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Hiking Shoes, or Hiking Boots?

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Al the optimist

Veteran Member
Absolutely great news Tim
Have a great time, you deserve it
I'm sure you will succeed given the determination you have shown
I think your handle should be Tim the Determinator
Burn CAmino buddy
 

toddmac

New Member
The real killer, other than those mentioned is, will the footwear make it? Many running shoes (trail runners included) may not make the hike. Unfortunately, manufacturers cannot rate distance and longevity so well, as they have to take weight of the wearer, gait, temperature, and terrain into account. I first trained on Brooks Cascadia 6s, but found they wore too quickly, and at least on the VdlP, you really need a shank in the sole of your footwear to prevent rock bruises. I'm only on day 4, and at certain point I feel as if I've been walking on some hellish incarnation of Mars (a dry, rocky riverbed is a good example. If you are walking the CF from SJDPP, you could probably wear running shoes or hiking shoes with no shank.
 
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Tim-the-fat-Canadian

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP (2010); Leon (2012); Leon (2013);SJPP Sept 2018
The people I know have all started out in SJPP this past Tuesday (yesterday in fact). Arlene, who I have emailed since January and she has contributed on threads here - mainly in the Class of 2012 - wrote today that she has made it to Roncelvales so way to go Arlene! Jane from Irene left a few days earlier and my friend Bob from Toronto left a full week ago but I have lost contact with him since he arrived at Roncelvales. I am a bit worried about him. I think Kate is walking with Arlene

But to answer you question - I will not be walking with anyone I know because I am starting at Leon and thus will be about a week and a half to two weeks ahead of them. So I will alone. My biggest fear is not being able to order food as I do not speak any Spanish. Although my journey will be only 3 weeks, I anticipate being Tim the Skinny Canadian by October first.

Tim
 

Bytehoven

Editor@CaminoQuarterly.com
Year of past OR future Camino
October 10, 2012 thru November; planning to walk again in 2014
Kitsambler said:
If the REI in-store stock does not meet your needs, try online (REI, SummitHut, , Altrec or Backpacker.com).

I have the Osprey Exos 46, which was the lightest decent sized framed lightweight pack they had, and it was super on this year's walk.

Also there are very lightweight bags and liners on REI's site.

Don't be dissuaded by store staff that can only envision backpacking in the Sierras.

Do you think that an Exos 34 would be sufficient? Nearly all of our gear is ultra light. We are starting the Camino on October 12. Thanks for any info you can shed on this question.
 

Tim-the-fat-Canadian

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP (2010); Leon (2012); Leon (2013);SJPP Sept 2018
I have now completed the Camino. Here is what I observed. 45% of the pilgrims wore either hiking boots or shoes. 45% of the pilgrims wore running shoes. A surprising 10% wore sandles.

I only walked through the rain on one day. There was no where near the poop (from cows and sheep) as some have described. I wore hiking boots (Merrals) and using vasaline and double layered socks, I did not have a single blister. However, during my first full day in Santiago, I wore my running shoes with no Vaseline - toured the city on foot for about 6 hours - and got a nice big stupid blister on my right heel. So lesson to be shared -,when walking around Santiago - continue to keep your guard up as it pertains to foot care.

The answer to what to wear - get out and do lots of practicing and use whatever is most comfortable for you.
 

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)
Tim, it's great to hear that you have reached Santiago.

For others, your blister story is an important lesson. I did something similar on the Camino Frances in 2010, but I let my guard down in Pamplona! This year I was much more careful, and didn't blister at all.
 
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I am almost finished my camino. Should hit santiago on friday.
I originally was going to wear mytrail running shoes but thought boots might be better so i brought both plus hiking sandles. I wore mostly my boots as there really arelots of pebbles and rocks and boots felt better. I have low cut keens 1/2 size larger than usual since i got blisters with the smaller size after a 14 mile training hike. I did wear an extra pr of socks in the beginning but with some warmer days theywere too much after my feet swelled a bit.

I have had no blisters. I wore double layer socks. Sock liner andmedium smartwool socks and i used compeed inplaces i might get blisters. Ok so i should tAke stock in compeed as i bought them in every other town i hit. But it worked. I also was very well hydrated at all times just ask the bushes....and lightened my pack. And occasionally i used vaseline too but i must say the sock liners worked great withput that. Who knew?

The sandles were helpful at end of day so glad i brought them. The running shoes were good for touring towns but keep the vaseline handy as mentioned above!

As an eperienced trail runner on crappy rocky trails i guess i would opt for boots on the camino but low cut might be good enough.
 

Labtails

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte (9/2012)
Hi all, I just returned after walking the Camino del Norte in September 2012. As I reported early I was using the Oboz waterproof boots. I had had no blisters or problems with these boots all during my training period. During my hike on the Camino del Norte it did not rain once & the temps were at or above 70* F every day. As blisters started to form our guide informed me with confidence that my boots were "cooking my feet". I resorted to walking in double socks & my Teva sandals.
My advice would be to be very careful to have proper ventilation, extra dry socks at all times and on my next outting I will not use waterproof boots, but aim for light weight/well ventillated shoes/boots.
Happy to report, blisters be damned, I made it all the way to the Plaza!
 

cecelia

Wandering for the love and growth of it
Year of past OR future Camino
2013
A belated congratulations to Tim from me too! You must be really pleased. And next????
 

DurhamParish

Un Cerveza, Por Favor
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminho Portuguese 2012 & 2018
Camino Frances 2014, 2015, 2015, 2017, 2018
Just completed my first camino and my first backpacking/trekking trip ever. Followed Falcon's advice and had NO blistering problems or any foot problems at all.

Thanks Falcon.
 

30daystosantiago

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002 solo and 2013 with wife and toddler
The issue with hiking shoes in my view is the lack of ankle support- especially if one is walking very long distances (ie 500 miles of the frances). In my view lightweight mid height hiking boots like those from merrell are the best...pair them with smart wool socks and you may be lucky like I was and avoid blisters altogher.
 
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DSouthard

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Catalan, (May-July 2012), Via Francigena (Barcelona to Rome - 2015), Via Francigena (Rome to Canterbury - 2016)
I have feet that do not fit the normal shoe or boot. I bought the best-fitting boots I could find at an outdoor store (REI) and still had severe problems. I think they were right for the camino - not too heavy, good for light trail hiking. I broke them in on weekends on 10-mile hikes and thought I'd be OK, but nothing could have prepared me for the day after day punishment my feet were subjected to on the Camino. I ended up cutting the big and little toe area out of my right boot just to survive. You didn't ask, but for anyone planning on walking the camino who might have even the slightest problem finding a good fitting shoe off the rack, I suggest investing in a pair of custom-made boots. I have just bought a pair of custom summer boots from Esatto (http://www.esatto.biz) and I'm looking forward to using them on my next pilgrimage from Barcelona to Rome. They are expensive, but there is virtually no price too high for a boot that fits when walking 800 miles or more. If you have any problem with fit, I'd strongly suggest taking some of your budget and looking into a pair of custom made walking boots.

I tried using a pair of light, but high quality hiking shoes (Ahnu) some days on the Camino, but I found there were places that were very rocky and the light soles did not protect my feet enough. I'd recommend boots with a good, protective sole.

Socks are also vital. I recommend the best, thickest, wool socks you can find. I brought three pair (SmartWool), each costing over $20, and they were well worth it. Get the best wool socks you can find.

Since the walking shoes weren't working for me I sent them home and bought a pair of sandals in Logrono for "evening wear," which worked out to be an excellent decision. I'll have more to say about boots and feet on my blog at ThePilgrimWalker.blogspot.com.
 

jstorybook

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
October-November 2013
I have not walked the Camino yet--but I am planning to do so in the Fall of 2013. I have done a lot of hiking and have used hiking boots for many years. I cannot help but think that being advised to not use hiking boots is a good idea. Yes you may save weight by using hiking shoes, sandals etc. But what you will lack is good foot support. One bad foot fall in a pair of running shoes in rocky terrain, or on an uneven surface then your pilgrimage will be over due to broken foot, or torn ligaments. Nowadays (unlike the olden days when hiking boots weighed a million pounds) you can purchase hiking boots that are very light. For instance I have a pair of Merrill boots I have been hiking in that have caused no blisters from the first day of use and do not weigh much and provide good foot support. I know it is my preference, but it makes sense that if I am going to invest time, effort and money on a pilgrimage I may be only able to do once in my life I will wear what will work best for me. However, I think that walking in light weight shoes or sandals is a big mistake. You need to consider this especially if you happen to be on the large and tall body size. Above all get boots that fit well, one size larger than your actual foot size. When go to purchase the boots, make sure your wear the socks that you will hike in, walk around the store in them making sure that your foot doesn't rub or slide around in them--your toes do not hit the end of the boot, and that you can wiggle your toes--if you can't then you need a boot when that is less pointed and more box like in the toe area of the boot.
 

