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Hiking Shoes, or Hiking Boots?

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
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.

Definitely do that - I wouldn't take the Keen or Merrils at all - if they are hurting your feet already it will be twice as bad on Camino. Something is definitely wrong. You need to find something that does not hurt. A different podiatrist? From left field - have you tried Skechers Go Walk? Not likely to last the whole distance but super soft and comfy, ultra lightweight and very good on cobblestones. I'm throwing a pair in next time for backup/afternoon/sightseeing
 
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Mark Lee

Guest
On the left is a new Merrell Moab and on the right is a Merrell Moab I wore while walking the Camino last summer. They were brand new when I started. You can visibly observe the downward compression to the side of the sole and the wear to the rubber lugs. Walking the Camino can be tough on footwear.
These shoes toughed it out pretty good, and after I gave them a bath in Santiago and got them cleaned up, they flew out of Spain on my feet and onward for a couple of weeks in SE Asia where they trekked up and down the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

CAM00110.jpg CAM00112.jpg
 

Gabe

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances June/July 2015
Without a doubt I DO NOT recommend hiking boots. I watched so many people with hiking boots struggling with blisters. I walked 30 days from st jean this summer with my wife. My wife and I didn't get one blister and hiked with trail running shoes. Brooks Cascadia Trailrunning shoes were what I used and absolutely loved them. I had other pains on the camino but blisters were not one of my physical problems. Also invest in some good quality socks. Hope that helps:)

- Gabe
 

Tim-the-fat-Canadian

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP (2010); Leon (2012); Leon (2013);SJPP Sept 2018
Without a doubt I DO NOT recommend hiking boots. I watched so many people with hiking boots struggling with blisters. I walked 30 days from st jean this summer with my wife. My wife and I didn't get one blister and hiked with trail running shoes. Brooks Cascadia Trailrunning shoes were what I used and absolutely loved them. I had other pains on the camino but blisters were not one of my physical problems. Also invest in some good quality socks. Hope that helps:)

- Gabe

I have walked the Camino three times now and have come to this conclusion - practice, practice, and practice. And during all of this practice, you will find what works best for you. No where on the trail do you NEED boots. You might have to stop once in a while with shoes to take a small stone out, but you are stopping all the time anyways to take pictures, getting a coffee and a bite at a cafe, or just resting. It is not like you are in a race and cannot stop. Some people wear hiking boots, some people wear running shoes, some people wear sandles, and some even wear work boots. The magic answer is practice as much as possible at home and take whatever works for you. Everyone is different.
 

JamesL

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
may 2013
To add to what I have said before, today I walked 11 kms in preparation for my journey. I felt good. No groin pains, no shin splints, everything felt great. Was going to book the flight!

Until about the 5th km. Then I felt my foot beginning to blister. But I was 5 kms from home, so I kept walking my circular route. At about 9 kms, I flet the other foot begin to act up.

Upon arriving at home, my right foot has a blister about the size of a quarter, on the left foot, half of the bottom of the foot is a blister, plus another huge blister on the left side of the left foot.

Darn, Darn, Darn. This will set me back at least a week. At least I will have some extra time to concentrate on buying new footwear. :wink:

Blister advise, anyone?
My solution: 100% wool socks, proper fitting boots that don't slip and slide on your foot but provide room to wiggle toes and "spread out" a little. And attention to your walking style: If you are pigeon toed or duck footed, the tendency to slide sideways when stepping can add to the friction that causes the blister. Or not, depending.... And the type of shoe, light weight or heavy can add to the heat buildup. Good ventilation (gortex type?) is important. I had a friend who swore by his $100. silk sock liners inside Thorlo socks. . Used an old, well worn in boot. Blister free, comfortable until he got a prodigious blister after 25 days on the trail. I was blister free the whole 35 days we were out. As the carny barker sez, ya pays yer money an' ya takes yer cherz.
 
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Nanumea

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances April 2016
I wore hiking boots (Meindl) on my first camino and I will never ever do the same mistake again! The boots were too heavy and I wanted to cry when I had to put them back on my swollen feet after a break with my boots off. From the first day I regretted not taking hiking shoes instead of the boots. I do admit I got less blisters than some of my fellow pilgrims who wore running shoes or hiking shoes, but still, the boots were way too uncomfortable. I wore liner socks with hiking socks and got awful blisters, but when I tried walking without the liner socks, the blisters started to heal and I didn't get them any more. I guess my socks were too thick. I'd say the socks are just as important as the shoes! You have to choose them so that they work together and then you should be fine.
 

Shurolla

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015 - October: FIRST TIMER!
All - I have read so many posts and various articles about the Camino that I'm sure of one thing: There are as many opinions as there are people! :) Still, I hear that October is the rainiest month for the last 125 miles (200km) of the Camino Frances into Santiago. I walk and hike a lot in Utah, but usually not in the rain or mud. I do not like boots (too heavy and more spots for blisters) but I don't like wet feet either. Looking for some opinions on waterproof shoes (I really like my Merrills w the non-slip sole) and am hoping to hear some feedback about the wet-factor. Thanks!
 
D

DavidsRetired

Guest
Don’t overthink it. Simply wear what you’re most comfortable with. As far as rain and mud goes, you can’t control it, so again don’t worry about it. However, I brought a little denture brush, which I used to clean my boots off each day - worked great!. Enjoy your Camino.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
If you stuff your wet shoes with newspaper, change it at least once before night and leave the paper in overnight then they should dry out OK by morning. You will need a change of footwear of some sort (Crocs/flipflops/other). Maybe have something that you could walk in if the shoes have not dried out. I use Crocs classic for post walking shoes so boots (my preference) have plenty of time to air or dry.
We too carry a small brush to clean off mud, and having leather boots a mini tin of waterproofer wax.
 

Melensdad

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 SJPdP to Santiago, Finisterre. Hadrian's Way, 2015. Sections of the AT + National & State Park trails.
Just to throw out something, what about the new LIGHTWEIGHT BOOTS that are built like SHOES?

Has anyone tried those? Zamberlain Crossers 230 comes to mind as a light boot with a thinner/flexible trail runner style sole made of all ultralight materials. It looks like a boot, wears like a high top shoe. Or the Innov-8 hiking boot that, as a pair, weighs less than a single hiking boot. Those look more like high top trail runners than boots, but offer some additional reinforcement than you'd get in an ultralight shoe.

But it all seems to boil down to PERSONAL PREFERENCE . . . Seems to me that many of the walking shoes are heavier than the above 2 boots mentioned, my family just hiked up to the top of Pilot Mountain in North Carolina yesterday. My wife in her Keen boots (not sure the model) but those Keens are much stiffer and heavier than my daughter's Oboz light hiking boots and while the Oboz my daughter wears are reasonably light and flexible, they are still heavier than my Zamberlain 230 Crossers.

Go to SEVERAL stores, try on shoes and boots. Pick what feels best for you that matches the terrain and conditions where you walk or hike. I've not yet walked the Camino Frances but I find no reason for somoene to attempt it in a heavy boot that is designed for hiking rocky canyons, providing support for alpine packs, etc.
 
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jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
All - I have read so many posts and various articles about the Camino that I'm sure of one thing: There are as many opinions as there are people! :) Still, I hear that October is the rainiest month for the last 125 miles (200km) of the Camino Frances into Santiago. I walk and hike a lot in Utah, but usually not in the rain or mud. I do not like boots (too heavy and more spots for blisters) but I don't like wet feet either. Looking for some opinions on waterproof shoes (I really like my Merrills w the non-slip sole) and am hoping to hear some feedback about the wet-factor. Thanks!

