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Hiking sandals or hiking boots?

EdN

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Portugues (Sept 2022
I will be walking the Portuguese Costal Route (Senda Litoral) the first 2 weeks of September. I wore Keen mid hiking boots while walking the Camino Frances, which worked out well. Given everything I've read about the Portuguese Costal Route, I'm planning to toss the boots and switch to Keen hiking sandals. What do you think? I'd appreciate advice from those of you who have walked this route before in the late summer/fall. Thanks!
 
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EdN

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Portugues (Sept 2022
Since I'm a convert to hiking sandals for all of my Caminos sandals get my vote. But you need to do some long hikes in your sandals to know if that's what will work
Since I'm a convert to hiking sandals for all of my Caminos sandals get my vote. But you need to do some long hikes in your sandals to know if that's what will work for you.
Thanks. They feel great. I was wondering if there would be issues with the terrain on this route. It looks relatively flat and easy…
 

Grousedoctor

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
I will be walking the Portuguese Costal Route (Senda Litoral) the first 2 weeks of September. I wore Keen mid hiking boots while walking the Camino Frances, which worked out well. Given everything I've read about the Portuguese Costal Route, I'm planning to toss the boots and switch to Keen hiking sandals. What do you think? I'd appreciate advice from those of you who have walked this route before in the late summer/fall. Thanks!
On the Portugués Por La Costa that we walked in the spring, I alternated between my Teva hiking sandals and my running shoes. Whether it was because of my running shoes, I didn’t buy new Superfeet insoles this Camino, or because of my sandals, my feet were more tired and sore than usual on this trek. By the end of the day, my feet felt that I had walked every step of the 12-15 miles that we covered. As was mentioned above, if you do switch to sandals, put a lot of miles on them before heading to Portugal. The very best shoe for me, and the one I’ll be going back to next spring, are my Merrell Moab GTXs. Everyone’s feet are different, so you really do have to find one that works best for you. I hiked in Keen’s for years and found them generally to be a good shoe. I don’t know if you can project from them to their sandal without putting them to the test including a significant amount of pavement walking. Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy the coastal route as much as we did. Include the Variante Espiritual in your Camino if you can.
 
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Scott Sweeney

Veteran Member
I will be walking the Portuguese Costal Route (Senda Litoral) the first 2 weeks of September. I wore Keen mid hiking boots while walking the Camino Frances, which worked out well. Given everything I've read about the Portuguese Costal Route, I'm planning to toss the boots and switch to Keen hiking sandals. What do you think? I'd appreciate advice from those of you who have walked this route before in the late summer/fall. Thanks!
My vote is a boot. The cobblestone on the Portuguese way is horrible it can do the bottom of a foot in very quickly.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
There are also a lot of options between those two extremes. Personally, I wear what I guess would be called a hiking shoe, like this:

View attachment 130835
having been a boots and sandals man for many years, I am reluctantly thinking of switching to shoes. As I have got older (84) and circumstances have kept me off my beloved Iberia, I don't know if that's what has upset my tootsies! Sandals now seem to cut the inner edge of my feet. As I am a flatlander, and city dweller, I also suspect that hot asphalt and concrete don't help much either :) I did have Meindl shoes but never really took to them. Sizing doesn't help either as half sizes seemed to have disappeared in that an 8 is too tight and a 9 too loose. Metric sizes have also fluctuated with 42 being an eight and a 43 a half up. A 43 is now regarded as a 9 ! Yet my Meindl boots are 43 and I use hiking socks with them. No problem, except for the weight! Hence, I would like to try shoes again. I cant see myself on any really demanding terrain in the future as my love had her breast cancer op yesterday and is still in hospital. Methinks It could be a bus and train kind of camino in the future with me hitting 85 and her 69 :)
Still, with climate warming, It could be good trekking shoes , even for urban, and boots for bad winters. A puzzlement eh? Good luck with your choice and keep posting.

Buen camino

Samarkand.
 

Grousedoctor

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
My vote is a boot. The cobblestone on the Portuguese way is horrible it can do the bottom of a foot in very quickly.
Couldn’t agree with you more about how tough the cobbles can be on the feet and knees. Luckily, cobble stones are very minimal along the Coastal Route. Just in terms of the “path”, we found great differences between the Central and the Costal routes. Did not miss the cobble stones one bit!
 
