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Hiking Shoes, or Hiking Boots?

Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
I walked from SJPDP to Finisterre twice in New Balance Vazee Summit trail runners. Lightweight and work for my long narrowish feet.
 

kalavati

One more time!
Camino(s) past & future
May (2014), Camino Frances, SJPdP 28 April. to Muxia
May (2016)- Again,better rain gear
I love my ankle protecting boots ("Uppi") , esp. on rocks, hills and dry river beds! When I found ankle/calf hi nylon stockings, for under thicker sox, never had a blister again. I also wore the sox with "hiking Tivas" when boots wern't needed. Gave nice change & Happy feet!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via Francigena (2017), plus more than 2000 Km/year of trekking, hiking and minor caminos since 2000.
For the people who, like me, are fan of trail running shoes, I share my experience.
I'm on my fourth pair of Altra Lone Peak. Since I discovered them, I don't use other shoes for trekking and walking, unless I hike above 2500 meters on the Alps, on snow and rough steep mountains.
With them I did several ultratrail marathons and all my last Caminos and walkabauts. They last more than 1000 Km, and they go to "retirement" still with decent elasticity and integrity.
I wish I was paid by Altra for praising so much their shoes: my feet are so happy and healthy, never suffered from blisters and pains! :):):)
In the picture below, you can see the pair that I wore in the Francigena Ultramarathon of Siena-Acquapendente (120 Km), last October. :cool:

Altra dopo 120Km rid.jpg
 
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Camino(s) past & future
St Jean to Burgos 2017
St Jean to Fisterra 2018
St Jean to Fisterra 2020 or Chemin Piemont
I believe it all comes down to your feet and body demands. I walked in Merrell trail shoes and they were a nightmare on downhills. Not that they are crappy shoes, I'm wearing them right now and I love em. The issue was the toe box on the big downhills. I could never get them laced tight enough to stabilize the foot.

Now I am training in a pair of Merrell boots I bought at a mountaineering shop in Madrid.(yeah, Im a Merrell fanboy) The boots are incredible. Previously I considered myself to have "13 mile feet", with the boots Im going strong at 17 plus with no issues with the toe box even on brutal descents.

I think a lot of the issues people have are not getting their footwear properly fitted and not wearing the right socks. I went a full size larger with my boots and wear a merino wool ultralight running sock under a heavier merino hiking sock. No blisters, no hotspots, no issues ever.

Get some miles on your footwear before you go. I believe a min of 100 miles is a must.

Your mileage may vary, this is all just my opinion...

M
 

footwearboss

David M. Jhonson
Camino(s) past & future
Yes, I want to walk Camino. this is my future plan. But I need first full travel details on Camino.
Hiking boots are critical to your comfort and performance on the trail, but this no longer means a stiff and burly model that will weigh you down. The trend is toward lighter materials that still offer decent support, and waterproof boots are the most popular by far (many are offered in a non-waterproof version for hiking in hot or dry climates). Our picks for the best hiking boots of 2018 below are broken down into three categories: lightweight boots for day hiking and fastpacking, midweight options that work well for most backpacking trips, and heavyweights for rough terrain or hauling a large load. For more information on choosing the right boot, see our comparison table and buying advice below the picks. If you prefer to go even lighter and faster, see our article on the best lightweight hiking shoes.

Here are best 5 hiking boots which are listed.

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
Merrell Moab 2 Mid WP
Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX
Vasque Talus Trek Mid UltraDry
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
Hiking boots are critical to your comfort and performance on the trail, but this no longer means a stiff and burly model that will weigh you down.
Oh, boy.... the last thing I want to do is sound at all confrontational. I hope that my disagreement is not viewed as a condemnation of your input.

Let me start by saying that if someone chooses to walk in the types of boots you have listed, that is a personal choice. If asked, I might recommend a different type of hiking footwear to try. But footwear choices are so individual to fit and comfort, that someone making an informed decision for a boot who, having given them a good trial run and liking the choice, is not getting an argument from me :).

