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Hiking Shoe - dilemma

Teej41

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April/May 2018
I start my 1st Camino (CF) in just over 4 weeks time. Preparation is well underway - all equipment and walking gear has been purchased, training walks of 15 - 20 miles length with full pack have been and continue to be undertaken, Brierley's guide is being read extensively when I'm not out walking, accommodation for the first couple of nights in Spain has been booked and as my wife is Spanish speaking the language is no problem.

For the last 2 years I have worn Salomon's low profile XA Pro 2D GTX and XA Pro 3D GTX trail/running shoes. For me they have been excellent in many respects:-
comfortable right out of the box
never ever had blisters wearing them
despite being GTX lined my feet have never overperspired in them
have kept my feet dry whilst walking in some extremely wet and muddy terrain
have remained serviceable for at least 500-600 miles of walking

However despite this picture of perfection one niggling problem remains. As it is hiking shoe related it's something that I really need to sort out pronto pronto. On my training walks I've noticed that there's an issue with the right foot due to the outer edge of the little toe rubbing against the shoe. To be more medically precise it's the area where the metatarsal bone joins the bones of the little toe that is affected. Oddly enough I've noticed it more whilst wearing the XA Pro 3D GTX shoe than with its Pro 2D GTX predecessor. It's something that I feel quite soon after commencing any of the training walks. The strange thing is that the discomfort doesn't seem to be any more severe at the end of the 15-20 mile walk than it does at the beginning. In fact the discomfort seems to come and go at various stages of the walk unlike the excruciating, persistent and disabling pain that you get with blisters. In the past I used to apply moleskin and other plasters to the affected spot as you would if you felt any kind of abrasion of the feet. But taking the socks off at the end reveals hardly any sign of reddening of the skin due to abrasion and rubbing. However it would be nice not to have the discomfort at all. My left foot is absolutely perfect after all of these training walks. What does worry me is the cumulative effect of this discomfort with the right shoe over the 35 -40 day duration of the Camino. At this moment in time I have a number of strategies to explore to try to eliminate the problem:-
(1) try a thinner/different hiking sock on the right foot as compared with the left foot
(2) try walking in a pair of Salomon XA Pro 2D GTX shoes - I bought an extra pair of these 12 months ago to be retained exclusively for the Camino whist they were still available, as the first pair of Pro 2D GTX had been so comfortable.
(3) the most radical strategy is to change to an Altra or Hoka Hoka shoe. I've heard that they have a roomy toebox and wondered whether this would cure the problem I currently have with the Salomon shoe.

Very luckily there's a retailer 30 minutes drive away that stocks a good number of models in the Altra and Hoka Hoka range. I will be visiting them in person very soon. I've heard good things in this Forum about the Altra Lone Peak shoes in particular. The retailer stocks the Lone Peak 3.5 (version 4 not here yet) and also the Altra Timp. A couple of things worry me before I go to see them:- (a) I saw a review that questioned their durability and saying they had a useful lifetime of about 250-300 miles (b) how effective is the Lone Peak's upper mesh at stopping entry of water? (c) how much would the 'zero drop' type of shoe affect someone acclimatised to walking in something like the Salomon trail shoe?
So before I rush off to the retailer I'd appreciate comments from any users of Altra/Hoka Hoka/others on their experiences of shoes with the 'wide toebox'.

At the end of the day with a change of shoe types I could end up curing one problem but then open up a whole set of new ones. Maybe it's a case of 'better the devil you know (than the one you don't)'.
 
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TMcA

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
I am a person who almost never had any hiking boot trouble while day hiking including many 10-15 mile hikes with elevation gains/descents of 3000'+.

However, on the Camino Frances, going 20-26 kms with an overloaded pack day after day, I started to have problems because I think my feet became swollen and/or flattened out and I started to hit the toe box while descending.

When I returned home, I went back to my local outdoors store and tried new boots that were a half size bigger than my previous ones. This with the help of store personnel who were experienced in fitting hiking footwear. That store took back my old boots (purchased in the same store) and gave me a full store credit toward the new purchase.

That size difference did the trick for me when I got back to Europe to walk the following year. The bigger toe box in the boot selected may have also helped. BTW, those were Salomon boots and I recently bought another pair because I knew when the model changes, the last may also change. But I would ignore brand preference and just try to select the best boot for the kind of hiking you will be doing - day hikes or weeks/months on a trail.

Good luck.

Tom
 
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Teej41

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April/May 2018
I am a person who almost never had any hiking boot trouble while day hiking including many 10-15 mile hikes with elevation gains/descents of 3000'+.

