A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement


Buy any book, get free camino shell

Question about Altra shoes

Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#1
I'm wondering if it would be wise to wear a zero drop shoe like the Altra for the Camino if I'm not used to walking in zero drop shoes? I don't know how much time it takes to adjust to the zero drop.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#2
Trecile, For some folks, the zero drop concept is an easy, almost unnoticeable transition. For others, me included, it is difficult to get used to and is best done in small bits; allow quite a few days of 'break-in' with a bit of increase in mileage as you become comfortable. Joints in the knee and ankle, as well as lower back and hips might need time to adapt.... or they could be negatively affected; it is impossible to know how any individual will respond.

This is one study that may be of interest. Nothing in the methods and analysis jumps out at me as being problematic; as this is a prospective randomized trial, then this is a high level of evidence.

Influence of the Heel-to-Toe Drop of Standard Cushioned Running Shoes on Injury Risk in Leisure-Time Runners. A Randomized Controlled Trial With 6-Month Follow-up.

Laurent Malsioux, PhD, Nicolas Chambon, PhD, Axel Urhausen, Prof., MD and Daniel Theisen, PhD
Am J Sports Med August 8, 2016

Background: Modern running shoes are available in a wide range of heel-to-toe drops (ie, the height difference between the forward and rear parts of the inside of the shoe). While shoe drop has been shown to influence strike pattern, its effect on injury risk has never been investigated. Therefore, the reasons for such variety in this parameter are unclear.

Purpose: The first aim of this study was to determine whether the drop of standard cushioned running shoes influences running injury risk. The secondary aim was to investigate whether recent running regularity modifies the relationship between shoe drop and injury risk.

Study Design: Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 1.

Methods: Leisure-time runners (N = 553) were observed for 6 months after having received a pair of shoes with a heel-to-toe drop of 10 mm (D10), 6 mm (D6), or 0 mm (D0). All participants reported their running activities and injuries (time-loss definition, at least 1 day) in an electronic system. Cox regression analyses were used to compare injury risk between the 3 groups based on hazard rate ratios (HRs) and their 95% CIs. A stratified analysis was conducted to evaluate the effect of shoe drop in occasional runners ( Results: The overall injury risk was not different among the participants who had received the D6 (HR, 1.30; 95% CI, 0.86-1.98) or D0 (HR, 1.17; 95% CI, 0.76-1.80) versions compared with the D10 shoes. After stratification according to running regularity, low-drop shoes (D6 and D0) were found to be associated with a lower injury risk in occasional runners (HR, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.23-0.98), whereas these shoes were associated with a higher injury risk in regular runners (HR, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.07-2.62).

Conclusion: Overall, injury risk was not modified by the drop of standard cushioned running shoes. However, low-drop shoes could be more hazardous for regular runners, while these shoes seem to be preferable for occasional runners to limit injury risk.
 
#3
Hi Trecile,
I am an Altras convert. Started In Almeria on April 13 and I have no blisters. And more wonderfully, no corns between my toes. (The wide tie box was the draw for me). The cushioning is great and the tread is strong enough for most camino terrain. No aching weariness in the feet after a long day, even with stretches on asphalt.

About the no-drop. I got my shoes about 10 days before my camino and wore them on one 12 mile walk and around town every day. I adjusted easily to the no drop except for some pain across the top, which I fixed with lacing. The REI guy said that the people with the most difficulty adjusting are women who wear heels a lot.

I think it’s possible that the foot may take a while to settle into the new foot strike pattern, and that may be why I had pain across the top at first. Now I am able to lace them normally so that the heel doesn’t slip, which I couldn’t do at the beginning.

I have theLone Peak and its one big flaw IMO is the supposed water protection. One day walking through wet grass, my feet were soaked in 10 minutes. In my 20 minute experience with rain and hail, you can imagine. They do dry quickly though.

Yes, I know that’s more info than you asked for!
 

