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Lourdes and hiking boots

2020 Camino Guides
Camino(s) past & future
2007; Fall 2018 plan
hello, I am planning to start at Lourdes on or about Oct. 1st 2018 then on to Orloron and StPdP and on into Spain. Is anyone starting about that date at Lourdes? Looking for a small group; women and/or mixed to get acclimated with. Strong, that is I can walk good distances but I walk moderate-comfortable for distance rather than fast. Also, I have purchased a new pair of hiking boots: La Sportiva Ultralite and they are but I'm wondering about the comfort of walking with the height of the ankle support? Seems a bit much. I've been walking in them now to break them in; boot is very light and comfortable but not used to such ankle support.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
I've been walking in them now to break them in; boot is very light and comfortable but not used to such ankle support.
If they are uncomfortable now, they will not improve! Changing you instep height and support will be very painful after repeated long walks. Be sure they are comfortable before you go. Don't change your foot mechanics now, no matter how light they are. I took new orthotic inserts once, and regretted it.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
hello, I am planning to start at Lourdes on or about Oct. 1st 2018 then on to Orloron and StPdP and on into Spain. Is anyone starting about that date at Lourdes? Looking for a small group; women and/or mixed to get acclimated with. Strong, that is I can walk good distances but I walk moderate-comfortable for distance rather than fast. Also, I have purchased a new pair of hiking boots: La Sportiva Ultralite and they are but I'm wondering about the comfort of walking with the height of the ankle support? Seems a bit much. I've been walking in them now to break them in; boot is very light and comfortable but not used to such ankle support.
I don't know about those particular boots, but in the Pyrenees in October you will definitely need proper boots for the wet and the mud.

The fact that they're more uncomfortable than some lighter footwear is unsurprising, but the important thing to ensure is that they are the right size, including if you have swollen feet inside winter socks.

Personally, I have to wear army boots all year round for the ankle support, and I can tell you that the discomfort of ankle support is something that never goes away. Well, except when you take them off of course !! :p

But these sorts of boots do have serious advantages from their heaviness and strength and water-tightness, especially in winter walking.

I would not recommend heavier boots for most people, including heavier hiking boots, and especially not in summer, as some rain-resistant shoes or light boots are perfectly fine on the Francès in the warmer months.

My opinion is aim for comfort and water-protection for summer ; higher boots with ankle protection and thicker soles and heels for winter.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2007; Fall 2018 plan
Thanks to both of you for valuable input... the right boot feels pretty good; light; comfortable w/exception of the highness for the ankle support. the left foot is bothersome; awareness of area between base of toes and ball of foot begins to develop after 4-miles; trying different socks too...even bought work boot Dr. Sholes insert to try but then thought, 'wow, I just spent a LOT of money on these boots and doesn't seem right to have to buy an insole... Dr. S says take out existing insole and put in theirs...and and and...
 
Camino(s) past & future
2007; Fall 2018 plan
Now was researching more about the right type of shoe. I'm bringing these boots back to study other availabilities. Also think I need a larger size and I just read in my research suggestion of taking out the insole that comes with shoe or boot and putting in one of the more valuable insoles on the market..
so search will continue... still have time to find the right shoe...
 
D

Deleted member 12253

Guest
Thanks to both of you for valuable input... the right boot feels pretty good; light; comfortable w/exception of the highness for the ankle support. the left foot is bothersome; awareness of area between base of toes and ball of foot begins to develop after 4-miles; trying different socks too...even bought work boot Dr. Sholes insert to try but then thought, 'wow, I just spent a LOT of money on these boots and doesn't seem right to have to buy an insole... Dr. S says take out existing insole and put in theirs...and and and...

Seems stupid but alady had foot problems on camino but on checking boots she had got insoles and put them in without taking out old ones. Problems solved and daily wine for me to santiago. Lacing might help. Get expert help
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Now was researching more about the right type of shoe. I'm bringing these boots back to study other availabilities. Also think I need a larger size and I just read in my research suggestion of taking out the insole that comes with shoe or boot and putting in one of the more valuable insoles on the market..
so search will continue... still have time to find the right shoe...
As you go looking for shoe, here are some tips which I have posted before that may help you.

