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Shoe advice

Discussion in 'Equipment Questions' started by Toni01, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Toni01

    Toni01 New Member

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    My learned walking friends. I need your advice. I bought some North face hedgehog shoes, but one size is quite snug and the half size up is far too big. I have a wide but short foot. Can anyone recommend an alternative shoe or should I go with the slightly smaller and hope it brakes in to be more comfortable?
    Any advice greatly appreciated.
    Bien camino
     
  2. Davie Blisters

    Davie Blisters Member

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    Welcome Toni,
    I strongly recommend that you get you feet measured properly and fitted by professionals.
    Not knowing your country of residence I cannot point you in the right direction, but please bear in mind your feet can expand up to 2 sizes during continuous walking. Likewise my feet are odd sizes and wide - my local store (Cotswold Outdoors) sold me a pair of 'Keens' which overcame the mis-match.
    I cannot emphasize enough that this is the one aspect you must get right before you set-off!
    Buen Camino
    Davie
     
  3. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Feet tend to 'spread' on the Camino - so what is a snug fit now could be tight on the Camino.
    Have you tried wearing a thicker pair of socks with the looser pair, or cushion sole socks? Then if that shoe feels tight later on you can put thinner socks back on again.
    Good lacing should stop your feet sliding forward in the toe box, especially downhill.
     
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  4. Rick M

    Rick M Member

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    You are right to be concerned about how your shoes feel, or really, how they fit. Do not hope that a shoe breaks in to be more comfortable. It will of course, but it should feel pretty good right out of the box. There is nothing more important that you need to do in preparation for the Camino. I too have a wide foot, and find that shoes from Saucony and New Balance are most likely to fit me, as well as Merrell hiking shoes. That said, nobody can recommend a shoe to you, you have to find one that fits.

    When are you going? In the warmer months, the Camino is most comfortably done in running shoes, and many wear sandals. In colder or wetter months, a gortex trail shoe (like the one you have?) is common. Head for a sports store, and try on everything that is available in wide sizes. Try them out. Make sure you are wearing the right socks, because these are almost as important as the shoes, and they have to work together. I like Merino hiking socks, but you will get lots of advice here about multi-layer setups. You will know when a shoe/sock fits, and fit is really all that matters.
     
  5. Toni01

    Toni01 New Member

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    Hi Davey, thank you for your reply. I'm in Ireland and I think il will have to try something else. I leave on Sunday so cutting it short. I have good trainers that will be a good second choice once it doesn't rain.
     
  6. Toni01

    Toni01 New Member

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    Tia thank you for your reply. The problem is mainly at the toe. There is about an inch gap so I don't think even thicker socks will be much help as my foot slides down. I might just have to try another brand and take what I have back.
     
  7. Toni01

    Toni01 New Member

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    Hi Rick,
    I have good socks so that part is sorted thankfully. It's just the odd fitting shoes unfortunately. Thank you for your advice. I leave next Sunday so temperatures will be pleasant and the only reason I feel I need good shoes is if it rains as my trainers aren't water proof. I think I will need to do some more shopping.
     
  8. Rick M

    Rick M Member

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    Given the time frame, you pretty much have to take your trainers as well as some new gortex shoes. You should break in the new ones slowly on the Camino wearing them for a short time every day, then swapping back to known good shoes. Some people get blisters even in shoes that feel great. Blisters are the scourge of pilgrims, so take it slow with new shoes at the beginning. Your feet will tell you, but don't wait until they are shouting before you swap. Buen Camino!
     
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  9. Toni01

    Toni01 New Member

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    Excellent, I'm delighted you suggested that as that is what I was thinking. I'm lucky in that I don't get painful blisters however I have not walked distances this far before so I will be preparing for the worst.
     
  10. biarritzdon

    biarritzdon Veteran Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I hate to be a downer but without having properly broken in your boots, you will no doubt have to deal with blisters and probably some lost toe nails from the constant pounding on your feet. I'd definitely take the trainers, you may have to depend on them even if it is raining. Treat your feet with Vaseline in the morning, wear silk liners, air out/dry your feet and change your socks every 3 hours or when the sweat and moisture get too much. I also treat my feet with Vicks at the end of the day and of course there is always Volteren. Ulteia
     
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  11. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Do NOT go with the smaller shoe!
    Consider wearing simple trail runners with a wide, deep toe box.
    You do NOT need goretex on the Camino, nor do you need boots, unless you're used to them.
    Trail runners are lightweight, comfortable, flexible, they dry FAST, and your feet will be happy.
    If you wear the hedgehogs that are misfitting, I promise you, you will discard them the 2nd day.
    Find something comfortable.
    If you have to break it in, it's not the right shoe.
    You should be able to walk out of the store and onto the trail.
     