The problem is with the huge generalization that was made favoring boots, although I am wondering if that statement wasn't meant to sound as definitive or ironclad as it did. There is now a large body of experience which contradicts such an assessment. In other words, hiking boots are not critical for comfort. To be sure, the boots mentioned have their adherents (I love my Lowa Caminos for winter time); and for what they are, are great quality footwear. However, the trend toward trail runners and trail shoes now have a large following as the technology has matured. And for good reason.

For example, the preference by ultralight thru hikers over the last 5 years on the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail have largely been to trail runner type shoes. This trend has been increasingly adopted by other backpackers over the last several years. Additionally, the issue of a 'waterproof' shoe is increasingly being turned aside --- as the weaknesses and disadvantages to the technology have become more apparent --- in favor to materials which drain fast and dry quickly.

Right now, I am doing a gear test for Solomon on their XA Pro 3D Trail Runner. It is a non GTX shoe (Goretex, for those wondering). If I were to compare the usability of these trail runners or trekking shoes, to the newer generation of boots, I can do so in direct comparison to a pair of Lowa Camino GTX boots, which I use for winter backpacking trips in snow. I can do a direct comparison of performance as it relates to support, stability, and perceived comfort to the sole of the foot, and to the foot in general.

So far, I have put over 150 miles on the Solomons. As is part of the job, I have purposefully walked through streams to assess their ability to dry out and perform when wet, have hiked over severely rough, rutted, and rocky debris strewn trails to check out stability and comfort and support, and have taken muddied and wet rocked uphill trails to determine traction and stability under typical adverse conditions in the backcountry.

In some instances, the Lowas would have performed slightly better; in other areas there is no discernible difference. The Lowas will definitely last longer than the Solomons, but at over three times the price of the Solomons, they should be expected to do so.

But, and this is a critical factor for me, and to a lot of backpackers and trekkers: The Lowa Renegade cited in the list, which is a bit lighter than my Caminos, are nearly three times as heavy on the foot as the Solomons.

The military studies on fatigue and footwear have determined that, on average, one pound on the foot is equal to five pounds carried on the back. At nearly three and a half pounds per pair, that means over 17 pounds. At an average weight of 1.75 pounds per pair of trail runners, wearing a trail runner drops that weight to 5.25 pounds

The practical issues for less experienced and fit pilgrims are several. Excess fatigue and wear on the legs can obviously drain energy quicker, making for a more tiring day of walking. However, the frequency of issues, such as shin splints, knee pain, ankle strain, and blistering rises with higher levels of work to the legs, which is increased by heavier than needed footwear.

There are several other issues regarding boots versus trail runners and shoes. And as with generalizations about boots, there is a danger in being overly general regarding the suitability of trail runners as a universal given.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Via Francigena (2017), plus more than 2000 Km/year of trekking, hiking and minor caminos since 2000.
@davebugg Thanks! You spoke my mind 1000%. :cool:

P.S.
I ran and hicked in the past with the XA Pro 3D, before switching to Altra and Topo; they are - for me - wonderful (and fairly cheap) shoes.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
For me it is neither boots or shoes but hiking sandals. I have worn Ecco Off-Road sandals for many thousands of Camino miles.
Some people love their boots. Perhaps they wear them daily. Good for them, if it works, why change?
I made the usual beginners mistake many years ago before my first Camino and listened to the salesmen in the hiking store. He was an experienced Australian bush walker so recommended boots. Very good, very expensive, would last a lifetime, boots. Necessary for tough Australian scrubb - all spiky and rocky and hard.
But complete overkill for the Camino Francés. They got discarded after the first camino in favour of lightweight ASICS. And for the last 4 or 5 caminos it’s been sandals.

The Camino Francés is not a wilderness trek.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
For me it is neither boots or shoes but hiking sandals. I have worn Ecco Off-Road sandals for many thousands of Camino miles.
Some people love their boots. Perhaps they wear them daily. Good for them, if it works, why change?
I made the usual beginners mistake many years ago before my first Camino and listened to the salesmen in the hiking store. He was an experienced Australian bush walker so recommended boots. Very good, very expensive, would last a lifetime, boots. Necessary for tough Australian scrubb - all spiky and rocky and hard.
But complete overkill for the Camino Francés. They got discarded after the first camino in favour of lightweight ASICS. And for the last 4 or 5 caminos it’s been sandals.

