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Is this a new type of shoe? “Hybrid hiker”

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Or is it just a “trail runner on steroids”?

Do our shoe gurus have any first hand knowledge?


If you don’t want to read the whole article, here’s the first paragraph:

SOMEWHERE IN the liminal space between beefy hiking boots and look-at-me sneakers, you will find Roa’s trail shoes. The 6-year-old Italian label produces fetching footwear that shouts high design more than it does high altitude. Mesh panels add shimmer to sneakers while the sides of an ankle-high boot sport curious green “grass” splotches. But the designs also incorporate trail-conquering tech like tractiony Vibram soles and water-repellent nylon. Ringing in at about $250 and up, Roa’s hoity hybrid hikers don’t come cheap.


Roa is among a handful of brands now offering elevated sneaker-boots. Last year New Balance collaborated with Japanese outdoor label Snow Peak on a space-agey $300 shoe. At slightly less gulp-inducing prices, Nike last year released the Mountain Fly, a shapely $220 Gore-Tex sneaker, as part of its outdoor-focused ACG line, and Reebok has introduced the $180 rubberized DMX Trail Shadow sneaker, inspired by archival designs from the 2000s. While less extravagant than, say, Balenciaga sneakers ($975), these shoes still cost more than the outdoorsy footwear you can pick up at any REI: from Timberland’s Mt. Maddsen boot ($100) to Salomon’s Outline hiking shoe ($130). The question arises: Is a high-price, hybrid sneaker-hiker worth the investment?
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
The question arises: Is a high-price, hybrid sneaker-hiker worth the investment?
Up to a halfway reasonable price - say US$250 - it may be worth it if that specific design provides comfort for your specific foot, that is not available in a cheaper shoe. I find it hard to find shoes that cause no discomfort in long walks. When I find one, then I ask the price.

I am currently testing the Hoka Bondi 7 in two sizes, and coincidentally in two colours - one is orthopedic black-on-black, and the other is summery sky-blue-on-peach. I might go for the orthpedic look since it is not so eye-catching. I hereby declare it to be...
stylish enough for the city and functional enough for the trail
 
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henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Oh the shame! All this time, I've been participating in the virtual camino threads in my house slippers.
Now I feel like the guy who wore a lounge suit to a black tie event.
Sombre and sombrero are easy to confuse - but if you turn up at the funeral ...
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Speaking of shoes, I think that these are perfect for the Camino.

cbccac893bb5c5060f95d30b22e3184e_2560.jpg

 
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I have no idea what shoes I’ll wear on the Camino, but I’ve paid close to $200 for some trail runners and hiking boots and would happily pay $300 if they were well made and would keep my feet, hips and low back happy on the trail for a good long while. Good shoes have been game changers for me. That said, not all the good shoes I’ve had have been pricey. I just picked up some New Balance shoes at REI that are good for fitness walking. They seem to be helping and were on sale for $80. I picked that shoe after trying several and then checked the price- expecting sticker shock! I'll be replacing my hiking boots this year and I have had my eye on a pair by Hoka, but just not sure what’s best where I do most of my hiking here in Arizona. I was a California resident when I bought my last boots and the temps and terrain are different. I am thinking of test driving some sandals with toe protection for the warmer months.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Speaking of shoes, I think that these are perfect for the Camino.

View attachment 96121

That double pointed yellow arrow on the the sole Is great; no matter which way you go you'll be on top of it and, of course, always following the arrows.
 
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John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
This guide is one of the ones that has been around for over 15 years. Updated yearly. Please read the reviews.

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Or is it just a “trail runner on steroids”?

Do our shoe gurus have any first hand knowledge?


If you don’t want to read the whole article, here’s the first paragraph:

SOMEWHERE IN the liminal space between beefy hiking boots and look-at-me sneakers, you will find Roa’s trail shoes. The 6-year-old Italian label produces fetching footwear that shouts high design more than it does high altitude. Mesh panels add shimmer to sneakers while the sides of an ankle-high boot sport curious green “grass” splotches. But the designs also incorporate trail-conquering tech like tractiony Vibram soles and water-repellent nylon. Ringing in at about $250 and up, Roa’s hoity hybrid hikers don’t come cheap.


Roa is among a handful of brands now offering elevated sneaker-boots. Last year New Balance collaborated with Japanese outdoor label Snow Peak on a space-agey $300 shoe. At slightly less gulp-inducing prices, Nike last year released the Mountain Fly, a shapely $220 Gore-Tex sneaker, as part of its outdoor-focused ACG line, and Reebok has introduced the $180 rubberized DMX Trail Shadow sneaker, inspired by archival designs from the 2000s. While less extravagant than, say, Balenciaga sneakers ($975), these shoes still cost more than the outdoorsy footwear you can pick up at any REI: from Timberland’s Mt. Maddsen boot ($100) to Salomon’s Outline hiking shoe ($130). The question arises: Is a high-price, hybrid sneaker-hiker worth the investment?

Finding the right shoe and fit is always a challenge for me. I wore Vasque Sundowner leather hiking boots for many years
.

I have been a Vasque shoe fan for 30 years. Started with the Sundowner boots which fit my feet perfectly. Then when they came out with the low cut Breeze leather about 20+ years ago I wore those for hiking and these were also perfect for my feet.

