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Footwear - Waterproof or not waterproof.

2020 Camino Guides

mishlove

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugués...April/May (2014)
Camino Ingles..........Sept. (2015)
I need to get the most out of my feet, as we all do, but they do get hot and bothered quite quickly. I have worn both Salomon and Keen waterproof boots/shoes successfully, but have "heard" that may be non-waterproof may be better. I am not concerned with wet shoes, wet socks, drying out or drying off, just to keep my feet as happy as I can. Happy feet, Happy me.
PS: Have tried a multitude of socks, of the worst and best kind, with much of the same result.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Hi, mishlove...

Below is a post I have made on this issue before. Maybe it will be of help :)
------------------------------------------------------------

Water will enter trail runner shoes, hiking shoes, or backpacking boots through any opening during a rainstorm, when walking through wet grass and brush, or drench into them if you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is always effective.
  • First, you can try keeping rain pants over the tops of shoes, so the water runs down the pants past the opening. But this system can be uncomfortably hot in warm weather during rain-soaked conditions. It offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.
  • You can try using a footwear with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not often seen a gaiter or other waterproof trapping that would both keep the water out and keep the feet dry.
“Waterproof” shoes are a misnomer for several reasons.
  • They can fail because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term because it is difficult to apply and cover all areas of the footwear sufficiently.
  • The waterproof coating or laminate in the shoes does not last. Some manufacturers of the lightweight trail shoes, which are usually constructed as a hybrid of fabric and leather, have treated them with a coating which can quickly wear off. It also keeps sweat in the shoe and your feet get soaked in sweat. Fairly quickly, coatings break down and will no longer be waterproof.
  • Footwear which relies on a “Gore-Tex” style of waterproof/breathable laminate will break down through both wear and tear and dirt buildup on the material which renders it ineffective.
When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes for various manufacturers, their actual performance never matched what was claimed. My reports to their QA departments have always reflected these weaknesses as found during testing. Sometimes a shoe will start the test period working fairly well under a narrow range of wet conditions, but as the testing progresses the failures increase.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Gore-Tex, are only marginally breathable — water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. It can't. Unlike outerwear, the shoe material radically inhibits the ability of the membrane to allow water vapor to escape, thereby trapping it in the shoe.

So, on warm days the experience of having sweat being trapped in the shoe is common. Combined with the fact that the fabric waterproofing is quickly damaged by dirt, sweat, grime, and abrasion and it’s only a matter of time before exterior moisture begins penetrating the fabric and allowing feet to get wet from outside moisture as well.

This is why most experienced trekkers and backpackers no longer go to great lengths to keep feet dry. They accept that when the weather is wet, feet will also get wet. Even the US military uses footwear for wet conditions which is not waterproof. The strategy is how to minimize any problems when feet are wet.

In working with folks new to backpacking who ask about waterproof footwear recommendations, I have asked why they wanted waterproof shoes. Sometimes, they will look at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Most will answer that they think their feet will stay dry, and that having wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

This post is meant to help inform, reassure, and give a different line of thought and reasoning to this issue.

I like to have dry feet. I always try to avoid wet feet. I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

  • “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.
  • “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons: shoes still get wet, and feet soak with sweat. However – In cold weather these socks can be the basis for using vapor barrier warmth conservation of the feet.
  • Wearing multiple pairs of socks, frequently changing from wet to dry, which eventually all get wet.
  • Carrying multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet, too.
I have never had total success at keeping my feet dry in very wet conditions, which led me to research what has been done to develop effective strategies. If I can’t keep my feet dry, then I need to try and eliminate or minimize the risk of any of the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking.

Some of these lessons I learned while in Vietnam…. Like the fact that our boots had fabric tops and numerous holes in the thin leather bottom portions so that water drained out quickly and never sat in the boots.

What are the most frequent and problematic 'bad' things?
  • Maceration is the medical term for pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs a lot of moisture and gets “soggy” from that moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft which makes it more prone to blistering and developing other problems.
  • Cracking of the skin when the macerated feet dry. The natural moisture and oiliness of the skin is gone. The severity depends on how much stress the skin is exposed to after it is dried out.
So, what does work for me, and others, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather?
  • Apply a good, thick coating of a Goop (ointment or salve) to my feet and between toes before putting on socks and shoes in the morning. If rain occurs later in the day, then remove shoes and socks and do the same. This helps protect from external moisture.
Goop which has a high content of wax – either bee or paraffin – is most ideal, especially if it also has a high lanolin content.
  • Wear non-waterproof shoes which can drain and then dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail running shoes, and trail shoes often have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.
Non-waterproof shoes will also eliminate moisture from sweaty feet. Remember, it doesn’t matter what the source of the moisture is that feet are exposed to: be it rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.
  • Wear thin, light-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will also keep wet feet warm and comfortable in most seasons and temperature ranges, unless the weather is frigid winter-cold.
  • Take off shoes and socks to let feet air dry during rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes.During this time, I will wring out any excess moisture from the socks, but I will not put on either of my dry pairs (I take three). I will also wipe off moisture on my feet and then reapply a goodly amount of Goop to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.
  • When stopping for the day, apply Goop to the bottoms of feet, both before and after showering.
  • Carry an extra pair of insoles. These insoles do not have to be your preferred “walking” insoles that you may have purchased separately. These can be the lightweight pair which came with your shoes. These will be the barrier between your wet footwear and your dry socks when you are done for the day and if your shoes are a bit damp come morning.
I find that at days end, I can remove the wet insoles and use absorbent paper or toweling to sop up as much moisture as is possible while I am showering and dealing with end of the day chores.

When I get ready to go to dinner or wander around town, I put on a pair of dry Merino wool socks, insert the extra pair of dry insoles into my shoes, and put the shoes back on to walk around in. This accelerates drying out the shoes. Depending on the shoe’s material, within a couple of hours the shoes are mostly dry.
  • At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process, if need be, during the night.
  • Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at while sleeping; this gives feet 8-9 hours of recovery.
--------------------------------------------------------------
 
Last edited:

Charles Zammit

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean Pied de Port - Finisterra 2017
GR70 France 2018
[ Via Francigena 2019]
Even though they are a comfortable and very practical shoe I cursed my Merrell Moab Gore Tex lined trail runners many times in Spain . I likened the experience to walking with my feet wrapped in foil and plastic bags . Only the routine of changing my socks every few hours made walking practical , the temperatures were over forty 'C most days .
However in the cooler climate of France on the GR70 last year they came into their own , the waterproof qualities made the cold mornings and wet grass and mud easily traversable . I was glad to have them .

51586
 

mishlove

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugués...April/May (2014)
Camino Ingles..........Sept. (2015)
Hi, mishlove...

Below is a post I have made on this issue before. Maybe it will be of help :)
------------------------------------------------------------

Water will enter trail runner shoes, hiking shoes, or backpacking boots through any opening during a rainstorm, when walking through wet grass and brush, or drench into them if you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is always effective.
  • First, you can try keeping rain pants over the tops of shoes, so the water runs down the pants past the opening. But this system can be uncomfortably hot in warm weather during rain-soaked conditions. It offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.
  • You can try using a footwear with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not often seen a gaiter or other waterproof trapping that would both keep the water out and keep the feet dry.
“Waterproof” shoes are a misnomer for several reasons.
  • They can fail because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term because it is difficult to apply and cover all areas of the footwear sufficiently.
  • The waterproof coating or laminate in the shoes does not last. Some manufacturers of the lightweight trail shoes, which are usually constructed as a hybrid of fabric and leather, have treated them with a coating which can quickly wear off. It also keeps sweat in the shoe and your feet get soaked in sweat. Fairly quickly, coatings break down and will no longer be waterproof.
  • Footwear which relies on a “Gore-Tex” style of waterproof/breathable laminate will break down through both wear and tear and dirt buildup on the material which renders it ineffective.
When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes for various manufacturers, their actual performance never matched what was claimed. My reports to their QA departments have always reflected these weaknesses as found during testing. Sometimes a shoe will start the test period working fairly well under a narrow range of wet conditions, but as the testing progresses the failures increase.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Gore-Tex, are only marginally breathable — water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. It can't. Unlike outerwear, the shoe material radically inhibits the ability of the membrane to allow water vapor to escape, thereby trapping it in the shoe.

So, on warm days the experience of having sweat being trapped in the shoe is common. Combined with the fact that the fabric waterproofing is quickly damaged by dirt, sweat, grime, and abrasion and it’s only a matter of time before exterior moisture begins penetrating the fabric and allowing feet to get wet from outside moisture as well.

This is why most experienced trekkers and backpackers no longer go to great lengths to keep feet dry. They accept that when the weather is wet, feet will also get wet. Even the US military uses footwear for wet conditions which is not waterproof. The strategy is how to minimize any problems when feet are wet.

In working with folks new to backpacking who ask about waterproof footwear recommendations, I have asked why they wanted waterproof shoes. Sometimes, they will look at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Most will answer that they think their feet will stay dry, and that having wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

This post is meant to help inform, reassure, and give a different line of thought and reasoning to this issue.

I like to have dry feet. I always try to avoid wet feet. I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

  • “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.
  • “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons: shoes still get wet, and feet soak with sweat. However – In cold weather these socks can be the basis for using vapor barrier warmth conservation of the feet.
  • Wearing multiple pairs of socks, frequently changing from wet to dry, which eventually all get wet.
  • Carrying multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet, too.
I have never had total success at keeping my feet dry in very wet conditions, which led me to research what has been done to develop effective strategies. If I can’t keep my feet dry, then I need to try and eliminate or minimize the risk of any of the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking.

Some of these lessons I learned while in Vietnam…. Like the fact that our boots had fabric tops and numerous holes in the thin leather bottom portions so that water drained out quickly and never sat in the boots.

