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Help with Lamb's Wool Questions...?

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ),Via San Francesco(2017) Camino Portugese (2018 )Camino Ingles(2019) CF
I've recently taken on a new job doing Mental Health Counseling in a gorgeous working farm setting ( yes!, the sessions are out in open air among the animals! )...my question is how is the wool treated to use as padding/friction resolve between toes, etc? I have seen many using wool for the lanolin and padding, but it was not available to me at the time, so I didn't pay much attention.

Is it specific to certain breeds? Does it need to be cleaned, if so, how? Sterilizing? What are the benefits and potential untoward results? In the past while assessing prisoners for allergies to wool blankets, we placed a small wad on the skin and covered with medical tape for 24 hours, then checked for reactions....other than that, I'm just curious and cannot seem to locate much info on its use for hikers.

Thank you to all who are holding and sharing knowledge on this.
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I actually picked lambs’ wool off of a barb-wired fence next to a pasture while walking the Camino last year! Untreated, random wool from the middle of nowhere provided an excellent blister barrier! You could feel and smell the lanolin on each piece.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
my question is how is the wool treated to use as padding/friction resolve between toes, etc?

This is the kind that I use. I actually get it from a store specializing in "natural baby care".
On the label it says that the only treatment it has had is washing with a mild detergent.
52216
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I always walk with hiker's wool to protect my curly pinky toes, the only remedy that really works for me and I have tried many different. I don't know about how it is treated, but maybe you can find something on this site: https://www.hikerswool.co.nz/

I user the same stuff. It's great!
 
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Is it specific to certain breeds? Does it need to be cleaned, if so, how? Sterilizing? What are the benefits and potential untoward results?
That's an interesting question and I'm looking forward to knowledgeable answers. I've started to use hiker's wool for horrible blister problems with my pinky toes (that I did not have in my younger years) as it was not possible for me to treat these problems in any other way (I've tried!!!) and I'm very happy with it.

I've tried to buy hiker's wool in outdoor shops in a few EU countries ... it's surprisingly unknown. I've bought three kinds through Amazon: the "Original Hiker's Wool" from New Zealand (I've even ordered once from them directly in NZ), and two different sets of "untreated" wool from Amazon.de. One of the sets still contained impurities which put me off at first but it seems to be the one that contained the most lanolin and seems to be actually the best type for my purposes. The other set is what is sold as "healing wool" for baby care and similar purposes. It looks very clean; it feels to me as if it contains the least amount of lanolin of the three sets. In relation to this, Wikipedia says that "healing wool" is washed at a temperature of less than 50 °C and then treated in a process called carding while other wool is washed at much higher temperatures and with water containing soda.

You are probably wondering whether you can use the wool as collected on the farm. I must admit that so far I've hesitated to pick up wool in fields and on fences and use it.
 
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Turga

Camino tortuga
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
The other set is what is sold as "healing wool" for baby care and similar purposes. It's the kind described by @stgcph, and looks very clean; it feels to me as if it contains the least amount of lanolin of the three sets.

I guess you don’t read Danish :), but on the label it says “Pure wool with a high lanolin content”. It is not clean and white like some of the “lamb’s wool” products you can buy e.g. on Amazon and also contains impurities like small pieces of straw etc.

I also tried the original Hiker’s Wool from NZ but this baby-care variant works just as well and at around half the price as the original Hiker’s wool.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I guess you don’t read Danish :), but on the label it says “Pure wool with a high lanolin content”. It is not clean and white like some of the “lamb’s wool” products you can buy e.g. on Amazon and also contains impurities like small pieces of straw etc.
I modified my previous reply - the print on your photo is very hard to read 😊.

I did order the NZ "Original Hiker's Wool" on Amazon.co.uk once but thereafter it was listed as "currently not available" and now it has completely disappeared from their offer.
 

OTH86

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
FWIW - I was advised by a medical doctor who has worked with the Seattle Ballet for years to use lamb's wool lightly wrapped around toes and as a cushion for my bunion. It is available in a 3/8 oz (11 g) packet from a local drug store/ pharmacy. Inexpensive. No information about how it's treated - only that persons with diabetes or poor circulation should consult a physician first. I've use it for 5 years and wouldn't be without it when i travel and walk!
 
