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Help selecting Boots for our Walk.

Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2015, 2017, 2019
#1
I am looking for some input.

On our three Caminos we have used KEEN Targhee II Mid Outdoor Boot.
We were happy with everything about them. Height. Weight. Thickness of Sole. Waterproof.

Great shoes.

We are now planning our 4th Camino and our old Boots are worn out.

I was blindly going to order a new pair of Keens for each of us, then I thought....

Why not ask for Input of what others think.

PS.... We like Boots. They preformed well on muddy trails. The thicker soles help prevent “tender-foot” after walking the roman road sections.
1529007753449.jpeg
 

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davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#2
I am looking for some input.

On our three Caminos we have used KEEN Targhee II Mid Outdoor Boot.
We were happy with everything about them. Height. Weight. Thickness of Sole. Waterproof.

Great shoes.

We are now planning our 4th Camino and our old Boots are worn out.

I was blindly going to order a new pair of Keens for each of us, then I thought....

Why not ask for Input of what others think.

PS.... We like Boots. They preformed well on muddy trails. The thicker soles help prevent “tender-foot” after walking the roman road sections.
If you like boots, then there ya go... boots it is :) Lot's of stuff is available on this topic thru the search engine, too. Below are a few reposts of mine which you may or may not choose to consider.

Let me start by saying that if someone chooses to walk in the types of boots you have listed, that is a personal choice. If asked, I might recommend a different type of hiking footwear to try. But footwear choices are so individual to fit and comfort, that someone making an informed decision for a boot who, having given them a good trial run and liking the choice, is not getting an argument from me :).

The problem is with the huge generalization that was made favoring boots, although I am wondering if that statement wasn't meant to sound as definitive or ironclad as it did. There is now a large body of experience which contradicts such an assessment. In other words, hiking boots are not critical for comfort. To be sure, the boots mentioned have their adherents (I love my Lowa Caminos for winter time); and for what they are, are great quality footwear. However, the trend toward trail runners and trail shoes now have a large following as the technology has matured. And for good reason.

For example, the preference by ultralight thru hikers over the last 5 years on the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail have largely been to trail runner type shoes. This trend has been increasingly adopted by other backpackers over the last several years. Additionally, the issue of a 'waterproof' shoe is increasingly being turned aside --- as the weaknesses and disadvantages to the technology have become more apparent --- in favor to materials which drain fast and dry quickly.

Right now, I am doing a gear test for Solomon on their XA Pro 3D Trail Runner. It is a non GTX shoe (Goretex, for those wondering). If I were to compare the usability of these trail runners or trekking shoes, to the newer generation of boots, I can do so in direct comparison to a pair of Lowa Camino GTX boots, which I use for winter backpacking trips in snow. I can do a direct comparison of performance as it relates to support, stability, and perceived comfort to the sole of the foot, and to the foot in general.

So far, I have put over 150 miles on the Solomons. As is part of the job, I have purposefully walked through streams to assess their ability to dry out and perform when wet, have hiked over severely rough, rutted, and rocky debris strewn trails to check out stability and comfort and support, and have taken muddied and wet rocked uphill trails to determine traction and stability under typical adverse conditions in the backcountry.

In some instances, the Lowas would have performed slightly better; in other areas there is no discernible difference. The Lowas will definitely last longer than the Solomons, but at over three times the price of the Solomons, they should be expected to do so.

But, and this is a critical factor for me, and to a lot of backpackers and trekkers: The Lowa Renegade cited in the list, which is a bit lighter than my Caminos, are nearly three times as heavy on the foot as the Solomons.

The military studies on fatigue and footwear have determined that, on average, one pound on the foot is equal to five pounds carried on the back. At nearly three and a half pounds per pair, that means over 17 pounds. At an average weight of 1.75 pounds per pair of trail runners, wearing a trail runner drops that weight to 5.25 pounds

The practical issues for less experienced and fit pilgrims are several. Excess fatigue and wear on the legs can obviously drain energy quicker, making for a more tiring day of walking. However, the frequency of issues, such as shin splints, knee pain, ankle strain, and blistering rises with higher levels of work to the legs, which is increased by heavier than needed footwear.

There are several other issues regarding boots versus trail runners and shoes. And as with generalizations about boots, there is a danger in being overly general regarding the suitability of trail runners as a universal given.

Also

As to the thought about boots and ankle support:

First, unless there are medical issues, the ankle is best protected with exercise and use, where the ankle is allowed to use uneven surfaces, exercise, and balancing on one foot in order to build strength and endurance and lessen susceptibility to injurious fatigue.

The only sure ankle support for medically indicated need are ankle braces which can fit inside of the shoe. Despite anecdotal evidence and subjective opinion to the contrary, research has repeatedly shown that boots do not provide the level of stiffness and the shear rigidity needed to keep ankles free from injury.

They can, in fact, exacerbate the risk of injury. A foot in a boot is sitting higher off the ground than when in a shoe because the outer and midsoles are much thicker and built up. Additionally, the outer sole of boots are trimmed closer to shell of the boot, meaning that the outer sole has a fairly narrow profile. Both of these factors have been shown to have a higher risk of the footwear 'rolling' when stepping on an unstable surface or piece of debris like loose rocks or uneven surfaces.

As the boot begins to roll, the boot carries the foot with it, the higher material of the boot above the ankle exerts more force against the foot to make it roll with the boot. That material is not stiff enough to keep from flexing, which means that your ankle is going to start bending as the roll of the boot continues. And because the foot is higher off the ground inside the boot, the ankle can be forced into a more significant bending.

Another factor about boots that helps lead to injury is their weight. The heavier the weight that the foot and lower legs need to lift, the more stress and fatigue the ankles and supporting structures are exposed to. Such weakens the ability of the ankle structures to maintain resiliency.

Trail shoes and trail runners, on the other hand, do the opposite when confronted with the same type of uneven surface or debris. The outer and midsoles are much closer to the ground. They are also wider than the shoe making for a contact point with the ground that is more stable. Their much lighter weight keeps ankle structures from fatiguing.

Now here is the thing researchers found as most significant: A foot in a shoe that is kept a bit loose can compensate, to a large degree, when the shoe starts to roll off of an uneven surface. As the shoe rolls, the shoe tends to slip around the foot. In other words, the shoe moves around the foot for the most part, so the ankle won't immediately bend out of place with the shoe. This allows the wearer of the shoe to have enough time to react to the rolling and twisting shoe to keep the ankle from injurious strain.

Yes, there are people who get ankle injuries in trail shoes and trail runners. But those injuries are less frequent and less severe, on an average, than with a foot encased in an above the ankle hiking boot.

As I stated above, there will be any number of folks that, with no predisposing medical conditions, will state anecdotal evidence along the lines that they, or a friend, or other family members, et al, were saved by above the ankle boots. Subjective opinion is like that. :) But objective evidence begs to differ on the best way of protecting ankles from injury.

Also

Water can enter trail shoes or boots through any opening during a rainstorm or while walking through dew-covered grass or pour into it as happens when you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is 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 is uncomfortably hot in warmer and rainy temperatures, and it offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.

Or you can try using a shoe with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not seen a gaiter or other waterproof type accessory that would both keep the water out, and keep the feet dry.

“Waterproof” shoes fail is because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term. Lightweight, leather and fabric trail boots, for example, where some manufacturers have tried treating with a coating, don’t last. 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.

When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes, their actual performance never matched what was claimed.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Goretex, are only marginally breathable—water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. 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.

That’s why serious 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.

I’ve heard a potential footwear customer ask, “Are the shoes / boots waterproof?” while in the footwear department of an REI / outdoor type store. “You bet,” the customer service guy will say.

A couple of times I’ve softly interrupted by asking why they wanted, or thought they needed, waterproof shoes. Usually, the potential buyer looked at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Like most everyone, their answer was about thinking their feet would stay dry, and that wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

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

I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

1. “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.

2. “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons.

3. Wearing multiple pairs of socks, which eventually all get wet.

4. Multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet too.

Since keeping my feet dry never worked, I decided to develop effective strategies so that the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking were either waaaaaay minimized or eliminated. 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 bad things?

1. Maceration, or pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs and gets “soggy” from moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft, which makes it prone to blistering and can develop other problems.

2. Cracking of the skin when it dries. 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, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather:

1. Apply a good coating of salve or balm to my feet before putting on socks and shoes. This helps protect from external moisture.

2. Wear non-waterproof shoes, which drain and dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail shoes have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.

3. 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; rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.

4. Wear thin, non-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will keep wet feet warm unless the weather is winter-cold.

5. Take off my shoes and socks to let my feet air dry during any mid-day rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes. During that 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 reapply a good amount of balm or salve to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.

6. Apply a salve or ointment to the bottoms of my feet when I have stopped for the day both before and after I shower.

7. Carry an extra pair of insoles. These are lightweight and 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.

8. I found 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. Then, 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 them back on to walk around in. Within a couple of hours, the shoes are mostly dry.

9. At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process during the night.

10. Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at night, to give my feet 8-9 hours of recovery time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May2018
#3
I am looking for some input.

On our three Caminos we have used KEEN Targhee II Mid Outdoor Boot.
We were happy with everything about them. Height. Weight. Thickness of Sole. Waterproof.

Great shoes.

We are now planning our 4th Camino and our old Boots are worn out.

I was blindly going to order a new pair of Keens for each of us, then I thought....

Why not ask for Input of what others think.

PS.... We like Boots. They preformed well on muddy trails. The thicker soles help prevent “tender-foot” after walking the roman road sections.
View attachment 43624
We have always used the keen mid and love them! My first pair felt like a soft cloud when I bought it and didn’t need any ‘walking in’. Loved it. Bought my second pair at a sale for 25% of the price but it sat in the box for 3 years because my old boots were fine. I started wearing it 6 months ago because we were training for the Camino. OMG! I don’t know if my feet changed with age. The inside wasn’t as soft and comfortable as the first pair. The laces were much shorter. The front was narrower. I tried several other keen boots as well as several other brands to find the comfort l remembered but was unsuccessful. I continued wearing the boots to walk them in, tried different socks, laced and relaced those damn boots. I was even given a pair when Ian bought his keen boots. I didn’t think these were comfortable either and knew they wouldn’t serve me for 800km. We thought of buying online from USA but I was a bit apprehensive In the meantime I kept walking with my boots trying to find that comfort. Now, 6 months later, I’m glad I persevered because my keen mids are as comfortable as my old ones were. They have now folded around my feet and give me the support I remember.
To answer your question, I’m not sure if you buy online if it will be the same. Perhaps you’ll have to visit an outlet. Perhaps every batch is different. But definitely our feet are changing all the time, because of our weight, age, condition of muscles etc. Good luck
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#4
.... But definitely our feet are changing all the time, because of our weight, age, condition of muscles etc. Good luck
That's definitely a factor, sometimes :) However, the manufacturers do vary the sizing of their shoes from time to time, and unexpectedly to their customers, in response to trends in their sales. For example, New Balance recently dropped the number of widths available in their 910 trail runners, eliminating EEE and EEEE. Additionally they slightly increased the width of the EE. They did this because they were having fewer sales in the wider widths to justify production. They tried to offset this by adjusting the amount of width in their EE.

So, if one finds a good fitting shoe, and loves how it performs and feels, then buy more than one pair.... just in case :)
 

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Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#7
@davebugg I think your post above is the most informative and gently persuasive post I have ever read on this forum - and on such a controversial topic;-) And I'm not just saying that because your arguments apply to my sandal-wearing either! If everyone shared as graciously as you there would be no need for moderators. Thank you.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#8
@davebugg I think your post above is the most informative and gently persuasive post I have ever read on this forum - and on such a controversial topic;-) And I'm not just saying that because your arguments apply to my sandal-wearing either! If everyone shared as graciously as you there would be no need for moderators. Thank you.
Wow.... thank you. This is such a wonderful forum, and the participants are such wonderful folks, that I am really happy to contribute. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés April/May 2006, Camino Fisterre May, 2006, Camino Frances - Oct/Nov 2017
#10
I am looking for some input.

On our three Caminos we have used KEEN Targhee II Mid Outdoor Boot.
We were happy with everything about them. Height. Weight. Thickness of Sole. Waterproof.

Great shoes.

We are now planning our 4th Camino and our old Boots are worn out.

I was blindly going to order a new pair of Keens for each of us, then I thought....

Why not ask for Input of what others think.

PS.... We like Boots. They preformed well on muddy trails. The thicker soles help prevent “tender-foot” after walking the roman road sections.
View attachment 43624
As they say, if it aint broke don't try to fix it! Stick with what works. I've walked the Frances twice in Targhee II mids without a single problem. Boots need replacing soon. But now I find the newer model, the Targhee III is far narrower in the toe box,and has a less substantial sole to shave off some weight I guess and give the boot a lower profile. As well, the laces are ridiculously short for some reason! They just don't work for me so I am looking out for some Targhee II mids again. Hard to find but I think I've got a lead!!
 
#11
Hey Dave Bugg...thanks for sharing your experiences and advice.
Why don't you put on a pair of dry socks after your mini break?
I assume you wear the ones that are slightly damp after walking for a few hours?
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#12
Hey Dave Bugg...thanks for sharing your experiences and advice.
Why don't you put on a pair of dry socks after your mini break?
I assume you wear the ones that are slightly damp after walking for a few hours?
If rain has stopped and things on the path have dried out pretty well, I might do that. But while it's wet, I don't change mainly because the dry ones will soon be wet, too, and sooner rather than later all my socks would be wet. :):eek:. But even wet, the socks you're wearing -- depending on their material, like Merino wool -- will still maintain most of their warmth.

Since the main problem with wet feet are the macerating effects which may occur, using the balm and reapplying it at breaks if necessary, provides adequate protection. Another factor -- when one moves from damp into dry conditions when the rain stops and the pathway begins to become less soggy, is that footwear begins to dry out fairly quickly -- depending on the shoe material. And socks start drying out as well. The effect is accelerated due to the heat generated by one's feet, and the 'pumping' action of walking which forces some air movement.

I know that some folks worry about exacerbating the risk for blistering if feet are wet, and that is a reasonable concern. Any softening of the skin caused by maceration can become a problem. The generous application of balm goes a long way to preventing that issue. And if the conditions for blistering are not an issue with dry feet, it is not a high risk if feet do get wet.

Taking care of any hotspots immediately, if they occur, is done in the same manner whether feet are wet or dry. The big difference is to take care and remove any balm or residue on the skin surrounding the hotspot if you plan to tape or use a moleskin type of product, as the balm will interfere with the effectiveness of the adhesive. As most pilgrims should carry small containers of hand sanitizer, which most often has a strong alcohol base, a bit of this will do the job of balm residue removal.
 

William Garza

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
#13
Much more research needed after the info
I can roll my ankle on level walking surface
270 lbs need wide heels for balance issue
Due
To L-C-T spine injuries and the fact i lurch like bigfoot when i walk
And
Acl..wait..cant really remember much but only thing holding my top and bottom leg together was the patella and attendant ligature
So
Leg will go out rolling over in bed..which leads to a horror of walking over uneven ground ankle and knee
Which
Often lead ro me jerking my back out
When
That happens makes me make funny noises, parent units scamper with kids who have MECO at the sound ofpainanguishdespairoweecusswords...
I need to find a wider based walking\trail shoe

Funny thang tho...
I have always loved walking

Once passed a short warm up phase i have a natural mile eating horizon shortening gait
I wont ever run again unless someone throws a spider at me.
A stiffer sole,dr sholls or other foot helpers, breathable socks and a lace up tennis shoe aughta do it!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte 17.4. - 25.5.
#15
Which shoes to hike?
I did Camino Norten hike 17.4-25.5. 2018.
I had six-year-old winter shoes, made by Finnish Sievi Oy.
They work really well with no kind of abrasions or bladders.
Never go to walks with new shoes if you do not want any trouble.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#16
Excellent post, and following posts. I have two points to add that were not covered. BOTH cover the popular Keen Targhee II Mid-high boot. I used the same boot on all six of my Caminos.
  1. Keen officially states on their website that this boot runs one-half size SMALL. Thus, if you are shopping for a size 10 boot, you need to buy a size 10 1/2 boot.
  2. These, and many other hiking shoes or boots can be resoled. There are specialist companies, working through the post, and over the internet, to offer this service. Do a web search for ‘hiking boot resoling.’
I had my original boots resoled twice. They gave me four good Caminos before the uppers started to go.

Hope this helps.
 

MicheleK

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning first one, Camino Frances, in September 2018.
#18
@davebugg what "balm" do you suggest? I will be walking my first Camino this September. I have never used anything on my feet before. I see many folks use good old vaseline. I have a concern about a thick callus I have on the outside of my big right toe. I am trying to reduce it but as I am training, the skin around and under this callus is getting red and tender due to the sheer. Not sure how to get over this situation before I start in St Jean PP. Do you have any suggestions?
 

WildPlace

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2013, 2015
Camino VdlP & Sanabres (2018)
#19
@davebugg what "balm" do you suggest? I will be walking my first Camino this September. I have never used anything on my feet before. I see many folks use good old vaseline. I have a concern about a thick callus I have on the outside of my big right toe. I am trying to reduce it but as I am training, the skin around and under this callus is getting red and tender due to the sheer. Not sure how to get over this situation before I start in St Jean PP. Do you have any suggestions?
I use Body Glide on my feet each morning before walking and it seems to be good. I just rub it on all over my feet and toes.

For a few months before walking I regularly soak my feet in a footbath, remove any hard skin that is forming with a pumice stone or foot scraper and then give them a good moisturising. I'm not of the opinion that feet have to hardened - my feet cope much better when they are nice and soft and pampered. I do this because I once had a nasty blister (not on the camino) deep below a callous.
 

WildPlace

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2013, 2015
Camino VdlP & Sanabres (2018)
#20
If you like boots, then there ya go... boots it is :) Lot's of stuff is available on this topic thru the search engine, too. Below are a few reposts of mine which you may or may not choose to consider.

