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How much break-in for shoes is enough?

AnneO

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
I am just over a year out from my first Camino Frances. I recently bought a pair of hiking shoes that I like so far. However, they are not cheap and I would prefer not to have to buy another pair between now and next year. My thought was to break them in this year just enough to make sure they will work for me, but not so much that I can’t use them next year. Is this a viable plan and how much would you suggest I walk in them this year to adequately break them in? If it matters, I am also planning to bring a pair of Chacos to walk in as well. Thanks in advance.
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Depending upon the shoe, you may only get 500 to 700 miles of usage out of them (especially trail runners). You certainly do not want to “break in” a shoe for so long that it’s not usable on the Camino.

You should know immediately if the shoe works for you - there should be no need to “stretch” it to fit your foot. Any break-in should simply be a brief tryout to ensure that the shoe fits on all types of terrain (especially up and down hills), terrains, temperatures, and sock choices. Walk two good hikes with your pack on varied paths and you should have a clear idea if they will work for you. If there is any doubt, invest in another pair that will work.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Most modern hiking shoes and boots (except leather ones) don't require much, if any of a breaking in period at all.
I have trained in a pair of shoes, then bought a brand new pair of the same model for the Camino, only wearing them on a couple of walks to make sure that there were no defects in the new pair.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
It's not a matter of breaking in as it is whether the footwear will work for you and that's a combination of shoes/boots, insoles and sock choices.
No matter what, you need to walk a few 5-10 kilometre test hikes in them. That's the only way you will know and it will break them in.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Camino Frances,
2019 C. Portuguese (inland).
I bought mine two years ago. I’ve walked about 2000 km in them so far. In that time I changed the insoles once. New socks once. I plan to walk another 2000 km in them this year. They show no sign of stress or wear, hardly, and I spent about 2-3 days to ‘break them in’ when I first got them. These days they really do make them to last. So, I agree with the comment above: good shoes that fit right to begin with, the right socks and new insoles now and then, followed by lots of practice walks and hikes.
You’ll be fine Anne. Plenty of time to prepare.
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I bought mine two years ago. I’ve walked about 2000 km in them so far. In that time I changed the insoles once. New socks once. I plan to walk another 2000 km in them this year. They show no sign of stress or wear, hardly, and I spent about 2-3 days to ‘break them in’ when I first got them. These days they really do make them to last. So, I agree with the comment above: good shoes that fit right to begin with, the right socks and new insoles now and then, followed by lots of practice walks and hikes.
You’ll be fine Anne. Plenty of time to prepare.
What kind of shoes do you have?
Most won't last that long.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Most modern hiking shoes and boots (except leather ones) don't require much, if any of a breaking in period at all.
I have trained in a pair of shoes, then bought a brand new pair of the same model for the Camino, only wearing them on a couple of walks to make sure that there were no defects in the new pair.
This is what I also do. My new pair of Salomon trail runners are patiently waiting for a June departure😊

Since I started wearing trail runners years ago I rarely get a blister. Downside is that I need a new pair after about 600 km.
 

JamesVT

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2019
I am just over a year out from my first Camino Frances. I recently bought a pair of hiking shoes that I like so far. However, they are not cheap and I would prefer not to have to buy another pair between now and next year. My thought was to break them in this year just enough to make sure they will work for me, but not so much that I can’t use them next year. Is this a viable plan and how much would you suggest I walk in them this year to adequately break them in? If it matters, I am also planning to bring a pair of Chacos to walk in as well. Thanks in advance.
It goes without saying that shoes should be test driven to ensure sizing and comfort are satisfactory before starting the Camino. I vividly remember one peregrino I met who discovered while walking that his boots had been defectively sewn so that one foot was being rubbed raw by some errant internal stitching. The problem wasn’t repairable and the injury to his foot forced him to prematurely leave the Camino and return to England.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Your selection of shoes may contribute to their break in and also their break down. My husband wears the "Fresh Foam" kind of trail runners from NewBalance. He is a large man and also walks in such a way that the outside sole breaks down. These shoes are the most comfortable for him to walk in, however, they don't last very long before the are canted to one size. He knows his size and style so always has a new pair on hand which require no break in.

