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September 2014, when to start looking for footwear?

pippa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014 September.
When would you start looking at footwear if your going next September. A lot of our sales start shortly.
 

DeadFred

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean-Los Arcos ,Sept, Oct 14'
Los Arcos - Logrono-May16'
Next Logrono to ? - Sept 2019
Starting in Sept 2014 also and have been training for over a year and getting ready to switch to my third pair of Columbia "Big Cedar" Hiking Boots bought at the local Shoe Carnival . I purchased 3 pairs of them all size 13 ( I'm a size 12) and I wear a sock liner (1000 mi socks) under wool socks and haven't had a blister (yet) although there are some burny areas .

My first pair worked fine . I wore them out after a couple hundred miles. Then ,going to a podiatrist and having a pair of inserts made for my feet (molded) its been a great comfort.. One problem though these shoes are not very water proof . On rainy hikes my feet get wet after a bit , not sure this will do at all , still studying this piece. Will let you know how it all pans out .

These shoes are diffidently NOT the top of the line .. mid priced , yet sturdy and comfortable ( when dry ),
When would you start looking at footwear if your going next September. A lot of our sales start shortly.

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Thomas1962

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010: Porto - SdC - Finisterra 2011: E4 on Crete 2012: Le Puy - SJPdP 2013: Camino Madrid -> Del Salvador -> Primitivo 2014: European Peace Walk. 2015: Amsterdam - SdC & Barcelona -Burgos. 2016:Norte & hospitalero
Buy them in sales, any moment you want!
Though, one time I was so greedy to buy shoes in sales that I didn't buy the right shoe. I learned from that...
No problem to buy shoes a year before, if that is the issue. They will last for years anyway. It gives you time enough to get used to your shoes.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
Buying at the sales is a great idea, but just make sure you get your footwear properly fitted. My quick take on that is in an earlier post, here.

Once you have them, start wearing them for longer distances on your training walks to make sure that they're okay for the distances you expect to walk. I found the pair of boots I intended to use in 2010 developed a crease above my toes at around 20-25km in my training walks, and wasn't improving. I ended up walking in an older pair of trekking boots that were less than ideal for the Camino.

Regards,
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
As said above buy them in plenty time, wear the socks you intend to wear walking, I agree with the liner socks school of thought. A quick rule of thumb for fitting is to put your foot in the boot with your big toe just touching the front of the boot, you should then be able to fit your finger between you heel and the back of the boot, this will allow for expansion of your foot which will happen. After my Camino my shoe/boot size had increased from a 12 to a 12 1/2 and in some shoes a 13.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
I see that one of your other posts is in the Australian section. That means that if you are walking next September this could be the ideal time of year for you to buy your boots, weather and heat wise.
Just decide on your sock layers and wear them when buying the boots. Also follow the tip about pushing your foot right forward in the untied boots and sliding your finger down your heel.
Just because you have the boots does not mean you have to wear them all the time between 'now' and 'then'. Ours for next year are in the cupboard after a couple of trial walks and will come out again nearer the time. Being in the northern hemisphere means that this may not be the best time to buy boots for next summer, although many do successfully.
 

CharlestonBill

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Will be walking the Camino this Spring (2014) with my wife. Looking for anyone local (South Carolina) that has made the pilgrimage.
When would you start looking at footwear if your going next September. A lot of our sales start shortly.
After a lot of research and talking to hikers, I contacted the Merrell people on line and they helped us pick the best boot (not the most expensive) for our weight, age and type of walk. Boots fit great the first time we wore them and there was no break-in time at all. On top of that, they gave me an on-line 20% discount coupon and they offer free shipping both ways if you're not happy with the boots.
 

WalkCWalk

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
sept. 2014
My friend and I are going in September 2014 as well. We went to REI and met "Will, the ShoeRu" He steered us in the right direction. We bought Vasque boots with wool socks and liners. Have taken many walks - the longest being 13 miles with no problems. Only thing was we each had a strange heat rash on our left ankles. Must be the way we laced them... going back to see Will at REI. If we wear these out, we buy new ones. My friend has had a major surgery on her foot and was really worried about boots but has had no problems. Try several brands and do get them a size larger. I wear a women's 11, so I only got that size. No problems thus far but I know when I'm walking day after day, I will need larger. My next boot will have to be a mens size to get the size I need.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
When would you start looking at footwear if your going next September. A lot of our sales start shortly.
Two options:

a. Wait until the day before you leave. Its a pilgrimage after all; suffering is important.

b. Buy them now. Walk in them at least once a week for more than two hours on rough terrain. That way you will know if they fit (if they give you blisters in two hours of walking they don't fit and never will) and they will get broken in.

Factor to consider: end of year sales are coming.
 

