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Post-Camino shoe observations

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#1
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
 

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Robo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
Alone.
------------------------------
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
with my wife Pat.
------------------------------
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
together again :-)
#3
Weneed to see a physio in carrion this week. He took one look at our 'lightweight' Saloman boots and shook his head....

You don't need those he said.... get lightweight shoes....
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francesx2, Le Puy, Primitivo,Mozarabe,Arles,Norte to Bilbao,Rota Vicentina,Porto to SdeC,Stevenson
#4
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
Agree Laurie. I like my Salamon walking shoes and my Brooks Adrenaline Trail Runners. They’ve both done the job, blister free. I have walked in goretex and non. Either way, if it’s really raining your shoes will be wet. And the non goretex dry more quickly. Only thing I’d add is importance of the right socks. Walk on!
 

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Rosiejb

New Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked the Camino Frances May/June 2017
Portuguese next .....dates not certain
#6
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie

Love my Altras.....my new camino shoe....so nice to hear of them in your post....I agree totally about the hiking boot being too heavy.
 

Suzanne S.

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Camino Frances/Muxia/Fisterre (2017) Caminho Portuguese/Fisterre
(2019) Camino del Norte
#7
Ah, other feet, other opinions! I loved my light Salomon boots on the CF but changed to trail runners for the CP. Ugh!!! Too light for me! Bought another pair of (the exact same) Salomons for next year's del Norte...

To each their own...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francesx2, Le Puy, Primitivo,Mozarabe,Arles,Norte to Bilbao,Rota Vicentina,Porto to SdeC,Stevenson
#8
For sure the right footwear is a very personal thing. But after 8 or is it 9 Caminos, I think I’d like to find me some of those Altras! Sound fabulous. Only other comment - based on non scientific evidence, just what I’ve noticed over the years, there seems to be a higher correlation between foot problems and boots, than foot problems and shoes. Just saying ....
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#9
I loved my Goretex Salomon boots, for years, and always wanted to keep them on at the end of the day. However, this year, my feet were really chewed up from walking on those stones on the dry river bed during the first week on the Mozarabe from Almeria. The heat and all the uneven motion gave me blisters in new places. In Cordoba I got new shoes (Salomon, as well) which were better, but I think there is a more perfect shoe out there waiting for me! This will be a new project to keep me entertained.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Zip
#10
Hoka runners in wide were a great solution for my fat feet. I chose them for the cushioning,which did a great job of protecting my lower back from the strain of pounding on hard-packed trails....and no blisters. I'm so glad I didn't wear heavy hiking boots! BUT, now, months after CF, I have developed Plantar Fasciitis. Luckily, I had none on Camino. I saw a podiatrist who agreed that the Hoka cushioning is excellent. But I should have had arch support in the form of a custom orthotic or very FIRM, almost unbendable store-bought arch support. She suggested that it's the side-to-side looseness of a runner (tennis shoe) that caused my PF; next time I will find the squishiest, cushioned sole possible that also provides side-to-side support, such as the Hoka Tor Ultra Hi. And I will STRETCH my feet and calves many times every day!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#11
Ah, other feet, other opinions! I loved my light Salomon boots on the CF but changed to trail runners for the CP. Ugh!!! Too light for me! Bought another pair of (the exact same) Salomons for next year's del Norte...

To each their own...
Thanks, Suzanne, can you explain a bit what “too light” means? Too little structure? Too little support? (I guess that’s the same thing). How did your feet suffer in the trail runners? I’ve read so much praise of Altras, Hokas, etc, that I think it’s good to get the critique out there.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#12
Hoka runners in wide were a great solution for my fat feet. I chose them for the cushioning,which did a great job of protecting my lower back from the strain of pounding on hard-packed trails....and no blisters. I'm so glad I didn't wear heavy hiking boots! BUT, now, months after CF, I have developed Plantar Fasciitis. Luckily, I had none on Camino. I saw a podiatrist who agreed that the Hoka cushioning is excellent. But I should have had arch support in the form of a custom orthotic or very FIRM, almost unbendable store-bought arch support. She suggested that it's the side-to-side looseness of a runner (tennis shoe) that caused my PF; next time I will find the squishiest, cushioned sole possible that also provides side-to-side support, such as the Hoka Tor Ultra Hi. And I will STRETCH my feet and calves many times every day!
Side to side looseness is something new to me. So the shoe structure determines that?

I have worn custom orthotics for years. I believe my hard plastic orthotics, in combination with all the asphalt on the Norte, caused my tarsal tunnel syndrome, which left me 6 months in a walking cast. Since then I have custom silicone orthotics and they are wonderful. Had no problem getting them in the Altras either.
 

Suzanne S.

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Camino Frances/Muxia/Fisterre (2017) Caminho Portuguese/Fisterre
(2019) Camino del Norte
#13
@peregrina2000 , I had Brooks, which fit great. They didn't have enough sole to be comfortable on the cobblestones. I'm usually pretty tough but my feet were beat every night...

My fault though, I think I could have gotten heavier ones. I just didn't think I would need them!!! But I do love my boots...
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
#14
Trying out Hoka One One trail runners ancle high, think the name is Tor speed 2, on the Invierno at the moment. They are some sort of goretex too.
So far I am very satisfied, good grip even on wet stones, like you walk on air. As all other goretex, they get wet when you try to clean them under running water and I guess in wet grass. I always buy boots in men sizes but these are W and dtill broad enough.
 

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Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#15
Laurie, your reasoning is mine - only I apply mine to sandals! One camino I wore trail runners which unfortunately are no longer in production, but all others have been in Keens sandals. Grippy sole, flexible, cool, quick drying and easily washed.
 
Camino(s) past & future
June 2018
#16
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie

OK, I'm a podiatrist and I'm doing Le Puy to SJPP or some point near it, starting 6th June. ( have to be in Paris by 11th July). I am a great believer in old shoes, It must be 10 years since I bought a new pair of shoes. Vinnies and the Salvos are good for lightly used shoes. I have Air Wair Docs, boots and Mary Janes, I have Italian boots, But I am taking at least 3 pairs of footwear and lots of socks. You can do this trip without knickers, but not without footwear! Lightweight is key, and never new! Animal wool and blister plasters, my heavy bunion press unfortunately must stay home, but I have sure local cobblers have one. Also, go to Ian Feigan's lacing website and see how changing the lay of your laces can improve the comfort of any shoe. I do think lacing is best for any long walk, but I have velcro sandals too, velcro does not 'give' like lacing. Greasing lacing is useful, or bees wax.
Buen Camino
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#17
OK, I'm a podiatrist and I'm doing Le Puy to SJPP or some point near it, starting 6th June. ( have to be in Paris by 11th July). I am a great believer in old shoes, It must be 10 years since I bought a new pair of shoes. Vinnies and the Salvos are good for lightly used shoes. I have Air Wair Docs, boots and Mary Janes, I have Italian boots, But I am taking at least 3 pairs of footwear and lots of socks. You can do this trip without knickers, but not without footwear! Lightweight is key, and never new! Animal wool and blister plasters, my heavy bunion press unfortunately must stay home, but I have sure local cobblers have one. Also, go to Ian Feigan's lacing website and see how changing the lay of your laces can improve the comfort of any shoe. I do think lacing is best for any long walk, but I have velcro sandals too, velcro does not 'give' like lacing. Greasing lacing is useful, or bees wax.
Buen Camino
At least three pairs of footwear??! Will you be carrying them yourself?
 

Camino Chris

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#18
Hi Laurie, I was wondering how your Altus trail runners worked for you, so am glad to hear they were a success! As for reading that you were in a walking cast for 6 months...yikes! I'm sure it felt like being in a straight jacket as active as you love to be.
BTW, I really enjoyed your blog and all the intetesting and lovely photos!
 
