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How many miles to put on your shoes before the Camino

Sirron

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May-July 2023
I have a pair of shoes I like but my trip isn't for another 8-9 months. Should I buy another at some point and break them in. But how many miles (or KM lol) on a pair of shoes are too much before starting the Camino? Trying to find the sweet spot of knowing my shoes and not having them fall apart while I'm on the Camino Frances.
 
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Airfix

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
French 2019
Portuguese 2021 Central
2022 Coastal
Depends on type of "shoe". My last two Camino walks from Porto (Central & Coastal) I walked mainly in a lightweight pair of HOKA's switching to leather walking boots on the occsional rainy day or over rough terrain.
Breaking in the HOKA's was minimal, really comfortable from day 1. Breaking in the leather boots took a couple of months of weekend walking.
If your shoe is heavy duty, then it'll need a couple of dozen miles, ideally in the wet which helps to flex the leather/fabric and shape it to your foot. I'd also advise you carry a backpack of similar weight to the one you intend to carry on your Camino.
Don't forget, your feet will give you plenty of feed-back, make sure you listen to them.
BTW, HOKAs went in the bin at about 1500km, leather boots are still going strong.
 

Sirron

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May-July 2023
Depends on type of "shoe". My last two Camino walks from Porto (Central & Coastal) I walked mainly in a lightweight pair of HOKA's switching to leather walking boots on the occsional rainy day or over rough terrain.
Breaking in the HOKA's was minimal, really comfortable from day 1. Breaking in the leather boots took a couple of months of weekend walking.
If your shoe is heavy duty, then it'll need a couple of dozen miles, ideally in the wet which helps to flex the leather/fabric and shape it to your foot. I'd also advise you carry a backpack of similar weight to the one you intend to carry on your Camino.
Don't forget, your feet will give you plenty of feed-back, make sure you listen to them.
BTW, HOKAs went in the bin at about 1500km, leather boots are still going strong.
I'm going with Altra Lone Peaks. I do like Hokas too!
 
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peregrina2000

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Staff member
I'm going with Altra Lone Peaks. I do like Hokas too!


Hi, Sirron,
I wear Altra Lone Peaks also and in my experience they don’t need any breaking in at all. I always start out with a brand new pair, especially because I have found that they are a lot less durable than other shoes and will struggle to make it to 800-1000 kms. I’ve had some ripping on the top (but shoe repair places in Spain are terrific), in addition to the extensive wearing on the soles. I love these shoes but wish they would last longer!
 

Sirron

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May-July 2023
Hi, Sirron,
I wear Altra Lone Peaks also and in my experience they don’t need any breaking in at all. I always start out with a brand new pair, especially because I have found that they are a lot less durable than other shoes and will struggle to make it to 800-1000 kms. I’ve had some ripping on the top (but shoe repair places in Spain are terrific), in addition to the extensive wearing on the soles. I love these shoes but wish they would last longer!
Thank you for the info! I was wearing Merrill Moab's but just thought they were too hot. I wanted something more breathable and more room for my toes!
 

USMC-Pilgrim

I learned, the hard way!
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (SJPDP to Santiago) May-Jun 2022
Some great advice from our fellow pilgrims. I did the CF from SJPDP to SDC in May-June 22. I was training in a pair of Altra Lone Peak 4.0s. I broke them in and liked them. Bought a pair of Lone Peak 4.5s a month out and put them into training rotation. I had 100 miles on them when I started the CF. Finished with them in great shape.

Final thought, there were parts of the CF early on that were quite "rocky" as in the rocks/stones on the path were quite rough on my feet through the Altras. I replaced the insoles in Sahugun (The Pilgrim Store) with cushion insoles that were delightful. It was a new ball game.

When I got home, I bought a pair of Altra TIMP 4.0s. They have a thicker sole and provide much more protection to the bottom of your feet. My next Camino, its Timps for the win.

Buen Camino!
 