But when I trained for my first camino, I quickly realized the shoes were too heavy tor 20km at a faster pace on a camino. In contrast, on narrow mountain trails sure-footedness was a priority for me. So, for caminos I switched to a newer Vasque model in 2014. The vasque velocity which was a lightweight, Gortex, non-leather low cut shoe with a hard Vibram bottom were perfect. Had two pairs.
The Velocities were discontinued 😟. The Inhaler I&II replaced the Velocity, non gortex- I went through 3pairs, before they were discontinued. Again hard Vibram bottom, but a little less room between the toes and the top of the shoe.

No other models fit-my foot well. The newer models are trail runners, Now they have a disasterous lite low Breeze Model..... soft bottom souls and comprimised support. Not even similar to original feel.

I tried Merrill Moabs on one camino, and by the time I got to SdC My upper feet were black and blue and painful to walk

I contacted Vasque about getting new bottom souls for my old shoes ...but they only do it for leather shoes. no other Vasque model is working!

I have large feet so I buy a man’s 11 to 11.5 in a regular width.

Wondering if any Vasque user has transitioned to another shoe?
Maybe, I am desperate enough to 🤭🤭pay $300.00!!
 
Last edited:
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Finding the right shoe and fit is always a challenge for me. Iused Vasque Sundowner leather hiking boots for manyyears. Then switched to low cut Breezeshoes. They then began making the


I am desperate for a new pair of shoes! And no, I absolutely do not want to spend 300 bucks for a pair of shoes... 150 to a max of 200 dollars should be sufficient. Right?

I have been a Vasque shoe fan for 30 years. Started with the Sundowner boots which fit my feet perfectly. Then when they came out with the low cut Breeze leather about 20+ years ago I wore those for hiking and these were also perfect for my feet.

But when I trained for my first camino, I quickly realized the shoes were too heavy tor 20km at a faster pace on a camino. In contrast, on narrow mountain trails sure-footedness was a priority for me. So, for caminos I switched to a newer Vasque model in 2014. The vasque velocity which was a lightweight, Gortex, non-leather low cut shoe with a hard Vibram bottom were perfect. Had two pairs. They were discontinued 😟. The Inhaler I&II replaced the Velocity, non gortex- went through 3pairs, before they were discontinued. Again hard Vibram bottom, but a little less room between the toes and the top of the shoe. Perhaps little less boxy. No other models fit-my foot well. The newer models are trail runners, A lite low breeze, with soft bottom souls and comprimised support. Not even similar to original feel .

I tried Merrill Moabs on one camino, and by the time I got to SdC My upper feet were black and blue and painful to walk

I contacted Vasque about getting new bottom souls for my old shoes ...but they only do it for leather shoes. no other Vasque model is working!

I have large feet so I buy a man’s 11 to 11.5 in a regular width.

Wondering if any Vasque user has transitioned to another shoe?
Maybe, I am desperate enough to 🤭🤭pay $300.00!!
Vasque makes great hiking boots. I love vibram soles. I hate when a beloved boot or shoe is discontinued or no longer works. Good luck!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos Francais: 2002, 2012, 2019. (Future Ingles, Primitivo, Portuguese in 2021)
Or is it just a “trail runner on steroids”?

Do our shoe gurus have any first hand knowledge?


If you don’t want to read the whole article, here’s the first paragraph:

SOMEWHERE IN the liminal space between beefy hiking boots and look-at-me sneakers, you will find Roa’s trail shoes. The 6-year-old Italian label produces fetching footwear that shouts high design more than it does high altitude. Mesh panels add shimmer to sneakers while the sides of an ankle-high boot sport curious green “grass” splotches. But the designs also incorporate trail-conquering tech like tractiony Vibram soles and water-repellent nylon. Ringing in at about $250 and up, Roa’s hoity hybrid hikers don’t come cheap.


Roa is among a handful of brands now offering elevated sneaker-boots. Last year New Balance collaborated with Japanese outdoor label Snow Peak on a space-agey $300 shoe. At slightly less gulp-inducing prices, Nike last year released the Mountain Fly, a shapely $220 Gore-Tex sneaker, as part of its outdoor-focused ACG line, and Reebok has introduced the $180 rubberized DMX Trail Shadow sneaker, inspired by archival designs from the 2000s. While less extravagant than, say, Balenciaga sneakers ($975), these shoes still cost more than the outdoorsy footwear you can pick up at any REI: from Timberland’s Mt. Maddsen boot ($100) to Salomon’s Outline hiking shoe ($130). The question arises: Is a high-price, hybrid sneaker-hiker worth the investment?
My Hoka One One Challenger 6 ATR are not gulp-inducing for $127.00 from Zappos, and that really is my ticket limit for fabrication designed to protect my feet (although barefoot walkers do have my respect!). However, everything designed to get me on my next Camino has fought gravity and trickled upwards in price. I will take the Hokas, an Ecco sandal and a TEVA sandal on next Camino(s) and none of them under $100. Those investments shall provide me confidence that the next step I take on my local or Camino trail will ensure pain-free foot protection and comfort in my stride and on my journey.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Up to a halfway reasonable price - say US$250 - it may be worth it if that specific design provides comfort for your specific foot, that is not available in a cheaper shoe. I find it hard to find shoes that cause no discomfort in long walks. When I find one, then I ask the price.

I am currently testing the Hoka Bondi 7 in two sizes, and coincidentally in two colours - one is orthopedic black-on-black, and the other is summery sky-blue-on-peach. I might go for the orthpedic look since it is not so eye-catching. I hereby declare it to be...
Up to a halfway reasonable price - say US$250 - it may be worth it if that specific design provides comfort for your specific foot, that is not available in a cheaper shoe. I find it hard to find shoes that cause no discomfort in long walks. When I find one, then I ask the price.