  12. Toni01

    Toni01 New Member

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    Oh that's good advice on changing socks during the walking and I love vicks, so useful hadn't thought to bring it though. Thank you for that. Lost nails, Yikes not keen on that. I know I have left it so late to organise my footwear, rookie mistake. Especially considering my feet are so awkward. Thank you for your advice.
     
  13. Toni01

    Toni01 New Member

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    Annie thank you for your reply. I had considered going back for the smaller but won't now. The ones I have are comfortable but my concern was the gap at my toe but from the advice from yourself and others this might be a good thing. I am going to wear them tonight and see how comfortable they are from just that and decide from that. I have trustee well broken in runners/trainers which I think I will bring both pairs to have me covered.
     
  14. Hutton24

    Hutton24 Member

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    Do you have a recommendation for a brand of trail runner Annie?
     
  15. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I have walked in New Balance trail runners every year since 2006.
    I love New Balance.
    Never have to break them in - awesome shoes.
     
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  16. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Yes, as long as they're not flopping on your heel, it's best to have room to wiggle your toes.
    Your feet will most likely swell, depending on your age, and you'll be happy for more, not less room.
     
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  17. Hutton24

    Hutton24 Member

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    Socks are important and I tried all kinds of varieties and followed so called experts advice, spent hundreds of $$, found the layering didn't work, seamless socks made my feet sweat and most made my feet really hot. I finally ended up with lightweight wool socks and the Injinji running toe socks and changed them a couple of times a day. Trial and error and we all find what works eventually. Get some Compead just in case you do get a blister.
     
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  18. Hutton24

    Hutton24 Member

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    Thanks Annie. I am considering getting some trail runners as I find the hiking shoes and boots I have make my feet too hot and that leaves them really sore at the end of a days hike.
     
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  19. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Good choice.
     
  20. Hutton24

    Hutton24 Member

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    I recently bought memory foam inner soles for my Salomon hiking shoes. I was blown away when I took the original one out and was shocked at how thin it was. The memory foam is awesome.
     
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  21. Micah26

    Micah26 Member

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    Hi Toni,
    I have similar feet wide but average length, one a little larger than the other. I live in US so not sure if you have the same products but will share what I use: Keens, Tevas, and New Balance all come in widths and have great options. I think your trainers would be great. Shop for a pair of light trail shoes if you want to carry them. Get into habit of giving yourself foot massage in and at night( hard ball works well for this). In addition to Vicks or Voltaren use moleskin, plaster or whatever to help blisters. Take it slow and easy I'm sure you'll be fine. Have a wonderful journey !
     
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  22. Toni01

    Toni01 New Member

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    Thank you so much for your reply. Isn't it annoying having feet that are a bit odd, makes shoe shopping a challenge. I have gotten so much amazing advice it has definitely helped me hatch a plan and get myself organised. I'm bringing Epsom salts so il do foot massages with them, that's a great idea. I'm excited now.
     
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  23. Toni01

    Toni01 New Member

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    Thanx a million, socks are so important I have read that on so many pages and posts so I made sure to invest. I went with smart wool and they seem to suit my feet. They are light but cosy. I will be doing a pharmacy shop before I leave and bring everything just in case. Better to have than to be in need.
     
  24. Toni01

    Toni01 New Member

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    Thanx Annie. I have them on now and am walking the house and doing stairs and because it's night time for me, my feet are a little hot so they are a much better fit. I was worried about the space around the tie but everyone has put me at ease that it's a good thing. Good fit at the heel so that really has put me at ease and I feel much better about them now. Everyone has been amazing to reply. For a newbie camino this has been amazing help.
     
  25. Charles Zammit

    Charles Zammit Hiawatha

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    Steer clear of Merrell Moabs , I am so disappointed with these shoes . They could hardly be called cheap here in Australia and yet the inner lining is incredibly flimsy . So flimsy as to have completely torn through and balled up into very uncomfortable lumps .
    Only two months out from starting and I am now having to look at new shoes , the Moabs started to show serious wear after only one month of training walks , trying to get some type of warranty response is like extracting teeth with tweezers .
     
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  26. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    And trail runners really don't require an extended "break in" period.
     
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  27. davebugg

    davebugg New Member Donating Member

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    I spend a good deal of time trying out combinations of both shoes AND insoles. A goodly percentage of people who do a lot of walking (hiking) find that, while a shoe fits perfectly, the insole creates problems of support and cushioning, which can create problems with sore feet and ankles, lower back pain, and greatly exacerbate the creation of blisters.