Let me start by saying that if someone chooses to walk in the types of boots you have listed, that is a personal choice. If asked, I might recommend a different type of hiking footwear to try. But footwear choices are so individual to fit and comfort, that someone making an informed decision for a boot who, having given them a good trial run and liking the choice, is not getting an argument from me :).

The problem is with the huge generalization that was made favoring boots, although I am wondering if that statement wasn't meant to sound as definitive or ironclad as it did. There is now a large body of experience which contradicts such an assessment. In other words, hiking boots are not critical for comfort. To be sure, the boots mentioned have their adherents (I love my Lowa Caminos for winter time); and for what they are, are great quality footwear. However, the trend toward trail runners and trail shoes now have a large following as the technology has matured. And for good reason.

For example, the preference by ultralight thru hikers over the last 5 years on the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail have largely been to trail runner type shoes. This trend has been increasingly adopted by other backpackers over the last several years. Additionally, the issue of a 'waterproof' shoe is increasingly being turned aside --- as the weaknesses and disadvantages to the technology have become more apparent --- in favor to materials which drain fast and dry quickly.

Right now, I am doing a gear test for Solomon on their XA Pro 3D Trail Runner. It is a non GTX shoe (Goretex, for those wondering). If I were to compare the usability of these trail runners or trekking shoes, to the newer generation of boots, I can do so in direct comparison to a pair of Lowa Camino GTX boots, which I use for winter backpacking trips in snow. I can do a direct comparison of performance as it relates to support, stability, and perceived comfort to the sole of the foot, and to the foot in general.

So far, I have put over 150 miles on the Solomons. As is part of the job, I have purposefully walked through streams to assess their ability to dry out and perform when wet, have hiked over severely rough, rutted, and rocky debris strewn trails to check out stability and comfort and support, and have taken muddied and wet rocked uphill trails to determine traction and stability under typical adverse conditions in the backcountry.

In some instances, the Lowas would have performed slightly better; in other areas there is no discernible difference. The Lowas will definitely last longer than the Solomons, but at over three times the price of the Solomons, they should be expected to do so.

But, and this is a critical factor for me, and to a lot of backpackers and trekkers: The Lowa Renegade cited in the list, which is a bit lighter than my Caminos, are nearly three times as heavy on the foot as the Solomons.

The military studies on fatigue and footwear have determined that, on average, one pound on the foot is equal to five pounds carried on the back. At nearly three and a half pounds per pair, that means over 17 pounds. At an average weight of 1.75 pounds per pair of trail runners, wearing a trail runner drops that weight to 5.25 pounds

The practical issues for less experienced and fit pilgrims are several. Excess fatigue and wear on the legs can obviously drain energy quicker, making for a more tiring day of walking. However, the frequency of issues, such as shin splints, knee pain, ankle strain, and blistering rises with higher levels of work to the legs, which is increased by heavier than needed footwear.

There are several other issues regarding boots versus trail runners and shoes. And as with generalizations about boots, there is a danger in being overly general regarding the suitability of trail runners as a universal given.

Also

As to the thought about boots and ankle support:

First, unless there are medical issues, the ankle is best protected with exercise and use, where the ankle is allowed to use uneven surfaces, exercise, and balancing on one foot in order to build strength and endurance and lessen susceptibility to injurious fatigue.

The only sure ankle support for medically indicated need are ankle braces which can fit inside of the shoe. Despite anecdotal evidence and subjective opinion to the contrary, research has repeatedly shown that boots do not provide the level of stiffness and the shear rigidity needed to keep ankles free from injury.

They can, in fact, exacerbate the risk of injury. A foot in a boot is sitting higher off the ground than when in a shoe because the outer and midsoles are much thicker and built up. Additionally, the outer sole of boots are trimmed closer to shell of the boot, meaning that the outer sole has a fairly narrow profile. Both of these factors have been shown to have a higher risk of the footwear 'rolling' when stepping on an unstable surface or piece of debris like loose rocks or uneven surfaces.

As the boot begins to roll, the boot carries the foot with it, the higher material of the boot above the ankle exerts more force against the foot to make it roll with the boot. That material is not stiff enough to keep from flexing, which means that your ankle is going to start bending as the roll of the boot continues. And because the foot is higher off the ground inside the boot, the ankle can be forced into a more significant bending.

Another factor about boots that helps lead to injury is their weight. The heavier the weight that the foot and lower legs need to lift, the more stress and fatigue the ankles and supporting structures are exposed to. Such weakens the ability of the ankle structures to maintain resiliency.

Trail shoes and trail runners, on the other hand, do the opposite when confronted with the same type of uneven surface or debris. The outer and midsoles are much closer to the ground. They are also wider than the shoe making for a contact point with the ground that is more stable. Their much lighter weight keeps ankle structures from fatiguing.

Now here is the thing researchers found as most significant: A foot in a shoe that is kept a bit loose can compensate, to a large degree, when the shoe starts to roll off of an uneven surface. As the shoe rolls, the shoe tends to slip around the foot. In other words, the shoe moves around the foot for the most part, so the ankle won't immediately bend out of place with the shoe. This allows the wearer of the shoe to have enough time to react to the rolling and twisting shoe to keep the ankle from injurious strain.

Yes, there are people who get ankle injuries in trail shoes and trail runners. But those injuries are less frequent and less severe, on an average, than with a foot encased in an above the ankle hiking boot.

As I stated above, there will be any number of folks that, with no predisposing medical conditions, will state anecdotal evidence along the lines that they, or a friend, or other family members, et al, were saved by above the ankle boots. Subjective opinion is like that. :) But objective evidence begs to differ on the best way of protecting ankles from injury.

Also

Water can enter trail shoes or boots through any opening during a rainstorm or while walking through dew-covered grass or pour into it as happens when you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is 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 is uncomfortably hot in warmer and rainy temperatures, and it offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.

Or you can try using a shoe with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not seen a gaiter or other waterproof type accessory that would both keep the water out, and keep the feet dry.

“Waterproof” shoes fail is because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term. Lightweight, leather and fabric trail boots, for example, where some manufacturers have tried treating with a coating, don’t last. 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.

When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes, their actual performance never matched what was claimed.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Goretex, are only marginally breathable—water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. 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.

That’s why serious 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.

I’ve heard a potential footwear customer ask, “Are the shoes / boots waterproof?” while in the footwear department of an REI / outdoor type store. “You bet,” the customer service guy will say.

A couple of times I’ve softly interrupted by asking why they wanted, or thought they needed, waterproof shoes. Usually, the potential buyer looked at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Like most everyone, their answer was about thinking their feet would stay dry, and that wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

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

I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

1. “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.

2. “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons.

3. Wearing multiple pairs of socks, which eventually all get wet.

4. Multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet too.

Since keeping my feet dry never worked, I decided to develop effective strategies so that the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking were either waaaaaay minimized or eliminated. 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 bad things?

1. Maceration, or pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs and gets “soggy” from moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft, which makes it prone to blistering and can develop other problems.

2. Cracking of the skin when it dries. 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, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather:

1. Apply a good coating of salve or balm to my feet before putting on socks and shoes. This helps protect from external moisture.

2. Wear non-waterproof shoes, which drain and dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail shoes have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.

3. 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; rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.

4. Wear thin, non-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will keep wet feet warm unless the weather is winter-cold.

5. Take off my shoes and socks to let my feet air dry during any mid-day rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes. During that 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 reapply a good amount of balm or salve to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.

6. Apply a salve or ointment to the bottoms of my feet when I have stopped for the day both before and after I shower.

7. Carry an extra pair of insoles. These are lightweight and 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.

8. I found 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. Then, 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 them back on to walk around in. Within a couple of hours, the shoes are mostly dry.

9. At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process during the night.

10. Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at night, to give my feet 8-9 hours of recovery time.
Thanks for all your advice. I am going to try some Altra trail runners for my camino this year instead of my Merrell boots - i'll be walking the VdlP starting September when it is really hot and wasn't looking forward to walking in the heat in boots. :) I'll see how they go while i'm training.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago
Sep/Oct 2015
#21
Hi Dave,

Thanks for the information that you've provided. Anecdotes are nice, but good solid information is what I like.

Some questions:

This got jumbled and I'm confused about your original intent:
...which is a bit lighter than my Caminos...

I bought some new trail runners last weekend, and I was surprised by how high off the ground they were. After reading your statement:
A foot in a boot is sitting higher off the ground than when in a shoe...
I'm thinking that I should take them back.

My old boots are Keens. My new shoes are Hoka One One Stinsons.

The shoes seem higher than the boot. And they are only a little lighter (2 oz.) than the boots.

Did I make a mistake buying the Hokas? Should I look at another brand/model if I want something lower, lighter and wider?
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#22
If you like boots, then there ya go... boots it is :) Lot's of stuff is available on this topic thru the search engine, too. Below are a few reposts of mine which you may or may not choose to consider.

Let me start by saying that if someone chooses to walk in the types of boots you have listed, that is a personal choice. If asked, I might recommend a different type of hiking footwear to try. But footwear choices are so individual to fit and comfort, that someone making an informed decision for a boot who, having given them a good trial run and liking the choice, is not getting an argument from me :).

The problem is with the huge generalization that was made favoring boots, although I am wondering if that statement wasn't meant to sound as definitive or ironclad as it did. There is now a large body of experience which contradicts such an assessment. In other words, hiking boots are not critical for comfort. To be sure, the boots mentioned have their adherents (I love my Lowa Caminos for winter time); and for what they are, are great quality footwear. However, the trend toward trail runners and trail shoes now have a large following as the technology has matured. And for good reason.

For example, the preference by ultralight thru hikers over the last 5 years on the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail have largely been to trail runner type shoes. This trend has been increasingly adopted by other backpackers over the last several years. Additionally, the issue of a 'waterproof' shoe is increasingly being turned aside --- as the weaknesses and disadvantages to the technology have become more apparent --- in favor to materials which drain fast and dry quickly.

Right now, I am doing a gear test for Solomon on their XA Pro 3D Trail Runner. It is a non GTX shoe (Goretex, for those wondering). If I were to compare the usability of these trail runners or trekking shoes, to the newer generation of boots, I can do so in direct comparison to a pair of Lowa Camino GTX boots, which I use for winter backpacking trips in snow. I can do a direct comparison of performance as it relates to support, stability, and perceived comfort to the sole of the foot, and to the foot in general.

So far, I have put over 150 miles on the Solomons. As is part of the job, I have purposefully walked through streams to assess their ability to dry out and perform when wet, have hiked over severely rough, rutted, and rocky debris strewn trails to check out stability and comfort and support, and have taken muddied and wet rocked uphill trails to determine traction and stability under typical adverse conditions in the backcountry.

In some instances, the Lowas would have performed slightly better; in other areas there is no discernible difference. The Lowas will definitely last longer than the Solomons, but at over three times the price of the Solomons, they should be expected to do so.

But, and this is a critical factor for me, and to a lot of backpackers and trekkers: The Lowa Renegade cited in the list, which is a bit lighter than my Caminos, are nearly three times as heavy on the foot as the Solomons.

The military studies on fatigue and footwear have determined that, on average, one pound on the foot is equal to five pounds carried on the back. At nearly three and a half pounds per pair, that means over 17 pounds. At an average weight of 1.75 pounds per pair of trail runners, wearing a trail runner drops that weight to 5.25 pounds

The practical issues for less experienced and fit pilgrims are several. Excess fatigue and wear on the legs can obviously drain energy quicker, making for a more tiring day of walking. However, the frequency of issues, such as shin splints, knee pain, ankle strain, and blistering rises with higher levels of work to the legs, which is increased by heavier than needed footwear.

There are several other issues regarding boots versus trail runners and shoes. And as with generalizations about boots, there is a danger in being overly general regarding the suitability of trail runners as a universal given.

Also

As to the thought about boots and ankle support:

First, unless there are medical issues, the ankle is best protected with exercise and use, where the ankle is allowed to use uneven surfaces, exercise, and balancing on one foot in order to build strength and endurance and lessen susceptibility to injurious fatigue.

The only sure ankle support for medically indicated need are ankle braces which can fit inside of the shoe. Despite anecdotal evidence and subjective opinion to the contrary, research has repeatedly shown that boots do not provide the level of stiffness and the shear rigidity needed to keep ankles free from injury.

They can, in fact, exacerbate the risk of injury. A foot in a boot is sitting higher off the ground than when in a shoe because the outer and midsoles are much thicker and built up. Additionally, the outer sole of boots are trimmed closer to shell of the boot, meaning that the outer sole has a fairly narrow profile. Both of these factors have been shown to have a higher risk of the footwear 'rolling' when stepping on an unstable surface or piece of debris like loose rocks or uneven surfaces.

As the boot begins to roll, the boot carries the foot with it, the higher material of the boot above the ankle exerts more force against the foot to make it roll with the boot. That material is not stiff enough to keep from flexing, which means that your ankle is going to start bending as the roll of the boot continues. And because the foot is higher off the ground inside the boot, the ankle can be forced into a more significant bending.

Another factor about boots that helps lead to injury is their weight. The heavier the weight that the foot and lower legs need to lift, the more stress and fatigue the ankles and supporting structures are exposed to. Such weakens the ability of the ankle structures to maintain resiliency.

Trail shoes and trail runners, on the other hand, do the opposite when confronted with the same type of uneven surface or debris. The outer and midsoles are much closer to the ground. They are also wider than the shoe making for a contact point with the ground that is more stable. Their much lighter weight keeps ankle structures from fatiguing.

Now here is the thing researchers found as most significant: A foot in a shoe that is kept a bit loose can compensate, to a large degree, when the shoe starts to roll off of an uneven surface. As the shoe rolls, the shoe tends to slip around the foot. In other words, the shoe moves around the foot for the most part, so the ankle won't immediately bend out of place with the shoe. This allows the wearer of the shoe to have enough time to react to the rolling and twisting shoe to keep the ankle from injurious strain.

Yes, there are people who get ankle injuries in trail shoes and trail runners. But those injuries are less frequent and less severe, on an average, than with a foot encased in an above the ankle hiking boot.

As I stated above, there will be any number of folks that, with no predisposing medical conditions, will state anecdotal evidence along the lines that they, or a friend, or other family members, et al, were saved by above the ankle boots. Subjective opinion is like that. :) But objective evidence begs to differ on the best way of protecting ankles from injury.

Also

Water can enter trail shoes or boots through any opening during a rainstorm or while walking through dew-covered grass or pour into it as happens when you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is 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 is uncomfortably hot in warmer and rainy temperatures, and it offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.

Or you can try using a shoe with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not seen a gaiter or other waterproof type accessory that would both keep the water out, and keep the feet dry.

“Waterproof” shoes fail is because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term. Lightweight, leather and fabric trail boots, for example, where some manufacturers have tried treating with a coating, don’t last. 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.

When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes, their actual performance never matched what was claimed.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Goretex, are only marginally breathable—water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. 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.

That’s why serious 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.

I’ve heard a potential footwear customer ask, “Are the shoes / boots waterproof?” while in the footwear department of an REI / outdoor type store. “You bet,” the customer service guy will say.

A couple of times I’ve softly interrupted by asking why they wanted, or thought they needed, waterproof shoes. Usually, the potential buyer looked at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Like most everyone, their answer was about thinking their feet would stay dry, and that wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

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

I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

1. “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.

2. “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons.

3. Wearing multiple pairs of socks, which eventually all get wet.

4. Multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet too.

Since keeping my feet dry never worked, I decided to develop effective strategies so that the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking were either waaaaaay minimized or eliminated. 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 bad things?

1. Maceration, or pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs and gets “soggy” from moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft, which makes it prone to blistering and can develop other problems.

2. Cracking of the skin when it dries. 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, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather:

1. Apply a good coating of salve or balm to my feet before putting on socks and shoes. This helps protect from external moisture.

2. Wear non-waterproof shoes, which drain and dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail shoes have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.

3. 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; rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.

4. Wear thin, non-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will keep wet feet warm unless the weather is winter-cold.

5. Take off my shoes and socks to let my feet air dry during any mid-day rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes. During that 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 reapply a good amount of balm or salve to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.

6. Apply a salve or ointment to the bottoms of my feet when I have stopped for the day both before and after I shower.

7. Carry an extra pair of insoles. These are lightweight and 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.

8. I found 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. Then, 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 them back on to walk around in. Within a couple of hours, the shoes are mostly dry.

9. At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process during the night.

10. Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at night, to give my feet 8-9 hours of recovery time.
YOU ARE THE SHOE MAN!!! Thanks so much for all that. As I am preparing for my 4th full camino from Iron to Finesteria and Muxia I have just started walking and training in my Brooks Cascadias. I have worn Cascadias for my other Camino and love them. On my first Camino I went to our Outdoor Store in Ashland, Oregon (A big stopover for Pacific Crest Trail Hikers). They recommended and swore by some Merrill light hiking shoes. Almost a combination boot/sneaker. Don't know any other way to describe it. They were not high tops. Within about 2 weeks my feet were covered in blisters. Stopped training for a week for them to heal and a good friend took me to the running store in town. It is owned by one of the top ultra marathoners in America. Everyone who worked there were ultra marathoners (at the time I had no idea who they were and then when I started walking up Mount Ashland I would see them running down off the trail, through the woods at breakneck speed and leaning a little downhill! But when I told them I was doing the Camino, everyone in the store pointed to the Cascadias and said thats what you need! They were right!
But that is not my question! HAHA I am thinking of walking a winter Camino in a few years. I have watched a few videos of the Frances in winter and between the snow and the huge globs of mud I do not think the Cascadias are the correct choice. I do not want a heavy boot and I am afraid of blisters from a stiff boot. I about 3,500K of walking I have had a total of 3 blisters, only one of which really caused me pain for a day, with my Brooks trail runners. Any suggestions for what I should be wearing. I know this is projecting out in the future but when I saw your answer I had to write you.
Thanks so, so much
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#23
I am looking for some input.

On our three Caminos we have used KEEN Targhee II Mid Outdoor Boot.
We were happy with everything about them. Height. Weight. Thickness of Sole. Waterproof.