CWBuff

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances May-June/2022
Finisterre June-July/2022
I started with Lowa Renegades from SJPdP (they were the boots I specifically bought for the Camino and have been training in them all the previous time) . The heatwave really messed me up and I came to conclusion that i needed something more breathable and lighter. In Santo Domingo de Calzada I bought a pair of Teva boots and a pair of Keen sandals. Obviously the break-in period was "on the field proper". Interchanging them as I saw fit (I say it was probably still 65-70% boots) I got to Santiago and then continued to Finisterre - both pairs look quite 'new' (save for being slightly dusty of course;) )
Good luck!
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I'm going with Altra Lone Peaks. I do like Hokas too!
As others have said, non leather shoes really don't require a breaking in period at all. I bought a pair of the same model shoe that I had been training in and wore them for a couple of walks to make sure that there were no manufacturing irregularities that would make them uncomfortable, and they worked perfectly for my Camino.
 
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xin loi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
Difficult to answer ! On 3 Caminos my sneakers lasted the entire camino --2 were francs; 1 was Portuguese. But on the Norte and the primitivo my shoes fell apart. On each of 5 Caminos I wore the exact same type of Sascuny sneakers. I think the mountains of the Norte and primitivo killed my shoes, as the Frances and portugese are relatively flat.

But if like me, your shoes give out, you must buy a new pair and continue to March without breaking them in. Happens to a lot of people and it is not unusual for people to finish the last few hundred miles walking on cheap sneakers bought in a local "Chinese" store in a small town.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
Primitivo Sep 2022 (planned)
I have a pair of shoes I like but my trip isn't for another 8-9 months. Should I buy another at some point and break them in. But how many miles (or KM lol) on a pair of shoes are too much before starting the Camino? Trying to find the sweet spot of knowing my shoes and not having them fall apart while I'm on the Camino Frances.

It really depoends on the shoes/boots and their material.

Boots with hard leather I would actually break in as in walking maybe 2 x 20 k on shorts hikes and then maybe wear them a couple of times a whole day during your normal daily life, maybe a week. All else seems overdoing it for me.

Boots made of modern materials often need no breaking in at all. But you should test them and get your feet used to them ;-)

As my standard boots are not in stock, I got some different boots that I walked on a 50 k hike now. That way I learned how to tie them best for my feet. Now I will put them aside until I actually start my Camino.

But as said, this really depends much on your shoes and your feet and can be very individual.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
Modern synthetic shoes require virtually no "breaking in*. However, some problems of shoes on your feet might not show up until you have walked 3 or 4 consecutive days of 20 km. So, if you have a new model of shoe, I suggest at least 100 km including some long walks. But then you are 100 km into the life of the shoe, and some shoes don't last beyond 500-800 km (at least with the same comfort).

That's why I find the right shoes, wear them extensively (a few hundred km) to prove that they are right. I get identical new ones for a camino, wear them for one or 2 long walks to make sure there isn't a defect or change, and that is all.
 

JCB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CN(2019)
Everyone and every shoe is different. I bought a new pair of Altra Lone Peaks and wore them on my last two weeks of training (about 100km), before doing the Norte (840km) in 2019.

At the end, the lugs were almost gone, but the rest of the material help up well. More importantly, I didn't get one blister.
 

Bob P

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
First timer, leaving April 3rd from SJPDP
My Altra's usually fall apart at 1000 miles, but are pretty much worn out at 600 miles. In 2018, I bought two pairs in advance, tested both, trained in one pair, wore other pair for Frances/Finisterre plus about another 200K and they were ready for the trash.

Now, 12 pairs later, I just wear the shoes for hiking until the cushion is gone.
After being decent hiking shoes, I wear them for garden and yard work until they fall apart, but that's WAY past when you should be trekking with them.
 
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Jagdev D.

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April 2022
I'm going with Altra Lone Peaks. I do like Hokas too!
@Sirron ,
I`m not and never was associated with any shoe company , but,
I did my Camino May/June this year from SJPP , in ALTRA OLYMPUS 4 ,and I swear by them . I have approximately 1100/1200 kms , at home and on the CF , and they are still going strong. My problem is that they are hard to find in Toronto area, and are expensive when you order on Amazon and they are shipped from US.
I also had second pair ALTRA SUPERIOR 4.5 with me , but never use them on the Camino Frances .
I wore ALTRA OLYMPUS 4 at home before the Camino by walking in them around 100 kms in approximately two weeks.
Good Luck and,
Buen Camino ! 🇨🇦
 
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Roland49

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF2019, CP2022?
I broke in my full leather boots for about 100km on small hikes in the local mountains. The first 50km while not carrying a backpack, the last 50km while carrying my backpack fully loaded. The last walk was 1 week prior to my departure.
 

