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Shoes and boots

Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk May (2018)
#1
I am planning to walk the entire Camino in May of 2018. I have watched a number of documentaries on YouTube and the consistent complaint is extremely painful blisters. I understand that I need to break my boots in (need to buy them) well before the trip. My question is - does it make sense to also bring a pair of trail shoes so I can alternate between boots and shoes - hopefully preventing "hot spots" from wearing the same shoes every day? My trail shoes are light and well broken in. Thanks is advance!
 

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trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#2
I am planning to walk the entire Camino in May of 2018. I have watched a number of documentaries on YouTube and the consistent complaint is extremely painful blisters. I understand that I need to break my boots in (need to buy them) well before the trip. My question is - does it make sense to also bring a pair of trail shoes so I can alternate between boots and shoes - hopefully preventing "hot spots" from wearing the same shoes every day? My trail shoes are light and well broken in. Thanks is advance!
Many of us only bring trail shoes and no boots at all. Mine are a pair of lightweight New Balance trail runners. Walked from Saint Jean to Finesterre in them last year and only got one tiny blister. My back up shoes were a pair of sandals that I can walk in if necessary.
Here's some info about boots vs trail shoes:
http://www.cleverhiker.com/blog/ditch-boots
 

jozero

Oh... That's what the shell is for...
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF January 2013
CF April 2016
CF January 2018
#3
You'll get many different recommendations to your question! My advice is that regardless of boots, shoes or sandals, fit is the most important factor and if you go with boots or shoes (and maybe sandals?) the socks (and possible liners) you wear under them. I've walked several thousand kms using Lowa boots and smart wool socks and nary a blister so I know what works for me and my feet. When you buy your footwear I'd suggest it may be worth your while to try some different combinations of socks and liners and put on some real distance to see how your feet react. You'll know when you find the right combination!
Buen Camino
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#4
Having backpacked thousands of miles of rough wilderness trails with pack weights, on average, of 16 Kg (36 pounds), wearing trail running shoes, I will not go back to my old-style backpacking boots. My current favorites are the New Balance Leadville and the Brooks Beast. Rain or shine, they make my hiking and walking life easier. I also avoid Gortex in hiking shoes like the proverbial plague.

My pack weight on the Camino will be about 12 pounds. I couldn't imagine doing the Camino, with that light of a load, in heavy boots. Trail shoes, like Oboz or Merrill produce are an option between trail runners and boots.

Whatever you decide, get your footwear well prior to departure and walk in them, with your pack loaded, for several 15 km walks. The heavier, or beefier, the footwear is, the more it takes to "break" them in. Trail running shoes really don't require any break in, although you still need to do some long walks in them, under load, to make sure they will function properly for you in fit, support, and cushioning. I would also suggest to purchase at least a size larger than your regular street shoes.

When you go to buy your shoes, take your loaded pack with you, and wear the same socks, or combination of socks, which you are going to wear on Camino. With your pack and socks on, fit your shoes or boots, then walk around the store for a while. Note not only how the shoes feel on your feet, but also if they rub on the ankle protuberances and achilles tendon.
 
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CaminoDebrita

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Camino(s) past & future
Frances SJPP to SdC Oct/Nov 2015
Frances Burgos toSdC March/April 2016
W. Highland Way August 2016
Camino Somewhere September 2017
#6
I have had foot issues, and if there is any area in which I will carry extra weight, it will be in regards to keeping my feet comfortable. Unless you have serious foot issues, and most of us do not, only two pairs of footwear: whatever you wear on the trail, and whatever you wear in town.

Don't carry one more ounce than you need, but that said, if you do have foot problems, if your trail runners are extremely light, do what you need to do. Don't rely on strangers to tell you what you don't need if you have an issue that often requires swapping out footwear.

That said, don't pack your fears. It is foolish to carry one more of anything, "just in case". Spain is very sophisticated, and if you need something there, you can usually find it--I even found an extra pair of hiking shoes when my boots self-destructed on the trail!
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
#7
I am planning to walk the entire Camino in May of 2018. I have watched a number of documentaries on YouTube and the consistent complaint is extremely painful blisters. I understand that I need to break my boots in (need to buy them) well before the trip. My question is - does it make sense to also bring a pair of trail shoes so I can alternate between boots and shoes - hopefully preventing "hot spots" from wearing the same shoes every day? My trail shoes are light and well broken in. Thanks is advance!
Hi,

You've got plenty of time to discover what's right for you. Modern boots don't need breaking in unless you want to try full leather, hi-top "traditional" hiking boots. My boots fit perfectly and they're the most comfortable walking shoes I own. In fact I'm wearing them right now! Because I'm heading out for a walk.