What are the most frequent and problematic 'bad' things?
  • Maceration is the medical term for pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs a lot of moisture and gets “soggy” from that moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft which makes it more prone to blistering and developing other problems.
  • Cracking of the skin when the macerated feet dry. The natural moisture and oiliness of the skin is gone. The severity depends on how much stress the skin is exposed to after it is dried out.
So, what does work for me, and others, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather?
  • Apply a good, thick coating of a Goop (ointment or salve) to my feet and between toes before putting on socks and shoes in the morning. If rain occurs later in the day, then remove shoes and socks and do the same. This helps protect from external moisture.
Goop which has a high content of wax – either bee or paraffin – is most ideal, especially if it also has a high lanolin content.
  • Wear non-waterproof shoes which can drain and then dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail running shoes, and trail shoes often have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.
Non-waterproof shoes will also eliminate moisture from sweaty feet. Remember, it doesn’t matter what the source of the moisture is that feet are exposed to: be it rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.
  • Wear thin, light-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will also keep wet feet warm and comfortable in most seasons and temperature ranges, unless the weather is frigid winter-cold.
  • Take off shoes and socks to let feet air dry during rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes.During this time, I will wring out any excess moisture from the socks, but I will not put on either of my dry pairs (I take three). I will also wipe off moisture on my feet and then reapply a goodly amount of Goop to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.
  • When stopping for the day, apply Goop to the bottoms of feet, both before and after showering.
  • Carry an extra pair of insoles. These insoles do not have to be your preferred “walking” insoles that you may have purchased separately. These can be the lightweight pair which came with your shoes. These will be the barrier between your wet footwear and your dry socks when you are done for the day and if your shoes are a bit damp come morning.
I find that at days end, I can remove the wet insoles and use absorbent paper or toweling to sop up as much moisture as is possible while I am showering and dealing with end of the day chores.

When I get ready to go to dinner or wander around town, I put on a pair of dry Merino wool socks, insert the extra pair of dry insoles into my shoes, and put the shoes back on to walk around in. This accelerates drying out the shoes. Depending on the shoe’s material, within a couple of hours the shoes are mostly dry.
  • At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process, if need be, during the night.
  • Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at while sleeping; this gives feet 8-9 hours of recovery.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Fantastic.....I will take a read through it.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Fantastic.....I will take a read through it.
If you have further questions, use the private message function to get into contact with me. Let me also stress that footwear choices are affected by many things including seasons, terrain, and medically necessary orthopedic concerns. This information about caring for wet feet applies to all types of footwear.

I deal with types of footwear choices for backpacking, hiking/trekking, and walking as a separate topic.
 

mishlove

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugués...April/May (2014)
Camino Ingles..........Sept. (2015)
If you have further questions, use the private message function to get into contact with me. Let me also stress that footwear choices are affected by many things including seasons, terrain, and medically necessary orthopedic concerns. This information about caring for wet feet applies to all types of footwear.

I deal with types of footwear choices for backpacking, hiking/trekking, and walking as a separate topic.
Appreciated.......and will do.
 

howlsthunder

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2018)
Camino Francés (2020)
Hi, mishlove...

Below is a post I have made on this issue before. Maybe it will be of help :)
------------------------------------------------------------
Excellent information that I heartily second. My strategy was pretty much the same except with less Goop. ;) It's nearly impossible to keep feet dry and even harder to dry out your shoes so better to learn ways of taking care of your feet. I had a similar regimen and the only time I got a blister was one day where I accidentally skipped my morning gooping. Whoops!
 

Becky 59

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (May 2018)
Camino Ingles (Aug 2019)
IMHO, it depends on when you are going and how much wet you expect to plow through. Last spring my husband and I had a mostly dry Camino; my non-waterproof trail runners were way more breathable and cool than my husband's waterproof shoes. However, at home in the Pacific NW, he does much better in our perpetual wet.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Agreed with all the above, there is very good information there.
Personally I`m on the Non-waterproof team. If my feet get sweaty, they get all soggy and cover in bruises quickly.
The very ventilated trail runers work well as I usually travel in Autumn or Spring, and if things get too wet I stop in a private accommodation that day, open the entire shoe and dry them with a hair drier.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
I have walked the oxfam trailwalk event several times, in a team of four. From year to year the weather varies a lot, you never know what you'll get on the day. Heat stroke one year, hypothermia the next.
My teammate, thinking she had solved the problem of wet feet, actually created a worse problem.
In 2016 it rained, and she struggled, so in 2017 she bought 'waterproof shoes' it was the year of 'heatstroke" , and she gave herself horrendous blisters as her feet sweated inside her shoes.
In my 'normal' Brookes running shoes, I didnt have a problem.
I think on the Camino, a light rainfall is fine, and things dry out. A heavy downfall and you'll be drying your shoes out that night anyway.
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
Hello there,

that may be non-waterproof may be better
That depends on the time of year you will walk. In hot summer all-leather-boots are better, b/c they allow your feet to breathe more easily. And big pieces of leather are less comfortable to care if they got wet.
The (Gore-)Tex-membranes will hinder (much more, than leather) the humid in your footwear to escape.

In Spring or fall Tex-membrane-equipped shoes / boots will be best. But that's only my opinion.

Roland
Buen Camino!
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ),Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )Camino Portugese (2018 )Camino Ingles(
When all is said and tried and done after 5 camino, I've had the best luck with non-waterproof, breathable hiking shoes and here's my reasoning:
  1. Feet sweat much less and stayed drier from within ( as @davebugg said, maintaining skin integrity is essential and keeping skin dry matters )
  2. I wear low cut hikers and have had to 'step into' huge puddles without option...so the water rushes over the top...waterproof or not, your feet are now soaked
  3. the waterproof shoes simply did not dry overnight! ...alburgues did not have any heat on in Sept/Oct, there was no sunshine to be found on numerous days of rain...AND there wasn't a single piece of newspaper available in an entire village as all the pilgrims were trying to stuff their shoes to dry. Despite taking my insoles out and laces off and trying to soak wetness up with towels and bandanas, I walked with wet shoes for several days in a row.
  4. in similar scenarios of drenched hikers as above, with non waterproof hikers, they tended to drain out a bit while walking, and dried overnight without heat or newspaper regardless of time of year.
  5. waterproof= blisters
  6. non waterproof= not one blister in last two camino ( Oboz low cut non waterproof hikers )

As with all gear, you need to go with what fits your foot and how you reason out what will work for you. In the end we can read until the cows come home, but it's our own trial and error. Good luck!
 

mishlove

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugués...April/May (2014)
Camino Ingles..........Sept. (2015)
Hi, mishlove...

Below is a post I have made on this issue before. Maybe it will be of help :)
------------------------------------------------------------

Water will enter trail runner shoes, hiking shoes, or backpacking boots through any opening during a rainstorm, when walking through wet grass and brush, or drench into them if you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is always effective.
  • First, you can try keeping rain pants over the tops of shoes, so the water runs down the pants past the opening. But this system can be uncomfortably hot in warm weather during rain-soaked conditions. It offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.
  • You can try using a footwear with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not often seen a gaiter or other waterproof trapping that would both keep the water out and keep the feet dry.
“Waterproof” shoes are a misnomer for several reasons.
  • They can fail because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term because it is difficult to apply and cover all areas of the footwear sufficiently.
  • The waterproof coating or laminate in the shoes does not last. Some manufacturers of the lightweight trail shoes, which are usually constructed as a hybrid of fabric and leather, have treated them with a coating which can quickly wear off. It also keeps sweat in the shoe and your feet get soaked in sweat. Fairly quickly, coatings break down and will no longer be waterproof.
  • Footwear which relies on a “Gore-Tex” style of waterproof/breathable laminate will break down through both wear and tear and dirt buildup on the material which renders it ineffective.
When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes for various manufacturers, their actual performance never matched what was claimed. My reports to their QA departments have always reflected these weaknesses as found during testing. Sometimes a shoe will start the test period working fairly well under a narrow range of wet conditions, but as the testing progresses the failures increase.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Gore-Tex, are only marginally breathable — water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. It can't. Unlike outerwear, the shoe material radically inhibits the ability of the membrane to allow water vapor to escape, thereby trapping it in the shoe.

So, on warm days the experience of having sweat being trapped in the shoe is common. Combined with the fact that the fabric waterproofing is quickly damaged by dirt, sweat, grime, and abrasion and it’s only a matter of time before exterior moisture begins penetrating the fabric and allowing feet to get wet from outside moisture as well.

This is why most experienced trekkers and backpackers no longer go to great lengths to keep feet dry. They accept that when the weather is wet, feet will also get wet. Even the US military uses footwear for wet conditions which is not waterproof. The strategy is how to minimize any problems when feet are wet.

In working with folks new to backpacking who ask about waterproof footwear recommendations, I have asked why they wanted waterproof shoes. Sometimes, they will look at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Most will answer that they think their feet will stay dry, and that having wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

This post is meant to help inform, reassure, and give a different line of thought and reasoning to this issue.

I like to have dry feet. I always try to avoid wet feet. I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

  • “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.
  • “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons: shoes still get wet, and feet soak with sweat. However – In cold weather these socks can be the basis for using vapor barrier warmth conservation of the feet.
  • Wearing multiple pairs of socks, frequently changing from wet to dry, which eventually all get wet.
  • Carrying multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet, too.
I have never had total success at keeping my feet dry in very wet conditions, which led me to research what has been done to develop effective strategies. If I can’t keep my feet dry, then I need to try and eliminate or minimize the risk of any of the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking.

Some of these lessons I learned while in Vietnam…. Like the fact that our boots had fabric tops and numerous holes in the thin leather bottom portions so that water drained out quickly and never sat in the boots.