I am currently testing the Hoka Bondi 7 in two sizes, and coincidentally in two colours - one is orthopedic black-on-black, and the other is summery sky-blue-on-peach. I might go for the orthpedic look since it is not so eye-catching. I hereby declare it to be...
I have a terrible bunion on the right foot... but I found my ideal shoes !!My third pair of Salomon
Up to a halfway reasonable price - say US$250 - it may be worth it if that specific design provides comfort for your specific foot, that is not available in a cheaper shoe. I find it hard to find shoes that cause no discomfort in long walks. When I find one, then I ask the price.

I am currently testing the Hoka Bondi 7 in two sizes, and coincidentally in two colours - one is orthopedic black-on-black, and the other is summery sky-blue-on-peach. I might go for the orthpedic look since it is not so eye-catching. I hereby declare it to be...
i have a huge bunion on my right foot .. I wear my 3 rd pair Salomon shoes X ULTRA 4 ( no goretex) .. this the new version !Even more confortable than the XULTRA 3 old model
130€ .. and not a single blister !
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Up to a halfway reasonable price - say US$250 - it may be worth it if that specific design provides comfort for your specific foot, that is not available in a cheaper shoe. I find it hard to find shoes that cause no discomfort in long walks. When I find one, then I ask the price.

I am currently testing the Hoka Bondi 7 in two sizes, and coincidentally in two colours - one is orthopedic black-on-black, and the other is summery sky-blue-on-peach. I might go for the orthpedic look since it is not so eye-catching. I hereby declare it to be...
Would love if you gave us a report at the end of your testing.
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Finding the right shoe and fit is always a challenge for me. Iused Vasque Sundowner leather hiking boots for manyyears. Then switched to low cut Breezeshoes. They then began making the


I am desperate for a new pair of shoes! And no, I absolutely do not want to spend 300 bucks for a pair of shoes... 150 to a max of 200 dollars should be sufficient. Right?

I have been a Vasque shoe fan for 30 years. Started with the Sundowner boots which fit my feet perfectly. Then when they came out with the low cut Breeze leather about 20+ years ago I wore those for hiking and these were also perfect for my feet.

But when I trained for my first camino, I quickly realized the shoes were too heavy tor 20km at a faster pace on a camino. In contrast, on narrow mountain trails sure-footedness was a priority for me. So, for caminos I switched to a newer Vasque model in 2014. The vasque velocity which was a lightweight, Gortex, non-leather low cut shoe with a hard Vibram bottom were perfect. Had two pairs. They were discontinued 😟. The Inhaler I&II replaced the Velocity, non gortex- went through 3pairs, before they were discontinued. Again hard Vibram bottom, but a little less room between the toes and the top of the shoe. Perhaps little less boxy. No other models fit-my foot well. The newer models are trail runners, Now theyhave a disasterous lite low breeze, with soft bottom souls and comprimised support. Not even similar to original feel.

I tried Merrill Moabs on one camino, and by the time I got to SdC My upper feet were black and blue and painful to walk

I contacted Vasque about getting new bottom souls for my old shoes ...but they only do it for leather shoes. no other Vasque model is working!

I have large feet so I buy a man’s 11 to 11.5 in a regular width.

Wondering if any Vasque user has transitioned to another shoe?
Maybe, I am desperate enough to 🤭🤭pay $300.00!!
I am no expert at all on what you need to keep your feet safe and happy. I assume you have not walked a camino yet. You are in for a treat. Of course everyone's feet, needs, and preferences are different. Just like shoes no advice is one size feet all. I can tell you that after walking in fall and winter (I would never walk in summer and just haven't had a chance to walk in spring) and close to about 5,000 kilometers on 5 different caminos trail runners have served me so well. I have never had a need or inclination to get a boot. I wear only Brooks Cascadias and have found them to be perfect for me. I had bought my wife Hoka and she has always had foot and knee issues. Now if it was a choice of me or her Hoka's I might find myself out in the street. I just bought a pair of Speedgoat 4's. They are great and have tons of cushion. I live in a small Mexican town with the worst cobblestone streets known to man and they feel great on them. I will still wear my Cascadias as I don't want to tempt fate when I walk in October (if possible).
When it comes to sizing if you say you have big feet with size 11 or 11.5, what are my size 14's????
But for walking I always buy size 15 in wide. Amazing how even my battleships turn into aircraft carriers 4 or 500 kilometers into a walk.
The Hoka's cost me $145US and I think I paid $120US for my Brooks Cascadias.
Remember when all else fails ask @davebugg the man who invented boots, sneakers and sandals for any kind of walking.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Or is it just a “trail runner on steroids”?

Do our shoe gurus have any first hand knowledge?


If you don’t want to read the whole article, here’s the first paragraph:

SOMEWHERE IN the liminal space between beefy hiking boots and look-at-me sneakers, you will find Roa’s trail shoes. The 6-year-old Italian label produces fetching footwear that shouts high design more than it does high altitude. Mesh panels add shimmer to sneakers while the sides of an ankle-high boot sport curious green “grass” splotches. But the designs also incorporate trail-conquering tech like tractiony Vibram soles and water-repellent nylon. Ringing in at about $250 and up, Roa’s hoity hybrid hikers don’t come cheap.