Here's a link to a previous post, rather wordy, where I wrote about blisters, footwear choice and related issues:

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...when-you-cant-walk-outside.48766/#post-525704

Footwear is a perennial topic on the forum. Lots of different opinions. I'm no expert BUT, (as they say) after 12 months training before my Camino Frances and a lot of pain and soreness and curiosity and research, I learned to be very wary of anyone who says "all you have to do is buy x brand/model shoes and you can stop thinking."

We are all different and our feet are even more differenter (sic) than anything else.

Have a great time out there - and Buen Camino, - Mike
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#8
I'm getting ready for my first Camino. As part of the prep, i went to a shoe store with very well trained and educated sales staff. It was eye opening-learning how to truly fit shoes and the technical information about why one type is different than another.

So perhaps good advice is buy whatever is right for you-but buy it from an expert.

Also, the pair of shoes you are training in will be broken down by next year. If they work, buy a spare pair now. And make sure that when going downhill you toes do not come in contact with the shoe.
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
#10
The OP is not asking about a brand, nor boot vs what have you. He wants to know if two different types of walking footwear is a good idea, or if just sticking to one type will do.
IMHO, sometimes the OP isn't quite asking the question they don't quite realise they should ask. By sticking one's neck out a wee bit and risking the wrath of the thought police, one can gently and kindly lead a fellow pilgrim towards formulating further questions and more wide-ranging and focussed lines of enquiry. By rigidly sticking to the OP at ALL times, one risks rigid, limited thinking. I prefer curiosity and flexible, creative thinking. But that's just wacky presumptuous old me.
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
C. de Salvador/Primitivo (2018)
#11
Having backpacked thousands of miles of rough wilderness trails with pack weights, on average, of 36 Kg (36 pounds), wearing trail running shoes, I will not go back to my old-style backpacking boots...
Just to note that 36 kg is about 79 pounds.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
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Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#12
I am planning to walk the entire Camino in May of 2018. I have watched a number of documentaries on YouTube and the consistent complaint is extremely painful blisters. I understand that I need to break my boots in (need to buy them) well before the trip. My question is - does it make sense to also bring a pair of trail shoes so I can alternate between boots and shoes - hopefully preventing "hot spots" from wearing the same shoes every day? My trail shoes are light and well broken in. Thanks is advance!
To your specific question, no. I would support the advice to take what you will walk in, and your second pair should be what you will wear in the evening. If you already have footwear that fits, is still functional and will remain so for the length of your camino, use it. It may not be perfect, but you already know that.

If you are tempted to replace your current footwear, you will find plenty of heat and a little light here. As has already been stated, this issue is raised regularly. Unfortunately, it is not much better on the web generally, where it's easy to find opinions and much more difficult to find facts. I would make this same criticism of the site recommended by @trecile earlier.

This site appears to be run by a single individual to spread an ultra-light hiking agenda, and this particular article is little better than a series of headlines and opinions. Read it by all means, but don't think it should be given any more weight in your consideration than original advice you will get from forum members her.

If your major concern is blisters, there is also plenty of advice here about that. My own view is that even with good footwear and appropiate socks selected, it is worth augmenting that with prophylactic taping. Use the forum search function, then ask about specifics that haven't been addressed.
 

David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#13
I am totally with Doug on the prophylactic taping! - the moment there is a hot or burn or discomfort spot then whack some tape over it.
As Michael Caine told me in Puente la Reina a while back (you have to do his voice in your head) "my mate said, if you get a hot spot on your foot slap a plaster on it. Job done!" (he didn't add 'not many people know that' :)

Re the opening question - WalkerforSue, seems like you have trail shoes that you are already really happy with .. do you need to buy boots for the Camino? Seems to me - and I may be wrong - that the difference between walking outdoors at home and on Camino is the weight in the pack which stresses the foot with each step .. so packing light is a good thing for foot relief .... and whether one even needs boots in summer or not ... I was on the Meseta last week wearing Keen Newport trekking sandals (sooo comfortable!) and I mainly saw pilgrims wearing lightweight trekking footwear rather than boots.

I am not suggesting that you do the same, only that you should know that the best option for you is to wear what you are really comfortable with - as long as they have a tread thick enough so you don't feel the stony paths just about any footwear will do the job well - and summer on Camino is hot! - oh! and don't forget that your feet will increase by at least one size after a few days of pounding the Camino with your pack!!

Buen Camino.
 

t2andreo

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C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
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#14
In my five years experience on the Forum, and having walked five Caminos, any advice Dougfitz or David give can be relied on, without reserve.

I too have my footwear preferences. I also have very problematic feet. But, being careful, and erring on the side of generous fit and cushioning, I have avoided any blisters. I do have other issues, but blisters are not among them.