However, on the Camino Frances, going 20-26 kms with an overloaded pack day after day, I started to have problems because I think my feet became swollen and/or flattened out and I started to hit the toe box while descending.

When I returned home, I went back to my local outdoors store and tried new boots that were a half size bigger than my previous ones. This with the help of store personnel who were experienced in fitting hiking footwear. That store took back my old boots (purchased in the same store) and gave me a full store credit toward the new purchase.

That size difference did the trick for me when I got back to Europe to walk the following year. The bigger toe box in the boot selected may have also helped. BTW, those were Salomon boots and I recently bought another pair because I knew when the model changes, the last may also change. But I would ignore brand preference and just try to select the best boot for the kind of hiking you will be doing - day hikes or weeks/months on a trail.

Good luck.

Tom
Hi Tom

Thanks for this reply. I've seen others comment on this business of going up half a size or a full size from 'normal' shoe size.
I've always been vaguely aware that it's not uncommon to find that our feet are of different size. I've just done a very quick check on Google and it seems that for 60% of the population the left foot is bigger than the right foot. I'm not clear whether the term 'bigger' means longer in length or wider in width or maybe a combination of both!! In my case it's my right foot that feels like it's pressing against the shoe not the left foot so maybe I'm in the minority group of the population for whom the right foot is 'bigger' than the left one. Either that or my current pair of Salomons are mismatched!
I'm quite tempted to try another pair of Salomons half a size up to see if the problem with the right foot disappears - as I've seen it commented that you can 'fill up' the larger space available to the left can be satisfactorily compensated for with some sort of insoles. Does going up half a size in a shoe increase the length as well as the width?
Maybe I could find that the ideal solution as to wear shoes of different size on each foot.
There's never a dull moment in the world of outdoor gear.
 

Pilar

Active Member
I have worn out 3 pairs of Lone Peaks. I wore XA Pro 3D GTX prior to the Lone Peaks. I wasn’t unhappy with the Salomon’s but would not return to them. I also tried the Timp and found it fit differently. Narrower and shorter. My Lone Peaks were not as durable and did not last as many miles as the Salomons for me but the cushion in the Lone Peaks wins. I have used 3.0, 3.5 and both are great. I have a pair of 4.0 waiting in the closet. There does not seem to be a remarkable difference between the 3.5 and 4.0.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Me too same as @TMcA thought of the shoe size issue.
I heard that left hands, legs, breasts etc. are larger because the heart is slightly to the left in our chest. But maybe your heart is slightly to the right? No kidding, I have a friend who has this her whole life with no health problems.
I would try with half a size bigger shoes or maybe with combination of two socks, thin and thick over it. You still have enough time to test it.

Otherwise @davebugg has a lot of experience in testing shoes, boots,...

Buen Camino!


EDIT: Just to add that I'm sworn to Salomons. Any new pair I don't even have to walk in them before Camino. Now that's easy for me I guess if I have to buy new pair while already on Camino ;))
 
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Teej41

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April/May 2018
I have worn out 3 pairs of Lone Peaks. I wore XA Pro 3D GTX prior to the Lone Peaks. I wasn’t unhappy with the Salomon’s but would not return to them. I also tried the Timp and found it fit differently. Narrower and shorter. My Lone Peaks were not as durable and did not last as many miles as the Salomons for me but the cushion in the Lone Peaks wins. I have used 3.0, 3.5 and both are great. I have a pair of 4.0 waiting in the closet. There does not seem to be a remarkable difference between the 3.5 and 4.0.
Hi Pilar

Many Thanks for your reply. Your comments on the durability of the Lone Peaks seems to echo the concerns that I've seen expressed in some of the reviews. Would you have an approximate idea of how many miles you did in them before moving on to a new pair? My daughter works for a company that can get me some new Salomons at a heavily discounted price. They currently have a pair of size 10 Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX in stock so I'll be able to try that option next week. If it doesn't solve the problem she can return them without any fuss. Earlier today I went for a 4 mile walk in the pair of Salomon XA Pro 2D GTX that I have retained for use on the Camino. Going back to them from the Pro 3Ds it's evident that there is a difference in the 'feel'. They just seem slightly wider as its easier to put your feet into the shoes than with the Pro 3Ds. Either that or the fabric of the upper mesh is more supple - it's difficult to define it really. Having said that, I could still feel a slight contact once again with the right foot but it's much less of a nuisance than with the Pro 3Ds. I honestly feel that based on that evidence they'd be ok for the Camino. However I'm still eager to find a solution that ensures both of the feet have a comfortable ride. I will bear the Lone Peaks in mind if I can't get any joy from the size 10 Salomon Pro 3Ds.
 

