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Shoe fit issues?

Camino(s) past & future
1st 9/18
#1
Hello all, I am new here. 60 year old artist getting ready to walk mid-September. I spent hours at REI finding shoes and ended up with Oboz. They felt great and the staff was behind the choice.
Today I walked 3.5 miles in these new shoes with Darn Tough Merino socks. I am in PAIN! The foot ball is the issue.
Can I solve this with inserts or time or some sort of mystical chant? I am very worried about how this is going to go now but was not before I bought these shoes. Keep trying? Buy new expensive shoes? Anyone been here before me?
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#2
Hello all, I am new here. 60 year old artist getting ready to walk mid-September. I spent hours at REI finding shoes and ended up with Oboz. They felt great and the staff was behind the choice.
Today I walked 3.5 miles in these new shoes with Darn Tough Merino socks. I am in PAIN! The foot ball is the issue.
Can I solve this with inserts or time or some sort of mystical chant? I am very worried about how this is going to go now but was not before I bought these shoes. Keep trying? Buy new expensive shoes? Anyone been here before me?
Do you have other shoes that you have been able to walk the same distance without pain? If so, take a look at both shoes side by side to see what the differences are. Length, width, firmness of the sole, etc.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#3
Good question from @trecile about whether you can walk this distance in other shoes.

The foot ball is the issue.
Where and what type of pain? I sometimes have pain in the big joint on the ball of the foot, but it is helped by inserts which provide a stiff support under the arch. In the past I tried inner soles with more cushioning, but that didn't really help with the joint. Now I prefer the stiff sole with medium cushioning.

You might benefit from a consultation with a podiatrist, although they love to make custom orthotics which can be very expensive.
 

Latecomer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VDLP (Sept 2015)

CF SJPDP-SdC+
(Sept/Oct 2018)
#4
At least you bought them at REI!
I have already returned two pairs of shoes there in preparation for my mid-September Camino (note: I bought them during sales and had not worn either of them outside yet). I started with Salomon X Ultra 3 Low GTX Hiking Shoes, then decided on non-Gortex and went to Oboz Traverse Low Hiking Shoes, then decided to get something lighter and went to a trail runner, Altra Timps (after ready threads like "Post-Camino shoe observations"). I haven't worn them outside yet either. Thankfully, I live about 10 minutes from an REI Store!
I don't believe in abusing return policies, but if they really don't work for you return them.
¡Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
1st 9/18
#5
Sadly they fitted me at REI and then said they had a returned pair of exactly what I needed at a discount. Since they were sure these were the shoes for me, I bought them with a no return agreement. I have been walking long flat distances in Saconys for a while now with no pain, but there is not enough support for the Camino. Have orthotics but usually my issue is arch/heel. This is a new one. Maybe I will head back to REI and see about some inserts. I guess the worst that can happen is more shoes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
1st 9/18
#6
Do you have other shoes that you have been able to walk the same distance without pain? If so, take a look at both shoes side by side to see what the differences are. Length, width, firmness of the sole, etc.
They are nearly the same, which is why I bought them. No discernible difference.
 

MeandIan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May2018
#7
That’s the problem when buying shoes for a reason as specific as this. You don’t know if it’s suited until you’ve tried it a few times, and then, because it’s been worn, you can’t return it. It can be quite expensive. There was very good advice on this forum which helped me.
I have always worn keen, and a few years ago I bought a pair at a closing down sale though I didn’t need it. Then in January started training for my Camino and found them so uncomfortable and tight. I started looking for new boots and bought 3 pairs at different times, though I didn’t walk outside. Fortunately I was able to return them. However I continued to walk with the pair I had. The balls of my feet ached terribly. I noticed people talking about boots laced too tightly, so I loosened mine quite a bit. They are so comfortable now, after 5 months that I’m loving keen again, although my soles burn after 20k with a pack. As a back up I bought a pair of Ecco sandals.
We are starting 14 September so hopefully we’ll meet. Good luck
 

Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18, '19)
#8
I have been walking long flat distances in Saconys for a while now with no pain, but there is not enough support for the Camino. .
What makes you say that? I walked much of my Caminos in Saucony Echelon 5 running shoes. Sure, there are a few spots on the Frances where you might wish for a heavier shoe, but that just means slow down and be careful. For a Camino in the drier part of the year, running shoes are the preferred footwear in my opinion. Your shoe HAS to be comfortable on long days. Keep looking, or wear what you know works. Nobody at REI (or anyone else for that matter) can tell you what fits or is best for you; only you know what your foot needs. Experiment!

Also, socks are just as important as shoes. Merino is a good place to start. Some like light socks, others use doubles with liners, some like sandals with no socks at all. I prefer heavy socks, but that's just me. Experiment with socks as well.

Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
1st 9/18
#9
Thank you everyone! I already feel the community and that is a blessed thing.
Am going to try sock liners and a new insert for these shoes which were very comfortable for a half hour in the store. Also ordered three more that are similar to what I know works for me. Expensive but oh well. None of it will matter if my feet are happy.
Thank you all and I look forward to meeting you along the Camino.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#10
Do they make a trail runner version of the Saucony's? If so, that might be a compromise.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#13
How much distance walking have you done prior to this incident? Is this something that was a minor complaint before, or is it a new pain that has no previous history?

A common cause of foot pain in the ball of the foot has to do with the metatarsals; one or more of those bones can be a bit more 'protruding' than the others. This results in the same feelings as walking with a rock under the forefoot. It makes for a really sore foot when doing a lot of walking. Typically, once one gets off their feet for the night, by morning the foot will feel OK. The new shoes could have a structure which interacted with your foot in a new way which caused the metatarsal symptoms to leap to the forefront.

If that is the issue, metatarsal pads, attached to the underside of the insole, will slightly elevate that pressure point which goes a long way in relieving the pain.

Typically, separate metatarsal pads are a better solution than an insole with a metatarsal arch. The reason has to do with the hugggeeee variation in anatomy of each individual's foot, and even between a single individual's right and left foot. Metatarsal pads are able to be fine tuned to your foot, positioning them to their best possible advantage. If uncertain about placement, there are a number of good YouTube videos that will help. A visit to a podiatrist will also provide tremendous help with identifying this issue, and coaching you how to use the pads to the best effect.

As you go looking for shoe, here are some tips which I have posted before that may help you.
  1. When you go to the store, do so toward the end of the day.... you will have been up on your feet, so that will help with getting the correct fit. Additionally, you will need to wear the same backpack with the same gear you will be carrying... you want this additional weight on you as this will put the same downward pressure on the foot that you will be having while on Camino.
  2. Wear the exact same sock(s) you will be wearing while you are walking on the Camino. And if you have a special insole or orthotic, bring it with you.
  3. At the store, the measuring that will be done on your feet is only to get you in the ballpark for the correct shoe size.
  4. Start by standing up; never measure while sitting. You want the full weight of your body, with the pack on, to put the same pressure on your feet to spread them out as will happen while walking. That alone will increase the volume and size of your feet.
  5. Make sure those 'Camino' socks are on your feet; if you wear socks with liners while walking, do the same thing at the store.
  6. While standing, have someone near to you that you can use to steady yourself. With the measuring device on the ground, step onto the instrument and center all of your weight onto the foot being measured. Do the same for the other foot.
  7. Start with that size, but be aware that both the width and the length need to feel like there is adequate room for your feet. Ideally, like Goldilocks, everything will be just right. But, don't count on it. Be picky.
  8. If you have special insoles or orthotics, put them into any shoe you try on as they will take up space inside the shoe.
  9. When you find what you think will fit you well, you will need to see if your toes have enough clearance. Toes should not be able to be forced to the front of the shoe and touch the shoe. Not even a little. If they do, long walking and downhill grades on the trail or path or road will traumatize the bed of the nail, and that is when toenails can blacken and fall off.
  10. With your shoes tied securely, but not too tight, walk around the store with your pack on. Go up stairs and down stairs, scuff the shoes to the floor so that your feet are forced to do any movement they will do and see if your toes so much as butterfly kiss the front of the shoe. Kick the front of the shoe into a post or stair or wall or someone's shin.... does that make any of your toes touch the front of the shoe? That goes for all the little piggies.
  11. Next, pay attention to the width of the shoe. It shouldn't feel snug on the sides and there should be no rubbing or pressure points at all. They will not go away with "break in". They will create soreness, pain, and blistering. Even if it seems to be tolerable, it is like water torture; as your feet are continually exposed to those pressure points your feet will break down against them bit by bit, and bruising, blisters, and soreness will follow.
  12. You may need to go up a size to a size and a half in length, and go with a wider width to avoid those things I mentioned above. The notion that one avoids blisters by wearing snug footwear has been shown to do just the opposite.
 