Great shoes.

We are now planning our 4th Camino and our old Boots are worn out.

I was blindly going to order a new pair of Keens for each of us, then I thought....

Why not ask for Input of what others think.

PS.... We like Boots. They preformed well on muddy trails. The thicker soles help prevent “tender-foot” after walking the roman road sections.
View attachment 43624
I walked in the lightest salomon boots which were great. I have Salomon trail runners ( I like non-goretex as they are cooler) and they are great for shorter walks. However, I found the surfaces of the Camino quite hard and was grateful for the extra protection of the boots' soles. I would wear my Meindl leather boots for winter. Footwear is such a personal preference. I met a lady who can only walk in the thinner teva sandals, even doing thru-hiking in wilderness.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk in spring 2018
#24
If rain has stopped and things on the path have dried out pretty well, I might do that. But while it's wet, I don't change mainly because the dry ones will soon be wet, too, and sooner rather than later all my socks would be wet. :):eek:. But even wet, the socks you're wearing -- depending on their material, like Merino wool -- will still maintain most of their warmth.

@davebugg -- Love your post. I am one who always hiked in high tops, believing they would prevent my foot from rolling, and yet stepped wrong on a downhill descent and fractured my ankle in three places and tore two ligaments -- much in the manner you describe. The two-mile hike (hobble) out to the trailhead with a broken ankle was one I would never like to repeat. Since then, I am a convert to lighter trail runners which actually seem to help me balance far more easily on loose scree and rocks.

Question: Have you tried Injinji socks? If so, what do you think of them? Many of my hiking/backpacking friends swear by them.
 
Camino(s) past & future
April 20, 2016 to May 20, '16 SJPdP to Santiago d C.
#25
Thanks Dave and all for the great thread and information. I'm wondering what balm you use and/or lubricant?
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#26
@davebugg what "balm" do you suggest? I will be walking my first Camino this September. I have never used anything on my feet before. I see many folks use good old vaseline. I have a concern about a thick callus I have on the outside of my big right toe. I am trying to reduce it but as I am training, the skin around and under this callus is getting red and tender due to the sheer. Not sure how to get over this situation before I start in St Jean PP. Do you have any suggestions?
Put some tape on problem areas and hotspots. I prefer Omnifix stretch tape, which you can purchase at many farmacias in Spain.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#27
@davebugg what "balm" do you suggest? I will be walking my first Camino this September. I have never used anything on my feet before. I see many folks use good old vaseline. I have a concern about a thick callus I have on the outside of my big right toe. I am trying to reduce it but as I am training, the skin around and under this callus is getting red and tender due to the sheer. Not sure how to get over this situation before I start in St Jean PP. Do you have any suggestions?
Hi, Michele. Calluses are normally a good thing, but, as with most conditions in life, there can always be too much of a good thing :)

Something is causing the continued thickening of that area of skin (hyperkeratosis). So, two things to consider:

1. Try and identify what is rubbing on that spot of your big toe. A lot of times, the toe box of the shoe is in a bit of contact with the skin and continually rubbing the area. The footwear doesn't have to be tight, and in fact might even be a comfortable fit. All it needs is to be barely rubbing. The development of the callus can make it difficult to tell, but pay very close attention and see if that is what is occurring. If that is the situation, then a wider shoe for everyday wear will help keep the callusing under control. In the meantime, a daily application of a thin material directly on that toe's area will reduce the direct friction to the skin which builds the callus. There are also toe 'caps' which can slip on and off the toe, but they may be too thick of not adequately stay in position; so try one if that is something that appeals to you, and if they don't work with a lot of walking, then the adhesive material is the best bet.

A lubricant isn't sufficient to help with this specific condition.

Any sufficiently sticky adhesive-backed material will work... Omnifix tape, Leukotape P, Moleskin, etc. I know that some have even used an application of superglue spread onto the affected area. With adhesives, if you find they curl up or peel off before you want to remove them, spread a tiny bit of tincture of benzoin on the area and let it dry a bit prior to apply the adhesive material. the benzoin multiplies the effective holding power of an adhesive.

There are medical conditions which can cause hyperkeratosis, but this is the most simple and probable cause.

2. Mechanically reducing the callus is a good idea as long as it doesn't irritate or damage the 'good' skin. Warm water soaks and a pumice stone works well for this form of hyperkeratosis. It is only a 'holding' action, though, until the cause of the callusing is resolved. Forget getting a shoe based on measurements, get a shoe based on feel. A shoe should be wide enough that you really have no noticeable pressure, even a kiss of a feeling of contact, along the width of the foot. Sometimes just going up in size a width or two can do the trick; other times you need to go up in size and length to resolve the fit issue.

I have posts about how to buy a correct fitting shoe. If using the search engine fails to turn them up, let me know and I'll repost it for you.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#28
If rain has stopped and things on the path have dried out pretty well, I might do that. But while it's wet, I don't change mainly because the dry ones will soon be wet, too, and sooner rather than later all my socks would be wet. :):eek:. But even wet, the socks you're wearing -- depending on their material, like Merino wool -- will still maintain most of their warmth.

Since the main problem with wet feet are the macerating effects which may occur, using the balm and reapplying it at breaks if necessary, provides adequate protection. Another factor -- when one moves from damp into dry conditions when the rain stops and the pathway begins to become less soggy, is that footwear begins to dry out fairly quickly -- depending on the shoe material. And socks start drying out as well. The effect is accelerated due to the heat generated by one's feet, and the 'pumping' action of walking which forces some air movement.

I know that some folks worry about exacerbating the risk for blistering if feet are wet, and that is a reasonable concern. Any softening of the skin caused by maceration can become a problem. The generous application of balm goes a long way to preventing that issue. And if the conditions for blistering are not an issue with dry feet, it is not a high risk if feet do get wet.

Taking care of any hotspots immediately, if they occur, is done in the same manner whether feet are wet or dry. The big difference is to take care and remove any balm or residue on the skin surrounding the hotspot if you plan to tape or use a moleskin type of product, as the balm will interfere with the effectiveness of the adhesive. As most pilgrims should carry small containers of hand sanitizer, which most often has a strong alcohol base, a bit of this will do the job of balm residue removal.
When I see that @davebugg has posted, I think -- hooray, the foot doctor is in! Reminds me of that cartoon of Lucy giving advice to Charlie Brown, surely some of you have seen it.

I always have questions when you post, and here are my questions for the day. I wear socks that are smartwool or some sort of equivalent. They definitely do not have the same warmth-giving factor as real wool (I know this because this year I left my little lambswool gloves at home and put on my socks, and my hands were COLD!!). So what kind of socks are you talking about?

And now that I'm a trail runners convert, I take it that you are saying it is better to avoid the attempts at water protection and just go with what gets wet since it will dry off more quickly? I have to say it was a bit annoying to have my foot get wet every time I walked through high wet grasses in the morning. I have never found goretex kept my feet dry in sustained rain, but at least I didn't have wet feet starting out most mornings! Should I just shut up and put up? Thanks, @davebugg
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#29
Thanks Dave and all for the great thread and information. I'm wondering what balm you use and/or lubricant?
My current favorite is Hiker's Goo, especially for wet conditions as it is a thicker and 'waxier' material that seems to last longer during a long walk. It will still need reapplication periodically during the walk, but not as often as other products I've used like vaselines and Body Glide types. Those will work, but they wear off much quicker.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#30
Hi Dave,

Thanks for the information that you've provided. Anecdotes are nice, but good solid information is what I like.

Some questions:

This got jumbled and I'm confused about your original intent:



I bought some new trail runners last weekend, and I was surprised by how high off the ground they were. After reading your statement:

I'm thinking that I should take them back.

My old boots are Keens. My new shoes are Hoka One One Stinsons.

The shoes seem higher than the boot. And they are only a little lighter (2 oz.) than the boots.

Did I make a mistake buying the Hokas? Should I look at another brand/model if I want something lower, lighter and wider?
I have not tried the Stinsons (men's version) but i have been recently been trying out the Bondi. Hokas are a bit 'unique'. The Bondi and Stinson have a lot more cushioning than a lot of trail runners, mainly because they are not a specific trail runner; they are a sort of hybrid between trail and road.

They do feel a bit higher off the ground, but they also incorporate other features which make foot placement more stable in general: they have a wide base, they have decent motion control -- though not as good as some New Balance, Brooks, Nike, and a few others, but adequate enough if one is not an over pronator.

Try them over rough terrain; rocky trails or paths which are rutted and uneven. See how they feel to you stability wise.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#31
YOU ARE THE SHOE MAN!!! Thanks so much for all that. As I am preparing for my 4th full camino from Iron to Finesteria and Muxia I have just started walking and training in my Brooks Cascadias. I have worn Cascadias for my other Camino and love them. On my first Camino I went to our Outdoor Store in Ashland, Oregon (A big stopover for Pacific Crest Trail Hikers). They recommended and swore by some Merrill light hiking shoes. Almost a combination boot/sneaker. Don't know any other way to describe it. They were not high tops. Within about 2 weeks my feet were covered in blisters. Stopped training for a week for them to heal and a good friend took me to the running store in town. It is owned by one of the top ultra marathoners in America. Everyone who worked there were ultra marathoners (at the time I had no idea who they were and then when I started walking up Mount Ashland I would see them running down off the trail, through the woods at breakneck speed and leaning a little downhill! But when I told them I was doing the Camino, everyone in the store pointed to the Cascadias and said thats what you need! They were right!
But that is not my question! HAHA I am thinking of walking a winter Camino in a few years. I have watched a few videos of the Frances in winter and between the snow and the huge globs of mud I do not think the Cascadias are the correct choice. I do not want a heavy boot and I am afraid of blisters from a stiff boot. I about 3,500K of walking I have had a total of 3 blisters, only one of which really caused me pain for a day, with my Brooks trail runners. Any suggestions for what I should be wearing. I know this is projecting out in the future but when I saw your answer I had to write you.
Thanks so, so much
Hi, It...
As with clothing, footwear needs to reflect the seasonal conditions, most of the time that will be when seasons shift to colder weather and snow or continual sleeting rain with extremely heavy mucky conditions. I use a lightly insulated leather boot for that of expected cold weather condition. My boot is the Lowa Camino, and it is a bit wider than I need even with the extra weight of a pack and thicker socks. They are also an extra size longer than my warmer weather (summer, spring, and fall) hiking footwear. The penalty is a decrease in foot stability and the weight.

I always have to be more consciously watchful of how I am placing my feet while walking over really rough terrain in them. And they are very noticeably heavier than my warm weather trekkers. My walking pace always is slower to try and compensate for the increased fatigue that is caused by lifting nearly 1.25 more pounds per foot with each step than with my trail runners.

But then again, everything about backpacking or long distance walking during the cold and winter seasons is heavier by necessity from clothing, to sleeping gear, to the needed increase in food to carry for increased calories needed, and carrying a lot more fuel in order to melt snow for water. :)
 

MicheleK

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning first one, Camino Frances, in September 2018.
#32
Hi, Michele. Calluses are normally a good thing, but, as with most conditions in life, there can always be too much of a good thing :)

Something is causing the continued thickening of that area of skin (hyperkeratosis). So, two things to consider:

1. Try and identify what is rubbing on that spot of your big toe. A lot of times, the toe box of the shoe is in a bit of contact with the skin and continually rubbing the area. The footwear doesn't have to be tight, and in fact might even be a comfortable fit. All it needs is to be barely rubbing. The development of the callus can make it difficult to tell, but pay very close attention and see if that is what is occurring. If that is the situation, then a wider shoe for everyday wear will help keep the callusing under control. In the meantime, a daily application of a thin material directly on that toe's area will reduce the direct friction to the skin which builds the callus. There are also toe 'caps' which can slip on and off the toe, but they may be too thick of not adequately stay in position; so try one if that is something that appeals to you, and if they don't work with a lot of walking, then the adhesive material is the best bet.

A lubricant isn't sufficient to help with this specific condition.

Any sufficiently sticky adhesive-backed material will work... Omnifix tape, Leukotape P, Moleskin, etc. I know that some have even used an application of superglue spread onto the affected area. With adhesives, if you find they curl up or peel off before you want to remove them, spread a tiny bit of tincture of benzoin on the area and let it dry a bit prior to apply the adhesive material. the benzoin multiplies the effective holding power of an adhesive.

There are medical conditions which can cause hyperkeratosis, but this is the most simple and probable cause.

2. Mechanically reducing the callus is a good idea as long as it doesn't irritate or damage the 'good' skin. Warm water soaks and a pumice stone works well for this form of hyperkeratosis. It is only a 'holding' action, though, until the cause of the callusing is resolved. Forget getting a shoe based on measurements, get a shoe based on feel. A shoe should be wide enough that you really have no noticeable pressure, even a kiss of a feeling of contact, along the width of the foot. Sometimes just going up in size a width or two can do the trick; other times you need to go up in size and length to resolve the fit issue.

I have posts about how to buy a correct fitting shoe. If using the search engine fails to turn them up, let me know and I'll repost it for you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#33
I walked in the lightest salomon boots which were great. I have Salomon trail runners ( I like non-goretex as they are cooler) and they are great for shorter walks. However, I found the surfaces of the Camino quite hard and was grateful for the extra protection of the boots' soles. I would wear my Meindl leather boots for winter. Footwear is such a personal preference. I met a lady who can only walk in the thinner teva sandals, even doing thru-hiking in wilderness.
Hi, Gilmore Girl ( I liked that show even though I'm not exactly the target audience demographic :) )

Some trail runners have a 'rock plate' built into the midsoles which does keep intrusions of pokey things from impacting the feet and making them sore... things like stone debris, chunks of wood, cobble stones, etc. A lot of the Salomon trail runners, for some reason I can't fathom, do not have this feature. It is one of the reasons I prefer my New Balance 910v5 over the Salomons I just gear tested for Salomon; and one of my critical feedback points on my report to them.

I write this in case you would like to try some lighter trail runners again, but are just shy because of that worry over protection to the sole of your feet. If that is the case, be sure to look specifically for a model with a rock plate.

What I ended up doing with the Salomons in order to continue testing them after a couple of days, was to create my own 'rock plate'. I used the insoles I was using as a template to cut out a thick piece of medium flexible plastic ( some will use a milk jugs plastic doubled up and glued together). Then I used double-faced fabric adhesive tape to tape the plastice to the bottom of the inside of the shoe under the insole.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#35
I am in the middle of the Norte wearing Altra trail runners. I have run and hiked in Hoka One One as well. I prefer these simply due to their cushioning. I do not feel rocks and roots under my feet. I can walk/run where I want without worrying how it is going to affect my feet. At the end of a 50k run climbing and descending 3000meters, my feet feel good. In Any other type of shoe i would have sore feet and long to remove them. I am finding the same thing after two weeks on the Norte. More cushion, good traction on all terrain, decent stability depending on the model.
 

MicheleK

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning first one, Camino Frances, in September 2018.
#36
I use Body Glide on my feet each morning before walking and it seems to be good. I just rub it on all over my feet and toes.

For a few months before walking I regularly soak my feet in a footbath, remove any hard skin that is forming with a pumice stone or foot scraper and then give them a good moisturising. I'm not of the opinion that feet have to hardened - my feet cope much better when they are nice and soft and pampered. I do this because I once had a nasty blister (not on the camino) deep below a callous.
Thank you for the advice. I will work on that.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May2018
#37
Excellent post, and following posts. I have two points to add that were not covered. BOTH cover the popular Keen Targhee II Mid-high boot. I used the same boot on all six of my Caminos.
  1. Keen officially states on their website that this boot runs one-half size SMALL. Thus, if you are shopping for a size 10 boot, you need to buy a size 10 1/2 boot.
  2. These, and many other hiking shoes or boots can be resoled. There are specialist companies, working through the post, and over the internet, to offer this service. Do a web search for ‘hiking boot resoling.’
I had my original boots resoled twice. They gave me four good Caminos before the uppers started to go.

Hope this helps.
Do you send it to a specific place to resolve it, or can ant shoe repairer do it. Thanks for your reply
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#38
When I see that @davebugg has posted, I think -- hooray, the foot doctor is in! Reminds me of that cartoon of Lucy giving advice to Charlie Brown, surely some of you have seen it.

I always have questions when you post, and here are my questions for the day. I wear socks that are smartwool or some sort of equivalent. They definitely do not have the same warmth-giving factor as real wool (I know this because this year I left my little lambswool gloves at home and put on my socks, and my hands were COLD!!). So what kind of socks are you talking about?

And now that I'm a trail runners convert, I take it that you are saying it is better to avoid the attempts at water protection and just go with what gets wet since it will dry off more quickly? I have to say it was a bit annoying to have my foot get wet every time I walked through high wet grasses in the morning. I have never found goretex kept my feet dry in sustained rain, but at least I didn't have wet feet starting out most mornings! Should I just shut up and put up? Thanks, @davebugg
Hi, Laurie...

Always avoid getting wet when it is under your control :) Avoid puddles when possible, remove shoes and socks crossing streams or standing water when you can safely and comfortably do so, etc. :)

The idea is this: because, by and large, either from rain or sweat, one's feet will become wet or damp during wet weather, one can remove the anxiety which is created by the mindset which says that wet feet are to be avoided at all costs because wet feet are a horrible thing to have, and will disable you.

Instead, it is better to develop a healthy and positive mindset which says that it is ok and normal for feet to become wet, that wet feet are a temporary condition, and that while one has wet feet it not only can be dealt with easily, but also successfully and comfortably. Thus the advantage of lightweight footwear outweigh other issues by a wide margin. Fighting a usually losing battle that is not necessary to fight creates undue stress and helps lead to discouragement, anxiety, and decisions to stop an activity whether it be backpacking, running, Camino, or tip-toeing thru the tulips :)

As long as regular wool socks are tolerable itchy wise, that might help, as well as using a thicker sock. Another trick I have used in colder weather is using a vapor barrier, which means a bit more work with my feet at break time. This is for when your feet are cold, not for avoiding wet, though.

