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Gaiters or waterproof socks

2020 Camino Guides

John Gilliland

The Pilgrim Continues
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles June 2017
Camino Portugues May 2019
My wife and I are walking part of the Via Francesco next April and I'm wondering which is better for snow: gaiters or waterproof socks?
 
Last edited:

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
My wife and I are walking part of the Via Francesco next April and I'm wondering which is part for snow: gaiters or waterproof socks?
Forget waterproof socks. All you need is waterproof boots and gaiters. If you want shoes instead then still get gaiters. I don’t know how much snow you’ll have but gaiters are great for rain and stepping in mud. But my feet only stay dry because I use waterproof boots. Others will tell you not to wear boots or not to wear waterproof footwear. It’s up to you.
I always hike in waterproof boots and never had blisters or wet feet. You’ll have to figure it out for yourself.
 

happymarkos

HappyMark
Camino(s) past & future
2013 CF
2014 Le Puy-St Jean. 2014&16 Volunteer St JP
2016 Portuguese
2017 Porto-Santiago
2018
My wife and I are walking part of the Via Francesco next April and I'm wondering which is better for snow: gaiters or waterproof socks?
Gaiters keep mud and slush out of footwear and reduce the mud build up on the leggings.
Need good quality that stay up. I like the Rab ones
 

Stewart K.

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
APril 2016
I walked in the snow on the CF in 2018. I wore non waterproof trail running shoes and Dexshell waterproof socks. The entire Camino was wet/rainy/snowy/cold in the mornings. My feet were comfortable 100% of the time. When it warned up during the day, I stopped and switched to regular socks. Highly recommend Dexshell.
 

Chris Gi

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Did April through June 2018 from Pamplona to Santiago. 2020 May or end of September.
Forget waterproof socks. All you need is waterproof boots and gaiters. If you want shoes instead then still get gaiters. I don’t know how much snow you’ll have but gaiters are great for rain and stepping in mud. But my feet only stay dry because I use waterproof boots. Others will tell you not to wear boots or not to wear waterproof footwear. It’s up to you.
I always hike in waterproof boots and never had blisters or wet feet. You’ll have to figure it out for yourself.
I love my Merrell Siren waterproof shoes and I believe that they have a boot also. I can hike in any weather and my feet stay warm and dry (I wear Darn Good merino wool socks). The shoes are really light weight but very supportive. Some people don’t like them because they look “plastic” but so what if they work....it’s not a fashion show out there!
 

ortemio

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances,14,
Frances,15
Madrid,15
Salvador,15
VdlP,Sanabres
Porto,16
Levante,17
Mozarabe,18
Gaiters keep things out of the shoes but are not waterproof, waterproof socks keep water away from your skin, but! that said waterproof socks will make your feet sweat. In my recent camino del Norte I had days and days of rain, wet trails, hail like cold hell and my shoes looked like sponges when you would press on them. No gaiter was going to help there.

So , my recommendation is :==> real hiking shoes, gaiter and light waterproof socks if you want the best comfort and are hiking in the Nov-Mar time frame. Don't worry about shoe weight , rain is normal in North Spain during that time frame, don't hope for no rain, be realistic...

==> trail shoes, dirty girl gaiters , thin merino socks, darn tough socks for the other months, this is the no blister recipe

If you do otherwise, well like the rest of us, Live and learn and enjoy the camino, it is after all a learning experience.
 

Moorwalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
In cold, snowy conditions I'd go for proper hiking shoes rather than my usual trail runners, and light elastic gaiters like the Dirty Girl ones to stop the snow from wetting the top of my socks. I'm not keen on waterproof socks because they can make your feet sweaty. If you expect deep snow then high cut lightweight boots, the low cut ones that only just come up to your ankle don't give any support and don't keep the snow out any better than a shoe and elastic gaiter.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
I do not think you will hit any appreciable snow - will always be above freezing in the morning and getting up to 50 by noon. I walked in Columbia water-proof sneakers at $130 a pair.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
A trick I have used in colder weather when mountaineering and during winter time backpacking, is the use of a vapor barrier. It means a bit more work with my feet at long break times, like for lunch time.

A vapor barrier is a mostly, {but not necessarily absolute), waterproof membrane. The beauty of it is that you can treat it like a clothing layer, adding it or subtracting it as your feet respond to temperature. The vapor barrier can be as simple as a bread bag or a baggy. . . or as elegant as a manufactured product, like Armaskin socks. I prefer simpler and less expensive and expendable :)

First: Thoroughly apply a good coat of goop to your feet. . tops, bottoms, and between toes.
  1. Slip on a moisture wicking/absorbing thin sock. A thin merino wool sock or synthetic is fine.
  2. Put on the vapor barrier.
  3. Put on the regular outer sock.
  4. Put on shoe.
The barrier will create perspiration, which the inner sock will somewhat absorb. That sock will eventually become wet against the skin, which is OK. The barrier will keep the skin warm, even though the inner sock is damp. The outer sock will be wet from the rain, but the barrier will provide a good level of protection against conductive heat loss, thus keeping feet warmer.