Green Tortuga

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012), Chemin Le Puy (2012)
jstorybook said:
One bad foot fall in a pair of running shoes in rocky terrain, or on an uneven surface then your pilgrimage will be over due to broken foot, or torn ligaments.

That can happen with any kind of footwear, so I don't think it's really fair to pick on running shoes. I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in running shoes. I've done the Camino and let me tell you, it's a walk in the park by comparison. =)

Now, I will say that it's important to have shoes that fit well and are comfortable. Lightweight is also good--tying lead weights to your feet isn't going to help you finish the trail, and neither will heavy boots.

But I'll also say one of the main causes of sprained ankles and blisters--poorly conditioned feet. I saw this most when I hiked the Appalachian Trail. I was a relative flat foot. Never really backpacked before, never walked long distances. Rarely walked more than a few miles at a time. That first week on the Appalachian Trail darned near crippled me. The blisters were everywhere and I was spraining my ankles on a daily basis. My ankles looked like they had golf balls tucked under the skin they had swollen so much and putting on or taking off my shoes was extremely painful.

Fast forward a month, though, and the blisters went away, the swelling went down, and--well, my feet were always sore to some degree, but they didn't HURT anymore. What did I change? Absolutely nothing. My feet just got stronger. The skin on my foot grew thick and stopped blistering. My ankles grew strong and I'd still have bad a bad foot falls that would twist my ankle just like before--but it didn't sprain anymore. There was one moment, about a thousand miles into my hike, when I really twisted my foot badly on a rock, so badly that the ground seemed to cover the side of my foot more than it did the bottom of my foot. I managed to catch myself with my trekking pole before I fell to the ground and got my feet back under me, but I felt like Superman. My ankle didn't hurt AT ALL after the experience. If I had done that my first day on the trail, I could have totally believed it would have taken me off the trail for a week if I were lucky. And now my ankle just springed back into place like nothing had happened.

So I'm absolutely convinced that a lot of the foot and ankle problems have--it's not because of shoes or lack of "support" (ankle, arch, or otherwise)--it's because we're out of shape from sitting around the couch and office all day. What you don't use wastes away, and the initial foot problems aren't a sign of bad shoes but rather of bad feet.

Perhaps wearing "shoes with training wheels" might help at first while you're breaking in your feet, but eventually, if you walk long enough and hard enough, you'll find that they really aren't necessary. A cheap pair of walking shoes can easily carry you 500 to 700 miles without any trouble at all over terrain that's far more challenging than the Camino will throw at you.

Another observation I learned from my time on the Appalachian Trail--I met a lot of hikers who "downgraded" to walking shoes, but I never met anyone who "upgraded" to hiking boots. Something to think about. =)

And finally, there's a book called Long-Distance Hiking: Lessons from the Appalachian Trail, where the author surveyed hundreds of people who hiked the AT about all sorts of information including the footwear they used, and he found no correlation between the type of shoes someone wore and the number of sprains reported. Those high-top shoes didn't seem to cause any reduction of sprains--they just made people's feet heavier.

-- Ryan
 

HermanTheGerman

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances '13, '14; Portuguese '13, '14, '17, '18; del Salvador '15; Primitivo '15; Mozarabe '16
I've always been a fan of Salomon shoes and boots. I have several pairs geared for different environments and conditions. I recently wrote to Salomon to ask them what sort of footwear they would recommend for walking a Camino. I did of course explain the distances, possible weather and weight I would be carrying, and this was their reply...

Thank you for your question regarding a shoe/boot for your adventure. For your purpose I would definitely recommend you a boot. For such a long hike it is going to be much more comfortable for you. We have a couple of different choices that would be suited for your needs. They are all waterproof.

Our Synapse Mid CS WP is a natural motion hiking shoe and could be perfect for your purpose. It is breathable and waterproof, and its light design makes it ideal for fast hiking.

Our X Ultra MID GTX could be another option for you. The X Ultra MID GTX is also a light weight waterproof hiking shoe, but while the Synapse Mid CS WP is all about making the boot light and natural, the X Ultra Mid GTX is more protective. Its more aggressive grip is ultimately going to make it better for rocky conditions.

We also have a boot edition of the XA Pro Ultra 3D GTX shoe. It is called XA Pro 3D MID LTR GTX and has the same sole construction as the XA Pro Ultra 3D GTX. The boot is not as light as the Synapse, but is instead more protective - just like the X Ultra MID GTX. It is ideal in rugged terrain, but the grip is not as aggressive as the X Ultra MID GTX’s.

Which one of the boots that would be the best choice for you ultimately depends on what you are looking for in a boot. If you want a very light and breathable boot, then the Synapse Mid CS WP might be the best choice for you. If you on the other hand want a more protective boot, but without a too strong grip, then the XA Pro Ultra 3D GTX could be an option. If you want both protection and an aggressive grip, then you will surely not regret getting the X Ultra Mid GTX.

I thought I'd give these strange looking synapse mids a go, which I've just ordered. They sound great; 380 grams sounds nearly too good to be true. I should have 6 weeks to break them in before starting in St Jean on May 19 2013. Will post updates at how they're responding to the preparation training.

Buen Camino,

The German
 

HermanTheGerman

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances '13, '14; Portuguese '13, '14, '17, '18; del Salvador '15; Primitivo '15; Mozarabe '16
Well the synapse mids turned up lightning fast from Amazon. They were unfortunately packed back into the box nearly as quickly. The problem was that there was no padding behind the top 2 eyelets, meaning that they and what's even worse, the quick lace, contacts your sock directly. In order to make sure that the heel does not lift while walking, the quick lace system needs to be tightened to a point where the ultra thin line cuts into your upper arch. My feet hurt afterwards even after wearing these mids for a few minutes. Definitely nothing for a Camino in my opinion. I tried on my well worn in Salomon Quest 4D ultra-light GTX hiking boots which have served me well several times in the mountains on the Greek Island of Samos, and my feet nearly made an audible sigh of relief. I'm thinking that these could really be good contenders. Did a 25km hike with all my gear last weekend through partly deep snow in sub-zero temperatures, and not even a hint of a hot spot. A single thin sports sock was all that was needed. No Vaseline, compeed or three pairs of socks either. Wonderfully warm and in Samos 30 degree temperatures, they performed outstandingly also with the single sports sock minimalistic approach. A bit heavier than the synapse, but better to have comfy feet I reckon.
 
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HermanTheGerman

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances '13, '14; Portuguese '13, '14, '17, '18; del Salvador '15; Primitivo '15; Mozarabe '16
Got back from another training hike on the weekend, this time over 30% asphalt and really noticed a lot if pressure under the heels. These guys weigh in at 711 grams a boot. Perhaps the quest 4ds aren't the go. Put an order in for the XA Pro 3D Mid Ultra 2 GTX the same night, which turned up today. Great fit and softer under the heels as the quest 4ds. 490 grams a boot. No issue with the quick lace system on these suckers, ample padding behind the top 2 eyelets. Doesn't have to be done up mega tight either to provide good support. I reckon these babies are stayers. Just have to break them in now, but should have enough time before the Camino starts on May 19.

- Miles
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Via de la Plata 2010, Camino de Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo 2013, Olvidado, Invierno 2014
Congrats! Hope you will be happy with your boots.
I also bought a pair of Salomon shoes last week. XT wings 2 w. And they are perfect.
Took them out of the box, then I put them on and started walking. No blisters or anything.
I wear them everyday now. Wonderful on asphalt and pavement. :)
 

HermanTheGerman

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances '13, '14; Portuguese '13, '14, '17, '18; del Salvador '15; Primitivo '15; Mozarabe '16
Re: Re: Hiking Shoes, or Hiking Boots?

Susannafromsweden said:
Congrats! Hope you will be happy with your boots.
I also bought a pair of Salomon shoes last week. XT wings 2 w. And they are perfect.
Took them out of the box, then I put them on and started walking. No blisters or anything.
I wear them everyday now. Wonderful on asphalt and pavement. :)
Congrats also! Good to hear that you've found the right Salomon to fit your feet. When you find the right Salomon model, it usually turns out to be outstanding. The XAs are still on my feet as we speak.and very comfortable. I'm looking forward to doing another 25er on the weekend with them and my one thin sports sock theory. Hopefully most if the snow will be gone and I won't be wasting all that extra energy trudging through it all.

