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Shoe and Foot Strategies When Walking While It Is Raining and Wet

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#1
Water can enter trail shoes or boots through any opening during a rainstorm or while walking through dew-covered grass or pour into it as happens when you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is effective. First, you can try keeping rain pants over the tops of shoes, so the water runs down the pants past the opening. But this system is uncomfortably hot in warmer and rainy temperatures, and it offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.

Or you can try using a shoe with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not seen a gaiter or other waterproof type accessory that would both keep the water out, and keep the feet dry.

“Waterproof” shoes fail is because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term. Lightweight, leather and fabric trail boots, for example, where some manufacturers have tried treating with a coating, don’t last. It also keeps sweat in the shoe and your feet get soaked in sweat. Fairly quickly, coatings break down and will no longer be waterproof.

When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes for various manufacturers, their actual performance never matched what was claimed. My reports to their QA departments have always reflected these weaknesses as found during testing.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Goretex, are only marginally breathable—water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. So on warm days the experience of having sweat being trapped in the shoe is common. Combined with the fact that the fabric waterproofing is quickly damaged by dirt, sweat, grime, and abrasion and it’s only a matter of time before exterior moisture begins penetrating the fabric and allowing feet to get wet.

That’s why serious trekkers and backpackers no longer go to great lengths to keep feet dry. They accept that when the weather is wet, feet will also get wet. Even the US military uses footwear for wet conditions which is not waterproof. The strategy is how to minimize any problems when feet are wet.

More than once, I’ve heard a potential footwear purchaser ask, “Are the shoes / boots waterproof?” “You bet,” is the usual reply... or a variation of same. :)

A couple of times when I've had the chance, I have asked why they wanted waterproof shoes. Sometimes, the potential buyer will look at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Most will answer that they think their feet will stay dry, and that having wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

This post is meant to help inform and give a different line of thought and reasoning.

I like to have dry feet. I always try to avoid wet feet. I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

1. “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.

2. “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons.

3. Wearing multiple pairs of socks, which eventually all get wet.

4. Multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet too.

Since keeping my feet dry has never worked in very wet conditions, I decided to develop effective strategies so that the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking, are either waaaaaay minimized or eliminated. Some of these lessons I learned while in Vietnam…. Like the fact that our boots had fabric tops and numerous holes in the thin leather bottom portions so that water drained out quickly and never sat in the boots.

What are the bad things?

1. Maceration, or pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs and gets “soggy” from moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft which makes it more prone to blistering and developing other problems.

2. Cracking of the skin when it dries. The natural moisture and oiliness of the skin is gone. The severity depends on how much stress the skin is exposed to after it is dried out.

So, what does work? For me, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather:

1. Apply a good coating of salve or balm to my feet before putting on socks and shoes. This helps protect from external moisture.

2. Wear non-waterproof shoes, which drain and dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail shoes have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.

3. Non-waterproof shoes will also eliminate moisture from sweaty feet. Remember, it doesn’t matter what the source of the moisture is that feet are exposed to; rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.

4. Wear thin, light-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will also keep wet feet warm unless the weather is winter-cold.

5. Take off my shoes and socks to let my feet air dry during any mid-day rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes. During that time, I will wring out any excess moisture from the socks, but I will not put on either of my dry pairs (I take three). I will also reapply a good amount of balm or salve to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.

6. Apply a salve or ointment to the bottoms of my feet when I have stopped for the day both before and after I shower.

7. Carry an extra pair of insoles. These are lightweight and will be the barrier between your wet footwear and your dry socks when you are done for the day and if your shoes are a bit damp come morning.

8. I found that at days end, I can remove the wet insoles and use absorbent paper or toweling to sop up as much moisture as is possible while I am showering and dealing with end of the day chores. Then, when I get ready to go to dinner or wander around town, I put on a pair of dry Merino wool socks, insert the extra pair of dry insoles into my shoes, and put the shoes back on to walk around in. Within a couple of hours, the shoes are mostly dry.

9. At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process during the night.

10. Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at night, to give my feet 8-9 hours of recovery time.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May 2018
#2
@davebugg, what a great summary of foot care and shoe care, thanks for posting. In #8 above, you mention using absorbant paper, is that available at alberges? (Paper towels?)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#3
@davebugg, what a great summary of foot care and shoe care, thanks for posting. In #8 above, you mention using absorbant paper, is that available at alberges? (Paper towels?)
No. The albergue can’t supply paper towels for 50 Pilgrims each day I don’t think. They should buy their own please.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Villafranca to Santiago
2016 St Jean to Los Arcos
2018 24-Sept Leon to Finnisterre
#4
1. Why not use a 'dry' pair of socks mid-day? Yeah, I know, they would get wet, too?
2. Along with something like Mentholatum balm, we also powder our shoes a lot. Both help with friction and moisture.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#5
1. Why not use a 'dry' pair of socks mid-day? Yeah, I know, they would get wet, too?
2. Along with something like Mentholatem balm, we also powder our shoes a lot. Both help with friction and moisture.
Yup, they get wet, too, and you'll want a nice, dry pair at the end of the day. :) The amount of time for a sock to become wet from its dry state is pretty minimal, and what is most important is that the sock provide insulation while wet and continues to protect the foot while walking, which Merino wool does exceptionally well. Cotton socks and some, not all, synthetics lose shape, become baggy, and therefore create risks for blisters.

Balms tend to stick with the skin more because they usually have a wax-type component as part of their recipe :) Any good gooey stuff that adheres well to the skin can work to help prevent or minimize maceration. Vaseline type products do well, but they tend to rub away so more frequent application is needed.