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. It can be as simple as a bread bag, or as elegant as a manufactured product. I prefer simpler and less expensive and expendable :)

  1. Thoroughly apply a thicker coat of balm to your feet, tops, bottoms, between toes.
  2. Slip on an moisture absorbing thin sock.
  3. Put on the vapor barrier.
  4. Put on the regular outer sock.
  5. Put on shoe.
The barrier will create perspiration, which the inner sock will absorb. That sock will eventually become wetted 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 more frequently 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.
 

Rick of Rick and Peg

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#39
Dave, thank you. I've been hiking and backpacking for 60 years and have read lots about the subject but I've got to say what you've written lately on this thread and others is the most descriptive, sensible, concise and informative educational material about boots and hiking shoes (and blisters and footcare) that I've read.
 

Jenyat53

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: September 2013 & April/ May 2014
CF: April/May 2016
#40
If you like boots, then there ya go... boots it is :) Lot's of stuff is available on this topic thru the search engine, too. Below are a few reposts of mine which you may or may not choose to consider.

Let me start by saying that if someone chooses to walk in the types of boots you have listed, that is a personal choice. If asked, I might recommend a different type of hiking footwear to try. But footwear choices are so individual to fit and comfort, that someone making an informed decision for a boot who, having given them a good trial run and liking the choice, is not getting an argument from me :).

The problem is with the huge generalization that was made favoring boots, although I am wondering if that statement wasn't meant to sound as definitive or ironclad as it did. There is now a large body of experience which contradicts such an assessment. In other words, hiking boots are not critical for comfort. To be sure, the boots mentioned have their adherents (I love my Lowa Caminos for winter time); and for what they are, are great quality footwear. However, the trend toward trail runners and trail shoes now have a large following as the technology has matured. And for good reason.

For example, the preference by ultralight thru hikers over the last 5 years on the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail have largely been to trail runner type shoes. This trend has been increasingly adopted by other backpackers over the last several years. Additionally, the issue of a 'waterproof' shoe is increasingly being turned aside --- as the weaknesses and disadvantages to the technology have become more apparent --- in favor to materials which drain fast and dry quickly.

Right now, I am doing a gear test for Solomon on their XA Pro 3D Trail Runner. It is a non GTX shoe (Goretex, for those wondering). If I were to compare the usability of these trail runners or trekking shoes, to the newer generation of boots, I can do so in direct comparison to a pair of Lowa Camino GTX boots, which I use for winter backpacking trips in snow. I can do a direct comparison of performance as it relates to support, stability, and perceived comfort to the sole of the foot, and to the foot in general.

So far, I have put over 150 miles on the Solomons. As is part of the job, I have purposefully walked through streams to assess their ability to dry out and perform when wet, have hiked over severely rough, rutted, and rocky debris strewn trails to check out stability and comfort and support, and have taken muddied and wet rocked uphill trails to determine traction and stability under typical adverse conditions in the backcountry.

In some instances, the Lowas would have performed slightly better; in other areas there is no discernible difference. The Lowas will definitely last longer than the Solomons, but at over three times the price of the Solomons, they should be expected to do so.

But, and this is a critical factor for me, and to a lot of backpackers and trekkers: The Lowa Renegade cited in the list, which is a bit lighter than my Caminos, are nearly three times as heavy on the foot as the Solomons.

The military studies on fatigue and footwear have determined that, on average, one pound on the foot is equal to five pounds carried on the back. At nearly three and a half pounds per pair, that means over 17 pounds. At an average weight of 1.75 pounds per pair of trail runners, wearing a trail runner drops that weight to 5.25 pounds

The practical issues for less experienced and fit pilgrims are several. Excess fatigue and wear on the legs can obviously drain energy quicker, making for a more tiring day of walking. However, the frequency of issues, such as shin splints, knee pain, ankle strain, and blistering rises with higher levels of work to the legs, which is increased by heavier than needed footwear.

There are several other issues regarding boots versus trail runners and shoes. And as with generalizations about boots, there is a danger in being overly general regarding the suitability of trail runners as a universal given.

Also

As to the thought about boots and ankle support:

First, unless there are medical issues, the ankle is best protected with exercise and use, where the ankle is allowed to use uneven surfaces, exercise, and balancing on one foot in order to build strength and endurance and lessen susceptibility to injurious fatigue.

The only sure ankle support for medically indicated need are ankle braces which can fit inside of the shoe. Despite anecdotal evidence and subjective opinion to the contrary, research has repeatedly shown that boots do not provide the level of stiffness and the shear rigidity needed to keep ankles free from injury.

They can, in fact, exacerbate the risk of injury. A foot in a boot is sitting higher off the ground than when in a shoe because the outer and midsoles are much thicker and built up. Additionally, the outer sole of boots are trimmed closer to shell of the boot, meaning that the outer sole has a fairly narrow profile. Both of these factors have been shown to have a higher risk of the footwear 'rolling' when stepping on an unstable surface or piece of debris like loose rocks or uneven surfaces.

As the boot begins to roll, the boot carries the foot with it, the higher material of the boot above the ankle exerts more force against the foot to make it roll with the boot. That material is not stiff enough to keep from flexing, which means that your ankle is going to start bending as the roll of the boot continues. And because the foot is higher off the ground inside the boot, the ankle can be forced into a more significant bending.

Another factor about boots that helps lead to injury is their weight. The heavier the weight that the foot and lower legs need to lift, the more stress and fatigue the ankles and supporting structures are exposed to. Such weakens the ability of the ankle structures to maintain resiliency.

Trail shoes and trail runners, on the other hand, do the opposite when confronted with the same type of uneven surface or debris. The outer and midsoles are much closer to the ground. They are also wider than the shoe making for a contact point with the ground that is more stable. Their much lighter weight keeps ankle structures from fatiguing.

Now here is the thing researchers found as most significant: A foot in a shoe that is kept a bit loose can compensate, to a large degree, when the shoe starts to roll off of an uneven surface. As the shoe rolls, the shoe tends to slip around the foot. In other words, the shoe moves around the foot for the most part, so the ankle won't immediately bend out of place with the shoe. This allows the wearer of the shoe to have enough time to react to the rolling and twisting shoe to keep the ankle from injurious strain.

Yes, there are people who get ankle injuries in trail shoes and trail runners. But those injuries are less frequent and less severe, on an average, than with a foot encased in an above the ankle hiking boot.

As I stated above, there will be any number of folks that, with no predisposing medical conditions, will state anecdotal evidence along the lines that they, or a friend, or other family members, et al, were saved by above the ankle boots. Subjective opinion is like that. :) But objective evidence begs to differ on the best way of protecting ankles from injury.

Also

Water can enter trail shoes or boots through any opening during a rainstorm or while walking through dew-covered grass or pour into it as happens when you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is 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 is uncomfortably hot in warmer and rainy temperatures, and it offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.

Or you can try using a shoe with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not seen a gaiter or other waterproof type accessory that would both keep the water out, and keep the feet dry.

“Waterproof” shoes fail is because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term. Lightweight, leather and fabric trail boots, for example, where some manufacturers have tried treating with a coating, don’t last. 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.

When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes, their actual performance never matched what was claimed.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Goretex, are only marginally breathable—water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. 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.

That’s why serious 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.

I’ve heard a potential footwear customer ask, “Are the shoes / boots waterproof?” while in the footwear department of an REI / outdoor type store. “You bet,” the customer service guy will say.

A couple of times I’ve softly interrupted by asking why they wanted, or thought they needed, waterproof shoes. Usually, the potential buyer looked at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Like most everyone, their answer was about thinking their feet would stay dry, and that wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

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

I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

1. “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.

2. “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons.

3. Wearing multiple pairs of socks, which eventually all get wet.

4. Multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet too.

Since keeping my feet dry never worked, I decided to develop effective strategies so that the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking were either waaaaaay minimized or eliminated. 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 bad things?

1. Maceration, or pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs and gets “soggy” from moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft, which makes it prone to blistering and can develop other problems.

2. Cracking of the skin when it dries. 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, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather:

1. Apply a good coating of salve or balm to my feet before putting on socks and shoes. This helps protect from external moisture.

2. Wear non-waterproof shoes, which drain and dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail shoes have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.

3. 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; rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.

4. Wear thin, non-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will keep wet feet warm unless the weather is winter-cold.

5. Take off my shoes and socks to let my feet air dry during any mid-day rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes. During that 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 reapply a good amount of balm or salve to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.

6. Apply a salve or ointment to the bottoms of my feet when I have stopped for the day both before and after I shower.

7. Carry an extra pair of insoles. These are lightweight and 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.

8. I found 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. Then, 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 them back on to walk around in. Within a couple of hours, the shoes are mostly dry.

9. At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process during the night.

10. Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at night, to give my feet 8-9 hours of recovery time.

Hi @davebugg thank you for your most moderate and informative post.
Just wondering which brand of merino liner socks you prefer? Do you aim for 100% merino or a mixed fibre and if so what
mimum ratio of merino? Many thanks again.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#41
Dave, thank you. I've been hiking and backpacking for 60 years and have read lots about the subject but I've got to say what you've written lately on this thread and others is the most descriptive, sensible, concise and informative educational material about boots and hiking shoes (and blisters and footcare) that I've read.
Thank you, Rick... I am so very glad to do what I can. This Forum has been a blessing to me in so many ways that I am happy that there is a way that I am able to contribute something back to it.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#42
Hi @davebugg thank you for your most moderate and informative post.
Just wondering which brand of merino liner socks you prefer? Do you aim for 100% merino or a mixed fibre and if so what
mimum ratio of merino? Many thanks again.
Hi, Jayne...
I personally do not use a liner sock, I only use a single, light padded sock. I think Smartwool, Darn Tough, and other highly rated brands all do well, and have their adherents for good reason. :).

Having some synthetic blending does two things: 1. It helps maintain the shape of the sock so that it does a much better job of conforming to it. For blister prevention, one wants a snug sock, though not a deathly, strangulation tight sock, that will stay with the foot with its active movement so that the sock stays in place while the insole slips and moves over the sock. That places the shear friction between sock and shoe, rather than between the skin and sock. 2. Synthetic content helps make the material stronger, increasing the ability of the sock to absorb wear and tear.

Over the last four years, I have use Smartwool Ph.d socks, in their light-padded model. Smartwool has a number of sock models to choose from, and each model usually will have several weights of padding: light, mid and heavy.

I am not recommending any specific brand when I tell what I personally use with any piece of gear or clothing. If I do so, it is because it is an example of what someone can look at and have a working place to begin looking and comparing. So, please take a look at some of the brands users highly rate, and then go from there. If you have two comparable socks and both feel nice and do well on your feet, get the one on sale :)

And while I do not make brand recommendations, I think due consideration should be give to a sock that has a lighter padding than a thicker one. There is usually less risk for shear friction movement with thinner padding, and a thinner padded sock will dry quicker, both from wet and sweat :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Chemin de St. Jame 2013
Camino del Norte 2017
#43
If you like boots, then there ya go... boots it is :) Lot's of stuff is available on this topic thru the search engine, too. Below are a few reposts of mine which you may or may not choose to consider.

Let me start by saying that if someone chooses to walk in the types of boots you have listed, that is a personal choice. If asked, I might recommend a different type of hiking footwear to try. But footwear choices are so individual to fit and comfort, that someone making an informed decision for a boot who, having given them a good trial run and liking the choice, is not getting an argument from me :).

The problem is with the huge generalization that was made favoring boots, although I am wondering if that statement wasn't meant to sound as definitive or ironclad as it did. There is now a large body of experience which contradicts such an assessment. In other words, hiking boots are not critical for comfort. To be sure, the boots mentioned have their adherents (I love my Lowa Caminos for winter time); and for what they are, are great quality footwear. However, the trend toward trail runners and trail shoes now have a large following as the technology has matured. And for good reason.

For example, the preference by ultralight thru hikers over the last 5 years on the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail have largely been to trail runner type shoes. This trend has been increasingly adopted by other backpackers over the last several years. Additionally, the issue of a 'waterproof' shoe is increasingly being turned aside --- as the weaknesses and disadvantages to the technology have become more apparent --- in favor to materials which drain fast and dry quickly.

Right now, I am doing a gear test for Solomon on their XA Pro 3D Trail Runner. It is a non GTX shoe (Goretex, for those wondering). If I were to compare the usability of these trail runners or trekking shoes, to the newer generation of boots, I can do so in direct comparison to a pair of Lowa Camino GTX boots, which I use for winter backpacking trips in snow. I can do a direct comparison of performance as it relates to support, stability, and perceived comfort to the sole of the foot, and to the foot in general.

So far, I have put over 150 miles on the Solomons. As is part of the job, I have purposefully walked through streams to assess their ability to dry out and perform when wet, have hiked over severely rough, rutted, and rocky debris strewn trails to check out stability and comfort and support, and have taken muddied and wet rocked uphill trails to determine traction and stability under typical adverse conditions in the backcountry.

In some instances, the Lowas would have performed slightly better; in other areas there is no discernible difference. The Lowas will definitely last longer than the Solomons, but at over three times the price of the Solomons, they should be expected to do so.

But, and this is a critical factor for me, and to a lot of backpackers and trekkers: The Lowa Renegade cited in the list, which is a bit lighter than my Caminos, are nearly three times as heavy on the foot as the Solomons.

The military studies on fatigue and footwear have determined that, on average, one pound on the foot is equal to five pounds carried on the back. At nearly three and a half pounds per pair, that means over 17 pounds. At an average weight of 1.75 pounds per pair of trail runners, wearing a trail runner drops that weight to 5.25 pounds

The practical issues for less experienced and fit pilgrims are several. Excess fatigue and wear on the legs can obviously drain energy quicker, making for a more tiring day of walking. However, the frequency of issues, such as shin splints, knee pain, ankle strain, and blistering rises with higher levels of work to the legs, which is increased by heavier than needed footwear.

There are several other issues regarding boots versus trail runners and shoes. And as with generalizations about boots, there is a danger in being overly general regarding the suitability of trail runners as a universal given.

Also

As to the thought about boots and ankle support:

First, unless there are medical issues, the ankle is best protected with exercise and use, where the ankle is allowed to use uneven surfaces, exercise, and balancing on one foot in order to build strength and endurance and lessen susceptibility to injurious fatigue.

The only sure ankle support for medically indicated need are ankle braces which can fit inside of the shoe. Despite anecdotal evidence and subjective opinion to the contrary, research has repeatedly shown that boots do not provide the level of stiffness and the shear rigidity needed to keep ankles free from injury.

They can, in fact, exacerbate the risk of injury. A foot in a boot is sitting higher off the ground than when in a shoe because the outer and midsoles are much thicker and built up. Additionally, the outer sole of boots are trimmed closer to shell of the boot, meaning that the outer sole has a fairly narrow profile. Both of these factors have been shown to have a higher risk of the footwear 'rolling' when stepping on an unstable surface or piece of debris like loose rocks or uneven surfaces.

As the boot begins to roll, the boot carries the foot with it, the higher material of the boot above the ankle exerts more force against the foot to make it roll with the boot. That material is not stiff enough to keep from flexing, which means that your ankle is going to start bending as the roll of the boot continues. And because the foot is higher off the ground inside the boot, the ankle can be forced into a more significant bending.

Another factor about boots that helps lead to injury is their weight. The heavier the weight that the foot and lower legs need to lift, the more stress and fatigue the ankles and supporting structures are exposed to. Such weakens the ability of the ankle structures to maintain resiliency.

Trail shoes and trail runners, on the other hand, do the opposite when confronted with the same type of uneven surface or debris. The outer and midsoles are much closer to the ground. They are also wider than the shoe making for a contact point with the ground that is more stable. Their much lighter weight keeps ankle structures from fatiguing.

Now here is the thing researchers found as most significant: A foot in a shoe that is kept a bit loose can compensate, to a large degree, when the shoe starts to roll off of an uneven surface. As the shoe rolls, the shoe tends to slip around the foot. In other words, the shoe moves around the foot for the most part, so the ankle won't immediately bend out of place with the shoe. This allows the wearer of the shoe to have enough time to react to the rolling and twisting shoe to keep the ankle from injurious strain.

Yes, there are people who get ankle injuries in trail shoes and trail runners. But those injuries are less frequent and less severe, on an average, than with a foot encased in an above the ankle hiking boot.

As I stated above, there will be any number of folks that, with no predisposing medical conditions, will state anecdotal evidence along the lines that they, or a friend, or other family members, et al, were saved by above the ankle boots. Subjective opinion is like that. :) But objective evidence begs to differ on the best way of protecting ankles from injury.

Also

Water can enter trail shoes or boots through any opening during a rainstorm or while walking through dew-covered grass or pour into it as happens when you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is 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 is uncomfortably hot in warmer and rainy temperatures, and it offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.

Or you can try using a shoe with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not seen a gaiter or other waterproof type accessory that would both keep the water out, and keep the feet dry.

“Waterproof” shoes fail is because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term. Lightweight, leather and fabric trail boots, for example, where some manufacturers have tried treating with a coating, don’t last. 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.

When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes, their actual performance never matched what was claimed.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Goretex, are only marginally breathable—water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. 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.

That’s why serious 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.

I’ve heard a potential footwear customer ask, “Are the shoes / boots waterproof?” while in the footwear department of an REI / outdoor type store. “You bet,” the customer service guy will say.

A couple of times I’ve softly interrupted by asking why they wanted, or thought they needed, waterproof shoes. Usually, the potential buyer looked at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Like most everyone, their answer was about thinking their feet would stay dry, and that wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

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

I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

1. “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.

2. “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons.

3. Wearing multiple pairs of socks, which eventually all get wet.

4. Multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet too.

Since keeping my feet dry never worked, I decided to develop effective strategies so that the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking were either waaaaaay minimized or eliminated. 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 bad things?

1. Maceration, or pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs and gets “soggy” from moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft, which makes it prone to blistering and can develop other problems.

2. Cracking of the skin when it dries. 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, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather:

1. Apply a good coating of salve or balm to my feet before putting on socks and shoes. This helps protect from external moisture.