What are the most frequent and problematic 'bad' things?
  • Maceration is the medical term for pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs a lot of moisture and gets “soggy” from that moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft which makes it more prone to blistering and developing other problems.
  • Cracking of the skin when the macerated feet dry. The natural moisture and oiliness of the skin is gone. The severity depends on how much stress the skin is exposed to after it is dried out.
So, what does work for me, and others, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather?
  • Apply a good, thick coating of a Goop (ointment or salve) to my feet and between toes before putting on socks and shoes in the morning. If rain occurs later in the day, then remove shoes and socks and do the same. This helps protect from external moisture.
Goop which has a high content of wax – either bee or paraffin – is most ideal, especially if it also has a high lanolin content.
  • Wear non-waterproof shoes which can drain and then dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail running shoes, and trail shoes often have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.
Non-waterproof shoes will also eliminate moisture from sweaty feet. Remember, it doesn’t matter what the source of the moisture is that feet are exposed to: be it rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.
  • Wear thin, light-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will also keep wet feet warm and comfortable in most seasons and temperature ranges, unless the weather is frigid winter-cold.
  • Take off shoes and socks to let feet air dry during rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes.During this time, I will wring out any excess moisture from the socks, but I will not put on either of my dry pairs (I take three). I will also wipe off moisture on my feet and then reapply a goodly amount of Goop to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.
  • When stopping for the day, apply Goop to the bottoms of feet, both before and after showering.
  • Carry an extra pair of insoles. These insoles do not have to be your preferred “walking” insoles that you may have purchased separately. These can be the lightweight pair which came with your shoes. These will be the barrier between your wet footwear and your dry socks when you are done for the day and if your shoes are a bit damp come morning.
I find that at days end, I can remove the wet insoles and use absorbent paper or toweling to sop up as much moisture as is possible while I am showering and dealing with end of the day chores.

When I get ready to go to dinner or wander around town, I put on a pair of dry Merino wool socks, insert the extra pair of dry insoles into my shoes, and put the shoes back on to walk around in. This accelerates drying out the shoes. Depending on the shoe’s material, within a couple of hours the shoes are mostly dry.
  • At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process, if need be, during the night.
  • Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at while sleeping; this gives feet 8-9 hours of recovery.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Not sure I know what Goop is. I think my kids used something brand named Goop in their hair. Is this like Vaseline.

BTW....excellent info....I'm going to take a few more reads through and if need be, msg you.
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ),Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )Camino Portugese (2018 )Camino Ingles(

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
@mishlove , I only wish the advice from @davebugg was available when I started training seven years ago,

It took nearly three years, and some cost, to find shoes that matched his advice and met my other needs.

Foe some years now I relish the opportunity, when training, to walk through streams in my way knowing the heat from my feet will "push" the moisture through the open weave top of my shoe in less than 10 minutes.

As we all seem to have different physiology, what is fine for me may not be useful to you.

When on el camino I am more circumspect about wading through water. This because I do not expect to find easy to use clothes washing facilties like I have at home after a training walk. And because I wish to carry "goop" in minimal quantities and within the overall maximum weight limit I wish to tote.

@mishlove , I hope you find a footwear system that works for you and say kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 

JamesVT

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Hi, mishlove...

Below is a post I have made on this issue before. Maybe it will be of help :)
------------------------------------------------------------

Water will enter trail runner shoes, hiking shoes, or backpacking boots through any opening during a rainstorm, when walking through wet grass and brush, or drench into them if you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is always effective.
  • First, you can try keeping rain pants over the tops of shoes, so the water runs down the pants past the opening. But this system can be uncomfortably hot in warm weather during rain-soaked conditions. It offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.
  • You can try using a footwear with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not often seen a gaiter or other waterproof trapping that would both keep the water out and keep the feet dry.
“Waterproof” shoes are a misnomer for several reasons.
  • They can fail because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term because it is difficult to apply and cover all areas of the footwear sufficiently.
  • The waterproof coating or laminate in the shoes does not last. Some manufacturers of the lightweight trail shoes, which are usually constructed as a hybrid of fabric and leather, have treated them with a coating which can quickly wear off. It also keeps sweat in the shoe and your feet get soaked in sweat. Fairly quickly, coatings break down and will no longer be waterproof.
  • Footwear which relies on a “Gore-Tex” style of waterproof/breathable laminate will break down through both wear and tear and dirt buildup on the material which renders it ineffective.
When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes for various manufacturers, their actual performance never matched what was claimed. My reports to their QA departments have always reflected these weaknesses as found during testing. Sometimes a shoe will start the test period working fairly well under a narrow range of wet conditions, but as the testing progresses the failures increase.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Gore-Tex, are only marginally breathable — water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. It can't. Unlike outerwear, the shoe material radically inhibits the ability of the membrane to allow water vapor to escape, thereby trapping it in the shoe.

So, on warm days the experience of having sweat being trapped in the shoe is common. Combined with the fact that the fabric waterproofing is quickly damaged by dirt, sweat, grime, and abrasion and it’s only a matter of time before exterior moisture begins penetrating the fabric and allowing feet to get wet from outside moisture as well.

This is why most experienced trekkers and backpackers no longer go to great lengths to keep feet dry. They accept that when the weather is wet, feet will also get wet. Even the US military uses footwear for wet conditions which is not waterproof. The strategy is how to minimize any problems when feet are wet.

In working with folks new to backpacking who ask about waterproof footwear recommendations, I have asked why they wanted waterproof shoes. Sometimes, they will look at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Most will answer that they think their feet will stay dry, and that having wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

This post is meant to help inform, reassure, and give a different line of thought and reasoning to this issue.

I like to have dry feet. I always try to avoid wet feet. I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

  • “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.
  • “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons: shoes still get wet, and feet soak with sweat. However – In cold weather these socks can be the basis for using vapor barrier warmth conservation of the feet.
  • Wearing multiple pairs of socks, frequently changing from wet to dry, which eventually all get wet.
  • Carrying multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet, too.
I have never had total success at keeping my feet dry in very wet conditions, which led me to research what has been done to develop effective strategies. If I can’t keep my feet dry, then I need to try and eliminate or minimize the risk of any of the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking.

Some of these lessons I learned while in Vietnam…. Like the fact that our boots had fabric tops and numerous holes in the thin leather bottom portions so that water drained out quickly and never sat in the boots.

What are the most frequent and problematic 'bad' things?
  • Maceration is the medical term for pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs a lot of moisture and gets “soggy” from that moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft which makes it more prone to blistering and developing other problems.
  • Cracking of the skin when the macerated feet dry. The natural moisture and oiliness of the skin is gone. The severity depends on how much stress the skin is exposed to after it is dried out.
So, what does work for me, and others, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather?
  • Apply a good, thick coating of a Goop (ointment or salve) to my feet and between toes before putting on socks and shoes in the morning. If rain occurs later in the day, then remove shoes and socks and do the same. This helps protect from external moisture.
Goop which has a high content of wax – either bee or paraffin – is most ideal, especially if it also has a high lanolin content.
  • Wear non-waterproof shoes which can drain and then dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail running shoes, and trail shoes often have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.
Non-waterproof shoes will also eliminate moisture from sweaty feet. Remember, it doesn’t matter what the source of the moisture is that feet are exposed to: be it rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.
  • Wear thin, light-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will also keep wet feet warm and comfortable in most seasons and temperature ranges, unless the weather is frigid winter-cold.
  • Take off shoes and socks to let feet air dry during rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes.During this time, I will wring out any excess moisture from the socks, but I will not put on either of my dry pairs (I take three). I will also wipe off moisture on my feet and then reapply a goodly amount of Goop to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.
  • When stopping for the day, apply Goop to the bottoms of feet, both before and after showering.
  • Carry an extra pair of insoles. These insoles do not have to be your preferred “walking” insoles that you may have purchased separately. These can be the lightweight pair which came with your shoes. These will be the barrier between your wet footwear and your dry socks when you are done for the day and if your shoes are a bit damp come morning.
I find that at days end, I can remove the wet insoles and use absorbent paper or toweling to sop up as much moisture as is possible while I am showering and dealing with end of the day chores.

When I get ready to go to dinner or wander around town, I put on a pair of dry Merino wool socks, insert the extra pair of dry insoles into my shoes, and put the shoes back on to walk around in. This accelerates drying out the shoes. Depending on the shoe’s material, within a couple of hours the shoes are mostly dry.
  • At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process, if need be, during the night.
  • Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at while sleeping; this gives feet 8-9 hours of recovery.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Thanks, Dave. This is a great piece of reasoning and advice.
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
@mishlove , a PS to my post above.

Have you considered sandals (Keen, Teva etc)? (Not jandals / flip flops)

Many report finding these a good option for day to day use. I would want toe protection and a back strap to keep an orthotic in place.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (July 2016), Primitivo (July 2018), Portuguese (March 2019)
Hi, mishlove...

Below is a post I have made on this issue before. Maybe it will be of help :)
------------------------------------------------------------

Water will enter trail runner shoes, hiking shoes, or backpacking boots through any opening during a rainstorm, when walking through wet grass and brush, or drench into them if you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is always effective.
  • First, you can try keeping rain pants over the tops of shoes, so the water runs down the pants past the opening. But this system can be uncomfortably hot in warm weather during rain-soaked conditions. It offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.
  • You can try using a footwear with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not often seen a gaiter or other waterproof trapping that would both keep the water out and keep the feet dry.
“Waterproof” shoes are a misnomer for several reasons.
  • They can fail because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term because it is difficult to apply and cover all areas of the footwear sufficiently.
  • The waterproof coating or laminate in the shoes does not last. Some manufacturers of the lightweight trail shoes, which are usually constructed as a hybrid of fabric and leather, have treated them with a coating which can quickly wear off. It also keeps sweat in the shoe and your feet get soaked in sweat. Fairly quickly, coatings break down and will no longer be waterproof.
  • Footwear which relies on a “Gore-Tex” style of waterproof/breathable laminate will break down through both wear and tear and dirt buildup on the material which renders it ineffective.
When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes for various manufacturers, their actual performance never matched what was claimed. My reports to their QA departments have always reflected these weaknesses as found during testing. Sometimes a shoe will start the test period working fairly well under a narrow range of wet conditions, but as the testing progresses the failures increase.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Gore-Tex, are only marginally breathable — water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. It can't. Unlike outerwear, the shoe material radically inhibits the ability of the membrane to allow water vapor to escape, thereby trapping it in the shoe.

So, on warm days the experience of having sweat being trapped in the shoe is common. Combined with the fact that the fabric waterproofing is quickly damaged by dirt, sweat, grime, and abrasion and it’s only a matter of time before exterior moisture begins penetrating the fabric and allowing feet to get wet from outside moisture as well.

