• For 2024 Pilgrims: €50,- donation = 1 year with no ads on the forum + 90% off any 2024 Guide. More here.
    (Discount code sent to you by Private Message after your donation)

Search 69,459 Camino Questions

Shoe width and swelling?

RevGreg

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Summer/Fall 2024
I’ve purchased some Hoka Challengers and love everything about them—weight, comfort/padding, trail/road versatility, except… the arch area is ever so slightly narrow. After two 4-5 mile walks, my feet have hurt some (not a ton) from where the side of my foot protrudes over the support area.

I’ve never had a wide foot—my feet are boxy and need a wider toe box, but have never been wide. So my question is, when planning for swelling on the Camino, does it make sense to buy these shoes in a wide? Or should I only consider shoe size (not width) for swelling? Or is the thin middle a sign these just aren’t the right shoes?

Bonus points if you can recommend me a better shoe for my needs: lightweight, good for boxy feet, durable, versatile, plush (though plush isn’t absolutely necessary). I have large feet and can’t try on in store, so ordering shoes to try on/send back takes serious time. About 1.5 months and six pairs so far.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
You will probably get a mountain of responses and advice, that will all vary! :rolleyes:

That is simply because all our feet are different, our foot problems are different, our weight and gait varies, our preferences vary. We also use different sock regimes. Single sock, double sock, toe socks. No two of us are likely to agree on a particular shoe. Well not strictly true, as there are some shoes that are more popular than others.

As one who has struggled finding shoes for my next Camino, I sympathise.
Over the last 2 years I have bought 5 different pairs of shoes to 'try out'.
And none were as comfortable as my old boots (that I can no longer wear as they are too heavy for my bad knees)

I finally selected a shoe that was the best of the bunch for me.
And I ended up buying it in 2 different sizes, to trial.

What I have found on previous Caminos, and my latest 'quest' for new foot wear is this.

Your feet generally do swell a bit. But they swell in width, not length, according to my podiatrist.
So I go a full size larger than normal. (caters for my double sock regime too)
Wide fittings are often a good idea.
When going larger, take care that they are not too 'long' which can lead to heel lift, and blisters.
The supplied insoles are generally not that good. These can be replaced with off the shelf insoles or custom insoles. This has an impact on fit of course.

The bottom line, IMHO is this.
If they don't feel right in training, they ain't right....... :oops:

Maybe the footwear 'experts' here (there are a couple) will have some better and more helpful advice......

..
 
Bonus points if you can recommend me a better shoe for my needs: lightweight, good for boxy feet, durable, versatile, plush (though plush isn’t absolutely necessary). I have large feet and can’t try on in store, so ordering shoes to try on/send back takes serious time. About 1.5 months and six pairs so far.

Not being able to try on 'in store' is tough....... :oops:
But persevere if you can.......
You still have a year to go ;)
 
St James' Way - Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading to Southampton, 110 kms
my feet are boxy and need a wider toe box, but have never been wide.
I don't quite understand what boxy and wider toe box mean, if not that your foot is wide - at least too wide for those shoes, if the side of your foot protrudes over the support area and hurts. The shoes are simply too narrow, or do not have enough volume for your foot, and they are not suitable for you to wear on the Camino. Even if your foot does not swell much on the Camino, the day-after-day pressure of a slightly too narrow shoe will add up and result in blisters and pain.

lightweight, good for boxy feet, durable, versatile, plush
You probably won't find a pair that meets all of these requirements. I have sacrificed durability - my New Balance Fresh Foam More, in a generous and Wide sizing, are super comfortable, but I need to buy a new pair every 500km in order to keep the plushness. Comfort for your feet is the only thing that really matters.
 
You should look at the Altra Olympus - it definitely has the wide toe box that you need, and is very cushioned too. I haven't tried them myself, but a couple of friends love them.
Altra gets bonus points because they have an excellent return policy.

 
What is the difference between boxy and wide? I have a wide feet, they look boxy to me. Everyone has their own favorites based on their own needs. I like On-Running trail shoes, light weight, nice styling, some have waterproof option, but they need to be replaced about every 400km. In the US, if you order directly from the company, you can try for 30 days and return - I tried 3-4 styles, sent back the ones that didn’t work, ordered extras of the one that did. You can call them and they will advise the best styles for your needs. If you are having pain after 5 miles, the ones you have are probably not a good choice.
 
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

€60,-
I am a wide toe box guy. I did 700 miles in the Hoka Stinson 6 last summer. More cushioning and a roomier toe box than any other shoe I've tried--which includes virtually every trail shoe from Altra, Hoka, New Balance and Adidas. I wore Altra Olympus 2 in 2016 and the Altra Timp in 2018. Both are fine shoes, but not nearly as comfortable, and, for me, blister free. as the Hoka Stinson 6. Just bought another pair for the Camino Frances this summer. My wilderness backpacking days go back to the early 70's which was a time when almost everyone suffered blisters with leather boots, of which I have had more than my share. When I think about the old days like that and trying to break in leather boots, it seems astounding that trail runners are ready right out of the box, much more comfortable, and weigh about 1/3 of what we had in those old days.
 