2. Wear non-waterproof shoes, which drain and dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail shoes have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.

3. 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; rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.

4. Wear thin, non-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will keep wet feet warm unless the weather is winter-cold.

5. Take off my shoes and socks to let my feet air dry during any mid-day rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes. During that 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 reapply a good amount of balm or salve to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.

6. Apply a salve or ointment to the bottoms of my feet when I have stopped for the day both before and after I shower.

7. Carry an extra pair of insoles. These are lightweight and 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.

8. I found 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. Then, 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 them back on to walk around in. Within a couple of hours, the shoes are mostly dry.

9. At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process during the night.

10. Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at night, to give my feet 8-9 hours of recovery time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Chemin de St. Jame 2013
Camino del Norte 2017
#44
Hi, Jayne...
I personally do not use a liner sock, I only use a single, light padded sock. I think Smartwool, Darn Tough, and other highly rated brands all do well, and have their adherents for good reason. :).

Having some synthetic blending does two things: 1. It helps maintain the shape of the sock so that it does a much better job of conforming to it. For blister prevention, one wants a snug sock, though not a deathly, strangulation tight sock, that will stay with the foot with its active movement so that the sock stays in place while the insole slips and moves over the sock. That places the shear friction between sock and shoe, rather than between the skin and sock. 2. Synthetic content helps make the material stronger, increasing the ability of the sock to absorb wear and tear.

Over the last four years, I have use Smartwool Ph.d socks, in their light-padded model. Smartwool has a number of sock models to choose from, and each model usually will have several weights of padding: light, mid and heavy.

I am not recommending any specific brand when I tell what I personally use with any piece of gear or clothing. If I do so, it is because it is an example of what someone can look at and have a working place to begin looking and comparing. So, please take a look at some of the brands users highly rate, and then go from there. If you have two comparable socks and both feel nice and do well on your feet, get the one on sale :)

And while I do not make brand recommendations, I think due consideration should be give to a sock that has a lighter padding than a thicker one. There is usually less risk for shear friction movement with thinner padding, and a thinner padded sock will dry quicker, both from wet and sweat :)
What a helpful discussion!!! Thank you! I agree with you
 

Saint Mike II

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#45
I am looking for some input.

On our three Caminos we have used KEEN Targhee II Mid Outdoor Boot.
We were happy with everything about them. Height. Weight. Thickness of Sole. Waterproof.
Great shoes. We are now planning our 4th Camino and our old Boots are worn out.
I was blindly going to order a new pair of Keens for each of us, then I thought.... Why not ask for Input of what others think.
PS.... We like Boots. They preformed well on muddy trails. The thicker soles help prevent “tender-foot” after walking the roman road sections.
Hola Ana, I too am a boot man and a Keen's boot man to boot. I saw above what has to be the longest response/reply I have ever encountered. My humble advice - go with what you know and you & your feet are most comfortable with. Just give your feet a few weeks and a few KM/Miles to adjust to the new boots. Cheers
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2017
#46
Do you send it to a specific place to resolve it, or can ant shoe repairer do it. Thanks for your reply
Only a specialist firm, with the special machinery to vulcanize, or melt the new outsole to the vamp, or upper can do this. That is why I suggest doing a web query to locate places that do “hiking boot resoling.”

You can ask around locally, but the process requires the same sort of heat adhesion as for running shoes. There are specific adhesives involved and no stitching. I doubt you will find a shoe maker or cobbler locally. But you can try.

They must also be able to obtain the “findings” direct from the hiking boot manufacturer. This ensures that the result is identical to a new boot or shoe.

Hope this helps.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#47
@MicheleK and @davebugg just putting in my twopence worth of experience, about calluses and thickened skin. As some of you know I wear sandals (no, I'm not hijacking the thread!) so my heels are exposed. This year on the Via de la Plata I was careless and allowed the build up of dry and thick skin, and eventually one of my heels developed cracks which started to bleed. Nasty!

A visit to the Spanish pharmacist produced some miracle cream for hyperkeratopic areas of the feet, calluses and hard patches. It cured my problem within a couple of days. It is called Lensabel K30 and contains Urea 30% plus lactic acid plus salcylic acid. Sounds pretty fierce but it moisturises and exfoliates at the same time. I have not found a similar mixture at home and I shall buy myself a supply next time I'm in Spain.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#48
@MicheleK and @davebugg just putting in my twopence worth of experience, about calluses and thickened skin. As some of you know I wear sandals (no, I'm not hijacking the thread!) so my heels are exposed. This year on the Via de la Plata I was careless and allowed the build up of dry and thick skin, and eventually one of my heels developed cracks which started to bleed. Nasty!

A visit to the Spanish pharmacist produced some miracle cream for hyperkeratopic areas of the feet, calluses and hard patches. It cured my problem within a couple of days. It is called Lensabel K30 and contains Urea 30% plus lactic acid plus salcylic acid. Sounds pretty fierce but it moisturises and exfoliates at the same time. I have not found a similar mixture at home and I shall buy myself a supply next time I'm in Spain.
There is one type available stateside, but it is by prescription only, I think. Latrix? I also saw this on Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Salicylic-Dermatologist-Recommended-Exfoliating-Moisturizer/dp/B01E7VQOSY
 
Camino(s) past & future
May2018
#49
Only a specialist firm, with the special machinery to vulcanize, or melt the new outsole to the vamp, or upper can do this. That is why I suggest doing a web query to locate places that do “hiking boot resoling.”

You can ask around locally, but the process requires the same sort of heat adhesion as for running shoes. There are specific adhesives involved and no stitching. I doubt you will find a shoe maker or cobbler locally. But you can try.

They must also be able to obtain the “findings” direct from the hiking boot manufacturer. This ensures that the result is identical to a new boot or shoe.

Hope this helps.
Thank you so much. Perhaps I can have my old pair resoled
 

camino-david

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
#50
Hi aname4me,
Two things I have to say:
1. Only you can decide what footwear suits you.

2. If the soles and heels of your old boots are worn and that is the only thing wrong, and if you are happy with Vibram soles and heels, Vibram have at least one repair workshop in most countries which is licenced by Vibram to replace the soles and heels. I am in Australia and there is one in my country and Vibram guarantee his work which is carried out to their specifications. If you do this you get to keep the boots which have served you well and presumably fit you better than any new pair. The old sole and heel is replaced with a new complete unit which is vulcanized under pressure to the uppers in a small factory unit. I have had one pair of boots for over 10 years and have walked at least 5000 kms in them and had new soles and heels replaced twice. I have tried repairs by a 'specialised' shoe repairer and his work only lasted 100kms. Do a web search for Vibram shoe repairers in your country.

Good luck
 

Plataman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: (2009), (2013), Via de la Plata; (2016)
#51
I am looking for some input.

On our three Caminos we have used KEEN Targhee II Mid Outdoor Boot.
We were happy with everything about them. Height. Weight. Thickness of Sole. Waterproof.

Great shoes.

We are now planning our 4th Camino and our old Boots are worn out.

I was blindly going to order a new pair of Keens for each of us, then I thought....

Why not ask for Input of what others think.

PS.... We like Boots. They preformed well on muddy trails. The thicker soles help prevent “tender-foot” after walking the roman road sections.
View attachment 43624 [/
 

Plataman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: (2009), (2013), Via de la Plata; (2016)
#52
What a great discussion. I have used the Keene Targhee II Mid boot on three Caminos, bought a new pair for each one, and found them to be an extent boot. I am planning to do the VLDP again starting in Sept., and am intrigued by the points made by Dave Bugg and others to try out some trail runners, and if I can find one that feels good, may go with that for September. I'm torn though, with the " if it ain't broke don't fix it" argument.
I have never had a blister, or even a hint of one. I give my feet a thin coating of Vaseline every morning, put on a good fitting polypropylene liner sock, then a Smartwool Merino hiking sock, mid weight.
At the end of the day, I pull the boot liner out , stuff the boot with newspaper, and spend the rest of the day in my Keene sandals, no socks, to allow my feet to really breath. This recipe has worked for me.
Having a good boot liner is important. Get some advice and help selecting the right liner for your foot shape and walk. I carry two pair, and alternate days.
 

Karl G

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019 TBD
#53
This thread is very timely for me as I am struggling with shoe/boot selection. I’ve always worn shoes instead of boots and never had any ankle issues. I’ve had a good friend warning me about an upcoming hike and the need for additional ankle support so it was good to see some empirical evidence that casts doubt on the value of higher boots.

My bigger question is GTX or not. I see where @davebugg is on this debate but I wonder if some people have feet that sweat less than others - thus negating the need to be concerned about breathability. I’ve also had good experience with their ability to prevent my feet getting wet.

Am I alone in this or have others worn GTX for years without any breathability problems?
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés April/May 2006, Camino Fisterre May, 2006, Camino Frances - Oct/Nov 2017
#55
@davebugg what "balm" do you suggest? I will be walking my first Camino this September. I have never used anything on my feet before. I see many folks use good old vaseline. I have a concern about a thick callus I have on the outside of my big right toe. I am trying to reduce it but as I am training, the skin around and under this callus is getting red and tender due to the sheer. Not sure how to get over this situation before I start in St Jean PP. Do you have any suggestions?
I used Bag Balm, the stuff dairy farmers use to soften and moistures and prevent irritation in cows udders! Worked like a charm. Inexpensive and effective.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés April/May 2006, Camino Fisterre May, 2006, Camino Frances - Oct/Nov 2017
#56
This thread is very timely for me as I am struggling with shoe/boot selection. I’ve always worn shoes instead of boots and never had any ankle issues. I’ve had a good friend warning me about an upcoming hike and the need for additional ankle support so it was good to see some empirical evidence that casts doubt on the value of higher boots.

My bigger question is GTX or not. I see where @davebugg is on this debate but I wonder if some people have feet that sweat less than others - thus negating the need to be concerned about breathability. I’ve also had good experience with their ability to prevent my feet getting wet.

Am I alone in this or have others worn GTX for years without any breathability problems?
No problems with Keens and their version of Goretex (Keen Dry). Yes some people have very sweaty feet I guess. I walk in cooler seasons and of course would not use Goretex in the hotter months.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (SJPP to SDC); Finisterre and Muxia; Portuguese; Primitivo; Norte (Irun to SDC); Ingles
#57
Thanks, davebugg, for your thoughtful and detailed discussion. Personally, on our five caminos (2 short -- less than 2 weeks -- and 3 long -- 4 weeks or more) I've always worn boots (different brands) and my wife has always worn trail runners -- Altus or Salomon. Neither of us has had blister problems. I prefer the boots because they cushion the shock of all that pavement walking, especially on the Norte, which we just completed. They also keep my feet dry when I'm slogging through mud, or in a light rain, both of which were constant on the Norte. In the 4 days of serious rain we had, they certainly got soaked through, but with the aid of newspapers stuffed in them overnight, they always dried out by the next day.
Like you, I don't have a problem walking with wet feet, but I still prefer them to be dry, and with the boots my feet were at least dry most of the time. (I also use vaseline liberally. Good stuff; no need for anything expensive). My boots also didn't fall apart, and are still good to go. On our longer caminos my wife's trail runners either had to be replaced after a few weeks, or were given a proper funeral when we reached Santiago.

That said, I'm definitely willing to be convinced about the benefits of the lighter trail runners, and would be curious to actually read the studies you refer to in your posts (military studies, research on support, etc). Are they available online? Can you give us some specific cites?

Thanks so much again for your thoughtful discussion.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#58
I prefer the boots because they cushion the shock of all that pavement walking, especially on the Norte, which we just completed.
Just goes to show how people experience things differently. Having walked in shoes or boots for about 17 years, this year I became a @davebugg convert and walked in Altras. By far the biggest difference was the cushioning factor -- I walked a bunch of 40-43 km days and never once experienced the "can't wait to get my shoes off" feeling that I so frequently had in years past. My Solomon shoes, which I wore for years with no blisters, can't hold a candle to the soft cushion the Altras provide.

Buen camino, Laurie

And an off-topic ps.for anyone else who is reading this worried about the Norte's huge amounts of asphalt, there are gorgeous coastal trails usually within a km or two of the camino, which tends to run along the national highway. Those trails made a huge difference to my Norte experience-- my feet were much happier and the views were jaw-dropping. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/coastal-alternatives-to-the-nortes-asphalt.49578/
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (SJPP to SDC); Finisterre and Muxia; Portuguese; Primitivo; Norte (Irun to SDC); Ingles
#59
Just goes to show how people experience things differently. Having walked in shoes or boots for about 17 years, this year I became a @davebugg convert and walked in Altras. By far the biggest difference was the cushioning factor -- I walked a bunch of 40-43 km days and never once experienced the "can't wait to get my shoes off" feeling that I so frequently had in years past. My Solomon shoes, which I wore for years with no blisters, can't hold a candle to the soft cushion the Altras provide.

Buen camino, Laurie

And an off-topic ps.for anyone else who is reading this worried about the Norte's huge amounts of asphalt, there are gorgeous coastal trails usually within a km or two of the camino, which tends to run along the national highway. Those trails made a huge difference to my Norte experience-- my feet were much happier and the views were jaw-dropping. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/coastal-alternatives-to-the-nortes-asphalt.49578/
Hi Laurie: We followed a lot of your coastal alternatives, and were very grateful for your posts on them. BTW, all of the alternatives are now listed in Wise Pilgrim, and quite a few have now become the "official" Camino. But there was still a ton of pavement walking, especially through Cantabrica and Asturias. The one alternative we regretted not doing was the coastal path out of Santander, but my wife hurt her back badly, and we had to rely on Correos to ship her pack. Since that alternative wasn't an "official" one for Correos, they wouldn't deliver along it. Too bad, because the slog out of Santander to Pelagro, plus the following day to Santillana were our worst two days on the Norte. Pavement all the way, and lots of busy road.
 
#60
If you like boots, then there ya go... boots it is :) Lot's of stuff is available on this topic thru the search engine, too. Below are a few reposts of mine which you may or may not choose to consider.

Let me start by saying that if someone chooses to walk in the types of boots you have listed, that is a personal choice. If asked, I might recommend a different type of hiking footwear to try. But footwear choices are so individual to fit and comfort, that someone making an informed decision for a boot who, having given them a good trial run and liking the choice, is not getting an argument from me :).

The problem is with the huge generalization that was made favoring boots, although I am wondering if that statement wasn't meant to sound as definitive or ironclad as it did. There is now a large body of experience which contradicts such an assessment. In other words, hiking boots are not critical for comfort. To be sure, the boots mentioned have their adherents (I love my Lowa Caminos for winter time); and for what they are, are great quality footwear. However, the trend toward trail runners and trail shoes now have a large following as the technology has matured. And for good reason.

For example, the preference by ultralight thru hikers over the last 5 years on the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail have largely been to trail runner type shoes. This trend has been increasingly adopted by other backpackers over the last several years. Additionally, the issue of a 'waterproof' shoe is increasingly being turned aside --- as the weaknesses and disadvantages to the technology have become more apparent --- in favor to materials which drain fast and dry quickly.

Right now, I am doing a gear test for Solomon on their XA Pro 3D Trail Runner. It is a non GTX shoe (Goretex, for those wondering). If I were to compare the usability of these trail runners or trekking shoes, to the newer generation of boots, I can do so in direct comparison to a pair of Lowa Camino GTX boots, which I use for winter backpacking trips in snow. I can do a direct comparison of performance as it relates to support, stability, and perceived comfort to the sole of the foot, and to the foot in general.

So far, I have put over 150 miles on the Solomons. As is part of the job, I have purposefully walked through streams to assess their ability to dry out and perform when wet, have hiked over severely rough, rutted, and rocky debris strewn trails to check out stability and comfort and support, and have taken muddied and wet rocked uphill trails to determine traction and stability under typical adverse conditions in the backcountry.

In some instances, the Lowas would have performed slightly better; in other areas there is no discernible difference. The Lowas will definitely last longer than the Solomons, but at over three times the price of the Solomons, they should be expected to do so.

But, and this is a critical factor for me, and to a lot of backpackers and trekkers: The Lowa Renegade cited in the list, which is a bit lighter than my Caminos, are nearly three times as heavy on the foot as the Solomons.

The military studies on fatigue and footwear have determined that, on average, one pound on the foot is equal to five pounds carried on the back. At nearly three and a half pounds per pair, that means over 17 pounds. At an average weight of 1.75 pounds per pair of trail runners, wearing a trail runner drops that weight to 5.25 pounds

The practical issues for less experienced and fit pilgrims are several. Excess fatigue and wear on the legs can obviously drain energy quicker, making for a more tiring day of walking. However, the frequency of issues, such as shin splints, knee pain, ankle strain, and blistering rises with higher levels of work to the legs, which is increased by heavier than needed footwear.

There are several other issues regarding boots versus trail runners and shoes. And as with generalizations about boots, there is a danger in being overly general regarding the suitability of trail runners as a universal given.

Also

As to the thought about boots and ankle support:

First, unless there are medical issues, the ankle is best protected with exercise and use, where the ankle is allowed to use uneven surfaces, exercise, and balancing on one foot in order to build strength and endurance and lessen susceptibility to injurious fatigue.

The only sure ankle support for medically indicated need are ankle braces which can fit inside of the shoe. Despite anecdotal evidence and subjective opinion to the contrary, research has repeatedly shown that boots do not provide the level of stiffness and the shear rigidity needed to keep ankles free from injury.

They can, in fact, exacerbate the risk of injury. A foot in a boot is sitting higher off the ground than when in a shoe because the outer and midsoles are much thicker and built up. Additionally, the outer sole of boots are trimmed closer to shell of the boot, meaning that the outer sole has a fairly narrow profile. Both of these factors have been shown to have a higher risk of the footwear 'rolling' when stepping on an unstable surface or piece of debris like loose rocks or uneven surfaces.

As the boot begins to roll, the boot carries the foot with it, the higher material of the boot above the ankle exerts more force against the foot to make it roll with the boot. That material is not stiff enough to keep from flexing, which means that your ankle is going to start bending as the roll of the boot continues. And because the foot is higher off the ground inside the boot, the ankle can be forced into a more significant bending.