In my experience, fit and comfort are the key aspects of choosing footwear. What works for YOU in your experience is the correct solution.

Specific questions about socks, blister prevention, foot care, etc. Can easily be found using the forum search function.

I hope this helps.
 

dougfitz

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Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#15
As Michael Caine told me in Puente la Reina a while back (you have to do his voice in your head) "my mate said, if you get a hot spot on your foot slap a plaster on it. Job done!" (he didn't add 'not many people know that'
I think part of the difficulty is that when you are starting out and a lot of things about your body are starting to get sore, it isn't going to be easy to work out that one of them is a hot spot. It's also too easy to tough it out a little longer when it would be better to stop and attend to your feet. There is no simple solution to either, but if you can remember this - the pain you tough out today will be back to haunt you even more tomorrow. It's better to stop than to push through.
 
Camino(s) past & future
camino francés sept 1, 2015
#16
I am planning to walk the entire Camino in May of 2018. I have watched a number of documentaries on YouTube and the consistent complaint is extremely painful blisters. I understand that I need to break my boots in (need to buy them) well before the trip. My question is - does it make sense to also bring a pair of trail shoes so I can alternate between boots and shoes - hopefully preventing "hot spots" from wearing the same shoes every day? My trail shoes are light and well broken in. Thanks is advance!
I wore salomon gtx mids and never had s blister. Two socks system with a Vaseline coat every morning
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#17
Just to note that 36 kg is about 79 pounds.
<Blush> Yeah, I just caught that and corrected "36 kg" to "16 kg". NOTE: The last time I carried 79 pounds of weight was during a 9 month field trip to Vietnam a long time ago ;-)
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#18
<snip>..... This site appears to be run by a single individual to spread an ultra-light hiking agenda, and this particular article is little better than a series of headlines and opinions. Read it by all means, but don't think it should be given any more weight in your consideration than original advice you will get from forum members her........
Doug, I quite agree with your observation of the http://www.cleverhiker.com/blog/ditch-boots website. However, what the author is stating has become conventional wisdom among the large body of backpackers in the thru-hiking community for the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. A large percentage of the experienced, non-thru hiker backpacking community have also echoed the findings reported on the website.

Should that website's opinions on trail shoes be given due diligence and consideration? I believe that it should. After all, are not Camino pilgrims part of the at-large ultra-light hiking/walking community? :) But your concerns are well founded in that that there are other sources of information and knowledge on the subject that also should be considered. And I would like to underscore the advice you are giving on prophylactic taping (I love Leukotape) and dealing with hotspots.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk May (2018)
#19
I think part of the difficulty is that when you are starting out and a lot of things about your body are starting to get sore, it isn't going to be easy to work out that one of them is a hot spot. It's also too easy to tough it out a little longer when it would be better to stop and attend to your feet. There is no simple solution to either, but if you can remember this - the pain you tough out today will be back to haunt you even more tomorrow. It's better to stop than to push through.
Haha - well said to a woman who is stuck home for five days recuperating from a workout injury. Note to self: "Working out the second day with a back is dumb and sacrifices more workout time than skipping the second day!" Thanks for your wise advice.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk May (2018)
#20
The OP is not asking about a brand, nor boot vs what have you. He wants to know if two different types of walking footwear is a good idea, or if just sticking to one type will do.
Yes, that is my exact question, however, I am open to and thankful for everyone's input. To further clarify, I'm a climber and I use my trail shoes (with sticky soles) on my approach, so I wear them regularly and replace them when they start to break down.
 

dougfitz

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Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#21
Doug, I quite agree with your observation of the http://www.cleverhiker.com/blog/ditch-boots website. However, what the author is stating has become conventional wisdom among the large body of backpackers in the thru-hiking community for the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail. A large percentage of the experienced, non-thru hiker backpacking community have also echoed the findings reported on the website.
Indeed, and there is much that this community can offer in understanding that not every every situation needs boots, carrying extra weight doesn't make sense, etc, etc.

But my observation is they rarely discuss the risks and issues associated with the approaches they propose for an age and fitness demographic such as one might find on the camino. I could take every section of the 'Ditch Boots' article and point out where the author has ignored, downplayed or just disparaged any information on alternatives. It would be a rather boring and dry critique and I'm not about to do it here. But I do suggest that for many of us, advice that suits fit young people doing the AT etc is not always going to suit our own circumstances.
 