Camino(s) past & future
April 9 - May 3 2018 on regular bicycle.
#19
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
having just finished on bike on May 3, I would say it depends on which season you walk or bike. As you know the camino is very steep and we ended up not biking but walking about 250 miles in early spring. We started April 9. If you walk in spring or fall I would definitely get waterproof shoes. It is miserable to walk 20 km in wet shoes. At O Cebreiro it was -4 C. At the Col de Ibaneta on the second day there was snow and freezing rain. I could not have done it if I didn't have waterproof shoes. There are two drawbacks to goretex. If you do step or slip in a stream or a bog by mistake, there is no way for the water to get out, gore tex keeps water out but once it is inside it cannot escape. Secondly, the special wash liquid and post treatment are very expensive so cleaning them if you ever need to is cost prohibitive. I have spent more on cleaning my gore tex jacket than its original purchase cost. Luckily I don't intend to ever clean my Salomon boots. I'm still wearing them, you can hardly tell I walked 250 miles in them.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
#20
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
Actually I think you are spot on! I have trouble with my toes crowding !each other and forming blisters. I bought a pair of altars and love the
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
Actually you are spot on! My toes get crammed together and rub against each other. I bought a pair of altars and love them! I have been hiking for 70 years and have never had a more comfortable shoe. I know everyone is different,but never saw one pair of boots on the Primitivo last year and cannot see why anyone would wear them. That said, everyone can wear whatever they want.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
#21
Actually I think you are spot on! I have trouble with my toes crowding !each other and forming blisters. I bought a pair of altars and love the

Actually you are spot on! My toes get crammed together and rub against each other. I bought a pair of altars and love them! I have been hiking for 70 years and have never had a more comfortable shoe. I know everyone is different,but never saw one pair of boots on the Primitivo last year and cannot see why anyone would wear them. That said, everyone can wear whatever they want.
Sorry altras,spelling is not my forte.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#22
Laurie, your reasoning is mine - only I apply mine to sandals! One camino I wore trail runners which unfortunately are no longer in production, but all others have been in Keens sandals. Grippy sole, flexible, cool, quick drying and easily washed.
I have some good camino friends who wear sandals and swear by them (they seem to be de rigeur for many Swedes). I thought about that, too, and can see many advantages. But I probably slam my toes into rocks or tree stumps at least two or three times a day, and I would hate to think what my feet would look like if they were not protected. Do your sandals rise up high enough in front to protect your toes? What model Keens do you wear? Buen camino, aren't you heading out soon???
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#24
BTW Laurie, they’re a bit like a Macabi skirt in that they are very practical but equally ugly;-) I wear the sandals (with toe socks, no less!!) but can’t bring myself to add a Macabi.
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 05/17 brazo roto Portomarín
Francés 09/17 SJPdP - Santiago
(Portuguese: 09/18)
#25
I had a bad experience last year with Altras. They were very comfortable initially, but they were starting to fall apart after ~200K. The cushioning was breaking down, and a seem opened up on the outside. I am sporting some Hoka Bondi 5's right now. They are wide, and cushy. They have neutral arch support, so they do require some type of orthotic. I have tried them with some SOLE Ed Vestures, and thin hard orthos under the standard insole. I think the hard orthos are actually better. They disperse my weight, and use the cushioning from the shoe.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#26
BTW Laurie, they’re a bit like a Macabi skirt in that they are very practical but equally ugly;-) I wear the sandals (with toe socks, no less!!) but can’t bring myself to add a Macabi.
Hi, Rachel, Ugly is absolutely no consideration in my camino packing. For me the deal-breaker would be the inability to use my silicone orthotic with them, but some year I might just go rogue and try it with no orthotic!

I had a bad experience last year with Altras. They were very comfortable initially, but they were starting to fall apart after ~200K. The cushioning was breaking down, and a seem opened up on the outside.
I think you or someone else had made that comment before I bought them, and I asked the REI guy about it. He said it was not at all his experience, that they should last much longer, but that you should definitely return them to Altra, or to REI if you got them there (that's absolutely no help, I know, if you are on the camino when it happens).

I wore mine for 965 km this year, Almería to Salamanca, plus two more 20 km hikes in Madrid, so that puts them at the 1000 mark. Still good tread and nothing falling apart. I am going to take them to my running shoe store to see if the guys there can give me an estimate on how many kms are left in them, so I can decide whether to risk getting Altras for a long camino next year.

I think the hard orthos are actually better. They disperse my weight, and use the cushioning from the shoe.
All feet are different, I know, but I am virtually certain that it was my hard plastic orthotics pounding on the pavement that gave me the tarsal tunnel. The silicone orthotics have just as much support but are obviously much softer. I've worn them for the last 12 years on the camino and not one problem, knock on wood. I still wear the hard plastic in my non-camino day to day with no ill effects.

Thanks for all this commentary, it's good for the jet-lagged brain and the yearning for the camino soul.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2014
#27
BTW Laurie, they’re a bit like a Macabi skirt in that they are very practical but equally ugly;-) I wear the sandals (with toe socks, no less!!) but can’t bring myself to add a Macabi.
Ha ha. I love my Macabi AND I wore Keen sandals on my first Camino. I’m keeping the skirt and ditching the sandals this year! To each her own, right?!
 

Colette Zaharie

Happy Pilgrim
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Fisterre-Muxia March 2017
Slovakia Camino Kosiče-Levoča Oct 2017
El Norte March 1 2018
#28
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
I had a similar experience. I wore correctly sized Salomón hiking shoes last year on the Frances but suffered terrible heel-sole edge blisters by week 2 necessitating switching to sandals as much as weather permitted. This year I wore Salomón Speedcross 4 goretex Trail runners on El Norte. Great gripping treads until the end when the treads were flat in spots from the road walking. But I too never felt like “I’ve got to get these off or I’ll die” at all. Most of all I liked their lightweight and when wet (it poured A LOT all,day) they dried quickly. I’ll wear Trail runners next year on the ? Salvador-Primitivo. Thanks Peregrina2000 for the share from.
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria 10
Le Puy 16
Thames Path 16
Southwark-Canterbury 16
Estella 17
Paisley-Whithorn 17
#29
I think there is a more perfect shoe out there waiting for me!
I suggest you look for New Balance model 860 version 7 or later with width 4E. These are billed as "running shoes". The relevant feature is the very flexible, strong, upper helping to give, for me, a very comfortable "toe box" I also use a podiatrist specified orthotic. I go up about 2 sizes to accomodate two pair of sock - thinner on first and thicker over that.

The upper is "perforated" and breathes nicely. My favourite training walk is about 15 km along a flat beach at low tide. And walking through the several streams coming out of the hills knowing that my socks will be touch damp in less than 10 minutes, the natural heat of the feet acting as the drying agent: the feeling, for me, is just wonderful.

In three years and nearly 3,000 km with this brand / model I have had no foot problems. And this despite having "hammer toes" and an orthopadeic surgeon telling me (more than four years ago) I was bound to suffer osteo-arthritis on the three smaller toes.
 
#30
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
Totally agree!
 
#31
Trying out Hoka One One trail runners ancle high, think the name is Tor speed 2, on the Invierno at the moment. They are some sort of goretex too.
So far I am very satisfied, good grip even on wet stones, like you walk on air. As all other goretex, they get wet when you try to clean them under running water and I guess in wet grass. I always buy boots in men sizes but these are W and dtill broad enough.
Love HOKAs but haven’t had a chance to try the ones you mention
 

David Tallan

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Oporto (2018 - planned)
#32
Also, go to Ian Feigan's lacing website and see how changing the lay of your laces can improve the comfort of any shoe.
My Googling skills were not good enough to find this site. Could you share a link?
 