Espero

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 2014
I did a lot of research on my shoes and bought two pair of Merrell Phoenix Ventilators on sale about a year out from my April 2014 VDLP departure date. I'm wearing one pair for training and will switch to the unused pair for my trip. The shoes seem to be holding up well and should last the 600 miles. I bought two pair in case the model I'm getting used to is discontinued.
 

kmrice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago - Fisterra 2008
St. Jean Pied de Port - Santiago 2013
No problem to buy shoes a year before . . . .They will last for years anyway. It gives you time enough to get used to your shoes.
Don't count on boots lasting 1,000 miles. I noticed about a week before starting my Camino that I had worn my Vasques out see my Photo), and I had to start in new boots. My old ones had a bit less than 1,000 miles. So, if you plan to train a lot, you might want to wait a bit or train in boots other than the ones you plan to take.

Do plan on you feet swelling when you carry a pack long distances day after day. Boots that fit great in light training will be too tight on the Camino, which can be very painful.

Karl
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
Totaly agree, don't wear your boots out in training, a month or so to break them in should be fine.
 

pippa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014 September.
Hi guys, thanks for all your help I have narrowed it down abit to a merrell pair and a soloman pair, I am going back for another look and try on, my feet do swell in the heat, today we are having 38 degrees, Perth Western Australia.
 

FooteK

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, SJPdP to SdC, mid May-late June (2013);
CF, Spring/Summer (2015)
Great idea to take advantage of the sales. Socks and sock liners worked very well for me. Good advice to buy your boots a little larger than you think you'll need - feet will increase in size. Don't make one of my first mistakes - realize that you can change the "shape" of the boot by unlacing completely and re-lacing to fit your foot. I used Merrill Ventilators (man's size) and they served me well in my training walks, my Camino, and now, still, months later. Don't worry about wearing them out.
Buen Camino!
 

pippa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014 September.
I see that one of your other posts is in the Australian section. That means that if you are walking next September this could be the ideal time of year for you to buy your boots, weather and heat wise.
Just decide on your sock layers and wear them when buying the boots. Also follow the tip about pushing your foot right forward in the untied boots and sliding your finger down your heel.
Just because you have the boots does not mean you have to wear them all the time between 'now' and 'then'. Ours for next year are in the cupboard after a couple of trial walks and will come out again nearer the time. Being in the northern hemisphere means that this may not be the best time to buy boots for next summer, although many do successfully.
Hi Tia, when you say pushing your foot forward and sliding my finger down my heel, does that mean I should have enough spare space to fit my finger in, my feet do swell in the heat. thanks in advance.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
Hi Tia, when you say pushing your foot forward and sliding my finger down my heel, does that mean I should have enough spare space to fit my finger in, my feet do swell in the heat. thanks in advance.
I find an easier technique is to remove the inner/liner sole from the boot for your longest foot, stand up on it with your heel in place where it will be on the liner, and check the distance between your longest toe and the front of the liner. As a rule of thumb, less than a cm is not enough, more than the width of your thumb is too much.

Getting the length right is only one of the fitting considerations. The boot needs to be wide enough without pinching, and your heel shouldn't slide up and down in the back of the boot when it is laced up snugly and you are walking up or down a slope. My hints on fitting are at this post.

If you have never had hiking boots fitted before, take the time to find a store where there is someone who that can do this properly. Here in the ACT, neither Kathmandu nor Mountain Designs have a fitting slope where you can test that your toes don't hit the front of the toe box on an uphill and downhill slope. Just walking around on a level floor is not enough to properly check for fit, and you will be tempted to buy shoes/boots that are too small. Locally, Paddy Pallin and Snowgum both have staff who are prepared to take the time to fit you properly, and not try and rush you into a sale.

Regards

ps the inner soles on good trekking footwear will be removable, and you won't damage the boot or shoe by removing it. Once you have checked for length, it should easily fit back into the boot. If in doubt, ask the sales person to remove it for you.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Hi Tia, when you say pushing your foot forward and sliding my finger down my heel, does that mean I should have enough spare space to fit my finger in, my feet do swell in the heat. thanks in advance.
Yes Pippa, and that is how the salesman checked my latest pair of boots too. I could slide my index finger down inside the boot at the back of my heel when my toes were only just touching the end of the boot with the sock in and my walking socks on.
Doug's idea works to get an idea of size, and width is important too. The boots once laced, as he says, should not slip on your heel. Before going downhill it is worth checking that your laces are tight enough and have not slackened off, which can happen, allowing your foot to slide forward and your toes to bruise.
Be aware that if boots come in both ladies' and mens' fittings that the latter might be slacker on the ankle 'size for size'. However if that is the only way to get a good foot fit you might need extra padding around your ankle, or to take extra care with lacing.
As Doug says getting help with fitting is the best way, but if it is not available then use all the tips you find on the forum and see what works best for you. The best shop we found did not have a 'hill' but a good fitter. Buying in the afternoon is another good tip we were given, when your feet have spread a little, especially if it is a hot day.
Buen Camino
 