I also purchase the same brand and style of shoes (LaSportiva for me) and keep a new pair in the closet which require no break in, however, heaven help us when they change the last or quit making the show!

We also have boots which are much longer lasting and used for winter and mountain hiking and winter caminos. They did not require a break in period. They last much longer and Phil's can be resoled if needed.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Once the shoe upper is flexible and conforms to your foot without rubbing, it is broken in. Also, you should wear the footwear with the exact socks you plan to wear. The combination affects how the footwear fits, rubs or not, and how comfortable your foot is.

Experiment beforehand, but not so much that you reduce the wear remaining while you are out on Camino. Remember, everyone's feet are different. How they wear shoes is different and your mileage may vary according to your walking style.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 

NYSE

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances & Camino Finisterre/Muxia April 2019
I am just over a year out from my first Camino Frances. I recently bought a pair of hiking shoes that I like so far. However, they are not cheap and I would prefer not to have to buy another pair between now and next year. My thought was to break them in this year just enough to make sure they will work for me, but not so much that I can’t use them next year. Is this a viable plan and how much would you suggest I walk in them this year to adequately break them in? If it matters, I am also planning to bring a pair of Chacos to walk in as well. Thanks in advance.
Salomon X-ultra out of box and onto the trail.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
I am just over a year out from my first Camino Frances. I recently bought a pair of hiking shoes that I like so far. However, they are not cheap and I would prefer not to have to buy another pair between now and next year. My thought was to break them in this year just enough to make sure they will work for me, but not so much that I can’t use them next year. Is this a viable plan and how much would you suggest I walk in them this year to adequately break them in? If it matters, I am also planning to bring a pair of Chacos to walk in as well. Thanks in advance.
Hi Anne
I bought a pair of La Sportiva Trango GTX (very expensive I will admit) but they lasted me for 4 Caminos as well as other things. I replaced them last year and am about to head off for my fifth Camino next month. I guess you get what you pay for. I also used a pair of Teva trekking sandals for the evenings and in alberques as well as for days of light walking.
Buen Camino
Vince
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
What kind of shoes do you have?
Most won't last that long.
I must have bionic feet or something. I never have problems with my feet. I have always worn Brooks Cascadia trail runners. The pair that I have on my feet at the moment walked 1150K last year on the VDLP. I walk every day with them 7-10k sometimes more. When I get closer to my next camino in November I will walk longer distances. Thursday I go to New York to see my girls. I will pick up my new Brooks Cascadias. About 2 weeks before I stop training I will switch to the new Brooks. Then I will be off on another 1000k and will repeat the same routine. To me even though I have walked who knows how far my feet feel fine and I have no issues at all.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
These days they really do make them to last.
Some features last and others don't. It depends on what your feet need.

I use very cushioned running shoes, because these are the only ones that are comfortable enough for my feet on long distance walks. (I have very mobile foot bones and wear custom orthotics for support.) I am not particularly hard on my shoes, and after about 600 km, they still look great, but I notice that my feet seems sorer and more beat up after 15-km walks than they used to. When I get a new pair of the same shoe, I can compare the old and the new, and feel the difference. With the new shoes my feet recover for another few hundred km. My old feet might be more sensitive than yours, but this illustrates how the excellent cushioning is vulnerable to breaking down!

My shoe budget is high (several pairs each year, rarely available on sale), and I always keep a spare pair in the closet (because I need to order Wide shoes), but it is an investment in my health.
 

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2021, 2022
Depends on the shoes. Boots usually need more wear time before you leave. Trail running shoes are usually pretty trail ready when you get them. Even with trail running shoes though - I make sure to go on at least 5 many mile hikes to be sure they work well for me. Even when you buy the same brand - there could be manufacturing variances that make one pair less comfortable.
 

Scott Sweeney

Veteran Member
I am just over a year out from my first Camino Frances. I recently bought a pair of hiking shoes that I like so far. However, they are not cheap and I would prefer not to have to buy another pair between now and next year. My thought was to break them in this year just enough to make sure they will work for me, but not so much that I can’t use them next year. Is this a viable plan and how much would you suggest I walk in them this year to adequately break them in? If it matters, I am also planning to bring a pair of Chacos to walk in as well. Thanks in advance.
A good pair of boots should not need a break in time. I recently went back to keens, I'm retired and I have been thru a couple hundred miles with no complaints from my feet. I buy my boots to fit I don't subscribe to the half size larger. There is videos on lacing a boot. To me that one of the most important things to learn.
 