This is why most experienced trekkers and backpackers no longer go to great lengths to keep feet dry. They accept that when the weather is wet, feet will also get wet. Even the US military uses footwear for wet conditions which is not waterproof. The strategy is how to minimize any problems when feet are wet.

In working with folks new to backpacking who ask about waterproof footwear recommendations, I have asked why they wanted waterproof shoes. Sometimes, they will look at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Most will answer that they think their feet will stay dry, and that having wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

This post is meant to help inform, reassure, and give a different line of thought and reasoning to this issue.

I like to have dry feet. I always try to avoid wet feet. I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

  • “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.
  • “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons: shoes still get wet, and feet soak with sweat. However – In cold weather these socks can be the basis for using vapor barrier warmth conservation of the feet.
  • Wearing multiple pairs of socks, frequently changing from wet to dry, which eventually all get wet.
  • Carrying multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet, too.
I have never had total success at keeping my feet dry in very wet conditions, which led me to research what has been done to develop effective strategies. If I can’t keep my feet dry, then I need to try and eliminate or minimize the risk of any of the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking.

Some of these lessons I learned while in Vietnam…. Like the fact that our boots had fabric tops and numerous holes in the thin leather bottom portions so that water drained out quickly and never sat in the boots.

What are the most frequent and problematic 'bad' things?
  • Maceration is the medical term for pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs a lot of moisture and gets “soggy” from that moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft which makes it more prone to blistering and developing other problems.
  • Cracking of the skin when the macerated feet dry. The natural moisture and oiliness of the skin is gone. The severity depends on how much stress the skin is exposed to after it is dried out.
So, what does work for me, and others, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather?
  • Apply a good, thick coating of a Goop (ointment or salve) to my feet and between toes before putting on socks and shoes in the morning. If rain occurs later in the day, then remove shoes and socks and do the same. This helps protect from external moisture.
Goop which has a high content of wax – either bee or paraffin – is most ideal, especially if it also has a high lanolin content.
  • Wear non-waterproof shoes which can drain and then dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail running shoes, and trail shoes often have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.
Non-waterproof shoes will also eliminate moisture from sweaty feet. Remember, it doesn’t matter what the source of the moisture is that feet are exposed to: be it rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.
  • Wear thin, light-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will also keep wet feet warm and comfortable in most seasons and temperature ranges, unless the weather is frigid winter-cold.
  • Take off shoes and socks to let feet air dry during rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes.During this time, I will wring out any excess moisture from the socks, but I will not put on either of my dry pairs (I take three). I will also wipe off moisture on my feet and then reapply a goodly amount of Goop to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.
  • When stopping for the day, apply Goop to the bottoms of feet, both before and after showering.
  • Carry an extra pair of insoles. These insoles do not have to be your preferred “walking” insoles that you may have purchased separately. These can be the lightweight pair which came with your shoes. These will be the barrier between your wet footwear and your dry socks when you are done for the day and if your shoes are a bit damp come morning.
I find that at days end, I can remove the wet insoles and use absorbent paper or toweling to sop up as much moisture as is possible while I am showering and dealing with end of the day chores.

When I get ready to go to dinner or wander around town, I put on a pair of dry Merino wool socks, insert the extra pair of dry insoles into my shoes, and put the shoes back on to walk around in. This accelerates drying out the shoes. Depending on the shoe’s material, within a couple of hours the shoes are mostly dry.
  • At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process, if need be, during the night.
  • Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at while sleeping; this gives feet 8-9 hours of recovery.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Great to see a post from you again, but what is goop?
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Frances (2018}
I need to get the most out of my feet, as we all do, but they do get hot and bothered quite quickly. I have worn both Salomon and Keen waterproof boots/shoes successfully, but have "heard" that may be non-waterproof may be better. I am not concerned with wet shoes, wet socks, drying out or drying off, just to keep my feet as happy as I can. Happy feet, Happy me.
PS: Have tried a multitude of socks, of the worst and best kind, with much of the same result.
I am no expert but I do know that wet feet generally means blisters. When I fell in a river back in April, my only concern was walking with wet feet so instead of worrying about the fact I nearly drowned, all I could think of was getting dry socks on. I wear Scarpa light weight leather boots with wicking foot beds. For socks I wear light weight non cotton wicking ones and have never had any problems with wet feet. Only Irish and British folk will know what I mean but socks from Lidl are perfect followed by Regatta in my opinion. Every morning, I smear Vick on my feet before starting out. Keeping feet lubricated reduces friction and prevents blisters. I dont know if there is any truth in this but as an aside, I have been told the smell of Vick keeps bed bugs at bay. I feel that non waterproof footwear is asking for trouble. If your feet get damp from sweat, surely wearing shoes that may stop sweat but get them soaked in the rain is a poor trade off. I have always found that leather footwear for hiking or everyday use prevents sweat, man made material makes me sweat badly
 

mishlove

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugués...April/May (2014)
Camino Ingles..........Sept. (2015)
@mishlove , a PS to my post above.

Have you considered sandals (Keen, Teva etc)? (Not jandals / flip flops)

Many report finding these a good option for day to day use. I would want toe protection and a back strap to keep an orthotic in place.
It has crossed my mind and definitely something to consider. Thanks
 

Gretel Schuck

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francigena
I need to get the most out of my feet, as we all do, but they do get hot and bothered quite quickly. I have worn both Salomon and Keen waterproof boots/shoes successfully, but have "heard" that may be non-waterproof may be better. I am not concerned with wet shoes, wet socks, drying out or drying off, just to keep my feet as happy as I can. Happy feet, Happy me.
PS: Have tried a multitude of socks, of the worst and best kind, with much of the same result.
I have Oboz (waterproof)that I wore from Lausanne to Rome. Only twice were my feet wet-had to walk through stream or downpour .
You might want to try them- great for hiking
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
I have winter hiking boots that are Keenes but only through a winter Camino, They never failed as waterproof, but my feet would sweat and there was condensation in the boots which took a long time to dry. My regular hiking shoes are Altra 3.5 mesh trail runners rain or shine and even fording rivers because the easy to clean and dry quickly. Those along with my smart wool socks my feet keep warm. I always have a dry pair of socks to change into.
 

mishlove

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugués...April/May (2014)
Camino Ingles..........Sept. (2015)
I have winter hiking boots that are Keenes but only through a winter Camino, They never failed as waterproof, but my feet would sweat and there was condensation in the boots which took a long time to dry. My regular hiking shoes are Altra 3.5 mesh trail runners rain or shine and even fording rivers because the easy to clean and dry quickly. Those along with my smart wool socks my feet keep warm. I always have a dry pair of socks to change into.
...I have heard only good on these "Altra 3.5 mesh trail runners" but cannot find them in Toronto (All out of stock). Do you know of another Altra equal?
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
...I have heard only good on these "Altra 3.5 mesh trail runners" but cannot find them in Toronto (All out of stock). Do you know of another Altra equal?
I purchase mine on line. Look under the Altra website for other ways to purchase them
 

Viggen

Vigo
Camino(s) past & future
CF June 2015
CP June 2017
Del Norte, Finisterre / Muxia Oct 2017
VDLP 2018
VF, SBP to Rome 2019
Cut and paste from Gear Petrol eMagazine.

The Argument for Waterproof Hiking Boots

“I live and die by the Gore-Tex diamond logo when it comes to outdoor gear. It stands for uncompromising waterproofing and breathability, and in many of my outdoor adventures, those things are crucial — especially in hiking boots. But nonsuch outdoor adventure proved my point more than 30 days in Norway’s arctic wilderness. Of the 30 days I was there backpacking across the tundra, it rained for 27 of them. Everything got wet. Even my Gore-Tex hiking boots eventually had water find its way over the tops of them when I had to ford rivers. But, short of those river crossings, my feet stayed perfectly dry through mud, tall grasses and shrubs. My socks remained dry and my feet toasty. I was even able to wear my socks to bed most evenings.


It is because of this experience that I recommend everyone purchase waterproof hiking boots. You never know when you’ll need to tread through a muddy puddle or be hiking through an unexpected rain storm. You might as well prepare for it. And just because you don’t need it for every hike you go on, it doesn’t mean you never will.” AJ Powell, Assistant Editor

The Argument Against Waterproof Hiking Boots

“There is a time and place for everything, but when it comes to hiking, I’m of the mind that waterproof membranes inside your footwear is more often than not unnecessary. I can think of instances when it would come in handy — winter hikes, trails that pass over shallow streams, hikes in generally-wet environments — but they’re few and specific. Even in these cases though I’m not sure that waterproof boots actually keep your feet dry.


For one, unless you’re wearing gaiters, any crossing above the top of your cuff will fill your boots with moisture. The same is true for rain, although it’ll happen much more gradually as moisture runs down your legs and into your boots’ cuffs. Hiking shoes — meaning low cut models that leave your ankles free — are more prone to this. But my main reason for being against waterproof membranes in hiking boots is sweat. Any membrane, be it Gore-Tex, eVent or otherwise, will severely cut breathability and in warm weather, and that means sweaty feet. If you’re going to get wet either way, I’d rather have an option that’ll dry quicker on the trail, and that’s a boot without waterproofing.” Tanner Bowden, Associate Staff Writer


Verdict: Truthfully, we thought this debate would rage on and require more scrolling, but we each found the other’s case to be compelling while refusing to give up any ground. The decision comes down to personal preference; how your body works, how you hike and where you live will all come to play in deciding whether to go waterproof or not. Hopefully, our brief argument has shed some light on the pros and cons associated with either choice.
 

mishlove

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugués...April/May (2014)
Camino Ingles..........Sept. (2015)
I purchase mine on line. Look under the Altra website for other ways to purchase them
lol. You are a braver sole then I.....purchasing shoes online...I have yet to get there.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
lol. You are a braver sole then I.....purchasing shoes online...I have yet to get there.
Between my foot size and living in a smallish city, I can rarely find the shoes that fit me locally. So I tend to order online. I can try the shoes on at home, and I only buy from companies that offer free shipping both ways. Zappos allows an entire year to return! Of course the shoes have to be in new condition.
 

mishlove

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugués...April/May (2014)
Camino Ingles..........Sept. (2015)
Between my foot size and living in a smallish city, I can rarely find the shoes that fit me locally. So I tend to order online. I can try the shoes on at home, and I only buy from companies that offer free shipping both ways. Zappos allows an entire year to return! Of course the shoes have to be in new condition.
I'll see what I can find.....maybe even give it a try....thanks.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
Verdict: Truthfully, we thought this debate would rage on and require more scrolling, but we each found the other’s case to be compelling while refusing to give up any ground. The decision comes down to personal preference; how your body works, how you hike and where you live will all come to play in deciding whether to go waterproof or not. Hopefully, our brief argument has shed some light on the pros and cons associated with either choice.
I know that @Viggen Avedissian was quoting here, but this must be the best thing written on this subject, and perhaps the most accurate reflection on the way the debate goes here as well - we tend to stick to one or other approach.