Vanozza

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
I have walked part of the Camino Frances and plan to start over in April 2018.
#34
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
Use gaiters if it's raining and you want dry feet.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk the Camino Frances mid May 2018
#35
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
Am totally on your side. Only tried on boots once in a shop. Enough to tell me they’d be hell for me. Hard as a wooden plank. I bought some Salomon trail runners. Love them. As have a wide foot bought 2 sizes up. Salomon is the only one with the firm quicklace that grips my foot and holds it in place preventing slipping forward which would cause nail problems. While training noticed that the grip underneath started wearing off quickly. Found out there are different types for different terrain. So now I have the x-ultra. They seem to be perfect. Know someone who walked the entire caminonin them. Am I’m Pamplona right now. Starting out from here tomorrow morning. Fingers x will stay blister and pain free. My body will tell when I need to stop and I intent to listen. Thanks for sharing
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#36
I am on Camino number 4 in September and I only wear brooks Cascadias! They are the best for me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May and October 2015
(2017 October)
#37
Laurie, your reasoning is mine - only I apply mine to sandals! One camino I wore trail runners which unfortunately are no longer in production, but all others have been in Keens sandals. Grippy sole, flexible, cool, quick drying and easily washed.

Me too. in 2015, I found Keen sandals in Burgos when my "regular" walking shoes were giving me pain. Have worn the sandals for all my walking ever since and just got a new pair to wear for the CP since some of the straps were showing wear.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
#38
Nike running shoes. I have worn them on all five caminos.

Only time I had to switch them out for boots was winter 2014 pilgrimgae. Too much mud!!!
 

krisobn82

Kristy
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances walked in May to June 2017
Plans to walk Camino del Norte July to August 2019
#39
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
Thanks for the tip Laurie!

After my Camino last year and consistently dealing with blistered feet, I recently made the decision that for my planned Camino next year I will try wearing trail runners rather than hiking boots to see if it makes a difference. I'd also read elsewhere how comfortable trail runners can be.
So your post has absolutely convinced me now that it is the right choice!

Thanks again!

Kristy
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#40
@peregrina2000 So after all those Caminos you have finally joined the trail runners/running shoe community :)

During my first 2 Caminos I wore a low walking shoe and ended up with horrendous blisters - I even tried three different models as the first was too small and the second too large.

On those Caminos I had seen so many Spaniards wearing Solomons or running shoes and thought why not try that option. For the last 6 years I've only worn Asics running shoes and my feet have thanked me for it. Downside is that I can throw them out after one Camino, even if that is only 500 km. Maybe I am tough on shoes but they wear through at the toe and the sole is shot. Last summer I switched to a Solomon trail runner and the same thing happened so I guess it's me. Solomon even gave me my money back as the tread was all worn down.

I am now breaking in Meindel heavy-duty hiking boots for Peru and I am not a happy camper. I feel like I am walking on a block of wood! Oh would I prefer to wear running shoes instead!

I can imagine wearing Teva's on the Camino as the hiking model has good cushioning but I also bang my toes on all sorts of things so for terrain other free than dirt or sand they would be a no go. Keens could be an alternative but the models I have tried on didn't give the same cushioning as a running shoe or a Teva hiking model.

Back to breaking in those Meindels:(
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances 2013 - Camino Portugues 2014 - Camino frances 2016
#41
The footwear is always a big issue. This year I decided to use my salomon boots that have been sitting at home for the last 3 years. Huge mistake. After three days (started in Burgos) I had three blisters on each foot, but I kept struggling on. In mansillas I finally surrendered and bought trekking sandals and left the boots in the albergue. And what a difference. Came to astorga and also bought hiking shoes for the future hill hiking. No new blisters. Should have kept with my usual merrell or meindl shoes - that never gave me any issues. But there are an issue with the many outdoor stores that gets people to buy huge hiking boots when the caminos are not really boot environment. I once even got kicked out of a outdoor store when I interrupted a guy trying to sell a future camino walker huge german desert boots from hanwag - for a summer camino.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#42
@peregrina2000 So after all those Caminos you have finally joined the trail runners/running shoe community :)

During my first 2 Caminos I wore a low walking shoe and ended up with horrendous blisters - I even tried three different models as the first was too small and the second too large.

On those Caminos I had seen so many Spaniards wearing Solomons or running shoes and thought why not try that option. For the last 6 years I've only worn Asics running shoes and my feet have thanked me for it. Downside is that I can throw them out after one Camino, even if that is only 500 km. Maybe I am tough on shoes but they wear through at the toe and the sole is shot. Last summer I switched to a Solomon trail runner and the same thing happened so I guess it's me. Solomon even gave me my money back as the tread was all worn down.

I am now breaking in Meindel heavy-duty hiking boots for Peru and I am not a happy camper. I feel like I am walking on a block of wood! Oh would I prefer to wear running shoes instead!

I can imagine wearing Teva's on the Camino as the hiking model has good cushioning but I also bang my toes on all sorts of things so for terrain other free than dirt or sand they would be a no go. Keens could be an alternative but the models I have tried on didn't give the same cushioning as a running shoe or a Teva hiking model.

Back to breaking in those Meindels:(
So, LT, were you hiding your secrets from me? I don't remember ever having a discussion about shoes, and there I was clunking along in my Salomon hiking shoes. I realize these Altras aren't perfect, but I had no idea I could ever walk 40 km and not have sore pounding aching feet! It was a totally different experience. You, on the other hand, headed for Perú, have no choice now, but I wonder if there is any any you can sneak along a pair of your trail runners in your pack just in case the opportunity presents.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#43
Great suggestion Laurie!
We have a walk in NZ, the Tongariro Crossing that....well, crosses a mountain called Tongariro. When we walked it a couple of years ago I decided it would be a good test for my sandals. I also carried boots just in case but was never tempted to put them on. Even in scree the sandals were a good choice because the stones could escape! Even the boot wearers had to stop and empty their footwear after that section - and guess who was quickest with no laces to tie!
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#44
So, LT, were you hiding your secrets from me? I don't remember ever having a discussion about shoes, and there I was clunking along in my Salomon hiking shoes. I realize these Altras aren't perfect, but I had no idea I could ever walk 40 km and not have sore pounding aching feet! It was a totally different experience. You, on the other hand, headed for Perú, have no choice now, but I wonder if there is any any you can sneak along a pair of your trail runners in your pack just in case the opportunity presents.
We never discussed it I guess because you never asked;).

I'm just back from a 4 hour walk in the dunes (only thing closely resembling up and down where I live) and after an hour I was ready to change to my Teva's which were hanging from my pack. This is about the 6th time out with these boots but I am beginning to think that they are just not right for me:( At 250 euros I am quite bummed! I definitely can throw in my sandals or trail runners but we will be up and down 4.500+ m peaks and true hiking boots have been strongly advised. I just might go for a less rigid sole but still with an over the ankle boot. This is what happens when you venture away from the Camino :)
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#45
We never discussed it I guess because you never asked;).

