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Indicators of a great shoe fit

LizziM

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, July 2015
What I've learned so far from reading these forums is that the right shoes are crucial for a good Camino experience.

I would like to know how you know when you have the right shoes.

My feet are somewhat duck shaped - wide at the ball, and quite narrow at the heel. What seems to happen is that my big toe is either hitting the end, or there is too much heel slippage. I have ladies' size 11 feet, which means that I am usually shopping from the men's section.

I've tried on exactly 29 pairs of shoes so far, and exchanged them 3 times. The first were the merrel moabs that everyone raves about on this forum. They were awkwardly shaped for my feet. The second were salomons, but a half size too small. I exchanged them for a half size larger. I think I may have found the right pair. They are salomon trail shoes... light weight, breathable, flexible.

I've been wearing them around town but have not yet worn them on a longer hike. So far they seem great, though there is a small amount of slippage in my right heel. How much slippage is too much? How can I predict whether this will become a problem down the road? Will certain socks help? Insoles?

Liz
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
It seems like you are aware of all the issues. Your size would mean limited selection in women`s shoes, and the Salomon is a great shoe for the wide foot, narrow heel. I have that type of foot but in a smaller size. My sister-in-law wears your size and has similarly searched high and low, finally choosing a Salomon as well. I`m sorry I can`t help you with a simple way to predict how they`ll work in the long run - you`ll just have to experiment with socks, inner soles, lacing techniques, etc. Good luck and welcome to the forum!
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
What I've learned so far from reading these forums is that the right shoes are crucial for a good Camino experience.

I would like to know how you know when you have the right shoes.

My feet are somewhat duck shaped - wide at the ball, and quite narrow at the heel. What seems to happen is that my big toe is either hitting the end, or there is too much heel slippage. I have ladies' size 11 feet, which means that I am usually shopping from the men's section.

I've tried on exactly 29 pairs of shoes so far, and exchanged them 3 times. The first were the merrel moabs that everyone raves about on this forum. They were awkwardly shaped for my feet. The second were salomons, but a half size too small. I exchanged them for a half size larger. I think I may have found the right pair. They are salomon trail shoes... light weight, breathable, flexible.

I've been wearing them around town but have not yet worn them on a longer hike. So far they seem great, though there is a small amount of slippage in my right heel. How much slippage is too much? How can I predict whether this will become a problem down the road? Will certain socks help? Insoles?

Liz

Start with a few long walks, if it doesn't give you blister then the heel slippage is not too much, find out now before you go to Spain. As far as socks go, start your Camino with fresh new socks of your choice, anything with considerable use will break down from daily hand washing and slip around your feet and create more blisters.
When it comes to insoles, I started with Superfeet Green insoles, they worked Ok, for my next Camino, I am testing out SOLES brand insoles (you heat them in a microwave and form them to your feet) and like these better than Superfeet.
 
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ricitosdeplata

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
09/2015: Via de la Plata
When I started walking the"hills" setting on the gym's treadmill, I developed blisters in 2 areas that had never been a problem. Developed a hot spot on a toe when I started walking in hotter weather.

Lesson being, try different conditions to see how your feet respond. And it might not just be a matter of the shoe.

I fixed the problems with filing rough spots on big toe and always taping it, smoothed rough callus on a side blister, and put a spacer between toes for the developing pinch blister. No problems since with preventive measures.

Btw my shoes are 1 size bigger than I normally wear.
 

LizziM

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, July 2015
When it comes to insoles, I started with Superfeet Green insoles, they worked Ok, for my next Camino, I am testing out SOLES brand insoles (you heat them in a microwave and form them to your feet) and like these better than Superfeet.

Thanks! I like the idea of insoles that form to the feet. I suspect that the right insoles might be a big help, since no matter what size the shoe is, my right foot seems to slide forward and my toe hits the end, and the gap appears at the heel instead of the toe. I see the same pattern on my birkenstocks... they are worn at the inner corner of the big toe. I wonder if the right insole would keep that foot in place.
 

LizziM

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, July 2015
I fixed the problems with filing rough spots on big toe and always taping it, smoothed rough callus on a side blister, and put a spacer between toes for the developing pinch blister. No problems since with preventive measures.

Is it just the standard first aid tape that you use? The kind that's used to tape gauze in place?
 

LizziM

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, July 2015
It seems like you are aware of all the issues. Your size would mean limited selection in women`s shoes, and the Salomon is a great shoe for the wide foot, narrow heel. I have that type of foot but in a smaller size. My sister-in-law wears your size and has similarly searched high and low, finally choosing a Salomon as well. I`m sorry I can`t help you with a simple way to predict how they`ll work in the long run - you`ll just have to experiment with socks, inner soles, lacing techniques, etc. Good luck and welcome to the forum!

Thanks, C clearly. This makes me feel that I am on the right track... :)
 

ricitosdeplata

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
09/2015: Via de la Plata
LizziM, the tape I'm using is a 3M Durapore. It doesn't seem to stretch so it's good enough to work as a mini-girdle for the fat between my big toe and the next one. It doesn't seem to stretch when walking. I make sure to overlap it a bit on the upper side of my foot since I don't want to create a point of friction I'm walking on. I had tried a toe spacer but never was able to get used to it. I make sure the tape isn't too tight before I go out on the road.