Another factor about boots that helps lead to injury is their weight. The heavier the weight that the foot and lower legs need to lift, the more stress and fatigue the ankles and supporting structures are exposed to. Such weakens the ability of the ankle structures to maintain resiliency.

Trail shoes and trail runners, on the other hand, do the opposite when confronted with the same type of uneven surface or debris. The outer and midsoles are much closer to the ground. They are also wider than the shoe making for a contact point with the ground that is more stable. Their much lighter weight keeps ankle structures from fatiguing.

Now here is the thing researchers found as most significant: A foot in a shoe that is kept a bit loose can compensate, to a large degree, when the shoe starts to roll off of an uneven surface. As the shoe rolls, the shoe tends to slip around the foot. In other words, the shoe moves around the foot for the most part, so the ankle won't immediately bend out of place with the shoe. This allows the wearer of the shoe to have enough time to react to the rolling and twisting shoe to keep the ankle from injurious strain.

Yes, there are people who get ankle injuries in trail shoes and trail runners. But those injuries are less frequent and less severe, on an average, than with a foot encased in an above the ankle hiking boot.

As I stated above, there will be any number of folks that, with no predisposing medical conditions, will state anecdotal evidence along the lines that they, or a friend, or other family members, et al, were saved by above the ankle boots. Subjective opinion is like that. :) But objective evidence begs to differ on the best way of protecting ankles from injury.

Also

Water can enter trail shoes or boots through any opening during a rainstorm or while walking through dew-covered grass or pour into it as happens when you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is 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 is uncomfortably hot in warmer and rainy temperatures, and it offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.

Or you can try using a shoe with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not seen a gaiter or other waterproof type accessory that would both keep the water out, and keep the feet dry.

“Waterproof” shoes fail is because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term. Lightweight, leather and fabric trail boots, for example, where some manufacturers have tried treating with a coating, don’t last. 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.

When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes, their actual performance never matched what was claimed.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Goretex, are only marginally breathable—water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. 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.

That’s why serious 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.

I’ve heard a potential footwear customer ask, “Are the shoes / boots waterproof?” while in the footwear department of an REI / outdoor type store. “You bet,” the customer service guy will say.

A couple of times I’ve softly interrupted by asking why they wanted, or thought they needed, waterproof shoes. Usually, the potential buyer looked at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Like most everyone, their answer was about thinking their feet would stay dry, and that wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

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

I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

1. “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.

2. “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons.

3. Wearing multiple pairs of socks, which eventually all get wet.

4. Multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet too.

Since keeping my feet dry never worked, I decided to develop effective strategies so that the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking were either waaaaaay minimized or eliminated. 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 bad things?

1. Maceration, or pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs and gets “soggy” from moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft, which makes it prone to blistering and can develop other problems.

2. Cracking of the skin when it dries. 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, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather:

1. Apply a good coating of salve or balm to my feet before putting on socks and shoes. This helps protect from external moisture.

2. Wear non-waterproof shoes, which drain and dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail shoes have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.

3. 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; rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.

4. Wear thin, non-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will keep wet feet warm unless the weather is winter-cold.

5. Take off my shoes and socks to let my feet air dry during any mid-day rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes. During that 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 reapply a good amount of balm or salve to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.

6. Apply a salve or ointment to the bottoms of my feet when I have stopped for the day both before and after I shower.

7. Carry an extra pair of insoles. These are lightweight and 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.

8. I found 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. Then, 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 them back on to walk around in. Within a couple of hours, the shoes are mostly dry.

9. At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process during the night.

10. Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at night, to give my feet 8-9 hours of recovery time.
Dave,

After that post, maybe it is time to go out and cut the grass again? :cool:

But you always, DA BOMB!!!
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#61
....... That said, I'm definitely willing to be convinced about the benefits of the lighter trail runners, and would be curious to actually read the studies you refer to in your posts (military studies, research on support, etc). Are they available online? Can you give us some specific cites?

Thanks so much again for your thoughtful discussion.
I appreciate your kind thoughts, Andy. It is my hope that folks do not misunderstand my intent with the various posts which I make which are of a similar nature.

All that I want to do is share information that may help in the consideration of gear and clothing. I humbly mention that I do come with a fairly unique background, both professional and experiential, with regards to mountaineering, backpacking, Search and Rescue, combat and clinical medicine, and quality control gear testing for various outdoor gear and clothing manufacturers. It is my sincere hope to share that experience and knowledge as just one small resource for those who wish to consider various options for gear and clothing and technique.

I do not consider myself to be either infallible or all knowing :) Far from it. I feel privileged to be of any kind of service to participants of this forum, as I have gained far more than I can ever contribute.

And because of all of that, I would be embarrassed and troubled to think of my posts as appearing to others as having any other intentions. I do not want anyone to think that I am trying to do a hard sell in convincing anyone to do anything. I only wish to provide relevant and the most current information I can for others to consider.

Here are some cites about the 'pounds on the back' reference I have made. These are the ones that are readily available for viewing. These are abstracts, but in order to read the full articles a subscription may be required to view the entire article. I belong to several research and medical databases, but copyright technologies generally interfere with copy and paste attempts :)

https://www.researchgate.net/public..._women_walking_and_running_in_shoes_and_boots

The energy cost and heart-rate response of trained and untrained subjects walking and running in shoes and boots
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00140138408963563

Energy cost of backpacking in heavy boots
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00140138608968276


Physiological strain due to load carrying in heavy footwear.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1396635
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues 2019
#62
If you like boots, then there ya go... boots it is :) Lot's of stuff is available on this topic thru the search engine, too. Below are a few reposts of mine which you may or may not choose to consider.

Let me start by saying that if someone chooses to walk in the types of boots you have listed, that is a personal choice. If asked, I might recommend a different type of hiking footwear to try. But footwear choices are so individual to fit and comfort, that someone making an informed decision for a boot who, having given them a good trial run and liking the choice, is not getting an argument from me :).

The problem is with the huge generalization that was made favoring boots, although I am wondering if that statement wasn't meant to sound as definitive or ironclad as it did. There is now a large body of experience which contradicts such an assessment. In other words, hiking boots are not critical for comfort. To be sure, the boots mentioned have their adherents (I love my Lowa Caminos for winter time); and for what they are, are great quality footwear. However, the trend toward trail runners and trail shoes now have a large following as the technology has matured. And for good reason.

For example, the preference by ultralight thru hikers over the last 5 years on the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail have largely been to trail runner type shoes. This trend has been increasingly adopted by other backpackers over the last several years. Additionally, the issue of a 'waterproof' shoe is increasingly being turned aside --- as the weaknesses and disadvantages to the technology have become more apparent --- in favor to materials which drain fast and dry quickly.

Right now, I am doing a gear test for Solomon on their XA Pro 3D Trail Runner. It is a non GTX shoe (Goretex, for those wondering). If I were to compare the usability of these trail runners or trekking shoes, to the newer generation of boots, I can do so in direct comparison to a pair of Lowa Camino GTX boots, which I use for winter backpacking trips in snow. I can do a direct comparison of performance as it relates to support, stability, and perceived comfort to the sole of the foot, and to the foot in general.

So far, I have put over 150 miles on the Solomons. As is part of the job, I have purposefully walked through streams to assess their ability to dry out and perform when wet, have hiked over severely rough, rutted, and rocky debris strewn trails to check out stability and comfort and support, and have taken muddied and wet rocked uphill trails to determine traction and stability under typical adverse conditions in the backcountry.

In some instances, the Lowas would have performed slightly better; in other areas there is no discernible difference. The Lowas will definitely last longer than the Solomons, but at over three times the price of the Solomons, they should be expected to do so.

But, and this is a critical factor for me, and to a lot of backpackers and trekkers: The Lowa Renegade cited in the list, which is a bit lighter than my Caminos, are nearly three times as heavy on the foot as the Solomons.

The military studies on fatigue and footwear have determined that, on average, one pound on the foot is equal to five pounds carried on the back. At nearly three and a half pounds per pair, that means over 17 pounds. At an average weight of 1.75 pounds per pair of trail runners, wearing a trail runner drops that weight to 5.25 pounds

The practical issues for less experienced and fit pilgrims are several. Excess fatigue and wear on the legs can obviously drain energy quicker, making for a more tiring day of walking. However, the frequency of issues, such as shin splints, knee pain, ankle strain, and blistering rises with higher levels of work to the legs, which is increased by heavier than needed footwear.

There are several other issues regarding boots versus trail runners and shoes. And as with generalizations about boots, there is a danger in being overly general regarding the suitability of trail runners as a universal given.

Also

As to the thought about boots and ankle support:

First, unless there are medical issues, the ankle is best protected with exercise and use, where the ankle is allowed to use uneven surfaces, exercise, and balancing on one foot in order to build strength and endurance and lessen susceptibility to injurious fatigue.

The only sure ankle support for medically indicated need are ankle braces which can fit inside of the shoe. Despite anecdotal evidence and subjective opinion to the contrary, research has repeatedly shown that boots do not provide the level of stiffness and the shear rigidity needed to keep ankles free from injury.

They can, in fact, exacerbate the risk of injury. A foot in a boot is sitting higher off the ground than when in a shoe because the outer and midsoles are much thicker and built up. Additionally, the outer sole of boots are trimmed closer to shell of the boot, meaning that the outer sole has a fairly narrow profile. Both of these factors have been shown to have a higher risk of the footwear 'rolling' when stepping on an unstable surface or piece of debris like loose rocks or uneven surfaces.

As the boot begins to roll, the boot carries the foot with it, the higher material of the boot above the ankle exerts more force against the foot to make it roll with the boot. That material is not stiff enough to keep from flexing, which means that your ankle is going to start bending as the roll of the boot continues. And because the foot is higher off the ground inside the boot, the ankle can be forced into a more significant bending.

Another factor about boots that helps lead to injury is their weight. The heavier the weight that the foot and lower legs need to lift, the more stress and fatigue the ankles and supporting structures are exposed to. Such weakens the ability of the ankle structures to maintain resiliency.

Trail shoes and trail runners, on the other hand, do the opposite when confronted with the same type of uneven surface or debris. The outer and midsoles are much closer to the ground. They are also wider than the shoe making for a contact point with the ground that is more stable. Their much lighter weight keeps ankle structures from fatiguing.

Now here is the thing researchers found as most significant: A foot in a shoe that is kept a bit loose can compensate, to a large degree, when the shoe starts to roll off of an uneven surface. As the shoe rolls, the shoe tends to slip around the foot. In other words, the shoe moves around the foot for the most part, so the ankle won't immediately bend out of place with the shoe. This allows the wearer of the shoe to have enough time to react to the rolling and twisting shoe to keep the ankle from injurious strain.

Yes, there are people who get ankle injuries in trail shoes and trail runners. But those injuries are less frequent and less severe, on an average, than with a foot encased in an above the ankle hiking boot.

As I stated above, there will be any number of folks that, with no predisposing medical conditions, will state anecdotal evidence along the lines that they, or a friend, or other family members, et al, were saved by above the ankle boots. Subjective opinion is like that. :) But objective evidence begs to differ on the best way of protecting ankles from injury.

Also

Water can enter trail shoes or boots through any opening during a rainstorm or while walking through dew-covered grass or pour into it as happens when you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is 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 is uncomfortably hot in warmer and rainy temperatures, and it offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.

Or you can try using a shoe with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not seen a gaiter or other waterproof type accessory that would both keep the water out, and keep the feet dry.

“Waterproof” shoes fail is because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term. Lightweight, leather and fabric trail boots, for example, where some manufacturers have tried treating with a coating, don’t last. 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.

When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes, their actual performance never matched what was claimed.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Goretex, are only marginally breathable—water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. 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.

That’s why serious 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.

I’ve heard a potential footwear customer ask, “Are the shoes / boots waterproof?” while in the footwear department of an REI / outdoor type store. “You bet,” the customer service guy will say.

A couple of times I’ve softly interrupted by asking why they wanted, or thought they needed, waterproof shoes. Usually, the potential buyer looked at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Like most everyone, their answer was about thinking their feet would stay dry, and that wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

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

I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

1. “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.

2. “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons.

3. Wearing multiple pairs of socks, which eventually all get wet.

4. Multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet too.

Since keeping my feet dry never worked, I decided to develop effective strategies so that the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking were either waaaaaay minimized or eliminated. 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 bad things?

1. Maceration, or pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs and gets “soggy” from moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft, which makes it prone to blistering and can develop other problems.

2. Cracking of the skin when it dries. 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, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather:

1. Apply a good coating of salve or balm to my feet before putting on socks and shoes. This helps protect from external moisture.

2. Wear non-waterproof shoes, which drain and dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail shoes have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.

3. 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; rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.

4. Wear thin, non-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will keep wet feet warm unless the weather is winter-cold.

5. Take off my shoes and socks to let my feet air dry during any mid-day rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes. During that 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 reapply a good amount of balm or salve to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.

6. Apply a salve or ointment to the bottoms of my feet when I have stopped for the day both before and after I shower.

7. Carry an extra pair of insoles. These are lightweight and 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.

8. I found 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. Then, 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 them back on to walk around in. Within a couple of hours, the shoes are mostly dry.

9. At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process during the night.

10. Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at night, to give my feet 8-9 hours of recovery time.
This is amazing info, thank you!!! I’m training in Altra Lone Peaks at the moment and totally LOVE everything about them. My last pair were the Keen Targus, and I have to say the Altras are worlds better for comfort, fit, WEIGHT(!), and for the sheer joy of hiking in them!
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 2018 Portuguese
#63
If you like boots, then there ya go... boots it is :) Lot's of stuff is available on this topic thru the search engine, too. Below are a few reposts of mine which you may or may not choose to consider.

Let me start by saying that if someone chooses to walk in the types of boots you have listed, that is a personal choice. If asked, I might recommend a different type of hiking footwear to try. But footwear choices are so individual to fit and comfort, that someone making an informed decision for a boot who, having given them a good trial run and liking the choice, is not getting an argument from me :).

The problem is with the huge generalization that was made favoring boots, although I am wondering if that statement wasn't meant to sound as definitive or ironclad as it did. There is now a large body of experience which contradicts such an assessment. In other words, hiking boots are not critical for comfort. To be sure, the boots mentioned have their adherents (I love my Lowa Caminos for winter time); and for what they are, are great quality footwear. However, the trend toward trail runners and trail shoes now have a large following as the technology has matured. And for good reason.

For example, the preference by ultralight thru hikers over the last 5 years on the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail have largely been to trail runner type shoes. This trend has been increasingly adopted by other backpackers over the last several years. Additionally, the issue of a 'waterproof' shoe is increasingly being turned aside --- as the weaknesses and disadvantages to the technology have become more apparent --- in favor to materials which drain fast and dry quickly.

Right now, I am doing a gear test for Solomon on their XA Pro 3D Trail Runner. It is a non GTX shoe (Goretex, for those wondering). If I were to compare the usability of these trail runners or trekking shoes, to the newer generation of boots, I can do so in direct comparison to a pair of Lowa Camino GTX boots, which I use for winter backpacking trips in snow. I can do a direct comparison of performance as it relates to support, stability, and perceived comfort to the sole of the foot, and to the foot in general.

So far, I have put over 150 miles on the Solomons. As is part of the job, I have purposefully walked through streams to assess their ability to dry out and perform when wet, have hiked over severely rough, rutted, and rocky debris strewn trails to check out stability and comfort and support, and have taken muddied and wet rocked uphill trails to determine traction and stability under typical adverse conditions in the backcountry.

In some instances, the Lowas would have performed slightly better; in other areas there is no discernible difference. The Lowas will definitely last longer than the Solomons, but at over three times the price of the Solomons, they should be expected to do so.

But, and this is a critical factor for me, and to a lot of backpackers and trekkers: The Lowa Renegade cited in the list, which is a bit lighter than my Caminos, are nearly three times as heavy on the foot as the Solomons.

The military studies on fatigue and footwear have determined that, on average, one pound on the foot is equal to five pounds carried on the back. At nearly three and a half pounds per pair, that means over 17 pounds. At an average weight of 1.75 pounds per pair of trail runners, wearing a trail runner drops that weight to 5.25 pounds

The practical issues for less experienced and fit pilgrims are several. Excess fatigue and wear on the legs can obviously drain energy quicker, making for a more tiring day of walking. However, the frequency of issues, such as shin splints, knee pain, ankle strain, and blistering rises with higher levels of work to the legs, which is increased by heavier than needed footwear.

There are several other issues regarding boots versus trail runners and shoes. And as with generalizations about boots, there is a danger in being overly general regarding the suitability of trail runners as a universal given.

Also

As to the thought about boots and ankle support:

First, unless there are medical issues, the ankle is best protected with exercise and use, where the ankle is allowed to use uneven surfaces, exercise, and balancing on one foot in order to build strength and endurance and lessen susceptibility to injurious fatigue.

The only sure ankle support for medically indicated need are ankle braces which can fit inside of the shoe. Despite anecdotal evidence and subjective opinion to the contrary, research has repeatedly shown that boots do not provide the level of stiffness and the shear rigidity needed to keep ankles free from injury.

They can, in fact, exacerbate the risk of injury. A foot in a boot is sitting higher off the ground than when in a shoe because the outer and midsoles are much thicker and built up. Additionally, the outer sole of boots are trimmed closer to shell of the boot, meaning that the outer sole has a fairly narrow profile. Both of these factors have been shown to have a higher risk of the footwear 'rolling' when stepping on an unstable surface or piece of debris like loose rocks or uneven surfaces.

As the boot begins to roll, the boot carries the foot with it, the higher material of the boot above the ankle exerts more force against the foot to make it roll with the boot. That material is not stiff enough to keep from flexing, which means that your ankle is going to start bending as the roll of the boot continues. And because the foot is higher off the ground inside the boot, the ankle can be forced into a more significant bending.