Davie Blisters

Ministry of Silly Walks
Camino(s) past & future
.
#4
Another convert here. I bought the Altra Lone Peak 3.5 and have been walking 10 mile per day with no issues.
Reason for purchase was three-fold. (1) My pace is fast, but I have a tendency for heal-strike resulting in ongoing injury. I have modified my stride pattern and the zero-drop is allowing me to avoid heal-strike. (2) The toe-box is very wide - much wider than my previous shoe of choice (Keen). (3) They are non-waterproof and even have vents that allow the feet to breathe - but they do dry-out quickly. 10 miles per day is not really a test for blisters, however, I am hopeful that my June trip on the Norte will test the theory.
 

easygoing

Walking the Camino with my 15 year old self
Camino(s) past & future
I have walked the Camino Francis 5 times, twice in 2017. (May 2018 and September 2018)
#5
I'm wondering if it would be wise to wear a zero drop shoe like the Altra for the Camino if I'm not used to walking in zero drop shoes? I don't know how much time it takes to adjust to the zero drop.
I walked the Camino in Altras because of the cushioning I felt like I was walking on a cloud. Not one problem with adjusting but I must laughingly tell you I had no idea what zero drop meant at that time so i wasn't expecting a problem. I bought the shoes because Heather Anish the long distance hiker wears them. I leave in 4 days for Spain and Altras are coming with me.
 
#6
The Lone Peak is a great shoe. I am also a convert after many miles in Saloman and Ahnu to name two. The cushion in the Olympus is more than in the Lone Peak and the heel slightly higher. If you are concerned with the drop, consider the Olympus. Disappointed to hear of the wetness issue in damp grass but they dry.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Aragones/Frances/Finisterre (2018), Operation Sabre (2018), Marin Ramble (2017)
#7
Took me 10 to 15....MINUTES!!!!!.....to adjust to zero-drop! Seriously, wore them around REI and when I put my old shoes on to walk to the register, I missed the Altras immediately! Wore out a pair while training, currently walking in a pair, and ordered a new pair to wear when I get home!

LOVE LOVE LOVE them!!!! I have the ALTRAS TIMPS (tried the others but these worked best) and have had other pilgrims ask about them since the wide toe box looks so comfortable.

Give yourself a week to adjust, but you likely won’t need it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, SJPP to Finesterre April (2018)
#9
I’m halfway through the Camino Francis right now and love my Altra Timps. No break in at all. I’ve never noticed the zero drop and knees feel great
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#10
Well, for me how easy it is to adapt to them is going to be a moot point, because I haven't found a pair of Altras that fit my long narrow feet. The women's size 11 is just barely too short, and the size 12 (no half size between 11 and 12) is too big and floppy. :confused:
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#13
I'd rather not. I'd prefer that my shoes fit without resorting to extra socks. I will probably wear the same style of New Balance trail runners that I wore on my other two Caminos.
Which NB trail runners did you use?
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#14
Which NB trail runners did you use?
Vazee Summit, though they have just come out with a new, similar shoe called the Summit Unknown that I just received in the mail that feels very good.
As I said, I have a long, narrow foot, and these low volume models fit me well.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#15
Vazee Summit, though they have just come out with a new, similar shoe called the Summit Unknown that I just received in the mail that feels very good.
As I said, I have a long, narrow foot, and these low volume models fit me well.
The nice thing about the Summit Unknown is that they do have a rockplate in them that will help protect your feet. Plus, they are nice and light for the protection they provide. I hope they work out for you; I know how dang difficult it can be to make feet happy :)
 

katie@camino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016; CPort (Central) from Porto 2017;
CPort (Coastal) from Porto 2018.
#16
Another convert here. I bought the Altra Lone Peak 3.5 and have been walking 10 mile per day with no issues.
Reason for purchase was three-fold. (1) My pace is fast, but I have a tendency for heal-strike resulting in ongoing injury. I have modified my stride pattern and the zero-drop is allowing me to avoid heal-strike. (2) The toe-box is very wide - much wider than my previous shoe of choice (Keen). (3) They are non-waterproof and even have vents that allow the feet to breathe - but they do dry-out quickly. 10 miles per day is not really a test for blisters, however, I am hopeful that my June trip on the Norte will test the theory.
Re: heel-strike - isn't heel-striking bad for running but natural for walking?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
#17
The only trouble I had on the Primitivo last fall was one toe blistering next to another toe. I fractured my heel 4 years ago and it still bothers me. I bought some altars and the wide toe box is wonderful. My calves were a little sore at first, but I love these shoes! Maybe Nike and others will smarten up.
 