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casario

New Member
I hiked the Camino France in Keen Newports with no problems other than rocks getting in the shoe. For my next camino, I have switched to Drew Warren which comes with an insert. One of the few sandals that will allow the use of an insert. I use a Superfeet Trailblazer insert instead.
 

xin loi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
My vote is a boot. The cobblestone on the Portuguese way is horrible it can do the bottom of a foot in very quickly.
You got that right. Wondered why most of the Portugese seems to be cobblestoned--even the paths through the woods are cobblestoned.
 

david marquez

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte-Primitivo April-May 2018
Several years ago, in fact shortly after finishing the Norte/Primitivo in 2018, I went from boots/sandals to using only sandals for almost everything. So now I go thru a pair of Bedrock sandals a year or so but my feet have never been happier! For my needs sandals fill the bill.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
Why don't you try trail runners. They need minimal break in. Just by seeing many videos of the coastal it is a safe bet there is no need for boots. I walked from Lisbon to Santiago but it was on the Central route all the way so I know alot about the cobblestones. I always wear Brooks Cascadias and had no issues at all from the cobblestones. If you really need cushion you could go with Hoka Speedgoats. You will be walking when it is still hot probably even on the coast. Boots are hot and heavy. Can't comment on sandals as I have no experience with them but I know lots of people like them. I walk in trail runners even in winter!
 
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peha

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
I will be walking the Portuguese Costal Route (Senda Litoral) the first 2 weeks of September. I wore Keen mid hiking boots while walking the Camino Frances, which worked out well. Given everything I've read about the Portuguese Costal Route, I'm planning to toss the boots and switch to Keen hiking sandals. What do you think? I'd appreciate advice from those of you who have walked this route before in the late summer/fall. Thanks!
Loved the sandals. Hiked from San Sébastien to Santiago. No blisters. If I got wet, no problems with wet socks. Keen was first choice then Luna sandals for easier days. Very light weight in back pack. Best Wishes.
 

EvC

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portugal
I will be walking the Portuguese Costal Route (Senda Litoral) the first 2 weeks of September. I wore Keen mid hiking boots while walking the Camino Frances, which worked out well. Given everything I've read about the Portuguese Costal Route, I'm planning to toss the boots and switch to Keen hiking sandals. What do you think? I'd appreciate advice from those of you who have walked this route before in the late summer/fall. Thanks!
Light trail runners or socks with your sandals. Without socks you'll end up with terrible blisters
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Light trail runners or socks with your sandals. Without socks you'll end up with terrible blisters
I wear socks with my sandals (only on the Camino 😉), but I have met people who happily wore their sandals sans socks without blisters. Just another very personal thing about footwear.
 

Ms H Walker

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 camino Portuguese
2019 camino Portuguese Coastal and Spiritual
I will be walking the Portuguese Costal Route (Senda Litoral) the first 2 weeks of September. I wore Keen mid hiking boots while walking the Camino Frances, which worked out well. Given everything I've read about the Portuguese Costal Route, I'm planning to toss the boots and switch to Keen hiking sandals. What do you think? I'd appreciate advice from those of you who have walked this route before in the late summer/fall. Thanks!
I took the luxurious choice of taking hiking sandals and trail shoes for my second Camino. Portugal and Spain can be quite hot still in September. Boots could be heavy and hot. My feet enjoyed the change of shoe halfway through the day. I have walked this Camino in September and in May and had 34C days and lows of around 18C
 

Rita Flower

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Via del la Plata
Lots of great comments and experience already.
For me it's as much about ankle support as anything. So I keep heading back to my boots - Merrill and Keens in the past and now back to Merrill Moab 3. With new orthotics the Merrill wide fit won as they are lighter than the Keens. But both have kept my feet and ankles snug and safe and never really felt 'hot and heavy'.
But if ankle support is not required then try all the other options till you find what works best for your foot.
 
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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
@EdN I walked the Portuguese from Lisbon in my normal hiking sandals, and I did find the hard stone sets and lots of road walking hard on my feet. So when returning this year I decided I'd try something soft and cushioning. I bought Hoka One One in the wide Bondi model (they are specifically designed for road running, not trail shoes). It is like walking on marshmallow. Just the shot for all that hard stuff. My feet were happy. I am back to sandals for normal paths, but when I know there will be a lot of hard surfaces I'll choose the Hokas.
 