Teej41

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April/May 2018
Me too same as @TMcA thought of the shoe size issue.
I heard that left hands, legs, breasts etc. are larger because the heart is slightly to the left in our chest. But maybe your heart is slightly to the right? No kidding, I have a friend who has this her whole life with no health problems.
I would try with half a size bigger shoes or maybe with combination of two socks, thin and thick over it. You still have enough time to test it.

Otherwise @davebugg has a lot of experience in testing shoes, boots,...

Buen Camino!


EDIT: Just to add that I'm sworn to Salomons. Any new pair I don't even have to walk in them before Camino. Now that's easy for me I guess if I have to buy new pair while already on Camino ;))
Thanks for your reply.
I'll be trying a pair of Salomons half a size bigger next week and then I'll have to experiment with the socks, as the left foot will then be in a slightly longer shoe than the one in which it currently feels very comfortable. I suppose I could still make do with a different sized shoe on each foot. I could have one of the charcoaly grey coloured shoes on the left foot and a bright yellowy green coloured one on the right foot. See if anybody notices. Could start a whole new fashion trend.
I tried out the pair of Salomon XA Pro 2D GTX that I bought last year and was retaining exclusively for the Camino. As you have found they were comfortable straight out of the box. As always the left foot was absolutely perfect. Slight pressure at the same spot again with the right foot but it doesn't seem as bad as with the Pro 3Ds. I reckon the Pro 3Ds are slightly narrower than the 2Ds or the upper mesh fabric is more supple. It was easier to put the feet into the shoes than it is with the 3Ds. Somehow the 2Ds seem more generous and more forgiving in terms of comfort of fit.
 

backpack45scb

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2001 CF, 04-6 LP, 07 Port, 08-10 Arles, 11 Mozá,12-13 Gen-LP. 00-10 PCT, 15 Norte, 16 Primi
I've been wearing Altra Lone Peaks for a couple of years now, and get 500 miles out of them with no problem. By the end, they are getting some cracks and the toe is starting to delaminate, but you can finish out your camino.

As for your current problem, the first thing I would try is ENGO patches on the inside of your shoe.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008QLQJ64/?tag=
They attach to the shoe rather than the foot, and are very slippery on the foot side. If it is just a matter of the little toe rubbing, they should do the job. It could also be foot box size, in that case Altra Lone Peaks are better. Could also be foot expansion. Even though your training is exceptional, it is not every day, so you may still get some foot expansion, so going up a half size would be good.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Thanks for your reply.
I'll be trying a pair of Salomons half a size bigger next week and then I'll have to experiment with the socks, as the left foot will then be in a slightly longer shoe than the one in which it currently feels very comfortable. I suppose I could still make do with a different sized shoe on each foot. I could have one of the charcoaly grey coloured shoes on the left foot and a bright yellowy green coloured one on the right foot. See if anybody notices. Could start a whole new fashion trend.
I tried out the pair of Salomon XA Pro 2D GTX that I bought last year and was retaining exclusively for the Camino. As you have found they were comfortable straight out of the box. As always the left foot was absolutely perfect. Slight pressure at the same spot again with the right foot but it doesn't seem as bad as with the Pro 3Ds. I reckon the Pro 3Ds are slightly narrower than the 2Ds or the upper mesh fabric is more supple. It was easier to put the feet into the shoes than it is with the 3Ds. Somehow the 2Ds seem more generous and more forgiving in terms of comfort of fit.
After giving it a second thought about your problem - what if it is not about the shoes???
I remember once my friend that runs marathons and do triathlons etc. told me that he had some problems with shoes until he got to a store where they checked how actually he puts his feet on the ground. It can be different, more to the outside/inside of the soles or "normal" or even differently each feet. So they made him special insoles and the problems were gone.
Try Google this tests if you can find someone that does them in your vicinity.
 

Tuaruin

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Sanabres.
Santiago-Muxia-Finisterre-Santiago.
Ingles.
My advice would be to give the Lone Peaks a try, particularly as you have a dealer close by. I am a believer in using the lightest shoes one can get away with, it is reckoned that every pound on the foot approximates 5 pounds carried on one's back (Military studies have been done on the subject). The roomy toe box is also a big plus with the Lone Peaks, or shoes of their type, as is flexibility. With this type of shoe there is also relatively little downside to giving them a go, their softer nature means that, assuming fit is good from outset, problems are less likely to develop, and easier to resolve if they do, than would be the case with heavier type shoes/boots.

