a size. I would recommend a size larger and to wear two pair of socks and gaiters to protect your shoes from the sand and small stones that get in your shoes and break down the lining and insoles are also great
 
#21
Walking from May to July last year I had to purchase a pair of new shoes on the Camino as my feet grew a size. I would recommend a size larger and to wear two pair of socks and gaiters to protect your shoes from the sand and small stones that get in your shoes and break down the lining and insoles are also great
Having walked over 10000km over 7 years and no blisters here goes lightweight hikeing boot. I break them in over 6 months . One pair a year and no medical costs Happy feet etc buen camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#22
You already have plenty of responses, so I can echo the recommendation to go to your nearest outdoor shop and sit down, let the staff bring you what they reckon will suit your foot and take it from there. I was advised to buy insoles, and the popular ones have been mentioned by others, but whatever they have in the shop will be what you will get, if you do buy them. That adds to the cost. I still have my insoles, and wear them, after 12 years. So you get what you pay for. I am afraid I love my shoes and boots so much I wear them all the time, not only on the Camino!
 

Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18)
#23
You do not need boots to walk the camino- as others have said, many do it in sandals or runners. If you need the support of a boot, by all means wear it. If not, light weight is fine. That said, FIT is EVERYTHING. The shoe you choose has to fit you perfectly. It can take a while to find it. Ignore the brands, you are looking for one that works with YOUR foot. Often overlooked as well, are socks. You are going to want to try merino wool socks, which many non hikers have never encountered.. These are preposterously expensive compared to cotton athletic socks, but worth every penny. As others have said, don't scrimp here, its the most important piece of equipment, and that includes the socks. The sock/shoe combination has to fit your foot. Start experimenting.

For the record, I walked last time with a goretex trail shoe as well as a pair of runners. I would not recommend two pairs of shoes for most as pack weight is also a big deal, but for a big guy, this becomes a reasonable option. I'm taking both when I set out this April again. Goretex in the rain or mud, and runners through the towns, or when the feet need a change.

Trust me on the socks.

Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: St-Jean-PdP - Santiago dC - Muxía - Fisterra (Aug 2017 and March/April 2018)
#24
1st...whatever type of shoes you buy...you need to wear them everyday for the month before the Camino...2nd...two pairs of socks and Vasoline help solve most of the foot problems I saw on the Camino...3rd...there are different opinions on the type of proper footwear to wear during the Camino...boots...athletic shoes...hiking sandals...or even barefoot...I am from Colorado and I wore hiking sandals with two pairs of socks and Vasoline...and I never had a foot problem from SJdPP to Muxia...the reason I choose hiking sandals is that moisture causes foot problems and in dry climate my feet stayed perfectly dry...in wet climate my hiking sandals did not fill up with water...except for one day when it rained hard all day...my feet would dry while I was hiking...lastly...bring a second pair of very light shoes to wear at night so your day footwear can properly dry...and I guarantee you that your feet will appreciate another shoe choice too.
View attachment 38894 View attachment 38895
Hi. I'm very interested in this topic - leaving Australia 20 March to finish (from Logroño) what I began last August.
About the 2 pairs of socks and the Vaseline......
1. Does this mean wear 2 pairs of socks at once? Like, outer and inner? Could you be a bit more specific about those please?
2. The Vaseline? More information please? When and where do you apply it? Is it a Vaseline cream / lotion, or the petroleum jelly?

Many thanks to all for the best Camino information around...
 

Kurt5280

Crazy Enough To Try It Again!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: SJPDP to Finisterre & Muxia 9/15 (MTB) - Norte: Bayonne to Muxia & Finisterre 9/18 (MTB)
#25
1. Does this mean wear 2 pairs of socks at once? Like, outer and inner? Could you be a bit more specific about those please?
2. The Vaseline? More information please? When and where do you apply it? Is it a Vaseline cream / lotion, or the petroleum jelly?
Exactly...I wore two pairs of high quality hiking socks and I rubbed the soles and sore parts of my feet with Vaseline petroleum jelly every day...but any type of foot cream for hiking would work...Vaseline, Gold Bond, etc...but what you are looking for is a foot coating that will soften the calluses on your feet because a callus will either tear off or cause pressure on a nerve in your foot causing pain...I was told this by several local Pilgrims and did not believe but experience proved it correct...so try wearing two pairs of high quality hiking socks at the same time and apply Vaseline petrolem jelly every night before bed and every morning before you put your socks on.
 

Mads Leo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
February-march 2018
#26
I walked last summer in Asics cumulus gel 18. Bad socks. Because of the extreme cushioning, I got blisters and then terrible tendonitis. Really bad. Hospital, no more walking etc. I'm goibg back the start of March to walk the rest from Tui to S. I'm going to walk in my Crispi mountain boots. I've walked probably hundreds of miles in them, and I'll be ready for anything in them. I will bring only very good hiking socks.
Good luck to everyone!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#27
Bridgedale bring out sick liners which are great then I had a pair from ice breakers I wore as my outer pair and Vaseline I rub in my feet before I put my socks on
 
Camino(s) past & future
May /June 2017
#28
I used Vicks Vapo Rub instead of vaseline as it is not as oily. I rubbed it all over my feet before putting my liners & merino wool socks on - it worked for me and smelt really great first thing in the morning !!
 
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
#29
1000miles 2 layer socks is excellent¡
 

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
#30
Wright double layer hiking socks worked for me. One bister where I had a callous, changed to sandals for a couple of days. Wore Eco sandals.

Your feet aren't like my feet, or anyone else's. Try different socks. Find a pair of shoes/boots that feel "made for your feet" in the store. Then walk 10 miles a day for 3 days in a row. Change socks as needed, air out your feet. Damp feet will give you big problems. I took a pair of water proof socks which worked very well, until I wore a hole in the heel bottom. lol

Find your hot spots by walking and what you need to do so those spots don't become blisters. A ten minute stop for prevention is worth a week of pain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: St-Jean-PdP - Santiago dC - Muxía - Fisterra (Aug 2017 and March/April 2018)
#31
Exactly...I wore two pairs of high quality hiking socks and I rubbed the soles and sore parts of my feet with Vaseline petroleum jelly every day...but any type of foot cream for hiking would work...Vaseline, Gold Bond, etc...but what you are looking for is a foot coating that will soften the calluses on your feet because a callus will either tear off or cause pressure on a nerve in your foot causing pain...I was told this by several local Pilgrims and did not believe but experience proved it correct...so try wearing two pairs of high quality hiking socks at the same time and apply Vaseline petrolem jelly every night before bed and every morning before you put your socks on.
Thank you for this. I'm happy with my Merrell Boabs and my Wigwam socks, so I'll add some good quality sock liners and test that lot out, with the Vaseline....
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#32
@andywild I have walked the Camino Frances in April in Ecco open sandals and also the Norte in April/May in the same sandals. No socks. Very happily, in lots of rain and mud. My feet were fine and the mud washes off skin more easily than leather or shoes. I did have a pair of Dexshell waterproof "breathable" socks but only wore them once or twice, more for the cold than anything else.

Not that I'm suggesting you do that - you need to find your own footwear - but just to reassure you that you do not need to spend a fortune. My advice is to find what feels really comfortable and go with those. For some people that means lots of support and waterproof and for others that means lightweight and minimal.
 

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