Buen Camino
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Via de la Plata 2010, Camino de Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo 2013, Olvidado, Invierno 2014
Yes I was lucky, as I bought them online too, so didn't knew what size to take.
I don't wear lots of socks either. In fact, I wear these ladies beige nylon socks. The same material as in tights. They are perfect when breaking in new shoes, I think. But it gotta be the matte cheap ones. The shiny are horrible. Doesn't look very cool but feels great. :D
 

HermanTheGerman

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances '13, '14; Portuguese '13, '14, '17, '18; del Salvador '15; Primitivo '15; Mozarabe '16
Re: Re: Hiking Shoes, or Hiking Boots?

Susannafromsweden said:
Yes I was lucky, as I bought them online too, so didn't knew what size to take.
I don't wear lots of socks either. In fact, I wear these ladies beige nylon socks. The same material as in tights. They are perfect when breaking in new shoes, I think. But it gotta be the matte cheap ones. The shiny are horrible. Doesn't look very cool but feels great. :D
The most important thing is that your feet are comfortable. Swanking down the catwalk at the Milan fashion festival can be saved for another day :wink: I did another 26 Ker yesterday wearing the new XAs. It was really wet up in the highlands due to all the melting snow and the Salomons proved their worth. Not a drop of water came through. Got a small hot spot but no blister. Changed socks at the 3hr point which did make a difference... Bye bye hot spot. Also no extreme heel pressure. They roll really well from the heel over the entire foot forward to the toes. All together not bad for brand new shoes. Very happy.
 

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peregrian

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Did in 2012. I will do it...
I know people who have done the Camino with trail shoes as Salomon XA PRO 3D and they were confortable. In my next Camino I will do it with Merrell!!! :D
 

flyswatty

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Walked in May 2012 - Burgos to Santiago; Planning to walk in May 2013 - SJPP to Burgos!
Last year I walked from Burgos and started with a pair of merrells - I had worn the model previously and they were broken in. For some reason they did not work on the Camino. It got to bad with feet cramps that I bought new shoes in Leon. I thought that I could continue status quo or take a risk, buy new shoes and hope for the best. I bought Salomon XA 3D Ultra and they were fine right from the start. I am returning this year and replaced last years pair with a new one. They worked for me!
 

peregrian

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Did in 2012. I will do it...
But in Spain now and until september the weather is hot, don´t buy shoes with goretex. Now it isn´t rainny and goretex is less transpirable.
 

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)
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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)
peregrian said:
In Catilla León you can see the wether in their official web, in the part of St. James Way http://www.meteorologia.jcyl.es/web/jcy ... 3626/_/_/_

In Castilla Leon, especially in the meseta, climate is dry; more than in Galicia.

Ultreia!
This link is to a weather site, which might well be dry for the forecast period. My point is about the climate, which indicates that one might well expect it to rain in the period where you have suggested people don't need waterproof footwear.

The advice to pilgrims is much the same as other travellers - pack for the climate, dress for the weather. If on average, 30% of the annual rain falls between May and September in these cities and their surrounds, pilgrims might want to be prepared for that and not the current dry spell you are experiencing.

Regards,

Regards,
 

peregrian

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Did in 2012. I will do it...
Hi Dougfitz!

It´s very difficult to predict wether in Castilla because you can find three diferent weather regions. In the North there is an Atlantic climate, in the central part Mediterranean climate (meseta) and in the mountainous areas Mediterranean mountain weather.
Rain is low in the lowlands. You are right! May is a rainny month but I don´t agree with you in the Summer months. It´s recommended pack two different shoes: prepared for rain and not. But if pilgrims only want to pack one I would choose non goretex one. In any case, weather is crazy and, for example, last March was the third wettest in Galicia in the last 50 years and for that I will check the weather in a few days before leaving (pilgrims who can do it) in official webs.
It´s only my point of view!

Regrets :arrow:
 

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)
peregrian said:
You are right! May is a rainny month but I don´t agree with you in the Summer months.
Its not me that you need to agree or disagree with. The issue here is that the Climatemps.com sites that I referred to identify that the about 30% of the annual rainfall in these cities occurs in the period you suggested was sufficiently dry not to wear waterproof shoes. Your assessment that rainfall in May is heavier than the following summer months appears to be borne out by the data presented on these sites, but even then, Jun to Sep still have 3-5 rainy days in each month.

Whether that is sufficiently few for some to decide not to wear waterproof footwear, I cannot tell, but they should make up their minds knowing that there might be some rainy days in these months, not none at all.
 

ffp13

Addicted pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
Completed Caminos: 2009 SJPP, 2011 Roncessvalle , 2012 Pamploma, 2013 Roncessvalle, 2013 Porto, 2014 Burgos, 2014 Porto

Future: Roncessvalle
peregrian said:
It´s recommended pack two different shoes: prepared for rain and not. But if pilgrims only want to pack one I would choose non goretex one.:

I have seen many unhappy pilgrims who chose light weight sports trainers (non goretex) they had a simple solution when Mother Nature rained in their parade, they put plastic bags over their socks to try to keep their feet dry, I was very happy to be wearing goretex hiking foot ware. This year I won't have goretex shoes, I have waterproof leather shoes, and would never consider two different shoes for walking.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Via de la Plata 2010, Camino de Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo 2013, Olvidado, Invierno 2014
ffp13 said:
peregrian said:
It´s recommended pack two different shoes: prepared for rain and not. But if pilgrims only want to pack one I would choose non goretex one.:

I have seen many unhappy pilgrims who chose light weight sports trainers (non goretex) they had a simple solution when Mother Nature rained in their parade, they put plastic bags over their socks to try to keep their feet dry, I was very happy to be wearing goretex hiking foot ware. This year I won't have goretex shoes, I have waterproof leather shoes, and would never consider two different shoes for walking.

Just curious. Are you walking in the summer?
I am and I'm wearing sandals. Started a few weeks ago when it was + 13 c here where I live, then it was too hot to wear trainers for me.
I do own a pair of Goretex shoes, and used them for walks between say +5 to -18c (we got -26 this winter but those days are too cold for walks :wink: )
I have been wondering how it comes that some can bear with waterproof shoes in the summer (I would sweat to death).
Is it because you got much warmer weather in your home countries, and think the Spanish summer is nothing?
 
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peregrian

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Did in 2012. I will do it...
dougfitz said:
peregrian said:
You are right! May is a rainny month but I don´t agree with you in the Summer months.
Its not me that you need to agree or disagree with. The issue here is that the Climatemps.com sites that I referred to identify that the about 30% of the annual rainfall in these cities occurs in the period you suggested was sufficiently dry not to wear waterproof shoes. Your assessment that rainfall in May is heavier than the following summer months appears to be borne out by the data presented on these sites, but even then, Jun to Sep still have 3-5 rainy days in each month.

Whether that is sufficiently few for some to decide not to wear waterproof footwear, I cannot tell, but they should make up their minds knowing that there might be some rainy days in these months, not none at all.

It´s only my opinion. If I had to walk in these months I wouldn´t pack goretex shoes. In May could be possible to wear Goretex but Summer months not. Despite of rain, it is hot and feet suffer.

Regards :)
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
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Up to this year I have always worn Hi-Tec boots, waterproof and breathable.
This year I had Grisport. They are not as waterproof and are sweaty. Even on dry days my socks were damp. Very comfy for walking in but if you have slightly sweaty feet then they could be a problem. We only walked 16kms max but if we had walked like last year I think my feet would have been damp, soft and might have blistered. Terry managed fine with his.
 

Tim-the-fat-Canadian

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP (2010); Leon (2012); Leon (2013);SJPP Sept 2018
This is why training is so important. Training is not just to get your legs and lungs into shape, but to find out what works best for you. Because everyone is different, what works for one may not work for you. In training, you can try all of the different suggestions - some will work well and some will give you huge painful blisters.

For me, it is a pair of merrils, wool socks with or without a nyon liner sock, and for sure, a generous amount of vaseline. My feet get hot and wet (from sweat) and this combination works for me. (In the winter, a cheap pair of sport socks work with no vaseline but in the warm weather, wool and vaseline for sure).

Tim
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
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You are right Tim about training. My problem this year didn't show up until we were on the Camino because the conditions were different. I am going to look for Hi-Tec boots again and try a different size, even if it means wearing an extra pair of socks.The Grisport will either be kept for winter walking in UK or 'moved on'. Extra waterproofing on the stitching at the top of the toes should solve the external damp problem, but not the sweatiness.
 