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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#22
Yes, that is my exact question, however, I am open to and thankful for everyone's input. To further clarify, I'm a climber and I use my trail shoes (with sticky soles) on my approach, so I wear them regularly and replace them when they start to break down.
Thank you @WalkforSue , some people like to get carried away and let the world know they know things and forget what they highschool teacher taught them: it doesn't matter how brilliant your essay is if you are not answering the question. :D

Now that I feel vindicated ... :rolleyes: pick something that works for you for walking, the lighter the better, and then something to roam around in in town and the albergue. I have walked with Croc flipflops for a few days on the Frances when I realised my fancy boots were killijg my feet, and if it wasn't because the Crocs material is so porous and would not last for weeks and weeks, it was really ok. Ok, I was not going down rocky and muddy bits then, but just saying that you don't need super technical footwear, just super comfy footwear.
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
#23
My favourite part of Disneyland is Messyworld. That's where you'll find: democracy, art, the solar system, and love.

Then, of course, there's Logicworld. About which Jack Nicholson once said, "I'd rather stick needles in my eyes." But necessary. And I love it.

Buen Camino, - Mike

 
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Bumpa

Active Member
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Camino Frances Roncesvalles to Sahagun Oct 2016
Sahagun to SDC April 2017
#24
Indeed, and there is much that this community can offer in understanding that not every every situation needs boots, carrying extra weight doesn't make sense, etc, etc.

But my observation is they rarely discuss the risks and issues associated with the approaches they propose for an age and fitness demographic such as one might find on the camino. I could take every section of the 'Ditch Boots' article a point out where the author has ignored, downplayed or just disparaged any information on alternatives. It would be a rather boring and dry critique and I'm not about to do it here. But I do suggest that for many of us, advice that suits fit young people doing the AT etc is not always going to suit our own circumstances.
Good point Doug. The internet provides us with a wealth of opinion as to what we should do in a variety of situations. Often, we have no way of judging the worth of these opinions. It is important for each of us to take the advice and fit it into our own personal experiences, abilities and aspirations. Often, we run into difficulties when we try to mold ourselves into something that works for others
 
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk May (2018)
#25
Thanks to all of you for your wonderful advice. I will start training on long walks and sections of the AT with my trail shoes and go from there!
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#26
Indeed, and there is much that this community can offer in understanding that not every every situation needs boots, carrying extra weight doesn't make sense, etc, etc.

But my observation is they rarely discuss the risks and issues associated with the approaches they propose for an age and fitness demographic such as one might find on the camino. I could take every section of the 'Ditch Boots' article and point out where the author has ignored, downplayed or just disparaged any information on alternatives. It would be a rather boring and dry critique and I'm not about to do it here. But I do suggest that for many of us, advice that suits fit young people doing the AT etc is not always going to suit our own circumstances.
:) So true. But don't forget that a goodly percentage of thru-hiking backpackers are over the age of 50, and many wear trail runners. Me, I'm 64 and converted from my last pair of traditional leather Lowa boots to wearing trail runners about 5 years ago. With rock plates built into these shoes' soles, and with a pair of the many types of third party insoles to help with more-than-normal foot support, these shoes ain't our grandma's Adidas. :)

But aside from personal preferences and biases, I echo your concerns and suggestions wholeheartedly. Thank you, Doug.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#27
What about taking something waterproof for the feet? I've seen two schools of thought: 1. Waterproof is a must-have and 2., Forget it, you're feet will get wet anyway.

I've got a lightweight trail running shoe that would probably dry out pretty quickly. My waterproof shoes are fairly heavy - a pound and a half probably. What experiences have people had? Are waterproof shoes a leave-behind?
 
Camino(s) past & future
September/October (2015) CF; October 2017 PC from Porto
#28
What about taking something waterproof for the feet? I've seen two schools of thought: 1. Waterproof is a must-have and 2., Forget it, you're feet will get wet anyway.

I've got a lightweight trail running shoe that would probably dry out pretty quickly. My waterproof shoes are fairly heavy - a pound and a half probably. What experiences have people had? Are waterproof shoes a leave-behind?
I've been reading this thread and have had the same question. I'm planning my second Camino for this coming October, walking from Porto to Santiago and then on to Finisterre. I remember how wet Galicia was in 2015, and I've been thinking that I'll want waterproof footwear. However, I've found some Hoka One One's that are incredibly light, cushioned, and wonderful on my feet. I also have a pair of Hoka waterproof low-rise boots, not as comfortable. I'm really dithering about which to choose. I'm 75 and had a lot of foot pain on the Camino Frances two years ago, wearing Keen low-rise boots. My question is, if "your feet will get wet anyway", what if you walk for days in rain? Won't wearing wet shoes become a foot problem?
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
#29
What about taking something waterproof for the feet? I've seen two schools of thought: 1. Waterproof is a must-have and 2., Forget it, you're feet will get wet anyway.