KJG

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances July-August (2018)
#18
Vazee Summit, though they have just come out with a new, similar shoe called the Summit Unknown that I just received in the mail that feels very good.
As I said, I have a long, narrow foot, and these low volume models fit me well.
@trecile i'm thinking of wearing these this summer as they seem to be the only shoe to fit my narrow feet, but were they completely destroyed by the end? were the sole worn out? They seem so much more flimsy than hiking shoes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#19
@trecile i'm thinking of wearing these this summer as they seem to be the only shoe to fit my narrow feet, but were they completely destroyed by the end? were the sole worn out? They seem so much more flimsy than hiking shoes.
Though I have worn them on local hikes after the Camino, I'd say that they are a one Camino shoe. But I liked them well enough to wear on two Caminos.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Aragones/Frances/Finisterre (2018), Operation Sabre (2018), Marin Ramble (2017)
#20
At home, I got about 900 miles before the tread was done. On my Camino, 650 miles pretty much was the limit due to tears and holes in the material itself though the tread had some life left in them. I attribute the shorter lifespan to the snow, rain, mud, and rocks of the trail. Plus I’m 250lbs, so I put a hurt on my shoes!
 

easygoing

Walking the Camino with my 15 year old self
Camino(s) past & future
I have walked the Camino Francis 5 times, twice in 2017. (May 2018 and September 2018)
#21
My Altras still looked perfect after the Camino but I brought a small shoe brush and brushed them almost daily. It is the grit that wears out the fibers. However, even if shoes look good remember that the inner cushioning breaks down after about 500 miles. So wear one Camino and then I use them at home for training for a while. My feet love the cushioning especially on the constant hard surface of the Camino.
 

KJG

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances July-August (2018)
#22
Though I have worn them on local hikes after the Camino, I'd say that they are a one Camino shoe. But I liked them well enough to wear on two Caminos.
I was more just worried they wouldn't last an entire camino. But it sounds like yours survived?
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#23
I was more just worried they wouldn't last an entire camino. But it sounds like yours survived?
Yes, they survived. The first year I was a little worried about how they were wearing down about halfway through, but they carried me all the way to Finisterre. I did replace the insoles just before León the first year. However, both the soles and insoles lasted from SJPDP to Muxia and Finisterre last year.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Muxia/Fisterra (Dec/Jan 2016) Way of St. James - Luxembourg (July/Aug 2018)
#24
I'm wondering if it would be wise to wear a zero drop shoe like the Altra for the Camino if I'm not used to walking in zero drop shoes? I don't know how much time it takes to adjust to the zero drop.
I walked in Altras in January 2016 and despite the predictions of disaster from the doomsayers at REI, they worked great. Not a single blister.

That said, I should add that I usually walk and hike in Flats, like literally the kind of flats you can buy for $5 at Walmart. So I was very used to that before the Camino.
 
Last edited:
#25
I walked in Altras in January and despite the predictions of disaster from the doomsayers at REI, they worked great. Not a single blister.
I'm surprised to hear that REI is so far behind on this issue. A little googling and reading about wilderness shoes makes pretty clear that trail runners are now the shoe of choice on long distance wilderness hikes in the US, specifically PCT and John Muir. I found this report on shoe use on the Appalachian Trail very interesting:

https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trai...the-appalachian-trail-2016-thru-hiker-survey/
Interesting finding about age -- yes, I was one of those who wore hiking boots and then hiking shoes for years and years, never paying attention to what was apparently an avalanche of new information on the benefits of trail runners. So it's not just REI's fault, it was my fault as well!

