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Help with shoe sizing

Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
Hi-
On Tuesday I am starting the Camino Frances from Pamplona and, well, i haven't figured out what shoe to wear and it is starting to get stressful. I don't know how this happened. I've spent the past month trying on well over 60 pairs of trail runners and have yet to find the perfect shoe. Zappos has an outlet in my place now. But I am leaving for Spain on Sunday so i need to decide in about 15 hours.

I have two pairs of Topo Ultraventure 2s which are overall my top choice but neither is perfect.

Sz 9.5 has at least an inch in front of my toes and the toe box is quite roomy - toes could spin in circles. The left foot fits good however my right foot slides forward all the time on level ground. Going down hill I never hit the front but I feel all the pressure on the laces. I have tried all sorts of lacing and currently I have a surgeon knot below my arch and a heel lock at the top but still movement that doesn't touch the front. The manufacturer suggested they are too large.

Sz 9 has about 3/4" of space in the front and walking downhill my toes seem to be about 1/4" from the front (and that is not with super tight lacing). Toes are still not tight - can spread out but not spin circles and the all around fit is snug. My feet do not slide forward.

My high arches mean both are fairly snug on top.

I also have a pair of Bondi 7 that are comfy except the toe box is too tight and rubs my pinky toe (I am prone to pinch blisters between my 4 and 5th toe) so those will prob be returned.

Which is the best option at this point? I am concerned with swelling during 90-100f temps. What will I regret least 2 weeks from now?
Thanks
 
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Anamiri

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Well getting the right shoes can be a tricky thing, but one thing I always say - if they are tight when you start you and your toes will regret it. So forget the Bondi 7.

With the others have you tried them on carrying your pack, wearing your Camino socks and at the end of a day when your feet are likely to be the most swollen?

Also if your foot slides forward and the laces dig in, you may develop tendonitis where it presses. I learned this the hard way, over only a couple of hard downhill hours. I have a high arch, and now I just rely on this to stop my foot going forward.
 
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Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
Well getting the right shoes can be a tricky thing, but one thing I always say - if they are tight when you start you and your toes will regret it. So forget the Bondi 7.

With the others have you tried them on carrying your pack, wearing your Camino socks and at the end of a day when your feet are likely to be the most swollen?

Also if your foot slides forward and the laces dig in, you may develop tendonitis where it presses. I learned this the hard way, over only a couple of hard downhill hours. I have a high arch, and now I just rely on this to stop my foot going forward.
Yeah I have been testing them for a few hours in the evening wearing an assortment of socks that I will wear on the Camino.
I also have high arches with narrow heels (and a bit of supination). I normally go wide mainly due to the high arch. It is very hard to find a shoe that fits!
 

kelleymac

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
I also have a pair of Bondi 7 that are comfy except the toe box is too tight and rubs my pinky toe (I am prone to pinch blisters between my 4 and 5th toe) so those will prob be returned.
You may want to wrap where you are prone to blisters with leucotape before you get blisters.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Yeah I have been testing them for a few hours in the evening wearing an assortment of socks that I will wear on the Camino.
I also have high arches with narrow heels (and a bit of supination). I normally go wide mainly due to the high arch. It is very hard to find a shoe that fits!
Sounds like we have very similar feet. It is tricky when your feet don't fit the 'norm'.
I eventually solved my shoe issues by wearing sandals.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
You've tried 60 pairs of shoes, are leaving for the Camino on Tuesday and still haven't made a choice?
No offense, but your behind the bell curve and IMO you have overthought the whole Camino footwear thing. My first Camino Frances I went out and bought a pair of Merrell Moabs that fit comfortably, put some supportive insoles in them, got some ultra thin running socks, wore the combo for a couple of weeks and off I went to the Way and I arrived in Santiago with just a couple of small blisters and shoes with 800 kms on them. Perhaps you should do something similar.
 

LavanyaLea

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
Have you tried insoles to help with your high arches? If you have time before you set off for your Camino, I have found Currex insoles to be the best (short of personalised made ones by chiropodist) - they cater for different types of sports, different arch and feet sizes etc. You go through their website AI which will select the type of insole for you, then search on google where you can get them (Amazon UK has a selection), I got told about them from the running world.

But if you do decide to go with them then you must try again the shoe+insole+socks combo because these insoles will make the space in your shoes a bit tighter as they’re a bit thicker than the manufacturer’s insoles.