Camino(s) past & future
April 2017 or Sept 2017
#14
Sadly they fitted me at REI and then said they had a returned pair of exactly what I needed at a discount. Since they were sure these were the shoes for me, I bought them with a no return agreement. I have been walking long flat distances in Saconys for a while now with no pain, but there is not enough support for the Camino. Have orthotics but usually my issue is arch/heel. This is a new one. Maybe I will head back to REI and see about some inserts. I guess the worst that can happen is more shoes.
If you are an REI member you should still be able to return them.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#15
Yes they do as it turns out and I will pick it up tomorrow. Thanks for the great idea!
I have had Saucony running shoes before and liked them. I also have a pair of Oboz hiking shoes...love them. I have never had a pair of outdoor shoes with such a well fitting toe-box for my feet.
If the Saucony trail runners turn out to be the right choice for the Camino, you can always use the Oboz for shorter hikes at home. Or, vise-versa. ;)
Either way, you have a couple of months to test them out. You should have a solution by September. Definitely test out your shoe-sock-insole combination on 5-10 kilometre walks prior. Doing that has two benefits. Conditioning and equipment testing.
 
Camino(s) past & future
1st 9/18
#16
How much distance walking have you done prior to this incident? Is this something that was a minor complaint before, or is it a new pain that has no previous history?

A common cause of foot pain in the ball of the foot has to do with the metatarsals; one or more of those bones can be a bit more 'protruding' than the others. This results in the same feelings as walking with a rock under the forefoot. It makes for a really sore foot when doing a lot of walking. Typically, once one gets off their feet for the night, by morning the foot will feel OK. The new shoes could have a structure which interacted with your foot in a new way which caused the metatarsal symptoms to leap to the forefront.

If that is the issue, metatarsal pads, attached to the underside of the insole, will slightly elevate that pressure point which goes a long way in relieving the pain.

Typically, separate metatarsal pads are a better solution than an insole with a metatarsal arch. The reason has to do with the hugggeeee variation in anatomy of each individual's foot, and even between a single individual's right and left foot. Metatarsal pads are able to be fine tuned to your foot, positioning them to their best possible advantage. If uncertain about placement, there are a number of good YouTube videos that will help. A visit to a podiatrist will also provide tremendous help with identifying this issue, and coaching you how to use the pads to the best effect.

As you go looking for shoe, here are some tips which I have posted before that may help you.
  1. When you go to the store, do so toward the end of the day.... you will have been up on your feet, so that will help with getting the correct fit. Additionally, you will need to wear the same backpack with the same gear you will be carrying... you want this additional weight on you as this will put the same downward pressure on the foot that you will be having while on Camino.
  2. Wear the exact same sock(s) you will be wearing while you are walking on the Camino. And if you have a special insole or orthotic, bring it with you.
  3. At the store, the measuring that will be done on your feet is only to get you in the ballpark for the correct shoe size.
  4. Start by standing up; never measure while sitting. You want the full weight of your body, with the pack on, to put the same pressure on your feet to spread them out as will happen while walking. That alone will increase the volume and size of your feet.
  5. Make sure those 'Camino' socks are on your feet; if you wear socks with liners while walking, do the same thing at the store.
  6. While standing, have someone near to you that you can use to steady yourself. With the measuring device on the ground, step onto the instrument and center all of your weight onto the foot being measured. Do the same for the other foot.
  7. Start with that size, but be aware that both the width and the length need to feel like there is adequate room for your feet. Ideally, like Goldilocks, everything will be just right. But, don't count on it. Be picky.
  8. If you have special insoles or orthotics, put them into any shoe you try on as they will take up space inside the shoe.
  9. When you find what you think will fit you well, you will need to see if your toes have enough clearance. Toes should not be able to be forced to the front of the shoe and touch the shoe. Not even a little. If they do, long walking and downhill grades on the trail or path or road will traumatize the bed of the nail, and that is when toenails can blacken and fall off.
  10. With your shoes tied securely, but not too tight, walk around the store with your pack on. Go up stairs and down stairs, scuff the shoes to the floor so that your feet are forced to do any movement they will do and see if your toes so much as butterfly kiss the front of the shoe. Kick the front of the shoe into a post or stair or wall or someone's shin.... does that make any of your toes touch the front of the shoe? That goes for all the little piggies.
  11. Next, pay attention to the width of the shoe. It shouldn't feel snug on the sides and there should be no rubbing or pressure points at all. They will not go away with "break in". They will create soreness, pain, and blistering. Even if it seems to be tolerable, it is like water torture; as your feet are continually exposed to those pressure points your feet will break down against them bit by bit, and bruising, blisters, and soreness will follow.
  12. You may need to go up a size to a size and a half in length, and go with a wider width to avoid those things I mentioned above. The notion that one avoids blisters by wearing snug footwear has been shown to do just the opposite.
This is a fabulous and thorough list and I thank you!
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
#17
You don't mention sizes. A September Camino should still be warm and feet can swell considerably walking distances day after day. My everyday Moab is a 12. On the Camino I use a size 14! Hence the wise words above about trying shoes at the end of the day when your feet will be larger.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#18
You don't mention sizes. A September Camino should still be warm and feet can swell considerably walking distances day after day. My everyday Moab is a 12. On the Camino I use a size 14! Hence the wise words above about trying shoes at the end of the day when your feet will be larger.
Honestly, I have never experienced that. I have always walked and hiked with my regular size footwear. Even in the military. No doubt there may be some swelling so to speak of feet after walking a long distance, but two entire foot sizes larger? Could that be a medical condition?
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
#19
Honestly, I have never experienced that. I have always walked and hiked with my regular size footwear. Even in the military. No doubt there may be some swelling so to speak of feet after walking a long distance, but two entire foot sizes larger? Could that be a medical condition?
The well known "sokkitis maximus" It allows for a liner sock and medium merino second sock. I wear Moab ventilators so not too warm (though I prefer my TEVAs) Non Camino thin cotton socks suffice.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#20
The well known "sokkitis maximus" It allows for a liner sock and medium merino second sock. I wear Moab ventilators so not too warm (though I prefer my TEVAs) Non Camino thin cotton socks suffice.
Ah ok. I'm a single thin sock wearing walker.
 