This is an example of a product that seems to work well:
https://www.amazon.com/HikeGoo-Blis...&qid=1523844422&sr=8-1&keywords=hydropel&th=1
 
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Prentiss Riddle

Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada
Camino(s) past & future
Poco a poco: we're nibbling away at the Francés. (2015, 2016 & 2017)
#6
Tell us more about your recommended salves and ointments. I’ve been using Vaseline.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#9
I’ve seen albergues supply newspapers for this purpose. I don’t know what back-country hikers use.
In the backcountry, like when I thru-hiked the PCT, I have a small absorbent towel that I use to mop out up the heavy moisture, then let them dry overnight.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#11
I have walked through pouring rain and mud and even snow in my open sandals. Feet are much easier to dry than fabric.

I also sometimes wear waterproof socks which feel a bit like a wet suit, with a thin merino sock as a liner. A red one of course!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP -> Fisterra, (sep 26- oct 18, 2017)
#12
Great write-up, excatly the reason with I recommend walking the way in trail-running shoes. The quality non-goretex ones are made to eliminate moist and drain quickly when getting get- which IMO is more important than waterproof. The secret is to have plenty of dry socks with you, and merino-wool ones to keep your feet warm and pleasent when they get wet.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances: Ponferrada - SdC (October 2017)
Frances: Astorga - SdC (Spring 2019)
#13
Absolutely agree! I subscribe to the theory of letting your feet get wet because, at the end of the day, you're going to shower and dry your feet off.
When I'm working on waterlogged sites, I follow the same philosophy. And, if the site is also cold, I put on extra layers elsewhere. That way I can happily work in icy water filled steel-toed boots for nine hours or more.
 
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese' ' Frances' ' Norte' 'Salvador_prim' ‘le puy’ ‘Inglés’ ‘CDM’ ‘Invierno’ ‘Fin_Mux’
#14
I’ve seen albergues supply newspapers for this purpose. I don’t know what back-country hikers use.
. Likewise - most newspapers used at albergues by pilgrims to dry boots is recycled.
When you’ve finished - you can uncrush it and flatten it. It dries out and is re-usable. Not all places will keep newspapers for this purpose tho. May be a good idea to carry a few sheets in your backpack for such an occasion ?
I have walked through pouring rain and mud and even snow in my open sandals. Feet are much easier to dry than fabric. !
. You are one ‘tuff’ cookie Jill. I guess it would be okay in warmer seasons but you mention snow !! ‘Frost bite?’ Brrrrrrrr. Cold feet
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#16
I’ve seen albergues supply newspapers for this purpose. I don’t know what back-country hikers use.
Yes, in my experience, some albergues with thoughtful hospitaleros provide newspapers.

I also walk in trailrunners. Of the very few days of rain/mud I've walked in, my feet stayed blister/prune free, even with water squishing out of my shoes with each step.

I always wear synthetic Wigwam hiking socks on the Camino as they seem cooler in warm weather. I do love the heavier Smartwool hiking socks, but surprisingly, the thin merino ones in that brand wore out very quickly.

I've not used any balm on my feet, but it sounds intriguing should I have a full week of rain, like so many forum members have this had walking this year in March and April!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances April 2018
#17
I have walked through pouring rain and mud and even snow in my open sandals. Feet are much easier to dry than fabric.

I also sometimes wear waterproof socks which feel a bit like a wet suit, with a thin merino sock as a liner. A red one of course!
I have been hiking in sandals too. I wear injinji toe socks with sealskinz waterproof socks over them. I have had zero issues with cold/wet feet, even after knee deep snow!
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Coast - September 2019
Camino(s) past & future
March-April,2016 finished, September 2019 the Portugal Coastal Route
#19
I hike in vented trail runners most of the time wearing smart wool socks even wet my feet are warm and both shoes and socks dry at night. I do carry an extra pair of SW socks to change into with what I call albergue sandals.
 
Camino(s) past & future
First time
#21
I walked the Frances Way this year end of Feb and March. My waterproof trail runners did well. On deluge rain days I put plastic bags over my socks. And at night I wore the bags over my socks to keep my socks dry when going for dinner.

All other days I wore just my double lined :rolleyes:socks. They worked well. It was not hot (this is an understatement for this year!) so sweat was not an issue. I’m impressed about the open sandals in snow. I walked through four snow storms this year but guess there’s always one. I also my trekking runners dried a lot faster than my hiking boots do.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
#22
...
8. I found that at days end, I can remove the wet insoles and use absorbent paper or toweling to sop up as much moisture as is possible while I am showering and dealing with end of the day chores. Then, when I get ready to go to dinner or wander around town, I put on a pair of dry Merino wool socks, insert the extra pair of dry insoles into my shoes, and put them back on to walk around in. Within a couple of hours, the shoes are mostly dry.

9. At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process during the night.
...
Great post, @davebugg. Re: the two points above, perhaps the original insoles that came with the boots are adequate for short-term use as you describe, making it unnecessary to buy two sets of the more supportive insoles that most of us buy for daily use. The originals are removed when adding the "better" insoles and often just thrown away. They weigh practically nothing and take up little room in one's pack.

And as others have said, newspaper is great for drying out shoes overnight, although it's ofen necessary to replace it before going to bed if the original paper is already too wet by then.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#23
Great post, @davebugg. Re: the two points above, perhaps the original insoles that came with the boots are adequate for short-term use as you describe, making it unnecessary to buy two sets of the more supportive insoles that most of us buy for daily use. The originals are removed when adding the "better" insoles and often just thrown away. They weigh practically nothing and take up little room in one's pack.

And as others have said, newspaper is great for drying out shoes overnight, although it's ofen necessary to replace it before going to bed if the original paper is already too wet by then.
Good observations, Jim. That was my thinking on the insoles as well, and I should have been more specific.

Also, cheap and padded lightweight insoles are easily available for purchase in Spain, so they are easy to replace and discard if need be.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#24
Yes, in my experience, some albergues with thoughtful hospitaleros provide newspapers.

I also walk in trailrunners. Of the very few days of rain/mud I've walked in, my feet stayed blister/prune free, even with water squishing out of my shoes with each step.

I always wear synthetic Wigwam hiking socks on the Camino as they seem cooler in warm weather. I do love the heavier Smartwool hiking socks, but surprisingly, the thin merino ones in that brand wore out very quickly.

