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My first Camino! Tips appreciated for shoes :)

Saidch

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
hello friends, Hope you are all well!

I am preparing the camino Ingles in May where i will walk for 5 to 6 days.
I am looking for trail shoes and finding many in shops however i am a bit confused which to choose,
could you help me?

1674055042057.png
not sure if i can publish this pic here, but i saw this one in a shop next to me in Bordeaux and the seller told me it's good but i need to make sure what you think is the best for a first walk.
Plus for the shoe size, should I buy the shoes , the same size I usually buy or should they be for example a bit bigger for the camino?

all tips appreciated,

thank you a lot for you help!

Saïd
 
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For every 100 pilgrims, you are going to get 100 options and opinions.
Personally, I've always worn New Balance Trail Runners on an SL2 Shoe Last.
That shoe last has a narrow heel so it does not slip, and it has a nice wide, deep toe box, so your toes can wiggle. Whatever shoe you get, be SURE your toes can easily wiggle about.
If you have worn boots all your life, then boots may work for you, but my experience has shown MOST people don't do well in boots. They are too stiff, and I've seen many pilgrims with blisters around the ankle. Boots are the one thing I see discarded along the trail more than any other item, except for toilet paper!
I suggest you do NOT purchase shoes online. You need to try them on with your socks, which should be something that cushions your feet.
For me, the two most expensive and really the only items you need to PURCHASE for the Camino are your shoes and your pack. Otherwise, you can use whatever is in your closet.
 
Like @Anniesantiago said above, lots of options for each of us from hiking shoes to trail runners. The crucial issue is that they have to fit your feet. The Inglés is not a tough route with regards to the trail. A trail running show would be more than sufficient. It’s difficult to recommend one particular brand since they fit each user differently. However, for me, a wide toe box is important. I also look for a shoe that has good arch support. I tried a more minimalist shoe last spring only to have very sore feet every day. Therefore, regardless of shoe, think about getting a good quality insole like SuperFeet. Finally, to answer your last question, I buy 1/2 size larger than I ususlly wear. The bit of extra room makes downhill section a bit easier on the feet. Proper fitting shoes: your most important Camino purchase.

 
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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 and Feel regardless 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 (or not) need to go up in size anywhere from 1/2 to 2 full sizes in length; and the same holds true with the need to 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.
Stores have varying policies about returns, so be sure to know what the return policy is in case you find problems with the shoes as you wear them around inside the house for a few days. Some stores and online retailers will let you return shoes even AFTER you wear them outside.
 
Almost any shoe which fits will be fine for 5-6 days walk. Assuming you stay within a couple of tenths km/daily …
Unfortunately no one but yourself only can tell whether your feet is happy with particular shoes, size etc
Another approach would be if your intention is to turn the walking in your lifestyle. Then perhaps it is worth to consider more serious investment.
At the end of the day you may find yourself meeting a podiatrist to order custom insoles and do other fancy things 🤓
 
That general type of shoe looks suitable. Now, the only thing that matters is whether it is comfortable for your feet, for the distances you will walk each day. I suggest buying a size that is as roomy as possible without being too big and sloppy. Consider wearing somewhat thicker socks when fitting them.
  1. Ask about the return policy in the store. I would only buy from a store that allows returns within a certain time, if I haven't worn the shoe outside.
  2. Wear them inside the house for a few hours.
  3. Go to an indoor mall or facility where you can walk briskly for 10 minutes. Try the shoes. Maybe even try 2 sizes, different models, or different socks.
  4. Decide if you can commit to the shoe.
Then you will need to test the shoes during your training including a couple of 20 km walks. If these shoes are not fully comfortable on those walks, start looking again and use these shoes for ordinary activities.
 
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Prepare for your next Camino on Santa Catalina Island, March 17-20
You're on the right track that you are looking at shoes versus hiking boots. My rough survey after six Camino's is that most of the worst looking feet that were observed by me at Auberges were from those wearing hiking boots. That is not to say that many wear boots with no issues, but for myself, my foot issues virtually disappeared once I ditched my hiking boots.
As to your specific question regarding the shoes you posted a picture of, you really need to try them on and walk around a shop and inside your home for a day. Consider getting a half size to a full size larger than you would normally buy as your feet will swell after a few days of walking. There are so many differences in people's feet that what works for one may maim another. You really need to try on a number of different brands to hopefully have 'happy feet' on your Camino.
Also socks are very important as well. Many good ones out there, but I've settled on 'Wright Socks' and my feet have thanked me every walking day since.
Camino's are definitely way more fun when your feet aren't killing you!
 