Good luck and buen camino!
 
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Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
You've tried 60 pairs of shoes, are leaving for the Camino on Tuesday and still haven't made a choice?
No offense, but your behind the bell curve and IMO you have overthought the whole Camino footwear thing. My first Camino Frances I went out and bought a pair of Merrell Moabs that fit comfortably, put some supportive insoles in them, got some ultra thin running socks, wore the combo for a couple of weeks and off I went to the Way and I arrived in Santiago with just a couple of small blisters and shoes with 800 kms on them. Perhaps you should do something similar.
Oh. Absolutely agree with the whole overthinking thing. I've gotten totally caught up in trying to find the "perfect" shoe. My friends will be quite happy when I finally get going and they no longer have to head about this saga. Lol
 

Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
Have you tried insoles to help with your high arches? If you have time before you set off for your Camino, I have found Currex insoles to be the best (short of personalised made ones by chiropodist) - they cater for different types of sports, different arch and feet sizes etc. You go through their website AI which will select the type of insole for you, then search on google where you can get them (Amazon UK has a selection), I got told about them from the running world.

But if you do decide to go with them then you must try again the shoe+insole+socks combo because these insoles will make the space in your shoes a bit tighter as they’re a bit thicker than the manufacturer’s insoles.

Good luck and buen camino!
I have been using a pair of superfeet which I am still on the fence with them. I will keep currex in mind for the future. Thanks
 

Scott Sweeney

Veteran Member
Hi-
On Tuesday I am starting the Camino Frances from Pamplona and, well, i haven't figured out what shoe to wear and it is starting to get stressful. I don't know how this happened. I've spent the past month trying on well over 60 pairs of trail runners and have yet to find the perfect shoe. Zappos has an outlet in my place now. But I am leaving for Spain on Sunday so i need to decide in about 15 hours.

I have two pairs of Topo Ultraventure 2s which are overall my top choice but neither is perfect.

Sz 9.5 has at least an inch in front of my toes and the toe box is quite roomy - toes could spin in circles. The left foot fits good however my right foot slides forward all the time on level ground. Going down hill I never hit the front but I feel all the pressure on the laces. I have tried all sorts of lacing and currently I have a surgeon knot below my arch and a heel lock at the top but still movement that doesn't touch the front. The manufacturer suggested they are too large.

Sz 9 has about 3/4" of space in the front and walking downhill my toes seem to be about 1/4" from the front (and that is not with super tight lacing). Toes are still not tight - can spread out but not spin circles and the all around fit is snug. My feet do not slide forward.

My high arches mean both are fairly snug on top.

I also have a pair of Bondi 7 that are comfy except the toe box is too tight and rubs my pinky toe (I am prone to pinch blisters between my 4 and 5th toe) so those will prob be returned.

Which is the best option at this point? I am concerned with swelling during 90-100f temps. What will I regret least 2 weeks from now?
Thanks
An inch or even 3/4 of an inch could be problematic. One thing you don't want is your feet to slide forward. I've never walked seriously in trail runners so my opinion might not be the best. I like my Keens and Oboz mid length, a snug boot with a wide toe box. The boots are lite and in the 6 different pairs there has never been a need for a break in period.
 
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Gerard Griffin

Active Member
I can't advise you on shoes (mine are Merrell Flex, superb, my last was the trusty Salomon Gtx).

Shoes depend on the person. Three things don't, however; no doubt you know already but they are socks, poles and correct distances are crucial for foot happiness.

I use thick merino wool socks in all weathers. They cushion the feet and absorb moisture. Poles (preferably spring-loaded) are essential for downhills. And walking short distances works best of all. Rest days are good too. You'll be grand, and Buen Camino to you and your feet.
 
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Amused212

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019 CF, 2022 CF, 2022 Finisterre-Muxia
Hi-
On Tuesday I am starting the Camino Frances from Pamplona and, well, i haven't figured out what shoe to wear and it is starting to get stressful. I don't know how this happened. I've spent the past month trying on well over 60 pairs of trail runners and have yet to find the perfect shoe. Zappos has an outlet in my place now. But I am leaving for Spain on Sunday so i need to decide in about 15 hours.

I have two pairs of Topo Ultraventure 2s which are overall my top choice but neither is perfect.