I've not used any balm on my feet, but it sounds intriguing should I have a full week of rain, like so many forum members have this had walking this year in March and April!
Chris, this is not a recommendation, but the Smartwool socks that I use are the Ph.d light padded model. I have not experienced any premature failures, but I replace them more frequently when backpacking -- prior to them being worn out --- than I would with routine day-to-day use. The irritation of having to deal with trying to repair a sock when out on the trail, and to doing it in a way that it doesn't create a potential blister hazard, is a weird pet peeve of mine :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2019)
#25
What I find with my “waterproof” Keen Targhee mid height boots is that I can walk through a shallow stream and emerge with dry feet, as long as the water does not go over the tops of the boots of course. When I walked in the Fall of 2015, that’s the boot I wore. For the most part my feet stayed dry, but on the heavy rainy days in Galicia they did get a bit wet. I changed into dry socks when I could. For foot protection I like petroleum jelly. It’s inexpensive, widely available, and effective.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(Le Puy- St Jean Pied a Port (September 2018 )

St. Jean Pied a Port - Finisterre 2008
#26
vented trail runners most of the time wearing smart wool socks


Please excuse a question from a luddite expat- what are "smart wool socks" (high IQ?) and what are "trail runners? "(OK, that's 2 questions). Tennis shoes/trainers? might be other names for these shoes? I live in a small town in India and we don't have REI or other such shops, just lots of Tibetan ladies sitting by the roadside knitting socks. Probably not smart....
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#27
vented trail runners most of the time wearing smart wool socks


Please excuse a question from a luddite expat- what are "smart wool socks" (high IQ?) and what are "trail runners? "(OK, that's 2 questions). Tennis shoes/trainers? might be other names for these shoes? I live in a small town in India and we don't have REI or other such shops, just lots of Tibetan ladies sitting by the roadside knitting socks. Probably not smart....
SmartWool is a brand of merino wool clothing. Other popular brands are Icebreaker and Darn Tough (socks only).

Trail runners are running shoes for running on trails rather than asphalt.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#28
What I find with my “waterproof” Keen Targhee mid height boots is that I can walk through a shallow stream and emerge with dry feet, as long as the water does not go over the tops of the boots of course. When I walked in the Fall of 2015, that’s the boot I wore. For the most part my feet stayed dry, but on the heavy rainy days in Galicia they did get a bit wet. I changed into dry socks when I could. For foot protection I like petroleum jelly. It’s inexpensive, widely available, and effective.
vented trail runners most of the time wearing smart wool socks


Please excuse a question from a luddite expat- what are "smart wool socks" (high IQ?) and what are "trail runners? "(OK, that's 2 questions). Tennis shoes/trainers? might be other names for these shoes? I live in a small town in India and we don't have REI or other such shops, just lots of Tibetan ladies sitting by the roadside knitting socks. Probably not smart....
Smartwool is a brand of Merino wool sock. Darn Tough is another brand; and there are others.

Trail runners are designed for running on trails. They have a bit more motion control, more midsole cushioning. Most generally have a thin plastic or graphite "rock plate" embedded between the outer and midsole which shields the foot from the impact of stones and debris jutting out of the trail which can poke and bruise the sole of the foot. The outer sole has a more aggressive tread in order to better grip off road surfaces and help with traction on wet surfaces.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#29
Thanks for the effort, davebugg, though my own solution is a lot simpler :

Wear normal jeans over 100% woollen socks in French army boots. Sure, that won't necessarily keep ALL water out of the socks in, say, a Vietnamese jungle or a bad Galicia rainstorm, but unless there's a hole or a split in the boot leather, even walking through 4" of standing water won't get my socks wet. And really, even in Galicia, it takes several hours before the leather gets so waterlogged that it starts seeping through (though the socks can get wet at the shins more easily).

Even so -- is it worth imitating me and wearing army boots ? Definitely not !! Not unless you have weak ankles.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP -> Fisterra, (sep 26- oct 18, 2017)
#31
Thanks for the effort, davebugg, though my own solution is a lot simpler :

Wear normal jeans over 100% woollen socks in French army boots. Sure, that won't necessarily keep ALL water out of the socks in, say, a Vietnamese jungle or a bad Galicia rainstorm, but unless there's a hole or a split in the boot leather, even walking through 4" of standing water won't get my socks wet. And really, even in Galicia, it takes several hours before the leather gets so waterlogged that it starts seeping through (though the socks can get wet at the shins more easily).

Even so -- is it worth imitating me and wearing army boots ? Definitely not !! Not unless you have weak ankles.

Jeans + heavy armyboost. Honestly I think that for 99% of the people here this would be a absolute disaster. Not just killing your feet with the warm heavy boots, but also destroying your legs with chafing from the friction of the jeans. I’m not saying that is not working for you, but I would not recommend it to others (as you Said).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
#32
Another vote for waterproof socks if walking in early spring. I packed one pair at the last minute as worried about the possibility of trudging through snow across the pyrenees in non-waterproof trail runners. Didn’t need them while walking through snow as my wool socks worked just fine. However, those waterproof socks were invaluable when the rain set in. Several consecutive days of rain with icy winds and I was loving my waterproof socks. As said in above posts wearing them feels like what I imagine wearing a wet suit would feel like but the weather was so cold my feet did not sweat. The biggest issue was getting them washed and dried. They take FOREVER to dry. Luckily it was so cold that some of the albergues had the heaters on for at least a few hours every evening.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#33
Jeans + heavy armyboost. Honestly I think that for 99% of the people here this would be a absolute disaster.
I agree -- in fact, I have met not one single person that I would recommend army boots for.

Then again, I haven't had a serious blister since the early 1990s ...

... but army boots are definitely the exception for the Camino rather than the rule. BUT in terms of the topic, they do actually work really well to keep your feet dry.

