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Hiking shoes/boots that are good in mud and snow!

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
It's probably going to be a while before I can go on another camino but the idea is in my head. And the only times I can pull it off is probably mid summer or winter. I've done a summer camino before so I know what I want for that but have no idea what is best for winter. Now I loathe cold wet feet but want to keep things light if possible. And I would want a shoe/boot that can last at least 1000 km.
Does anyone have any experience with this one?
http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Hiking-Boots-Reviews/Vasque-St-Elias-GTX
 
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Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
We are not familiar with this but we have used Hi-Tec Altitude boots on several Caminos and I also have a pair of their Ravine boots. We find them excellent, but buy in store if possible rather than on-line, for a good fit with your socks.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Year of past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
There is really only one way to find the right boats/shoes - trying them on in person. What works for my feet, might not work for yours and vice versa. Buen Camino! SY
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
But they weigh 3.5 lbs!!
You're not climbing Everest
Most Camino mileage consists of hard roads, softer paths, some mud and occasional water - I would choose the lightest one you can find with a Vibram sole and that is comfortable for you
I happen to wear Merrell Trail Gloves that weigh some 14 oz - the warmth of your feet ensures that any mud does not stick for very long - similarly drying out after immersion in water doesn't take that long either, though sensible to bring extra pairs of socks
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
What ever you purchase try them out first. I used to wear Merrills. But recent switched to Keene's which is a better fit. I don't know the return policies are for your stores. But here in Washington state if they don't work we can return them with in 30 days for full credit. (REI store). Until we find one that does work. My Keene's are the best I have found for playing in the mud, it rains here a lot.
 
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Pilgy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C. Francés April 06, C. Fisterre May 06, C. Frances Oct 17, C. Portuguese Oct 18, C. Inglese Nov 18
You might want to look into the far lighter and faster Vasque Inhalers if you are happy with that brand, as am I.
The Elias's are way too heavy, as Spursfan pointed out.
 

BrienC

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2015
Via de la Plata, 2016
Camino del Norte, 2019
Portuguese, 2021
As others have said, go with what works for you and you'll have to try them out for a while to know if they do. They might feel great in the store, but... Well, you don't want to find out on the Camino. They should have the following components: Vibram soles, leather or high-tech materials that keep mud and water at bay, and Goretex liners to keep the inside dry. I usually go up a size or so to allow thicker, or even two pairs of, socks for warmth.
 

CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
Vasque Talus Ultra waterproof is what I wore. I begin El Camino 1 October, on a very hot day. These boots breathe well. I wore them in hot weather, in total downpours, in really cold weather. I never, ever had really wet feet, although I got some damp toes one time.

I would recommend these. It looks like they are made for men and women. I have a wide foot, so got men's boots (on sale at REI's garage sale, incidentally). I loved wearing these boots, and the good padded ankles saved me a few times when I was "trying" to roll my ankle.
  • WEIGHT : 2 lbs. 9 oz. (1168g)
  • LAST : Perpetuum
  • UPPER : 1.8mm Waterproof Nubuck Leather, Abrasion Resistant Mesh
  • FOOTBED : Dual Density EVA
  • MIDSOLE : Molded Polyurethane
  • OUTSOLE : Vibram® Nuasi with XSTrek Compound
 

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Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
I'm actually researching winter options ie December/January. So I have to assume snow/ice/MUD/streams. I've used Vasque Breeze (1.0?) which look similr to the Inhalers for a June/July summer camino and these were pretty good in the middle of the heatwave this year. They lasted pretty well but that is a non-Gortex/mesh/hiking shoe. Vibram soles are pretty much a given. I am a sasquatch so women's sizes don't go up to my size (I wear a EU46 in hiking boots!).
I am also thinking about doing some tramping in NZ (you definitely need waterproof!) or possibly the Shikoku.
Hot weather is easy; cold weather is the challenge for me.
 

zzotte

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
For mud nothing beats your natural "shoes" go barefoot rinses really easy and dries very fast, as for snow it's too many variables so I'm not going there

Zzotte
 
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CaminoDebrita

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
I'm actually researching winter options ie December/January. So I have to assume snow/ice/MUD/streams. I've used Vasque Breeze (1.0?) which look similr to the Inhalers for a June/July summer camino and these were pretty good in the middle of the heatwave this year. They lasted pretty well but that is a non-Gortex/mesh/hiking shoe. Vibram soles are pretty much a given. I am a sasquatch so women's sizes don't go up to my size (I wear a EU46 in hiking boots!).
I am also thinking about doing some tramping in NZ (you definitely need waterproof!) or possibly the Shikoku.
Hot weather is easy; cold weather is the challenge for me.