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Tia Valeria

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Success :) The Hi-Tec boots that I love seem to be discontinued but the Old Barn at Castleton had a pair that fit me beautifully. They kept 2 different sized pairs until I could go to try them on. Terry also bought new Hi-tec boots there, although he has a slightly newer style. So two happy pilgrims who have been for a walk in the new boots and have now tucked them away ready for next year. They can almost be worn out of the box but will get some (off road) wear before we set off on the Camino again.
Meanwhile I am wearing my old Hi-Tec at present and will wear the Grisport in cooler weather. We still favour boots, whatever the weather, partly for the ankle support.
 

MichaelV929

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Austria - Finisterra (via Swiss, via gebenensis, via podenensis, camino del norte, camino primitivo) (2012)
Boots!

For me this was the only choice, since they also support your ankles.
Trip once wrongly and your camino will have to be walked another time…

But I guess this is also dependent on where and which route you walk…



I used those: http://fave.co/17xOnG1
 

Say Simba

Live, Love, Laugh.
Year of past OR future Camino
2013
Tim-the-fat-Canadian said:
I have read a lot of conflicting information - some say a good pair of hiking boots is required, especially if you are going in the Winter or Spring. Other sites say that hiking boots are overkill and that hiking shoes, or even a good pair of running shoes are sufficient. What do you think :?:

Less than two weeks into the Camino I dumped my expensive Merrill Moabs Mid GTX at the municipal sports albergue outside of Estella, and bought a cheap pair of Quachoua lows from the hospitalero for 30 Euros. Made it the rest of the way with no problem, even though they were 1 and a half sizes too big. Saw plenty with running shoes on, and with no problems. I wouldn't feel safe going that far, but I did envy how comfortable they looked. In the end, wear what you feel comfortable in, and wear them in training before you come, and you should be fine. If you get them wet or muddy, I suppose you clean them just like everything else, only, you will do it without the sore feet. *winks*
 

ZacM

Member
It's been said before on this but as long as you wear stuff with good support and won't destroy your feet you'll be fine! (By support I mean they don't allow your heel to rub up and down to get a grapefruit sized blister on the back of your foot)

Everyone's feet are different so take that into consideration... Most of the tips you'll get about boots are preferences. Allow the shoes to be broken in and learn a few different lacing techniques to get rid of hot spots and you should be fine!

Shoes are important!!!! This is not the area you want to try and save money! I would suggest not even looking at the price until its time to pay!

Buen camino!
Zac
 

vindi57

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2014
Has anyone had experience hiking while wearing the Timberland White Ledge brand boots? I have been advised, by a person who has hiked the Bruce Trail in Ontario, Canada and a number of the Appalachian Trails in the US, that these boots are excellent for the Camino, France. Another avid hiker has nothing but negative criticism for these boots. Any advice would be appreciated.
 
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saipsan

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (May 2013)
I struggled with the boot/shoe dilemma before I left for my May 2013 CF. I was sooo glad I went with a mid boot because I had two good fall-on-your-butt spills that would have been game-ender ankle-rollers had I not had that support. I saw plenty of lows and runners but had to wonder, besides the possible ankle injuries, how they managed the mud and rocks. I was very happy with my Keen mids that were a full size too big. I learned to lace them to keep my heels in place, and the extra size and the big Keen toe box left room for the first week's swelling and avoided any downhill toe-jam. Stacey
 

TerryB

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saipsan said:
I struggled with the boot/shoe dilemma before I left for my May 2013 CF. I was sooo glad I went with a mid boot because I had two good fall-on-your-butt spills that would have been game-ender ankle-rollers had I not had that support. I saw plenty of lows and runners but had to wonder, besides the possible ankle injuries, how they managed the mud and rocks. I was very happy with my Keen mids that were a full size too big. I learned to lace them to keep my heels in place, and the extra size and the big Keen toe box left room for the first week's swelling and avoided any downhill toe-jam. Stacey

After 5 years experience walking on the Northern Caminos, this is exactly how I feel! Even though the Camino Francés is more of a "motorway". :wink:

Blessings
Tio Tel
 

Tim-the-fat-Canadian

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP (2010); Leon (2012); Leon (2013);SJPP Sept 2018
I have been on the Camino twice and I am still not sure what to wear. Last year, I seen people wearing hiking boots, hiking shoes, running shoes, and sandals. I know of one lady from Canada who is promoting walking the Camino in bare feet.

I have five weeks left to go before I hit the Camino again. My hiking boots are pretty much worn out so I have to decide do I buy a new pair of hiking boots and get them worn in quick, or do I just wear the running shoes.

But I think the most correct answer for everyone is that there is no correct answer. You have to find out in practice what works best for you - and go with that. Same for socks. Wool for some, two sock system for others, vasiline or other lubicants, and tape for known hot spots.

Good luck everyone. Tim
 

Espero

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April 2014
Hi Tim,

I can't say what to wear on the Camino, however I do light weight backpacking in the Sierra Nevada mountains and wear Asics Trail Runners. I'm sure the trails I backpack, on average, are more rugged than the Camino, i.e. no roads. That said, I tend to get about 300 miles out of a pair of shoes. I have a tendency to pronate, so the area of my greatest wear is the outside rear portion of the heels. I can extend the mileage on my shoes by using a product like Shoe Goo to build the heels and soles back up. In a pinch, I think I could get by with using a silicone sealant. I can does this at home relatively easy, however I have no idea if it can be done on the Camino. The trick is to have the shoes upside down and level with tape around the outside of the sole/heel to keep the Shoe Goo/sealant from running down the outside of the shoe; fill the taped area level to the rest of the sole or heel, and let the sealant cure over night without disturbing. Be aware that if the shoe is knocked over prior to curing there will be a bit of a mess. Just let it cure and scrape up after.

Now, with all this said and done, I am in agreement with others on this site and believe that the EVA midsole will eventually break down and require replacement of the shoes. I am planning on, if needed, replacing my shoes with the same or comparable make and model somewhere around the midway point of the VDLP.

BTW. I wear trail runners because they are light. As the axiom goes, a pound carried on the feet is equal to five pounds carried on the back. Go light and Buen Camino!
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
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Hi Tim. Good to see you are going on the Camino again. We get about 800-1000kms out of our boots and it only takes a little to wear them in. Our Hi-Tec suit us so we have kept with the brand - new pairs in the cupboard to be broken in next year. We are wearing the old ones up training.

I guess I would say buy new of the type and brand that suited you, if they are still made and break them in now. (I seem to remember you initially had trouble finding a shoe/boot that really worked for you)

Buen Camino
 
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Tim-the-fat-Canadian

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Hi Tim. Good to see you are going on the Camino again. We get about 800-1000kms out of our boots and it only takes a little to wear them in. Our Hi-Tec suit us so we have kept with the brand - new pairs in the cupbard to be broken in next year. We are wearing the old ones up training.

I guess I would say buy new of the type and brand that suited you, if they are still made and break them in now. (I seem to remember you initially had trouble finding a shoe/boot that really worked for you)

Buen Camino

With less than two weeks before i fly to Spain, I have pretty much made up my mind. I will be wearing a pair of New Balance running shoes. As a last ditch effort, I bought a new pair of Merril hiking shoes and although they felt great in the store, I have wore them on two hikes and they just tore up my feet. Tomorrow will be my last test for the running shoes. I will hike 20 kms will a full backpack and see how it goes.

Tim
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
With less than two weeks before i fly to Spain, I have pretty much made up my mind. I will be wearing a pair of New Balance running shoes. As a last ditch effort, I bought a new pair of Merril hiking shoes and although they felt great in the store, I have wore them on two hikes and they just tore up my feet. Tomorrow will be my last test for the running shoes. I will hike 20 kms will a full backpack and see how it goes.

Tim
I wore New Balance 1540's for my Jun-Jul Camino, They did the job and worked well, just don't expect your feet to stay dry if its wet. Mine were worn down by the time I got to Santiago, they survived the rest of the way to Finisterre. I only got them soaked them twice, 2km before Hospital de Obrigo, it rained down for 10 min, and the last 5km before Santiago, I removed the insoles and set them under cover and they were dry the next morning.
 

dalston999

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Walked Le Puy/Santiago/Fisterra/Murxia Sept/Oct 2012, Portugues march 2013, Arles April 2013
I think it depends on your feet - it is essential to know your OWN feet and not listen to what others have worn on their feet. If you have strong feet you can wear shoes or sandals, if not go for boots. I have week feet, and a dodgy ankle and wore boots all the time. Yes they were heavy, yes they were hot, but I got no blisters, feet, leg or other problems. Many times others questioned me and then I noticed they developed problems. Especially carrying a pack.
 