    THE FOLLOWING ARE MY PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE WHO ARE NEW(ISH) TO BUYING WALKING (HIKING) SHOES/BOOTS. This is only MY opinion based on decades of experience when I have had to go through the process of getting my feet fitted.

    Because of my wide feet, I find that it is harder to find a comfortably fitting shoe or boot. It takes a great deal of patience and perseverance to "dial in" a correct fit. The focus should be on how well the length and width fit when the shoe is properly tied. For me, and many others, a shoe or boot that is one to one and a half longer than the measured foot length is needed to prevent the toes from cramming and banging into the front of the shoe on downhill grades. Even a tightly cinched lace will not keep toes from getting banged up if the length of the shoe just barely clears the toes when standing on level ground.

    It is the width of the foot, not the length of the foot, that is affected by swelling during long walks (hikes) with a loaded pack. If one's normal, everyday shoe size has a width that even feels just barely snug on the foot, that is a width-size that will feel like a clamp when walking (hiking) a long distance under load. It will create more of a problem for blistering.

    So get a fit for a hiking (walking) shoe/boot that allows for proper length and width, THEN start paying attention to how the bottoms of one's feet feel while trying the shoe on while walking around the house. (A store will generally allow for shoe returns IF they are not worn outside. The only exception that I have found here in America is shoes/boots purchased from REI. Even if you have worn them for a year whilst pursuing outdoor activities, if you find you don't like them, REI will accept their return.

    With modern materials, combinations of materials, and current manufacturing techniques, a shoe/boot that fits well for the trail does not require a rigorous period of a "break-in" routine. A shoe/boot that is fitted well for the trail is good to go, so to speak, right out of the box.

    If the bottoms of the feet feel uncomfortable in the properly fitting shoes/boots, that has, sadly, become normal. More and more shoe manufacturers are selling their shoes with cheaply made inserts (insoles) which is why the market and manufacture of third party insoles (inserts) have exploded over the last decade. There are stores which specialize in selling insoles/inserts. Many shoe stores that cater to runners, hikers, and backpackers will also stock a good number of different after-market insoles.

    So.... take your new, good fitting shoes/boots to one of these stores so that your can now find an insole that will properly fit and comfort the bottoms of your feet. You can also go online and ponder and order from the many varieties of insole offerings, but doing so means that you will need to allow more time for trial and error while you try out those that are ordered (and need to be returned if they don't feel good).

    As with shoes/boots, they should feel good in the store. Don't fall for the malarkey that it takes time to break them in, or to get used to them, or to allow your feet to adapt to them. If your feet are fairly normal, with minor issues of metatarsal, pronation or supination mechanics, if it doesn't feel good in the store, it won't get better with use or with time.

    Feet are so unique and individual, that a recommendation of brands, other than a critique of their quality control and longevity, is mostly useless. What I find to be good for my feet, might not work for yours. What I will say is this: I need adequate metatarsal support, otherwise the balls of my feet get really sore and feel like I have a hard pebble pounding at the front of my soles near my the balls of my feet. I also require pronation support, otherwise the shoes/boots begin to bend inwards.

    For me, the show/boot brands that I currently have enjoyed over the last five years of heavy-duty hiking and backpacking are Oboz (Sawtooth) and New Balance (Leadville). Take it with a grain of salt
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  28. biarritzdon

    biarritzdon Veteran Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I sent Merrell a photo of my ripped up lining after my 2015 Camino. They replaced them free of charge (excluding some postage) I now use them for short walks and have graduated to Salomon's which were recommended to me by an REI shoe guy, the fit and feel is like ski boots which is something I need for extra ankle support. I love them!
     
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  29. Toni01

    Toni01 New Member

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    Wow dave so much advice. I think il invest in some insoles as I too suffer from the balls of my feet burning. I walked around the house up and down stairs and back around the house with proper socks and laces tied properly and the north face were comfortable. I was worried about the gap at the toe but reassurance from others that this is good has been great for me and from my test last night I feel good about the shoes. I am still going to take my trainers/runners and take everyone's advice on board to help along the way. Thank you for taking the time out to reply. This forum is fantastic and amazing for newbies like me.
     
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  30. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Do you have a Millets or a Blacks branch near you. if so their 'Orthosoles' with multi-under arch-inserts are great and you choose the right arch support for yourself for each foot. Much better than many inserts. Mens (Blacks) and womens (Millets), but the only difference is the colour! Links chosen for image and description.
    There is also a heel gel pad which is fixed.
     