I was very, very happy with my Vasque Talus. Comfortable, and my back felt good too--which has to be part of my equation.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I'm actually researching winter options ie December/January. So I have to assume snow/ice/MUD/streams. I've used Vasque Breeze (1.0?) which look similr to the Inhalers for a June/July summer camino and these were pretty good in the middle of the heatwave this year. They lasted pretty well but that is a non-Gortex/mesh/hiking shoe. Vibram soles are pretty much a given. I am a sasquatch so women's sizes don't go up to my size (I wear a EU46 in hiking boots!).
I am also thinking about doing some tramping in NZ (you definitely need waterproof!) or possibly the Shikoku.
Hot weather is easy; cold weather is the challenge for me.

Hi, Donna, I think, like others have said, that the most important feature is the fit of your shoe. Once you get the brand that works, you can then find the model that is best for you. I have been told (and may be wrong) that all brands use their own individual lathe in all of their shoes, which means that if you find the right brand you can then fiddle around with the features you want. For instance, I found just by chance that a pair of Salomon was perfect for my really weirdly shaped feet, and since then I have walked in a variety of Salomon shoes and have been extremely happy. I think I could walk in any Salomon shoe and be more or less happy. But for you it may be Merrell, Vasque, or any other good brand. Buen camino, Laurie
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
An extra requirement for boots...they need to be good enough to climb Kilimanjaro! So high, waterproof, able to handle scree slopes and snow, and mud as I could hit a wet season. But also light enough to handle 6 days of hiking through tropical heat right through every climate through to alpine.
Part of my difficulty is that I live in the middle of nowhere and there are limited selections. I was chatting to a chap from an International retrieval organisation who can end up anywhere with minimal notice and asked him what he was wearing. Scarpa, which is a brand I want to try.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
An extra requirement for boots...they need to be good enough to climb Kilimanjaro! So high, waterproof, able to handle scree slopes and snow, and mud as I could hit a wet season. But also light enough to handle 6 days of hiking through tropical heat right through every climate through to alpine.
Part of my difficulty is that I live in the middle of nowhere and there are limited selections. I was chatting to a chap from an International retrieval organisation who can end up anywhere with minimal notice and asked him what he was wearing. Scarpa, which is a brand I want to try.
I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in a pair of Scarpa all leather boots similar to the current Terra GTX, and used the same boot on my first two caminos in Spain. Any good hiking boot should work, including the one you were looking at a couple of years ago when you first started looking.
 

Purky

The Dutch guy
Year of past OR future Camino
Reality is frequently inaccurate
I've always turned to Meindl for walking boots. Currently walking in the Meindl Vakuum Ultra GTX, and very pleased with them. They are relatively light (1240 grams a pair) but are holding up like a champ so far in all sorts of terrain and weather. Sturdy, waterproof and a very comfy fit.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Year of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
It's probably going to be a while before I can go on another camino but the idea is in my head. And the only times I can pull it off is probably mid summer or winter. I've done a summer camino before so I know what I want for that but have no idea what is best for winter. Now I loathe cold wet feet but want to keep things light if possible. And I would want a shoe/boot that can last at least 1000 km.
Does anyone have any experience with this one?
http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Hiking-Boots-Reviews/Vasque-St-Elias-GTX

No experience here, but the sole might possibly be IMO too thin for your project -- those shoes might either break, or even just wear out --- well, OK that's just a priori : though I'm thinking of your 1K+ , it actually depends how tall/short and heavy/light you are. If you're quite light on your feet, those shoes could be perfect.