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2019
I guess you don’t read Danish :), but on the label it says “Pure wool with a high lanolin content”. It is not clean and white like some of the “lamb’s wool” products you can buy e.g. on Amazon and also contains impurities like small pieces of straw etc.

I also tried the original Hiker’s Wool from NZ but this baby-care variant works just as well and at around half the price as the original Hiker’s wool.
Will you post a link to where you get yours from? or is it from the NZ site? thanks.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
@stgcph, so I had a look at the website that sells the product you mention and thanks to my Google Translate assisted excellent knowledge of the Danish language, I now know that the wool has been washed mildly so as not to wash out too much lanolin and is also untreated. You will therefore be able to find small residues of straw or other natural impurities - this does not mean that the wool is dirty, on the other hand, it shows that the wool has not been cleaned with harsh means.

From what I see from other websites that sell this kind of lamb's wool for hikers, ballet dancers or personal care, the wool is always washed but moderately (low temperature, mild detergent) so as to keep as much of the lanolin content as possible and it also undergoes carding but both processes are not as rigorous as the washing and carding processes used for wool that is destined for further treatment and for use in clothing or as knitting wool.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Are you a detective? How on earth did you find that website?? :)🐑
That took about 10 seconds and little effort. Just putting "Lanolinindhold" into Google. It took me a bit longer to verify that uld means indeed wool. It surprised me a little. 🙃
 
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Shades of Narnia

Sandi, Shades of Narnia
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francis, 2014
Camino Portuguese 2015
Camino Francis, 2016 & Hospitalera in Viana Spain
(etc)
On my third (of 4 so far) Camino it came to me that as a Textile Supplier & Artisan, I was in an ideal position to develop a wool product specifically for Pilgrims.....so I did. I dreamed of supplying all Camino farmacias. I have the product (extra fine 18.5 m Merino wool) 'superwashed' to remove the natural barbs on the fibres that cause felting. I created a label, translated into Spanish & French, as well as English, expounding its ideal qualities for hikers, bagged it into 100 gram increments .....AND THEN started to market it. Full stop: Roadblocks encountered - Spain would like to keep Camino products Spanish, Farmacias are individually owned often by the resident Pharmacist so marketing is cumbersome. So then I approached sports outfitters here in west Coast Vancouver Canada but they had no interest in carrying the product. So then I contacted the Canadian footcare nurses Asociation and arranged to place 150 samples in their Delegates packages at an annual conference....100% no response. So....... from all this, I learned that developing a market is paramont to success ( which I knew but forgot, from previous farming practices ) So, as a final resort I have now dyed much of my supply and sell the roving to Spinners & Felters. So, if anyone is interested in persuing the market further, boy do I have a deal for you LOL fondly sandi
 

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maruska89

Mary C.
Year of past OR future Camino
Porto to SdC-Sept 2017
Camino Frances-Apr/May 2019
I would love some of this wool. A Scottish self proclaimed "DR" fixed my friends blisters with this on the Portuguese 2 years ago. I'm on the west coast of Canada. Does anyone know where I can find this here? I tried ordering from the site mentioned but it didn't go through.
 

maruska89

Mary C.
Year of past OR future Camino
Porto to SdC-Sept 2017
Camino Frances-Apr/May 2019
I've recently taken on a new job doing Mental Health Counseling in a gorgeous working farm setting ( yes!, the sessions are out in open air among the animals! )...my question is how is the wool treated to use as padding/friction resolve between toes, etc? I have seen many using wool for the lanolin and padding, but it was not available to me at the time, so I didn't pay much attention.

Is it specific to certain breeds? Does it need to be cleaned, if so, how? Sterilizing? What are the benefits and potential untoward results? In the past while assessing prisoners for allergies to wool blankets, we placed a small wad on the skin and covered with medical tape for 24 hours, then checked for reactions....other than that, I'm just curious and cannot seem to locate much info on its use for hikers.

Thank you to all who are holding and sharing knowledge on this.
Following. I'd love to buy some as well as my friend had a fellow pilgrim help her blisters heal with this amazing wool.
 

Walli Walker

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances '2009',Portuguese '2015', Ingles '2015', Fin and Muxia '2015'. Camino from Granada '2017'.
My husband gathered some off a barbed wire fence on the Coast 2 Coast in England. Perfect.
 