I've got a lightweight trail running shoe that would probably dry out pretty quickly. My waterproof shoes are fairly heavy - a pound and a half probably. What experiences have people had? Are waterproof shoes a leave-behind?
When are you walking? Wet feet in colder weather can be very uncomfortable, warm weather, not so much. Wet feet means your skin will soften and make you vulnerable to blisters. Dry shoes and wet pants or shorts means water running down your legs and getting into your nice waterproof boots. No shoes are really waterproof unless like me, you wear gaiters that cover the tops of your boots. So you ask a simple question which leads to many others to be answered before you can decide on a course of action.

Also: How far are you walking? One week of possible occasional/or no rain at all is more bearable than six weeks of bad luck/bad weather.

Also, I found that zig-zagging around flowing or standing water can take up more energy and time than just walking through it all in waterproof footwear. I learned to judge the depth of standing water and just walked straight through the shallower stuff.

Some people just go and plow through most things, others plan, take precautions and generally have a more comfortable and easier time IMHO. The first group thinks the second group are a bunch of sissies and the second group think the first group are reckless. Each type is probably used to their habits - so different strokes for different folks.

I walked 800kms last year. It was a very wet April. My boots got moderately wet 3 times. I didn't get a single blister (but I don't easily blister under any circumstances). I wear structured "old-fashioned" boots because I have a weak ankle and weak arches, I successfully managed a pretty bad case of plantar fasciitis. It's easier to make boots waterproof than hiking sneakers.

It seems to me that people on this forum use the word "boot" to describe different types of footwear.
 
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John Sikora

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese/Coastal Sept
(2019) Via de la Plata - Seville to Santiago May
#30
I also just took trail shoes (high end New Balance). With the amount of walking on roads, the advice to have more flexibility and air movement was spot on. Only had some minor blisters which simple bandaids protected. Had I put them on when I first felt it, I probably would have been blister free. Obvious downside is that in the rain you have a problem. But, at least for me, wet feet handle better than hot blistered feet.
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
#32
Mid-September to late October. Plan to have rain pants that should be 'gaiter-like'.
I walked in April - started last few days of March. Cooler weather was a deliberate choice. Seems to me that people who walk in summer are bonkers, but some people have little choice of timing.

I took gaiters last year which didn't quite cover the tops of the toes of my boots. In heavy weather, water pooled at the bottom of the laces and leached into my boots. I've replaced those gaiters with shorter custom-made ones which cover all the toe area including the bottom of the laces. Next time, my boots should stay bone-dry. I wore rain pants and gaiters. One day the rain was "falling" horizontally - I regret not taking a picture of a dry "rain shadow" beside a light pole on a piece of concrete. On crazy days like that, I need all the help I can organise. Rain pants don't reach down far enough, some but not all gaiters do.

There are different types of gaiters. The longer ones are designed to protect legs from whipping undergrowth and from moisture collected on undergrowth which can saturate clothing or run down legs into boots even after the rain has stopped. My shorter ones will be ideal for Camino style more open-country walking.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
"2017"
#33
I am planning to walk the entire Camino in May of 2018. I have watched a number of documentaries on YouTube and the consistent complaint is extremely painful blisters. I understand that I need to break my boots in (need to buy them) well before the trip. My question is - does it make sense to also bring a pair of trail shoes so I can alternate between boots and shoes - hopefully preventing "hot spots" from wearing the same shoes every day? My trail shoes are light and well broken in. Thanks is advance!
I've walked the West Highland Way and 3 days left on the Camino in Lowa boots, I've never had a single issue with blisters etc. I absolutely wouldn't wear anything else.
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#34
What about taking something waterproof for the feet? I've seen two schools of thought: 1. Waterproof is a must-have and 2., Forget it, you're feet will get wet anyway.

I've got a lightweight trail running shoe that would probably dry out pretty quickly. My waterproof shoes are fairly heavy - a pound and a half probably. What experiences have people had? Are waterproof shoes a leave-behind?
There is no such thing as a totally waterproof boot. Believe me, in my decades of wilderness backpacking I've tried it all. At best, the inevitable is only kept at bay for a bit longer. The US Military recognized this during the Vietnam war. My boots were fabric tops and leather bottoms with holes in the leather at the insole level. The holes drained the water that would soak into the boots when slogging through standing water in the jungles, or through rice paddies and shallow ponds.

Trail running shoes DO dry out pretty quickly. Boots will stay wet a lot longer than the shoes will. I have used trail runners on hikes throughout the Cascades, for weeks at a time, where rain was a given and soggy, puddled trails were inevitable. Yeah, the shoes (New Balance Leadville) would get wet, but paired with the smartwool socks I use, kept my feet comfortable. No blisters, and things dried out overnight.