Sz 9.5 has at least an inch in front of my toes and the toe box is quite roomy - toes could spin in circles. The left foot fits good however my right foot slides forward all the time on level ground. Going down hill I never hit the front but I feel all the pressure on the laces. I have tried all sorts of lacing and currently I have a surgeon knot below my arch and a heel lock at the top but still movement that doesn't touch the front. The manufacturer suggested they are too large.

Sz 9 has about 3/4" of space in the front and walking downhill my toes seem to be about 1/4" from the front (and that is not with super tight lacing). Toes are still not tight - can spread out but not spin circles and the all around fit is snug. My feet do not slide forward.

My high arches mean both are fairly snug on top.

I also have a pair of Bondi 7 that are comfy except the toe box is too tight and rubs my pinky toe (I am prone to pinch blisters between my 4 and 5th toe) so those will prob be returned.

Which is the best option at this point? I am concerned with swelling during 90-100f temps. What will I regret least 2 weeks from now?
Thanks
I finished the Camino Frances in May. I, too, had trouble finding the right shoe this time. I know I prefer trail runners and last time I wore Brooks Cascadia 13 and they were great. But every year Brooks tweaks their shoes so that this time I wasn't 100% sold on the them. I had been hiking in the latest version of Brooks Cascadia and Hoka Torrents. At the absolute last minute I decided on the Hokas because they were lighter. After several hundred miles I started to have two toes rub together, created corns on each, and it was painful. So what started out as great, after pounding the trail for weeks, I believe my feet had changed. {Sigh} If it helps (everyone's feet are different), my daughters have walked Caminos in Topos without problems.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
I finished the Camino Frances in May. I, too, had trouble finding the right shoe this time. I know I prefer trail runners and last time I wore Brooks Cascadia 13 and they were great. But every year Brooks tweaks their shoes so that this time I wasn't 100% sold on the them. I had been hiking in the latest version of Brooks Cascadia and Hoka Torrents. At the absolute last minute I decided on the Hokas because they were lighter. After several hundred miles I started to have two toes rub together, created corns on each, and it was painful. So what started out as great, after pounding the trail for weeks, I believe my feet had changed. {Sigh} If it helps (everyone's feet are different), my daughters have walked Caminos in Topos without problems.
I too wear Brooks Cascadias on all my caminos. I have also been a little dismayed at all the tweaking they do. I few years ago I bought my wife a pair of Hoka's she loved them and I bought a pair of Speedgoats and they were great too. I was conflicted on which pair to wear. The Hokas or the Cascadias. It was my 5th camino. I said to myself I have had only 4 or 5 small blisters in the Cascadias and none on the last two. So I decided on the Cascadias. I was fine after walking 900K in them. Last year I walked the VDLP to Muxia and then to Finistere. Over 1100K. No problems again. 6 Caminos with six variations of my Cascadias. I will be walking again in October with my 7th slightly different version of my Cascadias and I am confident again there will be no problems.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
Hi-
On Tuesday I am starting the Camino Frances from Pamplona and, well, i haven't figured out what shoe to wear and it is starting to get stressful. I don't know how this happened. I've spent the past month trying on well over 60 pairs of trail runners and have yet to find the perfect shoe. Zappos has an outlet in my place now. But I am leaving for Spain on Sunday so i need to decide in about 15 hours.

I have two pairs of Topo Ultraventure 2s which are overall my top choice but neither is perfect.

Sz 9.5 has at least an inch in front of my toes and the toe box is quite roomy - toes could spin in circles. The left foot fits good however my right foot slides forward all the time on level ground. Going down hill I never hit the front but I feel all the pressure on the laces. I have tried all sorts of lacing and currently I have a surgeon knot below my arch and a heel lock at the top but still movement that doesn't touch the front. The manufacturer suggested they are too large.

Sz 9 has about 3/4" of space in the front and walking downhill my toes seem to be about 1/4" from the front (and that is not with super tight lacing). Toes are still not tight - can spread out but not spin circles and the all around fit is snug. My feet do not slide forward.

My high arches mean both are fairly snug on top.

I also have a pair of Bondi 7 that are comfy except the toe box is too tight and rubs my pinky toe (I am prone to pinch blisters between my 4 and 5th toe) so those will prob be returned.