Camino(s) past & future
1st 9/18
#21
I wear two socks, one merino, one liner so I went up a half size for my larger size, since I am already between sizes. If I go up more, the foot bed will not fit, so I think this the best solution.

The new shoe guy at REI said that the Oboz have support for a high arch and that was likely my issue, that the shoe lifted my foot too high and put pressure on the ball. Made great sense to me since otherwise the sizing (length, width, area of stability) was the same. Had to be internal. So, I now have Keens which served me well walking the Cotswolds a few years back in a lighter model. That is it for now, as I get closer I will examine clothes to take and will be back for all the wonderful advice here.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#22
JK, aside from this current shoe search, how did your feet do with your previous Cotswolds walk? Pain, blisters, tendonitis, etc?
 
Camino(s) past & future
1st 9/18
#23
no pain, no blisters, no tendonitis either in the Cotswolds or a 60 mile walk in the rain. Walked again today in my Keens with no issue.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte 17.4.-25.5. 2018
Ruta Jakobean Gran Canaria 13-15.11.2018
#25
Which shoes to hike?
I did Camino Norten hike 17.4-25.5. 2018.
I had six-year-old winter shoes in Finnish Sievi Oy.
They work really well with no kind of abrasions or bladders.
Never go to walks with new shoes if you do not want any trouble.
 
Camino(s) past & future
We are planning to do the Camino Portuguese in May!!
#26
Hello all, I am new here. 60 year old artist getting ready to walk mid-September. I spent hours at REI finding shoes and ended up with Oboz. They felt great and the staff was behind the choice.
Today I walked 3.5 miles in these new shoes with Darn Tough Merino socks. I am in PAIN! The foot ball is the issue.
Can I solve this with inserts or time or some sort of mystical chant? I am very worried about how this is going to go now but was not before I bought these shoes. Keep trying? Buy new expensive shoes? Anyone been here before me?
I just got back from walking the Portuguese route, Coimbra to Santiago in my beloved Oboz!! My socks were Darn Tough brand. I did by my shoes a 1/2 size bigger and I didn’t have any problems and I didn’t get one blister!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) SJPDP-SDC
Camino Norte 2018
Pilgrims Office Volunteer 2018
#27
What makes you say that? I walked much of my Caminos in Saucony Echelon 5 running shoes. Sure, there are a few spots on the Frances where you might wish for a heavier shoe, but that just means slow down and be careful. For a Camino in the drier part of the year, running shoes are the preferred footwear in my opinion. Your shoe HAS to be comfortable on long days. Keep looking, or wear what you know works. Nobody at REI (or anyone else for that matter) can tell you what fits or is best for you; only you know what your foot needs. Experiment!

Also, socks are just as important as shoes. Merino is a good place to start. Some like light socks, others use doubles with liners, some like sandals with no socks at all. I prefer heavy socks, but that's just me. Experiment with socks as well.

Buen Camino
I agree with Rick that we need to experiment, experiment, experiment!!!! Before my first Camino I hiked and hiked and hiked till I had myself in great shape. Then I went on my first Camino and blisters!!!!

So, okay. Before my second Camino I now knew that I needed to --What was that again?--Oh yes, experiment, experiment, experiment. So I did. Different socks, sock liners, shoes, boots etc etc etc.....I put miles and miles on different configurations too see what worked.

I ended up with Boots and trail runners with an insert, wool socks, no liner. I also have a very light pair of sandals for those days that my feet need to air out. Not a blister on my next three Camino Francis treks!! Just pure joy and time with our creator.

Bottom line, everyone is different. Experiment to see what works for you....It may not be the same that works for me or Rick or anyone else.....

Buen Camino,
Ed
 

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