Roa is among a handful of brands now offering elevated sneaker-boots. Last year New Balance collaborated with Japanese outdoor label Snow Peak on a space-agey $300 shoe. At slightly less gulp-inducing prices, Nike last year released the Mountain Fly, a shapely $220 Gore-Tex sneaker, as part of its outdoor-focused ACG line, and Reebok has introduced the $180 rubberized DMX Trail Shadow sneaker, inspired by archival designs from the 2000s. While less extravagant than, say, Balenciaga sneakers ($975), these shoes still cost more than the outdoorsy footwear you can pick up at any REI: from Timberland’s Mt. Maddsen boot ($100) to Salomon’s Outline hiking shoe ($130). The question arises: Is a high-price, hybrid sneaker-hiker worth the investment?

Maybe I shouldn't write this when I am hangry, and have skipped breakfast and am it is now a bit too early for lunch.

I do not remember which specific models of Roa I had tested a while back, but I hated them. Point blank, my unedited opinion. They were not a horrible feeling or fitting shoe, but they are not really good or bad at anything: cushioning, motion control, stability, traction, etc. It is like living in a room completely colored in beige; Bland and uninspiring.

But why did I despise them in such a visceral way? For wasting my time. For me, Roa means Regret On Arrival. It became apparent from the reactions they communicated to me about the reports I filed with them, that I was asked to gear test the two models they sent of a boot and a shoe NOT because they wanted actual QC testing, but because they thought I could lend credence to their veneer of claims about functionality for the wild.

I was upset enough with Roa that I donated their contract payment to one of the charities Jill and I support.

It is the same exact reason I despise certain models of 'stupid-lite backpacking tents, like the Big Agnes Tiger Wall Carbon. . .It was designed as a "Hey, look at me" statement, not as a significant upgrade over other functional and useful tents.

Roa stuff were not designed as real hiking or trail or distance walking or running tools; they are designed as fashion apparel. As stated by the company itself when asked about who they consider as their core consumers, "Fashion people, above all, because that is where our sales offer is the most concentrated."

Sure, they CAN function for backpacking or a Camino, but there are better choices for specific foot needs. Or even IF there are no specific foot issues. Roa and hiking footwear as fashion is reminiscent of the past when wearing military -themed clothing was de rigueur, and how some folks need those certain models of basketball sneakers as a requirement to feel complete.

Roa footwear are purposefully put on the market to grab at a customer base who are of the same type of mindset for fashion and trends that purchase a Michael Jordan Nike. It is fashion Form, not practical Function that is the focus of Roa footwear.

Some folks are blessed to be able to have non-demanding feet; fitting a shoe is never a problem, and any footwear type is just peachy-keen, from the most plush and supportive trail running shoe to wearing the skin of a dead porcupine quill side in. For these lucky folks, IF they wore Roa's the likely biggest issue would be theft of whatever model of Roa they are wearing as they sit in the common shoe storage area at an alburgue.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
Or is it just a “trail runner on steroids”?

Do our shoe gurus have any first hand knowledge?


If you don’t want to read the whole article, here’s the first paragraph:

SOMEWHERE IN the liminal space between beefy hiking boots and look-at-me sneakers, you will find Roa’s trail shoes. The 6-year-old Italian label produces fetching footwear that shouts high design more than it does high altitude. Mesh panels add shimmer to sneakers while the sides of an ankle-high boot sport curious green “grass” splotches. But the designs also incorporate trail-conquering tech like tractiony Vibram soles and water-repellent nylon. Ringing in at about $250 and up, Roa’s hoity hybrid hikers don’t come cheap.


Roa is among a handful of brands now offering elevated sneaker-boots. Last year New Balance collaborated with Japanese outdoor label Snow Peak on a space-agey $300 shoe. At slightly less gulp-inducing prices, Nike last year released the Mountain Fly, a shapely $220 Gore-Tex sneaker, as part of its outdoor-focused ACG line, and Reebok has introduced the $180 rubberized DMX Trail Shadow sneaker, inspired by archival designs from the 2000s. While less extravagant than, say, Balenciaga sneakers ($975), these shoes still cost more than the outdoorsy footwear you can pick up at any REI: from Timberland’s Mt. Maddsen boot ($100) to Salomon’s Outline hiking shoe ($130). The question arises: Is a high-price, hybrid sneaker-hiker worth the investment?
I'd love to see what those pretty little things look like after a few days of Riojan & Navarren clay adhesion. Even the rains of Galicia didn't get all traces of Navarre out of the fabric of a comfy pair of Salomons.
 
Last edited:

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
It is fashion Form, not practical Function that is the focus of Roa footwear.

I was so hoping you would post, @davebugg. I hear your opinion of Roa loud and clear.

To your way of thinking, is a “hybrid sneaker-hiker” (the term used in the article) basically the same as a trail runner? Or is it a different kettle of fish altogether? I had never heard the term “hiking sneaker” before.

There is a list of a few other brands with the same type of shoe — New Balance Snow Peak, Nike Mountain Fly, Reebok DMX Trail.

Nike doesn’t list the Mountain Fly as a trail runner on its website so I am kind of confused about how this bunch of shoes is different than trail runners.