Shurolla:

No one can predict the weather but it does seem to rain a lot in Galacia. The cure I have found for wet feet is to wear a light weight plastic bag over my socks. My shoes still get wet but my feet stay dry. I wear low cut Merrill's with a Vibram sole.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

Katybeth

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Chemin St. Jacques-Summer 2014. Returning to France--May 2015
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 :?:
I realize this post is older, but wanted to put in my 2 cents for Chaco's hiking sandals. LOVE, LOVE them. They provided plenty of support with very few blisters :)
 

Cassian

New Member
Wife and I walked LePuy to Santiago last year. We are both runners and backpackers. She wore Vasque "Wasatch" molded sole hiking boots, I wore Chippewa Apache 6" leather boots with a Goodyear welt. Won't tell you what to choose but will give some observations:
1) You will pass many places where people have abandoned broken molded sole boots along the Camino. We met many people whose molded sole boots had failed, necessitating purchasing a new pair while hiking= no "break in" opportunity. If your boots/shoes have a traditional sole, a shoemaker can replace sole or heel. Can't do with molded sole. No problems with my shoes but her soles wore through. Tried to patch (unsuccessfully) but they did last til the end and the soles did not fall off. (fyi- "shoe goo" seems unobtainable in Spain and epoxy didn't work).
2) You should know that you will be walking through farms and pastures. You will walk through the often liquified waste of cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, geese, horses, goats, dogs and humans, not to mention that of various wild animals. If you are ok with a porous shoe (eg: running or trail shoe made of fabric), great! If you do have open areas (blisters), I imagine a porous shoe would increase the risk of infection.
3) It will be muddy in places. There were times even my leather laceups almost got pulled off my feet. Hard to scrape mud off a fabric shoe (but easier to dunk in a stream).
4) Rain. It's probably going to rain. Running shoes/ trail shoes are going to get wet faster than a boot but will dry out faster.
5) Load: If you walk with a pack, you are carrying weight longer and farther than while on a run. Enough support in a running/trail shoe?
Your decision. An injury stops your camino.
6) Trail conditions. Anything from dry asphalt to wet and slippery rock to mud to loose, rolling rock. Even with my over the ankle leather boots, I came close to twisting my ankle several times. Hiking poles saved my bacon.
A final thought: The trend right now is ultralight, and some walkers/hikers "keep score" by weight. In my understanding, the philosophy (which I support) is that you try not to carry unnecessary weight. But you should absolutely carry necessary weight, however you define it, and train so you can manage that weight. If you risk your trip by a minimalist choice, your camino could end by accident.
 

emsr2d2

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Hoping to do a short stretch from Negreira to Muxia in May 2015. Still at the planning stage.
With regard to Vaseline (interesting thread, by the way), does anyone know if this can be bought in Santiago? I'm starting my walk there and because I'm travelling with cabin baggage only, I can't take any liquids greater than 100ml. I don't think 100ml of Vaseline will go very far so I'll be looking at buying it on arrival in Spain (unless I can get it in the departure lounge as I leave but I don't know if they'll have it).

Thanks.
 

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)
I seem to remember it being available in supermarkets in Spain. Alternatively, you could try a pharmacy.
 
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MarkH

New Member
The right shoe choice can make or break your camino experience but I think it's not just one shoe choice that we need to consider. I have walked with both boots and hiking shoes and prefer the latter, but it was my choice of alternate shoes that made all the difference. My 'sandals' were lightweight timberland hiking sandals. This gave me an option on easier terrain to also walk in them during the day. Flip flops or crocs don't Give you that option. Once blisters start the problem is that you wear shoes that rub in the same place. Being able to hike one day with your shoes tied to your pack can be a blessing. It's another reason I preferred shoes to boots- lighter on the pack when hiking in my sandals.
 

bbates225

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
June/July (2017) Camino Frances (couldn't finish)
June/July (2020) Camino Frances (not - Covid 19)
With regard to Vaseline (interesting thread, by the way), does anyone know if this can be bought in Santiago? I'm starting my walk there and because I'm travelling with cabin baggage only, I can't take any liquids greater than 100ml. I don't think 100ml of Vaseline will go very far so I'll be looking at buying it on arrival in Spain (unless I can get it in the departure lounge as I leave but I don't know if they'll have it).

Thanks.


I hike locally (So. Cal) quite a lot. I also used to hike in Arizona when I lived there. I read about the Vaseline bit here on the forum and love it. My concern was the same... can I buy it in Spain.

I have read a lot on boots vs. shoes and I prefer boots because I feel more confident with the ankle support. Out of all the different names I've seen I haven't seen any reference to Timberland Boots. My first pair saw me through many years in Arizona and into California with nary a blister. However, I didn't walk 12-15 miles a day either. When they finally gave out I replaced them with a second pair last year and have been breaking them in. They are leather, waterproof, and for the most part lightweight (not like a shoe of course). Has anyone out there ever walked the Camino in Timberland boots? I also will be bringing my Tevas as an alternate walking shoe though I really don't want the extra weight, and flip-flops for the showers.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I bought Timberland boots for the first time last fall, as I could not find anything else that would fit and be comfortable. They are more lightweight than my previous boots, but give good support. I have not yet walked the camino with them. I'm going in the fall, October-November. I have noticed that they are fully lined and seem quite warm, at least, warm enough for a Calgary winter. I don't know whether someone from southern California would find them hot in a Spanish summer. You have had good experience with Timberland boots, giving the fit and support that you need, so that should be your main criterion. I am also taking a pair of lightweight shoes (Nikes) for city and possibly pavement wear. It is a nuisance to carry an extra pair of footwear, but I remind myself that the camino is a very long walk and footwear is the number one essential.
 

bbates225

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
June/July (2017) Camino Frances (couldn't finish)
June/July (2020) Camino Frances (not - Covid 19)
I bought Timberland boots for the first time last fall, as I could not find anything else that would fit and be comfortable. They are more lightweight than my previous boots, but give good support. I have not yet walked the camino with them. I'm going in the fall, October-November. I have noticed that they are fully lined and seem quite warm, at least, warm enough for a Calgary winter. I don't know whether someone from southern California would find them hot in a Spanish summer. You have had good experience with Timberland boots, giving the fit and support that you need, so that should be your main criterion. I am also taking a pair of lightweight shoes (Nikes) for city and possibly pavement wear. It is a nuisance to carry an extra pair of footwear, but I remind myself that the camino is a very long walk and footwear is the number one essential.

I've never found mine to be too hot, even in the Arizona desert and mountains where the temp can get pretty hot. And you are right... my experience with Timberlands has been good so I see no reason to change now. Enjoy your Camino. I'm planning on Sept-Oct.
 

LakeMcD

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 15' Portuguese 16' GR10/Norte/Primitivo 17' Chemin LePuy 18' Salvador/Prim/Kerry Way 19'
There is much that has been written in the Ultralight hiking community state side about the benefits of good fitting trail shoes (in appropriate terrain) with a flexible sole that allows the foot and ankle to articulate as they are intended to. When the shoe flex in concert with the feet the chances of blisters reduces. It will also give you an opportunity to build strong feet.

I picked up a pair of LaSportiva Wildcats, the non Gore-tex version. Great traction, cushioning and ventilation.

Buen Camino
 
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Melensdad

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 SJPdP to Santiago, Finisterre. Hadrian's Way, 2015. Sections of the AT + National & State Park trails.
There is much that has been written in the Ultralight hiking community state side about the benefits of good fitting trail shoes (in appropriate terrain) with a flexible sole that allows the foot and ankle to articulate as they are intended to. When the shoe flex in concert with the feet the chances of blisters reduces. It will also give you an opportunity to build strong feet.

I picked up a pair of LaSportiva Wildcats, the non Gore-tex version. Great traction, cushioning and ventilation.

Buen Camino
I think there is a BIG MOVE to adopt new technologies by the shoe/book companies to blur the disctinctions between "light hiking" and "trail running" boots/shoes.

Zamberlain came out in 2013 with their 230 Gore Tex Crosser light, flexible boot and their 129 (non-Gore Tex) & 130 (Gore Tex) Crosser shoes. Asolo introduced the Reston light hiking boot (actually more of a mid than a boot). The same year Innov-8 brought out their ultralight non-Gore Tex hiking boot that is lighter than many trail runners. This year Zamberlain and LaSportiva both adopted 360-degree active ventilation in waterproof trail shoes with the lightweight LaSportiva Synthesis shoe, mid, and boot and the Zamberlain 132 Airound shoe.

