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Luggage Transfer Correos

No Blisters over 560 Km (or any other foot issues)!

2020 Camino Guides

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
A total of eight in the past 6 years!
I would love to share my personal experience with learning from our fabulous forum members, regarding how to manage your feet on the Camino. I have just returned from my customized Camino, doing the Camino Teresiano, connecting to Salamanca from Alba de Tormes on the Camino Natural Via de la Plata for one day, then the Via de la Plata from Salamanca, going by way of the Sanabrés to SdC. A total of about 560 km in 27 days.

I have never, ever NOT suffered from blisters on a Camino and I have done 8 of them!

My first shout out is to Laurie, @peregrina2000, for recommending the trail runner from Altra. I bought the Lone Peak 35 model. I had never before worn a trail runner, only heavier trail hiking, low top shoes. At first I wasn't so sure I liked the Altra, but after days and days and no foot discomfort (except for one niggle which I will talk about in a bit) I thought - these are great! They are the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn. Despite walking in downpours, when my feet did get soaked, I appreciated that they dried out fast. We walked for about a week in the rain, so I appreciated this aspect very much! I was able to keep my feet warm, even though wet, with Darn Tough wool socks. These socks have been my personal favorites for years. The thing I did NOT like about the Altras, is that on the rocky paths, I did not feel as much support as I would have liked, walking with a pack. However, I did use poles on those areas, when they were warranted for extra security. (I did not use poles at all times.) A small compromise, IMHO, for no blisters! I loved how lightweight they were as well!

My second shout out is a thanks to Dave, @davebugg for recommending the Engo Blister prevention patches. I only needed to use them on the toe box area, as it is always my toes that get blisters. They seemed to help change everything. The one patch on each foot lasted me for my entire Camino, although one patch did fold over on a corner after a day walking in pouring rain. I could have changed this patch, but I wanted to see how long it would really last, and I was almost at the end anyway. I also used the anti-friction goop he recommended, the 2Tom Chafe Defender brand. I stopped using this product about 1/3 of the way in, because of the bother (and I always seemed to forget to put it on), without any ill consequence. So after a week, I left it in an albergue. Why carry the weight??

The third and perhaps, for me the most important recommendation of all, and sorry, I have forgotten who recommended it first, is the silicone toe gel caps, used to treat corns and blisters on the toes. I used the Homgaty brand. At my first toe niggle, on the top of my 3rd toe, I immediately started to use the silicone gel cap, every day, from then on. They last surprisingly long, and one gel cap lasted me the entire Camino. I just washed it out and re-used it for more than 3 weeks, I believe! The 'niggle' never turned into a blister, just a callous on the tip of my toe after several days use. My husband ALWAYS gets blisters on his toes that curl under one another, and he refused to wear the gel caps until he actually got blisters on 3 toes! The gel caps (after I drained the blisters and used antiseptic) prevented the blisters from getting worse. In fact, he wore them for the rest of his Camino, also, over 3 weeks and became an instant convert to their efficacy to prevent friction, minimize the pain from them and promote speedy healing! This is a wonderful, wonderful product!

Since I did all these three things differently from past Caminos, I am totally unable to tell if one product was more important in the blister prevention! I actually don't care, as most likely I will continue to use all three going forward! I hope this info helps other peregrinos!!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Wow, Elle, what an upbeat post..."all things feet"!
I am interested in walking the Vdlp and the Sanabres, probably breaking it into two halves. If you do a write-up on your blog/website, I will be sure to devour it as I have your others. Glad to hear you had a safe journey...although apparently a little wet!
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
A total of eight in the past 6 years!
Wow, Elle, what an upbeat post..."all things feet"!
I am interested in walking the Vdlp and the Sanabres, probably breaking it into two halves. If you do a write-up on your blog/website, I will be sure to devour it as I have your others. Glad to hear you had a safe journey...although apparently a little wet!
Yes, it was great. I will begin writing about the Teresiano, which I am working on now, then the VdlP. Stay tuned!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
I would love to share my personal experience with learning from our fabulous forum members, regarding how to manage your feet on the Camino. I have just returned from my customized Camino, doing the Camino Teresiano, connecting to Salamanca from Alba de Tormes on the Camino Natural Via de la Plata for one day, then the Via de la Plata from Salamanca, going by way of the Sanabrés to SdC. A total of about 560 km in 27 days.

I have never, ever NOT suffered from blisters on a Camino and I have done 8 of them!

My first shout out is to Laurie, @peregrina2000, for recommending the trail runner from Altra. I bought the Lone Peak 35 model. I had never before worn a trail runner, only heavier trail hiking, low top shoes. At first I wasn't so sure I liked the Altra, but after days and days and no foot discomfort (except for one niggle which I will talk about in a bit) I thought - these are great! They are the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn. Despite walking in downpours, when my feet did get soaked, I appreciated that they dried out fast. We walked for about a week in the rain, so I appreciated this aspect very much! I was able to keep my feet warm, even though wet, with Darn Tough wool socks. These socks have been my personal favorites for years. The thing I did NOT like about the Altras, is that on the rocky paths, I did not feel as much support as I would have liked, walking with a pack. However, I did use poles on those areas, when they were warranted for extra security. (I did not use poles at all times.) A small compromise, IMHO, for no blisters! I loved how lightweight they were as well!