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Boots. Mid high. I wore Merrell Men's Moab Ventilator Mid-high Boots (I'm a woman with big feet). I have four pairs of boots and these are the ones I chose for my Camino. Couldn't be happier. Make sure, with any boot, you adjust the laces to fit your feet. These boots served me very well on a cold, wet and muddy Camino which turned into a hot and dry Camino. Sock liners, always.
 

christer1

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
none (yet)
I am using the Moab Ventilator shoe with a back up pair of Mix Master 2 trainers due to their very light weight.
 
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backpack45

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Vezelay (2017, in progress); Primitivo & Norte; Geneva/LePuy; Arles; Portuguese; Francés + more
Trail runners (Brooks Cascadia) have taken me on 1000's of Camino, Pacific Crest Trail, John Muir Trail, etc. miles over the last 10 years. I don't think I have particularly strong ankles--never saw the need for more ankle support than the runners provide. I use it combination with hiking poles. And as far as grip--I can walk down granite slabs in the Sierra with more confidence in my runners than in my boots with Vibram soles. I have learned to tape my feet before problems arise (I have bunions) and rarely get blisters anymore. One pair of socks or two? Depends on your feet (and the day of the week :)) I usually wear Wrightsocks, which are tw0-layers.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I think that what this thread (and many like it over the years) teaches us is that the choice of footwear is very much a personal decision that depends on your feet and your body. I have my own favoite boot, but it would be silly for me to recommend it to anyone because my feet, just like your feet, are unique.

Anyone who is wondering what to wear on their feet should read all of these reports (which are, by the way, totally inconsistent), realize that there is no one right answer, and go try to find what works for their feet and their unique characteristics. Let's call it your first camino challenge. Buen camino, Laurie
 

Sixwheeler

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013
Hi Tim
I bought shoes to walk as I needed to save weight as I have a knee replacement. However I also need foot stability, for the same reason. It's boots every time for me and there are plenty of light, comfortable, supportive and waterproof boots on the market. And they don't tend to pull off in sticky mud; have you ever tried hopping about on one foot trying to recovery a detached shoe? I have and other people find it hilarious.
Good Luck.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Year of past OR future Camino
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Depends on how much you need lateral ankle support.

Exactly.

My own ankles are (very) slightly malformed from birth, so it's army boots for me or I'd risk spraining them on a daily basis.

I'd add that a longer daily hiking regimen is an argument for boots rather than shoes.

I'd recommend lighter footwear with good tough soles and heels for anyone planning for a "normal" day's hiking and having no particular ankle or foot problems.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Year of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I also find that my left foot swells by the first half mile, so I have to keep this foot tied a bit loose to allow for the swelling - otherwise my ankle hurts and then it feels like I have a lower leg shin splint. Meanwhile, I have to keep the right foot tied somewhat tighter in order to miminize the amount of movement within the shoe - thus limited blisters.

As you likely know off by heart now, foot swelling is nearly constant on the Camino.

The best protection against blisters is to toughen the skin on your feet, which takes 2-3 weeks of hiking on them for a man (the more training you have, the shorter the time it will take), no idea how long for women.

I've actually found that shoes/boots that are NOT so tight protect better from blisters.
 
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Louise M. M.

New Member
Hi Tim

Pretty interesting question and responses you have received, and here are my experiences.

I had a pair of boots that were broken in, but when I walked in the Himalayas, I got blisters very quickly.

I walked Hadrian's Wall last year, but this time, I spent money on good socks, and I did not have a problem.

In August, I replaced them with a light weight walking boot and took them straight out for a 39 Klm walk and with proper walking socks, I had no problems.

Yesterday, I debuted a low cut walking shoe and did 33 Klm's of walking in the mud and once again, no blisters.

What I have found is that having proper walking socks are the only way to go

David
What are the proper walking socks?
 

reuben79

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Hiked the Camino Frances (2012)
Boots are completely unnecessary on the Camino Frances unless you have a pair that you really love. But most of the people I saw hiking in trainers and things like that had a lot of trouble (with a couple exceptions). I'd recommend a good hiking shoe.
 

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)
Boots are completely unnecessary on the Camino Frances unless you have a pair that you really love. But most of the people I saw hiking in trainers and things like that had a lot of trouble (with a couple exceptions). I'd recommend a good hiking shoe.
I walked the CF in early spring 2010 with a friend who had walked two years earlier at a similar time. His view was that if the wet and muddy conditions he faced before were repeated, shoes would not have been suitable. While we didn't face as much wet weather in 2010, there were many times when I appreciated having worn my 'completely unnecessary' boots rather than a shoe.

I intend to walk Camino Ingles then to Finisterre/Muxia next year, and plan to wear boots, not shoes.
 
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Boots are completely unnecessary on the Camino Frances unless you have a pair that you really love. But most of the people I saw hiking in trainers and things like that had a lot of trouble (with a couple exceptions). I'd recommend a good hiking shoe.
I have to slightly disagree, respectively.
I agree - Trainers (sneakers/running shoes) = out of the question.
BUT . . .
I walked the CF in cold rain & mud. Also hot, dusty weather. I wore mid-high Moab Ventilators with Vibram soles. On many parts of the CF, the path was rocky, some parts with loose scree, and I was glad I had a shoe with a heavier sole. The boots were not that much heavier than hiking shoes. Also, the higher tops kept more mud and dirt out of the shoe. Here at home I wear hiking shoes for my walks on trails around town but on the Camino, I wouldn't wear anything but mid-highs.
Again, all due respect. :)
 

camino-david

RIP 2020
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
Hi Tim,
After 3 visits to Spain walking several caminos covering about 2500 kms, and numerous treks in Nepal and Australia, during which I always wore mid length boots, my next camino will be with walking shoes. The Camino Frances is not hardcore walking, and generally the surfaces are good. The most important element is fit and comfort, and I always walk with 2 pairs of socks and have never had a blister. Whether you choose boots, shoes or sandals, get ones with thick soles which will protect the soles of your feet from bruising caused by stones on the paths.
 

reuben79

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Hiked the Camino Frances (2012)
I walked the CF in early spring 2010 with a friend who had walked two years earlier at a similar time. His view was that if the wet and muddy conditions he faced before were repeated, shoes would not have been suitable. While we didn't face as much wet weather in 2010, there were many times when I appreciated having worn my 'completely unnecessary' boots rather than a shoe.

I intend to walk Camino Ingles then to Finisterre/Muxia next year, and plan to wear boots, not shoes.

Sorry, maybe my comment was too generalized. Obviously if you prefer wearing boots then by all means...clearly they provide more protection and support. But most hikers I know find shoes more comfortable and multi-functional and will only wear boots if necessary. Considering that the terrain on the Camino Frances is the least technical of any of the long distance hikes I've done I would still recommend shoes. Also, there is the theory that "one pound on your feet equals five on your back", although I have no idea if there is any truth to that or it's just something some guy hiking in sandals made up...
 

Espero

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April 2014
Sorry, maybe my comment was too generalized. Obviously if you prefer wearing boots then by all means...clearly they provide more protection and support. But most hikers I know find shoes more comfortable and multi-functional and will only wear boots if necessary. Considering that the terrain on the Camino Frances is the least technical of any of the long distance hikes I've done I would still recommend shoes. Also, there is the theory that "one pound on your feet equals five on your back", although I have no idea if there is any truth to that or it's just something some guy hiking in sandals made up...

Apparently this has been studied and confirmed as stated in this site http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/...g/one-pound-off-feet-five-pounds-off-back.htm, "As far as anyone can tell, the "one pound on your feet equals five pounds on your back" notion originated with Sir Edmund Hillary's successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953. Since then, numerous studies by academic researchers and even the U.S. Army have concluded one thing on the matter: Weight on the feet is disproportionately more exhausting than weight carried on the torso." The site continues with "Several other studies reached similar conclusions. The consensus was that carrying an amount of weight on the feet required between 4.7 and 6.4 times as much energy as carrying that same weight on one's back." As Duck Dynasty's Si Robertson would say, "Hey, 'nuf said Jack"
 

christer1

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
none (yet)
Boots are completely unnecessary on the Camino Frances unless you have a pair that you really love. But most of the people I saw hiking in trainers and things like that had a lot of trouble (with a couple exceptions). I'd recommend a good hiking shoe.
This is true only if you are not heavy. I was 108kgs when I started and my hiking shoes were wholly inadequate in providing support and shock absorption. I purchased new boots in logrono and never looked back after 9 days of agony. Good socks can stop rubbing but not impact blisters.