Other companies probably have similar offerings. But basically these are light weight, flexible, breathable trail shoes that offer some level of water resistence. These shoes and boots weigh the same or less than many of the trail shoes, far less than traditional boots, and I think they are the wave of the future for light hiking.

At some point we won't really be talking about BOOTS versus RUNNING SHOES because footwear is evolving and lightweight trail shoes are now becoming not only rugged, but lightweight and flexible.
 

Oztrekker

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
I started in st jean and am currently in leon. My foot is blistered after my boots wore out.

Have completed many long distance treks longest is 1000 km, bibulmun track.
Weather
Terrain
Pack Weight
Treking poles

Equation

Requires different styles of footwear and sox.

Ultra light in summer requires salomon cross country runners.

Heavier pack could mean many falls and a broken ankle.

Therefore ankle support witu heavy pack and treking poles if there is going to be steep descent or slippery track conditions. Sox, cool max lurbell, unless your in snow thenget thick merino.
 

zzotte

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
Which ever one you choose pick a good one the best you can afford, but it's true you don't have to spend a fortune to get a good one, but again the last thing you need is having your shoes come apart during the camino. Fit is very important so when buying your new shoes do so after a long day on your feet with the same sock that will be using, get 1/2 to 1 size larger then normal your feet will grow. I for one like the low cut lightweight breathable shoes with a good solid thick sole the impact of your feet on the ground its equal to 1 1/2 to 3 times your body weight with the pack. ( I'm testing the new la sportiva soround gore Tex) I find that the more you walk with low cut shoes the more you ankles gets stronger therefore you will be less chances of twisting of your ankle. And remember 1 lb on your feet its 5 on your back

Zzotte
 

Melensdad

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 SJPdP to Santiago, Finisterre. Hadrian's Way, 2015. Sections of the AT + National & State Park trails.
Which ever one you choose pick a good one the best you can afford, but it's true you don't have to spend a fortune to get a good one, but again the last thing you need is having your shoes come apart during the camino. Fit is very important so when buying your new shoes do so after a long day on your feet with the same sock that will be using, get 1/2 to 1 size larger then normal your feet will grow. I for one like the low cut lightweight breathable shoes with a good solid thick sole the impact of your feet on the ground its equal to 1 1/2 to 3 times your body weight with the pack. ( I'm testing the new la sportiva soround gore Tex) I find that the more you walk with low cut shoes the more you ankles gets stronger therefore you will be less chances of twisting of your ankle. And remember 1 lb on your feet its 5 on your back

Zzotte
I'm testing the same LaSportiva, but I got the version "mid" with the soft rasied collar. It offers zero ankle support, but the "mid" soft cuff does a nice job of keeping gravel out of my shoe. I have other low walking/hiking shoes and my main gripe with them is gravel getting into the shoe. I do find it to be very breathable and light with plenty of cushion to protect the bottoms of my feet from impact.

Unlike you I do not buy shoes larger than I normally wear. Perhaps I have perpetually swollen feet? I tend to do a lot of road walking in the rural countryside around our property. I also regularly do wilderness hiking on trails. Its my guess that my feet simply stopped swelling because of the amount of walking I do on a daily basis.
 

zzotte

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
Melensdad, indeed your feet its probably reached its max due to the amount of walking/hiking you do, My is somewhat unpredictable sometimes due to a little dehydration or too much salt then about 1/2 way it's all good plus I leave a little front toe room for the downhills the only place that I found the mid ( la sportiva synthesis) at la sportiva web site, REI and backcountry does not have it yet, so I'm trying la sportiva primer so far I like a lot.

Zzotte
 
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LakeMcD

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 15' Portuguese 16' GR10/Norte/Primitivo 17' Chemin LePuy 18' Salvador/Prim/Kerry Way 19'
My Lasportia Wildcats were great. Great cushioning and traction. I bought 1/2 size larger but they run small so it might just be an accurate size in reality. They really do ventilate well. I paired them with very thin smart wool running socks, even though they wore holes in the toe are within 4 days, the socks were very comfortable. The hottest day was 41 a whopping 105.8, we finished the day at 6:30. They got wet the last day to Finesterre! But dried out on the trail when conditions improved. A couple of minimal wear spots but compared to two pairs of Brooks Adrenalines I saw, the wildcats faired much better. Zero blisters!

Beware! They don't believe in switchbacks and the first 300 meters downhill, of the first two major passes are trechorous , steep and irregular loose rocks.
 
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Crystal Lee

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
svsv
2361532856_1591534456.jpg
It's very good hiking boots.
 

Cristinaa

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2016
Hi everyone!

I bought my hiking boots yesterday and im just a bit excited about them so i just thought id come on here and share! I went to 4 different stores in the end and tried on about 15 pairs of shoes. At first i thought...well they all feel comfortable how the hell do i pick?!? I dont get it? But by my 4th and 5th pairs i was starting to feel the differences between the different boots and what i preferred and what felt better for me. I really took my time, some of the shop assistants were awesome with lots of information to give me and really patient and understanding of the importance of this purchase. So in the end i bought a pair if Scarpa Mythos Tech. They are amazingggg!! So happy.
 

camagual

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino francés (2016)
After reading hundreds of posts, it seems like the person who wrote that there as many opinions as people is right, regarding shoes v. boots, and I'm still trying to figure out what is best for me. In general, I never liked wearing boots, they feel awkward, cumbersome, and I don't like the extra weight.

My major concerns are the weight of the shoes, comfort, and especially blisters; and based on the number of posts in this forum, shoes beat boots in all three, perhaps not many more posts but definitely stronger. If I'm wrong about this, I'd love to know.

People who prefer boots mention they are better to avoid an ankle twist because--and they are absolutely right--an injury would end your camino, but what is really the frequency of those injuries? I don't think I recall one person saying they had to stop because of an ankle twist. Maybe folks who have had this problem do not participate in this forum.

Another argument is boots are better for walking on mud or stuff coming from animals, as well as climbing up and down steep slopes and rocky ground. And I ask the group, how often do these conditions occur and how important are the shoes in those two situations in El Camino?
 

alpiedelacruz

New Member
Finished Camino Frances Nov 2014, wore North Face hiking boots (waterproof) with specially fitted insoles. Not one blister. Trained in them for 6 months. I would not do the camino without boots. Especially going thru wet cow manure; would not be doable for me without boots. Lots of it in Galicia...
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
After reading hundreds of posts, it seems like the person who wrote that there as many opinions as people is right, regarding shoes v. boots, and I'm still trying to figure out what is best for me.
I ask the group, how often do these conditions occur and how important are the shoes in those two situations in El Camino?
There are thousands of people out there wearing boots and shoes of all sorts, there are even more variations in path conditions, weather, foot eccentricities, and style choices. There is no universal answer - you cannot boil this down to one general statement that identifies the perfect shoe, even for you alone. Make your best guess on the basis of the season when you plan to walk, the route, and what your feet feel good in! Whatever you get will not be the best shoe/boot for every situation.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
OK I did not read every post so my apologies in advance.
I have 2 questions: shoe width, I have a wide foot, with a high instep so need to accommodate these potential problems. Which brand of shoe (generic term) provides the widest last?; second did you go with just the supplied innersole/padding or did you replace these with an alternative?
Socks - one pair or two? I have been a supporter of the two-sock brigade for some years, but would welcome your experiences.
As I do not expect to return to the Camino until May 2017 there is plenty of time to get a solution. Thanks in advance!
 

angus55morrison

Uist beach
Year of past OR future Camino
walked Camino Frances 2012, future June 26 2016 / Burgos to Santiago July 2017 future Camino Fran
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 :?:
I think a boot gives protection to the ankle ,the footbed and sole of a proper trekking boot which is built for distance and carrying weight for a 4 or 5 week walk. Buen Camino
 

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
@camagual I find the best protection for ankles is a pair of trekking sticks. Boots did not help me at all. Without trekking sticks I skittered and slid all over the place. I can't see how boots would protect my ankles unless they came half way up my calf - which would probably result in tendonitis. Or heat rash.