If you are reading this without having read the whole post from @Viggen Avedissian, it's worth going back to it to read it all the way through.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Great to see a post from you again, but what is goop?
A few have asked about my use of the term "goop". It is something like an ointment, balm, salve, or coating. It is just the fun name I gave stuff to put on the feet. My current goop of choice is called Hiker Goo.

Hiker Goo is just one of a few choices available. I have found that a thicker and waxier base seems more persistent, able to hold up longer to walking and doesn't rub away into socks quite so quickly. Lanolin based ointments also have worked well.

Below are links to specific products which I have found to work rather well. There is one that I tried based on its ingredients of lanolin and beeswax, but is actually marketed as a hair product.





 
Last edited:

Delphinoula

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C Franconia 2019
Camino desde Algeciras Sevillia (2019)
For having walked almost three weeks in rain, the only time I got blisters was when my boots got wet from rain running from the top into it.
I prefer always membrane shoes. If you treat them with regular waterproof spray you will make welligtons out of it so not good. So spent the extra money for the special membrane spray.
I changes my socks soon I felt no more comfy.
I creamed them in with wicks vapor rup. Soon
I felt some rubbIng, tapped the spot with paper bandages. I have a bandage allergy.
My week spot was right between my big toe and the second on the foot sole. To avoid this I wore during the sommer toe sandals and will tap this area.
I alternated shoes as often I could. My running shoes were Hoka, so great.
It is to be seen if it will help me on my next Camino.
 

mishlove

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugués...April/May (2014)
Camino Ingles..........Sept. (2015)
I know that @Viggen Avedissian was quoting here, but this must be the best thing written on this subject, and perhaps the most accurate reflection on the way the debate goes here as well - we tend to stick to one or other approach.

If you are reading this without having read the whole post from @Viggen Avedissian, it's worth going back to it to read it all the way through.
I will take a read through, thanks. With the information in this thread, (which is invaluable) I will walk with nonwaterproof shoes on my next walk. I have to, as a measure of and for myself, considering the variables. But which goop to use?...still to be decided.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
There is another part of the footwear decision 'path', and that is the type of footwear itself. Not whether or not to get waterproof footwear, but the type of shoe itself. Boots, trail runners, runners, shoe height (low top), mid-ankle, high top, etc.

That's a whole other thread. :)
 

mishlove

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugués...April/May (2014)
Camino Ingles..........Sept. (2015)
There is another part of the footwear decision 'path', and that is the type of footwear itself. Not whether or not to get waterproof footwear, but the type of shoe itself. Boots, trail runners, runners, shoe height (low top), mid-ankle, high top, etc.

That's a whole other thread. :)
Oy vey.......can you point me to it, please.
 

calmeg

Member
When we walked the camino del norte we got hit with rain, and lots of mud, crossing wet fields, and river beds, and some very heavy rains. I wore waterproof keen low cut hiking boots- and rainpants that covered the tops of my boots. I was pleasantly surprised that while the boots were soaked on the outside, and there was some moisture inside, my feet and socks were astonishingly dry. We filled the boots with newspaper each night and they were dry the next day. So based on that trip I will repeat my boot selection- which becomes a personal decision despite/because of all the comments here!
 

Stroller123

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning Italy to Finisterre and back (20xx)
I need to get the most out of my feet, as we all do, but they do get hot and bothered quite quickly. I have worn both Salomon and Keen waterproof boots/shoes successfully, but have "heard" that may be non-waterproof may be better. I am not concerned with wet shoes, wet socks, drying out or drying off, just to keep my feet as happy as I can. Happy feet, Happy me.
PS: Have tried a multitude of socks, of the worst and best kind, with much of the same result.
It depends how sensitive you are to the marketing.

Back in the days wool was the best material for the Great Outdoors, then it became the enemy, now it's trendy again. So, probably the same "influencers" who now claim that it's better to walk with shoes and feet completely drenched in water rather than mildly moist from perspiration, will claim the opposite in few years time. It's just the never ending circle of marketing.

My suggestion is: if you have already had good results with the footwear you have, just work a bit on socks rotation and material ("the best" for someone might not be the best for your feet), maybe switch to sandals in the warmest hours of the day and let your feet breath at any stops. To dry up (from perspiration) your footwear at the end of the day the suggested newspaper method works great, but I prefer to use a couple of silica gel sachets, they are more handy and weight less.
If my feet would sweat a lot I would avoid covering then with anything that would prevent the natural perspiration (like vaseline and the like), I would just try to keep them dry with foot powder; this is what works for me.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
It depends how sensitive you are to the marketing.

Back in the days wool was the best material for the Great Outdoors, then it became the enemy, now it's trendy again. So, probably the same "influencers" who now claim that it's better to walk with shoes and feet completely drenched in water rather than mildly moist from perspiration, will claim the opposite in few years time. It's just the never ending circle of marketing.
I'm curious. What is being marketed and why?
 

mishlove

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugués...April/May (2014)
Camino Ingles..........Sept. (2015)
@mishlove , I only wish the advice from @davebugg was available when I started training seven years ago,

It took nearly three years, and some cost, to find shoes that matched his advice and met my other needs.

Foe some years now I relish the opportunity, when training, to walk through streams in my way knowing the heat from my feet will "push" the moisture through the open weave top of my shoe in less than 10 minutes.

As we all seem to have different physiology, what is fine for me may not be useful to you.

When on el camino I am more circumspect about wading through water. This because I do not expect to find easy to use clothes washing facilties like I have at home after a training walk. And because I wish to carry "goop" in minimal quantities and within the overall maximum weight limit I wish to tote.

@mishlove , I hope you find a footwear system that works for you and say kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
Thank you.
 

Mr.Smirky

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances October '14
Primitivo September '16
Del Norte September '19?
In 2014 I left my hiking shoes at an albergue on the 3rd or 4th day and didn't want to go back the few hours to get them. I had Chaco sandals which I intended to wear some during the trip but hadn't intended to use them the entire way. I wore thick wool socks and my Chacos the rest of the camino and it rained solid for days. My feet got soaked but in sandals there wasn't anything to rub against and took very little time to dry out.

I didn't have a single blister the entire camino. I've hiked extensively in them ever since and only had one blister in all that time.

Whenever anyone suggests this approach you can read from the responses how hesitant people are to the idea of hiking in sandals but I'm here to tell you and from 3 others I personally know who've finished the Camino in Chacos without blisters it works!!

So I'm in the non-waterproof camp
 

cbacino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
I need to get the most out of my feet, as we all do, but they do get hot and bothered quite quickly. I have worn both Salomon and Keen waterproof boots/shoes successfully, but have "heard" that may be non-waterproof may be better. I am not concerned with wet shoes, wet socks, drying out or drying off, just to keep my feet as happy as I can. Happy feet, Happy me.
PS: Have tried a multitude of socks, of the worst and best kind, with much of the same result.
No such thing as waterproof shoes unless you use rubber boots. Walk in rain all day and every shoe gets wet, outside and inside, from rain and sweat. Any natural materials (ie. leather) take forever to dry. Go for an all-synthetic trainer. Or sandals like in the above post.
 
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Stroller123

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning Italy to Finisterre and back (20xx)
I'm curious. What is being marketed and why?
Have a look at outdoors blogs and, especially, on YouTube, there are way too many Youtubers with several hundred thousand followers who have the most interesting theories which provide the "right" solution for all. It doesn't matter if those solutions look illogical or against common sense or very limited to a very specific set of circumstances, they are popular and "universal" because it is made to believe that they come form an expert source. Those solutions, more often than not, work with some new mainstream revolutionary product which the Youtuber directly or indirectly endorses.
I'm not judging those marketing strategies, Youtubers can make few money form clicks, Ads campaigns and have stuff for free and the societies which produce this or that item get almost free visibility, create the "need" to buy their products and therefore a new trend.
In all of this I just find a bit disheartening that some people take those "new solutions" as inconfutable truth, even discarding previous good habits, without realizing that we are all different, we do and like things differently and the "single way of thinking" is more profitable form the sellers than from the buyers.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
In 2014 I left my hiking shoes at an albergue on the 3rd or 4th day and didn't want to go back the few hours to get them. I had Chaco sandals which I intended to wear some during the trip but hadn't intended to use them the entire way. I wore thick wool socks and my Chacos the rest of the camino and it rained solid for days. My feet got soaked but in sandals there wasn't anything to rub against and took very little time to dry out.

I didn't have a single blister the entire camino. I've hiked extensively in them ever since and only had one blister in all that time.

Whenever anyone suggests this approach you can read from the responses how hesitant people are to the idea of hiking in sandals but I'm here to tell you and from 3 others I personally know who've finished the Camino in Chacos without blisters it works!!