I’ve purchased some Hoka Challengers and love everything about them—weight, comfort/padding, trail/road versatility, except… the arch area is ever so slightly narrow. After two 4-5 mile walks, my feet have hurt some (not a ton) from where the side of my foot protrudes over the support area.

I’ve never had a wide foot—my feet are boxy and need a wider toe box, but have never been wide. So my question is, when planning for swelling on the Camino, does it make sense to buy these shoes in a wide? Or should I only consider shoe size (not width) for swelling? Or is the thin middle a sign these just aren’t the right shoes?

Bonus points if you can recommend me a better shoe for my needs: lightweight, good for boxy feet, durable, versatile, plush (though plush isn’t absolutely necessary). I have large feet and can’t try on in store, so ordering shoes to try on/send back takes serious time. About 1.5 months and six pairs so far.
After trying numerous different brands, I have settled on Altras as my go-to. I pad the inside with a foam “cut-to-measure” inner sole, which can be replaced as it wears down. The Altra’s wide toe box works for my feet. If I were walking in hot weather I might buy a half size larger to accommodate swelling, but I never walk in hot weather. Choice of footwear is such an individual thing, but I would definitely beware of a shoe that already rubs your feet the wrong way. Such an issue is only likely to get worse after many days/miles. A wider shoe could be a solution but you’d need to try it to confirm for yourself. A shoe that is too wide or too large can also cause problems. There were a couple times when I actually bought shoes mid-Camino, either because my shoes wore out or because my feet needed something different. Finding the perfect shoe always felt like a search for the Holy Grail, until I realized, the stronger and more toughened my feet were from walking, the more abuse they could tolerate. Also, after trying many brands, I’ve gotten to a point where, if a shoe doesn’t feel comfortable the minute I try it on, it’s a reject because small irritations will only become big ones.
 
You probably won't find a pair that meets all of these requirements. I have sacrificed durability - my New Balance Fresh Foam More, in a generous and Wide sizing, are super comfortable, but I need to buy a new pair every 500km in order to keep the plushness. Comfort for your feet is the only thing that really matters.
I too wear New Balance Fresh Foam More shoes in the wide width. As you said, I do have to replace them rather often.

Phil
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I too wear New Balance Fresh Foam More shoes in the wide width.
The new version V4 has been ruined for me, but I quickly bought 3 more pairs of the V3. The V4 has a new graphic - a plasticky line - that creates an inflexible ridge on the outside of the shoe, exactly at the widest part of the foot. It feels like a seam, but is just a plastic line. Very dumb design change. Now I have 1 year to find another shoe model.
 
I’ve purchased some Hoka Challengers and love everything about them—weight, comfort/padding, trail/road versatility, except… the arch area is ever so slightly narrow. After two 4-5 mile walks, my feet have hurt some (not a ton) from where the side of my foot protrudes over the support area.

I’ve never had a wide foot—my feet are boxy and need a wider toe box, but have never been wide.

Exactly the same here Greg.
I've never had a need to question the width of my feet when trying on shoes and I'm in my mid 50's, however I also tried the Challengers this morning and the Stinson 6 last week and both even when oversized were very narrow. Because I've never questioned shoe width previously it was strange to have a shoe good in length yet feeling two sizes down on width. Both have been returned.
There are reports that the latest production of some Hoka shoes differ from previous purchases in both width and sole softness, ie: moderate and no longer plush.

For this reason I've just ordered the Hoka Kaha 2 GTX in a half and full size larger to try as these are reported to have a wider fit as standard. I'm also going from low to mid height GTX having researched the historical weather on my route properly.

Good luck Greg. Its a minefield out there!
 
I use V2 Fresh Foam More Trail Runners. Not sure if they have the seam. I do know that as they break down, they become uncomfortable for me.
Phil
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
I have never sized up on my shoes on any of my Caminos and never had any problems as my feet have never swelled to any amount that I noticed. In fact, I have only had the opposite happen to me. I have had my shoes become too loose, and on one Camino I had to double up my socks. I think it's from a combination of losing weight on the Camino and from the shoe stretching out to some degree from daily wear and getting wet and dry. I just wear whatever size shoe or boot that I normally wear and then take them out on some test/break-in walks before I go. That reveals to me any problems I may encounter and I adjust.
 
I would also highly recommend you look at different ways to lace your shoes you currently have.