Before buying any footwear it really is worth reading this thread from the start, and David's thread on his experience giving first-aid on the camino - https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...id-on-camino-some-thoughts.36906/#post-352228

I'm in the no boots brigade. For years on Camino I wore Asic lightweight runners. They have lots of cushioning and soles that were good for about 850 km (in contrast to my experience with other brands). Now I wear Ecco Offload sandals and I love them. Tough soles that have so far taken me over 1500km with a heavy pack, on all kinds of terrain, and with no signs of wear.

Everyone is different and we all really have to realise that. There is no point in being ideological about footwear. People can only tell you what worked or did not work for them. Here's to happy feet!
 
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D

DavidsRetired

Guest
The divide on Boots or Shoes is unrelenting and personally biased. I’ve worn a variety of footwear on the Camino and other treks. My recently completed Camino, I wore a Keens Mid ankle wide toe boot, and they worked incredibly well. I have used a Merrell Moab Ventilator Shoe, which others love; however, they didn’t work for me. With the new technology and materials, weight is no longer an issue, with boots over shoes.

It all comes down to personal preferences and comfort levels. I strongly suggest avoiding falling into specific categories based off other’s opinions. What works for others or me may not work or suit your needs.

I have a simple outlook when seeking footwear for the Camino.

Comfort, Support and Durability.

I walk into stores with no perceived vision, other than looking for footwear that I feel will meet my specific needs. To this end, I never limit a choice based on whether it’s a Shoe or a Boot. I just try on as many as I see fit and see what works best.

Comfort for me is absolutely key. Do they feel good? Can I wiggle my toes? Is the necessary support for my feet there? Can I lace the footwear in a manner, which locks my heel in place? Will the build last, and is the sole sufficient to manage the journey.

In my case, mid high boot’s have always tended to work best; this may not be the case for you. I like footwear that I can lace in a manner, where my heel stays locked in, thus avoiding black toes, yet my toes are free to wiggle.

In regards to insoles, I tend to toss the factory inserts for a brand I’m comfortable with and provides the arch support I need. I also replace my insoles in Leon for a new pair, and this works well for me.

For blister prevention, I always wear clean lightweight hiking socks (I use Ice Breaker Left/Right design). I use a high-tech Anti-Friction cream/gel. I tend to take a short break every 10+/-km and address hotspots immediately.

Again, find what works best for you.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Year of past OR future Camino
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People who prefer boots mention they are better to avoid an ankle twist because--and they are absolutely right--an injury would end your camino, but what is really the frequency of those injuries? I don't think I recall one person saying they had to stop because of an ankle twist.

The answer to that depends on each person's individual anatomy.

Personally, I wear army boots on and off the Camino, and if I didn't, I'd be twisting my ankles several times a month, as my feet point inwards not outwards.

I don't recommend boots for those just walking the Francès in the warm summer months, but they're a lot more recommendable for those doing longer hikes or walking in the colder and rainier seasons.

Another argument is boots are better for walking on mud or stuff coming from animals, as well as climbing up and down steep slopes and rocky ground. And I ask the group, how often do these conditions occur and how important are the shoes in those two situations in El Camino?

Depends on what you call the Camino, and what season, as even those slopes are easier in summer than the other seasons. There are many roads to Santiago, and many that start well before the Pyrenees. But on the Francès alone, and in good weather, boots are not necessary at all for the "average" pilgrim (if there is such a beast LOL).
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
OK I did not read every post so my apologies in advance.
I have 2 questions: shoe width, I have a wide foot, with a high instep so need to accommodate these potential problems. Which brand of shoe (generic term) provides the widest last?; second did you go with just the supplied innersole/padding or did you replace these with an alternative?
Socks - one pair or two? I have been a supporter of the two-sock brigade for some years, but would welcome your experiences.
As I do not expect to return to the Camino until May 2017 there is plenty of time to get a solution. Thanks in advance!
We favour Hi-Tec which are wide fitting. For lacing for a high instep I suggest that you ask jennyH about David's lacing technique. We have usually just used the Hi-Tec original insoles but after this year's Camino I bought adjustable insoles from Millets (UK) for my old boots. With my new boots I have stayed with the supplied insoles.
The specific Hi-tec boots are the Altitude and the Ravine styles, others may fit differently.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
We favour Hi-Tec which are wide fitting. For lacing for a high instep I suggest that you ask jennyH about David's lacing technique.
Thanks Tia - yes am aware of David's lacing technique and agree it does provide a measure of relief of the lace pressure. I already use a similar technique.
The reason I asked about the inner soles was that the lack of manufacture supplied padding (in the Merrel's was what contributed to my foot nerve problem). So I now use double thick retro fit padding which does improve the protection of my feet nerves. Cheers
 

zzotte

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
Tim, I least its guarantee that you will not get blisters from "sock issues" but unfortunately it's a lot of other reasons one get blisters so check all the boxes or as many as possible and limit your chances.

Zzotte
 

BrienC

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2015
Via de la Plata, 2016
Camino del Norte, 2019
Portuguese, 2021
I prefer trail running shoes - Make sure they are just broken in; to point where you minimize blistering but still have 790 kilometers (500 miles) left in them. When using trail running shoes for walking, I can get 800-1000 kilometers (500-600 miles) out of them. I know when my shoes have had it, my knees and hip joints start to ache.
I prefer trail running shoes to boots for the following reasons: They are lighter than boots, breath well, have good tread/traction for short muddy sections and loose dirt/gravel on steep tracks. Trail running shoes only work in the summer and shoulder seasons, if you don’t have weak problematic ankles, and if you have conditioned your feet in advance. Otherwise use light hikers with a bit of ankle support. They are still lighter than heavy leather boots, the very last resort, or during winter.
 
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zzotte

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
I have been experimenting with trail runners for the last six months or so from la sportiva to new balances I now been using a zero drop Altra lone peak 2.5 its a different concept shoes but its working really well with a small pack weight of 15 lbs I think this maybe it :)

Zzotte
 

Rob the Slob

A slob
Year of past OR future Camino
Madrid to Santiago (May 2016)
shoe width, I have a wide foot, with a high instep so need to accommodate these potential problems. Which brand of shoe (generic term) provides the widest last?; second did you go with just the supplied innersole/padding or did you replace these with an alternative?

In my experience (which a few experts have confirmed) Meindl have a wider fit than most. They also offer a range of insoles to suit your activity.
 

Caneadea

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Future walks (2017)
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
Thank you David, what are the proper socks? Caneadea
 

Caneadea

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Future walks (2017)
Compeed Anti-Blister Stick contains:
Hydrogenated vegetable oil, Cetyl alcohol, Parfum, Linalool, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, butylphenyl methylpropional, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene carboxaldehyde. [all the additives are basically scents]

Crisco hydrogenated vegetable oil
Since its introduction in 1911, Crisco® has revolutionized the way food is prepared and the way it tastes. From being the first shortening product made entirely of vegetable oil to creating the first cooking oil that was promoted for its light taste, Crisco has been making life in the kitchen more delicious for years.

Sportslick was created by combining Petrolatum with Silicone for long lasting waterproof protection, then adding the leading antifungal agent, Tolnaftate with healing ingredients, Aloe, Vitamin E, C, and natural plant extracts.
Soothing Aloe, Antioxidant vitamins A and E, and other natural ingredients moisturize and rejuvenates your skin.
Created by a physician, this unique formula combines the proven antifungal (Tolnaftate) and a popular antibacterial (Triclosan) to guard against infection.
Easy to apply to your feet, legs, thigh, groin, underarms and neck, Sportslick stays where you put it! It won't come off until you wash it off with soap.Sportslick
Contains:
The leading antibacterial, Triclosan. The finest grade Petrolatum was chosen because it is the most effective lubricant available. It is used safely in hundreds of skin products and medications. It is non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic. Sportslick has been proven not to harm wetsuits or athletic equipment.
Silicone - binds to the skin for long lasting waterproof protection
Petrolatum - a proven safe lubricant and moisturizer
Polymers - for a slippery feel and a lasting glide
Tolnaftate 1% - the leading antifungal agent
Aloe - plant extract that heals and moisturizes skin
Vitamin E - antioxidant that helps Vitamin E work more effectively
Soybean Oil - plant extract that repairs and rejuvenates the skin
Natural Oil Fragrance - vanilla almond oil
Triclosan - popular antibacterial

Vaseline® Petroleum Jelly is a mixture of mineral oils, paraffin and microcrystalline waxes that, when blended together, create something remarkable - a smooth jelly that has a melting point just above body temperature. The result - it literally melts into skin, flowing into the spaces between cells and the gaps in our lipid barrier. Once there, it re-solidifies, locking itself in place.