So I'm in the non-waterproof camp
I stopped wearing my trail running shoes after about the first week on the Camino del Norte last summer, and switched to my Merrell sandals and socks. My feet felt so much better than in my previous two Caminos when I wore shoes. And they were awesome in the rain and mud. After walking through mud I was often able to find a clean stream to dunk my feet into to rinse off my sandals. I will bring only sandals on my next Camino.
And I met a young woman wearing boots that was having trouble with blisters. One day after she bandaged he feet, and was about to put her boots back on I spotted some hiking sandals in her backpack. I told her to put them on and not wear the boots until her blisters had healed. When I saw her again in Santiago her blisters had healed, and she was still wearing the sandals. She said that she'd never go back to the boots again.
 

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
I wore Eco sandals the entire time. Wright socks in dry weather and heavy wool socks in the hard rains. Your feet will get wet at some point. We walked in rain for 4 days in a row.

I tried water proof socks but my feet were wet from sweat. Left them after the first day of hard rains.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I tried water proof socks but my feet were wet from sweat. Left them after the first day of hard rains.
Interesting. I plan to take waterproof socks next time. I'll see if they affect me the same way.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Have a look at outdoors blogs and, especially, on YouTube, there are way too many Youtubers with several hundred thousand followers who have the most interesting theories which provide the "right" solution for all. It doesn't matter if those solutions look illogical or against common sense or very limited to a very specific set of circumstances, they are popular and "universal" because it is made to believe that they come form an expert source. Those solutions, more often than not, work with some new mainstream revolutionary product which the Youtuber directly or indirectly endorses.
I'm not judging those marketing strategies, Youtubers can make few money form clicks, Ads campaigns and have stuff for free and the societies which produce this or that item get almost free visibility, create the "need" to buy their products and therefore a new trend.
In all of this I just find a bit disheartening that some people take those "new solutions" as inconfutable truth, even discarding previous good habits, without realizing that we are all different, we do and like things differently and the "single way of thinking" is more profitable form the sellers than from the buyers.
I disagree that YouTube is driving a change in footwear strategies. Nor do I see YouTube as convincing evidence of some conspiratorial marketing ploy. Nor do I even agree that your examples of YouTube is even within the commonly understood realm of what is considered marketing.

Marketing is a method for a specific business, product provider, or service to drive consumers to purchase their product. What you are describing is more akin to 'hoping onto the bandwagon'.

There has not been a huge and sudden shift in footwear strategies for backpacking. There has been an evolution of technology and gear and clothing and foods which have allowed strategies and thinking to change about what is available to wear and use on the trail. Backpacking and climbing gear has become far lighter in weight with more durable materials and more comfortable usability even from years ago. And it is a large chasm of difference from from a decade ago. A geologic era from those things from 15 and 20 years ago.

What I used to carry in the 1960's on a 14 day backpacking trip would weigh in the neighborhood of 65 pounds. That same exact inventory of gear and food today weighs in at 24 pounds to do the same exact job as in the '60s. The bandwagon didn't drive the shift away from the old and into the new, it was the actual fact that better and lighter gear and consumables made backpacking more fun with less agony.

Wool socks never were seen as "the enemy" and something to be avoided. There WAS marketing by companies, like Wigwam, in the 70s who did hype high content synthetic blend socks. But wool socks were still a favored material to wear, and synthetics and silk socks were more touted as a 'liner' sock. Wool was always seen back then as a material that would keep you warm if it got wet.

What HAS been the big shift for wool was the introduction of less scratchy and itchy wools, like Merino. Merino does get marketed by its makers for it superior 'wearability' compared to other wools. And Smartwool and Darn Tough (as two among several) have been marketing Merino wool socks as a superior material in a variety of areas. And word of mouth recommendations have also contributed to that popularity as real world use actually matched most of the marketing hype. Not to mention the fabulous warranties.

Footwear. Yup, the shift has been away from the traditional heavy 'backpacking' boot and into running shoe and trail runner types of footwear. But it isn't a desire to have wet feet that has been driving that shift that started over 10 years ago. Nor did it have anything to do with YouTube. It had to do with thru-hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail looking at all aspects of going as lightweight as possible.

Thru-hikers started out experimenting with running shoes because of the weight differential over boots. Back then, there was really nothing between heavy leather boots and running shoes. Trail shoes did not exist. Hiking shoes did not exist. Using fabric materials and leather to make hiking boots lighter and easier to break in did not exist. So, the only real option for hiking was the running shoe.

Nowadays we do have trail runners, hybrid boots, backpacking shoes, etc. Lightweight/Breathable fabrics are commonly used in all the categories of footwear, with some models offering GTX or non-GTX versions.

These changes in types of footwear were driven by what backpackers wanted, not the other way around.

You made the statement, "So, probably the same "influencers" who now claim that it's better to walk with shoes and feet completely drenched in water rather than mildly moist from perspiration, will claim the opposite in few years time." Nothing could be further from the truth.

No one thinks its better to walk with drenched feet. And there is more to it than the fact that feet will get a little moist from perspiration with GTX laminates in shoes. That is a highly oversimplification of the issues and choices to be made. It also seems to be a bit condescending in order to support a position which is faulty.

How quickly a shoe dries when soaked, how much moisture is retained in a shoe while walking that has water inside, mechanical and energy differences in the type of footwear chosen, higher injury and repetitive injury rates in certain footwear, and many other considerations all are factors which are considered with deciding on a style of footwear. Some types of footwear have claims made, like ankle support and injury prevention, which do not hold up to scrutiny. Other types of footwear are great for most of three season use, but are a poor choice in cold or prolonged heavy mud conditions.

But the preference for hiking in lightweight, supportive, and quick drying trail runners, or running shoes, or no GTX trail shoes or boots has nothing to do with preferring or wanting to walk in wet shoes. Nor is it an either or choice between wet-soaked shoes or GTX.

There are definite advantages to the choice of wearing a non GTX shoe because they are less likely to have wet or damp feet due to restricted airflow and water vapor dispersion; and especially since it is more likely that the majority of walking time will be in dry conditions than wet conditions (not a certainty but a likelihood). And the only advantage to GTX ( as long as the laminate is viable and no other water intrusion occurs as is very common to see) is limited to when it rains.

This isn't a YouTube or marketing or bandwagon phenomenon; this is a long term, experiential, tested and proven evolution from an earlier generation of limited or no choices. If one chooses a non GTX trail runner, there are ways of effectively dealing with wet weather walking. If one chooses a GTX boot, there can be disadvantages which are not seen in a non GTX shoe.

I do agree that YouTube has crap information along with the good stuff. And part of the good stuff of YouTube, online articles, magazines, and just word of mouth is that when folks are looking for good information to help them decide where to begin looking. They have a way of getting started and do not have to rely on the marketing hype from a salesperson in a store, like REI, who needs to move the limited inventory that it has on hand, and so drives the customer to only consider those choices.
 
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davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
The tops are so open, wouldn't rain just run down into the boot?
You could make sure that if you wear pants -- rain or regular -- that the bottoms cover the top of the booties.

My first consideration is that these appear to be for casual and quick outings in the rain. To me they look like they would quickly shred their bottoms from the walking and miles that would be put on them.
 

Stroller123

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning Italy to Finisterre and back (20xx)
I disagree that YouTube is driving a change in footwear strategies. Nor do I see YouTube as convincing evidence of some conspiratorial marketing ploy. Nor do I even agree that your examples of YouTube is even within the commonly understood realm of what is considered marketing.
Traditional media and social media influence people's opinions, it's been true since the first book has been published, I don't see why a YouTuber with several thousand followers couldn't shape the opinions of few inexperienced users.

Marketing is a method for a specific business, product provider, or service to drive consumers to purchase their product. What you are describing is more akin to 'hoping onto the bandwagon'.
That depends if the Youtuber who 'hop onto the bandwagon' has a gain from the business he endorses. If he hasn't I concur with you, otherwise for me he's a low paid testimonial.

There has not been a huge and sudden shift in footwear strategies for backpacking. There has been an evolution of technology and gear and clothing and foods which have allowed strategies and thinking to change about what is available to wear and use on the trail. Backpacking and climbing gear has become far lighter in weight with more durable materials and more comfortable usability even from years ago. And it is a large chasm of difference from from a decade ago. A geologic era from those things from 15 and 20 years ago.
I agree with this general concept in fact we don't see anymore canvas backpacks with metal buckles for outdoor purposes. But waterproof footwear made progress too, otherwise they would be abandoned as a failure. So, probably the Goretext of a decade ago perform poorly compared to the one which is available now.

What I used to carry in the 1960's on a 14 day backpacking trip would weigh in the neighborhood of 65 pounds. That same exact inventory of gear and food today weighs in at 24 pounds to do the same exact job as in the '60s. The bandwagon didn't drive the shift away from the old and into the new, it was the actual fact that better and lighter gear and consumables made backpacking more fun with less agony.
Again, I agree, I replaced my metal mug with an aluminum one and then with a titanium one, the lighter the better. But the titanium one does exactly the same thing as the metal one did at a fraction of the weight. On the other hand, a pair of modern non waterproof shoes don't do the same thing that waterproof ones do.

Wool socks never were seen as "the enemy" and something to be avoided. There WAS marketing by companies, like Wigwam, in the 70s who did hype high content synthetic blend socks. But wool socks were still a favored material to wear, and synthetics and silk socks were more touted as a 'liner' sock. Wool was always seen back then as a material that would keep you warm if it got wet.
I was born in the 70s so I can't talk about that decade, but in the 80s and 90s when I first got interested in the outdoors the only ones who wore wool on the mountains were old men. The youngsters avoided it at all cost in favor of more modern, synthetic, lighter fabric, as you wrote above "to make backpacking more fun with less agony". Of course I'm not referring just to socks, but to all wool clothing.

What HAS been the big shift for wool was the introduction of less scratchy and itchy wools, like Merino. Merino does get marketed by its makers for it superior 'wearability' compared to other wools. And Smartwool and Darn Tough (as two among several) have been marketing Merino wool socks as a superior material in a variety of areas. And word of mouth recommendations have also contributed to that popularity as real world use actually matched most of the marketing hype. Not to mention the fabulous warranties.
I have never had the chance to try those brands, from their website DT has only one store in mainland EU (in Leon) and SW one in Ireland. I think in EU there can be good manufactures too, I mainly use x-sock (x-bionic) which I think are Italian, but I'm not sure, and they do merino socks as well.