Not just killing your feet with the warm heavy boots,
As a matter of fact, for me personally, they're the only kind of footwear that DON'T kill my feet, but protect them from harm ... but yeah, I'm peculiar for a few reasons.

I wear them every day BTW.

but also destroying your legs with chafing from the friction of the jeans.
"Destroying" is too strong, but yes that does tend to be a problem in the second week of any Camino that I do. After the inner thighs toughen up and de-flab though, it becomes a complete non-problem, and the simple ordinariness of the jeans becomes very pleasant thereafter (and during the first week before the chafing sets in).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#34
I'm sure you are very unique in wearing army boots in your daily life, although I can't imagine it for me at all, especially wearing them in the heat of summer.

As for blue jeans for hiking, most of the fabrics don't usually have any stretch, and I've been in soaking wet jeans before and they are heavy and feel awful...but that's just me. ;)
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#35
As for blue jeans for hiking
BLACK jeans ... the one time I ended up wearing blue ones, after my hi-tech "hiking trousers" destroyed themselves after less than a week :rolleyes: , they were definitely less appropriate for me than the black ones, though they did last me all the way to Compostela from somewhere in the outskirts of Nice ...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#36
I also want to post this from a PM conversation from one of our more experienced forum members. This member gave permission for me to do this post, but prefers anonymity. I felt that this person's viewpoints were valuable and should be viewed.

From the PM....
"It seems you have only addressed this from the perspective of pilgrims wearing shoes. Certainly my experience with good boots is quite different. First, gaiters or rain pants are much more effective with the higher ankle, which also prevents most of the water splash from entering the boot. Of course, if one doesn't have either rain pants or gaiters, boots will generally be no better than shoes anyhow. So if you are going to use shoes, I would wonder, like you have, whether rain pants are a good approach. I don't think so, but that doesn't seem to deter many people.

But let me share my experience with boots, rain pants or gaiters, and a good waterproof jacket. With this outer layer combination, I have found that one can avoid or substantially delay the entry of rain and sweat into the boots, leaving only the sweat produced by the feet themselves as a possible source of foot dampness. On the long pilgrimages that I have done since 2010, on only one day in Norway where it rained for most of the day and I was working hard continually walking up and down the sides of a valley, did I get wet feet. The approach that I have described worked to delay getting wet feet for about nine hours, somewhat longer than I would normally walk in Spain.

My view is that it is better to have a strategy to keep one's feet as dry as possible for as long as possible. This is relatively easy to achieve with the right clothing and footwear, noting that there will be some weight penalty to achieve that. While I don't agree you have adequately described all the options, I did appreciate the effort you made to inform people about some of the options. "
 
Camino(s) past & future
APril 2016
#38
I walked Leon to SDC in March. It was some combination of cold, rain, and snow on most days. I wore (non-waterproof) trail runners (they happened to be Saucony) and on the bad days I wore Dexshell waterproof socks. They have a breathable waterproof membrane that kept my feet warm and dry. If it were the middle of the summer, they probably would have been uncomfortably warm, but for Fall/Winter/Spring walking, they are excellent. If you are walking 25 kilometers in near-freezing weather, the likelihood of overheating is minimal. Dexshell has some lighter weight socks that could be more appropriate for summer use (I have not tried them).
 

andycohn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2012,13,15); Finisterre / Muxia (15); Portugeuse (17); Primitivo (17); Norte (18); Ingles (18)
#39
Good points, but I still prefer my waterproof boots, which keep me dry through the light and moderate rains which are the general rule, or when I splash through puddles or brush against wet undergrowth. The only time they failed was in an hours-long driving rain coming down from O Cebreiro. I also prefer synthetic socks, which dry much quicker than smart wool. I do use vaseline -- very cheap and available everywhere -- on my feet. And I've never had a problem with my feet getting too hot. Everyone has his way . . .
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2018)
#40
Water can enter trail shoes or boots through any opening during a rainstorm or while walking through dew-covered grass or pour into it as happens when you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is effective. First, you can try keeping rain pants over the tops of shoes, so the water runs down the pants past the opening. But this system is uncomfortably hot in warmer and rainy temperatures, and it offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.

Or you can try using a shoe with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not seen a gaiter or other waterproof type accessory that would both keep the water out, and keep the feet dry.

“Waterproof” shoes fail is because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term. Lightweight, leather and fabric trail boots, for example, where some manufacturers have tried treating with a coating, don’t last. It also keeps sweat in the shoe and your feet get soaked in sweat. Fairly quickly, coatings break down and will no longer be waterproof.

When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes, their actual performance never matched what was claimed.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Goretex, are only marginally breathable—water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. So on warm days the experience of having sweat being trapped in the shoe is common. Combined with the fact that the fabric waterproofing is quickly damaged by dirt, sweat, grime, and abrasion and it’s only a matter of time before exterior moisture begins penetrating the fabric and allowing feet to get wet.

That’s why serious trekkers and backpackers no longer go to great lengths to keep feet dry. They accept that when the weather is wet, feet will also get wet. Even the US military uses footwear for wet conditions which is not waterproof. The strategy is how to minimize any problems when feet are wet.

I’ve heard a potential footwear customer ask, “Are the shoes / boots waterproof?” while in the footwear department of an REI / outdoor type store. “You bet,” the customer service guy will say.

A couple of times I’ve softly interrupted by asking why they wanted, or thought they needed, waterproof shoes. Usually, the potential buyer looked at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Like most everyone, their answer was about thinking their feet would stay dry, and that wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

This post is meant to help inform and give a different line of thought and reasoning.

I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

1. “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.

2. “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons.

3. Wearing multiple pairs of socks, which eventually all get wet.

4. Multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet too.

Since keeping my feet dry never worked, I decided to develop effective strategies so that the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking were either waaaaaay minimized or eliminated. Some of these lessons I learned while in Vietnam…. Like the fact that our boots had fabric tops and numerous holes in the thin leather bottom portions so that water drained out quickly and never sat in the boots.

What are the bad things?