Since there is not any camino in Spain that comes close to these wilderness trails in terms of roughness of terrain, though, I am surprised that REI would still be recommending heavier shoes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Muxia/Fisterra (Dec/Jan 2016) Way of St. James - Luxembourg (July/Aug 2018)
#26
Asking REI here in Southern California about Camino shoes is a big frustration. All the staff think everything is the Pacific Crest Trail and they are obsessed with recommending huge, heavy boots meant for scaling mountains. And I had an REI person just yesterday tell me that walking in anything other than something with a high arch would lead to catastrophe. I said, "well, I walked the Camino once already in zero drop Altras and did great," and the guy looked at me like I'd just said that Elvis was in the back parking lot with Bigfoot having a BBQ.

They are equally uninformed out here when it comes to backpacks -- trying to sell me a HUGE pack that could fit a tent, a campstove and my entire wardrobe in it and predicting doom if I walked with anything smaller, LOL.

I have more or less learned to nod and make appreciative noises and ignore everything REI says. Now they're insisting that if I walk in July in Teva sandals, they're going to fall apart on the second day. I'm skeptical of this prediction...
 
Last edited:

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Aragones/Frances/Finisterre (2018), Operation Sabre (2018), Marin Ramble (2017)
#27
My local REI in Sacramento specifically recommended my Altras! It all depends on the staff.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#28
Excuse me for a second. <VENT ON>

The reason for REI recommending ANYTHING has little to do with 'best practices' for climbing, biking, backpacking, hiking, or trekking as far as knowledge about the current and proven state of the art (which does not have to mean expensive, btw) in equipment and clothing and techniques.

It has to do with what they choose to stock in their stores, which -- at least for the big gear and clothing items -- is tremendously affected by negotiations and agreements with manufacturers. Like Walmart, if manufacturers wish access to REI's huge buyer base, they need to accept REI's conditions, which among other things, cuts the wholesale product costs to REI, and certifies an ability to meet inventory supply for its stores.

Today's REI is hardly recognizable to what REI was in the first 30 years of its existence, some of that time under the management of Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest. I am member 25,707, and joined in 1965 at the age of 12 ... with my dad's permission and consent :). I still have that original card. This was at a time when REI led the bleeding edge of climbing, backpacking, and hiking gear. They actually worked with cottage manufacturers and new companies who were innovating the gear and clothing at a furious pace, trying to provide lighter and more resilient gear than the normal Army surplus store stuff that was so prevalent to that point in time.

From the original Coop store lodgings to the move into the large, refurbished, multi-story warehouse which was where REI really began to take off, no one at REI ever conceived that it would become a chain retailer and turn its back on the original concepts that brought it to life.

Anyone who spent time going to that old warehouse knows what I mean when I say that these 'new' stores are seemingly sterile places, minus the soul which made going to REI more of a 'pilgrimage' than a simple shopping event.

Now, I look at an REI and it is no different, in my mind, than shopping at Amazon or Costco. In fact, most of the items at REI have such high markups, that it is usually a better bargain to shop elsewhere. Yes, yes, I know about the vaunted REI guarantee, but most of the really innovative industry equipment manufacturers will match REI in that regard. ULA is one example.

I have spent some quantity of time at ULA's shop and warehouse in Logan, Utah. The first time I was invited to visit, I came away with the same sense of feeling I used to get when visiting the early REI. During that visit, the owner was actually on the phone with a customer quickly agreeing to replace a pack sent out 6 months prior, with a different model from their backpack lineup because the customer couldn't get used to the 'feel' of the pack. When I asked about why he did it, he just grinned and told me that he had not only made a lifelong customer, but that this would bring in even more customers based on word of mouth. Plus, he said, the returned pack will be refurbished to a near new condition and be put up for sale on their discount listings.

Does REI carry ULA? Nope. Nor Gossamer Gear or ZPacks, or Mountain Laurel Designs, or ..... REI doesn't carry the bleeding edge stuff anymore. Nor does its sales staff usually ignore what the store inventory carries when recommending gear, regardless of what exists elsewhere and regardless of the superiority of gear not available thru REI.