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Whatever you choose put some miles on them before Camino ;with the pack and it's contents you will carry!
Two pairs i brought were fitted in a running shop they felt great but after 5 to six miles they didn't!!
Woody
 
You're on the right track that you are looking at shoes versus hiking boots. My rough survey after six Camino's is that most of the worst looking feet at observed by me at Auberges were from those wearing hiking boots. That is not to say that many wear boots with no issues, but for myself, my foot issues virtually disappeared once I ditched my hiking boots.
As to your specific question regarding the shoes you posted a picture of, you really need to try them on and walk around a shop and inside your home for a day. Consider getting a half size to a full size larger than you would normally buy as your feet will swell after a few days of walking. There are so many differences in people's feet that what works for one may maim another. You really need to try on a number of different brands to hopefully have 'happy feet' on your Camino.
Also socks are very important as well. Many good ones out there, but I've settled on 'Wright Socks' and my feet have thanked me every walking day since.
Camino's are definitely way more fun when your feet aren't killing you!


Again , a very personal choice. I walk winter and summer in my leather Hanwag boots.Otherwise I would not be able to walk any Camino/ long distancewalk. In combination with my custommade insoles they are perfect.
Trailshoes or sandals are a big no-go for me.
 
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Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
Whatever you are able to locate, afford and most importantly train with by walking several kilometers before you ever walk the Camino. Anything else is pure speculation and theory.
 
Lots of advice here, but the key is you and how it feels to you. No one has mentioned (directly - but it's critical) to forget about style or appearance. First, this isn't about looks at all. Your feet are too important and they're on the inside and can't see what it looks like on the outside. And, few pilgrims (if any) notice.
Second, there is another issue that I have that I'll share. Others may not have done this but I have: I have bought and used and then passed on shoes that weren't right after some continued use. (That's part of the reason for train up.) The most expensive shoes I ever bought I used on my first camino and then gave away. I thought they were right and so did the shoe salesman (at REI). We were wrong - very wrong. I'm walking in a lot less expensive shoe with no blisters in the last 2 caminos (and my other adventures). I know that $ is an issue for most, but sometimes there is no way around the expenditure involved in replacing a shoe before the pilgrimage. Buen Camino / Bom Caminho!
 
Be part of the Camino Cleanup team! Help us pick up litter from Ponferrada to Sarria.
Some excellent advice. One point I'd add is that there are different ways to lace shoes so that the shoe you choose works best for you. I use trail runners with a wide toe box and always use a runners knot to hold my heel in place. This enables my toes to have plenty of wriggle room but not slide forward, particularly important when going downhill.
 
hello friends, Hope you are all well!

I am preparing the camino Ingles in May where i will walk for 5 to 6 days.
I am looking for trail shoes and finding many in shops however i am a bit confused which to choose,
could you help me?

View attachment 139795
not sure if i can publish this pic here, but i saw this one in a shop next to me in Bordeaux and the seller told me it's good but i need to make sure what you think is the best for a first walk.
Plus for the shoe size, should I buy the shoes , the same size I usually buy or should they be for example a bit bigger for the camino?

all tips appreciated,

thank you a lot for you help!

Saïd
You will get so many different opinions. Be sure to check out your shoes on a few long walks before you start. Also, I have found that going up a whole size from what my feet measure works best because it leaves room for good wool socks (and liners if that’s your thing) and also for swollen feet after many miles of walking. Good luck!
 
I suggest that you read DaveBugg's advice above. His input is usually very good.

He is an outdoor gear tester - seriously - he does it as a sideline for several gear manufacturers. In particular, his footwear recommendations are valuable for fit and buying your new footwear larger to accommodate the exact socks you plan to wear on Camino.

There are many opinions in this Forum. All are valid - from their perspective. But do read several before deciding what to do.

Remember, the TWO MOST IMPORTANT pieces of kit you will invest in are (in order): your footwear and your rucksack - PERIOD. Everything else is just carried.

That said, remember that no two feet are alike. Personally, I was evidently assembled by the angels from the spare parts bin. My left leg, joints and foot are stock "normal." However my right side is congenitally out of alignment both horizontally and vertically.

My right foot angle is off to the right-of-center by about 7 degrees. And, my right foot is angled about 3 degrees off-level.

My mother told me that I was a "forceps birth" - they had to use a tool to yank me out - not stupid ya' know! I wanted to stay in that nice comfortable and safe place. This might have caused or exacerbated my issues. But, at almost 70, I will never truly know. Whatever...

Thus, I have severe issues with ONLY my right foot. On two Caminos, I have had to take rest days and lay up to obtain professional podiatric (foot doctor) care along the route.