My second shout out is a thanks to Dave, @davebugg for recommending the Engo Blister prevention patches. I only needed to use them on the toe box area, as it is always my toes that get blisters. They seemed to help change everything. The one patch on each foot lasted me for my entire Camino, although one patch did fold over on a corner after a day walking in pouring rain. I could have changed this patch, but I wanted to see how long it would really last, and I was almost at the end anyway. I also used the anti-friction goop he recommended, the 2Tom Chafe Defender brand. I stopped using this product about 1/3 of the way in, because of the bother (and I always seemed to forget to put it on), without any ill consequence. So after a week, I left it in an albergue. Why carry the weight??

The third and perhaps, for me the most important recommendation of all, and sorry, I have forgotten who recommended it first, is the silicone toe gel caps, used to treat corns and blisters on the toes. I used the Homgaty brand. At my first toe niggle, on the top of my 3rd toe, I immediately started to use the silicone gel cap, every day, from then on. They last surprisingly long, and one gel cap lasted me the entire Camino. I just washed it out and re-used it for more than 3 weeks, I believe! The 'niggle' never turned into a blister, just a callous on the tip of my toe after several days use. My husband ALWAYS gets blisters on his toes that curl under one another, and he refused to wear the gel caps until he actually got blisters on 3 toes! The gel caps (after I drained the blisters and used antiseptic) prevented the blisters from getting worse. In fact, he wore them for the rest of his Camino, also, over 3 weeks and became an instant convert to their efficacy to prevent friction, minimize the pain from them and promote speedy healing! This is a wonderful, wonderful product!

Since I did all these three things differently from past Caminos, I am totally unable to tell if one product was more important in the blister prevention! I actually don't care, as most likely I will continue to use all three going forward! I hope this info helps other peregrinos!!
Nothing as good as experience, isn’t that right. Elle? Great to hear from you, and many people will benefit from your experience, which you adapted from that of others. Such is the forum. Hope all went well for your trip home.
 

Hansel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances and Fisterre (2018,08) ,Camino Primitivo, and Fisterre,(2019,04)
Yes, it was great. I will begin writing about the Teresiano, which I am working on now, then the VdlP. Stay tuned!
Yes very upbeat, especially walking so long in the rain, and previously with blisters,
I get enough rain in Scotland without having to look for Spanish or Portuguese rain, although around Tomar we had torrential but warm rain, when an umbrella came in handy :)
Bill
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
A total of eight in the past 6 years!
Nothing as good as experience, isn’t that right. Elle? Great to hear from you, and many people will benefit from your experience, which you adapted from that of others. Such is the forum. Hope all went well for your trip home.
Totally and absolutely right kirkie!
 

TerBear

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2018
I would love to share my personal experience with learning from our fabulous forum members, regarding how to manage your feet on the Camino. I have just returned from my customized Camino, doing the Camino Teresiano, connecting to Salamanca from Alba de Tormes on the Camino Natural Via de la Plata for one day, then the Via de la Plata from Salamanca, going by way of the Sanabrés to SdC. A total of about 560 km in 27 days.

I have never, ever NOT suffered from blisters on a Camino and I have done 8 of them!

My first shout out is to Laurie, @peregrina2000, for recommending the trail runner from Altra. I bought the Lone Peak 35 model. I had never before worn a trail runner, only heavier trail hiking, low top shoes. At first I wasn't so sure I liked the Altra, but after days and days and no foot discomfort (except for one niggle which I will talk about in a bit) I thought - these are great! They are the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn. Despite walking in downpours, when my feet did get soaked, I appreciated that they dried out fast. We walked for about a week in the rain, so I appreciated this aspect very much! I was able to keep my feet warm, even though wet, with Darn Tough wool socks. These socks have been my personal favorites for years. The thing I did NOT like about the Altras, is that on the rocky paths, I did not feel as much support as I would have liked, walking with a pack. However, I did use poles on those areas, when they were warranted for extra security. (I did not use poles at all times.) A small compromise, IMHO, for no blisters! I loved how lightweight they were as well!

My second shout out is a thanks to Dave, @davebugg for recommending the Engo Blister prevention patches. I only needed to use them on the toe box area, as it is always my toes that get blisters. They seemed to help change everything. The one patch on each foot lasted me for my entire Camino, although one patch did fold over on a corner after a day walking in pouring rain. I could have changed this patch, but I wanted to see how long it would really last, and I was almost at the end anyway. I also used the anti-friction goop he recommended, the 2Tom Chafe Defender brand. I stopped using this product about 1/3 of the way in, because of the bother (and I always seemed to forget to put it on), without any ill consequence. So after a week, I left it in an albergue. Why carry the weight??