1. Maceration, or pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs and gets “soggy” from moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft, which makes it prone to blistering and can develop other problems.

2. Cracking of the skin when it dries. The natural moisture and oiliness of the skin is gone. The severity depends on how much stress the skin is exposed to after it is dried out.

So, what does work? For me, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather:

1. Apply a good coating of salve or balm to my feet before putting on socks and shoes. This helps protect from external moisture.

2. Wear non-waterproof shoes, which drain and dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail shoes have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.

3. Non-waterproof shoes will also eliminate moisture from sweaty feet. Remember, it doesn’t matter what the source of the moisture is that feet are exposed to; rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.

4. Wear thin, non-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will keep wet feet warm unless the weather is winter-cold.

5. Take off my shoes and socks to let my feet air dry during any mid-day rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes. During that time, I will wring out any excess moisture from the socks, but I will not put on either of my dry pairs (I take three). I will also reapply a good amount of balm or salve to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.

6. Apply a salve or ointment to the bottoms of my feet when I have stopped for the day both before and after I shower.

7. Carry an extra pair of insoles. These are lightweight and will be the barrier between your wet footwear and your dry socks when you are done for the day and if your shoes are a bit damp come morning.

8. I found that at days end, I can remove the wet insoles and use absorbent paper or toweling to sop up as much moisture as is possible while I am showering and dealing with end of the day chores. Then, when I get ready to go to dinner or wander around town, I put on a pair of dry Merino wool socks, insert the extra pair of dry insoles into my shoes, and put them back on to walk around in. Within a couple of hours, the shoes are mostly dry.

9. At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process during the night.

10. Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at night, to give my feet 8-9 hours of recovery time.
This is such excellent advice. Thank you! What type of balm, salves did you find most effective and easy to carry?
 

NancyLee

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino Mar-April 2018
#42
My Camino lasted 6 days which my doctor and physiotherapist speculate was caused by my boots (vasque $250 CAN). I left SJPP on a nice sunny day on March 17 this year. Shortly after valcarlos, the weather changed dramatically to hail, then wet snow. We encountered consecutive days of cold, wind, pelting rain, and relentless difficult terrain. I averaged 25-27 km per day (getting to roncevalles that first day). A fellow pilgrim was seriously encountered by bedbugs in cizur menor but thankfully I chose a metal bed. My feet were always dry with a thin layer sock and then 100%wool after applying vasaline. No blisters and albergues supplied newspapers for drying purposes and if we were lucky, a wood stove for drying everything. The weather was improving, trails drying and I was starting to get into the groove and felt like I might make it to Santiago in my 5 weeks but I hit a wall on the second floor Albergue in Torres del rio. A cab to logrono confirmed Achilles tendinitis in one foot and a hematoma on the other. I was completely immobile, alone, devastated and in unbearable pain. Another cab to get useless crutches, bus to Pamplona, cab to airport and 4 flights brought me home safely to Canada where I have undergone physiotherapy 3 Times a week, couldn’t walk for 3 weeks and hearing about my fellow pilgrims who have crossed the finish line, as I weep!!! I have planned this dream pilgrimage for over 15 years, postponed last year due to meniscus tear while training for a race and walked miles in those boots (but I live on the prairie, which did not prepare me for diverse terrain). Will
I go back? I typically finish what I start but this may be a challenge too great. The overwhelming sadness and disappointment is fading as I work towards complete mobility. Thanks for reading and buen Camino!
Nancy Lee from Winnipeg in Canada
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#43
So very sorry to hear your disappointing and tragic story. Should you decide to return to the Camino, I am sure your experience next time would be a much better one!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#44
My Camino lasted 6 days which my doctor and physiotherapist speculate was caused by my boots (vasque $250 CAN). I left SJPP on a nice sunny day on March 17 this year. Shortly after valcarlos, the weather changed dramatically to hail, then wet snow. We encountered consecutive days of cold, wind, pelting rain, and relentless difficult terrain. I averaged 25-27 km per day (getting to roncevalles that first day). A fellow pilgrim was seriously encountered by bedbugs in cizur menor but thankfully I chose a metal bed. My feet were always dry with a thin layer sock and then 100%wool after applying vasaline. No blisters and albergues supplied newspapers for drying purposes and if we were lucky, a wood stove for drying everything. The weather was improving, trails drying and I was starting to get into the groove and felt like I might make it to Santiago in my 5 weeks but I hit a wall on the second floor Albergue in Torres del rio. A cab to logrono confirmed Achilles tendinitis in one foot and a hematoma on the other. I was completely immobile, alone, devastated and in unbearable pain. Another cab to get useless crutches, bus to Pamplona, cab to airport and 4 flights brought me home safely to Canada where I have undergone physiotherapy 3 Times a week, couldn’t walk for 3 weeks and hearing about my fellow pilgrims who have crossed the finish line, as I weep!!! I have planned this dream pilgrimage for over 15 years, postponed last year due to meniscus tear while training for a race and walked miles in those boots (but I live on the prairie, which did not prepare me for diverse terrain). Will
I go back? I typically finish what I start but this may be a challenge too great. The overwhelming sadness and disappointment is fading as I work towards complete mobility. Thanks for reading and buen Camino!
Nancy Lee from Winnipeg in Canada
If you do return choose a different season! September might be nice for you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
0
#45
Water can enter trail shoes or boots through any opening during a rainstorm or while walking through dew-covered grass or pour into it as happens when you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is effective. First, you can try keeping rain pants over the tops of shoes, so the water runs down the pants past the opening. But this system is uncomfortably hot in warmer and rainy temperatures, and it offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.

Or you can try using a shoe with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not seen a gaiter or other waterproof type accessory that would both keep the water out, and keep the feet dry.

“Waterproof” shoes fail is because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term. Lightweight, leather and fabric trail boots, for example, where some manufacturers have tried treating with a coating, don’t last. It also keeps sweat in the shoe and your feet get soaked in sweat. Fairly quickly, coatings break down and will no longer be waterproof.