Vaseline® Petroleum Jelly serves two functions: First it helps keep the outside world out - it protects skin from the effects of weather and exposure. Second, it acts like a sealant to help keep the inside world in - it forms an occlusive barrier to the natural water loss of our skin. So skin that is dry and chapped is protected from drying elements, enabling skin-softening moisture to build up naturally from inside the skin itself.

Bag Balm:
8 Hydroxyquinoline Sulfate (0.3% in a Petrolatum, Lanolin Base)

Hydropel:
Active Ingredient: Dimethicone 30%
Other Ingredients: Petrolatum, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate.

PICK THE ONE YOU THINK IS LIKELY TO WORK BEST!!
awesome thanks, C
 
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partyartie

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Norte 2015, Portugese 2016
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 :?:
I walked Camino Del Norte all the way from Irun to Santiago in 35 days last April-May. Not a single blister or any other problems with my feet, nothing at all.
I walked with my Keen sandals 830km. I had also hiking boots with me. They were excellent to keep my drinking water bottles cool.
There may be long muddy roads but watch your steps. Use your walking stick to find the way. I never got my socks wet. (I know it is not very trendy to wear socks in sandals.)
There may be heavy rocky hills up and down but again: watch your steps, man!
By all means take the hiking boots too. It´s nice to drink cool water.
Have a nice Camino!
 

Rob the Slob

A slob
Year of past OR future Camino
Madrid to Santiago (May 2016)
So here's an interesting experience: I took my hikng shoes back to the shop the other day because there seems to be an air bubble in the heel of one of them. I bought them for the Camino de Madrid next year, and I've been wearing them almost continually since the summer. But while they're being inspected, I've been wearing my hiking boots again, and yesterday as I was walking into town and back (a total of around 8km) it felt as if the boots were propelling me forward. I'm not sure how to describe it: the closest I can get is like walking on a travelator.

Both the shoes and the boots are Meindls, by the way.
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015)
With regard to Vaseline (interesting thread, by the way), does anyone know if this can be bought in Santiago? I'm starting my walk there and because I'm travelling with cabin baggage only, I can't take any liquids greater than 100ml. I don't think 100ml of Vaseline will go very far so I'll be looking at buying it on arrival in Spain (unless I can get it in the departure lounge as I leave but I don't know if they'll have it).

Thanks.
Every Farmacia has Vaseline tubes.
 

Melensdad

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 SJPdP to Santiago, Finisterre. Hadrian's Way, 2015. Sections of the AT + National & State Park trails.
So here's an interesting experience: I took my hikng shoes back to the shop the other day because there seems to be an air bubble in the heel of one of them. I bought them for the Camino de Madrid next year, and I've been wearing them almost continually since the summer. But while they're being inspected, I've been wearing my hiking boots again, and yesterday as I was walking into town and back (a total of around 8km) it felt as if the boots were propelling me forward. I'm not sure how to describe it: the closest I can get is like walking on a travelator.

Both the shoes and the boots are Meindls, by the way.

Same brand but different model will have different construction.

Different models will have higher or lower heel, will have different curvature of the sole, etc.

So I have to ask, are they the same "model" but one is 'low top' while the other is 'boot' height?

Or are they different models but made by the same company?
 

Nanumea

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances April 2016
I wore hiking boots (Meindl) on my first camino and I will never ever do the same mistake again!

I must quote myself, because this is so funny. Exactly one year ago I wrote that post and promised I would never take hiking boots on the Camino again, but here I am.. I'm planning my April Camino 2016 and I intend to take those same dreaded hiking boots with me. :D

I figured out the problem was not the boot, but the socks. Now I have found suitable socks to wear with the boots and I've been completely blister free on my recent walks. I can't afford new hiking shoes so I'll go with the boots. They are a bit heavy, so not ideal, but they keep my blisters away and my feet dry. So I'm happy with them. :)
 
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SYates

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

Now: http://egeria.house/
@Nanumea

You might also look into different lacing techniques to, f.e., keeping your foot moving too much in the boots and/or to give a wide arch that bit more of space. It is really amazing what you can do to make a boot more comfortable with the right lacing techniques. Buen Camino, SY
 

Stellaluna

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Coast to Coast (2015)
Frances (July 2016)
@Nanumea

You might also look into different lacing techniques to, f.e., keeping your foot moving too much in the boots and/or to give a wide arch that bit more of space. It is really amazing what you can do to make a boot more comfortable with the right lacing techniques. Buen Camino, SY
Is there a link describing different lacing techniques? Thanks.
 

manoll

Peregrina 2013
Year of past OR future Camino
CDN 2013, 2018
Primitivo - 2013, 2018
Sanabrés - 2016
Portugués Coastal - 2019
Via Francigena - 2020
It really depends on how much weight you are carrying and whether you use hiking poles or not. If you have a lightweight pack and use poles, there are great running shoes with Vibram soles that have a tread for all sort of trail conditions. They, too have models with GTX, and a big plus is that this type of shoe expands easily and it's less unlikely to get blisters. On the other hand, if your pack is heavy, you'll need all the ankle support you can get. So, you'll have to figure out how much weight will you carry so your feet are happy feet in the footwear you select.

Ultreïa!

Mary
 

SYates

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

Now: http://egeria.house/
Is there a link describing different lacing techniques? Thanks.

Do also a search on Youtube, there are plenty of videos around showing different techniques, just try them out and find the one that works for YOUR feet. Buen Camino, SY
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
BTW, if you have to buy duct tape in Spain, it is called Cinta (THEEN' tah) Americana. I love that.
I also highly recommend the book and website, Fixing Your Feet.

QUOTE
="kkcamino, post: 46585, member: 8402"]Here are some thoughts about gear selection for walking the Camino in the spring.

Two items I found invaluable were my light foam ear plugs, and my roll of duct tape.

There are some amazing snorers out there, and my ear plugs helped block out some of the noise.

Every morning I would take out my duct tape and tape my heels. Then I would give the bottom of my feet and my toes a good vaseline rub and put on my light wicking inner socks under my heavier pair of wool blend hiking socks. I wasn’t completely blister free, but I’m sure it made a difference.

I had a choice between my well worn leather hiking boots, and my worn in, but newer merrel hiking shoes. I chose the leather hiking boots, and was I ever glad I did. I walked through snow, during falling snow, and in rain, and my boots kept my feet dry. I walked even more days when the sun was shining, but during March and April, there was a lot of mud, and of course, a lot of mud and manure that last week walking through some of the Galician villages! Perhaps later in the spring and in the summer it is a lot drier, but I would wear my boots again if I was walking in the early spring.

I was intrigued by some pilgrims wearing some very light gaiters over their boots. I think they would be a good idea in any season, to keep rain and snow out of the boots, but even more importantly, to keep those pesky little pebbles from being kicked into the boots on the meseta and on some of the gravel paths.

I wore a goretex jacket and goretex pants, and had a rain cover over my back pack. I would choose those any day over one of those portable sauna ponchos. Also, I never understood why those people who wrapped all their personal items in plastic bags had to rewrap every item when they packed in the morning – and why did those same people always seem to be the first ones awake! Many cold mornings I started with my goretex pants over my shorts, then took them off when it warmed up. Same with the jacket, so I didn’t have to carry an extra jacket or a heavier long pair of pants.

I started out with a three season sleeping bag, since I had heard that some of the albergues were unheated. Some were unheated, but they all had extra blankets. I eventually discarded my sleeping bag, and bought a nice light sleeping sack that compressed to the size of a large grapefruit. I was never cold, though there were some nights after Astorga that I had to wear my fleece to bed initially. And some of the albergues were really quite overheated, so it was nice to have a much lighter bag.

