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Hiking shoes/boots versus trail runners on the Norte/Primativo

cherrys

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept/Oct (2013), Finisterre/Muxia Oct (2013), Camino Frances and on to Finisterre Sept/Oct (2016)
Hi I've done the CF in boots, then last year in trail runners, which were fine. Now, miraculously, we're headed back to Spain to do the Norte and probably Primativo, April 19-June5. Tickets were booked watching the inauguartion (I had to do something to cheer us up). I'm thinking we want hiking boots for that? And then high or low ones? Thanks in advance for advice - we can't wait to get back - Cherry
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
I haven't walked the CF in trail runners, or the Norte or Primitivo at all, so I hope you don't mind if I respond with some more questions!:p

Since you have done the CF in both, did you have a significant preference for boots vs shoes during any particular conditions? Are you thinking high boots versus low-mid boots, or are you asking boots versus shoes? (I am trying to figure out when one would ever wear "high" boots.)

So much fun to play with the equipment ideas! I am inclined to say you should go with whatever worked best in your last two caminos.
 

cherrys

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept/Oct (2013), Finisterre/Muxia Oct (2013), Camino Frances and on to Finisterre Sept/Oct (2016)
Hi - The first time I started out with well worn in Vasque hiking boots, medium weight I would say, as that was all I'd ever hiked in (not those particular boots, but others like them), in New England, Colorado, California, BC, France, Switzerland and Ireland. They fell apart coming into Molinaseca, were hot glued by a camino angel in the cafe on the left, and got me into Ponferrada where I bought new ones. Talk about stress. They were black, Gortex, heavy, but comfortable. Not one blister the rest of the trip. Now I shovel snow in them. But I just felt both boots were a bit overkill for the Frances. Hence the Adidas trail runners. I talked my husband into that too. No regrets as they were cooler, more lightweight, and frankly, other than a very few sections, more than adequate. We both wore sandals a lot too. Looking at a lot of videos on the Norte it seems the terrain is more consistenly rugged than on the CF, that is why I'm thinking about boots again. I have a pair of Merrill Moabs which I wear daily this time of year, but they're a little too small for the camino with an extra sock liner and better innersole. They are just below my ankle, but my old ones were a couple of inches above it. My daughter-in-law's sister is Spanish, she and her husband have walked lots and lots of sections/caminos, and she said boots because of the rain and wet. I don't like "waterproof" because of how hot they can get, but am considering them, and planning on using my new hiking sandals (purchased only a couple of days before we decided to actually go) whenever the weather or trails are warm/dry. My preference is always minimal footware, etc, and I am very comfortable hiking in sandals. I also used to work in a rock climbing/mountaineering shop for many years, so know most of the pros and cons. As usual, equipment is fun to ponder, the decisions reached can make or break your comfort level and camino. Good to hear from you - Cherry
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
If I were carrying hiking sandals anyway, I wouldn't want a large pair of boots as well. So I'd probably go with the trail runners as an alternate pair. But in fact my all-purpose footwear of choice is a pair of mid-height lightweight gortex boots, because they fit me so well!

It sounds like you understand all the important considerations - you may end up tossing a coin!
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Francés, Inglés, Fisterra/Muxia, Baztan, Primitivo, Norte, Portugués. Future: Madrid (2019)
Hi Cherry, I can't advise you about the Norte, but I walked the Primitivo in non-waterproof trail shoes. Mine are very similar to the heavy-duty type of trail runner and they were perfect. I brought Keen sandals (the big ugly ones) as my spare footwear and wore them some days.

Caveat - we had great weather on the Primitivo. Had it rained a lot, I might have preferred my mid-rise boots.

Sorry, this probably doesn't help your indecision!
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
There is no reason at all why you would need a boot of any kind on the Norte, or Primitivo. The type of terrain you will be walking on is no different than the Frances, in fact you will be doing less walking in tractor tracks which keep your feet and ankles on an angle.

The challenge on this route is the up and down, not the slippery or rocky surface that may required more stability. I now wear either Hoka One Ones Bondi for supper cushionning or my old go-to Salomon Ultra 2 GTX.