Which is the best option at this point? I am concerned with swelling during 90-100f temps. What will I regret least 2 weeks from now?
Thanks
I can't tell you which pair of trail runners to buy. I can tell you for myself I walk in one size larger and even though I do not need it for other shoes I wear I get a 2 Wide. This is what Brooks calls their wide shoes. Try to walk. Your foot will definitely expand. Good luck.
 
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koknesis

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2014
CA&CS 2015
VdlP 2017
CP 2018
CM 2019
Sizing very much depends on the particular shoe. My rule of thumb is to be able to stick a thumb behind the heel when toes are touching the shoes front 🥸
After left foot surgery in February I switched to Altras exclusively. Olympus for trail, Paradigm for road. I normally wear UK11, but due to specific Altras shape now UK10,5 is the right size. If you do not mind that zero drop thing, then Lone peak/Olympus would be my guess for the Camino.
Heel lock lacing also matters a lot for the comfortable use..
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
One thing I feel is a constant on walking the Camino, mainly the Frances during the summer, June through September, is there is no need for waterproof footwear. No need for cold weather or waterproof type of socks. One thing that is necessary is wearing your shoe/boot and socks combination on several test and conditioning walks before you go. There's no substitute for that. Walking around the outdoor shop or the house isn't going to do it.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
One thing that is necessary is wearing your shoe/boot and socks combination on several test and conditioning walks before you go.
Preferably at least 8-10 miles/12-16 km on 3-4 consecutive days. It's really important to know how your feet react to day after day long distance walks.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
I wear a size 10 1/2 wide La Sportiva Ultra Raptor on my left foot and an 11 1/2 extra wide on my right foot because of an expanding bunion. Expensive, I feel like I have one of Goofy's shoes, but it works. Most important, keep your toenails cut back all the way to the quick -- or you will loose them on the downhill sections. Buen Camino
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
X
Hi-
On Tuesday I am starting the Camino Frances from Pamplona and, well, i haven't figured out what shoe to wear and it is starting to get stressful. I don't know how this happened. I've spent the past month trying on well over 60 pairs of trail runners and have yet to find the perfect shoe. Zappos has an outlet in my place now. But I am leaving for Spain on Sunday so i need to decide in about 15 hours.

I have two pairs of Topo Ultraventure 2s which are overall my top choice but neither is perfect.

Sz 9.5 has at least an inch in front of my toes and the toe box is quite roomy - toes could spin in circles. The left foot fits good however my right foot slides forward all the time on level ground. Going down hill I never hit the front but I feel all the pressure on the laces. I have tried all sorts of lacing and currently I have a surgeon knot below my arch and a heel lock at the top but still movement that doesn't touch the front. The manufacturer suggested they are too large.

Sz 9 has about 3/4" of space in the front and walking downhill my toes seem to be about 1/4" from the front (and that is not with super tight lacing). Toes are still not tight - can spread out but not spin circles and the all around fit is snug. My feet do not slide forward.

My high arches mean both are fairly snug on top.

I also have a pair of Bondi 7 that are comfy except the toe box is too tight and rubs my pinky toe (I am prone to pinch blisters between my 4 and 5th toe) so those will prob be returned.

Which is the best option at this point? I am concerned with swelling during 90-100f temps. What will I regret least 2 weeks from now?
Thanks
You have tried 60 pairs of shoes and have yet to buy a pair? And you’re making your decision in a different climate whilst not carrying a pack?

Seriously?

It’s not a foot specialist you need and it’s certainly not someone else’s opinion you need. The problem is right at the other end of your body. You’re over-thinking.

A good lie down, calm down and get things into perspective would be my recommendation.
 
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Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
I can't advise you on shoes (mine are Merrell Flex, superb, my last was the trusty Salomon Gtx).

Shoes depend on the person. Three things don't, however; no doubt you know already but they are socks, poles and correct distances are crucial for foot happiness.

I use thick merino wool socks in all weathers. They cushion the feet and absorb moisture. Poles (preferably spring-loaded) are essential for downhills. And walking short distances works best of all. Rest days are good too. You'll be grand, and Buen Camino to you and your feet.
Thanks, I always use poles when hiking so I will be picking some up in Madrid. Thanks for your well wishes.
 

Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
I finished the Camino Frances in May. I, too, had trouble finding the right shoe this time. I know I prefer trail runners and last time I wore Brooks Cascadia 13 and they were great. But every year Brooks tweaks their shoes so that this time I wasn't 100% sold on the them. I had been hiking in the latest version of Brooks Cascadia and Hoka Torrents. At the absolute last minute I decided on the Hokas because they were lighter. After several hundred miles I started to have two toes rub together, created corns on each, and it was painful. So what started out as great, after pounding the trail for weeks, I believe my feet had changed. {Sigh} If it helps (everyone's feet are different), my daughters have walked Caminos in Topos without problems.
Thanks! I had tried the cascadias but they crushed my toes. Glad your daughters enjoyed the topos! Hopefully I will too.
 

Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
I too wear Brooks Cascadias on all my caminos. I have also been a little dismayed at all the tweaking they do. I few years ago I bought my wife a pair of Hoka's she loved them and I bought a pair of Speedgoats and they were great too. I was conflicted on which pair to wear. The Hokas or the Cascadias. It was my 5th camino. I said to myself I have had only 4 or 5 small blisters in the Cascadias and none on the last two. So I decided on the Cascadias. I was fine after walking 900K in them. Last year I walked the VDLP to Muxia and then to Finistere. Over 1100K. No problems again. 6 Caminos with six variations of my Cascadias. I will be walking again in October with my 7th slightly different version of my Cascadias and I am confident again there will be no problems.
I ended up spending about a week with the speed goat 4s and put about 20 miles on them but I couldn't quite get a good fit and had issues with toe crushing.. tried a few different sizes. Definitely aspects of them I liked. Cascadia didn't fit, sadly.
 

Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
Sizing very much depends on the particular shoe. My rule of thumb is to be able to stick a thumb behind the heel when toes are touching the shoes front 🥸
After left foot surgery in February I switched to Altras exclusively. Olympus for trail, Paradigm for road. I normally wear UK11, but due to specific Altras shape now UK10,5 is the right size. If you do not mind that zero drop thing, then Lone peak/Olympus would be my guess for the Camino.
Heel lock lacing also matters a lot for the comfortable use.

You have tried 60 pairs of shoes and have yet to buy a pair? And you’re making your decision in a different climate whilst not carrying a pack?

Seriously?

It’s not a foot specialist you need and it’s certainly not someone else’s opinion you need. The problem is right at the other end of your body. You’re over-thinking.

A good lie down, calm down and get things into perspective would be my recommendation.
Ha. At this rate I will need a few specialists lol.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
I ended up spending about a week with the speed goat 4s and put about 20 miles on them but I couldn't quite get a good fit and had issues with toe crushing.. tried a few different sizes. Definitely aspects of them I liked. Cascadia didn't fit, sadly.
What do you do with all those pairs of shoes? Can you donate them? I'm wondering if I've owned 60 pairs of shoes in my entire life? :D
 

Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
What do you do with all those pairs of shoes? Can you donate them? I'm wondering if I've owned 60 pairs of shoes in my entire life? :D
Ha no. I would be bankrupt! Most I just tried on in stores and dismissed immediately. I have been to basically every shoe shop within a 30 min walk of where I am staying (Philadelphia) multiple times and chatted with multiple salespeople. I also ordered quite a few from the Hoka website (which were returned - they have a generous return policy) and from Zappos. I realized too late that Zappos let's you try out running shoes for up to thirty days. Even when I am not shopping "for the most important walk of my life" (lol, yes the melodrama is part of the issue) I struggle with shoes and usually end up too wide and loose. But really it's a bit ridiculous, 43 y/o and it's like I have never worn shoes before.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
Ha no. I would be bankrupt! Most I just tried on in stores and dismissed immediately. I have been to basically every shoe shop within a 30 min walk of where I am staying (Philadelphia) multiple times and chatted with multiple salespeople. I also ordered quite a few from the Hoka website (which were returned - they have a generous return policy) and from Zappos. I realized too late that Zappos let's you try out running shoes for up to thirty days. Even when I am not shopping "for the most important walk of my life" (lol, yes the melodrama is part of the issue) I struggle with shoes and usually end up too wide and loose. But really it's a bit ridiculous, 43 y/o and it's like I have never worn shoes before.
Well don't get too hung up on having to have a super lightweight pair of shoes to walk the Camino. Sure, the lighter the better, but those few extra ounces shaved off not worth giving up stability, cushioning etc. I've walked it wearing Merrell Moabs and Oboz Sawtooth, as well as New balance trail runners. I didn't notice the few extra ounces difference between the trail runners and the others, and when I finished in Fisterre the trail runners were trashed, and that's where I threw them before I flew home lol. My Merrell and Oboz always have more miles in them, so now I'm an Oboz convert.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I have worn open toed hiking sandals for years. No problems with toes being scrunched. Recently I tried some Hokas and found to my surprise they fitted, and I do like them for road walking or hard stone sets. But the sandals are my go-to choice for any camino. So worth considering if you are having trouble with shoe fit.
 