I was a runner for 20 plus years, and always laced my run shoes a certain way. But when I went on Camino I laced my hike shoes normally like everyone else. I was plagued with blisters and more blisters until on the 14th day I looked at my shoes prior to having a taxi pick me up. I immediately relaced my shoes like my run shoes and I swear I heard my feet say .llahhh. 3 days later I was growing new skin and had no more blisters. Google different ways to lace shoes for different feet types


i have wide feet but narrow. Ankle and high instep. I also used the lace lock method of tying my shoes. The combo of slacking and the lace lock …. Brillliant
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
I’ve purchased some Hoka Challengers and love everything about them—weight, comfort/padding, trail/road versatility, except… the arch area is ever so slightly narrow. After two 4-5 mile walks, my feet have hurt some (not a ton) from where the side of my foot protrudes over the support area.

I’ve never had a wide foot—my feet are boxy and need a wider toe box, but have never been wide. So my question is, when planning for swelling on the Camino, does it make sense to buy these shoes in a wide? Or should I only consider shoe size (not width) for swelling? Or is the thin middle a sign these just aren’t the right shoes?

Bonus points if you can recommend me a better shoe for my needs: lightweight, good for boxy feet, durable, versatile, plush (though plush isn’t absolutely necessary). I have large feet and can’t try on in store, so ordering shoes to try on/send back takes serious time. About 1.5 months and six pairs so far.
Salomons have wide fit
 
You should look at the Altra Olympus - it definitely has the wide toe box that you need, and is very cushioned too. I haven't tried them myself, but a couple of friends love them.
Altra gets bonus points because they have an excellent return policy.

I, too, am in the market for good trail running shoes for my future Camino. I followed the Altra link you provided and a couple of the offerings sounded interesting, including the Olympus 5 you mention as well as the Lone Peak 7. Then I get to the comments sections and some folks rave about their shoes while others, and not just a few, complain about durability issues, inexplicable sizing problems, color schemes (yeah, some are kinda funky) or long for days and styles gone by (like the Lone Peak 6). And for what trail runners go, who doesn’t want a quality product? Fortunately, I live near a “running store” that carries Altras, Hokas, Salomons, et al, and I will walk on over and spend some time chatting up the salespeople, trying on some TRs and hear what my “dogs” have to tell me about each pair. Thanks for all the good info y’@ll have provided on the forum. You give us rookies a good starting point from which to get out and find the gear that best suits all of our individual needs. Buen camino🤙🏽
 
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

€60,-
I, too, am in the market for good trail running shoes for my future Camino. I followed the Altra link you provided and a couple of the offerings sounded interesting, including the Olympus 5 you mention as well as the Lone Peak 7. Then I get to the comments sections and some folks rave about their shoes while others, and not just a few, complain about durability issues, inexplicable sizing problems, color schemes (yeah, some are kinda funky) or long for days and styles gone by (like the Lone Peak 6). And for what trail runners go, who doesn’t want a quality product? Fortunately, I live near a “running store” that carries Altras, Hokas, Salomons, et al, and I will walk on over and spend some time chatting up the salespeople, trying on some TRs and hear what my “dogs” have to tell me about each pair. Thanks for all the good info y’@ll have provided on the forum. You give us rookies a good starting point from which to get out and find the gear that best suits all of our individual needs. Buen camino🤙🏽
One of the reasons why my friend likes the Olympus is because it has a Vibram sole which is much more durable that the Lone Peaks' sole.
 
I would also highly recommend you look at different ways to lace your shoes you currently have.

I was a runner for 20 plus years, and always laced my run shoes a certain way. But when I went on Camino I laced my hike shoes normally like everyone else. I was plagued with blisters and more blisters until on the 14th day I looked at my shoes prior to having a taxi pick me up. I immediately relaced my shoes like my run shoes and I swear I heard my feet say .llahhh. 3 days later I was growing new skin and had no more blisters. Google different ways to lace shoes for different feet types


i have wide feet but narrow. Ankle and high instep. I also used the lace lock method of tying my shoes. The combo of slacking and the lace lock …. Brillliant

To Catperson:

Re-lacing your shoes can make a world of difference. The inside heels of my walking/running/hiking shoes would always fray and wear out and, of course, do a number on my heels with the blister facto. I’d end up trying to DYI it to varying degrees of success (or “unsuccess”, really). Then I ran across a YouTube video about the “runner’s knot” way of lacing your shoes to keep your heels from slipping and sliding and moving around. The runner’s knot utilizes the last (top) two little eyelets on your shoes to keep your heels locked in place, and by George, it really works. Since that hallowed day, my heels don’t slip, there is no wear n’ tear to the shoes’ inside heels and I haven’t had to use any of my Compeed blisters fixer pads for a good while!
Below is just one of a number of YT vids on the runner’s knot. Happy trails and buen camino🤙🏽

 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
I’ve purchased some Hoka Challengers and love everything about them—weight, comfort/padding, trail/road versatility, except… the arch area is ever so slightly narrow. After two 4-5 mile walks, my feet have hurt some (not a ton) from where the side of my foot protrudes over the support area.