As you are already walking good distances carrying load, I would caution a little regarding automatically going up a shoe size as your feet will likely have already spread a bit during your training - this may have contributed to the discomfort you are experiencing with your current shoes. Shoes that are too big can present problems, albeit not as serious as if they are too small, in that it can be difficult to lock the foot in which allows friction to develop in the sole or heel area causing blisters to form. Certainly I would suggest sizing up if you are close to the cusp and I would also suggest shoe fitting toward the end of the day (ideally one that you have spent on your feet) as your feet will have spread a little through the day, but sizing up arbitrarily is probably not necessary with relatively soft, flexible shoes and given the training you have been doing.

I personally tend, pretty strongly, toward lightweight, flexible shoes and mainly wear barefoot type shoes both day-to-day and while walking. My view is that heavyweight boots with lots of support are unnecessary and that the best thing we can do is help our feet and ankles operate as they have evolved to operate. I don't however suggest that you go all in with barefoot style shoes, that would be rather a jump just prior to a multi-day walk.

Its a bit of a minefield, lots of varying opinions, many differing experiences and of course everyones feet and gait are different. Whichever way you go with footwear, I hope they work out and that you enjoy your Camino with trouble free feet!
 
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A couple of notes about the Altra Lone Peaks: they do have a wide toe box, one of the widest, I think, on the market.

Mine lasted the CF and then on to Muxia and Finisterre, about 600 miles total. They worked fine the whole way, though I tossed them at the end.

And I actually liked the mesh. I always wear 2 pairs of socks, a thin liner and Darn Tough wool socks. I have hiked sloshing through streams in downpours, I have done creek crossings in them, I have gone through mud and puddles. My experience is that they drain easily -- my feet did not feel wet for long. I'm quite pleased with how they do in wet conditions.
 

Nanc

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
1) strongly recommend seek podiatrists input- orthotics could make all the difference for how your foot lands and rolls
2) look hard at your actual shoes size- most stores including REI tried to fit me into their wide widths because that was all they had
once I was actually measured my foot was a 2E, getting an appropriate shoe made an enormous difference and I just had to be strong that sales people would not try to get me into their "wide version" their D width etc
 

Birdbass

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plan to walk September/ October 2018
......just one thing not mentioned here, Ive suffered a similar problem...it was resolved be removing the build up of hard skin along the outer edge of the foot, which when compressed can cause some very severe pain on the bone structure. I 'filed' it down and applied a 'cream' for softening....did it for me!!! ( ...if you take this course of action, it MAY be worth considering applying a fine plaster to the area, once filed down, to protect the rawness, at least for a couple of days..)
 

Teej41

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April/May 2018
......just one thing not mentioned here, Ive suffered a similar problem...it was resolved be removing the build up of hard skin along the outer edge of the foot, which when compressed can cause some very severe pain on the bone structure. I 'filed' it down and applied a 'cream' for softening....did it for me!!! ( ...if you take this course of action, it MAY be worth considering applying a fine plaster to the area, once filed down, to protect the rawness, at least for a couple of days..)
......just one thing not mentioned here, Ive suffered a similar problem...it was resolved be removing the build up of hard skin along the outer edge of the foot, which when compressed can cause some very severe pain on the bone structure. I 'filed' it down and applied a 'cream' for softening....did it for me!!! ( ...if you take this course of action, it MAY be worth considering applying a fine plaster to the area, once filed down, to protect the rawness, at least for a couple of days..)
Very Many Thanks for this. Within seconds of reading your reply I checked the outer edge of the right foot and lo and behold there is a small but distinctly tough pad of hard skin very very close to where I feel the pressure on the little toe to be. Without a sock this pad is more underneath the affected area than at the side but I imagine that once the foot is laced up snugly within the walking sock and shoe, this pad of harder skin is going to be displaced into a position where it may well be contacting the outer edge of the shoe. I'll try your method of filing down and softening cream. I do have some softening cream in the house but haven't used it for quite some time.
Once again Many Thanks for this suggested possible solution.
As a matter of interest my size 10 Salomons arrive tomorrow so I'll be able to see whether going half a size in walking shoes makes any difference.
 

Teej41

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April/May 2018
1) strongly recommend seek podiatrists input- orthotics could make all the difference for how your foot lands and rolls
2) look hard at your actual shoes size- most stores including REI tried to fit me into their wide widths because that was all they had
once I was actually measured my foot was a 2E, getting an appropriate shoe made an enormous difference and I just had to be strong that sales people would not try to get me into their "wide version" their D width etc
Many Thanks.
There is a very good running shoe retailer not too far away handily located opposite a sports arena. The staff are very well informed and take great care to ensure that you leave the shop with the best fitting shoe that they have available in the store. They have a contraption that allows them to analyse your running/walking action and advise you based on that information. They're well versed in injury training. I had thought about visiting them if in the meantime I'm not successful in finding a shoe that overcomes the right foot pressure problem.
 