The hassle comes from having to remove shoes during longer breaks so that you can quickly mop the skin and wring out the inner sock. Where the same problem is lessened when no vapor barrier is used, the body heat and wet can create bacterial growth on the skin. So, when stopping for a longer break time, removing foot wear and wiping off feet, reapply the balm, and you are good to go.

Even though there is more moisture than usual against the feet, the risk for blistering does not necessarily increase IF you are controlling the primary cause for blistering already. . sheer force friction.

If I can be of further help, feel free to send my a private message.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2019, 2020)
My wife and I are walking part of the Via Francesco next April and I'm wondering which is better for snow: gaiters or waterproof socks?
I didn't walk during times of snow, but I wore waterproof boots and gaters for the rain. However, this September when I return, I'll bring a pair of waterproof socks to wear with my sandals in the evenings. I wear Ecco sandals at the end of the day, and during rainy days, my feet were always wet. I just didn't want to wear my boots after walking all day.
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015)
I live in Minnesota and like snowshoeing and hiking during winter. I wear a pair of Marmot rain pants and pull them down over my boots. They function like gaiters. For socks, I wear a liner pair of SmartWool socks and then a regular pair of SmartWool socks. I wear water resistant Keen Targhee III mid-height boots. I would not wear waterproof socks. I’d rather stop the snow from getting to my socks. If my socks get soaked it’s game over.
 

Forestgirl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Frances
2017 Portuguese, Muxia y Fisterra,
Ingles, Primativo
2018 Frances
2019 Norte
My wife and I are walking part of the Via Francesco next April and I'm wondering which is better for snow: gaiters or waterproof socks?
Gaiters 100%. They keep your pants clean and dry. Boot laces are covered which helps keep your boots dry inside. I have chosen these over waterproof pants on many a Camino.
Buen Camino
 

walkingwithward

New Member
Gaiters keep things out of the shoes but are not waterproof, waterproof socks keep water away from your skin, but! that said waterproof socks will make your feet sweat. In my recent camino del Norte I had days and days of rain, wet trails, hail like cold hell and my shoes looked like sponges when you would press on them. No gaiter was going to help there.

So , my recommendation is :==> real hiking shoes, gaiter and light waterproof socks if you want the best comfort and are hiking in the Nov-Mar time frame. Don't worry about shoe weight , rain is normal in North Spain during that time frame, don't hope for no rain, be realistic...

==> trail shoes, dirty girl gaiters , thin merino socks, darn tough socks for the other months, this is the no blister recipe

If you do otherwise, well like the rest of us, Live and learn and enjoy the camino, it is after all a learning experience.
There are many brands of waterproof gaiters and they work extremely well in keeping debris out of your shoes or boots and in keeping your feet, pants, and socks dry.
 

ortemio

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances,14,
Frances,15
Madrid,15
Salvador,15
VdlP,Sanabres
Porto,16
Levante,17
Mozarabe,18
There are many brands of waterproof gaiters and they work extremely well in keeping debris out of your shoes or boots and in keeping your feet, pants, and socks dry.
I am so happy for that reply as I have been searching for just that. Can you enlighten me as of brand and or website so that I and others can look at them? Do you mean 5 kilo gaiters, military grade?
 

Mar Oregon

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hoping to walk in 2020
I am so happy for that reply as I have been searching for just that. Can you enlighten me as of brand and or website so that I and others can look at them? Do you mean 5 kilo gaiters, military grade?
I have used Outdoor Research Rocky Mountain Low gaiters. Got mine thru REI. They keep out debris well. I have only had light rain while wearing them on hikes at home but they did the trick. It had been raining buckets though. If you happen to step into puddles, they help keep mud and water out of the laces and off your pant legs. My version is labeled water resistant, not waterproof. OR makes several other versions of gaiter including taller ones and waterproof.
 

pelerine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte 10, Primitivo 13, Plata 14+15, Salvador 16, Torres 17, Portugues 18, Mozarabe 19
Hi! My Goretex gaiters come up to the knees and are branded “Trekmates”. Very good!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
Gaiters! I wish I had them to keep road dust out of my shoes! I use them on every hike I do now but did not have them then.
 

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