Does that mean that one should avoid shopping at REI? Nope. The above was simply to give background as to why REI recommendations are no longer the gold standard, and should be taken with a grain of salt. REI does have some good stuff: I like their Sahara shirts and lightweight zip-offs, for example; they are within the range of a lot of very lightweight clothing options. Although Kuhl makes a long sleeved, button up backpacking shirt that is the standard to beat, IMHO.

<VENT OFF>
 
Camino(s) past & future
CP, Porto to SdC, May/June 2016
#29
Excuse me for a second. <VENT ON>

The reason for REI recommending ANYTHING has little to do with 'best practices' for climbing, biking, backpacking, hiking, or trekking as far as knowledge about the current and proven state of the art (which does not have to mean expensive, btw) in equipment and clothing and techniques.

It has to do with what they choose to stock in their stores, which -- at least for the big gear and clothing items -- is tremendously affected by negotiations and agreements with manufacturers. Like Walmart, if manufacturers wish access to REI's huge buyer base, they need to accept REI's conditions, which among other things, cuts the wholesale product costs to REI, and certifies an ability to meet inventory supply for its stores.

Today's REI is hardly recognizable to what REI was in the first 30 years of its existence, some of that time under the management of Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest. I am member 25,707, and joined in 1965 at the age of 12 ... with my dad's permission and consent :). I still have that original card. This was at a time when REI led the bleeding edge of climbing, backpacking, and hiking gear. They actually worked with cottage manufacturers and new companies who were innovating the gear and clothing at a furious pace, trying to provide lighter and more resilient gear than the normal Army surplus store stuff that was so prevalent to that point in time.

From the original Coop store lodgings to the move into the large, refurbished, multi-story warehouse which was where REI really began to take off, no one at REI ever conceived that it would become a chain retailer and turn its back on the original concepts that brought it to life.

Anyone who spent time going to that old warehouse knows what I mean when I say that these 'new' stores are seemingly sterile places, minus the soul which made going to REI more of a 'pilgrimage' than a simple shopping event.

Now, I look at an REI and it is no different, in my mind, than shopping at Amazon or Costco. In fact, most of the items at REI have such high markups, that it is usually a better bargain to shop elsewhere. Yes, yes, I know about the vaunted REI guarantee, but most of the really innovative industry equipment manufacturers will match REI in that regard. ULA is one example.

I have spent some quantity of time at ULA's shop and warehouse in Logan, Utah. The first time I was invited to visit, I came away with the same sense of feeling I used to get when visiting the early REI. During that visit, the owner was actually on the phone with a customer quickly agreeing to replace a pack sent out 6 months prior, with a different model from their backpack lineup because the customer couldn't get used to the 'feel' of the pack. When I asked about why he did it, he just grinned and told me that he had not only made a lifelong customer, but that this would bring in even more customers based on word of mouth. Plus, he said, the returned pack will be refurbished to a near new condition and be put up for sale on their discount listings.

Does REI carry ULA? Nope. Nor Gossamer Gear or ZPacks, or Mountain Laurel Designs, or ..... REI doesn't carry the bleeding edge stuff anymore. Nor does its sales staff usually ignore what the store inventory carries when recommending gear, regardless of what exists elsewhere and regardless of the superiority of gear not available thru REI.

Does that mean that one should avoid shopping at REI? Nope. The above was simply to give background as to why REI recommendations are no longer the gold standard, and should be taken with a grain of salt. REI does have some good stuff: I like their Sahara shirts and lightweight zip-offs, for example; they are within the range of a lot of very lightweight clothing options. Although Kuhl makes a long sleeved, button up backpacking shirt that is the standard to beat, IMHO.

<VENT OFF>
Longtime REI customer here too (early 1970's, just after college). Met Lou Whittaker once when he was in town (we are far from either coast, in middle heartland between the Rockies and the Appalachians) raising funds for the All-American Everest Exped, the talk being sponsored by a great local outdoor store.

Ditto on the rant.

Plus, though REI has no current presence in my metro area, it is soon to open a store in my town (after Sports Authority tanked - I know, not really the same market, but I have no doubt that the local REI will soon be outfitting softball, baseball and soccer teams and leagues). Still, they do what they do pretty well, and provide pretty good general outdoor recreation info across lots of sports.