Of the three pairs you describe, I vote for the size 9s -- snug all around (not tight, I hope), but room for the toes to spread out, no sliding forward, no pinching toe box. Smear a thin layer of Vaseline on your feet and between your toes each morning to reduce friction, stop immediately to air your feet and shake out your socks whenever you feel discomfort (DO NOT wait for a blister to form), and you should be fine.
 
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Pilgrino21

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances
Ha no. I would be bankrupt! Most I just tried on in stores and dismissed immediately. I have been to basically every shoe shop within a 30 min walk of where I am staying (Philadelphia) multiple times and chatted with multiple salespeople. I also ordered quite a few from the Hoka website (which were returned - they have a generous return policy) and from Zappos. I realized too late that Zappos let's you try out running shoes for up to thirty days. Even when I am not shopping "for the most important walk of my life" (lol, yes the melodrama is part of the issue) I struggle with shoes and usually end up too wide and loose. But really it's a bit ridiculous, 43 y/o and it's like I have never worn shoes before.
Dude, my best advice I could give you is follow your gut and instinct. Clearly you're overthinking this and others' opinions are adding to your indecision. Don't let perfection be the enemy of the good.

Many people here can attest that even the best laid out plan doesn't end up being ideal. You just go with the flow. Be okay with the trade-offs as long as you pick the right one. I guess that's where you are now...I'm more concerned that in your search for the perfect fit, you may not be focusing on other things or be prepared for anything else that may come up.

You may have foreshadowed a few outcomes already; don't ignore those quiet and subtle voices. They will help guide you on the Camino.

I used to work at a shoe store and get people fitted. I'm in DC so if you feel like trekking over, I'll try to help you make a decision once and for all.
 
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Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
Of the three pairs you describe, I vote for the size 9s -- snug all around (not tight, I hope), but room for the toes to spread out, no sliding forward, no pinching toe box. Smear a thin layer of Vaseline on your feet and between your toes each morning to reduce friction, stop immediately to air your feet and shake out your socks whenever you feel discomfort (DO NOT wait for a blister to form), and you should be fine.
Thanks. This is what I went with. I'll see how I do in a few days :)
 

Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
Dude, my best advice I could give you is follow your gut and instinct. Clearly you're overthinking this and others' opinions are adding to your indecision. Don't let perfection be the enemy of the good.

Many people here can attest that even the best laid out plan doesn't end up being ideal. You just go with the flow. Be okay with the trade-offs as long as you pick the right one. I guess that's where you are now...I'm more concerned that in your search for the perfect fit, you may not be focusing on other things or be prepared for anything else that may come up.

You may have foreshadowed a few outcomes already; don't ignore those quiet and subtle voices. They will help guide you on the Camino.