    Attached Files:

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  31. Toni01

    Toni01 New Member

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    Tia no im not familiar with them at all. I will Google them though and see if there are any in Ireland.
     
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  32. Charles Zammit

    Charles Zammit Hiawatha

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    Thanks Don , unfortunately the Merrell agents, in Melbourne at least , seem to function under their own perverted sense of [Un] Fairness .
     
  33. GreatDane

    GreatDane Veteran Member

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    May I also suggest a couple things. 1. Learn to tie your boots or shoes correctly. 2. Use a shoe horn to slide your feet into your boots/shoes. Footwear can break down very fast shoving and wiggling your socked feet into your boots. I carry a small very lightweight shoehorn in both my pack and my regular travel bags.
     
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  34. biarritzdon

    biarritzdon Veteran Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I went straight to the headquarters in Indiana via there official website.
     
  35. tomnorth

    tomnorth Active Member

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    If you have access to Keen shoes I would give them a try. They have a more generous toe box than other shoes and come in wide widths. I have extremely wide feet and found that the Keen Targhee II was perfect for me. I would err on the side of going a bit longer with your shoes to get the width right.
     
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  36. Gruffalo Jim

    Gruffalo Jim New Member

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    In addition to all of the above...I have been told to get a professional pedicure before I leave...To hopefully prevent nail problems.
     
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  37. davebugg

    davebugg New Member Donating Member

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    If your symptoms are from the same cause as what mine were, you may need metatarsal pads in addition to a good insole. A podiatrist can confirm what is causing your symptoms. Metatarsal pads are self-adhesive, and are applied to the underside of your insole. There are instructional guidelines on Google and YouTube, and it is an inexpensive fix if you want to try them out to see if they alleviate your symptoms.

    Metatarsal pads worked well for me when the sore "rock in the ball of the foot" pain became severe enough to become a problem. The pads may work for you, or there may be other issues that a podiatrist can readily identify. Just sayin'..... :)
     
  38. Rick M

    Rick M Member

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    I question that advice, with some of my own questionable advice. You need to keep your toenails trimmed, this is true. I am concerned that a "pedicure" is a cosmetic procedure designed to make your feet look better, mostly by trimming and sanding off calluses. This is a terrible idea. You earned those thick spots fair and square, and you need them on the Camino. Making your feet pink and soft is just about the worst form of preparation I can imagine.
     
  39. notion900

    notion900 Active Member

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    London
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances SJPDP to Santiago (2007). Camino del Norte Santander to Colunga (2010). Via de la Plata Sevilla to Villafranca de los Barros (2014). Camino Primitivo x Camino del Norte Salas to Santiago (2016).
    @Gruffalo Jim pedicure is the wrong word, pedicures are done by beauticians. Visiting a qualified podiatrist on the other hand is an excellent idea.

    @Rick M I totally disagree about encouraging hard skin. Hard skin cracks, and cracks hurt just as bad as a blister, but are harder to get to heal. A good podiatrist will check your nails, trim if necessary and remove any excess hard skin that might crack. I always carry a pumice.

    Also, @Toni01 if you are in new shoes, that's not an ideal thing, so you'll have to be very disciplined about applying moleskin or compeed as soon as you feel any hint of a hot spot coming. Stop immediately on the path, even if you have to sit on the ground to do it. Maybe even put moleskin on your heels just in case. Don't wait until a blister forms - you can stop them in their tracks but you have to be firm with yourself and not wait 'until the next bench'.

    Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
    davebugg likes this.
  40. BobM

    BobM Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Messages:
    851
    Likes Received:
    327
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances (SJPDP - Santiago); Via Podensis (Le Puy en Velay - SJPDP); Via Francigena (Canterbury - Rome); Via Portugues (Tui - Santiago); Via Francigena del Sud (Rome - Bari).
    To Do Via Egnatia (Durres - Thessaloniki); INT & Jerusalem Trail (Tel Aviv - Jerusalem)
    Here are a few more comments to add to the great advice others have given, based on my experience.

    1. My feet are unequal sizes, about one-half difference. Try both shoes or boots on in the shop. A man may have a wider foot than a woman, so make sure the shop offers you the correct width.
    2.Take your loaded pack to the shop so can try on the boots wearing the pack. Load makes a big difference to foot splay. Also, remember that when you walk you take the load on one foot after the other, so test your boots standing on one leg in the shop, or walking around as much as you can.
    3. Warm your feet up by walking some distance to the boot shop.
    4. Toes should wiggle freely and not bump into the front of the boot, or feel as if they are pressing together.
    5. Take a pair of Teva sandals in case you have problems on the road. You will need them at the end of the day anyway so your boots can dry out overnight.
    6. From my observations, footwear was split roughly 60/40 between boots and shoes on the Camino, but that includes experienced and novice walkers. I wore normal walking shoes on the Camino and Via Podiensis with no problems other than they did not really support the ankle on very pebbly paths. Then I switched to light hiking boots for the Via Francigena and other walks and loved them.