The most important theme for achieving a proper fit is: You do not choose a shoe based on measurements, you buy a shoe based on its Fit N Feel irregardless of instrument measurements.
  1. When you go to the store, do so toward the end of the day.... you will have been up on your feet, so that will help with getting the correct fit. Additionally, you will need to wear the same backpack with the same gear you will be carrying... you want this additional weight on you as this will put the same downward pressure on the foot that you will be having while on Camino.
  2. Wear the exact same sock(s) you will be wearing while you are walking on the Camino. And if you have a special insole or orthotic, bring it with you.
  3. At the store, the measuring that will be done on your feet is only to get you in the ballpark for the correct shoe size.
  4. Start by standing up; never measure while sitting. You want the full weight of your body, with the pack on, to put the same pressure on your feet to spread them out as will happen while walking. That alone will increase the volume and size of your feet.
  5. Make sure those 'Camino' socks are on your feet; if you wear socks with liners while walking, do the same thing at the store.
  6. While standing, have someone near to you that you can use to steady yourself. With the measuring device on the ground, step onto the instrument and center all of your weight onto the foot being measured. Do the same for the other foot.
  7. Start with that size, but be aware that both the width and the length need to feel like there is adequate room for your feet. Ideally, like Goldilocks, everything will be just right. But, don't count on it. Be picky.
  8. If you have special insoles or orthotics, put them into any shoe you try on as they will take up space inside the shoe.
  9. When you find what you think will fit you well, you will need to see if your toes have enough clearance. Toes should not be able to be forced to the front of the shoe and touch the shoe. Not even a little. If they do, long walking and downhill grades on the trail or path or road will traumatize the bed of the nail, and that is when toenails can blacken and fall off.
  10. With your shoes tied securely, but not too tight, walk around the store with your pack on. Go up stairs and down stairs, scuff the shoes to the floor so that your feet are forced to do any movement they will do and see if your toes so much as butterfly kiss the front of the shoe. Kick the front of the shoe into a post or stair or wall or someone's shin.... does that make any of your toes touch the front of the shoe? That goes for all the little piggies.
  11. Next, pay attention to the width of the shoe. It shouldn't feel snug on the sides and there should be no rubbing or pressure points at all. They will not go away with "break in". They will create soreness, pain, and blistering. Even if it seems to be tolerable, it is like water torture; as your feet are continually exposed to those pressure points your feet will break down against them bit by bit, and bruising, blisters, and soreness will follow.
  12. You may need to go up a size to a size and a half in length, and go with a wider width to avoid those things I mentioned above. The notion that one avoids blisters by wearing snug footwear has been shown to do just the opposite.
And this from an earlier post I made ---------------------

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

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

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

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

But, and this is a critical factor for me, and to a lot of backpackers and trekkers: The Lowa Caminos are nearly three times as heavy on the foot as the Solomons.

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

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

There are several other issues regarding boots versus trail runners and shoes. For instance, the season one backpacks or walks will determine the type of footwear that is the most appropriate: In cold weather months, in snow and heavy mud, boots are going to be a better choice than a trail or road runner shoe. As with generalizations about boots, there is a danger in being overly general regarding the suitability of trail runners as a universal given.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2007; Fall 2018 plan
Wow! What a gift to wake up to such precise, thorough, clear guidance on the purchase of the right shoe/boot! I'm so thankful for your details; research on guidelines toward finding the right footwear. It turns out that I did return the boot late in the day yesterday with the intent on trying on another style at the end of the day vs morning (previous boot) purchase was made. I was picky and feel picky returning boots once again. This is now the 3rd time. During the trying on last night, I initially was set on one pair but the heaviness (altho still lite) of all leather caused me to reject; then thought I was set with the next pair and it was a done deal but once again opted for less boot in another style and another try one; then felt the next try on was the one and then, suddenly, when I took that boot off... I realized the tightness despite correct size so asked for a whole size up! Originally we had me a half-size up. My shoe salesman realized I was right as he checked the boot I was taking off!
Yup... a full-size up from my regular size... ... my choice came to be the Merrell Moab2 mid wp..it is such a relief not to have the higher constricting boot. With the higher 'military' support, it made me preoccupied and almost dreading going out to walking about. I felt I had to get into a 'military' head! trying to convince myself to get used to that constriction. With the lower cut, yet still offering some ankle support, my brain was already rejoicing...Now for test drives here at home...Wow again, re-reading your info for 3rd-time since I woke up as you discuss weights of various shoes/boots; one being three and half pounds and weight of average trail runner at 1.75 pounds per pair. Purchased Merrell comes in at 1lb 16oz which sounds ok? ..Again, thank you so much Davebug for the waymarks of Camino boot~shoe preparation.
 

