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Shoes and boots

Discussion in 'Equipment Questions' started by WalkforSue, Jun 18, 2017 at 8:07 PM.

  1. WalkforSue

    WalkforSue New Member

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    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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  2. trecile

    trecile Veteran Member Donating Member

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    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
     
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  3. jozero

    jozero Happiest When Walking

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    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
     
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  4. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017 at 2:22 AM
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  5. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Anemone

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    Two pairs of footwear only: whatever you decide to walk in, be it boot, sandals or trail runners, and then something for the albergue and walk around town (crocs, etc.).
     
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  6. CaminoDebrita

    CaminoDebrita Veteran Member Donating Member

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    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!
     
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  7. Mike Trebert

    Mike Trebert Member

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    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
     
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  8. Northern Laurie

    Northern Laurie New Member

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    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.
     
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  9. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Anemone

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    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.
     
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  10. Mike Trebert

    Mike Trebert Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017 at 7:27 AM
  11. JillGat

    JillGat I did it and I can't wait to do it again! Donating Member

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    Just to note that 36 kg is about 79 pounds.
     
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  12. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    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.
     
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  13. David

    David Veteran Member Donating Member

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    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.
     
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  14. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    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.
     
  15. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    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.
     
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  16. james walter purdum iv

    james walter purdum iv Active Member

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    I wore salomon gtx mids and never had s blister. Two socks system with a Vaseline coat every morning
     
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  17. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    <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 ;-)
     
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  18. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    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.
     
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  19. WalkforSue

    WalkforSue New Member

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    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.
     
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  20. WalkforSue

    WalkforSue New Member

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    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.
     
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  21. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017 at 12:41 PM
  22. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Anemone

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    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.
     
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  23. Mike Trebert

    Mike Trebert Member

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    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

     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017 at 7:29 AM
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  24. Bumpa

    Bumpa Active Member Donating Member

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    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
     
  25. WalkforSue

    WalkforSue New Member

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    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!
     
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  26. davebugg

    davebugg Active Member Donating Member

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    :) 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.
     
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