I hope this helps.[/QUOTE]
 

Steve_White

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPDP to Finistere April / May 2015

(SJPDP to Finistere Sept / Oct 2017)
Sturdy Leather Breathable (no waterproof membrane) shoes, about 1 size larger than usual.

I replace the laces with 2 or 3 mm elastic cord. I find it so much more comfortable than laces when feet get hot and expand on long days.

I used Noene Shock absorbing insoles. I walked a coupe of days without them under my regular insoles and had sore knees. I highly recommend these, I never hike without them now and never get knee pain.

I tried Bamboo Socks too, they soak up too much moisture and feel like the shoe is a size too small, they also take too long to dry.

After trying lots of socks I ended up with a thin Organic Cotton by 'Mund' ( I think) that I still use now.

For me synthetic socks just made my feet sweat too much ....

I also take the insoles out and get your hand inside the shoe to get all the bits of stone and grit out every night

Steve noene-no2-full-length-shock-absorbing-sports-insoles-1.jpg
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
Sturdy Leather Breathable (no waterproof membrane) shoes, about 1 size larger than usual.

I replace the laces with 2 or 3 mm elastic cord. I find it so much more comfortable than laces when feet get hot and expand on long days.

I used Noene Shock absorbing insoles. I walked a coupe of days without them under my regular insoles and had sore knees. I highly recommend these, I never hike without them now and never get knee pain.

I tried Bamboo Socks too, they soak up too much moisture and feel like the shoe is a size too small, they also take too long to dry.

After trying lots of socks I ended up with a thin Organic Cotton by 'Mund' ( I think) that I still use now.

For me synthetic socks just made my feet sweat too much ....

I also take the insoles out and get your hand inside the shoe to get all the bits of stone and grit out every night

Steve View attachment 27577

There are many who would disagree with you about the cotton socks recommendation and also the need for leather boots/shoes on the Camino. But I'm glad you found what works for you.
 
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homebuilt

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
August 2016 - Primitivo
Having read a number posts with those for heavy leather boots and those for trails shoes. I think part of the problem is we have all preconceptions ideas that can be hard to change. We I restarted walking I read lots of websites that set my mind that trail shoes where the way to go. If you search the Internet for "ultralight hiking gear list" you will find sites with people who walk 1000's of km for months on end in all season, all of then in trail shoe. A lot of the sites will also explain the benefits and reasons why.

Have a look a the link I posted previously.

Or

http://blackwoodspress.com/blog/17651/top-5-lightweight-hiking-shoes/

If those people can do the distances they do without any problems then I am sure I can do much shorter distances without any problems.

I will now make a confession. I firmly believed that when you laced up a pair of boots / shoes in the morning then they stayed on all day. I did a walk in Holland me and 42,000 other people I stopped to take a rest and watched someone take off there shoes and thought well there were not a proper hiker, proper hikers don't take there shoes off. When I look around there was plenty of other people doing the same. As they say when in Rome or in my case Holland I also removed my shoes, what a revelation. why didn't I know or why hadn't any one said that you can take your shoes off. Its strange how preconceptions can hold you back and letting go of them can bring a whole new level of enjoyment.

If anyone wants to know why is I was under the impression that you did not take your boots / shoes off is that because your feet swell it's better to keep them encased in your shoes. The answer to your feet swelling is when you take your shoes off is to elevate them, placing them on you pack helps to reduce the swelling.
 

Melensdad

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 SJPdP to Santiago, Finisterre. Hadrian's Way, 2015. Sections of the AT + National & State Park trails.
My wife wore Teva sandals for most of her 500+ miles. She donated her boots, which she was tired of carrying, to a Convent run Albergue somewhere along the route.

I wore LaSportiva hiking shoes.

If I had to do it all over again I'd probably wear a pair of lightweight HOKA ONE ONE or ALTRA trail runners with the extra thick soles. My LaSportiva hiking shoes were great, but I could have used a bit more padding under my feet on asphalt.
 

JamesGeier

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF Spring 2016
CF Autumn 2017
VdlP Spring 2021
As has been said many times, there are many and differing opinions about footwear. My thoughts:
1. Keep your feet dry. First: if you are walking the Camino when it will rain, have waterproof boots. This really helps. Second, stop at least once each day, take off your boots and socks, let your feet dry (and maybe give them a little massage...happy feet are a good thing) and put on a clean/dry pair of socks and your boots and get back on the trail. Low-top hiking shoes may be problematic in the rain without gaiters to keep the rain out of the shoes.
2. An advantage of boots or hiking shoes over running shoes is the stiffness of the sole. This protects your feet from the rocky terrain on the trail. And there are many, many rocky stretches. Even Keen H2 sandals are (for me, anyway) much, much better than soft-soled running shoes.

I walked the Camino Frances SJPdP to Santiago to Finisterre this past April/May in Keen Logan mid-top boots and Darn Tough brand socks (Darn Tough socks are made in Vermont, and are Merino wool and nylon). No blisters. Keen H2 sandals were for after the day's walk. (See: www.jim2016camino.blogspot.com)

--jim--
 

Melensdad

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 SJPdP to Santiago, Finisterre. Hadrian's Way, 2015. Sections of the AT + National & State Park trails.
LOVE the Darn Tough socks!
 
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PAUL1179

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy -> Conques 2004 and 2015
SJPP -> Léon 2102
SJPP -> ?? starting October 16th 2016
Hello amigos, would you kindly provide your opinion on my specific shoes issue?
I am planning to walk (fast) on the camino francès in oct and nov this year.
While I would love to just bring along my trusted trail running sneakers (Nike wildhorse 3 GTX) and no other pair of shoes, I am however worried as to how they would stand the bad weather, even with gaiters for snow and heavy rain conditions.
The pro's in favor of this specific choice is that I get no blisters at all that way, they are also light and supposedly waterproof.
Of course lateral support is minimal and they dont like to be dragged in pools of mud.
Thx for ur time!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hello amigos, would you kindly provide your opinion on my specific shoes issue?
I am planning to walk (fast) on the camino francès in oct and nov this year.
While I would love to just bring along my trusted trail running sneakers (Nike wildhorse 3 GTX) and no other pair of shoes, I am however worried as to how they would stand the bad weather, even with gaiters for snow and heavy rain conditions.
The pro's in favor of this specific choice is that I get no blisters at all that way, they are also light and supposedly waterproof.
Of course lateral support is minimal and they dont like to be dragged in pools of mud.
Thx for ur time!
I don't quite understand what your specific issue/question is.

No shoes provide a perfect experience in all weather. If you get snow it will almost certainly be just a small amount on some high points. You might find a patch of awful sticky mud, but more likely not. You will get wet feet, whether or not your shoes are "waterproof." I usually say that if you have shoes/boots that you are very comfortable for walking long daily distances, and they are not showing serious signs of wear, then take them. Unless you have found an equally comfortable alternative to the shoes you have, the other considerations are secondary.

That said, my choice is a light weight Gortex boot. However, many people swear by non-waterproof trail shoes.
 

camagual

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino francés (2016)
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 :?:

I wore Merrell boots and was very happy; they are light and short; they could easily be called high shoes instead of boots. They are very comfortable, did not get a single blister
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
I found this interesting article, which addresses the "ankle support" theory re. boots and supports the advantages of lighter weight trail shoes. http://www.cleverhiker.com/blog/ditch-boots Of course some people do better in boots, some in trail runners, some in sandals.
 

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
It amuses me to see people in boots and waterproof shoes picking their way around water and mud, while I, in my sandals, slosh through. And wash my feet and sandals at the end of the day.