Good luck
 
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cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Less than two weeks into the Camino I dumped my expensive Merrill Moabs Mid GTX at the municipal sports albergue outside of Estella, and bought a cheap pair of Quachoua lows from the hospitalero for 30 Euros. Made it the rest of the way with no problem, even though they were 1 and a half sizes too big. *
I started on the VLDP from Merida back in May 2013 and lasted 7 days and 125km before I developed a major foot problem - finally diagnosed as nerve damage which has still not fully healed (doctor said it could take 6 months !!). Anyway - what did I wear? Well they were Merrill Moabs low cut GTX which were recommended (by countless walkers, trekking magazine reviews etc) but now I believe that they were just too light-weight in the mid-sole area. I have trekked Mt Kilimanjaro (3 times) and the boots I wore there gave me not problems, followed the thin/thick sock routine and kept feet dry and rested at days end. So why did I get a new pair when the old ones had served me to well - I think I was swayed by the weight factor (da!!) I have now done the rounds of the physio (good results); the podiatrist - he has made me a pair of orthotics to adjust my feet and spread the load/pressure of my 92kg. I am determined to return to the Camino - a toss-up between the Camino Frances (my preference but my brother wants to do part of this but cannot fit it in before 2015) and returning to the Silver Way - maybe starting from Salamanca in May 2014. But the question of footwear still remains. Choice of shoe/boot is probably just as important as the backpack weight. CARN boots get a good report on these pages, but I cannot find an Australian stockist (anyone know of one??).
To finish - congrats to Tim the now not so fat Canadian for completing the Frances. ;)
 

Diogo92

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C. Português 2013, 2014
C. de Fátima 2014
C. do Salnés 2015
After the Caminho Português, and have my ankles highly sored and inflamed, I tried to find a good pair of walking shoes.

I’ve done the Caminho with a pair of Forclaz 500, and after consulting a lot of people, the majority of people told that those boot’s really “had” that problem.

The problem with the walking shoes it’s that, the ones that I’ve found here in Portugal, where not very “pretty” has that, and where very expensive for the tecnologies offered. I know that the visuals really don’t count, but I don’t like to use flashy and acid colors.

I’ve tried some Merrell, Salomon Trail Shoes, BERG mountain shoes and also some Quechua shoes, but I didn’t like any of them.

So after a good search, I’ve come back to using boot’s this time Mid Boot’s, by Hi-Tec. I’m right now using Tornado Mid WP Hicking Boots, which are very great, with VIBRAM sole, Ortholite sockliner, waterproof and water expelling membrane.

I'm very happy with um purchase, because this boots are lighter than the comon walking boots, and they still give you a good ankle protection.

Best regards
Diogo
 

vicrev

Active Member
For what it's worth,my latest walking boots, are a OPX piedmont,leather uppers,with a Vibram sole(I always buy boots with a Vibram sole) feel good on,great support,I even went back & bought another pair for when these wear out...........they work for me,might not suit everybody..........:)........Vicrev
 

lukedarracott

Travel writer, walker, photographer, film maker.
Year of past OR future Camino
Santander to Irun (2013)
St Jean - Santiago - (2013)
Santiago - Finisterre/Muxia (2013)
Hi,

There's always a lot of in depth detailed stuff here that can boggle the brain a bit. I was the same when I started my packing list before my camino. Really you can more or less ignore most of it - within reason. Yes there are trusted brands - Berghaus boots are bloomin marvellous for example. But really it all comes down to your feet. Waterproof and comfort are I would say the most important. Boots, shoes. Doesn't really matter. The shoes are easier for the meseta, but then (as in my case) boots sail you up and over the more hilly parts. As many people have said here quite rightly, you've got to wear them in whatever you choose :)

Compeed is amazing. I'm a believer of the immune system style idea. I like my feet to get a blister at the start and then harden up so I personally don't use vaseline or oil, but I heard it works for some.

If all else fails, hover boots.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Apr 2014 SJPP to SDC to Finisterre
I have been walking/hiking for the last year up to 15 miles but mainly in the 7-10 mile range, I have Salomon x ultra mid GTX boots and North Face hiking boots, the salomons are 1/2 size over my normal shoe size and the Northface a full size over, I find that the Northface although very comfortable give me toe ache after a long walk, It feels like my toes are being stretched from underneath whereas the salomons are very comfortable over the same distance, I have tried all combinations are socks and liner and have used sportslick and powerglide, I now use the salomons and just Smartwool ultra light hiking socks without a liner and my feet are fine and blister free, Everybody is different and no combination will suit everybody, I am glad that i have spent the time to find what works for me
 
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robertt

Active Member
I got caught out and had to buy shoes hurriedly in Sydney before my last camino (which continued on from Le Puy - Pamplona and involved big foot-miles: Pamplona-Santiago-Valenca-Santiago-Fisterra). They were a pair of Columbias, very o/s, which I used with Superfeet Green and layers of socks (fine wool or silk for the first layer, not heavily cleaned, left a bit greasy). The shoes were mids, a bit like trail runners with more bulk and height. The miracle water-proofing was, of course, a joke. Even a light sprinkle of rain penetrated.

But here's the point. Those shoes were so comfy I did not bother changing out of them at day's end. In fact, I never had to think about my feet. I used to worry about shoes versus boots etc as if we were back in the last century. Boots now can be light, shoes can be sturdy. And there are now so many reasonable brands available in Europe (eg Chiruca) with so much variety that one can always change one's mind on the track. Much modern light footwear doesn't need wearing in (some does, of course).

By the way, I expected nothing of those Columbias I bought in haste in early 2011. This afternoon I will be going for a jog in them! (Unless long awaited rain finally falls on my desperate bamboo, in which case I will start dreaming of ways to fund a new camino.)
 

cableseller

New Member
my advice on shoes is buy a VERY waterproof model. The three days we walked in pouring rain were very tough when i put on wet boots in the AM
 

Adrian961

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances planned April/May 2014
I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about footwear. There was a time when you went to an outdoor shop and had an audience with a sinewy young man as if consulting a surgeon; then he sold you a pair of leather boots that cost a week's wages, weighed as much a diver's boots and guaranteed a severe case of trench foot. Now there is a huge variety of technical kit with names like eVent, xTremeLite and RockKicker at one's disposal. None of these conform to podiatry diversity.

Somehow mankind has contrived to evolve without being able to walk from A to B without resorting to any number of remedies for blisters , scientific or otherwise. I can't help wondering what peregrinos did back in the day. Presumedly they donned a pair of sandals fashioned from the hide of a beast they'd personally slain and used sack cloth as a 'base layer'. Then they walked into the woods teeming with wolves, bandaleros and any number of horrors. Me, I'm back on the internet looking for footwear with a sexy name and a promise to glide me to Santiago
 
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DavidsRetired

Guest
Hi Tim; you’ve received plenty of good advice, so the only thing I can offer, is what I found worked for me, and I never had a hint of a blister.

I wore the Original Swat Boots, which are extremely light and so comfortable that you can literally begin your walk on day 1. However, it is always best to break new footwear in, for your own comfort. Here is a link to their US site and the boots I wore, which have a side zipper, and made it easy to take off and on during my walk if required during a break: http://www.originalswat.com/us_en/chase-9-side-zip-610.html Also, the price of these boots are brilliant (affordable), compared to many brand-named hiking shoes which are simply astronomical in cost, and in my trials did not find as good to be honest. But, it comes down to comfort and personal preference.

Additionally, I used the SOLE insoles, and they work extremely well and are form fitting: http://www.yoursole.com/ca/mens/footbeds/softec-ultra/

In regards to foot care and socks, I wore a Medium weight Smart Wool hiking sock and just prior to putting my boots on, would apply a roll-on product called Blister Bomber: http://blisterbomber.com/ between my toes and around my heels and that’s it. Again, I never had a blister. I understand that many find the double sock method to be useful, but I never found that comfortable or that it worked well for me - just too hot! Also, there can be a tendency for one sock to bunch-up. Having said that, if it works well for, then use it. Regardless of what you choose, proper socks are crucial.

Nonetheless, I was prepared for blisters, and brought along some Dr Scholl’s Blister patches, which I handed out freely, and many seemed to enjoy and stated that they helped tremendously.

Certainly, there is and always will be a debate about boots or shoes, but my boots worked extremely well for me and again, their lightness made them feel like shoes. More importantly, they allowed me to navigate rough terrain without challenge and hard roads with maximum support for my back and legs.

Bottom line is; find footwear that is suitable for your needs and provides the comfort and support for your body and journey.