jennysa

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2011,2012 2013,2014, 2015 Aragones 2012, 2017 2018 Via Francigena 2016,2017 Primitivo 2018,2019
hello, I am planning to start at Lourdes on or about Oct. 1st 2018 then on to Orloron and StPdP and on into Spain. Is anyone starting about that date at Lourdes? Looking for a small group; women and/or mixed to get acclimated with. Strong, that is I can walk good distances but I walk moderate-comfortable for distance rather than fast. Also, I have purchased a new pair of hiking boots: La Sportiva Ultralite and they are but I'm wondering about the comfort of walking with the height of the ankle support? Seems a bit much. I've been walking in them now to break them in; boot is very light and comfortable but not used to such ankle support.
I walked from Lourdes to Puenta La Reina in May but I went over the Somport Pass from Oloron so I am not sure what the route is like between Oloron and SJPDP, I wore my New Balance Trail shoes the entire way and they were fantastic as there is quite a bit of road walking. I swear by them.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Additionally, the issue of a 'waterproof' shoe is increasingly being turned aside --- as the weaknesses and disadvantages to the technology have become more apparent --- in favor to materials which drain fast and dry quickly.
I will always disagree with you, with friendship, on this particular point, Dave.

Whilst it is most certainly true that quick-draining footwear will be very appropriate for many hikers in typical summer hiking conditions, not excluding altitude and wilderness, and indeed on the ground in Spain I have personally made just such recommendations myself --- this is not any more of a good solution for everyone any more than the size 13½ army boots that I need myself for my own particulars would be either, in fact only very rarely would I ever recommend my own personal footgear requirements to anyone. But "rarely" is not "never", and for some people's problems, exactly such heaviest possible footwear is really the only viable possibility.

But between these extremes, there will be very, very many situations where light but waterproof hiking shoes, or medium category waterproof hiking boots designed primarily for Sunday hiking but still capable of long-distance, or &c. would be the right solutions for particular individuals and their needs, including the seasonal considerations.

But it remains a huge advantage in the properly made traditional leather hiking or army or mountain boot that not even the most torrential rain in Galicia can wet your socks, but only striding into deep water can do so.

The weight of such boots is an obvious disadvantage, and that's the main reason why I'm always loathe to recommend them -- but the needs of every pilgrim are not those of a person of average height, weight, and build, walking some time between Spring and Autumn on a well-waymarked Camino route in Spain or Portugal bestrewn with bars, restaurants, albergues, and hostals galore ...

Different people and different needs require different footwear.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I walked from Lourdes to Puenta La Reina in May but I went over the Somport Pass from Oloron so I am not sure what the route is like between Oloron and SJPDP,
In October ? Very likely rain, mud, mud, rain, and mud.