I'm just back from a 4 hour walk in the dunes (only thing closely resembling up and down where I live) and after an hour I was ready to change to my Teva's which were hanging from my pack. This is about the 6th time out with these boots but I am beginning to think that they are just not right for me:( At 250 euros I am quite bummed! I definitely can throw in my sandals or trail runners but we will be up and down 4.500+ m peaks and true hiking boots have been strongly advised. I just might go for a less rigid sole but still with an over the ankle boot. This is what happens when you venture away from the Camino :)
I understand that many people who walk the long mountain trails in the US, like the Pacific Crest and Appalachian Trail have switched to trail runners or lightweight trail shoes, so I don't know why boots would be needed in Peru. There are also people who strongly recommend boots for the Camino...
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#46
I understand that many people who walk the long mountain trails in the US, like the Pacific Crest and Appalachian Trail have switched to trail runners or lightweight trail shoes, so I don't know why boots would be needed in Peru. There are also people who strongly recommend boots for the Camino...
I know, I know. I have a Camino friend who walked the PCT after the Plata and then the long distance trail around both the North and South Island of NZ and he wore trail runners. I guess I am in dubio cause we will be three weeks in the middle of nowhere and I can't stop in a store and pick up something else if I get into trouble. Hmmm need to think this through. Lighter weight boots and trail runners might be the solutions.
Thanks for suggestions!
 

stgcph

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Aug/Sep 2017)
#47
My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.
I am also considering switching from leather boots to trail shoes (never thought I’d be saying this). I have been considering the Altras (Altra Lone Peak) because of the wide toe box as I have a broad forefoot. What worries me a bit is the zero heel drop of the Altras, and how difficult it is to get used to that. What are your experiences?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#48
I am also considering switching from leather boots to trail shoes (never thought I’d be saying this). I have been considering the Altras (Altra Lone Peak) because of the wide toe box as I have a broad forefoot. What worries me a bit is the zero heel drop of the Altras, and how difficult it is to get used to that. What are your experiences?
Few equipment changes are scarier than the decision to change shoes. :eek: I bought my Altras about one and a half weeks before my Camino. Stupid, but I was lucky. I did one long hike in them and found that I had pain across the top of my foot, very similar to the pain that comes from lacing too tight. I started my camino with a pretty loose lacing, and since my heels were sloshing around, I put omnifix tape (wouldn't leave home without it) across the back of my heels to prevent chafing. In hindsight, I think that the reason for the top-of-foot pain was because of the way my footstrike was hitting with the new zero drop. Now I actually have no idea what I'm talking about, but it makes sense to me that my feet were used to a footstrike with a higher heel and that I was using that old footstrike with new shoes that had a totally different relationship between front and back of foot. Anyway, what I did find was that little by little, my feet were totally comfortable as I laced them tighter and tighter till I got to what I consider a normal tie. By the end of my walk (32 days, about 1000 kms) I had no heel sloshing and my feet felt great. I am assuming that my feet figured it out without any help from my brain and adjusted their strike to accommodate the new shoe construction. I should also add that I have my silicone orthotics inserted in them. They did not cause any problem, and I think they probably contributed to my comfort.

Other than the foot pain, I did not experience any of the muscle pain (calves seem to be the most common) or other things associated with changing to the zero drop. The REI guy told me the transition was the hardest for women who wear heels a lot, and I can't remember the last time I put on heels. Now that I am home, I just bought another pair of Altras for my gym workouts and I love them on the elliptical as well.

If you have the time, I would definitely recommend wearing them around a lot, and on some long walks, to see if the zero drop affects you. BTW, I was told that the Lone Peak 3.5 are better than the 4.0 for those whose main problem is wide metatarsal area. But that the subsequent models are going to go back to wider toe box. Hope this helps you, stgcph! Buen camino, Laurie
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#49

stgcph

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Aug/Sep 2017)
#50
Few equipment changes are scarier than the decision to change shoes. :eek: I bought my Altras about one and a half weeks before my Camino. Stupid, but I was lucky. I did one long hike in them and found that I had pain across the top of my foot, very similar to the pain that comes from lacing too tight. I started my camino with a pretty loose lacing, and since my heels were sloshing around, I put omnifix tape (wouldn't leave home without it) across the back of my heels to prevent chafing. In hindsight, I think that the reason for the top-of-foot pain was because of the way my footstrike was hitting with the new zero drop. Now I actually have no idea what I'm talking about, but it makes sense to me that my feet were used to a footstrike with a higher heel and that I was using that old footstrike with new shoes that had a totally different relationship between front and back of foot. Anyway, what I did find was that little by little, my feet were totally comfortable as I laced them tighter and tighter till I got to what I consider a normal tie. By the end of my walk (32 days, about 1000 kms) I had no heel sloshing and my feet felt great. I am assuming that my feet figured it out without any help from my brain and adjusted their strike to accommodate the new shoe construction. I should also add that I have my silicone orthotics inserted in them. They did not cause any problem, and I think they probably contributed to my comfort.

Other than the foot pain, I did not experience any of the muscle pain (calves seem to be the most common) or other things associated with changing to the zero drop. The REI guy told me the transition was the hardest for women who wear heels a lot, and I can't remember the last time I put on heels. Now that I am home, I just bought another pair of Altras for my gym workouts and I love them on the elliptical as well.

If you have the time, I would definitely recommend wearing them around a lot, and on some long walks, to see if the zero drop affects you. BTW, I was told that the Lone Peak 3.5 are better than the 4.0 for those whose main problem is wide metatarsal area. But that the subsequent models are going to go back to wider toe box. Hope this helps you, stgcph! Buen camino, Laurie

Thank you @peregrina2000, that is very helpful. I think I might try my luck with the Altras, and I also heard that the 3.5 is better for walking due to the thicker cushion.
 

Plataman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: (2009), (2013), Via de la Plata; (2016)
#51
Laurie, your reasoning is mine - only I apply mine to sandals! One camino I wore trail runners which unfortunately are no longer in production, but all others have been in Keens sandals. Grippy sole, flexible, cool, quick drying and easily washed.
I have walked three Caminos and always in Keene Targhee hiking boots. I think ankle support is critical on the rougher sections, and the Targhees are very light, comfortable, and a good fit for my wide feet. I have never had a blister. I did the VDLP in 2016, doing it again this fall, going to use the 2016 boots, see if I can get 2000km out of them.
 

Plataman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: (2009), (2013), Via de la Plata; (2016)
#52
I should have added I take along a pair of Keene hiking sandals for days end. I love them, very nice walking sandal and very light.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#53
I have walked three Caminos and always in Keene Targhee hiking boots. I think ankle support is critical on the rougher sections, and the Targhees are very light, comfortable, and a good fit for my wide feet. I have never had a blister. I did the VDLP in 2016, doing it again this fall, going to use the 2016 boots, see if I can get 2000km out of them.
I have gotten an ENORMOUS amount of information and advice from @davebugg It is true that my experience this year conforms with his assessment, but if you read his posts you will see that he is very careful to qualify and support his opinions with evidence. What he said about the value of boots for ankle support was the following:

The only sure ankle support for medically indicated need are ankle braces which can fit inside of the shoe. Despite anecdotal evidence and subjective opinion to the contrary, research has repeatedly shown that boots do not provide the level of stiffness and the shear rigidity needed to keep ankles free from injury.


I had always thought I needed higher shoes for exactly the same reason, but my experience this year disproved that. I was on a lot of fairly rough terrain and was fine with the trail runners (and my most-loved poles).

I have just re-read Dave's post from last week about ankle support and boots, and I highly recommend it to others:
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...er-looking-for-suggestions.55672/#post-623758

As a matter of fact, I would also highly recommend his discussions about trail runners generally. One post I really found convincing was this one:

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...shoes-or-hiking-boots.7621/page-5#post-615701

Sure, there will always be people who prefer hiking boots and hiking shoes (like me for the last 17 years), and there will be some who try trail runners and don't like them, but I think the target audience here is newbies who really don't have formed opinions yet, and people like me who were having problems for years and years with boots and shoes, and then then trail runners appeared in my life as if by magic!

Big shout-out of thanks to @davebugg!!!!
 