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Teej41

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April/May 2018
A couple of notes about the Altra Lone Peaks: they do have a wide toe box, one of the widest, I think, on the market.

Mine lasted the CF and then on to Muxia and Finisterre, about 600 miles total. They worked fine the whole way, though I tossed them at the end.

And I actually liked the mesh. I always wear 2 pairs of socks, a thin liner and Darn Tough wool socks. I have hiked sloshing through streams in downpours, I have done creek crossings in them, I have gone through mud and puddles. My experience is that they drain easily -- my feet did not feel wet for long. I'm quite pleased with how they do in wet conditions.

Thanks Priscilla.

Your comments support what others have said about how good the Lone Peaks are. As long as they would survive the CF and Finisterre mileage they'd do for me. If trying the Salomon shoes half a size up doesn't solve my problem (they arrive tomorrow!!!) I will be definitely trying out the Lone Peaks. Even if I don't end up with the Lone Peaks for the coming Camino I'm very tempted to try them when I get back.
Digressing onto socks. I've missed out on the Darn Toughs. I've heard good things said about them. I had a shortlist of five types of sock as possibilities - Icebreaker pure merino/Wigwam polypropylene socks (for the wetter days if there are any)/LoprenT3 merino-Tencel/Smartwool/Darn Toughs. But as I'm only taking 3 pairs on the Camino I chose the first three in the list. At some stage when I return I will avail myself of a pair of Darn Toughs.
My Xmas present to myself maybe!!!
 
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Thanks Priscilla.

Your comments support what others have said about how good the Lone Peaks are. As long as they would survive the CF and Finisterre mileage they'd do for me. If trying the Salomon shoes half a size up doesn't solve my problem (they arrive tomorrow!!!) I will be definitely trying out the Lone Peaks. Even if I don't end up with the Lone Peaks for the coming Camino I'm very tempted to try them when I get back.
Digressing onto socks. I've missed out on the Darn Toughs. I've heard good things said about them. I had a shortlist of five types of sock as possibilities - Icebreaker pure merino/Wigwam polypropylene socks (for the wetter days if there are any)/LoprenT3 merino-Tencel/Smartwool/Darn Toughs. But as I'm only taking 3 pairs on the Camino I chose the first three in the list. At some stage when I return I will avail myself of a pair of Darn Toughs.
My Xmas present to myself maybe!!!

Hi, Teej...

My advice -- if and when you go shoe shopping again -- is to forget what you think is your shoe size is. Forget the formulaic notion of going up or down a size from a set shoe size. :)

Getting the proper size shoe is not about numbers, it is about the fit and the feel of the shoe. Below is a repeat of a post I wrote to help guide folks in this area. Ignore it if I am out of line here.

-----------------------------
Personal recommendations of a shoe is only a place to look. It matters not that 100,000 people like a shoe; all that matters is how a shoe feels on your feet and if it can do what you need it to do. Only you can answer the former, the experiences of those who have long term use of them and performance reviews can help answer the latter. I can't tell you if the NB 910v4 would feel good to you. I can tell you how well they are put together, how good their traction is on various surfaces, terrain, and weather conditions, and even how good the shoelaces are that come with the shoe :)