Another factor about boots that helps lead to injury is their weight. The heavier the weight that the foot and lower legs need to lift, the more stress and fatigue the ankles and supporting structures are exposed to. Such weakens the ability of the ankle structures to maintain resiliency.

Trail shoes and trail runners, on the other hand, do the opposite when confronted with the same type of uneven surface or debris. The outer and midsoles are much closer to the ground. They are also wider than the shoe making for a contact point with the ground that is more stable. Their much lighter weight keeps ankle structures from fatiguing.

Now here is the thing researchers found as most significant: A foot in a shoe that is kept a bit loose can compensate, to a large degree, when the shoe starts to roll off of an uneven surface. As the shoe rolls, the shoe tends to slip around the foot. In other words, the shoe moves around the foot for the most part, so the ankle won't immediately bend out of place with the shoe. This allows the wearer of the shoe to have enough time to react to the rolling and twisting shoe to keep the ankle from injurious strain.

Yes, there are people who get ankle injuries in trail shoes and trail runners. But those injuries are less frequent and less severe, on an average, than with a foot encased in an above the ankle hiking boot.

As I stated above, there will be any number of folks that, with no predisposing medical conditions, will state anecdotal evidence along the lines that they, or a friend, or other family members, et al, were saved by above the ankle boots. Subjective opinion is like that. :) But objective evidence begs to differ on the best way of protecting ankles from injury.

Also

Water can enter trail shoes or boots through any opening during a rainstorm or while walking through dew-covered grass or pour into it as happens when you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is 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 is uncomfortably hot in warmer and rainy temperatures, and it offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.

Or you can try using a shoe with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not seen a gaiter or other waterproof type accessory that would both keep the water out, and keep the feet dry.

“Waterproof” shoes fail is because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term. Lightweight, leather and fabric trail boots, for example, where some manufacturers have tried treating with a coating, don’t last. 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.

When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes, their actual performance never matched what was claimed.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Goretex, are only marginally breathable—water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. 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.

That’s why serious 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.

I’ve heard a potential footwear customer ask, “Are the shoes / boots waterproof?” while in the footwear department of an REI / outdoor type store. “You bet,” the customer service guy will say.

A couple of times I’ve softly interrupted by asking why they wanted, or thought they needed, waterproof shoes. Usually, the potential buyer looked at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Like most everyone, their answer was about thinking their feet would stay dry, and that wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

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

I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

1. “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.

2. “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons.

3. Wearing multiple pairs of socks, which eventually all get wet.

4. Multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet too.

Since keeping my feet dry never worked, I decided to develop effective strategies so that the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking were either waaaaaay minimized or eliminated. 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 bad things?

1. Maceration, or pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs and gets “soggy” from moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft, which makes it prone to blistering and can develop other problems.

2. Cracking of the skin when it dries. 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, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather:

1. Apply a good coating of salve or balm to my feet before putting on socks and shoes. This helps protect from external moisture.

2. Wear non-waterproof shoes, which drain and dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail shoes have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.

3. 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; rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.

4. Wear thin, non-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will keep wet feet warm unless the weather is winter-cold.

5. Take off my shoes and socks to let my feet air dry during any mid-day rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes. During that 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 reapply a good amount of balm or salve to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.

6. Apply a salve or ointment to the bottoms of my feet when I have stopped for the day both before and after I shower.

7. Carry an extra pair of insoles. These are lightweight and 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.

8. I found 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. Then, 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 them back on to walk around in. Within a couple of hours, the shoes are mostly dry.

9. At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process during the night.

10. Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at night, to give my feet 8-9 hours of recovery time.
Wow that was extremely interesting and helpful. Thank you so much!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#64
Hi, Gilmore Girl ( I liked that show even though I'm not exactly the target audience demographic :) )

Some trail runners have a 'rock plate' built into the midsoles which does keep intrusions of pokey things from impacting the feet and making them sore... things like stone debris, chunks of wood, cobble stones, etc. A lot of the Salomon trail runners, for some reason I can't fathom, do not have this feature. It is one of the reasons I prefer my New Balance 910v5 over the Salomons I just gear tested for Salomon; and one of my critical feedback points on my report to them.

I write this in case you would like to try some lighter trail runners again, but are just shy because of that worry over protection to the sole of your feet. If that is the case, be sure to look specifically for a model with a rock plate.

What I ended up doing with the Salomons in order to continue testing them after a couple of days, was to create my own 'rock plate'. I used the insoles I was using as a template to cut out a thick piece of medium flexible plastic ( some will use a milk jugs plastic doubled up and glued together). Then I used double-faced fabric adhesive tape to tape the plastice to the bottom of the inside of the shoe under the insole.
Thanks, I might try this. Do you know if all the Salomon GTX trail runners have rock plates? Alternatively, I might try New Balance again as they always fitted me well in the past. I would like to lose some of the weight of the boots, but the soles on these boots are amazingly comfortable on a hard surface. Happy trails
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (SJPP to SDC); Finisterre and Muxia; Portuguese; Primitivo; Norte (Irun to SDC); Ingles
#65
I appreciate your kind thoughts, Andy. It is my hope that folks do not misunderstand my intent with the various posts which I make which are of a similar nature.

All that I want to do is share information that may help in the consideration of gear and clothing. I humbly mention that I do come with a fairly unique background, both professional and experiential, with regards to mountaineering, backpacking, Search and Rescue, combat and clinical medicine, and quality control gear testing for various outdoor gear and clothing manufacturers. It is my sincere hope to share that experience and knowledge as just one small resource for those who wish to consider various options for gear and clothing and technique.

I do not consider myself to be either infallible or all knowing :) Far from it. I feel privileged to be of any kind of service to participants of this forum, as I have gained far more than I can ever contribute.

And because of all of that, I would be embarrassed and troubled to think of my posts as appearing to others as having any other intentions. I do not want anyone to think that I am trying to do a hard sell in convincing anyone to do anything. I only wish to provide relevant and the most current information I can for others to consider.

Here are some cites about the 'pounds on the back' reference I have made. These are the ones that are readily available for viewing. These are abstracts, but in order to read the full articles a subscription may be required to view the entire article. I belong to several research and medical databases, but copyright technologies generally interfere with copy and paste attempts :)

https://www.researchgate.net/public..._women_walking_and_running_in_shoes_and_boots

The energy cost and heart-rate response of trained and untrained subjects walking and running in shoes and boots
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00140138408963563

Energy cost of backpacking in heavy boots
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00140138608968276


Physiological strain due to load carrying in heavy footwear.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1396635
This is great! Much appreciated.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#66
Wow.... thank you. This is such a wonderful forum, and the participants are such wonderful folks, that I am really happy to contribute. :)
Well , your analysis is so well researched and thought out it is hard not to appreciate both the attitude and information. I am now testing out the Salomen Sense Ride with Ortholite inserts after having used “waterproof” Merrell’s on a 2017 Camino. I really had good luck with them, but I only got rained on at the very end. This is the problem with very limited empirical evidence. We can confirm something that is not well tested ( although those boots had quite a few miles on them!).
As for the Salomens, they are comfortable and light, which is great. I have wide feet, and a review stated that these were on the wide side, but I think a confirmed EE or EEE would be best.
Thanks again @davebugg for all the input and humility
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#67
Thanks, I might try this. Do you know if all the Salomon GTX trail runners have rock plates? Alternatively, I might try New Balance again as they always fitted me well in the past. I would like to lose some of the weight of the boots, but the soles on these boots are amazingly comfortable on a hard surface. Happy trails
I am thinking that Salomon does not incorporate rock plates into their shoes. They don't with the XA Pro 3D that I am familiar with, and I haven't seen it listed as a feature in their other trail shoes. If you like your Salomons, you can make your own rock plate; though not as elegant a solution, it does seem to work fairly well for most who have done so. :) If you find it works, it is a cheaper solution than replacing a still good shoe.

Use the insoles of your shoe to trace a pattern on a sturdy, but flexible piece of plastic type of material. Some use gallon milk jugs, others have found material from places like Amazon.

After cutting out the material, attach double sided tape to the rock plate and place on the interior bottom of the shoe, under the insole.

Be aware that some have felt that this interfered a bit with the cushioning of the shoe, most others haven't felt that it made a difference to the cushioning. It's just something to be mindful of as you try it out.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Porto to Santiago Coastal Route
#68
Hi Dave, Does one cut out the plate to the full length of the shoe interior or just the front end? I knew this would catch on!
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#69
As I have read some of the replies addressing my posts, one type of comment that sometimes popped up, and rightfully so, was a variation of 'if it ain't broke...' I appreciate the sentiment behind those posts, and hopefully I can clear up any misunderstandings in that regard. Let me explain.

My post was not intended to be either argumentative or be otherwise negative about whatever footwear system one may find works well for them, or that they like. I realize that that post could be interpreted in that manner, and for that I apologize to those I may have read it as such. What I am hopeful about is that we share the understanding that differences in a choice, especially when that choice is based on information and knowledge, is not a repudiation of an individual or their choices. That is certainly not why I share information.

The OP was asking for input about choosing her footwear, and I was offering some information for her consideration. If the OP decides to go with goretex infused, insulated mountaineering boots, while it wouldn't be my choice, I respect the choice that is made. The same applies to those who find that they are satisfied with their footwear system, as well.

One other thing that I hope to be clear about: I do not like wet feet :) I try to avoid wet feet as much as I am able, and for cold weather and snow hiking, especially when bushwhacking off trail, I do have boots which will do the job as long as water does not breach the top of the boot. If my feet get sweaty, then I will use a vapor barrier set up, which not only increases warmth but helps protect from frostbite as the result of sock saturation.

I am able to offset the energy expenditure and leg fatigue, from lifting those heavy guys with each step, by the naturally slow pace that must be made because of the more rugged conditions. But they I still look at my beloved Lowa Caminos as boat/boot anchors :)

But I will not wear heavy boots or shoes during most of the non winter hiking season. Therefore, I had to decide how I was going to handle the issue of wet feet. Not because I want them wet, but because the advantage I find, as thousands of others have, with lightweight trail shoes like trail runners, also come with what I and others find to be a major weakness. They are lousy at keeping prolonged wet conditions from getting into the footwear.

That is why I, and many, many others have decided not to become anxious or fret about it, but to accept that when the inevitable happens, it can be effectively dealt with. Knowing that, it takes away the fear of wet feet, and allows one not to have to ignore the advantages of lightweight footwear, if that is what is important in their decision making algorithm.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#70
Hi Dave, Does one cut out the plate to the full length of the shoe interior or just the front end? I knew this would catch on!
The full length. Although the forefoot is the most lightly cushioned area, it is not unknown for the arch and the heel to become sore and bruised. :)

Oh, and if you use double stick tape and it fails, you can use a contact type of adhesive and apply spots of adhesive at strategic places. That way, even if it takes a bit of tugging, the plate can still be removed if you decide to.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#71
.... As for the Salomens, they are comfortable and light, which is great. I have wide feet, and a review stated that these were on the wide side, but I think a confirmed EE or EEE would be best. ...
Up to last year's production, I don't know about this year's new releases yet, Salomon only offered a few select models in what they refer to as 'wide'. They did not quantify a measurement like EE or EEEE, just 'wide'. Based on how their 3d Pro felt on my left foot**, I would subjectively asses it as a 2E (EE). Or maybe just slightly a bit less than 2E.

** I say my 'left foot' for one reason; it is a most ornery, persnickety, loud-voiced complainer. My right foot, by contrast, seems totally aloof to shoes; as long as it fits it's all good. I always pick footwear for Mr. left foot, as I know that if the left foot is reasonably comfortable, the right foot is great.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#72
My post was not intended to be either argumentative or be otherwise negative about whatever footwear system one may find works well for them, or that they like.
Anyone who has those reactions to your posts is not reading very carefully.;)

I think the biggest value of these posts, @davebugg, is to suggest to the uninitiated that there are options. I know that many people immediately think that hiking boots or shoes are the obvious answer, not because of any careful assessment of boots vs. shoes vs. trail runners but because of a lack of knowledge and some incorrect assumptions about what each type of shoe is good for. I know that was my case. For years, I was oblivious to the posts of people like @Anniesantiago, who has been singing the praises of lighter footwear for years. But I was just tone deaf! Your careful explanations have been so so helpful. Buen camino, Laurie
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#73
As I have read some of the replies addressing my posts, one type of comment that sometimes popped up, and rightfully so, was a variation of 'if it ain't broke...' I appreciate the sentiment behind those posts, and hopefully I can clear up any misunderstandings in that regard. Let me explain.

My post was not intended to be either argumentative or be otherwise negative about whatever footwear system one may find works well for them, or that they like. I realize that that post could be interpreted in that manner, and for that I apologize to those I may have read it as such. What I am hopeful about is that we share the understanding that differences in a choice, especially when that choice is based on information and knowledge, is not a repudiation of an individual or their choices. That is certainly not why I share information.

The OP was asking for input about choosing her footwear, and I was offering some information for her consideration. If the OP decides to go with goretex infused, insulated mountaineering boots, while it wouldn't be my choice, I respect the choice that is made. The same applies to those who find that they are satisfied with their footwear system, as well.

One other thing that I hope to be clear about: I do not like wet feet :) I try to avoid wet feet as much as I am able, and for cold weather and snow hiking, especially when bushwhacking off trail, I do have boots which will do the job as long as water does not breach the top of the boot. If my feet get sweaty, then I will use a vapor barrier set up, which not only increases warmth but helps protect from frostbite as the result of sock saturation.

I am able to offset the energy expenditure and leg fatigue, from lifting those heavy guys with each step, by the naturally slow pace that must be made because of the more rugged conditions. But they I still look at my beloved Lowa Caminos as boat/boot anchors :)

But I will not wear heavy boots or shoes during most of the non winter hiking season. Therefore, I had to decide how I was going to handle the issue of wet feet. Not because I want them wet, but because the advantage I find, as thousands of others have, with lightweight trail shoes like trail runners, also come with what I and others find to be a major weakness. They are lousy at keeping prolonged wet conditions from getting into the footwear.

That is why I, and many, many others have decided not to become anxious or fret about it, but to accept that when the inevitable happens, it can be effectively dealt with. Knowing that, it takes away the fear of wet feet, and allows one not to have to ignore the advantages of lightweight footwear, if that is what is important in their decision making algorithm.
Hi, I just was curious about your take on waterproof socks. They are popular here in Britain where we get the odd drop of rain. I haven't worn them enough to know if I would pack them for a long walk. Have you worn them?
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#74
Hi, I just was curious about your take on waterproof socks. They are popular here in Britain where we get the odd drop of rain. I haven't worn them enough to know if I would pack them for a long walk. Have you worn them?
For me and a lot of others who have talked about using them is that they work for a while, but then they fail; probably due to wear and tear. Others on the forum reported to have good success with them. For me, they created puddles of perspiration against my skin. What with my shoes still being wet, and my feet were not any drier even though the wet was from sweat and not rain, I saw no real advantage for me. I think that they could easily be used as a type of vapor barrier, although there are less expensive methods, if one has problems with keeping feet warm during wet times.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#75
For me and a lot of others who have talked about using them is that they work for a while, but then they fail; probably due to wear and tear. Others on the forum reported to have good success with them. For me, they created puddles of perspiration against my skin. What with my shoes still being wet, and my feet were not any drier even though the wet was from sweat and not rain, I saw no real advantage for me. I think that they could easily be used as a type of vapor barrier, although there are less expensive methods, if one has problems with keeping feet warm during wet times.
Thank you, that's helpful. I have some called 'breathable' waterproof socks, but feel reluctant to wear them in summer and will try them out in winter.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#76
Thank you, that's helpful. I have some called 'breathable' waterproof socks, but feel reluctant to wear them in summer and will try them out in winter.
Yeah.. many have found the breathable description a bit questionable. In order to be breathable, there is a dynamic which must occur. In brief:

Waterproof and breathability is described using two numbers. The first is in millimeters (mm) and is a measure of how waterproof a fabric is.

A fabric considered highly water resistant and breathable is measured at 20K or 20,000 mm. It simply means that if you took a 1” x 1” over a piece of material and stretched it tight at the bottom of an open column or tube, you could fill it with water to a height of 20,000 mm (66 feet) before water would begin to leak through.

And as you go to a higher number, it means the fabric or laminate -- like Goretex -- is more waterproof.

Then we get to the second number tries to quantify how much breathability a fabric or membrane has. It is usually described by how many grams of water vapor can pass through a square meter of that fabric from the inside to the outside in a 24 hour period. For a 20k fabric or membrane this would be 20,000 grams. A bigger number means a more 'breathable' membrane or fabric.

The problem with a waterproof sock claiming breathability is this: there is nowhere for water vapor to escape to. Unlike a rain jacket where the outer surface is exposed to air, such does not exist in the enclosed environs of a shoe or boot.

So, if one has a lot of perspiration, the foot will get wet. The reason why some report not having that happen to them individually, has to do with individual physiology with sweat glands in the feet, the stimulus response which starts the process of perspiring in the foot, and also the outside temperature against the footwear.
 
Camino(s) past & future
First timer, leaving April 3rd from SJPDP
#77
Waterproof is BS. Wear wool socks. Ankle support is BS unless mid-shin lace-up combat boots. Altra trail runners are my choice and I love them. Or maybe some other brand, but trail runners! Light, comfortable, quick dry, sure grip, comfort.
Zero blisters and even saw friends "cured" of their blisters and foot problems when they switched. Boots are "old news". We don't use canvas or leather backpacks anymore either Boots are dead.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances = past Via De La Plata = Future
#78
Spare a thought for an old sod like me. I used to love walking but now I ride a bike because I cannot find boots wide enough anymore. I have new balance trail shoes at 4E but the last isn't stiff enough. So now I travel on a folding bike. You may see me soon on the Via. I am the old guy with feet like a frog, river rivet rivet Had a shit load of radiation in 2015 so this is going to be a test.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#79
I have a few pairs of "breathable waterproof" socks. I always take a pair with me on Camino, to wear with my sandals if it is wet and cold. They are seldom worn, but when I do need them they are invaluable. Their biggest benefit is that they are incredibly warm. I would never wear them in summer - my feet would sweat too much. The fabric is a bit like wet suit material, lined with wool.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago
Sep/Oct 2015
#80
Just goes to show how people experience things differently. Having walked in shoes or boots for about 17 years, this year I became a @davebugg convert and walked in Altras. By far the biggest difference was the cushioning factor -- I walked a bunch of 40-43 km days and never once experienced the "can't wait to get my shoes off" feeling that I so frequently had in years past. My Solomon shoes, which I wore for years with no blisters, can't hold a candle to the soft cushion the Altras provide.