Richard of York

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021, 2022
I met a Belgian on the Francés who had walked from his front door. He had chosen a Decathlon shoe he liked because he knew he could replace like with like as Decathlon is all over Europe. I got my shoes at El Corte Inglés in Pamplona before I met him, and they lasted me the trip. There are now holes by my little toes but they are very comfy and you can't see the holes if I wear black socks. They are a brand called Merrell, and it says "Vibram" on the sole. That's all I can tell you. They are too cold to wear in England.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2017
I must have bionic feet or something. I never have problems with my feet. I have always worn Brooks Cascadia trail runners. The pair that I have on my feet at the moment walked 1150K last year on the VDLP. I walk every day with them 7-10k sometimes more. When I get closer to my next camino in November I will walk longer distances. Thursday I go to New York to see my girls. I will pick up my new Brooks Cascadias. About 2 weeks before I stop training I will switch to the new Brooks. Then I will be off on another 1000k and will repeat the same routine. To me even though I have walked who knows how far my feet feel fine and I have no issues at all.
When I hiked the Camino (CF) in the spring of 2017, I wore Saucony model Peregrine 6 trail runners. I loved them so much that when I came home I went straight to REI and bought another pair to keep until my next Camino. I had a 80 km (50 mile) break-in period. No blisters. Meanwhile, It56ny, I, too, wear Brooks Cascadia. They are perfect for the Cascade and Chuckanut Mountain ranges, and for some strange reason they always look new even though my daily mileage is somewhat similar to yours. Okay, confession: I walk in them every other day. Maybe this summer I'll get rid of that "Covid 20" . . .
 
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walkinglover

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, '16 and '18; Portuguese '17; Ingles - 19
I am just over a year out from my first Camino Frances. I recently bought a pair of hiking shoes that I like so far. However, they are not cheap and I would prefer not to have to buy another pair between now and next year. My thought was to break them in this year just enough to make sure they will work for me, but not so much that I can’t use them next year. Is this a viable plan and how much would you suggest I walk in them this year to adequately break them in? If it matters, I am also planning to bring a pair of Chacos to walk in as well. Thanks in advance.
Do a few long walks, 10-12 miles. Your feet will develop callouses and the shoe will conform to you foot better. I walk in shoes that have hundreds of miles on them before I start a Camino.
 

Richard of York

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021, 2022
I choose my shoes by whether they're comfortable the moment I put them on. OK If they're leather I can see there's a need to break them in, but if they're made of plastic they aren't going to change. This is why Decathlon is good, they have little hills and rocks in the shoe aisle you can walk up and down.
 

mark stevens

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
back on the Frances in May 2022
I am just over a year out from my first Camino Frances. I recently bought a pair of hiking shoes that I like so far. However, they are not cheap and I would prefer not to have to buy another pair between now and next year. My thought was to break them in this year just enough to make sure they will work for me, but not so much that I can’t use them next year. Is this a viable plan and how much would you suggest I walk in them this year to adequately break them in? If it matters, I am also planning to bring a pair of Chacos to walk in as well. Thanks in advance.
Agree with most of the comments. I use a German boot called Meindl. they are a bit expensive but they really do give you a lot of km before they need replacing. I did 2 camino in my first pair which I now use for gardening ! my new pair didnt need breaking in as I make sure I get the sizing. I always get a size bigger as I wear thick Moreno wool socks. I change my socks once each day to a fresh dry pair and by doing that I don't get blisters. In a nutshell I have found a boot and a system that works for me. everyone is different so you just have to find a good fitted boot that works for you then work on your socks and you'll be good to go. I know people that have walked in cheap boots and they always end up paying the price...
 
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F

Former member 99942

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Thanks for all the great advice! I appreciate this community so much.
I’ll be out there next year as well about this time and I’ve also been experimenting with different shoes. Looks like you went with boots. Those typically last a while so I wouldn’t worry about wearing them down.

If it were me I would walk about 100-200km in them now, shelve them, and break them out again about a month prior to going just to make sure nothings changed.

Anyway good luck.
 

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