Plataman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: (2009), (2013), Via de la Plata; (2016)
#54
I have gotten an ENORMOUS amount of information and advice from @davebugg It is true that my experience this year conforms with his assessment, but if you read his posts you will see that he is very careful to qualify and support his opinions with evidence. What he said about the value of boots for ankle support was the following:

The only sure ankle support for medically indicated need are ankle braces which can fit inside of the shoe. Despite anecdotal evidence and subjective opinion to the contrary, research has repeatedly shown that boots do not provide the level of stiffness and the shear rigidity needed to keep ankles free from injury.

I had always thought I needed higher shoes for exactly the same reason, but my experience this year disproved that. I was on a lot of fairly rough terrain and was fine with the trail runners (and my most-loved poles).

I have just re-read Dave's post from last week about ankle support and boots, and I highly recommend it to others:
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...er-looking-for-suggestions.55672/#post-623758

As a matter of fact, I would also highly recommend his discussions about trail runners generally. One post I really found convincing was this one:

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...shoes-or-hiking-boots.7621/page-5#post-615701

Sure, there will always be people who prefer hiking boots and hiking shoes (like me for the last 17 years), and there will be some who try trail runners and don't like them, but I think the target audience here is newbies who really don't have formed opinions yet, and people like me who were having problems for years and years with boots and shoes, and then then trail runners appeared in my life as if by magic!

Big shout-out of thanks to @davebugg!!!!
To each their own seems to apply here. I will stick with my Targhee hiking boots, proven winners in my experience.
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15 & 16 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo (Sept.)
#55
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
Totally agree Laurie. It took me until mid-way through my second Camino to have the same epiphany.
I was a few towns short of arriving at Sahagun when my feet had had enough of my hiking boots. Out of desperation, I took my boots off and walked in my Croc's which were an immediate relief and on the flat terrain in that area of the Camino worked perfectly.
When arriving in Sahagun I found a shoe store and even with my bad boot experience would have probably bought boots again, but fate intervened.
They did not have a boot large enough, so ultimately I bought a pair of no-name running shoes.
My intial thought was that they were too light, but after a few days I realized they were perfect. Super light and my badly blistered feet were actually starting to heal.
So I finished the Camino in them and subsequently used the same shoes again, retiring them in Santiago after my Portuguese Camino.
I now preach to anyone who will listen to avoid hiking boots. Granted on a few days, boots can be better in rocky areas, I would rather have foot wear suitable to the 90% of the conditions, versus the 10% of the conditions.
I know many of you have worn boots with no issues, but the lighter trail shoes or runners will leave you less fatigued at the end each day.
When you consider how many steps are taken during a Camino, lighter shoes are the way to go.
 
Last edited:

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#56
And remember, a pound on the foot is equal to five pounds on the back! Something else I've learned from @davebugg :D
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15 & 16 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo (Sept.)
#57
Side to side looseness is something new to me. So the shoe structure determines that?

I have worn custom orthotics for years. I believe my hard plastic orthotics, in combination with all the asphalt on the Norte, caused my tarsal tunnel syndrome, which left me 6 months in a walking cast. Since then I have custom silicone orthotics and they are wonderful. Had no problem getting them in the Altras either.
Laurie, I have custom orthotics which are also hard plastic. I have found I need to periodically remove them from my shoes while on a Camino to give my feet a break.
At home and even on 10 kilometer training walks they never give me an issue, but with back to back 25 kilometer days on the Camino with a back pack, they do start to cause a pressure point in my arch area of my foot.
I have found leaving them out on some days completely gives my foot a break.
I may need to look into getting new ones made out of silicone based on your experience.
I will say that the orthotics eliminated knee and hip pain I was experiencing prior to getting them.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#58
Laurie, I have custom orthotics which are also hard plastic. I have found I need to periodically remove them from my shoes while on a Camino to give my feet a break.
At home and even on 10 kilometer training walks they never give me an issue, but with back to back 25 kilometer days on the Camino with a back pack, they do start to cause a pressure point in my arch area of my foot.
I have found leaving them out on some days completely gives my foot a break.
I may need to look into getting new ones made out of silicone based on your experience.
I will say that the orthotics eliminated knee and hip pain I was experiencing prior to getting them.
I couldn't walk the distances I walk on the camino in my hard plastic orthotics. If you are in the US, and depending on what kind of insurance you have, you may have a problem getting them paid for (and they are about $400-600 a pair). When I was "young" and on a good private coverage plan, I was able to appeal my way into coverage. The problem is that silicone orthotics are classified as DME (durable medical equipment) and my diagnosis doesn't justify a DME billing. But I was able to argue successfully that this was essentially a coding problem, that my feet needed the silicone because the hard plastic caused me injury, etc. It worked! Not so with Medicare, but I have a pair from a few years ago that is still in great shape. Just a heads up if you have to navigate the byzantine US health care system.
 

stgcph

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Aug/Sep 2017)
#59
And remember, a pound on the foot is equal to five pounds on the back! Something else I've learned from @davebugg :D
I was wearing boots on my first Camino (no blisters), but decided to switch to trail shoes for my next Camino in August. I did this little (totally non-scientific) calculation: My boots weigh 730 grams each and the new trail shoes 307 grams each, which means that for each step I take I need to pull 423 grams less off the ground. Assuming a walking day of 40,000 steps, I will be spared the effort of dragging 16,920,000 grams or 16,92 metric tons against gravity!
 

Jbirk

New Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, SJPP to Finesterre April (2018)
#60
I just finished the Camino Francés with Altra Timps. Not one foot problem at all.
The Altras did rip on both shoes on the inner side. I had to sew them multiple times in order to finish. I really do love the shoes but feel they are not made that well. Their sizing is also way off. I wear size 13 regular shoe. 14 for hiking but 15 for Altras
The company was just sold to North Face this month so hopefully things might get better with standard sizing.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#61
My Altras are fine after 1000 km, but I know others have made the same complaint. I wore Lone Peaks, not sure if it's model-specific or a more general Altras problem. Bought out by NorthFace?! Isn't that every start-up's dream? I assume/hope they will just continue to get better and better, because all in all I think North Face makes pretty decent stuff.
 
Camino(s) past & future
April to May, 2018
#62
I agree trail runners work well. I just completed El Camino Francés (May 19), my first Camino. I read other recommendations by others that trail runners were the way to go so bought a pair and broke them in before I left home (western Canada). They are La Sportiva and I had no blisters.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sep/Oct 2015
Camino Primitivo Sep / Oct 2016
Portugese Fatima Santiago Sep/Oct 2017
#63
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
How timely. I'm preparing for my next camino in Oct and this is the biggest consideration for me. I have been leaning towards light weight shoes instead of my beloved boots. I too require a wider toe box. Your post has been very informative and helpful. Thanks Laurie.
 

Corine

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2013)
Portuguese (2015)
VDlP(2017)
Camino Mozarabe/Levante from Toledo (2018)
#64
Shoes are so important! I have worn out many pairs of Oboz, and never had problems with them until my last pair went to get them at MEC (150 km away) but my size was out of stock, so they said no problem, we will send you a pair. Which they did. Right shoe, right size but it didn’t quite fit the same as my previous pairs. Didn’t want to break them in very much...rookie mistake I know... and so when I walked the Mozarabe this spring I got horrible blisters. Which also impacted my gait and I ended up with pretty sore feet & knees. Moral of the story: don’t buy mail order shoes & do break them in
 

ClaireJJ

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Way (2017); Hope for French Way again (2019)
#65
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
I too wore Altras and had nary a blister. I did wear an orthotic in the shoes due to exceedingly high arches and related Morton’s neuroma. I would wiggle my toes in Altras marvelously wide toe box whenever my toes began to hurt. That seemed to help. But, funny story, I met a woman on the Camino with the worse case of blisters I saw; she lost 3 toenails and had to take a break and get some antibiotics, but she endured. She too was wearing Altras when the blisters developed (was in Teva sandals by the time I met her). I was shocked when she told me. Reminded me that what works for one person, or many, doesn’t necessarily work for all. Happy feet are wonderful things.
 