They'd likely be quite fine for a shorter winter pilgrimage anyway -- but it's still true that for winter, heavier is better.

Now I'm an army boots person, and I'd not advise that extreme to many others -- however, the principle of the very thick sole and heel with the simple leather shoe covering and protecting the foot from the elements -- and large enough for comfort and with as little risk as possible of damage to the foot -- is IMO the ideal to aim for to hike in winter, under whichever comfortable variant suited to you. Including for keeping your foot warm.

But again, if you're quite light, then those shoes you've linked to are likely excellent. En chemin, I'd be very likely to be enthusiastic about such footwear as being a good choice and in good taste.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Year of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
(I wear a EU46 in hiking boots!)

Oh !! If so, then I'd definitely advise aiming for something heavier with sturdier sole and heel.

You do not belong to the range of average sizes that most sportswear is designed for.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
Well, The Vasque St Elias is what I use in Alaska for backpacking year round. Pretty much any brand name mid-weight backpacking boot with a waterproof liner will work as long as it fits you and is comfortable. I also use a pair of Raichle but they were bought out by Mammut. So I have no precise model to recommend.
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
Oh !! If so, then I'd definitely advise aiming for something heavier with sturdier sole and heel.

You do not belong to the range of average sizes that most sportswear is designed for.
I come from a long line of sasquatches. My daughter as an 11 year old had outgrown the range of school shoes including the adult sizes. I'm 5'8" and wear size EU46, she is 5'10" now wearing a 44-45. My female cousins all have the same size feet. I hate to think what my 13 year old son could end up with...
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Year of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I come from a long line of sasquatches. My daughter as an 11 year old had outgrown the range of school shoes including the adult sizes. I'm 5'8" and wear size EU46, she is 5'10" now wearing a 44-45. My female cousins all have the same size feet. I hate to think what my 13 year old son could end up with...

48 myself, very likely moving towards 49 -- I've gained 4 sizes since reaching adulthood -- but wow, that's seriously big in your family !! I'm a very outsized exception in mine, though we tend to be tall, especially on my mother's side.
 
Last edited:

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
Well, the Camino plans are starting to take shape and the Starting point will be Alicante doing a Camino Mixta (Sureste/Levante/VDLP/CF/Invierno/Sanabres/Muxia combo) over February and March. That is at least 1400km. I have the chance to go to Melbourne next month so I will hit up the hiking stores. My hiking partner has just got himself the Salomon Quest 2D so he's sorted.
 

HedaP

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
Hi Donna
Was reading this thread wondering how you were going to follow all advice from NT but Melbourne is a whole other kettle of boots. ;)
Thinking of taking a trip there myself to go to the Birkenstock shop. I can take a sleeper on the night train. Pricey but the stuff of adventure.
Have fun, good hunting and buen camino.
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
Tried on my partner's Salomon's and they are awful on my feet. They may have top reviews but the toebox is all wrong for my foot and I just know I would get blisters. I need to find some Scarpas/Meindl/Lowa to try on if possible, otherwise if I have to buy blind I will go for a Vasque model.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Tried on my partner's Salomon's and they are awful on my feet. They may have top reviews but the toebox is all wrong for my foot and I just know I would get blisters. I need to find some Scarpas/Meindl/Lowa to try on if possible, otherwise if I have to buy blind I will go for a Vasque model.
If you are able then I suggest that you try mens as well as womens boots. They are often a different fit in the toe box.

If you need a wide toe-box and Hi-Tec Ravine are available then watch the sizing as the EU sizing is standard but there is a difference in the equivalent UK sizing ratio. The Hi-tec have a good wide toe-box for both men and women without being slack at the heels.
 