When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes, their actual performance never matched what was claimed.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Goretex, are only marginally breathable—water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. So on warm days the experience of having sweat being trapped in the shoe is common. Combined with the fact that the fabric waterproofing is quickly damaged by dirt, sweat, grime, and abrasion and it’s only a matter of time before exterior moisture begins penetrating the fabric and allowing feet to get wet.

That’s why serious trekkers and backpackers no longer go to great lengths to keep feet dry. They accept that when the weather is wet, feet will also get wet. Even the US military uses footwear for wet conditions which is not waterproof. The strategy is how to minimize any problems when feet are wet.

I’ve heard a potential footwear customer ask, “Are the shoes / boots waterproof?” while in the footwear department of an REI / outdoor type store. “You bet,” the customer service guy will say.

A couple of times I’ve softly interrupted by asking why they wanted, or thought they needed, waterproof shoes. Usually, the potential buyer looked at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Like most everyone, their answer was about thinking their feet would stay dry, and that wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

This post is meant to help inform and give a different line of thought and reasoning.

I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

1. “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.

2. “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons.

3. Wearing multiple pairs of socks, which eventually all get wet.

4. Multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet too.

Since keeping my feet dry never worked, I decided to develop effective strategies so that the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking were either waaaaaay minimized or eliminated. Some of these lessons I learned while in Vietnam…. Like the fact that our boots had fabric tops and numerous holes in the thin leather bottom portions so that water drained out quickly and never sat in the boots.

What are the bad things?

1. Maceration, or pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs and gets “soggy” from moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft, which makes it prone to blistering and can develop other problems.

2. Cracking of the skin when it dries. The natural moisture and oiliness of the skin is gone. The severity depends on how much stress the skin is exposed to after it is dried out.

So, what does work? For me, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather:

1. Apply a good coating of salve or balm to my feet before putting on socks and shoes. This helps protect from external moisture.

2. Wear non-waterproof shoes, which drain and dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail shoes have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.

3. Non-waterproof shoes will also eliminate moisture from sweaty feet. Remember, it doesn’t matter what the source of the moisture is that feet are exposed to; rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.

4. Wear thin, non-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will keep wet feet warm unless the weather is winter-cold.

5. Take off my shoes and socks to let my feet air dry during any mid-day rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes. During that time, I will wring out any excess moisture from the socks, but I will not put on either of my dry pairs (I take three). I will also reapply a good amount of balm or salve to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.

6. Apply a salve or ointment to the bottoms of my feet when I have stopped for the day both before and after I shower.

7. Carry an extra pair of insoles. These are lightweight and will be the barrier between your wet footwear and your dry socks when you are done for the day and if your shoes are a bit damp come morning.

8. I found that at days end, I can remove the wet insoles and use absorbent paper or toweling to sop up as much moisture as is possible while I am showering and dealing with end of the day chores. Then, when I get ready to go to dinner or wander around town, I put on a pair of dry Merino wool socks, insert the extra pair of dry insoles into my shoes, and put them back on to walk around in. Within a couple of hours, the shoes are mostly dry.

9. At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process during the night.

10. Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at night, to give my feet 8-9 hours of recovery time.
That is a fantastic report.
 

NancyLee

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino Mar-April 2018
#46
If you do return choose a different season! September might be nice for you.
Unfortunately I am bound to go in the spring as I work and in order to get lengthy time off and ensure coverage, I have to go end of one fiscal year and beginning of next. There are always individual variables to consider.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#47
A lot of responses. Didn't read them all. Maybe I'm repeating other ones.
If it rains and rains a lot, your feet and shoes/boots and socks get wet. That's all there is to it. Won't kill you and I don't think many pilgrims have had feet or toes amputated due to trenchfoot. It is not the Argonne. lol
The type of rain/outside temperature/month it occurs could come into play. If freezing rain and freezing temperatures? Could be serious. If warm and summer? Not serious and just walk with wet footwear and dry them out at the albergue. Certainly one advantage of wearing lighter, non-traditional leather type footwear is that they dry out faster and even dry on your feet when the rain stops and it gets sunny. No need to panic if you walk with wet shoes/boots.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#48
Jeans + heavy armyboost. Honestly I think that for 99% of the people here this would be a absolute disaster. Not just killing your feet with the warm heavy boots, but also destroying your legs with chafing from the friction of the jeans. I’m not saying that is not working for you, but I would not recommend it to others (as you Said).
I have photos of myself and my friends from the university back in the 1980's wearing cotton blue jeans and heavy leather boots of different varieties on actual wilderness backpacking trips. We were also wearing cotton flannel (good heavens!) shirts. We did have some woolen sweaters we wore, as well as those puffy, down vests that were popular then. Went well with our long hair and beards, ha ha. We had heavy, cumbersome sleeping bags and backpacks with external, metal frames. They were drab and ugly and not as sexy as the pastel and bright colored ones available these days, ha ha. I do not remember if high tech, synthetic footwear and clothing was available those days, and even if it was we would have not been able to afford it, being starving students. We never had problems with the jeans or the boots, and never weighed our packs (good heavens!) ;)
Later in the army they made me do the same thing, sans the long hair and beard. :D and we wore cotton utilities, and leather boots....
 