Buen camino, Laurie

And an off-topic ps.for anyone else who is reading this worried about the Norte's huge amounts of asphalt, there are gorgeous coastal trails usually within a km or two of the camino, which tends to run along the national highway. Those trails made a huge difference to my Norte experience-- my feet were much happier and the views were jaw-dropping. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/coastal-alternatives-to-the-nortes-asphalt.49578/
Which Altras model did you wear?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino - French way done.
Camino - Portugal 2019
#81
I am looking for some input.

On our three Caminos we have used KEEN Targhee II Mid Outdoor Boot.
We were happy with everything about them. Height. Weight. Thickness of Sole. Waterproof.

Great shoes.

We are now planning our 4th Camino and our old Boots are worn out.

I was blindly going to order a new pair of Keens for each of us, then I thought....

Why not ask for Input of what others think.

PS.... We like Boots. They preformed well on muddy trails. The thicker soles help prevent “tender-foot” after walking the roman road sections.
View attachment 43624
I have done 3 in Lowa's
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#84
Thanks - that is helpful.

As I learn more and more about switching from boots to runners, I find myself less and less sure about how to go about it.
For me it was easy, but that's because it was prompted by a problem of my beloved Salomon hiking shoes giving me very painful corns between my toes. My dermatologist told me the best way to avoid that problem was to get the widest toe box I could find, and that was Altras. The "no drop" feature and the trail runner aspect were not my primary motivators. But once I realized on the camino how trail runners provided so much more cushioning and kept my feet so much happier, I am now a convert.

There are TONS of different trail runners, and lots of forum members have their favorites. You might want to start a new thread asking people which brand and model is their favorite trail runner and why. Then go try on some of them and take it from there.

I had virtually no break-in or adjustment period since I got the shoes a week before I left, but I was fine.

Good luck!
 

HedaP

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#85
Thanks to @Kanga, I bought a pair of waterproof socks for an early spring camino. I walk in quick dry trail runners and got last minute heebie jeebies about walking through snow. Turned out my wool socks were fine for the snow but several consecutive days of, sometimes literally, icy rain made me thankful for my last minute packing item. The weather was cold so my feet didn’t sweat in the waterproof socks. They just stayed dry :D. Certainly not needed in warmer weather though.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Planning first one, Camino Frances, in September 2018.
#86
@MicheleK and @davebugg just putting in my twopence worth of experience, about calluses and thickened skin. As some of you know I wear sandals (no, I'm not hijacking the thread!) so my heels are exposed. This year on the Via de la Plata I was careless and allowed the build up of dry and thick skin, and eventually one of my heels developed cracks which started to bleed. Nasty!

A visit to the Spanish pharmacist produced some miracle cream for hyperkeratopic areas of the feet, calluses and hard patches. It cured my problem within a couple of days. It is called Lensabel K30 and contains Urea 30% plus lactic acid plus salcylic acid. Sounds pretty fierce but it moisturises and exfoliates at the same time. I have not found a similar mixture at home and I shall buy myself a supply next time I'm in Spain.
Thank you, I will look for that when I am in spain at first opportunity
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés April/May 2006, Camino Fisterre May, 2006, Camino Frances - Oct/Nov 2017
#87
We have always used the keen mid and love them! My first pair felt like a soft cloud when I bought it and didn’t need any ‘walking in’. Loved it. Bought my second pair at a sale for 25% of the price but it sat in the box for 3 years because my old boots were fine. I started wearing it 6 months ago because we were training for the Camino. OMG! I don’t know if my feet changed with age. The inside wasn’t as soft and comfortable as the first pair. The laces were much shorter. The front was narrower. I tried several other keen boots as well as several other brands to find the comfort l remembered but was unsuccessful. I continued wearing the boots to walk them in, tried different socks, laced and relaced those damn boots. I was even given a pair when Ian bought his keen boots. I didn’t think these were comfortable either and knew they wouldn’t serve me for 800km. We thought of buying online from USA but I was a bit apprehensive In the meantime I kept walking with my boots trying to find that comfort. Now, 6 months later, I’m glad I persevered because my keen mids are as comfortable as my old ones were. They have now folded around my feet and give me the support I remember.
To answer your question, I’m not sure if you buy online if it will be the same. Perhaps you’ll have to visit an outlet. Perhaps every batch is different. But definitely our feet are changing all the time, because of our weight, age, condition of muscles etc. Good luck
You might have bought the newer Targhee IIIs which have quite a different appearance and fit. Keen seems to be getting off track, and focusing on style versus function.... A lot of us who loved the Targhee IIS did so because of the wide toe box. You can still find the Targhee II on line. Grab it while you can!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés April/May 2006, Camino Fisterre May, 2006, Camino Frances - Oct/Nov 2017
#88
If you like boots, then there ya go... boots it is :) Lot's of stuff is available on this topic thru the search engine, too. Below are a few reposts of mine which you may or may not choose to consider.

Let me start by saying that if someone chooses to walk in the types of boots you have listed, that is a personal choice. If asked, I might recommend a different type of hiking footwear to try. But footwear choices are so individual to fit and comfort, that someone making an informed decision for a boot who, having given them a good trial run and liking the choice, is not getting an argument from me :).

The problem is with the huge generalization that was made favoring boots, although I am wondering if that statement wasn't meant to sound as definitive or ironclad as it did. There is now a large body of experience which contradicts such an assessment. In other words, hiking boots are not critical for comfort. To be sure, the boots mentioned have their adherents (I love my Lowa Caminos for winter time); and for what they are, are great quality footwear. However, the trend toward trail runners and trail shoes now have a large following as the technology has matured. And for good reason.

For example, the preference by ultralight thru hikers over the last 5 years on the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail have largely been to trail runner type shoes. This trend has been increasingly adopted by other backpackers over the last several years. Additionally, the issue of a 'waterproof' shoe is increasingly being turned aside --- as the weaknesses and disadvantages to the technology have become more apparent --- in favor to materials which drain fast and dry quickly.

Right now, I am doing a gear test for Solomon on their XA Pro 3D Trail Runner. It is a non GTX shoe (Goretex, for those wondering). If I were to compare the usability of these trail runners or trekking shoes, to the newer generation of boots, I can do so in direct comparison to a pair of Lowa Camino GTX boots, which I use for winter backpacking trips in snow. I can do a direct comparison of performance as it relates to support, stability, and perceived comfort to the sole of the foot, and to the foot in general.

So far, I have put over 150 miles on the Solomons. As is part of the job, I have purposefully walked through streams to assess their ability to dry out and perform when wet, have hiked over severely rough, rutted, and rocky debris strewn trails to check out stability and comfort and support, and have taken muddied and wet rocked uphill trails to determine traction and stability under typical adverse conditions in the backcountry.

In some instances, the Lowas would have performed slightly better; in other areas there is no discernible difference. The Lowas will definitely last longer than the Solomons, but at over three times the price of the Solomons, they should be expected to do so.

But, and this is a critical factor for me, and to a lot of backpackers and trekkers: The Lowa Renegade cited in the list, which is a bit lighter than my Caminos, are nearly three times as heavy on the foot as the Solomons.

The military studies on fatigue and footwear have determined that, on average, one pound on the foot is equal to five pounds carried on the back. At nearly three and a half pounds per pair, that means over 17 pounds. At an average weight of 1.75 pounds per pair of trail runners, wearing a trail runner drops that weight to 5.25 pounds

The practical issues for less experienced and fit pilgrims are several. Excess fatigue and wear on the legs can obviously drain energy quicker, making for a more tiring day of walking. However, the frequency of issues, such as shin splints, knee pain, ankle strain, and blistering rises with higher levels of work to the legs, which is increased by heavier than needed footwear.

There are several other issues regarding boots versus trail runners and shoes. And as with generalizations about boots, there is a danger in being overly general regarding the suitability of trail runners as a universal given.

Also

As to the thought about boots and ankle support:

First, unless there are medical issues, the ankle is best protected with exercise and use, where the ankle is allowed to use uneven surfaces, exercise, and balancing on one foot in order to build strength and endurance and lessen susceptibility to injurious fatigue.

The only sure ankle support for medically indicated need are ankle braces which can fit inside of the shoe. Despite anecdotal evidence and subjective opinion to the contrary, research has repeatedly shown that boots do not provide the level of stiffness and the shear rigidity needed to keep ankles free from injury.

They can, in fact, exacerbate the risk of injury. A foot in a boot is sitting higher off the ground than when in a shoe because the outer and midsoles are much thicker and built up. Additionally, the outer sole of boots are trimmed closer to shell of the boot, meaning that the outer sole has a fairly narrow profile. Both of these factors have been shown to have a higher risk of the footwear 'rolling' when stepping on an unstable surface or piece of debris like loose rocks or uneven surfaces.

As the boot begins to roll, the boot carries the foot with it, the higher material of the boot above the ankle exerts more force against the foot to make it roll with the boot. That material is not stiff enough to keep from flexing, which means that your ankle is going to start bending as the roll of the boot continues. And because the foot is higher off the ground inside the boot, the ankle can be forced into a more significant bending.

Another factor about boots that helps lead to injury is their weight. The heavier the weight that the foot and lower legs need to lift, the more stress and fatigue the ankles and supporting structures are exposed to. Such weakens the ability of the ankle structures to maintain resiliency.

Trail shoes and trail runners, on the other hand, do the opposite when confronted with the same type of uneven surface or debris. The outer and midsoles are much closer to the ground. They are also wider than the shoe making for a contact point with the ground that is more stable. Their much lighter weight keeps ankle structures from fatiguing.

Now here is the thing researchers found as most significant: A foot in a shoe that is kept a bit loose can compensate, to a large degree, when the shoe starts to roll off of an uneven surface. As the shoe rolls, the shoe tends to slip around the foot. In other words, the shoe moves around the foot for the most part, so the ankle won't immediately bend out of place with the shoe. This allows the wearer of the shoe to have enough time to react to the rolling and twisting shoe to keep the ankle from injurious strain.

Yes, there are people who get ankle injuries in trail shoes and trail runners. But those injuries are less frequent and less severe, on an average, than with a foot encased in an above the ankle hiking boot.

As I stated above, there will be any number of folks that, with no predisposing medical conditions, will state anecdotal evidence along the lines that they, or a friend, or other family members, et al, were saved by above the ankle boots. Subjective opinion is like that. :) But objective evidence begs to differ on the best way of protecting ankles from injury.

Also

Water can enter trail shoes or boots through any opening during a rainstorm or while walking through dew-covered grass or pour into it as happens when you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is 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 is uncomfortably hot in warmer and rainy temperatures, and it offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.

Or you can try using a shoe with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not seen a gaiter or other waterproof type accessory that would both keep the water out, and keep the feet dry.

“Waterproof” shoes fail is because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term. Lightweight, leather and fabric trail boots, for example, where some manufacturers have tried treating with a coating, don’t last. 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.

When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes, their actual performance never matched what was claimed.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Goretex, are only marginally breathable—water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. 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.

That’s why serious 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.

I’ve heard a potential footwear customer ask, “Are the shoes / boots waterproof?” while in the footwear department of an REI / outdoor type store. “You bet,” the customer service guy will say.

A couple of times I’ve softly interrupted by asking why they wanted, or thought they needed, waterproof shoes. Usually, the potential buyer looked at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Like most everyone, their answer was about thinking their feet would stay dry, and that wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

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

I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

1. “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.

2. “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons.

3. Wearing multiple pairs of socks, which eventually all get wet.

4. Multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet too.

Since keeping my feet dry never worked, I decided to develop effective strategies so that the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking were either waaaaaay minimized or eliminated. 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 bad things?

1. Maceration, or pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs and gets “soggy” from moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft, which makes it prone to blistering and can develop other problems.

2. Cracking of the skin when it dries. 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, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather:

1. Apply a good coating of salve or balm to my feet before putting on socks and shoes. This helps protect from external moisture.

2. Wear non-waterproof shoes, which drain and dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail shoes have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.

3. 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; rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.

4. Wear thin, non-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will keep wet feet warm unless the weather is winter-cold.

5. Take off my shoes and socks to let my feet air dry during any mid-day rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes. During that 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 reapply a good amount of balm or salve to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.

6. Apply a salve or ointment to the bottoms of my feet when I have stopped for the day both before and after I shower.

7. Carry an extra pair of insoles. These are lightweight and 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.

8. I found 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. Then, 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 them back on to walk around in. Within a couple of hours, the shoes are mostly dry.

9. At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process during the night.

10. Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at night, to give my feet 8-9 hours of recovery time.
Davebugg it sounds as if you have received sponsorship in some form from Salomon to review their product?
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#89
Davebugg it sounds as if you have received sponsorship in some form from Salomon to review their product?
:) Why is that?

Nope, no sponsorship. I am hired, as a part time job, by various gear and outdoor clothing manufacturers to do quality control user testing. It is my job to find faults and weaknesses in a given piece of gear, and to make any observations to help increase the usability and function of such. The reports go to either their production and design departments or to a quality control manager. The reporting is not about comparing that gear or clothing with those of other manufacturers, it is about what is good, bad, or can be made better for an individual item.

I never publish a 'review' for public consumption, as I find those types of consumer reviews to generally be markedly flawed in their purpose and desired outcomes. In fact, if I mention any gear that I use in this forum, I try to be careful to specifically state that there are others in that category that are worthy of consideration as well.

In my post that you quoted, I had mentioned a Salomon shoe as being tested. Would you be surprised to know that I do not prefer that shoe? Or that right now I am trying to decide between two new shoes which work the best with my specific feet, neither of which is a Salomon product?

I had used the Salomon shoe as an example of a recent product I was familiar with in order to compare it to a boot product I was familiar with. The purpose was to compare a trail runner shoe with a hiking boot as having pros and cons for use as Camino footwear in order to help provide background as to why I like trail runners for three season hiking or Camino footwear.

I hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés April/May 2006, Camino Fisterre May, 2006, Camino Frances - Oct/Nov 2017
#90
:) Why is that?

Nope, no sponsorship. I am hired, as a part time job, by various gear and outdoor clothing manufacturers to do quality control user testing. It is my job to find faults and weaknesses in a given piece of gear, and to make any observations to help increase the usability and function of such. The reports go to either their production and design departments or to a quality control manager. The reporting is not about comparing that gear or clothing with those of other manufacturers, it is about what is good, bad, or can be made better for an individual item.

I never publish a 'review' for public consumption, as I find those types of consumer reviews to generally be markedly flawed in their purpose and desired outcomes. In fact, if I mention any gear that I use in this forum, I try to be careful to specifically state that there are others in that category that are worthy of consideration as well.

In my post that you quoted, I had mentioned a Salomon shoe as being tested. Would you be surprised to know that I do not prefer that shoe? Or that right now I am trying to decide between two new shoes which work the best with my specific feet, neither of which is a Salomon product?

I had used the Salomon shoe as an example of a recent product I was familiar with in order to compare it to a boot product I was familiar with. The purpose was to compare a trail runner shoe with a hiking boot as having pros and cons for use as Camino footwear in order to help provide background as to why I like trail runners for three season hiking or Camino footwear.

I hope this helps.
Thanks Davebugg! Always interesting to hear for people who are gear testing.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#92
That sounds like it could be a way to get paid to walk the Camino!
:) I'm sure I could dig up sponsorships, but I have avoided doing that type of thing because a company uses sponsorships to market stuff. And it does cause other manufacturers to raise an eyebrow if they perceive partiality toward a competitor. It shouldn't have that effect, but it can happen.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#93
:) I'm sure I could dig up sponsorships, but I have avoided doing that type of thing because a company uses sponsorships to market stuff. And it does cause other manufacturers to raise an eyebrow if they perceive partiality toward a competitor. It shouldn't have that effect, but it can happen.
I was mostly kidding, but I know there are lots of us who would love to find a way to get paid to do our most favorite thing. Now that I am a retired state employee, I guess I could say that my soon-to-be-bankrupt state is bankrolling my caminos, at least until it goes off the cliff. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016; CPort (Central) from Porto 2017;
CPort (Coastal) from Porto 2018.
#94
:) Why is that?

Nope, no sponsorship. I am hired, as a part time job, by various gear and outdoor clothing manufacturers to do quality control user testing. It is my job to find faults and weaknesses in a given piece of gear, and to make any observations to help increase the usability and function of such. The reports go to either their production and design departments or to a quality control manager. The reporting is not about comparing that gear or clothing with those of other manufacturers, it is about what is good, bad, or can be made better for an individual item.

I never publish a 'review' for public consumption, as I find those types of consumer reviews to generally be markedly flawed in their purpose and desired outcomes. In fact, if I mention any gear that I use in this forum, I try to be careful to specifically state that there are others in that category that are worthy of consideration as well.

In my post that you quoted, I had mentioned a Salomon shoe as being tested. Would you be surprised to know that I do not prefer that shoe? Or that right now I am trying to decide between two new shoes which work the best with my specific feet, neither of which is a Salomon product?

I had used the Salomon shoe as an example of a recent product I was familiar with in order to compare it to a boot product I was familiar with. The purpose was to compare a trail runner shoe with a hiking boot as having pros and cons for use as Camino footwear in order to help provide background as to why I like trail runners for three season hiking or Camino footwear.

I hope this helps.
For what it's worth, I didn't get the idea at all that you were promoting Salomon or any particular brand you mention. I appreciate the depth and accuracy of information you provide to this forum.
 

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