As for me, I’ll be leaving in April for another Camino adventure!
Cheers, Dave
 

Slipcevic

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
my first camino start 16.9.2014.
Hello everyone,
can you help me to choose shoes... I'm buying shoes for Camino from 16 august to 22 november... do you think that I can pass Camino in Salomon Speedcross or Karrimor Excel Trail Running (trackking shoes) - check links? If i buy them it is enought to protect by bandage ankle and with some good socks?
I can't imagin that I have to take boots :(

Regards form Croatia
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hello everyone,
can you help me to choose shoes... I'm buying shoes for Camino from 16 august to 22 november... do you think that I can pass Camino in Salomon Speedcross or Karrimor Excel Trail Running (trackking shoes) - check links? If i buy them it is enought to protect by bandage ankle and with some good socks?
I can't imagin that I have to take boots :(

Regards form Croatia
Hola Slipcevic and welcome to the Camino forum. Now for your problem - if you are walking in August/September then "walking shoes" (cross-trainers etc) should be ok. You might have to watch where you put your feet if its been raining. BTW it rains about 3 days in 7 in Galicia. Between late September and November you can expect significantly more rainy days and a muddy track so boots, or at least waterproof shoes that come above the ankle bone are probably a better bet. But of course footwear is a personal choice, which do you feel more comfortable in, and what can you afford to buy. Buen Camino!!:rolleyes:
 

Slipcevic

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
my first camino start 16.9.2014.
Hola Slipcevic and welcome to the Camino forum. Now for your problem - if you are walking in August/September then "walking shoes" (cross-trainers etc) should be ok. You might have to watch where you put your feet if its been raining. BTW it rains about 3 days in 7 in Galicia. Between late September and November you can expect significantly more rainy days and a muddy track so boots, or at least waterproof shoes that come above the ankle bone are probably a better bet. But of course footwear is a personal choice, which do you feel more comfortable in, and what can you afford to buy. Buen Camino!!:rolleyes:

Thanks on advice.
I made writing error. I'm on Camino from 16 August to 22 September. I hope it won't be rainy weather, in case of rain I will put shoes in plastick bag :D if I don't get better ideas.
 

Stefania13/14

Active Member
We wear boots Tim and also carry a pair of lightweight Crocs to wear in the evening or for sightseeing and to the shower (it doesn't matter if they get wet). Gives the boots time to dry out before next day's walking. Some people prefer lightweight sandals.
Hope you find some trousers too.
Tia Valeria
Tia, which pair of crocs are the "light weight" version you are referring to? Also what is the weight of your pair and if you don't mind saying - what size?
Thanks Stefania
 

Stefania13/14

Active Member
I just got two pairs of 1000 Mile socks sent to me from Britian. They are the 1000 Mile Fusion model. They say that they guarenteethat you will not get blisters for at least the first 1000 miles. I cannot wait to try them and I will let you all know.
Tim, I bought a pair and although I likes to wear them they took forever to dry. Hence I reverted to liners and out socks (2 separate pairs) and am taking 3 sets (ie 3 outer and 3 liners).
Stefania
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
Tia, which pair of crocs are the "light weight" version you are referring to? Also what is the weight of your pair and if you don't mind saying - what size?
I use the "Classic" in Mens size 11, the pair of which come in at a total of 396 grams (14 oz). Your best bet is to visit a store to try them on and find the size that fits you. Be sure to include any socks you might wear with them when you size them.

Crocs, while comfy at night and super lightweight while schlepping them during the day, might not be the best at getting you through to the next town with a shoe store in event of a major shoe/boot failure. Possibly a slightly heavier hiking sandal would be the more flexible alternative. A lot of members have strong recommendations for their favorites in this area.
 
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koilife

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
Hello everyone,
can you help me to choose shoes... I'm buying shoes for Camino from 16 august to 22 november... do you think that I can pass Camino in Salomon Speedcross or Karrimor Excel Trail Running (trackking shoes) - check links? If i buy them it is enought to protect by bandage ankle and with some good socks?
I can't imagin that I have to take boots :(
If you're used to hiking long distance in trail shoes, and you're experienced with managing the limitations (e.g. you WILL get wet), then you're probably fine. I would get a good pair of gators (I prefer the "boring black" Dirty Girl gators (you can order them online) which are designed for long-distance trail runners/marathoners.

Is it enough to protect your bandaged ankle??? That kind of depends on the reason that you're bandaged and how bad the injury is. Chronic tendonitis is different than a strain which is different than a sprain which is different than old injuries, etc. You probably need to have a conversation with your doctor and/or a physical therapist before you go. I made my camino with chronic tendonitis without talking to my doctor (no big deal with stretching, or so I thought), and on the hike I actually cemented into place a minor compensation that caused me six months of pain and PT to undo.
 
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koilife

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
The real killer, other than those mentioned is, will the footwear make it? Many running shoes (trail runners included) may not make the hike. Unfortunately, manufacturers cannot rate distance and longevity so well, as they have to take weight of the wearer, gait, temperature, and terrain into account. I first trained on Brooks Cascadia 6s, but found they wore too quickly, and at least on the VdlP, you really need a shank in the sole of your footwear to prevent rock bruises. I'm only on day 4, and at certain point I feel as if I've been walking on some hellish incarnation of Mars (a dry, rocky riverbed is a good example. If you are walking the CF from SJDPP, you could probably wear running shoes or hiking shoes with no shank.
I finished the CF from SJPdP wearing Brooks Cascadia 7s, including about the last 75 - 100 miles of my training hikes. I spent ample time selecting them at a professional running store to make sure they were the right shoe for my walking mechanics (generally something no sporting goods/outdoor shop is well qualified to do). Because the store knows its shoes, they were confident (and correct) that I should easily get 600 to 700 miles out of them.

The Brooks Cascadia wore very well, including 10 days of rain and mud, but my gait is also very good with minimal uneven wear on soles or sides. I did invest in custom-fitted inserts which added some extra protection, arch, and stiffness w/o the shank (in hindsight, using SuperFeet inserts would have probably gotten me the same result at 1/3 the price).

I went through the same hellish feeling for the first two weeks (no training regime can adequately prepare for the day after day abuse), but the feet do toughen up. I will admit that heaven on earth was the foot massage from my wife when I got back (just saying . . . ).

A major factor in need for shank/insert is personal weight plus pack weight (I probably could have dropped another 2 lbs from my pack with aggressive gear changes, but would have been far more comfortable on the feet by dropping another 30 lbs of personal weight prior to the hike!). I also probably could have trained better by choosing more brutal/bruising rock courses to build greater toughness.
 
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koilife

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
I wore the Original Swat Boots, which are extremely light and so comfortable that you can literally begin your walk on day 1.
I'm curious, what size do you wear, and what is the weight for your pair, including your insert?
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
I hope it won't be rainy weather, in case of rain I will put shoes in plastick bag :D if I don't get better ideas.
Actually, if you use good quality wool socks, and your shoes are NOT waterproofed and don't have much leather or suede, then they should actually drain and dry faster than any breathable, waterproof membrane (ala GoreTex) shoe. IF your shoes 1) truly fit well, 2) are properly laced, 3) are properly selected for your walking mechanics, 4) drain and dry quickly, AND 5) if you have good quality socks, then you should have minimal worries about blisters and moisture.

By way of personal experience, in May/June 2013, I walked for 10 solid days in rain and mud with a lowly pair of NON-waterproofed trail runners and good DarnTough merino socks. I used no petroleum or other "preventative" measures. I took no special drying measures at the end of each day (stuffing with paper, etc.) but they were dry by the next morning. I had no blisters in that time and only one hot spot on a really long day which I immediately protected with a Dr. Scholl's blister patch (the kind you wear on hot spots to prevent formation of the blister). The sudden douse of cool when I stepped into a deeper puddle than I expected was buffered by the wool socks, and the beauty of wool is that its warm in the cold and wet, but still reasonably cool in the heat.
 
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D

DavidsRetired

Guest
Hi koilife: I wear size 10 US (9UK and 43 Eur).

Boot(s) 1106 g (39 oz, 2.4lbs or 1.1kg)
Insole(s) 75.5g (2.663 oz, 0.166 lbs or 0.075 kg)
Total (approx.) weight - 1181.5 g (41.67 oz, 2.6 lbs or 1.18 kg)

Again, I find these boots extremely comfortable, and as the clerk suggested, I did go for a long hike after purchase, without any challenges. Additionally, you can get an ankle style of these boots. I don’t tie them tight by any means and as I stop, I enjoy the side zipper feature, as I can easily slip them on and off to rest my feet and/or change socks if required.