RJM

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#66
Shoes are so important! I have worn out many pairs of Oboz, and never had problems with them until my last pair went to get them at MEC (150 km away) but my size was out of stock, so they said no problem, we will send you a pair. Which they did. Right shoe, right size but it didn’t quite fit the same as my previous pairs. Didn’t want to break them in very much...rookie mistake I know... and so when I walked the Mozarabe this spring I got horrible blisters. Which also impacted my gait and I ended up with pretty sore feet & knees. Moral of the story: don’t buy mail order shoes & do break them in
I love the Oboz sawtooth shoes I have right now. Their stability and generous toe box are perfect for me. Mind you, they are not a lightweight shoe. I bought them a few months ago and have put probably 300 kilometres on them in training walks over mostly grass, dirt and the like. These training walks are 5-10 kilometres in length. The shoes still look almost as new after a rinse down. I may never buy another brand again, lol.
 

Mooncat9

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese 2016/ coastal portugeuse April 2018
#67
Husband finished Seville to Santiago walk in April wearing a pair of Sketchers, found them excellent, they survived many a wet day but dried very quickly. No sign of wear and continued wearing them on our trip around europe. Previously on two Camino he had worn boots and found them heavy and uncomfortable. Go Sketchers.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#68
Just chiming in to the orthotic discussion here. My eldest son has severely overpronated feet and the local podiatrist advised hard plastic orthotics. I happened upon a discussion about the downsides of such a product and through contacting a health professional in the US (who waxes eloquently about alternatives) was directed to a functional neurologist/kinesiologist/chiropractor lady here in NZ who has been the most amazing! She insists there is 'almost never' a reason to use plastic orthotics and prescribes silicone or leather ones (depending on the problem). My son has had the leather ones for the last five years and has gone from not being able to go a day without pain to being able to engage in whatever activities he likes (he's 22). His feet will never be 'normal' but he can manage the associated discomfort. Additionally, he is not only 'managing' but improving. FWIW, this 'witch doctor' (as she is affectionately known in our family) claims that hard plastic orthotics do not help the feet to heal but just hold problems in the state that they start at, or even promote deterioration. The softer models (silicone and leather) allow the foot to work and she has ALWAYS seen an improvement in the condition of her patients with their use.
Some of you orthotic-wearers might like to look into the leather option.
 

Cicada

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances St Jean -Santiago April -June 2017
Portugues September 2018
#69
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
Merrell moab any style!
 

BlackRocker57

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy route, ‘Sept 2014’; Le Puy route continuation ‘May/June 2016’; Le Puy route, ‘Sept/Oct 2017’
#70
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
I also wear Altras [Lone Peak 2.0] ... best footwear for me with the wide toebox and deep cushioning ... they are also very light to wear and dry quickly if and when they get wet ... love ’em to bits ... I also walk in Keen Arroyo trekking sandals which are great for all the same reasons ... oh and I have Aetrex insoles!
 

Ell

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese
Part of the Camino Via De La Plata
#71
I have very difficult feet and did the Frances in my Saucony trail running shoes this month. I never had any blisters or problems. I can highly recommend them.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Salvador (2014)
Camino Primitivo (2014)
Camino Muxia (2014)
Camino Fisterra (2014)
#72
My Salomon lightweight boots (1.5 sizes bigger than my normal shoe size) were wonderful in NZ conditions before and after Camino, but I did get blisters on the tops of my toes and under my forefoot during my camino - relieved by changing out to wicking sock/thin merino sock combo. I walk and run in a pair of Brookes at present back home. Did you trail runner converts pick a bigger than normal size as one would do for boots? If so, how much bigger?
 

Maryoost

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk July (2018)
#73
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
Hello. I will be walking the Camino Frances starting August 17th. I have been experiencing a lot of boot issues while training. I have read this blog and find it so helpful. The salesperson at the store advised strongly against the trail net. She said that it is not enough support for repeated long distances. I am finding the boots to cause problems around the 15-20k mark. I have had them fitted and am returning my current pair for the same shoe but a wide. I wish that the wide had been suggested first! Are the trail runners enough support for the day to day? They suggested a hiking shoe but then said that there is not enough support. I like the idea of less shoe especially in the heat. I would appreciate your feedback.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#74
Well, I think you should talk to some other shoe salespeople, if for no other reason than that many people now happily walk the PCT and AT in trail runners, and those are much longer, much more arduous trails. So it seems that she is not up to date on what people wear on long trails. I'm not saying that the trail runner is necessarily the best shoe for you, but I think that the reasons she gave you for not recommending trail runners are demonstrably incorrect. Good luck with the decision, and buen camino, Laurie
 

Jim_Hyde

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked Le Puy to Navarrenx April/May 2018
#75
I walked the Via Podiensis in April in my trusty Hanwag Banks GTX boots, the weather across the Aubrac was awful, snow, ice, hail, driving rain and wet underfoot for the first 5 days. This was followed by 15 days of warm sometimes hot weather. Many walkers I met had foot problems, blisters and sores, my Hanwags have no internal seams and as long as you get your socks smooth over the foot and heel there is nothing to rub. I had no problems whatsoever with my feet covering 470 miles in just under 4 weeks. My advice would be to avoid any boots/shoes that have any internal seams or stitching and do not keep your feet totally dry
 

Maryoost

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk July (2018)
#76
Well, I think you should talk to some other shoe salespeople, if for no other reason than that many people now happily walk the PCT and AT in trail runners, and those are much longer, much more arduous trails. So it seems that she is not up to date on what people wear on long trails. I'm not saying that the trail runner is necessarily the best shoe for you, but I think that the reasons she gave you for not recommending trail runners are demonstrably incorrect. Good luck with the decision, and buen camino, Laurie
Thanks Laurie. I'm going to try the trail runners. I feel that the boots are just not working for me and I am so glad that this is happening now and not on the Camino. Thank you for your feedback. I really do appreciate it.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
C. de Salvador/Primitivo (2018)
#77
...I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking... Buen camino, Laurie
All of your experience walking provides worlds more expertise in shoes than any one without your experience might have. If something works for you, there are no flaws in your thinking.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Ruta Fray Leopoldo (2018)
#78
My Altra Lone Peak shoes make me happy every day that I put them on! We just came back from 86 days of walking in Spain, and for the first time in 10 years, I could walk comfortably all day long. I used the high tops and was glad that I could lace them loosely and yet not have any heel slip. The high tops also kept my toes from hitting the front of the shoe, again without needing to lace them up tight. Since I've been home, I've been wearing the Altra Timp (which has offset lacing) for my walks and have also found them very comfortable. If you want to see the changes coming this fall, there are numerous reviews online of the Lone Peak model 4.0. It looks like there will be a more durable upper and a stickier outsole.
Elaine
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés, (fall, 2018)
#79
OK, I'm a podiatrist and I'm doing Le Puy to SJPP or some point near it, starting 6th June. ( have to be in Paris by 11th July). I am a great believer in old shoes, It must be 10 years since I bought a new pair of shoes. Vinnies and the Salvos are good for lightly used shoes. I have Air Wair Docs, boots and Mary Janes, I have Italian boots, But I am taking at least 3 pairs of footwear and lots of socks. You can do this trip without knickers, but not without footwear! Lightweight is key, and never new! Animal wool and blister plasters, my heavy bunion press unfortunately must stay home, but I have sure local cobblers have one. Also, go to Ian Feigan's lacing website and see how changing the lay of your laces can improve the comfort of any shoe. I do think lacing is best for any long walk, but I have velcro sandals too, velcro does not 'give' like lacing. Greasing lacing is useful, or bees wax.
Buen Camino
Google search did not reveal the Ian Feigan website. What is it? I would love to know.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#80
Hello. I will be walking the Camino Frances starting August 17th. I have been experiencing a lot of boot issues while training. I have read this blog and find it so helpful. The salesperson at the store advised strongly against the trail net. She said that it is not enough support for repeated long distances. I am finding the boots to cause problems around the 15-20k mark. I have had them fitted and am returning my current pair for the same shoe but a wide. I wish that the wide had been suggested first! Are the trail runners enough support for the day to day? They suggested a hiking shoe but then said that there is not enough support. I like the idea of less shoe especially in the heat. I would appreciate your feedback.
Mary, one of the sad truths of salesfolks is that they need to move the store's inventory. What they will often recommend is based solely on what the store has to offer, not what is universally available. There are also a lot of outdoor store sales staff who cling to 'old' knowledge about the 'best' footwear. Yes, there are good and solid sales staff, but if they don't sell, the store income stays tied up in inventory; that means no money to pay salaries. It's a vicious cycle.
 