(Not that I would ever dream of switching out of my Altra Lone Peaks :D).
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances. 2001
Via de la plata 2008
Arles -Piemonte-Frances-Cee 2014
(Bastan-Francés) 2019
I like the Altra lone Peak 4 and they’ve been the choice for my last two Caminos. They work well although the upper isn’t very durable and the shape tends to grab onto brush and trip me.
I’ve been auditioning a pair of Witten minimalist trail runners for about six months now. For me I think that is about a Camino and a half on ground that’s rougher than the average Camino track. They feel less clunky and on my feet they are very comfortable. Traction is good and the upper is more durable than the Altra. On the downside the insole that comes with the shoe is pretty useless but I always replace the stock insole with super feet green, and I recently had to reinforce the heel strike area with shoe goo.
These are a very minimalist shoe and certainly not for everybody but might be worth a try, particularly at the price. I bought one pair at $38 and thinking that I might try them on the Camino another pair a size larger that was a returned item at $24.
These are a very minimalist shoe. I haven’t used them for long distance day after day walking although I’ve had a couple individual 25 mile days and they seem to be working well.
Has anybody out there used a minimalist shoe on the Camino or do you have any advice on whether they would really be suitable for day after day long distance walking.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
To your way of thinking, is a “hybrid sneaker-hiker” (the term used in the article) basically the same as a trail runner? Or is it a different kettle of fish altogether? I had never heard the term “hiking sneaker” before.
As you said, ROA didn't invent this type of shoe, which I would call a "lightweight trail shoe that's as comfortable as your favorite sneakers."
There is a list of a few other brands with the same type of shoe — New Balance Snow Peak, Nike Mountain Fly, Reebok DMX Trail.
 

Walton

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
I am currently testing the Hoka Bondi 7 in two sizes, and coincidentally in two colours - one is orthopedic black-on-black, and the other is summery sky-blue-on-peach. I might go for the orthpedic look since it is not so eye-catching. I hereby declare it to be...

I'm looking at Hoka Bondi's too.

C. Clearly - Do you have an early indicative opinion? - about the shoes!

The colour doesn't matter to me for when I walk, I'm on a pilgrimmage and need to look ....well.....Pilgrimish, with poles, limping aids, knee braces, scarf, wonky hat, oversized backpack etc and therefore a clash of colours and clothing styles is perfect! 😇

Thank you

Graham
 

GuyA

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I walked my various Caminos in Merrell Moab 2 trail shoes and they were great until the Camino Portugues oie that no longer worked well!

Based on a posting by @davebugg some time ago I bought a pair of Hoka One One Bondi V6. I have walked likely close to 1,000 kms in the city mostly of course on pavement. Absolutely the most comfortable walking shoe ever!

So the plan (hope) is the Camino Primitivo in 2022...maybe the Salvador as well. So more mountainous paths (I think). Having walked a lot in the Canadian Rockies I don’t think the Hoka’s would cut it...think I would need those vibrant soles!

If I was walking the Camino Frances, The Puy routes again I would not hesitate wearing the Hokas...well maybe a day here and there!

If anyone has walked the Camino Primitivo in Hokas (likely not a huge number) I would be most interested in your comments.

Believe me I will buy another pair of Hoka’s Bondi 7 for my current city walking...my uncertainty is whether they are the right pair for the Camino Primitivo?

Merci

Guy
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Finding the right shoe and fit is always a challenge for me. I wore Vasque Sundowner leather hiking boots for manyyears .

I have been a Vasque shoe fan for 30 years. Started with the Sundowner boots which fit my feet perfectly. Then when they came out with the low cut Breeze leather about 20+ years ago I wore those for hiking and these were also perfect for my feet.

But when I trained for my first camino, I quickly realized the shoes were too heavy tor 20km at a faster pace on a camino. In contrast, on narrow mountain trails sure-footedness was a priority for me. So, for caminos I switched to a newer Vasque model in 2014. The vasque velocity which was a lightweight, Gortex, non-leather low cut shoe with a hard Vibram bottom were perfect. Had two pairs. They were discontinued 😟. The Inhaler I&II replaced the Velocity, non gortex- went through 3pairs, before they were discontinued. Again hard Vibram bottom, but a little less room between the toes and the top of the shoe. Perhaps little less boxy. No other models fit-my foot well. The newer models are trail runners, Now theyhave a disasterous lite low breeze, with soft bottom souls and comprimised support. Not even similar to original feel.

I tried Merrill Moabs on one camino, and by the time I got to SdC My upper feet were black and blue and painful to walk

I contacted Vasque about getting new bottom souls for my old shoes ...but they only do it for leather shoes. no other Vasque model is working!

I have large feet so I buy a man’s 11 to 11.5 in a regular width.

Wondering if any Vasque user has transitioned to another shoe?
Maybe, I am desperate enough to 🤭🤭pay $300.00!!
I have great news. After further searching today I found a website The Vibram website in the USA. It has a shoe store locator for USA that list stores that will replace vibram souls ontrail runners and hiking shoes.

I was able to locate a shoe repair store about 20 miles from my house. I called and they confirmed they can repair them. I immediately drove there. They-are charging 65 dollars per pair of shoes! They allowed me to pick from four Thread patterns. Brought them four pair of shoes...I am glad I couldn’t part with them! Thrilled! No need for pretty Roa sneakers.



 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I'm looking at Hoka Bondi's too.

C. Clearly - Do you have an early indicative opinion? - about the shoes!
Today I took them on a mall walk - indoors, 4 times around the mall at a fair pace. They failed for exactly the same reason as some other low-heel-drop shoes failed the test for me a couple of years ago.

The reason is totally idiosyncratic to my feet, which are extremely fussy, so this is not a recommendation for or against. They are super comfortable for wearing around the house. However, for proper walking, I seem to need the 12 mm heel drop of normal running shoes. The Hokas have only 4 mm.