Shades of Narnia

Sandi, Shades of Narnia
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francis, 2014
Camino Portuguese 2015
Camino Francis, 2016 & Hospitalera in Viana Spain
(etc)
I would happily supply anyone willing to cover postage.....wool free to you as fellow-pilgrim :) Just PM me privately with your contact info and I can get an estimate of shipping for you. the wool lives with me in Vancouver Canada (west coast, Fraser Valley to be specific). fondly sandi
 
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Aunt Pitty Pat

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2020)
I've recently taken on a new job doing Mental Health Counseling in a gorgeous working farm setting ( yes!, the sessions are out in open air among the animals! )...my question is how is the wool treated to use as padding/friction resolve between toes, etc? I have seen many using wool for the lanolin and padding, but it was not available to me at the time, so I didn't pay much attention.

Is it specific to certain breeds? Does it need to be cleaned, if so, how? Sterilizing? What are the benefits and potential untoward results? In the past while assessing prisoners for allergies to wool blankets, we placed a small wad on the skin and covered with medical tape for 24 hours, then checked for reactions....other than that, I'm just curious and cannot seem to locate much info on its use for hikers.

Thank you to all who are holding and sharing knowledge on this.
Hi Sophie. Don't know anything about the wool things but I am interested in your Mental Health Counseling. Is this farm on the Camino Frances? Or are you in the states. Very interesting!
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ),Via San Francesco(2017) Camino Portugese (2018 )Camino Ingles(2019) CF
Hi Sophie. Don't know anything about the wool things but I am interested in your Mental Health Counseling. Is this farm on the Camino Frances? Or are you in the states. Very interesting!
Yes I am in the states...Massachusetts. We have an 'open air practice' where much of our therapy is done outside either in the gardens, with outdoor animals (rams, horses, mules, miniature ponies, donkeys, alpaca, and several different types of sheep)...in the barn we have baby goats and pigs, chickens and bunnies, ducks.....All of our animals are rescues. There is much to be said for being one with nature, and for learning how to nurture oneself and others...I have clients ages 2-20, who have experienced trauma/crisis/abuse and are healing by learning how to feel loved by giving love.
 

Blintintin

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2018)
can i ask a silly question..how do you actually use it? just grab a tuft and put in sock and walk? or tuck it between toes or whereever? how much? how do you apply to specific areas ie. pinky toes..doesn't it shift while walking? do you discard daily or reuse or wash? do you change or add more during day? i know noone who uses wool and never have seen it described how ? just generally questions of type of wool and where to buy. thanks I am curious and genuinely interested.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2013, CF 2014, CP 2016, CN 1st half 2018, CN 3rd qtr+R. Cantabrico 2019, Via Francigena 2017
@blamoca, I have the same question. I was writing this post as you were writing yours! Since my first Camino I've zig-zagged lamb's wool between my toes, with wraps at the end around big toe and little toe. It does help keep my toes from rubbing and making blisters. I don't use a very thick piece and it gets packed down but I reuse it for a while. (Probably should wash it more often.) It doesn't seem to shift when walking. How do others use the wool on their feet and toes?
 

Pilgrim Patricia

Want to do the VdlP again!
Year of past OR future Camino
Via de la Plata; Hospitalera Miraz 2011
I would love some of this wool. A Scottish self proclaimed "DR" fixed my friends blisters with this on the Portuguese 2 years ago. I'm on the west coast of Canada. Does anyone know where I can find this here? I tried ordering from the site mentioned but it didn't go through.
Try PaSu Farms, north of Calgary, Alberta, Canada: http://www.pasu.com/shopping/products/category/health-wellness/ A small bag of wool starts at $3.25. I've used it primarily to avoid blisters when wearing my cowboy boots during the Calgary Stampede when walking in the heat on concrete and asphalt.
 
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Pilgrim Patricia

Want to do the VdlP again!
Year of past OR future Camino
Via de la Plata; Hospitalera Miraz 2011

RUJO

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
camino Portuguese (2016) (2018)
can i ask a silly question..how do you actually use it? just grab a tuft and put in sock and walk? or tuck it between toes or whereever? how much? how do you apply to specific areas ie. pinky toes..doesn't it shift while walking? do you discard daily or reuse or wash? do you change or add more during day? i know noone who uses wool and never have seen it described how ? just generally questions of type of wool and where to buy. thanks I am curious and genuinely interested.
 