How I chose these boots was rather simple. I had initially gone to the local hiking shop to purchase trekking boots/shoes, but the prices were astronomical. As I left the store to ponder such a hefty purchase, I walked by an Army Surplus store, popped in and spoke to the clerk. I just could not get over how light these boots were and the cost was brilliant compared to the trekking options available to me.

They may not be for everyone, but they work well for me. After so many years in the military, my knees and back present many challenges for me. As the Camino has so many hard surface roads, I required the proper support, which these boots provide, but primarily are just a joy to wear.

Regardless, there you have it - my story of the boots :D
 
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koilife

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
DavidsRetired --- Those are light indeed for a 9" full ankle boot. I'm going to check them out for possible use in some really rough terrain in the Colorado Rockies that I like to go hiking in each fall before the snow sets in. The key thing for me remains breathability, which is probably how these boots keep their weight down. Thanks for the tip!
 

viv1959

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plan to commence late May 2014 - Camino Frances
I have read a lot of conflicting information - some say a good pair of hiking boots is required, especially if you are going in the Winter or Spring. Other sites say that hiking boots are overkill and that hiking shoes, or even a good pair of running shoes are sufficient. What do you think :?:

To throw another question in amongst it all - Has anyone dared to just pack a pair of comfy trainers and just hope for the best?????? Last call for advice. I am onto my 2nd pair of boots. I have 'broken in' 2 pairs of boots now Keens and merrils - both have been great for couple of months and now leave my feet aching on the heel; arch; and ball of foot (tried different insoles etc). Except I leave in 2 weeks and now have a pair of shoes that have just started to make my feet ache like hell. I have done what I am supposed to do, maybe thinking otside the box might help? Thanks for any advice, any specific brands and models would be great.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
As your feet are your transportation mode comfortable footwear is a must. There have been reports of people wearing trainers from the start and others having to buy replacements for the original footwear - and opting for a reasonably priced pair of trainers. About the only drawback seems to be their ability to handle wet weather and muddy conditions. So, if you someone who can cope with wet feet, trainers may be a consideration (just remember to bring extra socks and a change of footwear so as to give the wet trainers a chance of drying overnight)!!
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
To throw another question in amongst it all - Has anyone dared to just pack a pair of comfy trainers and just hope for the best?????? Last call for advice. I am onto my 2nd pair of boots. I have 'broken in' 2 pairs of boots now Keens and merrils - both have been great for couple of months and now leave my feet aching on the heel; arch; and ball of foot (tried different insoles etc). Except I leave in 2 weeks and now have a pair of shoes that have just started to make my feet ache like hell. I have done what I am supposed to do, maybe thinking otside the box might help? Thanks for any advice, any specific brands and models would be great.
Go to a professional running store and describe what you're doing, the kind of hiking and distance you expect, that number of days, and what you're looking for in a shoe. They know shoes and feet.

They'll test you for fit and for your specific walking mechanics and foot type (e.g. pronation, supination, arch, width, toe box, etc.). Depending on the store, they may also be able to make custom inserts specific to your feet right there in the store. Be sure to account for the inevitable foot swelling during the fitting; the shoe should fit now and after two weeks of walking. The right shoe brand and model will be highly dependent on your preferences, mechanics, and feet.

I personally opt for trail shoes that NOT waterproofed (there are religious wars fought elsewhere in this and other threads on the matter of waterproofing and shoes v. boots --- not looking to ignite further debate here) because I want a shoe that will drain and dry very quickly. Good wool socks will compensate for the cold and wet. I also look for good lugs for traction, but not so much that they are uncomfortable on hardtop.
 

CanPete

Northern Route Pelgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
Past : Northern route, Primitivo
Future : Via de la Plata, Sanabres, Portuguese routes
Go to a professional running store and describe what you're doing, the kind of hiking and distance you expect, that number of days, and what you're looking for in a shoe. They know shoes and feet.

They'll test you for fit and for your specific walking mechanics and foot type (e.g. pronation, supination, arch, width, toe box, etc.). Depending on the store, they may also be able to make custom inserts specific to your feet right there in the store. Be sure to account for the inevitable foot swelling during the fitting; the shoe should fit now and after two weeks of walking. The right shoe brand and model will be highly dependent on your preferences, mechanics, and feet.

I personally opt for trail shoes that NOT waterproofed (there are religious wars fought elsewhere in this and other threads on the matter of waterproofing and shoes v. boots --- not looking to ignite further debate here) because I want a shoe that will drain and dry very quickly. Good wool socks will compensate for the cold and wet. I also look for good lugs for traction, but not so much that they are uncomfortable on hardtop.

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with that advice; folks that sell running shoes have received some education on function and form of shoes, usually by the manufacturer, often tailored towards sales of shoes . . . They are not trained to deal with foot pain and challenges with longer standing potential problems with alignment etc.
If you have gone through 2 pairs of shoes and develop that much pain, you really should go and see a podiatrist or a physiotherapist that specializes in feet (ask for an in depth biomechanical assessment); the problem with your feet can stem from the spine, hips and or knees . . ..
The additional challenge in this case might be that it is 2 weeks before departure . . .
Hope this helps.

Buen Camino
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
To throw another question in amongst it all - Has anyone dared to just pack a pair of comfy trainers and just hope for the best?????? Last call for advice. I am onto my 2nd pair of boots. I have 'broken in' 2 pairs of boots now Keens and merrils - both have been great for couple of months and now leave my feet aching on the heel; arch; and ball of foot (tried different insoles etc). Except I leave in 2 weeks and now have a pair of shoes that have just started to make my feet ache like hell. I have done what I am supposed to do, maybe thinking otside the box might help? Thanks for any advice, any specific brands and models would be great.

I wear ordinary Asics joggers, have worn them on numerous caminos, and they are fine. I also had problems with foot pain in boots and various specialist hiking shoes - and no problem with joggers. Which is why I wear them.

Please believe me, having comfortable shoes is the number 1 priority. Don't listen to anyone preaching a particular type of boot, shoe or sandal because you "need" them. What you "need" is what is comfortable for you!
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
One thing for sure. You will not know how your feet or your choice of footwear will do on the Camino until you actually do it. There is no way to anticipate how everything holds up until it is experienced.
Fortunately if your shoes end up being a really bad choice, there are some shops along the Camino that sell outdoor stuff, including hiking shoes/boots/trainers, trail-runners...whatever. That is if you have some extra cash on hand to get them. They ain't cheap, but also not unreasonable.
No matter what your choice of footwear, just remember not to exceed your physical limitations (it will reflect on your feet and knees). Especially the older crowd planning on doing the Camino. After all, you can't catch lightning in a bottle twice. ;)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
PS - consider orthotics. See a podiatrist, but finding someone who understands long distance walking with a pack ain't easy.
 

viv1959

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plan to commence late May 2014 - Camino Frances
PS - consider orthotics. See a podiatrist, but finding someone who understands long distance walking with a pack ain't easy.
Thanks Kanga, for the advice, saw a podiatrist early in the piece, they told me to get the merrils - if weight permits I think I will buy a pair of runners anyway and take them. Cheers.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with that advice; folks that sell running shoes have received some education on function and form of shoes, usually by the manufacturer, often tailored towards sales of shoes . . . They are not trained to deal with foot pain and challenges with longer standing potential problems with alignment etc.
If you have gone through 2 pairs of shoes and develop that much pain, you really should go and see a podiatrist or a physiotherapist that specializes in feet (ask for an in depth biomechanical assessment); the problem with your feet can stem from the spine, hips and or knees . . ..
The additional challenge in this case might be that it is 2 weeks before departure . . .
Hope this helps.

Buen Camino
I completely agree with you. If there is concern of an actual physiological issue, then a person really should see medical expert. Absent a serious medical issue, however, just getting a properly fit set of shoes is probably 99% of most people's footwear issues.

When we took my son into see the physiotherapist about knee pains, he looked at the way he walked, looked at the shoes, and told us his feet were supinated, but we had shoes that were better suited to a person with pronation. He sent us to a running store in town with instructions to get appropriate shoes. My wife took him, told the sales associate what the physiotherapist had said. The associate then looked at his walking mechanics and asked if she had gotten it backwards. She called me, and indeed she had gotten the terms backwards. After a week in properly fitted shoes, his knee pains were gone without anything fancier than a pair of proper shoes (no inserts, no orthotics, etc.).

I can't speak for all running stores (obviously quality will vary), but the two we shop at are staffed with people who have been there for years and years. No, they aren't professional medical experts, but they clearly know their stuff. They are marathoners and ultra marathoners, plus many of them are regular backpackers and trail runners (we live right up against the Rocky Mountains). They are heads and shoulders above anyone who has ever helped me at REI or any other outdoor footwear store.
 
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