I’ve never had a wide foot—my feet are boxy and need a wider toe box, but have never been wide. So my question is, when planning for swelling on the Camino, does it make sense to buy these shoes in a wide? Or should I only consider shoe size (not width) for swelling? Or is the thin middle a sign these just aren’t the right shoes?

Bonus points if you can recommend me a better shoe for my needs: lightweight, good for boxy feet, durable, versatile, plush (though plush isn’t absolutely necessary). I have large feet and can’t try on in store, so ordering shoes to try on/send back takes serious time. About 1.5 months and six pairs so far.
If anything feels wrong about a shoe initially it is likely to become much worse on the trail. Another area to inspect is immediately over the toe joints - some shoes have a seam there which I haven't noticed initially but soon wears a groove into the tops of my toes.

I need a large toe box (both width and depth) but have a narrow heel. After trying and rejecting many models there are two I am comfortable in:

New Balance 990, available in several widths, are very comfortable and have good cushioning but seem to start falling apart with the first step and on something like the Camino I'd probably need to replace them by 200mi., maybe sooner. Nice design but poor durability.

I've settled on the North Face Ultra 110 which fits me perfectly, offers good support, has protection around the toe and sides, a durable lugged sole suitable for all day hiking, and holds together several times longer than the New Balance shoes. I buy three pair at a time and use them for everyday wear, trail hiking, and light backpacking. The model may have been superseded by the Ultra 111 which in the catalog appears to be very similar.

There are quite a number of shoes that are wide in both toe and heel, many people like Keen.
 
Last edited:
One of the reasons why my friend likes the Olympus is because it has a Vibram sole which is much more durable that the Lone Peaks' sole.
Ah ha. Well, thanks, trecile. I will look into the Olympus as well as some of the other trail runners available and see what is up. It’s much easier to make an informed decision when you have a lot of good info in hand.🤙🏽
 
After two 4-5 mile walks, my feet have hurt some (not a ton) from where the side of my foot protrudes over the support area.
Never buy a shoe where your foot protrudes over the support area (sole). I walked with a man who got bad blisters after a few days right in the place where I could see his foot protrude over the sole on the right side towards the back.
I leant recently that there are feet combinations - wide toe box and wide heel, wide toe box and narrow heel (that's me) etc. Sounds like you might need something more like normal toe box and wide heel. Sorry I can't recommend anything as this is not my foot type.
But if you know more about your foot type you can shop more effectively. Good luck and Buen Camino.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I’ve purchased some Hoka Challengers and love everything about them—weight, comfort/padding, trail/road versatility, except… the arch area is ever so slightly narrow. After two 4-5 mile walks, my feet have hurt some (not a ton) from where the side of my foot protrudes over the support area.

I’ve never had a wide foot—my feet are boxy and need a wider toe box, but have never been wide. So my question is, when planning for swelling on the Camino, does it make sense to buy these shoes in a wide? Or should I only consider shoe size (not width) for swelling? Or is the thin middle a sign these just aren’t the right shoes?

Bonus points if you can recommend me a better shoe for my needs: lightweight, good for boxy feet, durable, versatile, plush (though plush isn’t absolutely necessary). I have large feet and can’t try on in store, so ordering shoes to try on/send back takes serious time. About 1.5 months and six pairs so far.
Hey “Tocayo,” (meaning we have the same first name minus the “Rev”) you say your feet are too large to try shoes on in a store. Ok, but have you gone into a dedicated running store to talk to an experienced sports shoe “expert” about your issues? I knew next to nothing about athletic shoes until I went into a local store called, aptly enough, “Runners”. I told the young salesperson what I was planning vis a vis the Camino, my walking experience/history, the issues I was having with my feet, the socks and shoes I was using, the whole enchilada. He then had me walk to check my gait, watched how my feet landed with each step, measured my “dogs”, and even had some gizmo that took a heat reading of the bottom of my feet to check my arch and contact points. He talked to me about his take on a few of the trail runners they carry, insoles, socks and a few other things. I’m not sure if I’m explaining this well or not, but my point is I came away from that store session with a better understanding of my “patas” than I previously had. Now, I read the experiences of and get suggestions from experienced camino walkers on the forum and can take all of that info with me when I’m ready to dish out “la lana” ($$$) for shoes and other gear. Buena suerte with your search, tocayo, and buen camino🤙🏽
 
You should look at the Altra Olympus - it definitely has the wide toe box that you need, and is very cushioned too. I haven't tried them myself, but a couple of friends love them.
Altra gets bonus points because they have an excellent return policy.

I tried these on and thought they felt great. I am considering them.
 