I also carry an extra pair of lightweight insoles to swap out if the wet insoles aren't quite dry enough. And of course, extra socks. If I expect rain, I will apply a heavy coat of something like Body Glide, or Bonnies Balm to my feet to help keep them protected from pruning from excessively prolonged exposure to water. Of course, periodic breaks to allow for removing shoes and to dry off feet a bit is a good strategy.

For me, the conversion to trail runners about five years ago, was eye opening. Without the extra weight on my feet I am able to go farther with less fatigue.
 

Buzz Gray

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 2015, 2016
#35
I am planning to walk the entire Camino in May of 2018. I have watched a number of documentaries on YouTube and the consistent complaint is extremely painful blisters. I understand that I need to break my boots in (need to buy them) well before the trip. My question is - does it make sense to also bring a pair of trail shoes so I can alternate between boots and shoes - hopefully preventing "hot spots" from wearing the same shoes every day? My trail shoes are light and well broken in. Thanks is advance!
I have walked the Camino from SJ to Finisterre 4 times. I wear Adidas running shoes and running socks. I take out the inserts that come in the shoes and replace them with really good arch supports. Never had a blister or sore feet. Flip flops for after walking. Even though boot lovers won't like this comment, you don't really need boots. You will be walking not mountain climbing.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September/October (2015) CF; October 2017 PC from Porto
#36
There is no such thing as a totally waterproof boot. Believe me, in my decades of wilderness backpacking I've tried it all. At best, the inevitable is only kept at bay for a bit longer. The US Military recognized this during the Vietnam war. My boots were fabric tops and leather bottoms with holes in the leather at the insole level. The holes drained the water that would soak into the boots when slogging through standing water in the jungles, or through rice paddies and shallow ponds.

Trail running shoes DO dry out pretty quickly. Boots will stay wet a lot longer than the shoes will. I have used trail runners on hikes throughout the Cascades, for weeks at a time, where rain was a given and soggy, puddled trails were inevitable. Yeah, the shoes (New Balance Leadville) would get wet, but paired with the smartwool socks I use, kept my feet comfortable. No blisters, and things dried out overnight.

I also carry an extra pair of lightweight insoles to swap out if the wet insoles aren't quite dry enough. And of course, extra socks. If I expect rain, I will apply a heavy coat of something like Body Glide, or Bonnies Balm to my feet to help keep them protected from pruning from excessively prolonged exposure to water. Of course, periodic breaks to allow for removing shoes and to dry off feet a bit is a good strategy.

For me, the conversion to trail runners about five years ago, was eye opening. Without the extra weight on my feet I am able to go farther with less fatigue.
I like the idea of an extra pair of insoles. Thanks!
 
Camino(s) past & future
May /June 2017
#37
I have just walked the CF in May/June in my leather boots and Berghaus rain gear. I rubbed my feet with Vicks Vapo Rub then coolmax liners and merino wool socks . That worked for me as although I only had 2 rain days my feet were dry and never had a blister.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#38
There is no such thing as a totally waterproof boot. Believe me, in my decades of wilderness backpacking I've tried it all. At best, the inevitable is only kept at bay for a bit longer.
Perhaps my experience is different here, because I find that with proper raingear and good waterproof boots my feet will remain dry for almost all of the day unless I am doing very long days, even in pretty continuous rain and walking in mud and bog. When I have faced these conditions, most of the time the issue is one of sweat buildup getting to the point where it runs down under the raingear and into my boots. Even in early spring, I find this point is reached sooner than it might be when I am walking in more places with a more temperate climate. I suspect that part of this is the easy nature of the Camino paths, where it is easier to maintain a faster pace than other places I have walked.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#39
Whether deciding on boots or shoes it is important to buy them when wearing your chosen sock(s) combination to ensure the fit is correct. Our sock combination is a liner, then lightweight mohair and finally cushion sole mohair. We favour lightweight waterproofed leather boots which come just over our ankles with Crocs for indoor wear. Our rain trousers come down well over the boots so they do not fill with water and the boot tongues are sewn in so that water cannot get in unless paddling almost ankle deep in water. No wet fet and no blisters. Our final, very hot, day into Santiago in 2015 we changed our socks part way as our feet were starting to sweat and damp feet can blister more easily so spare socks are just as important as the correct boots/shoes IMO.
 