I couldn't copy the link but you might try looking for the "lace lock" or "heel lock" method for tying your shoelaces. This method is supposed to help keep your heel in place.
 
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LizziM

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, July 2015
LizziM, the tape I'm using is a 3M Durapore. It doesn't seem to stretch so it's good enough to work as a mini-girdle for the fat between my big toe and the next one. It doesn't seem to stretch when walking. I make sure to overlap it a bit on the upper side of my foot since I don't want to create a point of friction I'm walking on. I had tried a toe spacer but never was able to get used to it. I make sure the tape isn't too tight before I go out on the road.

I couldn't copy the link but you might try looking for the "lace lock" or "heel lock" method for tying your shoelaces. This method is supposed to help keep your heel in place.

Thanks Ricitosdeplata. :)

I'm an experienced runner, so I am familiar with these lacing techniques. The salomon trail shoes I just bought do not have the extra lacing holes that most running shoes have, so that technique doesn't seem to be as effective on these shoes as it is on my runners.

I use new balance shoes for running, though I've been looking at hiking and trail shoes for the camino, since I hear that they have more durable soles and more support.

I wonder if I should investigate the new balance trail runners and trade in the salomons.
 

ricitosdeplata

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
09/2015: Via de la Plata
I thought the Patagonia Tsali 3 would be my choice, but influenced by Magwood ' s comment about walking on large rocks I got some Saucony Xodus 3 which have Vebram outsoles with heavy duty lugs. I was able to get both shoes online at a great price. Will be interested in Donna ' s feedback about the Vdlp terrain.

Still have time to decide on which shoe to take so haven't walked in the Saucony s yet. Still in my older pair of Xodus while training.
 

edandjoan

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
St. Gallen to Muxia
2012-2018
I haven't read all responses...
But, I have a wide foot as does my daughter and she wears a size 11.
I do like New Balance for running but have gone to the Altra. They are wide in the ball of the foot area. I haven't bought or tried their trail runners, but love the road shoes. I have worn New Balance Leadville 1210 on the camino and they were very good for the 900K we walked. I did change the insert half way. I took Sofsole thin fit insoles to change half way. And that worked well.
Keens do run wide, but I haven't felt good in them when going long distance..I have a pair and do like then for short hikes. I have wanted to like Merrell, but just not wide enough in the foot.
My opinion is shoes need to feel good out of the box and after an hour of wearing them around the house. I also look for side seams in the toe area that could rubbing and cause a problem. I also do not like a lot of toe to heel drop but find vibram soles wear better on the trail and road.
One last thought, gortex is Hot in the summer and personally I stay away from it. If it rains your feet will get wet reguardless....
Hope that helps and you find some great shoes for your feet!
 
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whariwharangi

Guest
What I've learned so far from reading these forums is that the right shoes are crucial for a good Camino experience.

I would like to know how you know when you have the right shoes.

My feet are somewhat duck shaped - wide at the ball, and quite narrow at the heel. What seems to happen is that my big toe is either hitting the end, or there is too much heel slippage. I have ladies' size 11 feet, which means that I am usually shopping from the men's section.

I've tried on exactly 29 pairs of shoes so far, and exchanged them 3 times. The first were the merrel moabs that everyone raves about on this forum. They were awkwardly shaped for my feet. The second were salomons, but a half size too small. I exchanged them for a half size larger. I think I may have found the right pair. They are salomon trail shoes... light weight, breathable, flexible.

I've been wearing them around town but have not yet worn them on a longer hike. So far they seem great, though there is a small amount of slippage in my right heel. How much slippage is too much? How can I predict whether this will become a problem down the road? Will certain socks help? Insoles?

Liz

Go for a 4 hour hike on rolling terrain. If your feet are blistered after that then the shoes are not the right fit.
 
Past OR future Camino
2021
Hi Lizzi, it looks like you have your shoe issue sorted but you might like to try on some Scarpas if you get an opportunity. I too have a woman’s foot that is size 11 and have to buy mens shoes for caminos to give me an extra size up. For 3 of my longer caminos I have worn Scarpas. This brand has been the only 'male shoe' that feels right on my foot (but I do understand they may not be right for you).
 

Kev

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept-Oct 2015
Camino Portuguese Sept-Oct 2018
Camino Portuguese Oct 2020
New Balance Shoes on an SL-2 Shoe last which is narrow at the heel and wide at the front with a very deep toe box.

I also had an issue finding properly fitting boots. I was queued in by staff at REI to look into New Balance hikers... Best boot purchase ever, they fit my feet perfectly and are lightweight also.
 

ricitosdeplata

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
09/2015: Via de la Plata
Here's something I've been thinking about every time I read that the presence of blisters mean the shoes aren't right. Why is that so? Aren't there physical aspects of your feet that cause blisters. My thinking comes partly from my own experience with my own foot issues and from what I've been reading.

