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Hiking boots versus Approach Shoes


Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2009, Portuguese 2012
Frances 2016, (Frances 2019)
I have my well worn, broken in hiking boots and was originally thinking about wearing them. They were great on the AT when I was carrying a 25-30# pack. Now I am thinking a pair of lighter weight approach shoes might make more sense--with a packweight of 16#. My hiking boots are gore-tex and offer lots of ankle support but they are leather and heavy. Approach shoes would be lower at the ankle and lighter in weight and accordingly offer less support. Any feedback? I will be walking this September. I figure if I wear approach shoes, I will need to also bring my low gators to control those nasty stones that are attracted like MAGNETS to my feet. My husband insists I have "Princess and the Pea" feet. Thanks.
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Deleted member 397

Not sure what approach shoes are but I guess they are something like hiking shoes.On 3 caminoes I've always worn goretex hiking shoes but after the wet weather from Granada last year (from mid may to late june) I bought a pair of Asolo leather boots. On many mornings I would end up with wet feet withing half an hour due to the heavy rain so hopefully the leather boots will be better. I also wore small gaiters to stop those persistent and annoying grass seeds attching themselves to my socks.


Veteran Member

I wore Merrell high top leather on the AT...I found that the lighter boot in Gore-tex (also Merrell) worked best on the Camino...if you're concern is splashing water or pea gravel...low leg gaters will suffice.

You're carrying so little that there's reduced need for ankle support...unless you have a medical condition. If anything, the concern will be with knee injuries from falls...or up hill strain.

Buen Camino
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I wore New Balance Trail shoes and was VERY happy!
They were very comfortable, dried quickly, and cushioned my feet.
I got a total of zero blisters! The few hotspots were kept safe with Compeed.
I purchased cushioned insoles for a little extra.

I just bought a NEW pair for my next camino!


Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
I wore Merrells walking shoes rather than boots. I loved the Vibram sole, which helped me stop slipping in the wet, muddy conditions I encountered in April, May and early June. But I wished they were more water-proof in some of the early days in France when my feet got saturated.

As you can see from the attached photo, taken in the albergue in El Burgo Ranero on the Meseta, people wore all kinds of shoes and boots. Whatever you choose though, you will save yourself a lot of bother if you make sure they are well worn in before you hit the Camino.


  • 396 shoes.jpg
    396 shoes.jpg
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Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002 solo and 2013 with wife and toddler
Hi - I wore Merrell hiking shoes on my camino and they performed well. I did encounter a few stages (perhaps 5 or 6 out of 30) in which I would have preferred the ankle support or a boot. I would say hiking shoes or at most lightweight boots would work best.


I have Columbia Titanium all leather hiking boots. They are on the heavy side but they keep walking by themselves even when I´m too exhausted to walk. Vibram soles are marvellous!

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