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please, help me to decide....sandals?


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Dear all,

I really need advise in choosing the shoes for a walk.

Is it a silly thought if I would have only walking sandals and a pair of waterproof socks in case it rains? As I am going to walk in August and September… and I just can’t stand then my feet are in hot conditions… I mean boots. Sometimes it feels that I would better go barefoot :wink:

But a lot discussions are made about the best footwear. I am new in this field, so do not know anything. As I am planning to walk from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Finisterre, how do you think, will I be ok with sandals?

I have one problem with my knee. After my first long distance journey, I did not care a lot and have damaged something. Sometimes it starts to hurt suddenly, and the pain suddenly disappears. Doctors can’t help me as they can’t find anything. Ye, modern medicine;) I am going to heal it with Reiki, I believe it will help.
But why am telling this… :roll:
because I have read that boots protect knees. That’s another issue for me in choosing between them and sandals…

Oh, it’s the first long journey… and as closer it comes, more questions the mind creates. If anyone could help me… I am really happy that this forum exist!!!

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Hi Meta, there are as many opinions about footwear as there are people. The equipment forum has lots of info. My best advice is try out the different approaches before you go. Is 200 E worth having to stop you camino? There will always be unknowns, but you can get to something comfortable for you. Noone can tell you how something feels to you. Ultreya, John
Hi Meta,
I can't help you with your question about sandals or boots, I think it comes down to what you are comfortable with. Obviously you know that the terrain changes a lot, and that it might be wet.
But I had a similar problem with my knee, more or less exactly as you described, after Pamplona I had a terrible pain, which got worse each day, and finally in Logrono I went to the hospital. The doctor there explained me that I have an inflamation, caused by the heavy boots (!); he recommended that I rest for one day and put a lot of ice on my knee. It really helped, after two days I walked without pain again!
I hope this helps you as well!

i'm going in sandals and taking my well-worn running trainers for the bits where my feet might need some protection! apparently the more you support your knees, ankles, etc, the more they need supporting!
Your feet need looking after and, given the problems you describe, it sounds like that you should be cautious

In addition to the sandals you should probably find some light trainers that you can also walk in - yes, you might carry an extra kilo all the way - but rather that then suffering by only bringing sandals
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thank you all for your replies!
well... maybe after my Camino I will become cleverer :lol:

i will rely on your suggestions with sandals + trainers, it looks the best at the moment... :wink:

and rolf, thanks for advise with ice, i will have it in mind if my knee start that horrible pain song again!

Staceynicole, i definitely agree! the more you support and think about it, the more they need that :idea:


I did the camino, SJPP to Santiago between March and May. I would not consider anything else but boots with good ankle support. Much of the terrain is extremely uneven and there can also be very stony surfaces which suprisingly makes walking difficult.

As for rain and mud, much easier with boots I would imagine.

Woollen socks should help with hot feet.

Enjoy. I look forward to going again one day.

thanks for your reply, Renata!
ye, after visiting some shops i have decided to buy boots... despite being afraid of the heat i believe that it will be more practical. and better for my feet.
like on the wings!!! :lol:

thanks again!
today is that day when i will eventually find them in one shop waiting for me. :D

it is a very good feeling... em, them you feel that something very very good is coming. something very big and very good.
people in this forum have strengthened this feeling.

thank you all. :D
I agree with Moonwood.

Just finished my camino, arrived in Santiago on June 15. I would never have made it without good hiking boots.

We had lots and lots of rain and mud, sometimes the mud was over the top of my boots. In many places the trail was flooded. The terrain is quite rough in spots, with steep decents and good hiking boots with ankle support are a must.

You can get hiking boots that are very breathable and made for hot weather hiking which is what I wore.

Also, don't skimp on your socks. I took light cushion smart wool socks because I thought my feet would be hot. There were many days that I would gladly have had the extra cushioning of medium weight socks to comfort my sore feet. I ended up wearing two pair for the cushioning.

I took hiking sandals but only ended up wearing them as down time shoes, there was probably only a few days where they would have been suitable for hiking. Perhaps it will not be as rainy for you, but the weather being as unpredictable as it is, you need to be prepared.

Feliz Viaje.

Observations re footwear

I have just finished a wet Camino Frances in walking shoes and took particular notice of what others were wearing.

My impression is that sandals were a rarity, but sometimes worn for a day or so when blisters made boots/shoes unwearable. I did see a pic of pilgrims walking in sandals (no sox) in heavy rain, which seemed intriguing.

Similarly, traditional heavy leather hiking boots were uncommon. I decided not to take mine because of the weight (1.3 kg vs 0.7kg for shoes). In a day's walking you will take over 20,000 steps, so lifting an extra 0.6kg 20,000 times works out to a lot of added stress on the legs! Most caminofoot/ankle problems I saw (other tnan blisters) were due to repetitive over-use of tendons, muscles and joints, rather than acute injuries.

The great majority (90%?) of pilgrims I saw wore either walking shoes or light boots, with maybe a slight preference for shoes.

I found shoes (good ones) perfectly adequate for 800km, even in stony and very wet conditions. Of course, if you have a known ankle problem, boots with ankle support would be a better option. In very wet conditions, both boots and shoes will get wet.

If you go for boots, get modern, light-weight boots with "fabric" uppers.

Also, look for boots that don't irritate the Achilles tendon (joins calf muscles to the heel). Tendinitis is a fairly common problem when starting repetitive, long-distance walking. It can be a show stopper and I saw surprisingly many pilgrims dropping out and also needing treatment for this problem.

Modern boots should have a cutaway in the ankle support at the top rear of the boot so that the support does not rub on or restrict the Achilles tendon. Hard to desrcibe, but obvious when you look at boots.

Also, it can be worthwhile to visit a foot doctor or a good shoe shop that can check out your feet/ankles for potential bio-mechanical problems such as over-pronation requiring arch supports. Over-pronation can aggravate the Achilles tendon and increase the risk of injury.

Hope this helps.

Bob M
How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Just to add to Bob's comments - when you're in the running shop, think also about getting a pair of shock-absorbent inner soles

Footwear is a very personal choice but I suspect that if one were to look at footwear worn by all hikers of the various Caminos over the centuries, then sandals would likely turn out to be the most prevalent, however more seem to wear shoes now. I began at SJPdP in a pair of Teva Wraptor sandals and walked to Finisterre in them during 6 wonderful weeks in Oct-Nov 2005. The sandals are "trail sandals" with an aggressive outsole and a wonderful foot bed that your feet seem to mold into after a week or so upon them and walking on them becomes a soft, cushioned feel. I used to wear heavy hiking boots, then gravitated to trail runners and have now settled with these sandals -for comfort more than anything else. Don't be so quick to discount them!

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