JCarpenter

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Both! I have worn hiking boots, with the occasional day in sandals for a bit of relief from hotspots. The sandals after just two days were not enough cushion for my knees. I don't have knee problems, but I absolutely felt the difference, especially on cobblestone days! Would have switched to boots in rain on inclines also. The shoe-sandal combo did NOT work out. Not enough cushion for the knees hips. Missed my boots.
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Time of past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
I will be walking the Portuguese Costal Route (Senda Litoral) the first 2 weeks of September. I wore Keen mid hiking boots while walking the Camino Frances, which worked out well. Given everything I've read about the Portuguese Costal Route, I'm planning to toss the boots and switch to Keen hiking sandals. What do you think? I'd appreciate advice from those of you who have walked this route before in the late summer/fall. Thanks!
Not that I recommend it, but I met a barefoot French pilgrim on the Francés.
 

RussB

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Still planning
I will be walking the Portuguese Costal Route (Senda Litoral) the first 2 weeks of September. I wore Keen mid hiking boots while walking the Camino Frances, which worked out well. Given everything I've read about the Portuguese Costal Route, I'm planning to toss the boots and switch to Keen hiking sandals. What do you think? I'd appreciate advice from those of you who have walked this route before in the late summer/fall. Thanks!
Trainers , whatever brand you prefer , boots too heavy, sandals too light
 
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JCarpenter

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Boots are heavier, but please consider that for some, that is not the most important attribute for a long walk shoe. The additional insulation you get from the hammering of the cobbles, pavement, etc is more important to many. My muscles and joints are not fatigued at the end of the day once I've adjusted to the walking, IF I'm in my boots (Solomans.) With my lighter weight Solomans, (rated for 500km) my legs feel the distance, even after weeks on the trail. (No injuries to cause this)
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Aug 2019 CF
May 2022 CP Coastal
I used my Keen Targhee mid boots for both the CF and recent CP Coastal. IMHO Boots are not needed for CP Coastal and/or the Spiritual. The only place that is rocky is going to Armenteria.
 

green_spork

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Portugues
Aug/Sept (2017)
Walked the Portuguese Central route back in 2017, it was my first Camino, so I had a similar dilemma regarding what footwear to wear!
After researching more about the stages, I went for Asics gel running trainers!
Ideal for the the flat road sections, lightweight and comfortable.
I didn’t see many people wearing boots, mostly trail shoes or standard sport trainers!
I am considering walking the Primitivo in September! If I do I will be wearing North Face Hedgehog trail shoes.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
If you have any medical foot problems, talk to your podiatrist. Otherwise, go into a shop that specializes in hiking footwear and try on various types of shoes, boots, sandals, with their suggested socks. Only your feet can really know what feels good, but, if you are lucky, there will be a shop in your neighbourhood which has the staff and the stock to outfit you.
 
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cbacino

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
I will be walking the Portuguese Costal Route (Senda Litoral) the first 2 weeks of September. I wore Keen mid hiking boots while walking the Camino Frances, which worked out well. Given everything I've read about the Portuguese Costal Route, I'm planning to toss the boots and switch to Keen hiking sandals. What do you think? I'd appreciate advice from those of you who have walked this route before in the late summer/fall. Thanks!
I haven't hiked the Portuguese Coastal Route, but I hiked from Gibraltar to Muxía (mid-April to late May) wearing a pair of Keen Newport H2 sandals. Worked like a charm. Boots are overkill for Camino hiking.
 

RussB

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Still planning
My hiking sandals have a more robust sole than the train runners that I used on my first two Caminos.
I had Altra lone Peaks and sent another pair to Zamora . First pair started to fall to bits but still got good distance out of them . 2 pairs of same trainer lasted from Almeria to Fisterre so can’t complain . No blisters , but did have a bit of tendonitis that lasted a week or so.
 

woody66

This is my boy !
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2021 Frances 2023
Why don't you try trail runners. They need minimal break in. Just by seeing many videos of the coastal it is a safe bet there is no need for boots. I walked from Lisbon to Santiago but it was on the Central route all the way so I know alot about the cobblestones. I always wear Brooks Cascadias and had no issues at all from the cobblestones. If you really need cushion you could go with Hoka Speedgoats.
Hi! Walked Coastal, Senda and Espiritual Variant last September started walking on the 20th it was hot 20-27C until mid October!
I wore Hoka Stinson Atr6 trail runners for the whole route; i didn't notice the cobbles at all really very comfy!
I donated my Ecco sandals as never wore them. (although since being home i have brought another pair as i wear them at home all the time to local shops ect i just cant hack the longer distance in them i love the soft feel of the Hokas mile after mile)
Woody
 

peregrin peregrina

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
april 2022
Lots of great comments and experience already.
For me it's as much about ankle support as anything. So I keep heading back to my boots - Merrill and Keens in the past and now back to Merrill Moab 3. With new orthotics the Merrill wide fit won as they are lighter than the Keens. But both have kept my feet and ankles snug and safe and never really felt 'hot and heavy'.
But if ankle support is not required then try all the other options till you find what works best for your foot.
already looking toward my next camino, i went to my podiatrist to inquire about ankle support in shoes for the camino, having just broken my ankle (from a fall) on the camino just finished.