Pinch blisters are the ones you get when one toe overlaps over its adjacent toe. With repeated injury of long hikes blisters appear that don't usually when mileage is lower.
Morton ' s toe, or a longer second toe, causes calluses near the ball
of your foot. These calluses are a common site of blisters.
Rough calluses on other areas on your feet can increase shearing forces that lead to blisters.
Morton ' s toe and improperly clipped toenails can also be a site for blisters on the tips of your toes.
Shoe width may cause problems but there are things like spacers, taping and other methods called for, no matter what shoe you're wearing.
I found the book Fix Your Feet to be helpful.
 
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LizziM

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, July 2015
Here's something I've been thinking about every time I read that the presence of blisters mean the shoes aren't right. Why is that so? Aren't there physical aspects of your feet that cause blisters. My thinking comes partly from my own experience with my own foot issues and from what I've been reading.

Pinch blisters are the ones you get when one toe overlaps over its adjacent toe. With repeated injury of long hikes blisters appear that don't usually when mileage is lower.
Morton ' s toe, or a longer second toe, causes calluses near the ball
of your foot. These calluses are a common site of blisters.
Rough calluses on other areas on your feet can increase shearing forces that lead to blisters.
Morton ' s toe and improperly clipped toenails can also be a site for blisters on the tips of your toes.
Shoe width may cause problems but there are things like spacers, taping and other methods called for, no matter what shoe you're wearing.
I found the book Fix Your Feet to be helpful.

I have Morton's toes!
Yesterday, on a very hot day, I hiked 24km. I developed a blister on the second toe of my right foot, at the tip, just beyond where the second toe touches the big toe. I can see that it's there from the slight pinching that happens when these toes are pressed together.

I'm pretty sure that I have the right shoes (New balance trail runners). There is plenty of room in the toe box, and no other discomfort or hot spots.

Taking your advice that certain issues, like this toe problem, will happen no matter how well your shoes fit, I want to investigate spacers and taping techniques. I was actually thinking as I was walking yesterday that a toe spacer could be the right solution, if it's the right material and fits properly.

Are spacers something that one would buy, or make? What are they usually made from?
 

LizziM

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, July 2015
I have Morton's toes!
Yesterday, on a very hot day, I hiked 24km. I developed a blister on the second toe of my right foot, at the tip, just beyond where the second toe touches the big toe. I can see that it's there from the slight pinching that happens when these toes are pressed together.

I'm pretty sure that I have the right shoes (New balance trail runners). There is plenty of room in the toe box, and no other discomfort or hot spots.

Taking your advice that certain issues, like this toe problem, will happen no matter how well your shoes fit, I want to investigate spacers and taping techniques. I was actually thinking as I was walking yesterday that a toe spacer could be the right solution, if it's the right material and fits properly.

Are spacers something that one would buy, or make? What are they usually made from?

I should add that I'm beginning the Camino in just over a week. I'm a bit distressed about encountering this issue now, but hopefully there's a still time to sort out some solutions.
 

LauraK

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Leon-Santiago (2004) Roncesvalles-Leon (2006) Camino Frances (2012) Kumano Kodo-Japan (2014) Camino Sanabres/Salamanca-Santiago (March 2015) Camino Del Salvador and Camino Primativo (Oct 2015)
I should add that I'm beginning the Camino in just over a week. I'm a bit distressed about encountering this issue now, but hopefully there's a still time to sort out some solutions.
LizziM: I had the same problem on previous caminos then I found a great liner sock by Injinji...they have five separate toes. I use a product called "glide" on my feet first then use the sock as a liner sock under my main sock. Never had a blister or problem once I started to use this method. It is much easier than trying to tape the toes. You can get both products at sporting goods stores for runners or hiking.
 
Last edited:
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LauraK

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Leon-Santiago (2004) Roncesvalles-Leon (2006) Camino Frances (2012) Kumano Kodo-Japan (2014) Camino Sanabres/Salamanca-Santiago (March 2015) Camino Del Salvador and Camino Primativo (Oct 2015)
Perhaps you could save weight, and not bring the casino each time!!
Ha ha! Love spell checker...it creates a lot of humor for everyone from us dumb ones that don't read our posts before we hit send:)! Or could it be a Freudian slip...what you get on the camino is a gamble, isn't it?
 

ricitosdeplata

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
09/2015: Via de la Plata
I have never needed to look closely at them, but I've noticed various toe spacers available in pharmacies. Have a look in the footcare section.
I've bought gel spacers at a large grocery store, too. Pedifix visco gel toe spacers were the brand. I have cut them in half for one foot. You might also look for gel tips. They are a stockinette tubular fabric lined with gel that fit onto the tip of your toe like a little toe glove. I have tried injinji socks but don't like the way they feel.
 
Last edited:

azzy

New Member
Past OR future Camino
june (2016)
How about shoes for June walking from Porto the costal way? Do i need boots, ankle support or lightweight trekkers.
 

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