These shoes gave me a sore big-toe joint after 20 minutes of walking. My theory is that when my heel starts from a lower position, my step involves a couple of degrees extra rotation over that joint as my weight is transferred. Raising my heel gives me a bit of head start on the weight transfer.

I will consider buying a lifetime supply of my Brooks Ghost 13s. They are excellent, but I was hoping to find some shoes with more durable cushioning. I guess one can't have everything.:(
 

mikebet

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPdP to Pamplona (2016); Baiona to Santiago (2018); Sarria to Santiago (2018)
That double pointed yellow arrow on the the sole Is great; no matter which way you go you'll be on top of it and, of course, always following the arrows.
Yup, better than a GPS any day. Just sit down, look into your sole (pun intended) and you will know which path to take. It's kind of freaky; reminds me of those signboards you see in shopping malls and trailheads, a map with an arrow that says "You are here." And they are always right! How do they know that?
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
@C clearly My thinking now is
.....when you find the right shoe... and you will know after wearing it on a camino....if still in stock, buy 5 pairs!
I think I am close enough now and will buy some extra Brooks Ghosts. I wore them on a 2-week camino, but they already had about 800 km on them, and had lost some underfoot cushioning. I should have taken newer ones.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I'd love to see what those pretty little things look like after a few days of Riojan & Navarren clay adhesion. Even the rains of Galicia didn't get all traces of Navarre out of the fabric of a comfy pair of Salomons.
Just like watching all the fashion forward "Pilgrims" on that Netflix series 3 Caminos they can't hold up in the long run. At least with the Netflix series you can watch something else. You are stuck with those pretty little things!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
@C clearly My thinking now is
.....when you find the right shoe... and you will know after wearing it on a camino....if still in stock, buy 5 pairs!
I can't agree more. I have worn Brooks Cascadias on all 5 of my caminos. They have changed somewhat since my first one. The toe box is a little narrower. But sizing up one foot size and going with a wide sneaker I am fine. I am sure I have walked well over 8,000 kilometers in them between Caminos and training and life and I can count the blisters on one hand and have never had any foot, ankle or knee problems. The only time I get knee or hip pain is on those steep downhills and I wait to long to start to zig zag. You are right STICK WITH WHAT WORKS!!!! This is the Camino not the runway in Paris during fashion week!
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I was so hoping you would post, @davebugg. I hear your opinion of Roa loud and clear.

To your way of thinking, is a “hybrid sneaker-hiker” (the term used in the article) basically the same as a trail runner? Or is it a different kettle of fish altogether? I had never heard the term “hiking sneaker” before.

There is a list of a few other brands with the same type of shoe — New Balance Snow Peak, Nike Mountain Fly, Reebok DMX Trail.

Nike doesn’t list the Mountain Fly as a trail runner on its website so I am kind of confused about how this bunch of shoes is different than trail runners.

(Not that I would ever dream of switching out of my Altra Lone Peaks :D).

There is a term for civilians who love the look of the gear and equipment and add-ons and doo-dads used by the military, and then buy all the toys to look the part: We mockingly call it "Tacticool" as a word play interchange for 'tactical'.

All of these offerings of what the manufacturers are now referring to as 'hybrid', is more about grabbing the huge market of those folks who do not really backpack or distance walk or run or climb, etc. Call it the 'HikerKewl" look. :) There is a large reservoir of money just waiting to be tapped, and the outdoor manufacturers are simply expanding their offerings to hit that previously ignored market segment.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
@C clearly My thinking now is
.....when you find the right shoe... and you will know after wearing it on a camino....if still in stock, buy 5 pairs!

That is a good piece of advice. Do not rely on that same model remaining the same with each passing model.

The materials and designs of the same model shoe will evolve with each new generation. Even the Lasts (the foot forms) which are used may be different from one year to the next.

Those who have fallen in love with the fit and feel of a specific brand and model of footwear can relate to this frustration. After finding the 'perfect' shoe, a couple of years later it is time for a replacement and you try out a newer version of that same model. And it feels horrid or significantly different enough that you do not like the feel or the fit. So you search for your same shoe and have little luck because version 4 is no longer available now that version 6 arrived.

So grab a few pairs while you can :)

Now the converse can also be true. A manufacturer will update and tweak a model of shoe that was previously found just a bit out of range for being 'perfect', to a point where it is now a good match for the piggies. Most commonly, you are seeing models of boots or shoes that were not offered in any width other than 'normal', add wide and extra wide sizes.
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I was hoping to find some shoes with more durable cushioning. I guess one can't have everything.:(

The more plush to the cushioning, the less durable the shoe will be. . . as far as the cushioning is concerned. Everything else about the shoe can be fairly durable, but cushioning is the weakest link.

Materials technology for shoes is a trade off, and that is seen most frequently in two areas: cushioning and motion control. Specific to cushioning, when a lighter weight and cushioning for the feet are the primary focus, the materials are more friable than those used on heavier footwear. The actual reasons for choosing a trail or road running shoe is exactly what makes their overall lifespan shorter.

There are third-party insoles designed specifically for cushioning that can help to supplement a less cushioned shoe. More popular and trendy insoles - like the Superfeet models - while useful for other issues, are not the type of insoles which focus on the cushioning comfort that a Bondi model Hoka One One builds into the shoe.

Off the top of my head, the Timberland Pro insole is an example of such an insole. IF it is decided to use an insole like that it is important to take the insole when shopping for footwear as it can change the needed sizing of the shoe or boot.