The third and perhaps, for me the most important recommendation of all, and sorry, I have forgotten who recommended it first, is the silicone toe gel caps, used to treat corns and blisters on the toes. I used the Homgaty brand. At my first toe niggle, on the top of my 3rd toe, I immediately started to use the silicone gel cap, every day, from then on. They last surprisingly long, and one gel cap lasted me the entire Camino. I just washed it out and re-used it for more than 3 weeks, I believe! The 'niggle' never turned into a blister, just a callous on the tip of my toe after several days use. My husband ALWAYS gets blisters on his toes that curl under one another, and he refused to wear the gel caps until he actually got blisters on 3 toes! The gel caps (after I drained the blisters and used antiseptic) prevented the blisters from getting worse. In fact, he wore them for the rest of his Camino, also, over 3 weeks and became an instant convert to their efficacy to prevent friction, minimize the pain from them and promote speedy healing! This is a wonderful, wonderful product!

Since I did all these three things differently from past Caminos, I am totally unable to tell if one product was more important in the blister prevention! I actually don't care, as most likely I will continue to use all three going forward! I hope this info helps other peregrinos!!
Welcome home. Can’t wait to read your blog!
 

Walton

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
Not having blisters is something indeed to celebrate. I recon it's worth a cafe con leche or two or maybe a large vino tinto! Thank you for your post Elle.
Would like to read your blog. There is always something to learn
Cheers
 

Mary Doll

Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sarria to Santiago (2018)
Camino Francés SJPDP to Finisterre planned for June 2020
Yes very upbeat, especially walking so long in the rain, and previously with blisters,
I get enough rain in Scotland without having to look for Spanish or Portuguese rain, although around Tomar we had torrential but warm rain, when an umbrella came in handy :)
Bill
 

Mary Doll

Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sarria to Santiago (2018)
Camino Francés SJPDP to Finisterre planned for June 2020
Yes very upbeat, especially walking so long in the rain, and previously with blisters,
I get enough rain in Scotland without having to look for Spanish or Portuguese rain, although around Tomar we had torrential but warm rain, when an umbrella came in handy :)
Bill
We only know it’s summer in Scotland because the rain is warmer.
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
A total of eight in the past 6 years!
Not having blisters is something indeed to celebrate. I recon it's worth a cafe con leche or two or maybe a large vino tinto! Thank you for your post Elle.
Would like to read your blog. There is always something to learn
Cheers
I've tried to recreate the cafe con leche with a Bialetti stovetop macchiato maker. Works pretty good! However, with the vino tinto, no matter what I buy in the USA, it never tastes the same as in Spain!
 

RodlaRob

Oz Member
Camino(s) past & future
Torres (2016) Portuguese (2016)
Look fwd to the notes on Teresiano!
March/ April 2020 I'm off to start a Camino Combo.... start in Avila...
... Camino Teresiano....then Camino Torres from Salamanca....then Camino Portuguese interior from Lamego!
Have previously done Camino Torres & definitely not a fan of the pilgrim highway routes.
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
A total of eight in the past 6 years!
Look fwd to the notes on Teresiano!
March/ April 2020 I'm off to start a Camino Combo.... start in Avila...
... Camino Teresiano....then Camino Torres from Salamanca....then Camino Portuguese interior from Lamego!
Have previously done Camino Torres & definitely not a fan of the pilgrim highway routes.
Sounds like a wonderful plan!
 

owms2323

Credential question
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances (2014) Camino Frances (2016) Camino Finisterre/Muxia (2017)
I would love to share my personal experience with learning from our fabulous forum members, regarding how to manage your feet on the Camino. I have just returned from my customized Camino, doing the Camino Teresiano, connecting to Salamanca from Alba de Tormes on the Camino Natural Via de la Plata for one day, then the Via de la Plata from Salamanca, going by way of the Sanabrés to SdC. A total of about 560 km in 27 days.

I have never, ever NOT suffered from blisters on a Camino and I have done 8 of them!

My first shout out is to Laurie, @peregrina2000, for recommending the trail runner from Altra. I bought the Lone Peak 35 model. I had never before worn a trail runner, only heavier trail hiking, low top shoes. At first I wasn't so sure I liked the Altra, but after days and days and no foot discomfort (except for one niggle which I will talk about in a bit) I thought - these are great! They are the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn. Despite walking in downpours, when my feet did get soaked, I appreciated that they dried out fast. We walked for about a week in the rain, so I appreciated this aspect very much! I was able to keep my feet warm, even though wet, with Darn Tough wool socks. These socks have been my personal favorites for years. The thing I did NOT like about the Altras, is that on the rocky paths, I did not feel as much support as I would have liked, walking with a pack. However, I did use poles on those areas, when they were warranted for extra security. (I did not use poles at all times.) A small compromise, IMHO, for no blisters! I loved how lightweight they were as well!

My second shout out is a thanks to Dave, @davebugg for recommending the Engo Blister prevention patches. I only needed to use them on the toe box area, as it is always my toes that get blisters. They seemed to help change everything. The one patch on each foot lasted me for my entire Camino, although one patch did fold over on a corner after a day walking in pouring rain. I could have changed this patch, but I wanted to see how long it would really last, and I was almost at the end anyway. I also used the anti-friction goop he recommended, the 2Tom Chafe Defender brand. I stopped using this product about 1/3 of the way in, because of the bother (and I always seemed to forget to put it on), without any ill consequence. So after a week, I left it in an albergue. Why carry the weight??