David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#40
The thing about DougFitz's info here (above) is that he doesn't just walk the Camino but has vast hands on (or is it feet on?) experience trekking in all sorts of climates and terrains over many years, not only as a trekker but as a first aider, so he has seen many feet in those situations too, not just his own -

I like walking Camino in trekking sandals (always in warm seasons) - Keen Newports - but when it comes to boots I would listen to Doug.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#41
The thing about DougFitz's info here (above) is that he doesn't just walk the Camino but has vast hands on (or is it feet on?) experience trekking in all sorts of climates and terrains over many years, not only as a trekker but as a first aider, so he has seen many feet in those situations too, not just his own -

I like walking Camino in trekking sandals (always in warm seasons) - Keen Newports - but when it comes to boots I would listen to Doug.
I find it a dilemma to give advice on whether or not to take good gear and try and walk dry, or just accept getting wet. My experience walking in temperate places is that good waterproof gear works and is part of being able to back up day after day when hiking. I took the same approach on my first camino in 2010 and again in 2014, and there were only a few rainy days. The gear I was using worked well as both rain and wind protection each time. Last year I decided to lighten my load and use a much lighter jacket, rain trousers and boots. These were okay in light rain, but did not perform well on the rainy days in Galicia just before arriving in Santiago, yet the very same gear has recently performed very well walking in very wet and very windy summer alpine and sub-arctic conditions in Norway and Iceland.

I also do short walks wearing good, light trainer style shoes that are not waterproof, but these are walks where I can get home quickly and dry out properly at the end of them were it to rain and my feet get wet. I am not sure that I could do that anywhere on the camino day after day if that were required.

In this the options appear to me to be:

a. if you want your feet to stay reasonably dry for as long as possible when it rains, use waterproof boots and other water proof clothing that will stop water draining into your boots. This might be rain jacket and rain trousers, or poncho and gaiters, or even rain jacket, rain trousers and gaiters (although that combination I think I would reserve for really boggy and muddy walking conditions).
b. alternatively, if you are prepared to have your feet get wet, and manage the issues this will inevitably cause if this happens day after day, then any non-waterproof footwear will do, and you just need to address the issue of keeping your head and torso as warm and dry as possible. In this case, a rain jacket would suffice, as would a poncho. Rain pants or gaiters might provide wind protection, but they would not serve to protect you feet from getting wet if you weren't wearing waterproof shoes.

Clearly, I prefer that my feet stay as dry as possible for as long as possible, and accept that this has impacts on the gear choices that I make.
 
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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#42
I am very much with @dougfitz on this one. There is a world of difference between getting wet on a day hike with the comfortable certainty of clean warm dry gear at day's end when compared with the distinct possibility of several consecutive days of foul weather on a long-distance walk when it may not be possible to wash or dry gear. A grim experience. Personally I prefer to err on the cautious side in choosing equipment which is fairly weather-resistant and I am prepared to pay the price in a little additional weight when doing so. The same goes for sleeping bags and cold-weather clothing.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September/October (2015) CF; October 2017 PC from Porto
#43
Does anyone have any experience wearing Hoka One One's? They are incredibly light but still have a good sole.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#44
Does anyone have any experience wearing Hoka One One's? They are incredibly light but still have a good sole.
I walked Porto to Santiago in a pair of Bondi 3. Super comfortable. Never felt any of the cobblestones that bother so many.

This being said, the tread is very soft, porous, so it does get worn quickly. Good for 300km, will not do for a full Frances, Norte or VDLP. HOO has other models with Vibram tread. I have a pair of Cliftons like that, but the toe box would be too narrow for me for a Camino, ok for going to the dog run. But HOO keeps coming up with many new models all the time, and recently launched wide versions of many of its models. Try as many of them on until,you get a good tread with a good fit.

Also, keep in mind that in order to be so light the material the shoe is made with is light, including made with tiny perforations. Waterproof they are not: if I walk through damp grass my socks will get wet. Bit they'll also dry fast!

A very comfortable shoe for tender footies.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September/October (2015) CF; October 2017 PC from Porto
#45
I walked Porto to Santiago in a pair of Bondi 3. Super comfortable. Never felt any of the cobblestones that bother so many.

This being said, the tread is very soft, porous, so it does get worn quickly. Good for 300km, will not do for a full Frances, Norte or VDLP. HOO has other models with Vibram tread. I have a pair of Cliftons like that, but the toe box would be too narrow for me for a Camino, ok for going to the dog run. But HOO keeps coming up with many new models all the time, and recently launched wide versions of many of its models. Try as many of them on until,you get a good tread with a good fit.

Also, keep in mind that in order to be so light the material the shoe is made with is light, including made with tiny perforations. Waterproof they are not: if I walk through damp grass my socks will get wet. Bit they'll also dry fast!