The thing about third party insoles is that they ADD cushioning to whatever the shoe already has. So the insole material can be more durable as it is not the sole source of that shoes cushion.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
The more plush to the cushioning, the less durable the shoe will be
Thanks for your explanation. I can accept that my favourite most comfortable shoes simply won't be as durable as others. I use custom orthotics, so will ask whether more cushioning will be appropriate. However, I also realize that too much cushioning can make the weight transfer less efficient, so my pace feels sluggish. I'm happy with my Ghosts - I'll just need to replace them every few months while I'm walking a lot.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Thanks for your explanation. I can accept that my favourite most comfortable shoes simply won't be as durable as others. I use custom orthotics, so will ask whether more cushioning will be appropriate. However, I also realize that too much cushioning can make the weight transfer less efficient, so my pace feels sluggish. I'm happy with my Ghosts - I'll just need to replace them every few months while I'm walking a lot.

You are definitely doing the best thing in assessing what to do and not do. :)

It is always most useful when assessing any introduced changes - like additional cushioning or motion control devices - to do so in small doses. Increase or decrease as needed until you are all dialed in.

The Ghosts work well and you like them; it doesn't get much better. Hopefully, materials technology will either get cheap enough or advanced enough to eventually deal with the longevity issues.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
@davebugg

David, I have two question. They reveal my profound lack of knowledge of footwear.

When resoling the Vibram bottoms of hiking shoes, ( not boots or trail runners) how does one decide from a limited number of choices what is the best hard Vibram bottom. I was presented with four choices by the clerk at the counter yesterday at a shoe repair place recommended by Vibram. She was just a clerk - knew nothing about hiking shoes. The first choice was definitely not what I wanted...it was a thinner design which I-have seen advertized for ice walking. The second appeared to be thin, softer vibram bottoms. Neither the third or fouth design came close to matching my shoe pattern exactly, but were the hard type of vibram, I think I was looking for so I picked what seemed like the most familiar looking to me, but not exactly what was on my shoe before.
Is there a design which is somewhat universally adaptable and optimal to use when choosing hard vibram hiking shoe bottoms?


Question 2. If I want to replace the inner soles of my shoes, canI find a perfect match? How generic are inner soles? I know they sell inner soles in REi and other similar stores. Once I bought a pair and they did not seem to fit correctly? Do I need to have them modified to the shoe? Can a shoe repair shop do it for me?
Thanks for your help!
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
@davebugg

David, I have two question. It reveals my profound lack of knowledge of footwear.

When resoling the Vibram bottoms of hiking shoes, ( not boots or trail runners) how does one decide from a limited number of choices what is the best hard Vibram bottom. I was presented with four choices by the clerk at the counter yesterday at a shoe repair place recommended by Vibram. She was just a clerk - knew nothing about hiking shoes. The first choice was definitely not what I wanted...it was a thinner design which I-have seen advertized for ice walking. The second appeared to be thin, softer vibram bottoms. Neither the third or fouth design came close to matching my shoe pattern exactly, but were the hard type of vibram, I think I was looking for so I picked what seemed like the most familiar looking to me, but not exactly what was on my shoe before.
Is there a design which is somewhat universally adaptable and optimal to use when choosing hard vibram hiking shoe bottoms?


Question 2. If I want to replace the inner soles of my shoes, canI find a perfect match? How generic are inner soles? I know they sell inner soles in REi and other similar stores. Once I bought a pair and they did not seem to fit correctly? Do I need to have them modified to the shoe? Can a shoe repair shop do it for me?
Thanks for your help!

Your instinct to pick a hardness, based on what you already have, is the best way to keep the characteristics of the shoe close to why you like them. Outer soles affect the flexibility and feel of the shoe and boot, so if you like the feel of what you have, try to match the flexibility of the new outersole to what you have now.

The type of environment plays a role, too. The primary type of weather and terrain you will be walking or backpacking in will affect what you want from a sole. For example, hard surfaces in rainy and wet areas need a 'grippier' sole material which will be tend to be softer. I also tend to modify the lug pattern by having sipes cut in. Sipes are very thin, unnoticeable slices into the pattern of the sole. These create micro edges as you walk which can improve traction without increasing wear by much.

Wet terrain that is primarily dirt trails or track can be either a softer material or harder, the lug pattern is better if it is a bit more 'aggressive', though, since you want them to have a bite into the soft ground.

Rocky and hard surfaces benefit from a harder material since it will need to wear longer. Since the outer sole does not have a pertinent role in cushioning, traction and wear, according to your primary terrain usage, is the focus.

The midsole and innersole are where the cushioning of the footwear, and some of the motion control aspects of a shoe take place.

If you are faced with a large variety of possible environments and terrain, softer and grippier would be my preference. But keep in mind that even if you have a less grippy outersole and find yourself temporarily walking along wet and slicker surfaces, slowing down and paying attention to foot placement, plus aides like trekking poles, will make walking in such conditions workable, albeit a bit slower.

For inner soles, if your feet do well with what you have already been using, than use that as the template in terms of material and characteristics (harder, cushiony, formed, etc) as the baseline for shopping for a new pair. If you are trying to modify some aspect of how the shoe feels or performs, that takes a bit more time to sort through the choices. If that is the case, feel free to send me a PM and if I can provide some guidance, I'd be happy to try and help work through the styles and choices.
 
Last edited:
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AZperegrino

Dreaming of the next Camino...
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I have great news. After further searching today I found a website The Vibram website in the USA. It has a shoe store locator for USA that list stores that will replace vibram souls ontrail runners and hiking shoes.