The third and perhaps, for me the most important recommendation of all, and sorry, I have forgotten who recommended it first, is the silicone toe gel caps, used to treat corns and blisters on the toes. I used the Homgaty brand. At my first toe niggle, on the top of my 3rd toe, I immediately started to use the silicone gel cap, every day, from then on. They last surprisingly long, and one gel cap lasted me the entire Camino. I just washed it out and re-used it for more than 3 weeks, I believe! The 'niggle' never turned into a blister, just a callous on the tip of my toe after several days use. My husband ALWAYS gets blisters on his toes that curl under one another, and he refused to wear the gel caps until he actually got blisters on 3 toes! The gel caps (after I drained the blisters and used antiseptic) prevented the blisters from getting worse. In fact, he wore them for the rest of his Camino, also, over 3 weeks and became an instant convert to their efficacy to prevent friction, minimize the pain from them and promote speedy healing! This is a wonderful, wonderful product!

Since I did all these three things differently from past Caminos, I am totally unable to tell if one product was more important in the blister prevention! I actually don't care, as most likely I will continue to use all three going forward! I hope this info helps other peregrinos!!
I liked Altras until I got plantar fasciitis from wearing them on a 3 mile pavement walk. They offer no support.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
There is no one shoe that works for everyone, that's for sure! Everyone must figure out what works for them through trial and error.
Yes, our feet are all different and have their own shape and "figures"...just like our bodies do!
 

Jbirk

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, SJPP to Finesterre April (2018)
Via Francigena Sept (2018)
Del Norte Aug (2019)
We walked 2000kms over 3 different Caminos wearing Altra Lone Peak 4 mid with zero blisters or foot problems. I have also started buying different Altras for every day use. Big fan here.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
I also managed no blisters on my Camino, though it was heavily managed through preventative taping, taking shoes-off breaks, and changing socks on long days. I have since purchased Altras for my hiking needs and I LOVE THEM. I have a very wide toe-section and very high-volume foot, and it feels like Altra Lone Peaks are literally the only shoe every made that is big enough for my foot.

I'm so glad you had such a good experience, and thanks for sharing it all here! =)
 

AlexanderAZ

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017 (Sept/Oct): CF: SJPdP-->Fisterra-->Muxia (solo)
2019 (late Sept): CF: SJPdP-->Leon (honeymoon!)
I walked all of CF (solo) in 2017. At that time, I did nothing special to prevent blisters. I think I had a small blister or two but nothing memorable and definitely nothing that slowed me down. Last month I walked half of CF with my wife (our plan for 2017). I thought I'd be very proactive on foot care this year so I changed socks mid-day and used SportSlick (an anti-friction like vaseline) in the mornings and at mid-day sock change. Welp, I got large blisters on the balls of both feet. Large enough and bad enough they got infected and landed me in the emergency room with a high fever. Nothing changed from 2 years ago except I changed socks and used anti-friction. Yes, I wore the same brand/model shoes and socks that I did in 2017. Yes, I weighed the same, I carried the same pack weight, and did the same amount of training. I'm proof that even blister prevention is not standard, what works for one does not work for all.
 

Jodean

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
3 Caminos and I do the same thing for all of them and have yet to get a blister.
Wear hosiery with my socks. Since I do suffer from corns, I also put a bit of foot glide on my little toes. The hosiery are rather cheap knee highs, but the support style. Have recently found cotton ones that are very thin and feel almost like nylons. They work for me too.

Got a pair of Altras, super comfy but after 3 months, came down with a bad case of sciatica that just won't go away completely. That was the only thing different, so I figured it had to be the shoes. Have since gone back to wearing my Meindl boots. (I am a walking tour guide and walk a lot, every day) and the sciatica has improved.
 

Hansel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances and Fisterre (2018,08) ,Camino Primitivo, and Fisterre,(2019,04)
I've tried to recreate the cafe con leche with a Bialetti stovetop macchiato maker. Works pretty good! However, with the vino tinto, no matter what I buy in the USA, it never tastes the same as in Spain!
So many pilgrims order cafe con leche, that at least once on a camino I'll get cafe con leche, even though I've asked for an Americano, the size of cup when buying coffee out is never as small as in Spain or Portugal.
Bill
 

Hansel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances and Fisterre (2018,08) ,Camino Primitivo, and Fisterre,(2019,04)
We only know it’s summer in Scotland because the rain is warmer.
Hi Mary Doll, probably about right, but not always guaranteed to warm any time of year .
Think you might be the only Ayrshire pilgrim , though bound to be more after i write this :)
Bill,
 

Jyrki Wahlstedt

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo 2018 (, Portugues 2020)
Hi travelers,
my experience is more modest, just one Primitivo, but as I didn't have any foot problems, I might add a different recipe. I started from Oviedo late August, so as May was very warm last year, I walked barefoot for almost four months in Helsinki. Helped a lot, though YMMV. On the road I used Merrell's barefoot shoes, worked perfectly for me.
 