Having said that, I would never decry anyone else's good experience in boots, particularly in cold weather.
 

rometimed

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(SJPdP: 2015, June2020!) (Eng Way: 2015)
Only shoes I ever wear on long walks:
Asics-GT-2000-4-Medial-Side1.jpg


The only long walk I have done so far i'd consider actual boots for when I do again is the Coast to Coast in England. Now THAT is mud and boggy conditions.

zFcBZgZ.jpg
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Le-Puy
Blisters!
Tim I walked the Camino 3 years in a row. After two or 3 days I got heel blisters each time. In year 1 I did not lance. I took the advice of several people and used plasters etc to no avail. I walked 200 kms in pain. In year 2 I did an experiment. I lanced one heel and not the other. The pain disappeared much more quickly on the lanced heel. In year 3 I lanced both and the pain went after a few days.
This year I bought new boots! Two sizes smaller on advice from the salesman. He said stop the slippage, go snug. Yet to give them a decent test. Fingers crossed!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Le-Puy
Thanks Jimmy, all good advice. New boots are Scarpas, previous were Vasque. Both feel comfortable but new pair are definitely snugger. I can reduce sock size if necessary. Both times I walked the instore ramp checking for slippage and front toes touching. Hopefully I'll get to test the new ones soon. I'm confident!
 
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rometimed

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(SJPdP: 2015, June2020!) (Eng Way: 2015)
Did you try using two pairs of thin socks? The other foot tools I brought were gold bond medicated powder and a dr scholz foot spray. I'd spray my feet at the end of the day, then cover them in powder.
 

SanJo

♥ Gratitude ♥
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (April & May 2017)
I must quote myself, because this is so funny. Exactly one year ago I wrote that post and promised I would never take hiking boots on the Camino again, but here I am.. I'm planning my April Camino 2016 and I intend to take those same dreaded hiking boots with me. :D

I figured out the problem was not the boot, but the socks. Now I have found suitable socks to wear with the boots and I've been completely blister free on my recent walks. I can't afford new hiking shoes so I'll go with the boots. They are a bit heavy, so not ideal, but they keep my blisters away and my feet dry. So I'm happy with them. :)
Can you please let me know what brand/type of socks you found?
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
This year I bought new boots! Two sizes smaller on advice from the salesman. He said stop the slippage, go snug.
Did you ask the salesman if he has ever walked 20 km/day for 3 days in a row?

You should not have slippage, but there will be slight flexing in the heel. My shoes have more than an inch of room past the end of my longest toe, and my forefoot is not constricted at all so there are no pressure points. Since they are the right shape for my foot, I can lace them snugly so my foot does not slip. Then the lacing can be adjusted depending on my socks, foot swelling, etc.

This advice to go snug does not sound wise to me, but let us know how it goes in your test walks.
 

Glenn Rowe

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
I wore Merrell boots and was very happy;

"Aye, there's the rub!" -- Prince Hamlet ;)

My wife swears by her Merrills, while I cannot find any that will fit my wide, duck-like feet. And believe me, I have looked high and low, far and wide, etc. Even their "wide-width" shoes/boots have toe caps that are far too narrow.

My canoe-paddle tootsies really like the wide-sized Vasque boots. I've been wearing them for nearly 30 years, from Canada to the central Gulf Coast, and from there to New Mexico and Arizona and Nevada and California. I completely wore out two pairs of Clarions. They did not accompany me to Ireland and southern Spain, and I kinda-sorta missed them.

Until I broke my right big toe I also liked Danner boots for heavy/"severe" use, especially the 8-inch Acadias. IMO they're significant overkill for the Camino.
 
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Melensdad

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 SJPdP to Santiago, Finisterre. Hadrian's Way, 2015. Sections of the AT + National & State Park trails.
"Aye, there's the rub!" -- Prince Hamlet ;)

My wife swears by her Merrills, while I cannot find any that will fit my wide, duck-like feet. And believe me, I have looked high and low, far and wide, etc. Even their "wide-width" shoes/boots have toe caps that are far too narrow.
2 brands to look into.

New Balance makes shoes in wide, extra wide and super wide o_O (up to EEE widths) so you may want to look into their walking shoes. I've owned them in the past, they are very comfortable.

Altra, which is an unconventional design, offers more traditional widths but with very wide toe boxes that look like duck feet. I have a pair of their waterproof trail runners and love them, saw a few folks on the Camino last summer who were using them and swore by them. Bought mine when I returned home.

Both can be a bit hard to find if you are not in a more populous area, but both can be mail ordered.
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
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Even Keens aren't wide enough for me. I just got some Altra Lone Peak trail shoes; the men's is even wider than the women's and my feet say Ahhhhhh! every time I put them on. My next Camino I'm bringing these and will trade back and forth between them and my Chaco sandals.
 

Glenn Rowe

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
New Balance makes shoes in wide, extra wide and super wide o_O (up to EEE widths) so you may want to look into their walking shoes. I've owned them in the past, they are very comfortable.

Yup. Wore 'em for years until other shoemakers caught on and increased my choices. Now I'm wearing Skechers shoes, and really like them. I particularly like their relatively thick soles; great for walking on rough/uneven or hot surfaces. Skechers shoes carried me all over Ireland, southern Spain, and many places here in the US of A. In May they're going to carry me through portions of Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Both can be a bit hard to find if you are not in a more populous area, but both can be mail ordered.

I think that greater Los(t) Angeles may qualify as a "more populous area", don't you?:D:p:D:p:);)

Now, with that said, I Googled Altra shoes. The 'one width' thing has me and my duck-feet concerned. I'll have to find a place where I can actually try them on.
 
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alipilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Listed in my signature
I too have a wide foot with a very high arch, so it's hard to find a shoe with enough volume for me. Added to that I had two ankle surgeries last year and my Left foot is demanding extra cushioning! I wanted to like the Altra Lone Peak's as the wide toebox was perfect but they were a bit "thin on the ground" for me. Instead I purchased the Altra Olympus 2.0 which has "max" cushioning and a Vibram outsole so I'm hoping they'll be perfect for my upcoming caminos!
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
Yup. Wore 'em for years until other shoemakers caught on and increased my choices. Now I'm wearing Skechers shoes, and really like them. I particularly like their relatively thick soles; great for walking on rough/uneven or hot surfaces. Skechers shoes carried me all over Ireland, southern Spain, and many places here in the US of A. In May they're going to carry me through portions of Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic.



I think that greater Los(t) Angeles may qualify as a "more populous area", don't you?:D:p:D:p:);)

Now, with that said, I Googled Altra shoes. The 'one width' thing has me and my duck-feet concerned. I'll have to find a place where I can actually try them on.

The Altras have a very wide toe box. REI has them. The Lone Peak trail shoes are even wider than the other models.
 

Melensdad

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 SJPdP to Santiago, Finisterre. Hadrian's Way, 2015. Sections of the AT + National & State Park trails.
While I am a 'boot guy' I have to be honest with you and say that boots on the Camino are overkill. I wore LaSportiva mid-boots, which are really a hiking shoe with a foam collar that wraps around the ankle. They were more than enough and the 'low' version of the same hiking shoe would have been plenty. I see no reason to wear a boot on the Camino. I had originally planned to wear a pair of lightweight Zamberlain Crosser 230GTX hiking boots (sort of a boot-shoe hybrid) but am glad I went with more of a shoe.

Now that said I saw plenty of people who wore boots. Its unnecessary. But if that is what you want then so be it. Its just not necessary.




The Altras have a very wide toe box. REI has them. The Lone Peak trail shoes are even wider than the other models.
I have a pair of the Lone Peak and they are amazingly comfortable.