If I were there in that season, I'd certainly stick mostly to the tarmac.
 

maruska89

Mary C.
Camino(s) past & future
Porto to SdC-Sept 2017
Camino Frances-Apr/May 2019
hello, I am planning to start at Lourdes on or about Oct. 1st 2018 then on to Orloron and StPdP and on into Spain. Is anyone starting about that date at Lourdes? Looking for a small group; women and/or mixed to get acclimated with. Strong, that is I can walk good distances but I walk moderate-comfortable for distance rather than fast. Also, I have purchased a new pair of hiking boots: La Sportiva Ultralite and they are but I'm wondering about the comfort of walking with the height of the ankle support? Seems a bit much. I've been walking in them now to break them in; boot is very light and comfortable but not used to such ankle support.
I am planning on walking from Lourdes to Santiago sept 2019 so will be following your thread closely. I haven't found a lot on info/reports from people who have started in Lourdes. I plan on walking solo but worry there may not be many pilgrims from Lourdes to SJpdp. I don't have much to offer in the boot area.. lots of good info on this site though...comfort is key. Good luck and bon chemin:)
 

Jotown

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes (11th September 2014) via Piedmont to SJPP,
then Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela

Via Francigena, Ramsgate,Canterbury ,England to Rome,
via France,Switzerland and Italy. April to July 2016
Hi CW - just curious about your route from Lourdes - are you walking the Voie du Piedmont?
Cheers, tom
I set off from Lourdes on 11th September 2014, along the Voie du Piemonte, also signed pretty well then ( and I think even better since )
To SJPP, and thence on to SdC ( arriving the end October)

The trail was such that my non waterproof walking trainers were perfect - cool in the heat, quickly drying in the occasional bit of rain....and light enough for me. From Lourdes to SJPP is tougher than SJPP to SdC, but easily manageable in shoes.

I have since walked other Caminos , and apart from in deep snow / winter would always recommend the lighter weight shoes ...

Obviously weather at the time can change ... but at the moment in Europe .... it’s very hot and dry !!
 

Jotown

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes (11th September 2014) via Piedmont to SJPP,
then Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela

Via Francigena, Ramsgate,Canterbury ,England to Rome,
via France,Switzerland and Italy. April to July 2016
I am planning on walking from Lourdes to Santiago sept 2019 so will be following your thread closely. I haven't found a lot on info/reports from people who have started in Lourdes. I plan on walking solo but worry there may not be many pilgrims from Lourdes to SJpdp. I don't have much to offer in the boot area.. lots of good info on this site though...comfort is key. Good luck and bon chemin:)
I have my (4 years old info) which I can send you if you wish ( send a pm with email address)
There is lots of info on the Internet , more up to date
I took 6 days from Lourdes to SJPP... there weren’t many others ( 2 !) doing the same , but I think it’s more popular now !
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
I will always disagree with you, with friendship, on this particular point, Dave.

Whilst it is most certainly true that quick-draining footwear will be very appropriate for many hikers in typical summer hiking conditions, not excluding altitude and wilderness, and indeed on the ground in Spain I have personally made just such recommendations myself --- this is not any more of a good solution for everyone any more than the size 13½ army boots that I need myself for my own particulars would be either, in fact only very rarely would I ever recommend my own personal footgear requirements to anyone. But "rarely" is not "never", and for some people's problems, exactly such heaviest possible footwear is really the only viable possibility.

But between these extremes, there will be very, very many situations where light but waterproof hiking shoes, or medium category waterproof hiking boots designed primarily for Sunday hiking but still capable of long-distance, or &c. would be the right solutions for particular individuals and their needs, including the seasonal considerations.

But it remains a huge advantage in the properly made traditional leather hiking or army or mountain boot that not even the most torrential rain in Galicia can wet your socks, but only striding into deep water can do so.

The weight of such boots is an obvious disadvantage, and that's the main reason why I'm always loathe to recommend them -- but the needs of every pilgrim are not those of a person of average height, weight, and build, walking some time between Spring and Autumn on a well-waymarked Camino route in Spain or Portugal bestrewn with bars, restaurants, albergues, and hostals galore ...