mytiturk

New Member
My wife and I, at 68 years old, did a modified Camino Frances beginning April 25th, 2013. We are used to years of hiking and canoeing in Ontario's rocky Killarney Provincial Park. Being our first time traveling so far on foot day after day, we researched everything carefully and trained with our gear in Toronto's winter conditions in a mall and later outside when the roads and sidewalks were not slippery. I wore a pair of 1000 Mile All-terrain socks on the plane from Toronto to Paris without getting one blister. I had another pair in my pack and a thicker pair of Tilley hiking socks. 1000 Mile Socks have an outer layer of 45% Merino Wool, 42% cotton and 12% Nylon and an attached inner layer of Tactel, which is nylon treated so that it wicks moisture very effectively away from your foot. The socks performed beautifully. Neither of us got a blister in the 32 days we walked in Spain. We set off from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on April 25th and walked 8 km to Orisson on a beautiful day. Day 2 from Orisson into Spain was hell. Dense fog, near constant drizzley rain, followed by ice pellets and wind with temperatures near freezing. My wife walks slowly due to war wounds from years of nursing - bad knees, shoulders, hips, neck. We were on our feet for 10 hours when we arrived safely into Roncesvalles after taking the steeper, shorter, Cize Pass through wet rocky forest 5 km down into that amazing town. No blisters, but lots of mud on our rain pants and boots. We had many other 25 km hikes during our Camino. Caution: The steep descent from the Cruz de Ferro into Molinaseca, though beautiful, solitary, meditative and sheep dung scented, will kill your toes if the nails are not clipped short enough. We were warned by a fellow hiker in Leon, who lost his toenails on a previous Camino. 1000 Mile stands behind their product. I bought two pairs for each of us on their website and they were shipped from England. After some of the longer hikes my legs were very red because of dehydration and hikes made longer than normal because of our slow pace. In an attempt to help, my wife slit one of my pairs and hers, though she had no problem, down about an inch and a half. We had mistakenly dried the socks in our drum dryer (not recommended on the package) and they had shrunk ever so slightly. 1000 Mile replaced all four pairs without charge, after I explained honestly what we had done. Their customer service is thorough. We waited a month for them to ship the pink ones my wife wanted, and needed no reminder from us when their inventory of pink was filled by manufacturing.

A detailed description of our (seriously and, for us, aptly modified) Camino Frances can be found - with lodging, bus times and more photos - HERE.

Boots: I bought a pair of Salomon boots last year in January and, despite having a narrow foot, they fit beautifully with either the thinner 1000 Mile socks or the thicker Tilley socks. (We were pleased with both sock brands.) The Salomon boot covered my ankle and felt like part of me. It cushioned my foot walking on flat hard tile in the mall during training and performed with good traction on the toughest terrain. They lace quickly having no hooks to hunt for. I have worn them all summer, fall and winter. They were comfortable in 90 deg. F weather on our trip around Jamaica when the terrain was not suitable for sandals. I used my 1000 Mile socks on the JA trip. My wife loved a pair of easy lace (mountain climbing style) Saloman shoes. I will buy Saloman again before our next Camino - the same design. The boots have a Gore-Tex stamp on them. They got only slightly damp (dry by morning) on our Orisson to Roncesvalles leg, (see below) but did just fine in puddles, shallow running water and mud.
 

pippa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014 September.
Hi there mytikurk, thanks so much for the detailed reply, I now have my boots Merrell's and slowly getting them worn in, we are still having a hot summer here in Perth but I have just under 5 months till I go. Interesting read about the 1000 mile socks, will check them out too. Thanks for sharing your journey, loved the photos.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdeC: Oct 2011; SJPP-Leon, Oct 14; Tomar (PO)/SJPP Oct 15
Hi Pippa,
As you are finding out there is as much advice as there are pilgrims.
I found out 2 things; don't try and save money on boots, on everything else maybe but not on boots. Spend as much as you can afford and I have found that the ones I have (Meindl)are going way beyond a 1000 miles and secondly the only training I really needed to do was to wear in my boots, getting the right inners/socks etc that suited me and this meant allowing time to start all over when I found that what I had didn't work in heat (ok for you in Perth) and torrential wet. Some people fit into boots perfectly but most don't and if you don't spend time getting the right footwear sorted out thoroughly I can guarantee you will suffer - unless that is what you want. I have no idea how many pilgrims I saw ever moved another km let alone got to SdC. All the best.
 

mytiturk

New Member
Hi Pippa,

Thanks for reading even though you are well on your way to getting properly set. Can't go wrong with Merrell. My wife used them on last year's Camino - she got low cuts that served well but wasn't totally happy with the fit. Had to really hunt for her shoes. Mine fit so well immediately. She dreams of doing the whole Way next year on our 45th anniversary. Considering her physical limitations I was amazed that we did as much as we did. Quien sabe? After spending quality time in the wonderful cities (Burgos... oooohhh), towns and hamlets along the route (and feeding my voracious camera) we will be thrilled to simply walk from place to place this time and just feel the whole thing. Hope you are as moved by the walk as we were... The Spanish call our Milky Way stars, the Camino Santiago. Getting nostalgic... Buen Camino!
 

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