taigirl

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
I have a pair of shoes I like but my trip isn't for another 8-9 months. Should I buy another at some point and break them in. But how many miles (or KM lol) on a pair of shoes are too much before starting the Camino? Trying to find the sweet spot of knowing my shoes and not having them fall apart while I'm on the Camino Frances.
My thoughts are that if you need to break in shoes, they are the wrong ones. I think you should be able to find a pair that feel good as soon as you try them on. The first time I wore my Keens was walking onto the airplane. No problems, no blisters.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
I have a pair of shoes I like but my trip isn't for another 8-9 months. Should I buy another at some point and break them in. But how many miles (or KM lol) on a pair of shoes are too much before starting the Camino? Trying to find the sweet spot of knowing my shoes and not having them fall apart while I'm on the Camino Frances.
Good question: breaking in a new pair of shoes/boots is (i believe) essential. That said most modern lighter weight walking shoes do not require the kilometres/miles that the old leather boots required. My suggestion start slow - two or three km/miles at a time. Stop often and adjust the laces. As for total distance - well maybe two weeks walking should be sufficient. Good shoes will not "fall apart" in under 800km/500 miles. If they did I would be letting the supplier and manufacturer know about it very quickly.
One other point - make sure that there is sufficient inner linings. Back in 2013 I found that my new walking shoes had tissue paper thin linings and ended up with a severe foot injury. You can buy after market inner soles (3-5mm or thicker if required) at most good shoe shops or sporting goods suppliers. Cheers
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
Good shoes will not "fall apart" in under 800km/500 miles.
Mine do not fall apart in that time, but they have distinctly less cushioning than when new. That is the natural downside of starting with the extra cushioning. It is important for my metatarsalgic feet, but it might not matter to other people. I expect my non-leather shoes to be comfortable right out of the box and not need any pummeling to soften them.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
I have a pair of shoes I like but my trip isn't for another 8-9 months. Should I buy another at some point and break them in. But how many miles (or KM lol) on a pair of shoes are too much before starting the Camino? Trying to find the sweet spot of knowing my shoes and not having them fall apart while I'm on the Camino Frances.
So far as I can make out, your first camino is 2023. Enjoy the anticipation and the accumulation of tips and hints. If you want to be sure, wear the footwear you plan to use till you know it will be the right choice. Then buy another pair the same, and wear them in and keep them aside. Or put that pair aside!
My feet are mine, not yours! In fact, I found a flaw at around 500km of use (including 150km practice km at home) and alerted the company, protected my heel at the point where the flaw was, and dealt with the problem when I got home, with the company replacing my shoes when I posted them back, without grumbling. I still buy that brand. It is my own experience that leather footbeds are much more comfortable than any of the modern equivalents. I checked that out just the other day by unearthing a pair of sandals that are at least 20 years old, and I can walk in them for lots and lots of kms. You will come to know what your own feet ask of you. Wishing you a wonderful camino when the time comes.
 

Sirron

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May-July 2023
My thoughts are that if you need to break in shoes, they are the wrong ones. I think you should be able to find a pair that feel good as soon as you try them on. The first time I wore my Keens was walking onto the airplane. No problems, no blisters.
Maybe the term "break in" was wrong. What I meant was I worried about how many miles I should put on my shoes before I leave. I didn't want my shoes to fall apart half way haha.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Maybe the term "break in" was wrong. What I meant was I worried about how many miles I should put on my shoes before I leave. I didn't want my shoes to fall apart half way haha.
I find that for similar shoes to the Altras, the mid-sole has lost its resilience after about 800-1000 km of use, and the outer sole will have lost most of its tread, and even worn through in some places. The worst performance that I have experienced was that the tread had been worn away on the heels between SJPP and Najera, and the outer sole completely gone in places by the time I reached Santiago.

My view is that for Altras and similar styles of shoe, I would not want to put too many miles up before starting the Camino. If you are using a pair now in training, it is probably worth thinking about replacing them shortly before you go.
 

Sirron

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May-July 2023
I find that for similar shoes to the Altras, the mid-sole has lost its resilience after about 800-1000 km of use, and the outer sole will have lost most of its tread, and even worn through in some places. The worst performance that I have experienced was that the tread had been worn away on the heels between SJPP and Najera, and the outer sole completely gone in places by the time I reached Santiago.