As you go looking for shoe, here are some tips which I have posted before that may help you.
  1. When you go to the store, do so toward the end of the day.... you will have been up on your feet, so that will help with getting the correct fit. Additionally, you will need to wear the same backpack with the same gear you will be carrying... you want this additional weight on you as this will put the same downward pressure on the foot that you will be having while on Camino.
  2. Wear the exact same sock(s) you will be wearing while you are walking on the Camino. And if you have a special insole or orthotic, bring it with you.
  3. At the store, the measuring that will be done on your feet is only to get you in the ballpark for the correct shoe size.
  4. Start by standing up; never measure while sitting. You want the full weight of your body, with the pack on, to put the same pressure on your feet to spread them out as will happen while walking. That alone will increase the volume and size of your feet.
  5. Make sure those 'Camino' socks are on your feet; if you wear socks with liners while walking, do the same thing at the store.
  6. While standing, have someone near to you that you can use to steady yourself. With the measuring device on the ground, step onto the instrument and center all of your weight onto the foot being measured. Do the same for the other foot.
  7. Start with that size, but be aware that both the width and the length need to feel like there is adequate room for your feet. Ideally, like Goldilocks, everything will be just right. But, don't count on it. Be picky.
  8. If you have special insoles or orthotics, put them into any shoe you try on as they will take up space inside the shoe.
  9. When you find what you think will fit you well, you will need to see if your toes have enough clearance. Toes should not be able to be forced to the front of the shoe and touch the shoe. Not even a little. If they do, long walking and downhill grades on the trail or path or road will traumatize the bed of the nail, and that is when toenails can blacken and fall off.
  10. With your shoes tied securely, but not too tight, walk around the store with your pack on. Go up stairs and down stairs, scuff the shoes to the floor so that your feet are forced to do any movement they will do and see if your toes so much as butterfly kiss the front of the shoe. Kick the front of the shoe into a post or stair or wall or someone's shin.... does that make any of your toes touch the front of the shoe? That goes for all the little piggies.
  11. Next, pay attention to the width of the shoe. It shouldn't feel snug on the sides and there should be no rubbing or pressure points at all. They will not go away with "break in". They will create soreness, pain, and blistering. Even if it seems to be tolerable, it is like water torture; as your feet are continually exposed to those pressure points your feet will break down against them bit by bit, and bruising, blisters, and soreness will follow.
  12. Don't be surprised or concerned if your final shoe ends up a larger size and with a wider width to avoid those things I mentioned above. The notion that one avoids blisters by wearing snug footwear has been shown to do just the opposite.
-------------------------------------

About Blisters

Blisters are a product of friction.... often referred to as shear force friction. The skin of your foot, and the sock that is in contact with that area of skin, are sliding and rubbing together.

Strategies for the prevention of shear force friction and blisters have changed and matured over recent years.
  1. A properly fitting shoe. In brief, it needs to be long enough and wide enough to accomodate any insoles, orthotics, metatarsal pads, etc, PLUS the socks that you will be wearing, PLUS the increased pressure on the feet from wearing a loaded pack.
  2. Light padded Merino wool sock designed for walking or backpacking, or the same type of sock in a good synthetic blend. A heavy pad on a sock allows potentially more movement against the skin, takes longer to air out, and takes longer to dry when washed.
  3. A sock fit that is snug and form fitting to the foot, but not gangrene-inducingly tight. You want the shear force to be between the sock and the interior of the shoe, not the sock and the skin. A snug fitting sock will help to make that happen.
  4. Allow the sock to move a bit in the shoe. By keeping the shoes a bit looser on the feet, the sock will take the brunt of the shear force. If a shoe is tied snug, then that forces the foot to move more in the sock, which means the sock and skin are absorbing the shear force. An exception occurs on long downhill grades; the shoes need to be tied tight enough to keep your toes from hitting the front of the shoe which can cause injury and trauma to the nail bed and toe joints.
  5. While there are foot lubricants, from Body Glide and Hiker's Goo to plain old vaseline, the have a fairly short viable working span as the material rubs of the skin and is absorbed by the socks. For prophylactic protection from shear force friction, a long lasting barrier is the better option. The placement of tapes, like Leukotape P, or moleskin-type products, if adhered correctly, will last the whole day.
  6. To apply tapes and moleskin type products,
    1. Clean off the area of application with a bit of alcohol to remove grease, dirt, and body oils. A bit of regular hand sanitizer works for this, in addition to hand cleansing.
    2. Cut a piece of your chosen barrier material to fit the area you want protected; be sure to cut rounded corners rather than square in order to help the material from rolling up away from the skin.
    3. Apply a thin smear of Tincture of Benzoin to the skin area where the adhesive will stick. This will increase the holding power of the tape or moleskin.
      1. If the tape or moleskin, etc. is going on top of a blistered area, avoid getting the benzoin on the roof area of the blister, and add a thin coating of ointment/vaseline onto the blister roof, avoiding the surrounding skin area. This will allow removal of the product without hurting the blister wound.
    4. Place the barrier on the area, taking care to not handle the adhesive; spend a bit of time rubbing the material to create friction so that the adhesive will heat up and adhere more firmly.
    5. At the end of the day, remove the barrier and use some alcohol to wipe the area that was covered.
      1. Since fungus (athletes foot) and pathogens splash around in showers, shower shoes are not necessarily preventative to one's feet being exposed or infected. It is helpful to use an alcohol or astringent product applied to the feet after showering.
 

Teej41

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April/May 2018
Hi, Teej...