Camino(s) past & future
Haven't walked the Camino yet. But I've hiked all over this beautiful planet and hope to walk the Camino in the near future.
#49
I may be in the minority, but i think of shoes as prisons for my feet. Lol. Maybe it’s growing up on the beach, i dunno. Of course i don’t plan to walk the Camino barefoot, but i won’t be bringing heavy hiking shoes either. I will only bring a minimal trail runner from Merrell and my Teva sandals. I actually hike in my Tevas all the time. And if the rain isn’t too cold, will prefer to use them in the rain. But if it is a little cold, i will put on a pair of merino wool socks & my minimal trailrunners. The merrells & wool socks dry out quick. A little vaseline & some compeed bandages just in case, and im good to go. Bien Camino!
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#50
I may be in the minority, but i think of shoes as prisons for my feet. Lol. Maybe it’s growing up on the beach, i dunno. Of course i don’t plan to walk the Camino barefoot, but i won’t be bringing heavy hiking shoes either. I will only bring a minimal trail runner from Merrell and my Teva sandals. I actually hike in my Tevas all the time. And if the rain isn’t too cold, will prefer to use them in the rain. But if it is a little cold, i will put on a pair of merino wool socks & my minimal trailrunners. The merrells & wool socks dry out quick. A little vaseline & some compeed bandages just in case, and im good to go. Bien Camino!
I have seen a lot of pilgrims walk the entire Camino in sandals like Tevas, Merrells, Columbia etc. I wore my Tevas for a couple of days of walking. No problems. I did wear them for walking with a pair of thin, synthetic running socks to avoid any rubbing from the straps. Worked well for me.
 

Professor

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances March 5-April 4, 2014; Camino Frances March 13, 2016- April 15, 2016; October 5, 2017
#51
Just out of curiosity sake, how do you keep rocks and pebbles from get into the TEVAs and making it necessary to stop and take the sandal off?
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#52
How sad, NancyLee, but the truth is that sometimes this Pilgrimage simply kicks you in the face.

There are at least two Camino projects of mine that have turned into dust for similar.

But you have made your start, peregrina, so those years of preparation are not for naught.

And your prairie ? It is the basic terrain of the Way of Saint James. Oh, I so wish that your trouble hadn't started so bad before the beauty of the Meseta !!

I don't think that the Camino is done with you, regardless your feelings toward it.
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
#53
Just out of curiosity sake, how do you keep rocks and pebbles from get into the TEVAs and making it necessary to stop and take the sandal off?
No special techniques and I probably only had one stone a day that needed dislodging from my TEVAs. No need to take them off either, just poked the sandal wide with my hiking pole.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#54
Just out of curiosity sake, how do you keep rocks and pebbles from get into the TEVAs and making it necessary to stop and take the sandal off?
I do not remember that really being a problem. If one did make its way into the footbed, I must have just reached down and removed it I guess. I don't remember. I do know I never had to actually stop and physically remove a sandal to dislodge a pebble. My Teva sandals have toe caps on them.
It was kind of nice to also just wear them into the shower at the end of the walking day. They dry quick and you end up with a clean pair of footwear every morning when you do that.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Haven't walked the Camino yet. But I've hiked all over this beautiful planet and hope to walk the Camino in the near future.
#55
Just out of curiosity sake, how do you keep rocks and pebbles from get into the TEVAs and making it necessary to stop and take the sandal off?
Well, you ever walk on the beach in sandals? Same way. Usually sand and pebbles just fall out by themselves. Tevas are pretty open. And if a pebble gets stuck under your foot, Just shake it out. Comes out pretty easily, unlike when you get a pebble in your shoes. Shoes you DEFINITELY have to take off. How annoying is that?! Lol. Seriously, it’s really not an issue. Teva bottoms are pretty robust too. They aren’t like flimsy flip flops. They can handle most terrain with ease. Again, the feeling may not be for everyone, but i love hiking in my Tevas. Walking thru streams feels great. They dry out fast cause theres nothing really to dry out. Try that with shoes, and you really feel uncomfortable. They don’t dry quickly, and you really feel it walking around with wet shoes. But whatever you like to put on your feet, it’s all good...bien camino!
 
Last edited:

Professor

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances March 5-April 4, 2014; Camino Frances March 13, 2016- April 15, 2016; October 5, 2017
#57
Thanks for all the remarks on Tevas and rocks (the pictures were most impressive)--I think I will take them as my second shoes instead of flip flops.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#59
Teva bottoms are pretty robust too. They aren’t like flimsy flip flops. They can handle most terrain with ease.
They certainly are. I had never owned a pair of Tevas before until on the Frances I left my flip-flops in an albergue. Took them off to put on my walking shoes left them next to the chair and did not discover they were missing until the end of the day. The first place I could get replacements was Sarria and when I went into that outdoor shop just before those tall stairs, I saw the Tevas and was impressed with their robustness. Bought a pair immediately.
 

Lurch

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
looking at 2018-2019
#61
Anyone used “gloves in a bottle” for treating feet. Tried the search but got hits on each word. Need a search for complete phrase only!

Have a bottle left over from when I decided to be an ‘artiste’. That worked about as well as my knee replacements...i.e. not at all, but being a pack rat I kept the important stuff. No paint, no canvas or brushes, just the GIAB.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2016
#62
Water can enter trail shoes or boots through any opening during a rainstorm or while walking through dew-covered grass or pour into it as happens when you walk through puddles or other standing water along the Camino.

There are two potential remedies to this problem, neither of which is effective. First, you can try keeping rain pants over the tops of shoes, so the water runs down the pants past the opening. But this system is uncomfortably hot in warmer and rainy temperatures, and it offers no protection for puddles or having to cross water runoffs on the pathway.

Or you can try using a shoe with a waterproof gaiter or some other waterproof cobbles -- like thick plastic bags. I have not seen a gaiter or other waterproof type accessory that would both keep the water out, and keep the feet dry.

“Waterproof” shoes fail is because the materials simply don’t work over the near and long term. Lightweight, leather and fabric trail boots, for example, where some manufacturers have tried treating with a coating, don’t last. It also keeps sweat in the shoe and your feet get soaked in sweat. Fairly quickly, coatings break down and will no longer be waterproof.

When I’ve tested so-called waterproof / breathable fabrics in shoes, their actual performance never matched what was claimed.

Waterproof/breathable membranes, like Goretex, are only marginally breathable—water vapor from perspiration does not pass through the fabric as efficiently as is claimed. So on warm days the experience of having sweat being trapped in the shoe is common. Combined with the fact that the fabric waterproofing is quickly damaged by dirt, sweat, grime, and abrasion and it’s only a matter of time before exterior moisture begins penetrating the fabric and allowing feet to get wet.