I have wide feet and have found that Merrell Moab Ventilators are the best for me. I've used them for 3 Caminos so far. I ordered up a size for my first pair and have found that size still works for me. My feet grew half a size from my normal footwear on that first Camino.
Good luck!
By the way, I ordered through Zappos because I liked their return policy. There are no sporting goods/footwear stores in my area.
 
Last edited:
Join our full-service guided tour of the Basque Country and let us pamper you!
Below is just one of a number of YT vids on the runner’s knot. Happy trails and buen camino🤙🏽
Thank you for sharing that. I was rather amused that she went to all that trouble to explain how to set up a runner's knot lacing, and then finished with a granny knot. A serious runner or hiker would probably think about finishing it with any of a number of locking knots rather than a granny knot. There were some quite good short videos from REI about different lacing and knots. Ian's Shoelace Site is also a great resource, with many more wonderfully creating lacings and knots than I will ever need other than to entertain my grandchildren.
 
You have an eye for detail, dougfitz. I, for one, cannot speak to her reasons for finishing with a granny knot. Perhaps the vid is targeting non-serious types como yo. All I know is the knot has worked for me and that is what counts.
 
You have an eye for detail, dougfitz. I, for one, cannot speak to her reasons for finishing with a granny knot. Perhaps the vid is targeting non-serious types como yo. All I know is the knot has worked for me and that is what counts.
I was also amused because what is effectively a lacing technique seems now to be termed a knot. As an erstwhile competitive walker, the point of a runner's knot is to have a tie that doesn't come undone during competition. It is somewhat the same hiking, where one doesn't want to have to immediately stop if one loses part of a knot. There are several knots that achieve this, ie the knot won't collapse when one side comes free. A granny knot collapses as soon as one side is loosened.

What the video shows might have been more properly called a lock lacing finished with a granny knot. It's probably a moot point here.
 
St James' Way - Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading to Southampton, 110 kms
I was also amused because what is effectively a lacing technique seems now to be termed a knot. As an erstwhile competitive walker, the point of a runner's knot is to have a tie that doesn't come undone during competition. It is somewhat the same hiking, where one doesn't want to have to immediately stop if one loses part of a knot. There are several knots that achieve this, ie the knot won't collapse when one side comes free. A granny knot collapses as soon as one side is loosened.

What the video shows might have been more properly called a lock lacing finished with a granny knot. It's probably a moot point here.
Sounds good. You could always go to the source and take it up with the video author herself. 👍🏽
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
then finished with a granny knot.
I never thought to call that "bow" a granny knot, although I see it, now that you point it out. I tied my shoes like that for 60 years, even though I knew what a reef knot was and how it is better - I just never put the two together.
 
All I can add is ‘never buy shoes in the morning’; most people’s feet widen slightly during the day - especially after a full days walking with a rucksack.
This is excellent advice. I just made the mistake of buying trail shoes in the morning that fit perfectly in the store, but at the end of my first training walk my toes were bruised and the shoes hurt so badly that I couldn't even get them on for the second day. I got them muddy on the first day so I couldn't return them. It was a very expensive lesson: go for a long walk in the afternoon before buying trail shoes.
 
Exactly the same here Greg.
I've never had a need to question the width of my feet when trying on shoes and I'm in my mid 50's, however I also tried the Challengers this morning and the Stinson 6 last week and both even when oversized were very narrow. Because I've never questioned shoe width previously it was strange to have a shoe good in length yet feeling two sizes down on width. Both have been returned.
There are reports that the latest production of some Hoka shoes differ from previous purchases in both width and sole softness, ie: moderate and no longer plush.

For this reason I've just ordered the Hoka Kaha 2 GTX in a half and full size larger to try as these are reported to have a wider fit as standard. I'm also going from low to mid height GTX having researched the historical weather on my route properly.

Good luck Greg. Its a minefield out there!

Just adding to this comment to say I'm in my 40s, have never questioned the width of my feet in sports shoes, and thought from initial research on this forum that Hokas seemed like a no-brainer for my Camino Portuguese (last 100 km only) this May.

The moment I tried on my first Hoka (Speedgoat 5) in US 7.5 (I normally wear US 6 or smaller) it felt noticeably narrow at my inner arches. Going up to US size 8 was the only way I didn't feel the arches, but that would've been way too long. I've tried on several others (Torrent, Challenger among others) hoping to find a Hoka model that works and none of them do. I'm able to try on Hokas in-store so this hasn't wasted much of my time, but perhaps it could save some of yours (I mean the OP).

Conversely, in an expert shoe store I went to, the guy insisted Altra Olympus would be fine for me in size 7, and indeed it felt fine.
 
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

€60,-
I just received the two pairs of Hoka Kaha 2 GTX in a 9.5 & 10. I'm usually a UK 9 in anything.