My advice -- if and when you go shoe shopping again -- is to forget what you think is your shoe size is. Forget the formulaic notion of going up or down a size from a set shoe size. :)

Getting the proper size shoe is not about numbers, it is about the fit and the feel of the shoe. Below is a repeat of a post I wrote to help guide folks in this area. Ignore it if I am out of line here.

-----------------------------
Personal recommendations of a shoe is only a place to look. It matters not that 100,000 people like a shoe; all that matters is how a shoe feels on your feet and if it can do what you need it to do. Only you can answer the former, the experiences of those who have long term use of them and performance reviews can help answer the latter. I can't tell you if the NB 910v4 would feel good to you. I can tell you how well they are put together, how good their traction is on various surfaces, terrain, and weather conditions, and even how good the shoelaces are that come with the shoe :)

As you go looking for shoe, here are some tips which I have posted before that may help you.
  1. When you go to the store, do so toward the end of the day.... you will have been up on your feet, so that will help with getting the correct fit. Additionally, you will need to wear the same backpack with the same gear you will be carrying... you want this additional weight on you as this will put the same downward pressure on the foot that you will be having while on Camino.
  2. Wear the exact same sock(s) you will be wearing while you are walking on the Camino. And if you have a special insole or orthotic, bring it with you.
  3. At the store, the measuring that will be done on your feet is only to get you in the ballpark for the correct shoe size.
  4. Start by standing up; never measure while sitting. You want the full weight of your body, with the pack on, to put the same pressure on your feet to spread them out as will happen while walking. That alone will increase the volume and size of your feet.
  5. Make sure those 'Camino' socks are on your feet; if you wear socks with liners while walking, do the same thing at the store.
  6. While standing, have someone near to you that you can use to steady yourself. With the measuring device on the ground, step onto the instrument and center all of your weight onto the foot being measured. Do the same for the other foot.
  7. Start with that size, but be aware that both the width and the length need to feel like there is adequate room for your feet. Ideally, like Goldilocks, everything will be just right. But, don't count on it. Be picky.
  8. If you have special insoles or orthotics, put them into any shoe you try on as they will take up space inside the shoe.
  9. When you find what you think will fit you well, you will need to see if your toes have enough clearance. Toes should not be able to be forced to the front of the shoe and touch the shoe. Not even a little. If they do, long walking and downhill grades on the trail or path or road will traumatize the bed of the nail, and that is when toenails can blacken and fall off.
  10. With your shoes tied securely, but not too tight, walk around the store with your pack on. Go up stairs and down stairs, scuff the shoes to the floor so that your feet are forced to do any movement they will do and see if your toes so much as butterfly kiss the front of the shoe. Kick the front of the shoe into a post or stair or wall or someone's shin.... does that make any of your toes touch the front of the shoe? That goes for all the little piggies.
  11. Next, pay attention to the width of the shoe. It shouldn't feel snug on the sides and there should be no rubbing or pressure points at all. They will not go away with "break in". They will create soreness, pain, and blistering. Even if it seems to be tolerable, it is like water torture; as your feet are continually exposed to those pressure points your feet will break down against them bit by bit, and bruising, blisters, and soreness will follow.
  12. Don't be surprised or concerned if your final shoe ends up a larger size and with a wider width to avoid those things I mentioned above. The notion that one avoids blisters by wearing snug footwear has been shown to do just the opposite.
-------------------------------------

About Blisters

Blisters are a product of friction.... often referred to as shear force friction. The skin of your foot, and the sock that is in contact with that area of skin, are sliding and rubbing together.