That’s why serious trekkers and backpackers no longer go to great lengths to keep feet dry. They accept that when the weather is wet, feet will also get wet. Even the US military uses footwear for wet conditions which is not waterproof. The strategy is how to minimize any problems when feet are wet.

I’ve heard a potential footwear customer ask, “Are the shoes / boots waterproof?” while in the footwear department of an REI / outdoor type store. “You bet,” the customer service guy will say.

A couple of times I’ve softly interrupted by asking why they wanted, or thought they needed, waterproof shoes. Usually, the potential buyer looked at me as if I had spaghetti sticking out of my nose. Like most everyone, their answer was about thinking their feet would stay dry, and that wet feet is akin to getting into horrible trouble.

This post is meant to help inform and give a different line of thought and reasoning.

I have tried many ways to keep my feet dry:

1. “Waterproof” shoes, which, as I’ve said, don’t work well.

2. “Waterproof” socks, which don’t work for similar reasons.

3. Wearing multiple pairs of socks, which eventually all get wet.

4. Multiple pairs of shoes, which eventually all get wet too.

Since keeping my feet dry never worked, I decided to develop effective strategies so that the bad things that could occur to my wet feet when walking were either waaaaaay minimized or eliminated. Some of these lessons I learned while in Vietnam…. Like the fact that our boots had fabric tops and numerous holes in the thin leather bottom portions so that water drained out quickly and never sat in the boots.

What are the bad things?

1. Maceration, or pruning, where the skin’s outer layer absorbs and gets “soggy” from moisture. The skin gets sore and extremely soft, which makes it prone to blistering and can develop other problems.

2. Cracking of the skin when it dries. The natural moisture and oiliness of the skin is gone. The severity depends on how much stress the skin is exposed to after it is dried out.

So, what does work? For me, if I am going to be walking or backpacking in wet weather:

1. Apply a good coating of salve or balm to my feet before putting on socks and shoes. This helps protect from external moisture.

2. Wear non-waterproof shoes, which drain and dry out quickly. This minimizes the amount of puddling in the shoe that bathes the feet in moisture. Modern trail shoes have nice open mesh fabric which is terrific for draining water.

3. Non-waterproof shoes will also eliminate moisture from sweaty feet. Remember, it doesn’t matter what the source of the moisture is that feet are exposed to; rain or sweat, each can cause the same problems.

4. Wear thin, non-cushioned merino wool socks, which don’t absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will keep wet feet warm unless the weather is winter-cold.

5. Take off my shoes and socks to let my feet air dry during any mid-day rest stop that will be longer than 20 minutes. During that time, I will wring out any excess moisture from the socks, but I will not put on either of my dry pairs (I take three). I will also reapply a good amount of balm or salve to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.

6. Apply a salve or ointment to the bottoms of my feet when I have stopped for the day both before and after I shower.

7. Carry an extra pair of insoles. These are lightweight and will be the barrier between your wet footwear and your dry socks when you are done for the day and if your shoes are a bit damp come morning.

8. I found that at days end, I can remove the wet insoles and use absorbent paper or toweling to sop up as much moisture as is possible while I am showering and dealing with end of the day chores. Then, when I get ready to go to dinner or wander around town, I put on a pair of dry Merino wool socks, insert the extra pair of dry insoles into my shoes, and put them back on to walk around in. Within a couple of hours, the shoes are mostly dry.

9. At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process during the night.

10. Apply more salve or ointment and wear dry and warm socks at night, to give my feet 8-9 hours of recovery time.
Excellent, practical advice!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Haven't walked the Camino yet. But I've hiked all over this beautiful planet and hope to walk the Camino in the near future.
#64
For warm + wet I like sandals
For cold + wet I like neoprene socks in ventilated trailrunners. Some vaseline needs to be on feet, preferably before soaked.
Totally agree.
 

KDR

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues (2018)
#65
I had researched many different products out there before I start Camino but none of them didn't satisfy my needs. After all my wife made detachable waterproof shoes cover and overpants that were pretty much effective on our Camino. You can easily make your own version with unused poncho and adhesive hook and loop. We had had 4-5 days of heavy/light rains with strong wind and my shoes and feet were dry after 6-8 hrs walk a day. Only part of end of my pants got wet but rain didn't permeate shoes much thanks to the shoes cover. On top of that I used cheap and lightest rain poncho that I got from Kathmandu along with backpack cover.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Future? Levante-VDLP-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
#66
I will be walking the Levante/VDLP/Invierno next Feb/Mar so potentially I could cop snow, mud and have to walk through water. If it rains I can just see water wicking down into my boot via my socks. And I like to hike in shorts +/- leggings even in winter. I do have a pair of waterproof Paramo Cascada trousers for colder days. I don't want big gaiters because I may not need them at all. Any ideas for gaiters or other things that reduce the foot wetness? These are Salewa waterproof boots which are quite light. Pretty hard to find a non-waterproof boot these days. Normally I would wear a hiking shoe eg Vasque. If these boots end up driving me nuts I will be visiting the Decathlon in Albacete or Toledo to get hiking shoes or trailrunners and sending these forward. I already tape/Body Glide lube/Injinji my feet.
http://instagr.am/p/Bg56_l5DPIs/ "
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#67
I walk mostly in Chaco sandals. Rarely do I wear socks. Feet out in the air are much less likely to get blisters (except occasional small ones between the toes. Easy to wrap a toe or wear Injinji socks to deal with that). Feet are waterproof and sandals dry quickly.
 
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    Votes: 33 4.5%
  • April

    Votes: 107 14.6%
  • May

    Votes: 179 24.5%
  • June

    Votes: 52 7.1%
  • July

    Votes: 15 2.1%
  • August

    Votes: 10 1.4%
  • September

    Votes: 218 29.8%
  • October

    Votes: 89 12.2%
  • November

    Votes: 11 1.5%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.7%
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