Meg Worland

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2014
Camino Frances 2016
Finisterre 2016
Camino Frances (Apr-May 2019)
Similar to the Hikerswool Video, I take a strip and weave it in and out of my toes, finishing with a swathe across the top and then underneath. I have also handed pieces to grateful pilgrims who suffered sore heels and they have placed a piece over the vulnerable area.
 

Aysen Mustafa

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I picked up the wool in the fields and used it along with everything else. Injinji socks and vaseline. It's the lanolin in the wool which I think is important. Also you can wrap it around your toes for protection. I have a friend who swears by when hiking.
 

Lindsay53

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances April / May 19
Hi Sophie, wool straight off the animal will be fine. You only need to check it for grass seeds and dirt etc. that may stick into your toes. Only issue may be if the EU has rules about importing untreated animal products.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Note that the woman in the first video ("Original HikersWool") explains that their product is "lightly washed" and "really specially carded" so that it keeps most of the lanolin and feels very soft - both useful features.

I've been blister free for most of my adult hiking life but now I have a number of blister prone spots on my toes. I tape several of my toes and that's enough to prevent blisters expect for the smallest toes. I use a large lump of sheep wool and place it so that the small toe is really separated from its neighbour and also extremely cushioned underneath. The sock holds the wool in place. I sometimes remove the wool at rest stops to pull it apart and make it fluffy again. I do the same in the evening. I discard the wool after a few days when it has become too compressed and lumpy. A godsend for the kind of problem I've developed with my pinky toes.
 
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KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ),Via San Francesco(2017) Camino Portugese (2018 )Camino Ingles(2019) CF
can i ask a silly question..how do you actually use it? just grab a tuft and put in sock and walk? or tuck it between toes or whereever? how much? how do you apply to specific areas ie. pinky toes..doesn't it shift while walking? do you discard daily or reuse or wash? do you change or add more during day? i know noone who uses wool and never have seen it described how ? just generally questions of type of wool and where to buy. thanks I am curious and genuinely interested.
A previous poster responded with this link which has videos on it's use: https://www.hikerswool.co.nz/
 

hecate105

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
I collect it off fences etc when walking - if needed i use it straight away - worse a blister than a bit of dirt (even sheep poo!) Otherwise i pop it into one of those mesh laundry bags and put it on a 'wool' wash, it comes out nice and clean (obviously use a natural washing powder -Ecover...) Dry it and keep in my medical kit - one in my pannier, one in my rucksack, one in the camper, one in the house, one for spare....:rolleyes::)
 

David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
Weavers always have the most beautiful soft supple skin on their hands, from the lanolin in the wool. Essentially a blister is a deep friction burn and shows itself early by giving a 'hot spot' ... a part of the foot feels 'hot' and painful in a very small area ... if one pads that area straight away the friction is removed so the blister does not form. (Double skin socks 'anti-blister' socks, are designed to work this way, the inner sock stays on the skin and the outer slides - so no friction).

Anything soft and flexible that acts as a barrier between the hot spot and the footwear will do the job, a plaster (band-aid) will do it fine, but lambswool is not only reusable but is full of lanolin so not only acts as that barrier but gentles the skin at the same time - so the original question is answered easily - use the lambswool to cover where the hotspot is - though can be tricky keeping it in place whilst putting the sock back on.
Very difficult to use a plaster on certain areas - between toes, the creases under toes where they meet the foot, and lambswool is superb in these areas, not only the lanolin and padding but it stays 'bouncy', doesn't flatten out much ... though, cotton wool has almost the same effect, especially if skin cream is put on first.

The best lambswool is that taken off a fence (or a sheep ;)) as it has the highest lanolin content - unfortunately it isn't clean so it should never be placed against broken skin or blisters that may burst, for obvious reasons (infection).