Now, about the Bondi, only good for a short (350-450km) Camino because the sole is super porous, so the shoes is super light, but they HOO now makes other models with a Vibram sole.

https://www.hokaoneone.com/women/bondi-5/1014759.html?dwvar_1014759_color=VPBY#prefn1=gender&prefv1=women&start=2&cgid=best-sellers

http://www.salomon.com/caus/product/x-ultra-2-w.html?article=371641
 

backpack45scb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2001 CF, 04-6 LP, 07 Port, 08-10 Arles, 11 Mozá,12-13 Gen-LP. 00-10 PCT, 15 Norte, 16 Primi
We did both the Norte and Primitivo over 2015 and 2016 using trail runners. They were problem free. Both these routes include a lot of road walking where the additional cushioning of trail runners is helpful.
 

cherrys

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept/Oct (2013), Finisterre/Muxia Oct (2013), Camino Frances and on to Finisterre Sept/Oct (2016)
Hi - thanks to all of you who responded. After an ice storm, no power briefly, and then shoveling 2" of slushy ice in my "boots of Spanish Gortex" I can finally sit down (although it is again snowing huge flakes on top of the ice that was left, so more shoveling tomorrow). I can't wait for April 18. Before the ice started we were out running errands and hit up a few shoe stores. I found two pairs of Columbia shoes, a brand which I usually find somewhat hard and uncomfortable, which felt great!! The North Plains, size 9 men's (my foot used to be a somewhat dainty women's 9 AA) weigh in at 13 oz. each. The Carolina Ridge men's 10.5 at 15.oz My Adidas (women's 11) were 11 oz. and the black Spanish ones 17 oz. So right now the plan is the North Plains, which feel like a very lightweight hiking shoe or a slightly heavy trail runner. The best of both world, or the worst??? My new sandals are Khombu Tikis, women's 9 and weigh 9 oz., wish they weighed less but they are super comfy. My Xero sandals from last fall's CF are about 3 oz I think, but no padding. The size range is bizarre, but they all fit great. Hope I'm not boring you with all of this info, but we all know how consuming this subject is, and hopefully it will help someone else. Buen camino - Cherry
 

Markva79

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
1
Hi I've done the CF in boots, then last year in trail runners, which were fine. Now, miraculously, we're headed back to Spain to do the Norte and probably Primativo, April 19-June5. Tickets were booked watching the inauguartion (I had to do something to cheer us up). I'm thinking we want hiking boots for that? And then high or low ones? Thanks in advance for advice - we can't wait to get back - Cherry
I walked a
Hi I've done the CF in boots, then last year in trail runners, which were fine. Now, miraculously, we're headed back to Spain to do the Norte and probably Primativo, April 19-June5. Tickets were booked watching the inauguartion (I had to do something to cheer us up). I'm thinking we want hiking boots for that? And then high or low ones? Thanks in advance for advice - we can't wait to get back - Cherry
My family and I walked half of the Primitivo last year in June (a member of our party had an injury, so we had to change plans - will be back in 2018). I wore a pair of Merrell Chameleon's with superfeet insoles - green, which I wear almost everyday at work, and just around. I found that they did not offer the support or the protection needed on the Primitivo. The sole was not thick enough, and as a result, I felt every rock on the trail - my feet were so fatigued by the end of the day I was reluctant to go out and explore the towns where we stayed. I went to REI, and now I am experimenting with Salomon Mid Gortex hikers - with the green superfeet insole - so far so good. I've done about 20 miles in them on similar surfaces as the Primitivo and like them very much.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Our favourite footwear is still Hi-Tec. We prefer their waterproof lightweight leather boots. Altitude seem to be discontinued, at least for ladies fit but we currently are using Ravine. Mine are wearing well and they have good grip and thickness of sole. Never tried their shoe type footwear as we like the boots, especially on the Primitivo in May.
 

tmorris117

teddy
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2010, Norte 2011, Frances 2016
Gortex is a good waterproofing for short hike trail boots. When on long walks, added pack weight, your legs and feet are stressed. Gortex is sold as a " breathable waterproofing ", good promotion, bad advice, Gortex is like wearing a plastic bag on your feet, OK some breathing, it's like wearing 1/2 a plastic bag, at best. Stick to good leather boots with leather lining or sandals if you have proven they work for you.
 

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