Maryoost

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk July (2018)
#81
My Altra Lone Peak shoes make me happy every day that I put them on! We just came back from 86 days of walking in Spain, and for the first time in 10 years, I could walk comfortably all day long. I used the high tops and was glad that I could lace them loosely and yet not have any heel slip. The high tops also kept my toes from hitting the front of the shoe, again without needing to lace them up tight. Since I've been home, I've been wearing the Altra Timp (which has offset lacing) for my walks and have also found them very comfortable. If you want to see the changes coming this fall, there are numerous reviews online of the Lone Peak model 4.0. It looks like there will be a more durable upper and a stickier outsole.
Elaine[/QUOTE

Hello Elaine.
Mary, one of the sad truths of salesfolks is that they need to move the store's inventory. What they will often recommend is based solely on what the store has to offer, not what is universally available. There are also a lot of outdoor store sales staff who cling to 'old' knowledge about the 'best' footwear. Yes, there are good and solid sales staff, but if they don't sell, the store income stays tied up in inventory; that means no money to pay salaries. It's a vicious cycle.
Thanks Dave. I took my boots back to the store that I had purchased them from and they took them back even though I had been using the mobile for over a month. So I am now on the hunt for a replacement. This forum has given me a lot to think about and I hope to get to a knowledgable retailer who has the Altra shoes that everyone has so many positive things to say about.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#83
Thanks Dave. I took my boots back to the store that I had purchased them from and they took them back even though I had been using the mobile for over a month. So I am now on the hunt for a replacement. This forum has given me a lot to think about and I hope to get to a knowledgable retailer who has the Altra shoes that everyone has so many positive things to say about.
Please do try Altra trail runners, they are a good shoe that suit a lot of people. I would also not limit myself to trying just the Altras, though.

There are folks for whom Altra shoes just never feel right, or are actually uncomfortable. The same applies to every single brand and model of a brand out there. Last week, I finished up a lengthy report from doing a gear test on Salomon XA Pro 3D shoes for their quality control folks. After nearly 400 miles in those shoes, I never got past them being OK. And yet, that is one of the shoes that a lot of backpackers fawn over, like the Altras. But my feedback to Salomon had little to do with how they felt overall, it was about how they do with quality of materials, durability, traction, performance vs weight, etc.

And I must say again, a large number of people like those Salomons.

On the other hand, I love my New Balance 910v4 shoes; they are what I personally use. They feel great on my feet, have the traction, light weight, fit and cushioning I want. I never feel any poking of my feet from rocks or other debris on the trail. They keep my feet stable with regard to motion control issues of pronation. They also drain water like a sieve and dry out quickly. I can get them in the wider width that I need, and they are relatively pocket book friendly.

But there are people who do not like them. And there are a lot of others who do.

Personal recommendations of a shoe is only a place to look. It matters not that 100,000 people like a shoe; all that matters is how a shoe feels on your feet and if it can do what you need it to do. Only you can answer the former, the experiences of those who have long term use of them and performance reviews can help answer the latter. I can't tell you if the NB 910v4 would feel good to you. I can tell you how well they are put together, how good their traction is on various surfaces, terrain, and weather conditions, and even how good the shoelaces are that come with the shoe :)

As you go looking for shoe, here are some tips which I have posted before that may help you.
  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.
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2014
#84
I wouldn't trade my Vasque Breezes for anything. I'm hard on shoes and I suspect I'd destroy a pair of trail runners after a couple hundred miles.
 

Maryoost

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk July (2018)
#85
Please do try Altra trail runners, they are a good shoe that suit a lot of people. I would also not limit myself to trying just the Altras, though.

There are folks for whom Altra shoes just never feel right, or are actually uncomfortable. The same applies to every single brand and model of a brand out there. Last week, I finished up a lengthy report from doing a gear test on Salomon XA Pro 3D shoes for their quality control folks. After nearly 400 miles in those shoes, I never got past them being OK. And yet, that is one of the shoes that a lot of backpackers fawn over, like the Altras. But my feedback to Salomon had little to do with how they felt overall, it was about how they do with quality of materials, durability, traction, performance vs weight, etc.

And I must say again, a large number of people like those Salomons.

On the other hand, I love my New Balance 910v4 shoes; they are what I personally use. They feel great on my feet, have the traction, light weight, fit and cushioning I want. I never feel any poking of my feet from rocks or other debris on the trail. They keep my feet stable with regard to motion control issues of pronation. They also drain water like a sieve and dry out quickly. I can get them in the wider width that I need, and they are relatively pocket book friendly.

But there are people who do not like them. And there are a lot of others who do.

Personal recommendations of a shoe is only a place to look. It matters not that 100,000 people like a shoe; all that matters is how a shoe feels on your feet and if it can do what you need it to do. Only you can answer the former, the experiences of those who have long term use of them and performance reviews can help answer the latter. I can't tell you if the NB 910v4 would feel good to you. I can tell you how well they are put together, how good their traction is on various surfaces, terrain, and weather conditions, and even how good the shoelaces are that come with the shoe :)

As you go looking for shoe, here are some tips which I have posted before that may help you.
  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.
Thank you for the great information. I will definitely follow your advice when I go to try on shoes. I will keep an open mind on the different brands too. I appreciate all of the help with this.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2018
#86
I loved my Vasque hiking shoes and hiked all over the Chilean Andes in them. But, that was backcountry hiking. As I've practiced for the Camino, I've found I need a more flexible sole/last with lots of toe box room. So, I've rejected hiking boots, hiking shoes and now two running shoes. My New Balance running shoes were great, but the sole is too thin for endurance walking. I'm now into my 5th try...Hoka One One trail running shoes. Weird looking shoe, but WoW are they comfortable! I can walk for miles and end with happy, dry feet. Great reviews for these and the Altra Lone Peaks 3.5s. The advice above is good...try them on and make sure you can return within 30 days if they don't work out. Oh, and check out photos on the forums...what do you see...a lot of low cut, trail shoes. Just sayin'.
 
Camino(s) past & future
6/7, 2013 SJPP to Santiago-finisher-Muniz, 6/7, 2016 La Verna to Rome, 6/7/8, 2018 VDLP
#87
people say every 500 miles change a pair of trail runners. VdLP is 1000k, can one pair last ? what was the shape of your shoes after getting to Santiago? I am curious to know since I hope no need for 2nd pair.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#88
people say every 500 miles change a pair of trail runners. VdLP is 1000k, can one pair last ? what was the shape of your shoes after getting to Santiago? I am curious to know since I hope no need for 2nd pair.
I walked almost 1000 kms from Almería to Salamanca in the shoes in the picture. I took my shoes in to my running shoe store today and asked my pals there how many kms they thought I had left. They said another several hundred at least. I wanted to know because I hope to walk a longer Camino in a year or so and like you wanted to see if there was a good shot I could make it to Santiago with one pair. I wore Lone Peaks. There is a picture earlier in this thread of another pair that didn't fare as well as mine. I have to say I am pretty hard on shoes, so manybe the Lone Peaks are a sturdier model than the ones pictured in post number 60.
 