Re blisters between or just under toes - it isn't the feet at fault but the footwear, it is too narrow and from my experience happens mainly with females (and young men wearing cheap narrow trainers) ... I do so wish women with normal width feet would not buy 'women's' footwear .. apart from the ghastly pink and mauve stripes they are too narrow - so forget male or female footwear and go for the one that has a wide toe box if you have medium to wide feet .. so, where was I? ... ah, if you are out there and cannot replace footwear and are having problems with blisters in between toes treat the feet first but then remove the laces and then re-lace but leaving the first one or two sets of holes empty, no laces, the footwear will still lace up well but the front of the footwear will flex more openly, widely, giving more room in the toe box and this can remove the problem in many cases.

Buen Camino!
 
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hecate105

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
and follow David's directions for lacing boots anyhow - put your fist in and tie off laces around halfway with a solid knot - then lace upper part for comfort. This way you never oversquash your feet and they have breathing room. Since David told me I have never had a blister!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I collect it off fences etc when walking - if needed i use it straight away - worse a blister than a bit of dirt (even sheep poo!) Otherwise i pop it into one of those mesh laundry bags and put it on a 'wool' wash, it comes out nice and clean (obviously use a natural washing powder -Ecover...) Dry it and keep in my medical kit - one in my pannier, one in my rucksack, one in the camper, one in the house, one for spare....:rolleyes::)
what house? I thought you lived in a shed???!!!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
and follow David's directions for lacing boots anyhow - put your fist in and tie off laces around halfway with a solid knot - then lace upper part for comfort. This way you never oversquash your feet and they have breathing room. Since David told me I have never had a blister!
I don't understand what you say here: put your fist in and tie off laces halfway with a solid knot. I need a picture!
 

David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
I don't understand what you say here: put your fist in and tie off laces halfway with a solid knot. I need a picture!


Rather than remove the laces completely from the first holes, what you can do is to really loosen up the laces of the first two sets of holes, ensuring they are properly loose by putting a fist in there and opening the toe box, then, tie half knots at the next set of holes, thread the laces back in from that point, then, you can tighten the laces up but the lower laces below those knots will never tighten - sorry, no pic!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Rather than remove the laces completely from the first holes, what you can do is to really loosen up the laces of the first two sets of holes, ensuring they are properly loose by putting a fist in there and opening the toe box, then, tie half knots at the next set of holes, thread the laces back in from that point, then, you can tighten the laces up but the lower laces below those knots will never tighten - sorry, no pic!
Thanks so much, David! That does give me a clearer idea. I need to get longer laces... maybe I will look for unusual laces. A way of making my shoes a bit more recognisable on a shelf!
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I would happily supply anyone willing to cover postage.....wool free to you as fellow-pilgrim :) Just PM me privately with your contact info and I can get an estimate of shipping for you. the wool lives with me in Vancouver Canada (west coast, Fraser Valley to be specific). fondly sandi

Have you thought of putting on an etsy site? If you put in the right search terms, people may find you.
 

Shades of Narnia

Sandi, Shades of Narnia
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francis, 2014
Camino Portuguese 2015
Camino Francis, 2016 & Hospitalera in Viana Spain
(etc)
Have you thought of putting on an etsy site? If you put in the right search terms, people may find you.

Yes, I've been on Etsy for a number of years.....very few sales. Thanks for suggesting
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
please see signature
@KJFSophie , kia ora from the land where lambs wool is easily available (and where "fleece" means what has just come of the sheep's back)

When starting my training, like many I purchased lambs wool and stuffed it under my (hammer) toes in front.

And as time went by I found my feet getting used to the walking such this (and similar stuff) was helpful.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Recently, I was told by my podiatrist not to wrap the wool completely round a toe. It will contract when damp, and could cause amputation. No, he didn’t add the last bit, but I got the message.
 
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Turga

Camino tortuga
Year of past OR future Camino
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
Recently, I was told by my podiatrist not to wrap the wool completely round a toe. It will contract when damp, and could cause amputation. No, he didn’t add the last bit, but I got the message.

Interesting and dramatic! I have been wrapping wool around my toes for years and I never felt any discomfort whatsoever -and I still have all of them ;)

From a completely non-scientific point of view, it seems strange to assume that something would contract when absorbing moisture….
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Turga, as I am neither scientific nor logical, whatever I last hear is what I believe. Do you believe me? it did actually make sense to me as he was gesturing and if you imagine it is around your neck... well, anyway. the main thing is, it is a great item to have with you on camino!
 

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