Strategies for the prevention of shear force friction and blisters have changed and matured over recent years.
  1. A properly fitting shoe. In brief, it needs to be long enough and wide enough to accomodate any insoles, orthotics, metatarsal pads, etc, PLUS the socks that you will be wearing, PLUS the increased pressure on the feet from wearing a loaded pack.
  2. Light padded Merino wool sock designed for walking or backpacking, or the same type of sock in a good synthetic blend. A heavy pad on a sock allows potentially more movement against the skin, takes longer to air out, and takes longer to dry when washed.
  3. A sock fit that is snug and form fitting to the foot, but not gangrene-inducingly tight. You want the shear force to be between the sock and the interior of the shoe, not the sock and the skin. A snug fitting sock will help to make that happen.
  4. Allow the sock to move a bit in the shoe. By keeping the shoes a bit looser on the feet, the sock will take the brunt of the shear force. If a shoe is tied snug, then that forces the foot to move more in the sock, which means the sock and skin are absorbing the shear force. An exception occurs on long downhill grades; the shoes need to be tied tight enough to keep your toes from hitting the front of the shoe which can cause injury and trauma to the nail bed and toe joints.
  5. While there are foot lubricants, from Body Glide and Hiker's Goo to plain old vaseline, the have a fairly short viable working span as the material rubs of the skin and is absorbed by the socks. For prophylactic protection from shear force friction, a long lasting barrier is the better option. The placement of tapes, like Leukotape P, or moleskin-type products, if adhered correctly, will last the whole day.
  6. To apply tapes and moleskin type products,
    1. Clean off the area of application with a bit of alcohol to remove grease, dirt, and body oils. A bit of regular hand sanitizer works for this, in addition to hand cleansing.
    2. Cut a piece of your chosen barrier material to fit the area you want protected; be sure to cut rounded corners rather than square in order to help the material from rolling up away from the skin.
    3. Apply a thin smear of Tincture of Benzoin to the skin area where the adhesive will stick. This will increase the holding power of the tape or moleskin.
      1. If the tape or moleskin, etc. is going on top of a blistered area, avoid getting the benzoin on the roof area of the blister, and add a thin coating of ointment/vaseline onto the blister roof, avoiding the surrounding skin area. This will allow removal of the product without hurting the blister wound.
    4. Place the barrier on the area, taking care to not handle the adhesive; spend a bit of time rubbing the material to create friction so that the adhesive will heat up and adhere more firmly.
    5. At the end of the day, remove the barrier and use some alcohol to wipe the area that was covered.
      1. Since fungus (athletes foot) and pathogens splash around in showers, shower shoes are not necessarily preventative to one's feet being exposed or infected. It is helpful to use an alcohol or astringent product applied to the feet after showering.
Thanks for the reply Dave.

Your guide to shoe fitting for the Camino is eminently sensible in every respect. The well being of the feet has to be the most important consideration for anyone hoping to have a successful Camino. It follows that ensuring the shoes fit well has to be the most important to get right before we start on such a venture. I thought that I'd achieved this with my Salomons, as the left foot feels perfect in every walk I've done of 15 - 20 mile duration with the backpack fully loaded at 8kg or so over various types of terrain. It's just that I can't honestly say the same for the right foot with its niggly pressure contact problem. It's so so frustrating. Finding a solution that keeps both feet comfortable is now my main concern. I could well be adopting the strategies set out in your guide very soon at our nearby outdoor retailers.
In 4 weeks time I commence from Saint Jean PdP.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Thanks for the reply Dave.

Your guide to shoe fitting for the Camino is eminently sensible in every respect. The well being of the feet has to be the most important consideration for anyone hoping to have a successful Camino. It follows that ensuring the shoes fit well has to be the most important to get right before we start on such a venture. I thought that I'd achieved this with my Salomons, as the left foot feels perfect in every walk I've done of 15 - 20 mile duration with the backpack fully loaded at 8kg or so over various types of terrain. It's just that I can't honestly say the same for the right foot with its niggly pressure contact problem. It's so so frustrating. Finding a solution that keeps both feet comfortable is now my main concern. I could well be adopting the strategies set out in your guide very soon at our nearby outdoor retailers.
In 4 weeks time I commence from Saint Jean PdP.

Always fit the shoe to your most cranky foot :)

My right foot hates me, while my left foot is fairly easy going. Sometimes when a company like New Balance hires me to test a trail shoe model, I have to make sure that they send my typical size and then a pair that is a size larger. My current favorite backpacking shoe, the Hoka Bondi 6 (which just replaced the Bondi 5), seems to make my right foot happy, which is pretty surprising to me. When I used the New Balance 910s on my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike, I had to do a bit of modification to keep Lefty from snarling at me :)
 

Teej41

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April/May 2018
Always fit the shoe to your most cranky foot :)

My right foot hates me, while my left foot is fairly easy going. Sometimes when a company like New Balance hires me to test a trail shoe model, I have to make sure that they send my typical size and then a pair that is a size larger. My current favorite backpacking shoe, the Hoka Bondi 6 (which just replaced the Bondi 5), seems to make my right foot happy, which is pretty surprising to me. When I used the New Balance 910s on my Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike, I had to do a bit of modification to keep Lefty from snarling at me :)

That's a very interesting reply Dave. So I'm not alone in having 'awkward' feet.
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
Two words: ENGO patches.
http://www.goengo.com
I had rubbing on my heel and applied this to the inside of my shoe and never had another problem. They stayed on the whole Camino and are still in my shoes. I had a couple extra ENGO patches with me and gave them to another walker who had the same problem you're having and it was a miracle cure for her, too. It makes the inside of the shoe smooth and the stops the friction. Unless your shoe is simply too small, you should try them.
 
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