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great shoes, bad shopping experiences.


Actually I bought three different pairs and returned them all. They were all fine apart from the fact that in the evenings, when my feet where swollen, my right small toe was compressed uncomfortably. I tried many different types, from heavy leather boots to lighter walking shoes.

Staff personal wasn't always very helpful. The last shop I visited was the worst in the end. It started out good, measuring my feet, picking out shoes with supposedly wider toe beds as many shoes are to narrow for me. At one point I said, nope these are far to narrow. And the 'expert' said: "I do not want to tell you what the shoes feel like" (making it clear that was exactly what he was about to do), "but it cannot be. These shoes are supposed to be the widest. Me: "Well, that pair of Lowa shoes was much better". He smirked: "you do not even have wide feet." Me: "Perhaps I should try one size bigger". Him: "No, this is really the right size for you.

In the end I took home a pair of Meindl boots to compare them with a pair of Jack Wolfskin boots. "Just take them home fore a night", he said, "you can return them with no problem". I tested out the boots at home, again my right toe was feeling very crushed. I returned the shoes and I got all sorts of questions: what was wrong with them because these were the most comfortable shoes out there, why did I not accept a voucher instead of the money. It was pure hell, and I was getting a bit angry. Then they said they couldn't give me back the money because they did not have the cash, and I paid by cash one day earlier! Grr.

So, I went back home and tried my Jack Wolfskin boots again, which were the most comfortable in the end, and 80 euro's cheaper. Then I noticed one of the shoes squeaked. I had to return these as well. Online, I saw they did sell half sizes though one employee had told me they did not. So back in the shop I tried one half size bigger, and apart from the fact that they were a bit long, they fit like a glove. The staff were really friendly, even if they weren't to informed. And they were happy to oblige me in any way.

Why on earth did no one in three different shops suggest that I try one size bigger. It could have saved me so many hours and worries.

This is the shoe I finished up with:


They are much lighter than I though my boots needed to be. The expert in the Jack Wolfskin said a lighter boot would be better for the Camino and I should not go for a boot with a stiffer sole. Yet in other shops they said I was crazy to go for anything this light if I would walk for more than 3 hours. I think I am finally start to learn to only follow my own instincts.
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Veteran Member
I really dont know, if they felt too small why didn't you ask for a size bigger ?

I usually never try only one size in the store, always the one that fits and the one a size bigger...

besides, all shoe posts here will tell for that your hiking shoes should always be too big or you end up without toenails, same for running shoes really...

P - actually walks in 1½ size bigger and find that the size 9 shoes does wonders for her skinny legs *coughs*


Active Member
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Frances May (2015) - pending
They look really nice and comfortable but it's how they fit on your foot that counts. I have a pair of Keen mid height boots which I quite like BUT before I go on the Camino I have learned I need to go at least a half size bigger and maybe even a whole size. My boots are great over shorter distances (up to 6 km) but over that and I think my feet spread/stretch and my right second toenail must come into contact or something. I couldn't really feel it until the very end of my walk but after I got home I started to think I was going to lose the nail ... even sock pressure hurt it. In the end I did not lose it but I learned a valuable lesson. Luckily I am not leaving until 2014 so i have some time yet to sort the shoe/boot issue out. I too have found that sales staff at our local stores are not always as knowledgeable as even I am ... and I'm a rank amateur ... still I know what feels right on my odd feet (and yes I have VERY odd feet) and like you I am learning to listen to my own instincts.

The sales staff was informed why I wanted the boot and what kind of mileage I was planning to put on it in a day when I first got my boots (I knew nothing at that point) and no one, not a single staff person advised me to get size larger than I normally wear. It seems such common knowledge on here I sometimes wonder why they aren't aware of that as well .. they ARE supposed to be the *experts* ... or at least you'd think that someone in a specialty store would at least be aware of the basics ...


Veteran Member
I went to a ton of stores last year to get shoes, i knew what I wanted and every salesperson took out these big heavy stiff boots and there i was saying i really need more cushioning, softer soles and shoes instead of boots. They are all trained staff and everybody tolkd me I was mad, and that "one couldn't really walk that far in the kind of shoes I was asking for"

finally I ended up gettin the speedcross from solomon, and my feet and legs had a feast...

I had sustained an injury last year before I left (and before i changed shoes) which I am still struggeling with (due to strangely proportioned spinepressure).