Globalroaming074

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2020)
I would love to share my personal experience with learning from our fabulous forum members, regarding how to manage your feet on the Camino. I have just returned from my customized Camino, doing the Camino Teresiano, connecting to Salamanca from Alba de Tormes on the Camino Natural Via de la Plata for one day, then the Via de la Plata from Salamanca, going by way of the Sanabrés to SdC. A total of about 560 km in 27 days.

I have never, ever NOT suffered from blisters on a Camino and I have done 8 of them!

My first shout out is to Laurie, @peregrina2000, for recommending the trail runner from Altra. I bought the Lone Peak 35 model. I had never before worn a trail runner, only heavier trail hiking, low top shoes. At first I wasn't so sure I liked the Altra, but after days and days and no foot discomfort (except for one niggle which I will talk about in a bit) I thought - these are great! They are the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn. Despite walking in downpours, when my feet did get soaked, I appreciated that they dried out fast. We walked for about a week in the rain, so I appreciated this aspect very much! I was able to keep my feet warm, even though wet, with Darn Tough wool socks. These socks have been my personal favorites for years. The thing I did NOT like about the Altras, is that on the rocky paths, I did not feel as much support as I would have liked, walking with a pack. However, I did use poles on those areas, when they were warranted for extra security. (I did not use poles at all times.) A small compromise, IMHO, for no blisters! I loved how lightweight they were as well!

My second shout out is a thanks to Dave, @davebugg for recommending the Engo Blister prevention patches. I only needed to use them on the toe box area, as it is always my toes that get blisters. They seemed to help change everything. The one patch on each foot lasted me for my entire Camino, although one patch did fold over on a corner after a day walking in pouring rain. I could have changed this patch, but I wanted to see how long it would really last, and I was almost at the end anyway. I also used the anti-friction goop he recommended, the 2Tom Chafe Defender brand. I stopped using this product about 1/3 of the way in, because of the bother (and I always seemed to forget to put it on), without any ill consequence. So after a week, I left it in an albergue. Why carry the weight??

The third and perhaps, for me the most important recommendation of all, and sorry, I have forgotten who recommended it first, is the silicone toe gel caps, used to treat corns and blisters on the toes. I used the Homgaty brand. At my first toe niggle, on the top of my 3rd toe, I immediately started to use the silicone gel cap, every day, from then on. They last surprisingly long, and one gel cap lasted me the entire Camino. I just washed it out and re-used it for more than 3 weeks, I believe! The 'niggle' never turned into a blister, just a callous on the tip of my toe after several days use. My husband ALWAYS gets blisters on his toes that curl under one another, and he refused to wear the gel caps until he actually got blisters on 3 toes! The gel caps (after I drained the blisters and used antiseptic) prevented the blisters from getting worse. In fact, he wore them for the rest of his Camino, also, over 3 weeks and became an instant convert to their efficacy to prevent friction, minimize the pain from them and promote speedy healing! This is a wonderful, wonderful product!

Since I did all these three things differently from past Caminos, I am totally unable to tell if one product was more important in the blister prevention! I actually don't care, as most likely I will continue to use all three going forward! I hope this info helps other peregrinos!!
Hi Elle, thanks for such a great article. I will be doing my first Camino next May (Norte) and I’m terrified of blisters although from the myriad of articles and blogs I’ve read I’ve just assumed they are inevitable. Your post gives me new hope and I’ll be following your suggestions to the letter!
I have just one question regarding the Engo patches - from what I’ve seen online they apply to the shoe and not your foot, is that right? Was it difficult to apply the patch to the toe cap area of your shoe as I’d imagine it’s a difficult area to access?
Also, regarding socks, you mentioned Darn Tough Merino socks, were they thick or thin? Did you wear an inner sock liner? I have read people suggesting a thin silk or cotton liner under your regular sock, while others say a merino wool sock is adequate.
Lastly, is it necessary to have multiple changes of socks during the day eg when your feet were wet? Or were you ok with the 1 pair each day and walking even with wet socks?
Thanks again, so great to have such detailed info as I prepare for May.
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
A total of eight in the past 6 years!
Hi Elle, thanks for such a great article. I will be doing my first Camino next May (Norte) and I’m terrified of blisters although from the myriad of articles and blogs I’ve read I’ve just assumed they are inevitable. Your post gives me new hope and I’ll be following your suggestions to the letter!
I have just one question regarding the Engo patches - from what I’ve seen online they apply to the shoe and not your foot, is that right? Was it difficult to apply the patch to the toe cap area of your shoe as I’d imagine it’s a difficult area to access?
Also, regarding socks, you mentioned Darn Tough Merino socks, were they thick or thin? Did you wear an inner sock liner? I have read people suggesting a thin silk or cotton liner under your regular sock, while others say a merino wool sock is adequate.
Lastly, is it necessary to have multiple changes of socks during the day eg when your feet were wet? Or were you ok with the 1 pair each day and walking even with wet socks?
Thanks again, so great to have such detailed info as I prepare for May.
Hello@globalroaming074. Yes, you apply the patches to the shoe. I just pulled out the sole inserts to apply them to the bottom toe area. If you are getting rubs on the tops of you toes or the sides, I would use the gel caps for that.
As for socks, I used to wear the liners from Injinji. This time I did not. Now I feel that two socks just make my feet too hot. But my friend wore them, and didn't use the Engo patches and also got no blisters. It all depends on you and your feet. Everyone is different, so you will have to experiment and see what works for you. As for changing socks, I never did. My feet don't sweat that much. For me it was sufficient to air them out at least once a day. If it rained hard, my feet just got wet anyway so changing them was useless.
I how this helps! Good luck!
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Hi Elle, thanks for such a great article. I will be doing my first Camino next May (Norte) and I’m terrified of blisters although from the myriad of articles and blogs I’ve read I’ve just assumed they are inevitable. Your post gives me new hope and I’ll be following your suggestions to the letter!
I have just one question regarding the Engo patches - from what I’ve seen online they apply to the shoe and not your foot, is that right? Was it difficult to apply the patch to the toe cap area of your shoe as I’d imagine it’s a difficult area to access?
Also, regarding socks, you mentioned Darn Tough Merino socks, were they thick or thin? Did you wear an inner sock liner? I have read people suggesting a thin silk or cotton liner under your regular sock, while others say a merino wool sock is adequate.
Hi, Globalroaming..