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Tried on my partner's Salomon's and they are awful on my feet. They may have top reviews but the toebox is all wrong for my foot and I just know I would get blisters. I need to find some Scarpas/Meindl/Lowa to try on if possible, otherwise if I have to buy blind I will go for a Vasque model.
If you'd like to try something different within the Salomon family you could give the salomon x Ultra 3 GTX a try. Compared to the Quest 4D 2 they are a mid-high hiking shoe versus the study boot the Quest is. They have a much lighter midsole but are still GTX and much lighter overall. The primary benefit for you (it sounds like) is that they are much narrower throughout the whole footbed. I have the shoe version of the X Ultra GTX and need to wear a very light sock whereas in my Quest 4D 2 boots I wear a sock liner and thick wool hiking sock and still feel like I have wiggle room. Good luck!
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
Tried on my partner's Salomon's and they are awful on my feet. They may have top reviews but the toebox is all wrong for my foot and I just know I would get blisters. I need to find some Scarpas/Meindl/Lowa to try on if possible, otherwise if I have to buy blind I will go for a Vasque model.
Vasque makes wide sizes if the toe box is too tight with other shoes. I use wide even though my foot is a regular size.
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
If you'd like to try something different within the Salomon family you could give the salomon x Ultra 3 GTX a try. Compared to the Quest 4D 2 they are a mid-high hiking shoe versus the study boot the Quest is. They have a much lighter midsole but are still GTX and much lighter overall. The primary benefit for you (it sounds like) is that they are much narrower throughout the whole footbed. I have the shoe version of the X Ultra GTX and need to wear a very light sock whereas in my Quest 4D 2 boots I wear a sock liner and thick wool hiking sock and still feel like I have wiggle room. Good luck!
Unfortunately I have broad Polynesian feet and while the length is good I suspect on downhills my toenails would get a hammering. Just the wrong last for my feet.
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
If you are able then I suggest that you try mens as well as womens boots. They are often a different fit in the toe box.

If you need a wide toe-box and Hi-Tec Ravine are available then watch the sizing as the EU sizing is standard but there is a difference in the equivalent UK sizing ratio. The Hi-tec have a good wide toe-box for both men and women without being slack at the heels.
I'm already in the men's. Women's boots don't go up to my size LOL.
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
Well, I went interstate and overseas for Xmas to Wellington, NZ and then Melbourne, Australia.
The boots that were comfy for me were the Vasque St Elias (Bivouac), the Scarpa Nangpa La (found everywhere. Macpac, Backpacking light) and the Salewa Mountain Trainer (Macpac) . Tried on Lowa, Aku, Anatom which all had boots that would do if I suddenly had to replace my boots mid-camino. Ended up buying the Salewa after having the dilemma of choosing between the Scarpa and the Salewa. The NangpaLa feels thin at the front and while they were quite light and otherwise comfortable, this just didn't feel as reassuring as the Salewa. The Salewa is designed for kicking things. I'm a person that kicks every tree root and rock going and am an ad for the use of poles because if it is possible to trip over your own feet, I will. The protection at the front of the boot and the rand should stand up to a lot. They are also very supportive but not restrictive with the support concentrated around the sides of the ankle but not affecting the up/down movement of the foot. https://besthiking.net/salewa-mountain-trainer-mid-review/
 
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Well, I went interstate and overseas for Xmas to Wellington, NZ and then Melbourne, Australia.
The boots that were comfy for me were the Vasque St Elias (Bivouac), the Scarpa Nangpa La (found everywhere. Macpac, Backpacking light) and the Salewa Mountain Trainer (Macpac) . Tried on Lowa, Aku, Anatom which all had boots that would do if I suddenly had to replace my boots mid-camino. Ended up buying the Salewa after having the dilemma of choosing between the Scarpa and the Salewa. The NangpaLa feels thin at the front and while they were quite light and otherwise comfortable, this just didn't feel as reassuring as the Salewa. The Salewa is designed for kicking things. I'm a person that kicks every tree root and rock going and am an ad for the use of poles because if it is possible to trip over your own feet, I will. The protection at the front of the boot and the rand should stand up to a lot. They are also very supportive but not restrictive with the support concentrated around the sides of the ankle but not affecting the up/down movement of the foot. https://besthiking.net/salewa-mountain-trainer-mid-review/
Phew! So glad your long search is over! And I learned something new, Sasquatch. Never too late too learn. Buen camino.
 

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