The toe box is exceptionally roomy.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Walked the Camino Frances in 2013. Part of Jeju Olle Trail in 2014. A Pilgrimage in Bavaria: Regensburg Diözesanfußwallfahrt to Altötting 2014. Trekking Nepal 2014. European Peace Trail 2015.
I wore more rigid hiking boots and I paid the price. Several days my blisters were so bad I could only walk in Crocs. After several long distance walks and several pairs of shoes I am recommending the Hoka One One Mid Summit which is light, cushy, waterproof and provides some light ankle support. I love mine and am on my second pair.
 

topazy

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2014
Well worn-in hiking boots with Gortex material to keep dry. High enough to support ankles. Low flex thick soles.
The many very stony trails will bruise feet that are encased in running shoes or sandals,
On my first Camino, I was advised to use a light weight shoe or even a running shoe. That was a serious mistake. My feet were constantly hurting and there was insufficient support for the load I was carrying on my back.
My second Camino I was wearing a fairly heavy hiking boot. It was mid-summer and my feet were hot; however, not so hot that my overall comfort was affected.
Learn the Pilgrim's knot! A special shoelace tying technique that prevents the toe area from being too tight, but allows the top and ankle area to be nice and snug.
Two hiking poles will also relieve the stress on the feet and provide balance.
topazy
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
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C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
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Topazy, I wore sandals both times I walked the Camino and never "bruised" my feet. Waterproof boots - even Goretex - seems like a good recipe for blisters to me. I know some people swear by boots on the Camino, but I remember coming into Zubiri and seeing the little sports store there full of pilgrims trading in their boots for lightweight shoes. Really, the only good advice is to train before you leave - walk a long ways every day - in the shoes, boots or sandals you intend to wear on the Camino and find out if they work for you. Otherwise, don't listen to anybody, including me, about what will work for you. For good advice about blisters and other foot problems, I do recommend www.fixingyourfeet.com . This guy knows what he's talking about.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Camino (2016), French Camino (2015), Northern Camino (2017)
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 :?:

Depends on the Camino route you're going to do. For example, if you do the french way, hiking boots for winter and spring are a must, weather tends to be cold and possible rain. Then again, if you do the portguese way, weather is hotter so running shoes or hiking shoes would do.
 

HedaP

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
Depends on the Camino route you're going to do. For example, if you do the french way, hiking boots for winter and spring are a must, weather tends to be cold and possible rain. Then again, if you do the portguese way, weather is hotter so running shoes or hiking shoes would do.
We are all different. I walked the Frances in early spring ie. 2 April from SJPdP in non-gortex trail runners and survived snow and rain to tell the tale. No blisters and no other foot problems. Would definitely wear the same again if walking at the same time. If I am ever lucky enough to walk it winter I would wear gortex trail runners. As I said, we are all different. Keep in mind too that trail runners have evolved beyond all imagination not only since this thread was started but in the last few years since I started wearing them. Anyone who has worn boots for years might want do some experimenting. Maybe worth a try?
 
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HedaP

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
Topazy, I wore sandals both times I walked the Camino and never "bruised" my feet. Waterproof boots - even Goretex - seems like a good recipe for blisters to me. I know some people swear by boots on the Camino, but I remember coming into Zubiri and seeing the little sports store there full of pilgrims trading in their boots for lightweight shoes. Really, the only good advice is to train before you leave - walk a long ways every day - in the shoes, boots or sandals you intend to wear on the Camino and find out if they work for you. Otherwise, don't listen to anybody, including me, about what will work for you. For good advice about blisters and other foot problems, I do recommend www.fixingyourfeet.com . This guy knows what he's talking about.
Oh yes! In autumn 2015 walked the CF in trail runners while my sister and her husband walked in boots. I never got a blister. My sister got so many blisters she had to dump the boots and finish the walk in sandals bought along the way which she loved. Her husband absolutely convinced boots were essential wear refused to buy sandals and ended up walking in his crocs which were his evening wear.
I completely understand that some people have feet that suit boots but some don’t. Buen camino, amigos. :)
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
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I actually traded back and forth, walking in my Altra Lone Peak trail shoes (work great for wide feet) and my Chaco sandals. I have orthotics in my shoes to correct a problem that causes pain in the balls of my feet. I always end up walking almost the whole time in my sandals, though. Other pilgrims walking by express skepticism about my sandals; they tell me I must get rocks and sticks in them, that my feet must get cold, that my ankles have no support, etc. etc. And then when I see them in the albergues later, they are taping, plastering, gooping vaseline, washing five pairs of socks and putting compeed on their blisters. I take off my sandals and go to bed. I get up, put my sandals on, and start walking. When my sandals get muddy, I step in a fountain and rinse them off. I do have a pair of socks I can put on if my feet get cold, but they rarely do. I don't have to take them off to air out and dry off my feet when I stop, because they are already airy and dry! Moisture is a big culprit in blister formation.

Mind you, I am not saying sandals will necessarily work for you. I am just lucky enough that these Chaco sandals fit me perfectly, have just the right arch support, etc. I just want you to be open-minded.
 

Melensdad

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 SJPdP to Santiago, Finisterre. Hadrian's Way, 2015. Sections of the AT + National & State Park trails.
For people who advise against trail running shoes/running shoes, I'd like to know what brand & style you wore and failed with -AND- for people who advise for trail running shoes/running shoes, I'd like to know what brand & style you wore and were successful with. Ditto other shoe styles.

Inexpensive & non-supportive ultra light runners/trail runners of any brand/style probably are a very bad idea. On the other hand Altra Lone Peak, Hoka ONE ONE Stinson, Adidas Terra or other quality light trail runners are probably more than enough. I saw & spoke with several people walking in Altra and Hoka trail runners and they raved about them, enough so that I bought both brands when I returned home and use them regularly.

Personally I wore LaSportiva 'Synthesis' GTX ultra light boots (built like a trail runner but with a bit more protection) and my wife wore Teva 'Terra' Hiking Sandals (with Darn Tough hiking socks) for 80% of her Camino. My LaSportiva Synthesis were light, but probably overbuilt for a summer Camino. That said, I don't regret them but I actually wish they had more mid-sole padding like the Hoka brand has and if I walk it again I will probably do it in Hoka trail runners, or some similarly supportive light shoe. I personally prefer Gore-Tex, I know others dislike Gore-Tex so I leave that option up to the individual walker.

If you are going to give shoe advice, please be MORE SPECIFIC as to the brand and style. I'm a high school coach and see shoe recommendations for kids all the time and cringe when I see them because a "type" or "brand" is recommended without the additional information of the 'style' or 'model' and as all companies make a wide range of shoes, it does a disservice to others to make broad recommendations without providing some specific information.

/RANT :)
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
I don't think most of the problems are brand/model specific. Fit is by far the most important factor. In fact I think people get hung up on deciding they need a certain shoe or certain features and then they don't pay enough attention to how they feel. That being said, anecdotally I noticed people in boots seemed to have more blisters.

Even if you talk about durability, different individuals have very different experiences with the same shoe.

Here's a thought. Maybe there is an inverse relationship between how elaborate the foot taping, vaseline hooping and sock system the wearer requires and how appropriate/well fitting the footware is? There are of course other factors.

My solution was a pair of (very wide) trail runners and a pair of sandals, alternating between the two. Mostly walked in the sandals.
 

Melensdad

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 SJPdP to Santiago, Finisterre. Hadrian's Way, 2015. Sections of the AT + National & State Park trails.
I don't think most of the problems are brand/model specific. Fit is by far the most important factor. In fact I think people get hung up on deciding they need a certain shoe or certain features and then they don't pay enough attention to how they feel. ...
Oh I don't disagree but I see lots of people say you need to wear boots or you shouldn't wear trail runners or running shoes are all you need ... my point is that there are all sorts of issues with posts like these that offer only partial advice.

Altra Lone Peak trail runners are much different than a cheap pair of Nike running shoes available in department stores.

Every shoe must fit. And there is no question about that. But for walking roughly 800km/500miles, the shoe should also have a suitable sole that offers traction on multiple surfaces from smooth hard pavement to dirt trails to rain slicked rocks. It should have enough mid-sole protection to provide impact protection from the daily repeated pounding your feet take. It should also have appropriate support in the instep. A boot can provide this, so can a trail runner. That is all in addition to fit. But not all are created equal.
 

Tia Valeria

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Year of past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
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We are boot people, but I usually do give the brand and type rather than just generalising. Hi-Tec Ravine now, but previously have walked in their Altitude lV - this now has a fabric tongue so is not IMO fully waterproof anymore while the Ravine retains its leather tongue. Good internal support, low cut leather boot, waterproof and breathable with a good gripping flexible sole. Middle of range price and are our choice for fit, comfort etc
Note we have not walked in high summer (July/August) on the Camino but do wear them in UK all year.
:)
 
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