What I'm trying to say is that improvements have been done in all materials, but a modern sock perform better than a humble sock from 20 years ago, not differently. Comparing waterproof shoes to non waterproof ones is like comparing apples to oranges, there are no facts to determine which one is better, only opinions.
You are very knowledgeable and I have no reason to doubt that everything you wrote is correct, but it seems that waterproof vs. non waterproof it's becoming an ideology. I'm a pragmatic man, for me there are places and times in which I wear waterproof shoes/boots and others in which I wear non waterproof shoes or sandals.

What the thru-hikers do is of very little interest to me, I never had the problems you mentioned above from sweating, but I've been very miserable every time I got my feet wet from water even with open toes sandals on. For me walking is a pleasure, not a competition, not a training, not a performance to post on socials, I don't follow blindly the latest trends of minimal, lightest, whatever backpacking if I'm not comfortable doing it. If somethings works for me I would keep on using it without looking compulsively to change it just for the sake of it, to be modern at all cost or to conform to the general consensus among the thru-hikers.

What I don't like is the concept of "the best" of something, I thing that everything has its place. It seems like the technical data you mentioned have the pretense to be "universal", but the diversity of environments, people and habits make them only well informed suggestions. For me and for my way of enjoying the outdoors, one solution fits all doesn't work well.

BTW: Thanks for this post, I'm enjoying a lot discussing with you.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
I replaced my metal mug with an aluminum one and then with a titanium one, the lighter the better.
I cannot resist - you replaced a metal mug with a metal mug that you replaced with an even lighter metal mug?

And you still have a metal mug? I must admit that I have moved on to a collapsible neoprene mug when space in important. I have one that is the same weight as my titanium mug, very slightly bigger in capacity, but only about 40% of the volume collapsed.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
On the other hand, a pair of modern non waterproof shoes don't do the same thing that waterproof ones do.
They do the same exact function, they perform the same way, they simply do not have GTX. And a GTX shoe or boot is not "waterproof". I can point to the large numbers of GTX shoes I have been hired to test over the years and have had water intrusions. Additionally, there is a large body of testimony that demonstrates that it GTX footwear frequently experience water intrusions. Yes, GTX can keep feet dry from outside moisture from light to moderate rain environments, and wet trail and grass conditions where standing water is not prevalent. But the risk of feet becoming wet from water in GTX footwear rises as the wet conditons increase.

But the issue is wet feet. It doesn't matter if the feet are wet from outside water OR perspiration, wet is wet. So if one has a problem with sweat buildup because of GTX, that is as much of a problem to the foot as outside water.

I was born in the 70s so I can't talk about that decade, but in the 80s and 90s when I first got interested in the outdoors the only ones who wore wool on the mountains were old men. The youngsters avoided it at all cost in favor of more modern, synthetic, lighter fabric, as you wrote above "to make backpacking more fun with less agony". Of course I'm not referring just to socks, but to all wool clothing.
A lot of folks turned to synthetics, primarily because of the weight difference, not because of the wool was a bad material or would perform poorly compared to synthetics.

That is evident over the last few years with the advent of ultralight and lightweight base layers for hiking, climbing, and other outdoor pursuits. I have Merino wool base layer tops and bottoms which are lighter than my Patagonia Capilene stuff. And the merino wool stuff doesn't develop the funkiness of the synthetics, even when they are not washed often.

On my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike I used the synthetic Capilene stuff. It worked just fine. During my Colorado Trail thru-hike, I used the Merino wool stuff and I liked its performance, too. Better, because of the lack of the stink thing.

What I'm trying to say is that improvements have been done in all materials, but a modern sock perform better than a humble sock from 20 years ago, not differently. Comparing waterproof shoes to non waterproof ones is like comparing apples to oranges, there are no facts to determine which one is better, only opinions.
I disagree with the apples/oranges conclusion. Performance is identical in all parameters except for the addition of GTX in the exact same model of shoes where GTX is an option. The membrane does not change the traction, stability, traction, cushioning, etc. So that leaves the changes which are introduced by the GTX laminate. Those changes are limited to how they perform with exposure to water.

You say there are 'no facts to determine which one (GTX vs Non GTX) is better'. I agree. Determining a shoe preference is purely subjective and is based on personal needs and comfort. But it is also true that the performance characteristics of a shoe are able to be objectively measured. I am hired by companies producing backpacking related gear and clothing and footwear to do that very thing.

I have tested a lot of GTX and Non GTX footwear brands and models. Determining how my feet respond to a waterproof membrane is a subjective judgement. Determining that under a variety of increasingly wet conditions that most categories of hiking footwear eventually leak is an objective observation. This is not a unique observation either; it is an observation that many experienced backpackers, hikers, and runners have made.

... . . . , but it seems that waterproof vs. non waterproof it's becoming an ideology.
:) I actually see it the other way around: GTX footwear has become a the ideology and those who question its usefulness are looked at as being weird for bucking the new Dogma.

I do not try to push folks into a specific type of footwear. If someone says that they are content with their GTX shoes, then that is that. The same applies to personal choices from heavy leather, high top, mountaineering boots to flip flops.

What I try to do is present the options, which also includes the pros and cons. While I do believe that in the moderate weather of the three seasons from late spring to early fall, on Camino, most folks will benefit from trail runners and present the reasons why, I also discuss the benefits of other footwear with differing conditions.

What the thru-hikers do is of very little interest to me, I never had the problems you mentioned above from sweating, but I've been very miserable every time I got my feet wet from water even with open toes sandals on. For me walking is a pleasure, not a competition, not a training, not a performance to post on socials, I don't follow blindly the latest trends of minimal, lightest, whatever backpacking if I'm not comfortable doing it. If somethings works for me I would keep on using it without looking compulsively to change it just for the sake of it, to be modern at all cost or to conform to the general consensus among the thru-hikers.
While not of interest to you for your own reasons, what experienced thru-hikers use, both for gear and technique, is a great base from which to start when considering walking a Camino. The lightness and functionality of gear and clothing can be utilized for both activities, and will help increase the enjoyability of walking the Camino as well as helping to reduce injuries and strains from carrying lighter loads.

What I don't like is the concept of "the best" of something, I thing that everything has its place. It seems like the technical data you mentioned have the pretense to be "universal", but the diversity of environments, people and habits make them only well informed suggestions. For me and for my way of enjoying the outdoors, one solution fits all doesn't work well.
I very much agree that the concept of what is 'best' is fraught with limitations and uselessness. That's why this thread is lacking in such discussion. There is a lot of posts expressing personal preferences, but I don't view those expressions as claiming to have found the 'best' thing for everyone; its more like, "Hey, this worked for me, why don't you give it a try.

My OP is much the same. I am not specifically stating what footwear is best, but what is the best current knowledge out there for dealing with wet feet. Mentioning the drawbacks of GTX footwear vs non GTX is not doing anything other than recognizing what can occur with either type of shoe based on actual user experience. There are those who swear by GTX. In cold weather with mild rain and wet trail conditions I have also experienced decent outcomes. But that is not my usual experience during the three season use I usually am engaged in backpacking and hiking.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I cannot resist - you replaced a metal mug with a metal mug that you replaced with an even lighter metal mug?

And you still have a metal mug? I must admit that I have moved on to a collapsible neoprene mug when space in important. I have one that is the same weight as my titanium mug, very slightly bigger in capacity, but only about 40% of the volume collapsed.
My Ti mug is my cookpot, my drinking cup, my water sterilizing by boiling cup (if I need to), and my stove and cartridge storage container while I'm on the move while backpacking. I wish I could use something like a lighter weight neoprene mug, but such is life -- and multitasking -- where fire is involved :)
 

Stroller123

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning Italy to Finisterre and back (20xx)
I cannot resist - you replaced a metal mug with a metal mug that you replaced with an even lighter metal mug?

And you still have a metal mug? I must admit that I have moved on to a collapsible neoprene mug when space in important. I have one that is the same weight as my titanium mug, very slightly bigger in capacity, but only about 40% of the volume collapsed.
I use it to boil water for tea and it stays nested at the bottom of one of my water bottle.
An acquaintance of mine never goes hiking without a moka pot, but then he shares the coffee which is good.
 

Stroller123

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning Italy to Finisterre and back (20xx)
They do the same exact function
It just the definition that it's different. One claims to be WP the other doesn't, like a nylon poncho vs. a cotton one.

When I was younger I used to go fishing and when standing in the water I used rubber boots or waders. It never crossed my mind to use Goretext boots even in shallow water. For me WP trekking footwear need only to deflect (with the design) water which goes on it from top and bottom and the membrane needs to block the water that may get trough. If I need to cross a stream I rather do it with sandals than relying on WP boots, especially because water can get in from the top.

I don't know what claims make the firms which make WP footwear, but if they claim something which is not true they should be accused of false advertisement. If, on the other hand, the water intrusion come from poor manufacturing some customer association should take a stand. To sum it up, I trust more in my judgment than in the product characteristic, if a rope holds up to, let's say, 10Kg I would load it no more than 8Kg just to be on the safe side.

Regarding the sweating, it all goes down to the quantity of it. As I said before I don't sweat much on my feet, but heavily on my back, maybe for some people might be different. But I find difficult to imagine that the sweat from the inside is as much as the water that can get if from heavy rain.

A lot of folks turned to synthetics
I never said wool would perform poorly, it was just the perception that synthetic meant modernity for many, so everything used by old guys was to be avoided.

I disagree with the apples/oranges conclusion.
Again it's a matter of definition one has something the other hasn't, It's not a matter of traction, protection and so on, one should repel water the other it's not supposed to do so. Like a straw hat vs. a cotton waxed hat, they both provide protection from the sun, but I'd never use the latter one in the desert, nor the first one under a heavy shower.

Truth to be told, non WP leather boots covered in wax are still my favourite.

I actually see it the other way around
We are on the same page on this. The Camino it's not a strenuous Alpine walk, flexibility is good. In the previous posts I got the impression that your opinions were more black and white, that why I talk about ideology. I do apologize.