I used to work at a shoe store and get people fitted. I'm in DC so if you feel like trekking over, I'll try to help you make a decision once and for all.
Thanks for the comment and offer. I think I am good. Heading to the airport this afternoon!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
I ended up spending about a week with the speed goat 4s and put about 20 miles on them but I couldn't quite get a good fit and had issues with toe crushing.. tried a few different sizes. Definitely aspects of them I liked. Cascadia didn't fit, sadly.
Sorry to hear that. I can imagine how much it would suck if one day I bought a new pair of Cascadias for a camino and encountered that problem. It would really be a big problem for me as I live in Mexico and I have huge gunboat feet. I wear a size 14US and for the Camino a size 15US. It is almost impossible to find anything larger than a 12 here in Mexico. Good luck. Just wondering if there are other Brooks trail runners that may be a better fit. I only say this because I used to live in Oregon and before my first camino I bought a pair of Merrell's. Something similar to the Moab. I bought it from a very respected outdoor store that the people who walk the PCT love. My town was on the PCT. After about a week of training in them I had terrible blisters. Had to stop training for over a week. A good friend who was a marathon runner took me to a store in my town which was at the time owned by the number two rated ultra marathoner in the world. I didn't know it then but many ultra marathoners came to train in the mountains near my home. Before my friend Steve could finish about the Merrell's and me training for the Camino he and his two employees all said in unison you need to wear those Brooks Cascadias. (They had all already seen my feet haha). Best camino advice I ever got by far!!!!!
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
Ha no. I would be bankrupt! Most I just tried on in stores and dismissed immediately. I have been to basically every shoe shop within a 30 min walk of where I am staying (Philadelphia) multiple times and chatted with multiple salespeople. I also ordered quite a few from the Hoka website (which were returned - they have a generous return policy) and from Zappos. I realized too late that Zappos let's you try out running shoes for up to thirty days. Even when I am not shopping "for the most important walk of my life" (lol, yes the melodrama is part of the issue) I struggle with shoes and usually end up too wide and loose. But really it's a bit ridiculous, 43 y/o and it's like I have never worn shoes before.
What do you do with all those pairs of shoes? Can you donate them? I'm wondering if I've owned 60 pairs of shoes in my entire life? :D
(RJM do no know if you live in the States so sorry if you know this)
Maybe you should go to REI if you haven't already done so. They have an amazingly great return policy. You can return almost anything within a year if you are not satisfied with your purchase. This could save you lots of money and stress.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
(RJM do no know if you live in the States so sorry if you know this)
Maybe you should go to REI if you haven't already done so. They have an amazingly great return policy. You can return almost anything within a year if you are not satisfied with your purchase. This could save you lots of money and stress.
A year? People actually return shoes after a year of use? :D
I couldn't in good conscience return shoes after a couple of weeks use and expect a refund lol
 

Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
Thanks! I am head
(RJM do no know if you live in the States so sorry if you know this)
Maybe you should go to REI if you haven't already done so. They have an amazingly great return policy. You can return almost anything within a year if you are not satisfied with your purchase. This could save you lots of money and stress.

Sorry to hear that. I can imagine how much it would suck if one day I bought a new pair of Cascadias for a camino and encountered that problem. It would really be a big problem for me as I live in Mexico and I have huge gunboat feet. I wear a size 14US and for the Camino a size 15US. It is almost impossible to find anything larger than a 12 here in Mexico. Good luck. Just wondering if there are other Brooks trail runners that may be a better fit. I only say this because I used to live in Oregon and before my first camino I bought a pair of Merrell's. Something similar to the Moab. I bought it from a very respected outdoor store that the people who walk the PCT love. My town was on the PCT. After about a week of training in them I had terrible blisters. Had to stop training for over a week. A good friend who was a marathon runner took me to a store in my town which was at the time owned by the number two rated ultra marathoner in the world. I didn't know it then but many ultra marathoners came to train in the mountains near my home. Before my friend Steve could finish about the Merrell's and me training for the Camino he and his two employees all said in unison you need to wear those Brooks Cascadias. (They had all already seen my feet haha). Best camino advice I ever got by far!!!!!
When I first decided to walk the camino back in May I was actually living in CDMX and didn't even attempt to look for shoes there. When I got back to the US I spent an afternoon at an REI but then relocated to an area where I couldn't easily access another. Oh well... It is what it is. Thanks!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
Thanks! I am head



When I first decided to walk the camino back in May I was actually living in CDMX and didn't even attempt to look for shoes there. When I got back to the US I spent an afternoon at an REI but then relocated to an area where I couldn't easily access another. Oh well... It is what it is. Thanks!
Living in Mexico City you know all too well the struggles of buying shoes for us with bigger feet!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
A year? People actually return shoes after a year of use? :D
I couldn't in good conscience return shoes after a couple of weeks use and expect a refund lol
I don't disagree but that is their policy. But when it comes to what you are wearing for weeks and weeks of 20K+ walking you need to have the best things possible for your best friend or worst enemy on our caminos: Our feet.
 
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Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
I ended up going with the size 9 and so far they are not working out. I wore just sock liners with them on day 0 and 1 (this was the alto perdon day and it rained the entire day) and they were pretty good. As day two progressed I began to get increasing pain in each heel from where my heel would press down on the top edge of the insole heel cup. About an hour outside of Estella I switched to my Chacos but the damage had been done. By the time I arrived I had a lot of redness and soreness on both heels plus a big ol blood blister on the right foot heel (luckily in a spot that doesn't rub with the Chacos). Wore my Chacos to Los Arcos today and felt pretty comfortable in them so will keep wearing them, I think, though I am not sure I want to wear them until the end. Might see about new shoes or new insoles in Logrono (I couldn't find the right style/size in Estella).