I have not read through the entire thread, and Elle has shared some valuable tips and information that will be of help to you. I thought that I would add to Elle's postings and provide some additional information for you to consider.

I have posted these two guides before, and they may be of help to you. One is about blister prevention, and the other on methods of fitting shoes for distance walking/backpacking. Both are areas of attention that are needed to be focused on in order to reduce and/ or eliminate the risk for blistering.

The big caveat to blister prevention - - there is no singular solution that works for everyone. No shoe, no sock, no goop, no nothing. Like snowflakes, no two feet (even on the same person) are alike, which means that there is no universal cure :)

Knowing the cause of blistering and the various strategies to avoid them, and knowing what strategies to observe when shoe shopping are the nexus for individuals to develop a solution that works well for them. . but not necessarily for anyone else.

One other thing. . . Go with the most minimal preparation and strategy that you can. The less on your feet the better for comfort and foot health. Don't be stingy about what you need to do, just be watchful for doing more than needed.

Here is a link to a report and review I did for ArmaSkin socks, which are a different strategy than the typical dual-layer sock methods of anti-blister defense. I am not recommending that you rush out and purchase them, but they may be something that you wish to explore further or try out for yourself.

----------------------------------------
Blisters are a product of friction.... often referred to as shear force friction. The skin of your foot, and the sock that is in contact with that area of skin, are sliding and rubbing together.

Strategies for the prevention of shear force friction and blisters have changed and matured over recent years. This is one direction that works well for many, and requires minimal foot preparation to begin walking.
  1. A properly fitting shoe. In brief, it needs to be long enough and wide enough to accommodate any insoles, orthotics, metatarsal pads, etc, PLUS the socks that you will be wearing, PLUS the increased pressure on the feet from wearing a loaded pack.
  2. Light padded Merino wool sock designed for walking or backpacking, or the same type of sock in a good synthetic blend. A heavy pad on a sock allows potentially more movement against the skin, takes longer to air out, and takes longer to dry when washed.
  3. A sock fit that is snug and form fitting to the foot, but not gangrene-inducing tight. You want the shear force to be between the sock and the interior of the shoe, not the sock and the skin. A snug fitting sock will help to make that happen.
  4. Allow the shoe to move over the sock a bit. By keeping the shoes a bit looser on the feet, the sock will take the brunt of the shear force. If a shoe is tied snug, then that forces the foot to move more in the sock, which means the sock and skin are absorbing the shear force. An exception occurs on long downhill grades; the shoes need to be tied tight enough to keep your toes from hitting the front of the shoe which can cause injury and trauma to the nail bed and toe joints.
  5. While there are foot lubricants, from Body Glide and Hiker's Goo to plain old vaseline, they have a fairly short viable working span as the material rubs off of the skin and is absorbed by the socks. For prophylactic protection from shear force friction to blister prone areas on the feet, a long lasting barrier is the better option. The placement of tapes, like Leukotape P, or moleskin-type products, if adhered correctly, will last the whole day.
  6. To apply tapes and moleskin type products,
    1. Clean off the area of application with a bit of alcohol to remove grease, dirt, and body oils. A bit of regular hand sanitizer works for this, in addition to hand cleansing.
    2. Cut a piece of your chosen barrier material to fit the area you want protected; be sure to cut rounded corners rather than square in order to help the material from rolling up away from the skin.
    3. Apply a thin smear of Tincture of Benzoin to the skin area where the adhesive will stick. This will increase the holding power of the tape or moleskin.
      1. If the tape or moleskin, etc. is going on top of a blistered area, avoid getting the Benzoin on the roof area of the blister, and add a thin coating of ointment/vaseline onto the blister roof, avoiding the surrounding skin area. This will allow removal of the product without hurting the blister wound.
    4. Place the barrier on the area, taking care to not handle the adhesive; spend a bit of time rubbing the material to create friction so that the adhesive will heat up and adhere more firmly.
    5. At the end of the day, remove the barrier and use some alcohol to wipe the area that was covered.
      1. Since fungus (athletes foot) and pathogens splash around in showers, shower shoes are not necessarily preventative to one's feet being exposed or infected. It is helpful to use an alcohol or astringent product applied to the feet after showering.