The answer here, and for many people is to consult your podiatrist BEFORE buying anything. If and when you do buy something, have your podiatrist check it out - on you - before you wear them outside and cannot return them.

As some very general rules for considering ankle or mid-high boots, versus hiking shoes or trail runners, think about this:

- If you are top heavy, especially when toting a loaded rucksack, or if otherwise prone to balance, ankle fatigue issues, or specialized foot structure issues (like me), I strongly consider the extra support and stability that the mid-high hiking boot can offer.

Yes, they can be warm in the summer. But you can experiment with different wool and synthetic socks, as liners and outer cushion layers, to mitigate the heat and humidity.

These mid-high boots are also available made with Cordura nylon or Gore Tex uppers for improved ventilation. I have a personal preference for the Keen brand mid-high boots and have worn several pairs of the Targhee II model on six Caminos. NOTE: I have no relationship with them.

- On the other hand, if you are thin, or relatively normal-weighted for your height, have no special foot, ankle, or balance problems, and can walk uneven terrain easily, then trail runners or low hiking shoes might be for you. I again commend the Keen brand to you.

Solomon and Merrill also make superb trail runners. New Balance has several very good models as well. Moreover, New Balance offers a broader size range for hard to fit feet.

In the end, do your research, do your due diligence and double-check your purchase with a medical professional if you have unique issues. No two feet are alike. No two footwear solutions will be completely the same.

Hope this helps the dialog.

Tom
 
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hello friends, Hope you are all well!

I am preparing the camino Ingles in May where i will walk for 5 to 6 days.
I am looking for trail shoes and finding many in shops however i am a bit confused which to choose,
could you help me?

View attachment 139795
not sure if i can publish this pic here, but i saw this one in a shop next to me in Bordeaux and the seller told me it's good but i need to make sure what you think is the best for a first walk.
Plus for the shoe size, should I buy the shoes , the same size I usually buy or should they be for example a bit bigger for the camino?

all tips appreciated,

thank you a lot for you help!

Saïd
Did you see what @davebugg wrote. He is our equipment guru. Read his sage words and I am sure it will help you.
 
hello friends, Hope you are all well!

I am preparing the camino Ingles in May where i will walk for 5 to 6 days.
I am looking for trail shoes and finding many in shops however i am a bit confused which to choose,
could you help me?

View attachment 139795
not sure if i can publish this pic here, but i saw this one in a shop next to me in Bordeaux and the seller told me it's good but i need to make sure what you think is the best for a first walk.
Plus for the shoe size, should I buy the shoes , the same size I usually buy or should they be for example a bit bigger for the camino?

all tips appreciated,

thank you a lot for you help!

Saïd
Shoes are such a person choice but I would say if your shoes are causing you pain and rubbing the wrong way if you can afford to buy another pair along the way.
 
hello friends, Hope you are all well!

I am preparing the camino Ingles in May where i will walk for 5 to 6 days.
I am looking for trail shoes and finding many in shops however i am a bit confused which to choose,
could you help me?

View attachment 139795
not sure if i can publish this pic here, but i saw this one in a shop next to me in Bordeaux and the seller told me it's good but i need to make sure what you think is the best for a first walk.
Plus for the shoe size, should I buy the shoes , the same size I usually buy or should they be for example a bit bigger for the camino?

all tips appreciated,

thank you a lot for you help!

Saïd
Hello there. When we were planning and training I really relied on this blog for help with shoes and socks and found wonderful help.
We selected HOKA Speedgoats both low and water proof mids with Injinji toe socks. Was a great combo for us. No blisters and very happy. We walked last May and June from SJPD to Santiago. Good luck.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
hello friends, Hope you are all well!

I am preparing the camino Ingles in May where i will walk for 5 to 6 days.
I am looking for trail shoes and finding many in shops however i am a bit confused which to choose,
could you help me?

View attachment 139795
not sure if i can publish this pic here, but i saw this one in a shop next to me in Bordeaux and the seller told me it's good but i need to make sure what you think is the best for a first walk.
Plus for the shoe size, should I buy the shoes , the same size I usually buy or should they be for example a bit bigger for the camino?

all tips appreciated,

thank you a lot for you help!

Saïd
If you need a wide toe box, look at Topo brand. They have a drop heel like Astras but the soles are better and hold up. I wore Topos for 29 days on the Camino and the soles still look like new! I am still walking in them now at home!
 
I like my Ecco sandals. In the morning, I rub on the Aquafor, use woolen ankle socks, and take off sandals and socks about halfway through the day to let my feet breathe.
 
hello friends, Hope you are all well!