The small shop that sponsored Lou's talk/fundraiser has grown, and kept to its roots of well selected paddling, climbing, hiking gear--for all the same reasons you liked the early days Coop and ULA. I just hope it's customer base is going to remain loyal when REI comes to town.

I buy from REI and have some good stuff from them.

But I also shop with that local outdoors story and on line at GG, Zpacks, MLD, the old GoLite, Henry Shires' Tarptents, ULA, Enlightened Equipment and others for their better, thoughtfully designed, well made and practical gear.

Each has its different uses.

Horses for courses.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk with my husband June 2018
#30
My husband and I are wearing the Altra Lone Peaks and have walked frim St Jean to Burgos so far. no blisters with the shoes and our Injingi and Darn tough socks. However have had some problems with how rocky the trail is especially around Zubiri. I had to stop in Logrono and buy some arch supports and now doing much better. I bought a size and a half up and SO glad I did!!! I have so loved the traction I have had with the shoes on the scary slippery rocky and muddy downhills.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#31
......The small shop that sponsored Lou's talk/fundraiser has grown, and kept to its roots of well selected paddling, climbing, hiking gear--for all the same reasons you liked the early days Coop and ULA. I just hope it's customer base is going to remain loyal when REI comes to town.
You became a Coop member when the Big Warehouse was still the one and only store. :) Did you shop there, or did you order through the catalogue, aka Hiker Porn :)

I sure hope that the shop stays open... those are the places where access to innovative gear and clothing is available when behemoth's, like today's REI, get bogged down.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015
#32
Excuse me for a second. <VENT ON>

The reason for REI recommending ANYTHING has little to do with 'best practices' for climbing, biking, backpacking, hiking, or trekking as far as knowledge about the current and proven state of the art (which does not have to mean expensive, btw) in equipment and clothing and techniques.

It has to do with what they choose to stock in their stores, which -- at least for the big gear and clothing items -- is tremendously affected by negotiations and agreements with manufacturers. Like Walmart, if manufacturers wish access to REI's huge buyer base, they need to accept REI's conditions, which among other things, cuts the wholesale product costs to REI, and certifies an ability to meet inventory supply for its stores.

Today's REI is hardly recognizable to what REI was in the first 30 years of its existence, some of that time under the management of Jim Whittaker, the first American to summit Everest. I am member 25,707, and joined in 1965 at the age of 12 ... with my dad's permission and consent :). I still have that original card. This was at a time when REI led the bleeding edge of climbing, backpacking, and hiking gear. They actually worked with cottage manufacturers and new companies who were innovating the gear and clothing at a furious pace, trying to provide lighter and more resilient gear than the normal Army surplus store stuff that was so prevalent to that point in time.

From the original Coop store lodgings to the move into the large, refurbished, multi-story warehouse which was where REI really began to take off, no one at REI ever conceived that it would become a chain retailer and turn its back on the original concepts that brought it to life.

Anyone who spent time going to that old warehouse knows what I mean when I say that these 'new' stores are seemingly sterile places, minus the soul which made going to REI more of a 'pilgrimage' than a simple shopping event.

Now, I look at an REI and it is no different, in my mind, than shopping at Amazon or Costco. In fact, most of the items at REI have such high markups, that it is usually a better bargain to shop elsewhere. Yes, yes, I know about the vaunted REI guarantee, but most of the really innovative industry equipment manufacturers will match REI in that regard. ULA is one example.

I have spent some quantity of time at ULA's shop and warehouse in Logan, Utah. The first time I was invited to visit, I came away with the same sense of feeling I used to get when visiting the early REI. During that visit, the owner was actually on the phone with a customer quickly agreeing to replace a pack sent out 6 months prior, with a different model from their backpack lineup because the customer couldn't get used to the 'feel' of the pack. When I asked about why he did it, he just grinned and told me that he had not only made a lifelong customer, but that this would bring in even more customers based on word of mouth. Plus, he said, the returned pack will be refurbished to a near new condition and be put up for sale on their discount listings.