Otherwise things are going great!!! But for those still planning your Camino... definitely sort out the shoes well in advance of your start! :)
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Wore my Chacos to Los Arcos today and felt pretty comfortable in them so will keep wearing them, I think, though I am not sure I want to wear them until the end.
If they are working for you, why not? There are a number of us who exclusively wear sandals on the Camino.
 

Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
If they are working for you, why not? There are a number of us who exclusively wear sandals on the Camino.
Good point. Once I get a few more miles in them I will decide. I wore them with my toe socks today and really loved how my feet didn't feel sweaty and my toes were able to spread out enough so I didn't need to worry about toe pinch blisters.
 

denagigharbor

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, in Sep 2022
Good point. Once I get a few more miles in them I will decide. I wore them with my toe socks today and really loved how my feet didn't feel sweaty and my toes were able to spread out enough so I didn't need to worry about toe pinch blisters.
How goes it with the footwear, Mananath? Have you ditched the Topo UV 2s in favor of your Chacos or something else? Hope it is working out and you're enjoying your journey.
 
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Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
How goes it with the footwear, Mananath? Have you ditched the Topo UV 2s in favor of your Chacos or something else? Hope it is working out and you're enjoying your journey.
Hi- still using the Chacos and carrying the Topos in my bag (they will be my burden to Santiago haha) and for the most part they have been good. I've been having trouble getting the left one to fit properly and that has resulted in a bit of arch pain. I have spent many hours pondering and troubleshooting this as my right foot is fine (with the shoes it was the opposite case). I suspect my feet are different sizes with slightly different sized arches. The Chacos are new, a replacement for a well worn pair which were a bit too worn on the soles so that could be part of the issue. I will arrive in Burgos tomorrow and might try to find a pair of well fitting pair of Altras as I am still not certain of the long term prospects of the chacos, with the uncomfortable left foot.

On the plus side no real blister issues. So that is good!
 

Pilgrino21

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances
Hi- still using the Chacos and carrying the Topos in my bag (they will be my burden to Santiago haha) and for the most part they have been good. I've been having trouble getting the left one to fit properly and that has resulted in a bit of arch pain. I have spent many hours pondering and troubleshooting this as my right foot is fine (with the shoes it was the opposite case). I suspect my feet are different sizes with slightly different sized arches. The Chacos are new, a replacement for a well worn pair which were a bit too worn on the soles so that could be part of the issue. I will arrive in Burgos tomorrow and might try to find a pair of well fitting pair of Altras as I am still not certain of the long term prospects of the chacos, with the uncomfortable left foot.

On the plus side no real blister issues. So that is good!
Man, I thought I was the most picky when it comes to shoes because it takes a while for me to decide (I spare others from shopping with me or even deciding). You definitely take the cake but I suspect that you know your body so well that you're looking for that ideal fit.

My wish for you is that you will grow to be okay with less than the ideal or discomfort before Santiago and create more space to enjoy what the Camino has to offer (not saying you aren't). My Altras weren't perfect (wish I had more ankle support) but was okay with the trade-offs. They still accomplished my objective and learned some lessons along the way. You know just like the Camino itself.

Buen Camino
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Hi- still using the Chacos and carrying the Topos in my bag (they will be my burden to Santiago haha) and for the most part they have been good. I've been having trouble getting the left one to fit properly and that has resulted in a bit of arch pain. I have spent many hours pondering and troubleshooting this as my right foot is fine (with the shoes it was the opposite case). I suspect my feet are different sizes with slightly different sized arches. The Chacos are new, a replacement for a well worn pair which were a bit too worn on the soles so that could be part of the issue. I will arrive in Burgos tomorrow and might try to find a pair of well fitting pair of Altras as I am still not certain of the long term prospects of the chacos, with the uncomfortable left foot.

On the plus side no real blister issues. So that is good!

Keep your mind open to other sandals, instead of the Altras. I'm a sandal wearer too.
 

Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
I am happy to report that about half way to Burgos I finally figured out what was wrong with my left Chacos (the buckle was in the wrong spot). A quick adjustment and my foot feels a lot better. I will continue on to Santiago in the chacos!
 

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