I am preparing the camino Ingles in May where i will walk for 5 to 6 days.
I am looking for trail shoes and finding many in shops however i am a bit confused which to choose,
could you help me?

View attachment 139795
not sure if i can publish this pic here, but i saw this one in a shop next to me in Bordeaux and the seller told me it's good but i need to make sure what you think is the best for a first walk.
Plus for the shoe size, should I buy the shoes , the same size I usually buy or should they be for example a bit bigger for the camino?

all tips appreciated,

thank you a lot for you help!

Saïd
The most important tip I can give you is whatever you decide [this is so personal because some walk in sneakers, sandals, walking shoes, walking shoe/boots, etc etc. - it so much depends on YOUR needs for support, comfort, etc. ]. buy them now and start walking every day in whatever you choose. And walk consecutive days [after you break them in] 5 or 10 miles. Sorry but all of your other questions size, shoes, etc. are so individual I think advice on this subject would be useless. We all have our preferences but that's it... I use Merrill hiking boot. My Merrill's are 1/2 size bigger than my sneaker because I use orthodics.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Which is the transatlantic sector? DFW to MAD? ORD to MAD?

Some excellent advice. One point I'd add is that there are different ways to lace shoes so that the shoe you choose works best for you. I use trail runners with a wide toe box and always use a runners knot to hold my heel in place. This enables my toes to have plenty of wriggle room but not slide forward, particularly important when going downhill.
Who knew? Thanks so much for posting this - I clicked on the link and watched the videos - I never knew how to correctly tie my shoe. Appreciate this very much!
 
hello friends, Hope you are all well!

I am preparing the camino Ingles in May where i will walk for 5 to 6 days.
I am looking for trail shoes and finding many in shops however i am a bit confused which to choose,
could you help me?

View attachment 139795
not sure if i can publish this pic here, but i saw this one in a shop next to me in Bordeaux and the seller told me it's good but i need to make sure what you think is the best for a first walk.
Plus for the shoe size, should I buy the shoes , the same size I usually buy or should they be for example a bit bigger for the camino?

all tips appreciated,

thank you a lot for you help!
Start by first going to your closet and taking a close and critical look at your current footwear. Which ones are your favorites? How do you wear them out? If you had to leave on your Camino tomorrow and you had to take one of them, which one would you chose and why? I have casual shoes where I wear them out at the pinky. This shoe obviously has a toe box too small for me. Second, go to a discount store and purchase a cheap pair of hiking shoes but one size too big. They will look and feel like clown shoes. But how do they feel after a few days. Perhaps you've been wearing shoes too small. Have fun. Then go shopping for a better shoe for you.
 
If you need a wide toe box, look at Topo brand. They have a drop heel like Astras but the soles are better and hold up. I wore Topos for 29 days on the Camino and the soles still look like new! I am still walking in them now at home!
Hi Jill, looking at Topo Athletic at the moment. Which model are you walking in? They seem to tick quite a few of my boxes. Thanks!
 
Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
They are called Utraventure Pro. They are teal in color. I thought I would have to throw them out after walking 400 miles in them but I am still wearing them. I need a new insole but the tread is still good. I will get a new pair when I go back in September to complete the Camino Frances. I walked the first 150 km with a friend who also had Topos. Her shoes had a higher profile and she loved them as well. I think the main thing is to get the Vibram sole and I think most of that brand has that kind of sole. IMG_5706.jpeg
 
They are called Utraventure Pro. They are teal in color. I thought I would have to throw them out after walking 400 miles in them but I am still wearing them. I need a new insole but the tread is still good. I will get a new pair when I go back in September to complete the Camino Frances. I walked the first 150 km with a friend who also had Topos. Her shoes had a higher profile and she loved them as well. I think the main thing is to get the Vibram sole and I think most of that brand has that kind of sole. View attachment 140815
Thank you so much! Very good to hear that they keep well. That's a bit of a problem I have with Altra (although the Olympus has been good so far). How are they for size? I think I'll give them a go.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Thank you so much! Very good to hear that they keep well. That's a bit of a problem I have with Altra (although the Olympus has been good so far). How are they for size? I think I'll give them a go.
Because of the wide toe box they were true to size for me and also my friend thought the same for hers. We both have narrow heels as well. I would say if you wear thick socks, you may want to go up half a size because I wore a light weight merino wool sock underneath. Buen Camino!!
 
Because of the wide toe box they were true to size for me and also my friend thought the same for hers. We both have narrow heels as well. I would say if you wear thick socks, you may want to go up half a size because I wore a light weight merino wool sock underneath. Buen Camino!!
Thank you!
Buon camino
 

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