My view is that for Altras and similar styles of shoe, I would not want to put too many miles up before starting the Camino. If you are using a pair now in training, it is probably worth thinking about replacing them shortly before you go.
Thank you that's what I'll do. I'll use em enough to know if they are fitting right.
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
A "Tourigrino" trip once Covid has passed, so 2023
I had the misfortune for the sole of one of my full leather boots to part company from the upper just 10 days before we were due to leave for a CF.
Perhaps it could have been fixed - I know a shoe repairer who is a craftsman - but I didn't want to risk it.
I went for a pair of Merrill Moab's and the only chance I got to use them was for a single 5 mile hike on a gravel track.
They performed superbly and have been replaced twice by the same model over the years - I alternate them with trail runners - haven't been back to leather boots since.
The only thing I do do to them is swap out the manufacturer's insoles for a more fitted version and take a spare pair of them with me on Camino.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Maybe the term "break in" was wrong. What I meant was I worried about how many miles I should put on my shoes before I leave. I didn't want my shoes to fall apart half way haha.
Hola @Sirron good quality walking shoes should not fall apart after 500 miles/800 k m. My suggestion is if you have not acquired your new walking shoes go to one of the reputable suppliers in your town/city. Explain what you are going to use the shoes for and ask for their advice. If you do not like the advice or the recommended shoes then "vote with your feet" and try another shop. Cheers
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Hola @Sirron good quality walking shoes should not fall apart after 500 miles/800 k m. My suggestion is if you have not acquired your new walking shoes go to one of the reputable suppliers in your town/city. Explain what you are going to use the shoes for and ask for their advice. If you do not like the advice or the recommended shoes then "vote with your feet" and try another shop. Cheers
I believe that @Sirron has found "the" shoes, but doesn't want to put too many miles on them before the Camino.
I have a pair of shoes I like but my trip isn't for another 8-9 months. Should I buy another at some point and break them in
 

norfolk-keith

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
I have a pair of shoes I like but my trip isn't for another 8-9 months. Should I buy another at some point and break them in. But how many miles (or KM lol) on a pair of shoes are too much before starting the Camino? Trying to find the sweet spot of knowing my shoes and not having them fall apart while I'm on the Camino Frances.
I’m walking my fifth Camino next year and rather than break in another pair of trekkers next year I’m saving my last years pair because they were so good and no blisters and I think they still have one more Camino in them. If your current pair are the same save them save your feet. Keith from Norfolk Buen Camino
 

Jagdev D.

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April 2022
I’m walking my fifth Camino next year and rather than break in another pair of trekkers next year I’m saving my last years pair because they were so good and no blisters and I think they still have one more Camino in them. If your current pair are the same save them save your feet. Keith from Norfolk Buen Camino
@norfolk-keith ,
what kind of hiking shoes you have , wish you could have mentioned the name /model of the trekker shoe. . Buen Camino to all.
 
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Amused212

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019 CF, 2022 CF, 2022 Finisterre-Muxia
I'm going with Altra Lone Peaks. I do like Hokas too!
I wore Hokas, probably had 50+ miles on them. If you have shoes now that you like but aren't leaving for 8-9 months, but another pair. Shoe manufacturers seem to "tweak" their shoe designs almost every year - and not always for the better. My first Camino I wore Brooks Cascadia 13. The next couple of generations were no where near as comfortable for me - that's how I ended up with the Hokas. So, if you find something you really like, but more right now even if you don't need it right now. My friend calls this buying futures.
 

iamkat

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
I used Altra Lone Peak 5 on the CF - if I knew what I know now, I would have replaced (with the identical shoe) in Leon. By the time I got to Ponferrada I knew I needed to change them, but I was walking through on a Sunday, so nothing was open. I really wanted the same shoes, and Altra are not so common in Spain. I kept on - by the time I got past Sarria every step was painful as all the cushioning had gone and in the end I found a shop selling Merrells which I bought and carried on with (but the damage to my feet was done).

Having said that - I am rather hard on my shoes. I saw other people with the same shoes, and although they had issues with the uppers and loss of tread, they went the whole distance (800k) in them.
Next time, I'll either arrange for a second pair to be picked up over halfway through, or make sure I plan ahead better...
I did like the Altra Lone Peak though, they just weren't hardwearing. I should have guessed, as I went through a pair in recreational/training walking in a couple of months, and then got a new pair to start the camino with.....
 

Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
When I find a pair of shoes that really work for me, I buy more than pair. Why? …..because models change and the next batch is frequently different. Also, the shoes will likely cost you more, if you are lucky to find them again! So when I buy a new pair, as soon as I am sure they work for me, I usually buy 3 more pair.
 

RussB

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Still planning
I'm going with Altra Lone Peaks. I do like Hokas too!
That’s what I wore , first pair fell to bits after 800km , second pair lasted until Fisterre. The soles on the first pair separated from the shoes at the heel, but can’t complain , nada blisters.
 
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RussB

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Still planning
I used Altra Lone Peak 5 on the CF - if I knew what I know now, I would have replaced (with the identical shoe) in Leon. By the time I got to Ponferrada I knew I needed to change them, but I was walking through on a Sunday, so nothing was open. I really wanted the same shoes, and Altra are not so common in Spain. I kept on - by the time I got past Sarria every step was painful as all the cushioning had gone and in the end I found a shop selling Merrells which I bought and carried on with (but the damage to my feet was done).

Having said that - I am rather hard on my shoes. I saw other people with the same shoes, and although they had issues with the uppers and loss of tread, they went the whole distance (800k) in them.
Next time, I'll either arrange for a second pair to be picked up over halfway through, or make sure I plan ahead better...
I did like the Altra Lone Peak though, they just weren't hardwearing. I should have guessed, as I went through a pair in recreational/training walking in a couple of months, and then got a new pair to start the camino with.....
I posted a fresh pair to friends in Zamora
 

Old Kiwi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
I usually get between 4000 and 5000 kilometres out of the New Balance trail runners that I wear. I usually walk 100 to 120 kilometres a week, so I wear a new pair for at least three weeks before a Camino to make sure they are ready and I have never had a problem with my feet.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2018
Depends on type of "shoe". My last two Camino walks from Porto (Central & Coastal) I walked mainly in a lightweight pair of HOKA's switching to leather walking boots on the occsional rainy day or over rough terrain.
Breaking in the HOKA's was minimal, really comfortable from day 1. Breaking in the leather boots took a couple of months of weekend walking.
If your shoe is heavy duty, then it'll need a couple of dozen miles, ideally in the wet which helps to flex the leather/fabric and shape it to your foot. I'd also advise you carry a backpack of similar weight to the one you intend to carry on your Camino.
Don't forget, your feet will give you plenty of feed-back, make sure you listen to them.
BTW, HOKAs went in the bin at about 1500km, leather boots are still going strong.
Absolutely depends on the type of the shoes. I used barefoot shoes on my Primitivo, they are good almost straightaway.
 
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Sirron

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May-July 2023
I got a brand new pair of Altra Lone Peak 5s. Put em on my feet and loved the roominess. My daughter has a make a wish trip to Disney World in October. I think I'll take them on that trip. I'll definitely get 10-15 miles a day walking there so 4-5 days of that should give me all the info I need regarding how they feel on me!
 
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Sirron

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May-July 2023
I used Altra Lone Peak 5 on the CF - if I knew what I know now, I would have replaced (with the identical shoe) in Leon. By the time I got to Ponferrada I knew I needed to change them, but I was walking through on a Sunday, so nothing was open. I really wanted the same shoes, and Altra are not so common in Spain. I kept on - by the time I got past Sarria every step was painful as all the cushioning had gone and in the end I found a shop selling Merrells which I bought and carried on with (but the damage to my feet was done).

Having said that - I am rather hard on my shoes. I saw other people with the same shoes, and although they had issues with the uppers and loss of tread, they went the whole distance (800k) in them.
Next time, I'll either arrange for a second pair to be picked up over halfway through, or make sure I plan ahead better...
I did like the Altra Lone Peak though, they just weren't hardwearing. I should have guessed, as I went through a pair in recreational/training walking in a couple of months, and then got a new pair to start the camino with.....
Did you put an insole in yours or just wear them as they came?
 

iamkat

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Did you put an insole in yours or just wear them as they came?
I first had the manufacturers insole and brought a superfeet one with me and swapped them in and out. I also bought two different pairs towards the end, as I thought that they might help. They didn’t, the shoes were too far gone for that.
 

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