he told me his profession is moving away from so called "ankle support" shoes/boots to whatever is comfortable for the individual. i told him i liked my keen Newport sandals on the last camino and he said there was no reason to change! he pointed out that even pro basketball players often don't wear high tops anymore. surprising advice! (obviously check w your own resources)
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
already looking toward my next camino, i went to my podiatrist to inquire about ankle support in shoes for the camino, having just broken my ankle (from a fall) on the camino just finished.

he told me his profession is moving away from so called "ankle support" shoes/boots to whatever is comfortable for the individual. i told him i liked my keen Newport sandals on the last camino and he said there was no reason to change! he pointed out that even pro basketball players often don't wear high tops anymore. surprising advice! (obviously check w your own resources)
@davebugg has written about the idea of boots protecting ankles is probably more myth than fact.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
@davebugg has written about the idea of boots protecting ankles is probably more myth than fact.
Indeed, and he found some interesting research into whether boots benefited athletes in particular sports. Not much appeared relevant outside of those sports, and it certainly was not relevant to walking the Camino generally. I don't know of any research results at the time that might have useful. If something credible has been done since, it would be interesting to know what conclusions were reached.
 

Pilgrim9

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
SJPdP-SdC (2017)
SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Lisboa-SdC (2018)
Ferrol-SdC (2018)
I will be walking the Portuguese Costal Route (Senda Litoral) the first 2 weeks of September. I wore Keen mid hiking boots while walking the Camino Frances, which worked out well. Given everything I've read about the Portuguese Costal Route, I'm planning to toss the boots and switch to Keen hiking sandals. What do you think? I'd appreciate advice from those of you who have walked this route before in the late summer/fall. Thanks!
The facts that everyone's feet, and weight (including pack and water), and level of fitness, and walking style, and the degree of need for arch support, and the exact terrain to be walked upon are unique, etc., etc., make footwear a particularly personal choice.

I will offer no advice but provide the following information for your evaluation and disposal.

I used one particular model of factory-made leather hiking boots made by an Italian boot manufacturer called Zamberlan, for all of my 3 very long pilgrimages and 2 shorter ones (CF, SdC-Muxia-Finisterre-SdC, CP, Inglés, CF again).

BTW my weight varies between 175 and 195 pounds and I was carrying a 13 kg pack too, i.e. my feet and the boots were under some load.

I vaguely recall getting one small blister on the first CF pilgrimage, 5 years ago, which I taped up immediately, and no blisters whatsoever on any subsequent pilgrimages or local walks.

The model of boot that I use has sides that are about ankle-high. That prevents most pebbles and dirt from entering the boots. That is important to me because stepping down hard on a pebble can injure the heel pad.

I used the first pair of those boots for about 2000+ kilometres before the heel-strike areas started to wear out. After that I retrofitted new heel-strikes to that pair of boots and downgraded them to local use only. I am on my second pair now. They have carried me about 1000 km and they are nowhere near to being worn out.

These boots have provided me with excellent arch support. I attribute that to high quality materials and construction around a shape of last that happens to be just right for my feet. As you know, a last is a physical model of a foot around which footwear is constructed. There are many different shapes (and sizes, obviously) of last.

To my regret the model of boot I used is no longer made.

I inquired of Zamberlan to know what model they might recommend as a substitute. Their customer service representative (CSR) in Italy explained that one of the most important considerations is the last around which the boots are manufactured, helpfully provided me the identification number of the last that they used to make my model of boot, stated that that last is one of their standard ones and that they plan to continue using it indefinitely on future models, and explained how to decode their boot model numbers to determine which last was used to make which model. That was very helpful and considerate of their CSR.

I give full marks to Zamberlan for the quality of their boots and for their customer service.

-----

I paid full retail price for all of my boots and equipment, am not being paid in any way for this post, and have no financial interests in any providers of Camino-related goods or services.
 
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