Last week I brought in my old shoes to my fysiotherapist and said I wanted to get a pair of the same kind for this year because they were the most flexible and most cushined shoes i could find and also this year they have even less height diffrence between back & front. She was extatic and said that they were perfect for me and that she wanted a pair herself.

so, my feet, my body, my camino, my shoes...

(they came in the post today but i send them back because the neon green color doesn't match my skirt (the salespeople said they were mint) so this year they will be dull grey instead of fancy pastel though :cry: )


@ Pieces: I did not ask for a size bigger, because lengthwise the 7,5 fitted great. I did not need longer shoes, just a bit more leeway in width on the right foot. I could not find a single pair of 'wide boots' that did this for me though. And I put on dozens of shoes. Usually they felt fine, until I put them on at night, when my feet were warmed up. Talking about length, the experts were right, a 7,5 would be quite perfect.

So yes, I actually have gone almost 1,5 size bigger than my normal size, well according to Dutch standards. I am a Dutch size 40,5 (the equivalent of a UK size 7 1/4?) and have bought a 42 (UK size 8 ). So to British standards I have only gone up 3/4 of a size. So it depends how one calculates I guess. I never know to which standards people refer up here

I am still a bit in doubt weather this is not to long a shoe for me, as I feel there is a bit too much empty shoe left, I estimate about 1 cm of free space. Yet, I figure that slight to long is better than slightly too narrow right? I stood on the little fake hill, and my feet did not shift inside the boot which I did experience with the boots I returned earlier who actually were smaller at a 7,5.

About the colour. I would have preferred the olive green & yellow version, but they were sold out. Now I rather like the blue. They match my Deuter 28L and I guess when I go on the Camino in 2013, they will stand out a bit more in an Albergue line-up. ;) My mum loves the colour too by the way, and now wants to buy the same ones.
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Veteran Member
if everything else fits the length should be fine with 1 cm, actually 1 cm is only 1 size and 1 cm is not very much when walking downhill...

just tie the laces real well and you will be fine, much better too big than too small...

for normal shoes there should be 5mm space in front give or take...

but test them out, under no circumstances must you be able to get your longest toe in conact with the front of the shoe, (specially at night in 30 degrees wearing your smartwool socks) if they do, take them back (nice color regardless...)

besides, the sizes are just numbers, and they differ from brand to brand so one cant really rely on them (which is why one should always try more than one size...)


Thanks for the advice. Now I can finally take my boots out :)

The mean reason for my uncertainty is that 6 years ago I bought my walking shoes to small, and I do not want that again. Yes, you read correctly, I walked on walking boots that were to small for 6 years. So I really deserved some new ones! It was doable for walks of 2 hours or a bit more since my country is completely flat, but a longer hike was quite uncomfortable.


I finally took my boots out for a walk. I am afraid they might be a bit big, but I usually wear wuite think walking socks. I plan to buy some thick woollen socks, liners, and I want to buy other insoles as well. I hope that makes them quite perfect.


Veteran Member
as long as it is length not width as you said, don't worry too much. Just use the shoelaces to make sure your feet dont slide around in the shoe. Not sure where you are weatherwise, but i guarantee that your feet will get bigger walking hours every day...

heres a nice pic og someone with small shoes, their big toe really, soon to be without a nail...


I actually has a colleague who ran a 12km run in too small shoes, when she took her socks off her toenails came with them, even if she hadn't felt a thing running (no, not kidding) :|


The width is fine. Only the heel isn't quite as snug as I would ideally like, but I am hoping that buying new insoles will help with this. My new smartwool socks already make a lot of difference compared to my old cotton based walking socks.

Oeh. That picture is nasty.

I walked 15 km with my shoes (without the new socks) and though I experienced some discomfort, I am sure I will never have that particular problem. And I really like having nails.
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I just wanted to let you guys know, the problem has been solved. I bought some heavy cushioned smartwool sooks (the other store only sold medium ones) and my shoes fit perfectly know. I also bought some pair of liner socks, which takes care of the chafing on my heal which has a lot of scar tissue due to a bicycle accident.

I am so relieved :) I feared I made a bad choice in size all over again. I am considering buying new insoles as well, but I'll wait and see to see what my feet need on a long hike. Now I finally can do some real hiking.

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