Attachments

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#89
people say every 500 miles change a pair of trail runners. VdLP is 1000k, can one pair last ? what was the shape of your shoes after getting to Santiago? I am curious to know since I hope no need for 2nd pair.
Well, 1000 km is 621 miles, so not too much more than 500 miles.
 
Camino(s) past & future
6/7, 2013 SJPP to Santiago-finisher-Muniz, 6/7, 2016 La Verna to Rome, 6/7/8, 2018 VDLP
#90
121 miles are not much, but in reality, no one wears a brand new shoes out of box before leaving, for training/testing, very likely anothet 100+ miles at least already added, if not more. Just wondering would the shoe last when later on the Sanabere and no shoe stores available.

Also does anybody wear Chaco sandals?
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#91
121 miles are not much, but in reality, no one wears a brand new shoes out of box before leaving, for training/testing, very likely anothet 100+ miles at least already added, if not more. Just wondering would the shoe last when later on the Sanabere and no shoe stores available.

Also does anybody wear Chaco sandals?
I always start with brand new shoes. The notion of 'breaking in' hiking or walking shoes comes from old style construction materials, like leather, which were stiff and required time and effort to mold itself to the foot and become more flexible.

Nowadays, it depends on the shoe whether or not one can wear them successfully out of the box. If the upper is mostly fabric, then wearing them out of the box is fine, with conditions:
1. These are the same shoes that you have been using for training, and just want the same brand and model in new condition to start a long trek.
2. You are using the same insole (or a new insole of the same brand and model).
3. You will be using the same kinds and numbers of socks.
4. Any modifications to the worn pair are reproduced in the new pair. For example, if you have cut down the back collar to relieve pressure on the achilles tendon, or you have applied anti-friction patches like Engo patches.
5. If you are one of the unfortunate individuals for which blistering seems to be the normal state of things, and you take precautions to reduce that problem, then the same thing will still need to be done. However, a change of shoe brand, or size, or model can sometimes make a positive difference if previous shoes were stiff and less flexible with the construction.

Modern trail shoes and trail runners have been designed to operate new and out of the box. While the materials can be worn down, they do not really do much 'breaking in'. For those who have trouble when doing so, I would suspect that it is more of a foot conditioning issue rather than a shoe issue. In other words, someone who is not used to doing any lengthy walks is more likely to develop blisters because feet haven't been conditioned, and the shoes might not be the correct fit and the new user is unaware of a problem because of the lack of using that shoe over a distance walk.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2016
#92
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
I took my comfy Merrel hikers and Altras. While the Merrels were a good fit and comfy for hiking back home, after a few days on the Camino, I donated them (they weren’t new but good condition) and wore the Altras all the way through the rest of the way. I noticed the people having the hardest time were newbies like me, sticking to their hiking boots. You need cushioning under foot and room around toes, especially if your feet are prone to swelling. It’ be Hoka, Altra or Salomons for me for my next Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2016
#93
L
For sure the right footwear is a very personal thing. But after 8 or is it 9 Caminos, I think I’d like to find me some of those Altras! Sound fabulous. Only other comment - based on non scientific evidence, just what I’ve noticed over the years, there seems to be a higher correlation between foot problems and boots, than foot problems and shoes. Just saying ....
The Altras also come in a ‘mid’ offering a little ankle support. Also look at the Hoka shoe, seems similar. Will be out to buy my next Altras soon but hoping to find a stockist for Hoka to try on.
 

Jbirk

New Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, SJPP to Finesterre April (2018)
#95
Just got home and was able to email Altra about the rips in the shoe I had on the Camino.
Altra said thy would give me a full refund or replacement
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#96
Just got home and was able to email Altra about the rips in the shoe I had on the Camino.
Altra said thy would give me a full refund or replacement
That's pretty amazing since they mention a 300-500 mile lifetime on their website. I have heard they were takekn over by NorthFace. If that is accurate, we have to wonder what becoming part of Big Outdoors will mean for Altras.
 

Eleviin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Podensis Sept/Oct 2017
Camino Portugués - Lisbon to SdC via Porto Costal Route: May 2018
#97
I could also title this "Why did it take me 17 years to realize this?"

On my first couple of caminos, I wore hiking boots that were probably too small for my feet. Rookie mistake. That led to overheated feet, blisters, lots of unhappy feet while pounding the pavement. One year, my choice was to try something new in León or stop walking. I bought a low Salomon hiking shoe and continued on the Salvador/Primitivo pain free. From then until last year, I wore Salomons. No blisters, but terrible corns between the toes. My dermatologist said that the solution was to get a wide toe box, and Altras are wider than them all.

So I went to Altras for the wide toe box and then had an epiphany. Altras are trail runners, they are not hiking boots or hiking shoes. That means they are "less shoe" and more cushion. The Camino is not a hike in the outdoor sense of the word, it is a long walk with some occasional rough terrain. Trail runners are the perfect shoe for that endeavor. They have enough grip and form to keep you steady when the off-road gets rough (especially if you have poles), but their comfort on the asphalt and gravel just blew me away.

I am no expert in shoes, but I would certainly encourage everyone to search out trail runners. Altras are one brand, and every major outdoor shoe company has some. But it seems to me, especially as the caminos become more and more paved over, that hiking boots and hiking shoes are just way too much shoe for the camino.

Though the pain of past caminos, like the pain of child birth, always fades with the years, I was continually happy this year to see that at the end of long days, some up in the 40s, I never had that urge to yank off my shoes and free my feet. My feet may have been tired, like the rest of me, but they were not sore, weary, pounding, or any of those things.

Bottom line -- try the trail runner option. Its one drawback may be lack of waterproofing, but I have always found that my feet are wet at the end of a rain that lasts more than an hour anyway, goretex or not. I had only one rain on my 32 days on the Mozárabe, if you can believe it, but I found that the shoes dried very quickly.

I know there are others on the forum with far more expertise in shoes, and they may be able to point out flaws in my thinking. But this year, as every year, I saw so many people with boots or hiking shoes who were really having problems, and I felt so lucky with my trail runners. I am a convert! I will try not to proselytize though. :)

Buen camino, Laurie
Agree with you 100%.
With my wide feet, Altra’s trail runner work wonders!!
Walking the Caminho Portugués since a week...
Eleviin
 

Maryoost

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk July (2018)
#98
Agree with you 100%.
With my wide feet, Altra’s trail runner work wonders!!
Walking the Caminho Portugués since a week...
Eleviin[/QUOTE

When fitting your Altras did you go a half size up like what is recommended for boots? Also, what sort of sock do you recommend to wear with them?
Thanks
Mary
 

Eleviin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Podensis Sept/Oct 2017
Camino Portugués - Lisbon to SdC via Porto Costal Route: May 2018
#99
Hi Mary,
Went up a full size, changed the insoles to Curex and wear Injinji no show socks (wash every day- have 2 pairs) and lock the laces to prevent sliding forward. Seems for me for now the right shoe remedy. Will post my experience after the 500 km walk...
Bom Caminho
 

Jbirk

New Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, SJPP to Finesterre April (2018)
The rip in my Timps happened around the 300k mark. I took pictures and documented them at the time. I had an issue trying to contact Altra in Spain as they had a Spanish redirect on their web site that would not allow me to contact the US store where I bought them. I glad I bought them directly from Altra
 

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