Different people and different needs require different footwear.
I appreciate your post, JabbaP . . . :) No worries; disagreements are a part-n-parcel of all relationships and friendships. I would point out that my last paragraph was an affirmation of the point you are making. I do not disagree with you. For instance, I would use my boots, not trail runners, in persistently cold and inclement weather outside of the warm weather months. And I would never want folks to use a shoe more appropriate for either a Sunday stroll or a routine daily run. ;-)
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
I walked this way late September. It has magnificent views, rolling landscapes, farms, great food.
The Mauleon-Saint Just Ibarre stage has a tough section, a mountain pass actually.
It is also quite lonely (which was fine to me); I met just 8 or 10 other pilgrims by diner, in the gîtes.
Weather was rather on the cold side, with intermittent drizzle; the path was quite muddy. Notice that frequently there are not restaurants or bars in the middle of the stages, you must consider carrying your bit of food.
Lodging became difficult in Mauleon, I got the last bed in the Municipal; pilgrims who arrived later had problems even in the local hostels; but maybe it was just a kind of wave.
There are other, older threads about this Piedmont way, like this.
Buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2007; Fall 2018 plan
Dear Pilgrims,
I so appreciate all these thoughts as I prepare to walk from Lourdes. It has been 11-yrs since that walk so I've forgotten various parts and never forgotten other parts. I've begun studying my Pilgrim's stamps to help me and spending many hours with maps... plus inhaling fantastic Brierly's book... a rough path of my previous walk was, starting at Lourdes, then to Notre Dame de Bethrram (9 miles/15 km) (rough) then to Relais de Bruges (7miles) then blank, blank then to Oloron then to St. Jean Baptiste de Basse (18 miles) the Ogec Saint Michel (Saint Just Ibarre) or maybe that was 18 miles... then St. J.pd.P (14 miles from Saint Just Ibarre) then Luzaide/Valcarlos (8 miles) onto Roncesvalles (12 miles)…. there was a time I got lost in France so if 'my way' seems weird to you... that's why... as I'm in middle of moving, I haven't even had time to walk plus it has been brutally hot and humid... 'dog days' here... This thread is a necessary 'stitch' for me at this time as it keeps me knowing more to come.... I'm still looking to join up with pilgrims in Lourdes to kickstart this walk... Of course, as last time, you immediately begin to hook up with those walking at your pace... but I'm 10-yrs older now and wiser, in some ways, dumber in others... so a sidekick to walk with is good …
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
You didn't get "lost", catholicwalker, there's just a bewildering network of alternative routes on that particular stretch.

Sometimes the Camino there brings you into a certain route that all are drawn to, other times one finds oneself on a isolated path of one's own.

It's rather peculiar, never come across similar anywhere else at all ...

Lourdes to SJPP is hardly the meseta, but it's still one of the "purest" stretches of the Way of Saint James
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
2007; Fall 2018 plan
Yes ! Yes! Jabba Papa....Thank you for clarifying ... as for all our caminos ; God writes with crooked lines whether we are on The Camino or on caminos. Reading your comment, my mind flooded with sudden beautiful memories of walking in France...events that took place because of my path; I.e. after walking through a long isolated area of woods , suddenly houses and the first one with a large family sitting on the driveway under a long camopy ; eating; but not just 'eating'; relishing their time and space together during Sunday afternoon banquet. We waved as I went hiking by and suddenly one of their young boys was running to me and taking my hand to join into their celebration. I said , no, no Thank you anyway ( very American but not very French!). They were all waving and the little guy insisting and so I took his hand and we walked back into their hearts. No French for me but not necessary. I loved walking thru France... soooo beautiful; everything the artist write, draw, paint, sing, photo about. Lace everywhere in the homes, bare'ts , cobblestone, baguettes ! Hillsides with ringing cow bells! Vistas breathtaking. France stole my heart; Spain my soul ! Yes! One of the purest stretches....
Now this peregrina is being prepared to walk again from Lourdes to SJPP !
This walk however I know I'm being led to walk must with some pilgrims for safety...peligrinas or both ..understanding, once into Spain , many more pilgrims pilgrims on path and natural walking partners develop ... but in France, different .
 

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