Does REI carry ULA? Nope. Nor Gossamer Gear or ZPacks, or Mountain Laurel Designs, or ..... REI doesn't carry the bleeding edge stuff anymore. Nor does its sales staff usually ignore what the store inventory carries when recommending gear, regardless of what exists elsewhere and regardless of the superiority of gear not available thru REI.

Does that mean that one should avoid shopping at REI? Nope. The above was simply to give background as to why REI recommendations are no longer the gold standard, and should be taken with a grain of salt. REI does have some good stuff: I like their Sahara shirts and lightweight zip-offs, for example; they are within the range of a lot of very lightweight clothing options. Although Kuhl makes a long sleeved, button up backpacking shirt that is the standard to beat, IMHO.

<VENT OFF>
Didn’t see this as venting. Good analysis.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#33
So, the Altras didn't work for me, but I bought another zero drop shoe - the Xero Shoe Terraflex. They are very comfortable, and I've walked about 25 miles in them so far. I have noticed a soreness in my calf muscles - not bad, but they kind of muscle soreness that you get when you lift weights when you haven't done it in a while. I've got two weeks before I leave for Spain, so I'm hoping that this is just a minor adjustment. I'm also taking my Merrell sandals that I wore almost every day for 6+ weeks while I was in Guatemala, including on some hikes that were more technically difficult than anything that I encountered on the Camino Frances, so I won't be stuck without walking footwear if I do end up with problems with the Terraflex. In fact, I was really tempted to take the sandals as my primary footwear, and a lighter pair of sandals for rest and recovery, but I think that I'll be happy to have some regular shoes. Maybe @davebugg can weigh in on my calf soreness??
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#34
So, the Altras didn't work for me, but I bought another zero drop shoe - the Xero Shoe Terraflex. They are very comfortable, and I've walked about 25 miles in them so far. I have noticed a soreness in my calf muscles - not bad, but they kind of muscle soreness that you get when you lift weights when you haven't done it in a while. I've got two weeks before I leave for Spain, so I'm hoping that this is just a minor adjustment. I'm also taking my Merrell sandals that I wore almost every day for 6+ weeks while I was in Guatemala, including on some hikes that were more technically difficult than anything that I encountered on the Camino Frances, so I won't be stuck without walking footwear if I do end up with problems with the Terraflex. In fact, I was really tempted to take the sandals as my primary footwear, and a lighter pair of sandals for rest and recovery, but I think that I'll be happy to have some regular shoes. Maybe @davebugg can weigh in on my calf soreness??
trecile, I have heard that calf soreness, and feeling tightness in the tendons and ligaments is normal as part of the process of getting used to zero drop footwear. It can be present for up to 2 weeks, but can subside before then. I would get concerned if it is still ongoing at 2.5 weeks. If pain increases, or you feel 'squeakiness' or creaking when with your achilles tendon, have yourself looked at. A wintergreen based astringent might also be soothing; I used that quite a bit for tendonitis and other lower leg issues when treating soldiers in the field.

I think your instinct to take your sandals is good; if needed, they can help with the transition period by giving your lower legs a 'rest' when they get cranky, if your muscles need more time to adapt.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#35
trecile, I have heard that calf soreness, and feeling tightness in the tendons and ligaments is normal as part of the process of getting used to zero drop footwear. It can be present for up to 2 weeks, but can subside before then. I would get concerned if it is still ongoing at 2.5 weeks. If pain increases, or you feel 'squeakiness' or creaking when with your achilles tendon, have yourself looked at. A wintergreen based astringent might also be soothing; I used that quite a bit for tendonitis and other lower leg issues when treating soldiers in the field.