Hoka KAHA 2 GTX

Wearing standard cotton socks the 9.5 was quite snug mid foot and the big toe less than a thumbs width from the front which would give restricted flexibility in sock selection. These are being returned.

The pair sized 10 felt at home the very first stride so will be worn on next months Camino as needed.
 
The pair sized 10 felt at home the very first stride so will be worn on next months Camino as needed.
Sounds good! Now, can I suggest that you find some very light weight liner socks (wool or synthetic) to take along with you, to provide flexibility in case your feet do swell a bit.
 
Thank you CC. I tried those on at the end of a long day on my feet. Standing, kneeling, up and down step ladders and walking apx 3km. A usual day.
However I will be taking various socks and ejecting what's not appropriate into the charity box/es.
 
Join our full-service guided tour of the Basque Country and let us pamper you!
On my first Camino, I thought my feet would toughen up (I realized that after I walked for two hours my outer toes fell asleep). They didn't toughen They, got blisters. So then I cut out the insole, so my toes would get more room, but then I got blisters on the bottom of my feet. -- So, my advice is to go and buy some different shoes. I recommend that you try on mens shoes-- overall they are wider than women's and have more toe room.

I wear men's teva kimtahs when hiking and walking the camino. But sadly, they are no longer made.
 
I posted this earlier today on @Robo 's YouTube channel (I think they are the same person; apologies if not):

Thanks, Rob. I am setting off on the Camino Frances from St Jean PdP in 2 weeks (first camino) & when I started "training" (just 20km flat walks, really, with a backpack), I was sure the Salomon trail runners I use in the Alps every summer would be perfect.... but I quickly discovered that by the beginning of the 4th hour, my feet were starting to hurt & for the first time the Salomons felt too small (my Alpine hikes are rarely longer than 10km or so and I usually have lunch in the middle). I tried various alternatives at an excellent local store, favouring Hoka Speedgoats with Vibram soles in advance. However, after a 2 hour store visit, I walked out of there with a pair of Hoka Challenger 6 ATR Wide fitting, and a full 1.5 sizes larger than my Salomons. I felt like Coco the Clown the first time I wandered off for a hike, ... but 4 hours later my feet were very comfortable (I also transferred my Superfeet Trail Hiking insoles into the Hokas). The Challengers were much better cushioned than the Speedgoats, which felt more of a true trail-running shoe (but I'd have liked a Vibram sole on the Challengers for durability). I've thought about heel-lock lacing, but not tried it, having always found the Superfeet to provide good heel hold. If my feet start moving around on the descent to Zubiri, I might give heel-lock a try...

I should add that I've never bought a Wide fitting shoe before, and I have no doubt that the extra room, including for my toes, is a real help. Had I not read a post on shoe fitting by one of the regulars here on this forum (I regret I cannot remember who), in which he wrote that you should choose what feels best, not necessarily following what a modern measuring machine tells you, I would never have bought the Wide Hokas : I mean, SURELY such a big shoe would be much too big etc etc... but my intuition said "Get these", so I did. The store (Bever, in Amsterdam's Gelderlandplein shopping centre, for anyone in or near Amsterdam) were happy to fit the shoes for me to try with exactly the same Superfeet insoles that I had left sitting in my hall at home.
 
Last edited:
I’ve purchased some Hoka Challengers and love everything about them—weight, comfort/padding, trail/road versatility, except… the arch area is ever so slightly narrow. After two 4-5 mile walks, my feet have hurt some (not a ton) from where the side of my foot protrudes over the support area.

I’ve never had a wide foot—my feet are boxy and need a wider toe box, but have never been wide. So my question is, when planning for swelling on the Camino, does it make sense to buy these shoes in a wide? Or should I only consider shoe size (not width) for swelling? Or is the thin middle a sign these just aren’t the right shoes?

Bonus points if you can recommend me a better shoe for my needs: lightweight, good for boxy feet, durable, versatile, plush (though plush isn’t absolutely necessary). I have large feet and can’t try on in store, so ordering shoes to try on/send back takes serious time. About 1.5 months and six pairs so far.
1. Go see a podiatrist.
2. Test your shoes, socks and your feet by hiking regularly and for longer and longer distances.
3. Learning different ways to lace your shoe may help with width.
4. You can always buy new pairs of shoes on the Camino should you require.
5. Go see a podiatrist.
 
New Original Camino Gear Designed Especially with The Modern Peregrino In Mind!
not quite on topic but does anyone have any opinions on Skechers hiking boots and shoes. Look good but looks are not everything.
 
I’ve purchased some Hoka Challengers and love everything about them—weight, comfort/padding, trail/road versatility, except… the arch area is ever so slightly narrow. After two 4-5 mile walks, my feet have hurt some (not a ton) from where the side of my foot protrudes over the support area.