-----------------------------------------------

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 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 need to go up a size, to a size and a half in length, or more, 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.
 

Globalroaming074

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2020)
Hi, Globalroaming..

I have not read through the entire thread, and Elle has shared some valuable tips and information that will be of help to you. I thought that I would add to Elle's and provide some additional information for you to consider.

I have posted these two guides before, and they may be of help to you. One is about blister prevention, and the other on methods of fitting shoes for distance walking/backpacking. Both are areas of attention that are needed to be focused on in order to reduce and/ or eliminate the risk for blistering.

The big caveat to blister prevention - - there is no singular solution that works for everyone. No shoe, no sock, no goop, no nothing. Like snowflakes, no two feet (even on the same person) are alike, which means that there is no universal cure :)

Knowing the cause of blistering and the various strategies to avoid them, and knowing what strategies to observe when shoe shopping are the nexus for individuals to develop a solution that works well for them. . but not necessarily for anyone else.

One other thing. . . Go with the most minimal preparation and strategy that you can. The less on your feet the better for comfort and foot health. Don't be stingy about what you need to do, just be watchful for doing more than needed.

Here is a link to a report and review I did for ArmaSkin socks, which are a different strategy than the typical dual-layer sock methods of anti-blister defense. I am not recommending that you rush out and purchase them, but they may be something that you wish to explore further or try out for yourself.

----------------------------------------
Blisters are a product of friction.... often referred to as shear force friction. The skin of your foot, and the sock that is in contact with that area of skin, are sliding and rubbing together.

Strategies for the prevention of shear force friction and blisters have changed and matured over recent years. This is one direction that works well for many, and requires minimal foot preparation to begin walking.
  1. A properly fitting shoe. In brief, it needs to be long enough and wide enough to accommodate any insoles, orthotics, metatarsal pads, etc, PLUS the socks that you will be wearing, PLUS the increased pressure on the feet from wearing a loaded pack.
  2. Light padded Merino wool sock designed for walking or backpacking, or the same type of sock in a good synthetic blend. A heavy pad on a sock allows potentially more movement against the skin, takes longer to air out, and takes longer to dry when washed.
  3. A sock fit that is snug and form fitting to the foot, but not gangrene-inducing tight. You want the shear force to be between the sock and the interior of the shoe, not the sock and the skin. A snug fitting sock will help to make that happen.
  4. Allow the shoe to move over the sock a bit. By keeping the shoes a bit looser on the feet, the sock will take the brunt of the shear force. If a shoe is tied snug, then that forces the foot to move more in the sock, which means the sock and skin are absorbing the shear force. An exception occurs on long downhill grades; the shoes need to be tied tight enough to keep your toes from hitting the front of the shoe which can cause injury and trauma to the nail bed and toe joints.
  5. While there are foot lubricants, from Body Glide and Hiker's Goo to plain old vaseline, they have a fairly short viable working span as the material rubs off of the skin and is absorbed by the socks. For prophylactic protection from shear force friction to blister prone areas on the feet, a long lasting barrier is the better option. The placement of tapes, like Leukotape P, or moleskin-type products, if adhered correctly, will last the whole day.
  6. To apply tapes and moleskin type products,
    1. Clean off the area of application with a bit of alcohol to remove grease, dirt, and body oils. A bit of regular hand sanitizer works for this, in addition to hand cleansing.
    2. Cut a piece of your chosen barrier material to fit the area you want protected; be sure to cut rounded corners rather than square in order to help the material from rolling up away from the skin.
    3. Apply a thin smear of Tincture of Benzoin to the skin area where the adhesive will stick. This will increase the holding power of the tape or moleskin.
      1. If the tape or moleskin, etc. is going on top of a blistered area, avoid getting the Benzoin on the roof area of the blister, and add a thin coating of ointment/vaseline onto the blister roof, avoiding the surrounding skin area. This will allow removal of the product without hurting the blister wound.
    4. Place the barrier on the area, taking care to not handle the adhesive; spend a bit of time rubbing the material to create friction so that the adhesive will heat up and adhere more firmly.
    5. At the end of the day, remove the barrier and use some alcohol to wipe the area that was covered.
      1. Since fungus (athletes foot) and pathogens splash around in showers, shower shoes are not necessarily preventative to one's feet being exposed or infected. It is helpful to use an alcohol or astringent product applied to the feet after showering.