A very comfortable shoe for tender footies.
Thanks. I do have extremely "tender footies". I'm not sure it's possible to find any shoe that will eliminate the pain I'll have to suffer through. I walked the CF in 2015 in Keen low-rise boots. By midday every day, I had to use ibuprofen 600 and sometimes Tylenol 2, just to be to keep going. Now I'm planning to walk the CP in Hoka One One's in October, either W Challenger ATR 3, or TOR TECH MID Hoka One One waterproof boots. I thought I might want the ankle support for the cobblestones. Did you have trouble with that? If I didn't think I'd want the ankle support, I'd opt for the lighter weight Challenger. My age is against me at 75, because balance isn't as good as it once was. My poles will help with that, of course.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#46
By midday every day, I had to use ibuprofen 600 and sometimes Tylenol 2, just to be to keep going.

... the ankle support for the cobblestones. Did you have trouble with that?

My age is against me at 75, because balance isn't as good as it once was. My poles will help with that, of course.
The pain you feel by midday ... have you consulted a podiatrist? I ask because on my first C. the ball of my feet hurt a lot. I could not understand how others were doing just fine. I assumed I had not chosen a sturdy enough shoe. So I buy these memory foam, above the ankle monsters. 2 days in and I am in pain. So I took the boots off, pulled oit my Croc sandals and walked like this until I found trekking sandals in Astorga.

Visited podiatrist upon return and it turned out I have flat feet, and because I didn't have the right support, I was in pain. So I would recommend that you also look into that. Podiatrist can also help you select a shoe: bring your "short list" and ask for advice.

Cobblestones and balance: never has been an issue for me. They really are quite even, as they are small cobble stones, so your foot spreads over a number of them rather than hitting the sides of them.

I only used my walking sticks on this route once, and I have had them out every single day on all my other Caminos. But that one time I would not have been able to climb up from the road to the woods without them. Bit this was on the Variante Espiritual.

If you are unsure about your balance, bring them.

Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#47
I thought I might want the ankle support for the cobblestones. Did you have trouble with that? If I didn't think I'd want the ankle support, I'd opt for the lighter weight Challenger. My age is against me at 75, because balance isn't as good as it once was. My poles will help with that, of course.
I've got neuropathy in both legs from the shin down, foot drop in both feet. The sampietrini cobblestones in Rome a few years back really wore me out. I had orthotics that went inside the shoe, so high tops were kind of rendered useless because of the inability to really snug them against my ankles.

Since changing to outside-the-shoe orthotics, I've had really good luck with high tops when it comes to slightly uneven footing, such as cobblestones, the uneven shoulders of roads, etc.

The increased ankle stability of the high tops also helps with balance (my neuropathy also affected that - proprioceptors fried), but doesn't completely overcome my balance issues.

I've seen a lot of talk here about high tops being overkill on the Camino but I know in my special circumstances, and maybe yours, they can be a boon.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#48
I thought I might want the ankle support for the cobblestones. Did you have trouble with that? If I didn't think I'd want the ankle support, I'd opt for the lighter weight Challenger.
Does anyone have any experience wearing Hoka One One's? They are incredibly light but still have a good sole.
I'm going to add to my high-top comment above. It really is going to depend on the shoe.

I am trying a pair of Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi WP right now. Nice boot ... but the ankle support is negligible compared with my alternative, Adidas Supernova Riot Boost trail runners. The Hoka ankles seem better as gaiter substitutes than they do as ankle support. They are a good example for the argument that high-top ankle support is overstated. (This applies to the Tor Ultra Hi only - my quick impression of the Hoka Tor Tech Mid was that it was stiffer in the ankle and might therefore provide more support.) The Adidas' ankles are heavy cloth velcro straps that really lock my ankles in.

The Adidas are really light - 13 ounces each. The Hokas are only 17 ounces, and are waterproof. I'd go with the Adidas but I've got some special circumstances. I've got to attach a plastic clasp on the top of each shoe to connect my orthotics, and in the Adidas that means fastening the clasp to the soft fabric of the toe. I'm not sure that can last for hundreds of miles without tearing the soft fabric, as there is quite a bit of upward tension/pull on the clasps, even in some rest positions. The Hokas are perfect for attaching the clasp through eyelets that are in leather.

My plan is to bring both right now, but I find as I get closer I am getting more sensible about leaving 'extras' behind.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte, Camino Primitivo, Camino Finisterre
#49
I am planning to walk the entire Camino in May of 2018. I have watched a number of documentaries on YouTube and the consistent complaint is extremely painful blisters. I understand that I need to break my boots in (need to buy them) well before the trip. My question is - does it make sense to also bring a pair of trail shoes so I can alternate between boots and shoes - hopefully preventing "hot spots" from wearing the same shoes every day? My trail shoes are light and well broken in. Thanks is advance!
@WalkforSue A good pair of walking shoes is all you need. If you do a lot of hiking/trekking outside the Camino and you have a pair of well broken in hiking boots/shoes, wear them. If you need and suggestions for packing, you can find my packing list here: http://www.traveltomastery.com/camino-de-santiago-northern-way
 

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