I’ve never had a wide foot—my feet are boxy and need a wider toe box, but have never been wide. So my question is, when planning for swelling on the Camino, does it make sense to buy these shoes in a wide? Or should I only consider shoe size (not width) for swelling? Or is the thin middle a sign these just aren’t the right shoes?

Bonus points if you can recommend me a better shoe for my needs: lightweight, good for boxy feet, durable, versatile, plush (though plush isn’t absolutely necessary). I have large feet and can’t try on in store, so ordering shoes to try on/send back takes serious time. About 1.5 months and six pairs so far.
I have watched several YouTubes on how to purchase your shoes and things to consider, I went with a size larger then I regularly wear, a zero drop sole and a wider toe box, of course everyone's feet are different. For all the exercise I have done so far I have found these shoes to be very adequate, check out some YouTube.
 
I’ve purchased some Hoka Challengers and love everything about them—weight, comfort/padding, trail/road versatility, except… the arch area is ever so slightly narrow. After two 4-5 mile walks, my feet have hurt some (not a ton) from where the side of my foot protrudes over the support area.

I’ve never had a wide foot—my feet are boxy and need a wider toe box, but have never been wide. So my question is, when planning for swelling on the Camino, does it make sense to buy these shoes in a wide? Or should I only consider shoe size (not width) for swelling? Or is the thin middle a sign these just aren’t the right shoes?

Bonus points if you can recommend me a better shoe for my needs: lightweight, good for boxy feet, durable, versatile, plush (though plush isn’t absolutely necessary). I have large feet and can’t try on in store, so ordering shoes to try on/send back takes serious time. About 1.5 months and six pairs so far.

I tried on the Challenger 7 and thought the same thing, so close but I need just a tad more width. Of course REI didn't have them in wide, Hoka does make them in Wide. I prefer to just go wide now, even tho my feet are not that wide. wide in the front mostly.

maybe order from a place with good return policy, runningwarehouse.com etc.

I ordered a pair of the new New Balance More Trail V3 in wide from the New Balance store, we will see, should be in this week.

Go wide!
 
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

€60,-
Contrary to what so many say about sizing up for the camino, I discovered that my feet don't swell much at all. In fact, I think the only blisters I got were due to the fact that my foot slid a bit in a too-large shoe. In general, my athletic shoes - walking, running, hiking, etc - have always been 1/2 size larger than my street shoes. But I went up a full size larger for the camino, to my detriment. BTW, I'm a wide forefoot, narrow heel fit, with right foot slightly smaller than left.
So, whatever you shoes you choose, be sure to give yourself plenty of long distance walks before you go to be sure of your footwear. And if you buy from REI, you can return them if they don't work for you, no matter how worn (within a year of purchase).
 
I size up half a size and buy a wide for my Camino shoes. I wear either Speedgoats or Challengers, with high arch Power Step insoles.
 
Over the years there has been a lot of push back on the notion of buying a size larger shoe, with experienced members recommending getting shoes properly fitted at an outdoors store. This might not help the OP, but this is a short version of that advice:
I agree that if you have footwear properly fitted for a walk like the camino, it is likely to be larger by a size or more than one's normal footwear. But rather than use some magic number rule like this, I would recommend that you get your footwear properly fitted at a good outdoors store. It is worth it to prepare yourself by walking as much as you can beforehand, going later in the day, having the socks and any special insoles you are intending to use with you, and taking time in the store to use the fitting slope and pronation test if they have one. Perhaps in the extreme, such as being unable to visit a shop with appropriate fitting equipment, using a rule of thumb like this might be the best way of proceeding, but it is still no guarantee of getting the right sized footwear. (https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/leaving-boots-at-home.48954/#post-529163)

For a more complete explanation of how to get footwear properly fitted, the first half dozen posts at this thread cover pretty much everything, although some people might find there are useful titbits later in the thread.
 
A guide to speaking Spanish on the Camino - enrich your pilgrim experience.
I have large feet and can’t try on in store, so ordering shoes to try on/send back takes serious time. About 1.5 months and six pairs so far.

@RevGreg, I can see you've had a large number of replies

Like many others before me I have war stories to tell. And better than most. I knew about wide feet from my father and was prepared mentally for some issues when I started training in early 2012.

After well over a year of a little toe banging against the side of shoe after shoe, and blisters, I sought medical advice (I already had podiatry advice for pronation and an insert to assist with that). The result was surgery to straighten the hammer toe and relieve suspected osteo-arthritis in that little toe. In the recovery room the surgeon advised I would soon need surgery for the next two!!