-----------------------------------------------

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 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 need to go up a size, to a size and a half in length, or more, 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.
@davebugg and @Elle Bieling, thank you so much for the info, the time you have taken to provide such detailed replies is far more than I could have anticipated!
You both have given me much to think about and trial over the coming months as I train during the Australian summer... you will both be in my thoughts as I discover my own foot conservation strategy!
 

owms2323

Credential question
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances (2014) Camino Frances (2016) Camino Finisterre/Muxia (2017)
I would love to share my personal experience with learning from our fabulous forum members, regarding how to manage your feet on the Camino. I have just returned from my customized Camino, doing the Camino Teresiano, connecting to Salamanca from Alba de Tormes on the Camino Natural Via de la Plata for one day, then the Via de la Plata from Salamanca, going by way of the Sanabrés to SdC. A total of about 560 km in 27 days.

I have never, ever NOT suffered from blisters on a Camino and I have done 8 of them!

My first shout out is to Laurie, @peregrina2000, for recommending the trail runner from Altra. I bought the Lone Peak 35 model. I had never before worn a trail runner, only heavier trail hiking, low top shoes. At first I wasn't so sure I liked the Altra, but after days and days and no foot discomfort (except for one niggle which I will talk about in a bit) I thought - these are great! They are the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn. Despite walking in downpours, when my feet did get soaked, I appreciated that they dried out fast. We walked for about a week in the rain, so I appreciated this aspect very much! I was able to keep my feet warm, even though wet, with Darn Tough wool socks. These socks have been my personal favorites for years. The thing I did NOT like about the Altras, is that on the rocky paths, I did not feel as much support as I would have liked, walking with a pack. However, I did use poles on those areas, when they were warranted for extra security. (I did not use poles at all times.) A small compromise, IMHO, for no blisters! I loved how lightweight they were as well!

My second shout out is a thanks to Dave, @davebugg for recommending the Engo Blister prevention patches. I only needed to use them on the toe box area, as it is always my toes that get blisters. They seemed to help change everything. The one patch on each foot lasted me for my entire Camino, although one patch did fold over on a corner after a day walking in pouring rain. I could have changed this patch, but I wanted to see how long it would really last, and I was almost at the end anyway. I also used the anti-friction goop he recommended, the 2Tom Chafe Defender brand. I stopped using this product about 1/3 of the way in, because of the bother (and I always seemed to forget to put it on), without any ill consequence. So after a week, I left it in an albergue. Why carry the weight??

The third and perhaps, for me the most important recommendation of all, and sorry, I have forgotten who recommended it first, is the silicone toe gel caps, used to treat corns and blisters on the toes. I used the Homgaty brand. At my first toe niggle, on the top of my 3rd toe, I immediately started to use the silicone gel cap, every day, from then on. They last surprisingly long, and one gel cap lasted me the entire Camino. I just washed it out and re-used it for more than 3 weeks, I believe! The 'niggle' never turned into a blister, just a callous on the tip of my toe after several days use. My husband ALWAYS gets blisters on his toes that curl under one another, and he refused to wear the gel caps until he actually got blisters on 3 toes! The gel caps (after I drained the blisters and used antiseptic) prevented the blisters from getting worse. In fact, he wore them for the rest of his Camino, also, over 3 weeks and became an instant convert to their efficacy to prevent friction, minimize the pain from them and promote speedy healing! This is a wonderful, wonderful product!

Since I did all these three things differently from past Caminos, I am totally unable to tell if one product was more important in the blister prevention! I actually don't care, as most likely I will continue to use all three going forward! I hope this info helps other peregrinos!!
My Altras were comfortable until I got plantar fasciitis. I blame them.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
and I’m terrified of blisters although from the myriad of articles and blogs I’ve read I’ve just assumed they are inevitable
Absolutely not inevitable. I've walked almost 3600 km on Camino trails, and I have had two small blisters. Both on the side of my second toes. My anti-blister strategy is to apply Omnifix or Hypafix tape to places where I tend to blister, which for me is the balls of my feet and those toes. (I got the two blisters because I was lazy and didn't follow this protocol) Omnifix and Hypafix are both thin, somewhat stretchy tapes that will easily conform to the shape of your foot. They come in different widths - I prefer the 4inch wide tape. They stay on well, but come off easily without leaving sticky residue. They are easily found in most farmacias in Spain.
 

Mary Doll

Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sarria to Santiago (2018)
Camino Francés SJPDP to Finisterre planned for June 2020
Hi Mary Doll, probably about right, but not always guaranteed to warm any time of year .
Think you might be the only Ayrshire pilgrim , though bound to be more after i write this :)
Bill,
Hi Bill
Not many of us Ayrshire pilgrims around, although I did come across one from Largs on one of the Facebook groups. I had sussed you out as a local lad going by your forum name.

I guess you’ve worked out I’m Anne Davie’s sister. Nice to meet you even if only virtually.

Marie
 

Hansel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances and Fisterre (2018,08) ,Camino Primitivo, and Fisterre,(2019,04)
Hi Bill
Not many of us Ayrshire pilgrims around, although I did come across one from Largs on one of the Facebook groups. I had sussed you out as a local lad going by your forum name.

I guess you’ve worked out I’m Anne Davie’s sister. Nice to meet you even if only virtually.

Marie
Hi Marie, I was thinking that, good to meet you virtually , enjoy your camino, you'll love it,
I've been looking at flights, the camino gets a bit addictive !
Bill
 

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