I was able to locate a shoe repair store about 20 miles from my house. I called and they confirmed they can repair them. I immediately drove there. They-are charging 65 dollars per pair of shoes! They allowed me to pick from four Thread patterns. Brought them four pair of shoes...I am glad I couldn’t part with them! Thrilled! No need for pretty Roa sneakers.



Replacing that Vibram outer layer is only worthwhile if that is indeed the only thing that is worn out. Especially if you have very soft soles, made up of a thick layer of some soft material, those tend to compress and lose their shape over time. Putting a new outer layer on top of that deformed mess will not give you back that new-shoe feel - or support.

I found out on the Camino that I have very sensitive foot soles, and by the time I reached Burgos my Oboz Sawtooth shoes were killing me - even though they are actually very good shoes. At a runners shop in Burgos I picked up a pair of Hoka Mafate's, and I continued to SdC floating on my own little cloud - very comfortable. I kept hiking on them after returning home (in AZ), and put well over 600 miles on them. But they were getting a bit worn, so I bought a new identical pair. Guess what: my old soles were much thinner (compressed) and spread out more than 1/4" wider than the new ones. They were clearly shot and had lost much of their support properties, and I had not even noticed it.

Re-soling leather shoes or boots may be fine, but most sport shoes were not designed for that.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Your instinct to pick a hardness, based on what you already have, is the best way to keep the characteristics of the shoe close to why you like them. Outer soles affect the flexibility and feel of the shoe and boot, so if you like the feel of what you have, try to match the flexibility of the new outersole to what you have now.

The type of environment plays a role, too. The primary type of weather and terrain you will be walking or backpacking in will affect what you want from a sole. For example, hard surfaces in rainy and wet areas need a 'grippier' sole material which will be tend to be softer. I also tend to modify the lug pattern by having sipes cut in. Sipes are very thin, unnoticeable slices into the pattern of the sole. These create micro edges as you walk which can improve traction without increasing wear by much.

Wet terrain that is primarily dirt trails or track can be either a softer material or harder, the lug pattern is better if it is a bit more 'aggressive', though, since you want them to have a bite into the soft ground.

Rocky and hard surfaces benefit from a harder material since it will need to wear longer. Since the outer sole does not have a pertinent role in cushioning, traction and wear, according to your primary terrain usage, is the focus.

The midsole and innersole are where the cushioning of the footwear, and some of the motion control aspects of a shoe take place.

If you are faced with a large variety of possible environments and terrain, softer and grippier would be my preference. But keep in mind that even if you have a less grippy outersole and find yourself temporarily walking along wet and slicker surfaces, slowing down and paying attention to foot placement, plus aides like trekking poles, will make walking in such conditions workable, albeit a bit slower.

For inner soles, if your feet do well with what you have already been using, than use that as the template in terms of material and characteristics (harder, cushiony, formed, etc) as the baseline for shopping for a new pair. If you are trying to modify some aspect of how the shoe feels or performs, that takes a bit more time to sort through the choices. If that is the case, feel free to send me a PM and if I can provide some guidance, I'd be happy to try and help work through the styles and choices.
Thank you for your extensive response, Dave. Grateful!
 

Obidad

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese (2019)
Up to a halfway reasonable price - say US$250 - it may be worth it if that specific design provides comfort for your specific foot, that is not available in a cheaper shoe. I find it hard to find shoes that cause no discomfort in long walks. When I find one, then I ask the price.

I am currently testing the Hoka Bondi 7 in two sizes, and coincidentally in two colours - one is orthopedic black-on-black, and the other is summery sky-blue-on-peach. I might go for the orthpedic look since it is not so eye-catching. I hereby declare it to be...
I did the CP from Porto in 2019 plus Finsterra & wore Bondi's. Worked well for me. Continual cobblestone walking did lead to some foot/leg weariness, but a full-blown hiking boot would have been overkill (and heavy).
 

Phoenix

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2014, CF: partial
2016, CF
2018, CF: partial
2019, CP
Love seeing more "normal" posts again. Nothing like discussions and insight about Camino equipment & gear.

After years of wearing either Salomon or Hoka boots/trail shoes, it seems I must begin all over again to find the right ones. Somehow, I missed the part in pre-knee replacement surgery discussions with my Dr that TKR would correct my moderately bowed legs & pronation. (I get the 2nd prosthetic knee next month.)

Rather than being bowlegged, my "new" leg is now straight (anatomically correct). My ankle and foot are now in line with my knee, which has changed my foot strike and thrown off the fit/feel of all my shoes. It will be interesting over the summer as I recover and begin exploring the shoe game from scratch.
 
Speaking of shoes, I think that these are perfect for the Camino.

View attachment 96121

Trecile, I have ordered a pair of these boots and look forward to walking in them. Thanks for your post
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Trecile, I have ordered a pair of these boots and look forward to walking in them. Thanks for your post

As has been said by AZperigrino, I look forward to reading your impressions of them.

Admittedly, I have no direct experience with that specific brand or model of shoe. I have worn other types of similar shoes, like the Mishansa. They are primarily designed as a 'barefoot' style of footwear for watery and wet environments, like kayaking and beach walking, wading while fishing, etc, and as more of an outdoorsy casual wear. Very good at draining and drying water.

There is little cushioning or support, and they are not highly durable. They can work for those looking for a barefoot, minimalist shoe, but I would likely have several on hand for a distance walk.
 

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