A few months later the podiatrist and a shoe shop focused on sports shoes advised the make and model I have used these past nine years. I use a shoe that is:
  • length: 2 to 3 sizes longer than my day shoes
  • width: widest of three in their collection
  • upper is flexible to adapt itself to my foot shape
  • open weave so I can wade through streams and be touch dry in well under 200 metres of walking
  • copes with my two sox per foot arrangement that I and !Robo prefer

For me I have definitely found that length as the main factor in show selection is just misleading. Since 2014, for my chosen model and size I have purchased a total of 8 and walked over 9,000 km. This model has one drawback for me: it is designed a shoe for runners. This means the turn up at the front shows little wear, while the back corner of the heel wears quite quickly

Since surgery and finding "my shoe" just on nine years ago, I have had no foot issues have walked more than 9,000 km at home and abroad.

As to supplier, I am extremely lucky. My home has a population of about 400,000 in an square area about 60 km each side comprising three main valleys. Even so, there is at least one sports shoe shop in each valley and each of the major retail outdoor pursuits chains has at least one outlet and most have three or more.

@RevGreg, I give you that recital to suggest you look for some part of your US home country that has a focus on outdoor pursuits with more than one retail shoe chain represented. Then take a week off work and visit them. Visit more than once in that week before committing to a purchase. And your future return postage savings will go towards your travel and accommodation.

And so I say to you kia kaha, kia māia, kia mana'wa'nui (take care, be strong, confident and patient) and I hope to read of your (trouble free) achievements in due course.
 
I’ve purchased some Hoka Challengers and love everything about them—weight, comfort/padding, trail/road versatility, except… the arch area is ever so slightly narrow. After two 4-5 mile walks, my feet have hurt some (not a ton) from where the side of my foot protrudes over the support area.

I’ve never had a wide foot—my feet are boxy and need a wider toe box, but have never been wide. So my question is, when planning for swelling on the Camino, does it make sense to buy these shoes in a wide? Or should I only consider shoe size (not width) for swelling? Or is the thin middle a sign these just aren’t the right shoes?

Bonus points if you can recommend me a better shoe for my needs: lightweight, good for boxy feet, durable, versatile, plush (though plush isn’t absolutely necessary). I have large feet and can’t try on in store, so ordering shoes to try on/send back takes serious time. About 1.5 months and six pairs so far.
Metoo, same "problem" (buy/return to store). And, testing them inside the house is not the same as long walks..
 
not quite on topic but does anyone have any opinions on Skechers hiking boots and shoes. Look good but looks are not everything.

My husband bought a pair of Sketchers Hiking shoes to walk to work. They look great and he says they are super comfortable, but after only 2 weeks of light walking, the sole was already VERY worn and we had to glue back one of the plastic bits on the side.

So, great for comfort, looks and light walking, but he said it's not Camino material.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
My husband bought a pair of Sketchers Hiking shoes to walk to work. They look great and he says they are super comfortable, but after only 2 weeks of light walking, the sole was already VERY worn and we had to glue back one of the plastic bits on the side.

So, great for comfort, looks and light walking, but he said it's not Camino material.
I am also going thru the shoe buying process and it has been time consuming, but as so many of the experienced forum participants emphasize, wearing the correct shoes for your feet is número uno. As for the Skechers, yep, they’re comfy, have a wide selection and look ok… but, nah, not Camino material. Not even close. Happy shoe hunting y buen Camino!
 
Wearing standard cotton socks …,

Cotton is not recommended although some people are probably fine.
The type of sock I wear makes a big difference to shoe comfort. I wear all sorts of socks when I walk at home but really notice the improvement when I wear my lightweight merino Camino socks.
 
Whatever you end up with one thing that many have said here is true: if the shoes you have now aren’t comfortable they aren’t going to get better on the Camino. The beauty of trail runners I think is that you can pretty much straight away after just a little walking know if they suit or not…no “breaking in”. Just experiment a bit and find the pair your feet like. Most Camino terrain isn’t too difficult so shoes will work fine. Buen Camino, and enjoy it!
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.

Most read last week in this forum

I'm asking because I CAN live without these. I'll keep it short; should I bring...? Sleeping liner - (don't albergues have at least one sheet? for me that will be enough) Kindle + Kindle...
What is the best all in one detergent that washes body, hair and clothes?
Hi everyone, I'm deciding last minute whether I should bring my bikini or not to Camino Frances, in SJPP (shipping some of my stuff to Santiago). Did my research but couldn't find too much for...
Hi there, I’m starting my first Camino Frances early May, and I don’t know whether I need hiking poles or not? I’m 26 years old, relatively fit and don’t have any injuries (yet!) I used poles for...
I have two chargers with a Spanish plug, both have USB connections. I only need one, and for fun I weighed them. The Apple charger weighs 26 g. The Qualcomm Quick Charger 3.0 weighs 56 g and is...
First Camino and walking with my wife. Decision time. Fleece and Puffer. I think one only but weather looks changeable at the moment. Trying to keep under 7kgs! Looking forward to a experience of...

❓How to ask a question

How to post a new question on the Camino Forum.

Similar threads

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2024 Camino Guides
Back
Top