While not of interest to you for your own reasons
Don't get me wrong on this. I admire and envy thru-hikers a lot, I always wanted to do the AT, but because of the cost and the touristic visa time limit I probably would never be able to hike it. What I meant is that the conditions of an American thru-hike are very differrent from the ones I had and will be able to experience. I don't think the Camino or any the other devotional walks in EU can be compared with a US thru-hike. Nor they can be compared in term of environment to the Italian thru-hikes or even to the European E1. In none of this you will walk from the desert to the mountains, for example, on Grande Traversata delle Alpi (GTA) you gonna be on the mountaing from the start to the end and so in many others. I agree with your point overall, but I think it's a bit overkill using thru-hikers gear for the Camino.

I very much agree that the concept of what is 'best' is fraught with limitations and uselessness.
This is my point, everything has it's place and time. I won't hike on Scottish highlands without WP boots (in any season actually) and I'd never use WP shoes in 40°C heat of Italian low lands. Since hot weather is heavier on me than cold/wet one I tend to do my hikes when there's. a likelihood of rain, when grass is wet and when mud puddles are present, so WP footwear for me is generally more suited. The same can be said for the Camino, it all goes down to the season, to the road taken and to personal preferences/habits/characteristics.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
It just the definition that it's different. One claims to be WP the other doesn't, like a nylon poncho vs. a cotton one.

When I was younger I used to go fishing and when standing in the water I used rubber boots or waders. It never crossed my mind to use Goretext boots even in shallow water. For me WP trekking footwear need only to deflect (with the design) water which goes on it from top and bottom and the membrane needs to block the water that may get trough. If I need to cross a stream I rather do it with sandals than relying on WP boots, especially because water can get in from the top.

I don't know what claims make the firms which make WP footwear, but if they claim something which is not true they should be accused of false advertisement. If, on the other hand, the water intrusion come from poor manufacturing some customer association should take a stand. To sum it up, I trust more in my judgment than in the product characteristic, if a rope holds up to, let's say, 10Kg I would load it no more than 8Kg just to be on the safe side.

Regarding the sweating, it all goes down to the quantity of it. As I said before I don't sweat much on my feet, but heavily on my back, maybe for some people might be different. But I find difficult to imagine that the sweat from the inside is as much as the water that can get if from heavy rain.



I never said wool would perform poorly, it was just the perception that synthetic meant modernity for many, so everything used by old guys was to be avoided.



Again it's a matter of definition one has something the other hasn't, It's not a matter of traction, protection and so on, one should repel water the other it's not supposed to do so. Like a straw hat vs. a cotton waxed hat, they both provide protection from the sun, but I'd never use the latter one in the desert, nor the first one under a heavy shower.

Truth to be told, non WP leather boots covered in wax are still my favourite.



We are on the same page on this. The Camino it's not a strenuous Alpine walk, flexibility is good. In the previous posts I got the impression that your opinions were more black and white, that why I talk about ideology. I do apologize.



Don't get me wrong on this. I admire and envy thru-hikers a lot, I always wanted to do the AT, but because of the cost and the touristic visa time limit I probably would never be able to hike it. What I meant is that the conditions of an American thru-hike are very differrent from the ones I had and will be able to experience. I don't think the Camino or any the other devotional walks in EU can be compared with a US thru-hike. Nor they can be compared in term of environment to the Italian thru-hikes or even to the European E1. In none of this you will walk from the desert to the mountains, for example, on Grande Traversata delle Alpi (GTA) you gonna be on the mountaing from the start to the end and so in many others. I agree with your point overall, but I think it's a bit overkill using thru-hikers gear for the Camino.



This is my point, everything has it's place and time. I won't hike on Scottish highlands without WP boots (in any season actually) and I'd never use WP shoes in 40°C heat of Italian low lands. Since hot weather is heavier on me than cold/wet one I tend to do my hikes when there's. a likelihood of rain, when grass is wet and when mud puddles are present, so WP footwear for me is generally more suited. The same can be said for the Camino, it all goes down to the season, to the road taken and to personal preferences/habits/characteristics.
I wish I could continue the conversation, but I just do not have the energy. In order to continue I would need to re write the full context of what my answers actually said, as opposed to the way the partial snippets of quotes change the subject of what I had written.

I can no longer tell what we are actually talking about. I guess my mind isn't working well. My bad.
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
I stumbled on these on Amazon. Has anyone tried something like this?? https://amzn.to/2t32eDy Looks interesting to me.
Galoshes*! How splendidly Victorian - conjures up visions of my (then) 3 year old Philippa "dancing" in puddles.

*In the UK, sometimes known to Canadians as "rubbers" - just to confuse American tourists I think. I once saw a sign in an hotel in Ontario that said "Please leave rubbers at the door" ;)
 

alhartman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hope so!
I am firmly on the side of "not-waterproof"--because that is what works for my feet.
Blisters have 3 friends: heat, moisture, and friction.
My feet sweat like the dickens--even in snowshoeing weather. "Waterproof" is just enough to retain every drop of foot sweat. My only blisters in some 350 days of Camino walking was a day thru tall French wet grass. My usual protocol for wet feet is to stop, dry my feet, and put on fresh silk liners and wool socks. I was tired and lazy that day and got to spend a layover day healing.
My solution to friction and moisture is BagBalm as my 'goop'; it is not as water soluble as Vaseline so lasts longer--and if it is good enough for cows teats, it is good enough for my feet. I apply morning and evening.
My alternate footwear is an old pair of Merrill sandals--they have Vibram soles to protect me from rocks and road heat, and even with bad ankles, I can do 10km on the easier Camino days before weak ankles are a limitation. And they give my feet a chance to dry--I use them for evening shoes while my boots and socks are drying (yes, old newsprint in the shoes) (yes, a backup pair of insoles) (yes, double socks to stop friction)
DAVEBUGG initial post says just about everything you need to know about footwear and foot care--read it carefully--TWICE.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
I am firmly on the side of "not-waterproof"--because that is what works for my feet.
Blisters have 3 friends: heat, moisture, and friction.
My feet sweat like the dickens--even in snowshoeing weather. "Waterproof" is just enough to retain every drop of foot sweat. My only blisters in some 350 days of Camino walking was a day thru tall French wet grass. My usual protocol for wet feet is to stop, dry my feet, and put on fresh silk liners and wool socks. I was tired and lazy that day and got to spend a layover day healing.
My solution to friction and moisture is BagBalm as my 'goop'; it is not as water soluble as Vaseline so lasts longer--and if it is good enough for cows teats, it is good enough for my feet. I apply morning and evening.
My alternate footwear is an old pair of Merrill sandals--they have Vibram soles to protect me from rocks and road heat, and even with bad ankles, I can do 10km on the easier Camino days before weak ankles are a limitation. And they give my feet a chance to dry--I use them for evening shoes while my boots and socks are drying (yes, old newsprint in the shoes) (yes, a backup pair of insoles) (yes, double socks to stop friction)
DAVEBUGG initial post says just about everything you need to know about footwear and foot care--read it carefully--TWICE.
Bag Balm has a lanolin base which is really good for this type of application. All of those 'goops' which I tend to gravitate toward contain lanolin as an ingredient.

:) I have long thought of cooking up my own concoction for use in order to save some money and get a more customized product. This 'Bugg Balm' would contain both lanolin and beeswax, along with one or two other things in a ratio that fits my preferences. Since Jill would probably not like me getting melted beeswax all over the stove, I'd have to setup a hotplate in the garage :)
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
I do know that wet feet generally means blisters.
@tpmchugh , I rather suspect your knowedge is not not a universal truth.

I for one, when tramping in my local sub-tropical rain forest many years ago, relished wading streams and rivers and getting thoroughly wet from the ankle down, I dont recall blisters but do recall a soothing coolness.

Even now, if I encounter a stream across a beach on a training walk just get on with it, knowing my feet will be touch dry in about ten minutes. In seven years walking I would have used less than 20 dressings and then mainly for scratches.

So, as I understand how our bodies work, your knowledge applies to you. And my knowledge applies to me.

I wish you well for your future pilgrimages.
 

Penny Kingma

M.S. Can't Stop Me !
Camino(s) past & future
May 29th to July 4th 2016
SJPDP to Santiago
And many, many more I pray
I still stand behind my Keen Sandles. .I purchased the men’s style with a wider toe bed. Paired them with thick copper lined socks with loose ankle opening. You must allow for swelling and let your feet breath. I took 6 pair of socks...changed during the day and gave some away to fellow pilgrims. I took a second pair of Keens just in case. I came upon a Pilgrim in great foot distress, luckily my same size, I sent her off with both the Keens and some socks. Still removed my sandles and socks a few times a day .....to rest my feet. Finished the entire Camino, carrying my gear with no blisters or abrasions. 51728
 
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mishlove

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugués...April/May (2014)
Camino Ingles..........Sept. (2015)
Copper lined socks? I have not heard of them.
 

Penny Kingma

M.S. Can't Stop Me !
Camino(s) past & future
May 29th to July 4th 2016
SJPDP to Santiago
And many, many more I pray
I get them at Marks workwear here in Canada. I started with Tommy Copper products and then found these. Copper is thought to have many health benefits.
 

mishlove

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugués...April/May (2014)
Camino Ingles..........Sept. (2015)
I get them at Marks workwear here in Canada. I started with Tommy Copper products and then found these. Copper is thought to have many health benefits.
I'm going to MEC tonight (Toronto)...there is one close by. Is there a brand name?
 

mishlove

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugués...April/May (2014)
Camino Ingles..........Sept. (2015)
A thanks to all who commented, appreciated, invaluable info.
 

Penny Kingma

M.S. Can't Stop Me !
Camino(s) past & future
May 29th to July 4th 2016
SJPDP to Santiago
And many, many more I pray
I don’t think they carry this type at MEC I’ve only found that at Marks workwear which is generally located near or attached to a Canadian Tire.
$16 for two pair
51890 51891 51891 51892
 

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