    Best wishes

    Bob M
     
  41. Romanian Pilgrim

    Romanian Pilgrim New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2015
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    12
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino del Norte (2016)
    My advice is to go with Lowa Innox Evo Ttx Lo. These shoes are amazing: very light, waterproof, extremely comfortable, an excellent choice for almost all types of terrain that you can have on the Camino.
    Whatever your choice may be, try to walk with them for about 50km before leaving.
     
  42. Gruffalo Jim

    Gruffalo Jim New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    20
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    15
    Location:
    Essex
    Camino(s) past & future:
    April 2017
     
  43. Gruffalo Jim

    Gruffalo Jim New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Essex
    Camino(s) past & future:
    April 2017
    Sorry, as an aging bloke, i didn't appreciate the full meaning of pedicure....The advice was get a pedicure to ensure your nails are the correct length. No mention of bizarre abrasion!
     
  44. Charles Zammit

    Charles Zammit Hiawatha

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    337
    Location:
    South East Gippsland Victoria Australia
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Santiago [ June 2017]
    Again my thanks Don , I bit the bullet and spent the unexpected few hundred on a pair of Salomon XA Pro trail runners today . The fit was comfortable from the start , rather than having to muck about with liners and lacing techniques they really just slipped on .
    Time will tell I suppose I still have six weeks before I start , just enough time to become accustomed to them and wear them in a little .
    By the way Merrell just don't want to help here in Aus. Their immediate and aggressive denial of the possibility of premature wear on Moabs without even viewing the defective shoes was disgraceful . I can only assume that they consider their responsibility ends at the cash register .
    My personal opinion based on the experience of these last few months is that Merrell Moabs are overpriced JUNK , neither worth the money or the time it takes to break them in .
     
  45. alipilgrim

    alipilgrim Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    304
    Location:
    California
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances (2005), Frances (2007), Madrid/Frances (2011), 1/2 VdP (2012),
    Sorry to hear of your trouble with the Merrell Moabs. I've been using the Moab Ventilators for over 6 years now, so that'd be about 6 pairs. I usually hike about 1500 miles a year in a pair. As you've said, perhaps you've just got a defective pair.
     
  46. Dennis Ferguson

    Dennis Ferguson New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2016
    Messages:
    4
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    May 2016
    Hi, there's a lot of advice going around, I can only tell you of my experiences walking the Camino. I chose a comfortable pair of Merrell ankle boots that allowed me to wear thick socks. Even in the height of summer I had no problems at all with my feet. I prepared by walking short distances and gradually increased to around 12- 15 miles. Enjoy your Camino I'm sure you'll meet lots of new friends.
     
  47. Paddington Bear

    Paddington Bear New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2017
    Messages:
    9
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    10
    Camino(s) past & future:
    May 2017
    If I was walking for a month I'd have to take nail scissors to do my toe nails along the way. One of the worst things is nails hitting the top or ends of boots/shoes and turning black or wearing holes in your socks.
     
  48. Graham Greathead

    Graham Greathead New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francaise in 2012, Camino Portuguese in 2013, Caminos Primitivo and Finisterre in 2014, the Camino Del Norte in 2015 and Camino Portuguese (Coastal) in 2016.
    Future, who knows, DVWP, I would like to walk from Le Puy en Velay via St Jean to Santiago, possibly over 2 or 3 years (or maybe a shorter Camino Inglese from Ferrol..
     
  49. Graham Greathead

    Graham Greathead New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francaise in 2012, Camino Portuguese in 2013, Caminos Primitivo and Finisterre in 2014, the Camino Del Norte in 2015 and Camino Portuguese (Coastal) in 2016.
    Future, who knows, DVWP, I would like to walk from Le Puy en Velay via St Jean to Santiago, possibly over 2 or 3 years (or maybe a shorter Camino Inglese from Ferrol..
    I agree that in the warmer months either running shoes or sandals are best. Personally I prefer sandals and have used them (usually with thick hiking socks) for the last 5 years after suffering from bad blisters in my first year of walking, through using a shoe 1/2 size larger than I usually bought. In warmer weather, or if you have to walk through water or mud, the socks can come off, but this happens infrequently if one is careful.
     

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