I think your instinct to take your sandals is good; if needed, they can help with the transition period by giving your lower legs a 'rest' when they get cranky, if your muscles need more time to adapt.
Thanks Dave. My calves were sore this morning, but after a 5 mile walk, and just normal activity the rest of the day they are feeling fine now. The only pain that I experienced on my two previous Caminos was a bit of achilles pain for a couple of days. It usually resolved itself as I walked. Last year I only experienced it for a couple of days. I applied some Voltaren gel a couple of times, and that seemed to help. I'm not supposed to take any NSAIDs, but my doctor told me that I could use the Voltaren very occasionally. Otherwise I didn't use any pain meds on either Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019), Portuguese (2019)
#36
My wife is going through a "Goldilocks thing". She has a wide foot (OK, two wide feet, usually US size 10). She started with Lowa Terrios GTX lo-quarters, but they are a little heavy and stiff for her. Then tried Altra Olympus 2.5. The high heel support, wide foot box, and zero drop don't work for her. Any other options come to mind of those reading this thread?
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#37
My wife is going through a "Goldilocks thing". She has a wide foot (OK, two wide feet, usually US size 10). She started with Lowa Terrios GTX lo-quarters, but they are a little heavy and stiff for her. Then tried Altra Olympus 2.5. The high heel support, wide foot box, and zero drop don't work for her. Any other options come to mind of those reading this thread?
There are a plethora of good choices. Outside of wide widths and lightness, what are her other criteria? I can offer suggestions on where to start looking. In the meantime, to help with getting a proper fit below is a repost that I had previously written:

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 arrive at the answer. The experiences of those who have long term use of a shoe, or the performance reviews of shoes can't be relied upon to tell you what to choos.

Example, I can't tell you if a New Balance 910v4 would feel good to your feet. What I can tell you, though, is 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. :)

To summarize: To find the right shoe with the right fit, forget personal recommendations and what you believe are your foot's measurements; that includes width as well as length. It is about what feels right -- regardless of size, and regardless of the shoes that others have found which might work well for them.

As you go looking for shoe, here are some tips to 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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CP, Porto to SdC, May/June 2016
#38
You became a Coop member when the Big Warehouse was still the one and only store. :) Did you shop there, or did you order through the catalogue, aka Hiker Porn :)

I sure hope that the shop stays open... those are the places where access to innovative gear and clothing is available when behemoth's, like today's REI, get bogged down.
I am located so far away from the PacNW that it would have been a pilgrimage of another kind to physically shop at the Warehouse. So, yes, catalogue shopping was my only choice. Still have, and occasionally use, some gear purchased from them back then: some 'biners, a classic Kelty frame pack, some over the calf gaiters that have a few rodent chew holes patched, and an old 10lb Sierra Designs tent that slept 3 or 4 and had a very cool 4 sided dome design - though its coating is long gone and needs total replacement, something that I'll probably never do for a 10lb tent. For "car camping" on paddling trips back in the day, it was the bomb!

And as far as the local shop, I think it will do fine. Better gear, better knowledge, better service. And have been around since the late 70's, growing it's reputation and building ties in the community. And with a name like Outdoors, Inc., what's not to like about them?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019), Portuguese (2019)
#39
There are a plethora of good choices. Outside of wide widths and lightness, what are her other criteria? I can offer suggestions on where to start looking. In the meantime, to help with getting a proper fit below is a repost that I had previously written:

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 arrive at the answer. The experiences of those who have long term use of a shoe, or the performance reviews of shoes can't be relied upon to tell you what to choos.

Example, I can't tell you if a New Balance 910v4 would feel good to your feet. What I can tell you, though, is 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. :)

To summarize: To find the right shoe with the right fit, forget personal recommendations and what you believe are your foot's measurements; that includes width as well as length. It is about what feels right -- regardless of size, and regardless of the shoes that others have found which might work well for them.

As you go looking for shoe, here are some tips to 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.
Great advice! Thank you! After reviewing many posts, we ultimately did exactly as you suggested. We went for something comfortable--traditional walking shoes. Nothing fancy. Just comfortable.
 

OLDER threads on this topic




A few items available from the Camino Forum Store




Advertisement

Booking.com

Most read today

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 9 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 4 0.5%
  • March

    Votes: 35 4.6%
  • April

    Votes: 112 14.6%
  • May

    Votes: 188 24.5%
  • June

    Votes: 54 7.0%
  • July

    Votes: 15 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 12 1.6%
  • September

    Votes: 229 29.9%
  • October

    Votes: 93 12.1%
  • November

    Votes: 11 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.7%
Top