The Camino Francés is not a wilderness trek.
My thoughts exactly. If you are going to bring boots (especially waterproof boots, ugh), then bring some quality, good-fitting hiking sandals too, for backup. I'm betting a good percentage of people following this advice will end up walking the bulk of the Camino in their sandals. But listen to your own feet, of course.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
There is no scientific evidence that boots prevent ankle injuries. If you have weak ankles, the best thing to do is strengthen them through appropriate exercises. If you have damaged ankles, then you can get an ankle brace, which will help more than a boot will.

-------scientific articles-----------
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11686947
The protective effect of 'high-top' shoes remains to be established.​
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3943374/
These findings provide preliminary evidence suggesting that wearing high-top shoes can, in certain conditions, induce a delayed pre-activation timing and decreased amplitude of evertor muscle activity, and may therefore have a detrimental effect on establishing and maintaining functional ankle joint stability.​
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8368420
There was no significant difference among these 3 groups, leading to the conclusion that there is no strong relationship between shoe type and ankle sprains​
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1758-2555/1/14/
For extrinsic factors, although they found some discrepancies among the included studies, they generally reported that the prescription of orthosis, but not high-top shoes, could help decreasing the risk of sustaining ankle sprain injury in players with previous sprain history.​
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0016282/
There is no scientific proof however that special socks or high-top shoes can prevent sprains.​
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1959831
There was no statistically significant difference in the incidence of lateral ankle sprains between recruits who trained in modified basketball shoes or standard lightweight infantry boots.​
-------non-scientific articles-----------
http://www.premierfootandankle.com/shoes.html
Contrary to common belief, however, high-top shoes offer no advantages in terms of foot or ankle support over their low-cut counterparts.​
http://www.podiatrytoday.com/blogged/what-evidence-reveals-about-prophylactic-ankle-bracing
Therefore, this study showed no protective benefit in the incidence of an ankle sprain with the use of ankle braces worn by high school volleyball players​

The consensus seems to be that orthopedic braces are effective at reducing ankle injuries but that high-top boots are not any more effective than regular footwear, or such evidence is inconclusive. People who cling to the "boots prevent ankle injury" myth may be confusing bracing and high-top footwear, where the former is post-injury treatment - an immobilizer - and the latter is just advertiser hype.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Well, my feet have now officially gained another +1 size -- going to need some (French) size 49s instead of my current 48. (needed 46 on my first Caminos in '93 and '94) That's up 5 sizes since I was 21.

Good jolly old size 13 army boots incoming !!
 

sam ferris

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None. First one.
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
Hey there....when you say light weight walking boot, could that include the lightweight north face ankle boot? I am doing Camino France starting October 27th and am perplexed as to whether solid trail runner or these..... snow? https://www.altitude-sports.com/pro...MIk46ql_mi3QIVlAoqCh04fwcTEAkYCCABEgLdi_D_BwE
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean to Burgos 2017
St Jean to Fisterra 2018
St Jean to Fisterra 2020 or Chemin Piemont
You really need to get at least 50 to 100 miles in whatever you plan to wear before you leave. 99% of all blister and other foot injuries could be prevented by knowing before you leave that your boot/shoe choice along with your sock will work for you under demanding mileage conditions.
 

C.C.

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017
I'm a tape fan ... tape my heels before I put on socks. My first Camino was cut short by blisters ... lots of blisters. Meeting a Camino friend - she showed me taping and my 2nd camino was blister free ! That's my way ... you'll need to find your own. (wide medical tape on both heels ... or wherever you have a history of blisters ) And Writway socks - they are double layered.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
The only place I got blisters was between my toes, from them rubbing against each other (just the way my feet are.. nothing to do with the footwear). Taping my toes worked, too.
 

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