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Socks - are they important??

Clearly, not in the big picture...

But to prevent blisters - do I need to invest in proper walking socks, rather than the usual cotton ones I wear everyday?

And if so, what are proper walking socks? Wool? also have some thicker nylon-y ones but they make my feet hot.

Advice gratefully received


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2006, Camino Portuguese 2009
I think they are very important. I wore some sock liners with wool socks over them. I was surprised that my feet never got hot and I also didn't get blisters. I think the socks rub against each other instead of rubbing against your foot.


Active Member
I've also been advised by friends who have done the camino or who are hikers to wear the type that are 'wicking' socks - ie they draw the moisture away from the foot - moisture means blisters at some stage. I've bought some and are very happy with them in my training sessions. They aren't cheap but the pain of blisters is more expensive in other ways. :(
There are two possible solutions - double socks that try to ensure that the two socks rub mainly against each other or wool-type socks that instead try to keep the feet dry

Find a proper running shop and ask their advice - and buy a couple of pairs so that you can change them at lunchtime
Yes yes yes yes. While you can (& should) cut corners financially in other areas, the 2 you should not are: Boots & Socks.

I used 2 prs of socks every day--one wicking or liner sock & one smart wool or smart wool-type sock. Yes, they are expensive, but necessary.

In addition, I taped up my feet each day (or every other day if the tape held up) with bandage tape. I put it on areas that I know I get blisters. Worked like a charm & I had happy feet.

Another vote for liner socks and wool oversocks... I was new to the whole liner sock idea, but tried them, loved them, and had absolutely no problems. I would wholeheartedly recommend Coolmax or other wicking wool socks (and as far as I am concerned, the thicker the better) with a thin wicking liner sock. Bridgedales are my favourite, but I'm sure every nation will have quality brands - so find out from hiking compatriots what they recommend.

I also cannot recommend too highly Brasher's very lightweight leather boots (Superlite GTX) - an nice low cut waterproof boot that is incredibly comfortable, gives great support and protection from impact in very varied conditions. I cannot imagine ever going back to a synthetic.

Good luck with the sock hunt!
What prevents blisters- DRINKING LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER!!!!!
And don't forget to REST every few hours. it seems the people who RACE to get a bed are prone to feet problems. I could not believe the people in Arca (after the 2 trails joined) the amount of feet problems!


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
pjdine said:
Another vote for liner socks and wool oversocks... I was new to the whole liner sock idea, but tried them, loved them, and had absolutely no problems. I would wholeheartedly recommend Coolmax or other wicking wool socks (and as far as I am concerned, the thicker the better) with a thin wicking liner sock. Bridgedales are my favourite,
I bought some Bridgedales earlier this year and have absolutely loved them: they are the most comfortable tramping socks I have ever known. I am interested by the liner idea and went and bought some Bridgedale liners today. As soon as my exam is over (Wednesday) I will be able to get out and about to try them out!


Maggie Ramsay
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago de Compostela (2005) Via Francigena (2010) Le Puy to St Jean (2014)
Bridgedale pure wool for me, so wonderful!! I wore Vaseline, then a nylon socking sock (ankle length) then my Bridgedales. Changed in the middle of the day (more Vaseline and clean socks) My feet were happy the whole way. One blister on the first day before I started that regime, none after.
The feet are more important than anything!
Drinking water may help reduce but wont prevent blisters forming. Blisters are caused by one area of your body getting rubbed so much in hot conditions that the body reacts by forming a blister to try and remove the excess heat.

You can drink gallons of ice cold water but it wont stop your feet being rubbed if you dont get decent boots, properly fitted, properly broken in and with good quality socks. Cotton socks hold a lot of water so they will cause the skin to become moist and therefore weakened. Nylon socks are harsh on your feet and can be very hot - again your feet get too wet if the socks dont wick. Wool socks, especially with a liner, are fantastic. Its worth the cost but try several types...i had so many reccomendations for Smartwool and Bridgedale but I find 1000 Mile the best for my feet. Each to their own.

But anyway - the answer to the question is emphatically yes!!

Try Bridgedale COOLMAX liners. They are great, never had any complaints even after walking in them for 600 KM.

Also a little of VASELINE on your feet before the liners also helps avoid blisters

I've been training in wool socks over silk socks with boots that fit well. No blisters!

The operative word: "training." I made out great with boots/socks but found out that my old backpack that I used to lug books around campus just didn't cut it for long hikes. Glad I found that out before I made it to Spain! Better to resolve problems at home first than to be one of the miserable people in hospitals early on the journey.


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
Hi Cathy,

One thing that I discovered VERY late in my last Camino was a Compeed stick. The idea of this was not unlike the way some people use vaseline - smear it very lightly over in potential "hot spots" and it should eliminate problems. Unfortunately I discovered this stick too late in my Camino to be of much practical use, but I intend to take it with me in a month and use it regularly, when i begin my second Camino. Others may have actually used this product and may be able to give some good advice.

Best wishes, Janet
Spursfan - i've used both types of 1000 mile sock (with and without built in liner) and I prefer the lined version. The other kind is very comfortable but i think for a long hike a liner sock is a much better idea.

Someone in a shop told me he felt having "less to rub" ie: wearing just one sock, was a better approach but I have to say I dont agree!

Ultimately its personal preference i think and what works best for you, the very best piece of advice i've ever had from a shop "expert" (the same guy who told me about the socks ironically) was this: When something is up against your skin then it has to bge something that works for YOU, no two people are identical and you should always take advice about such things with a huge pinch of salt. Wise words i'd say! This forum is great for advice and i will certainly be trying both liners and vaseline when i do the camino in august, and of course the run up to it, but i'll choose the combination that suits my feet in that situation not what others tell me.

Kinnereth said it best - the operative word is "training". Shell and I are walking as much as possible with fully loaded packs and trying out boot/sock combos. I've had blisters and a mild case of shin splints doing it but now I feel im set as far as kit goes. Im getting good at packing/unpacking easily, im getting a feel for the kit i need and how best to pack it and my feet are getting used to the boots. I have one more month of training and I will be just about ready I reckon. Cant stress enough how important it is to do all this before an actual hike. Im coming back to this after years away from hiking and i've never done something like the Camino (or half camino as we're doing :cry: ) so im not leaving anything to chance! :D

Thanks for this - my training consisted of 18 mile walks at weekends and was a good way to identify problems - I also used Bodyglide (similar to Vaseline but less sticky) on heels and toes each morning as well as some preventative old-fashioned sticking plaster strips on odd places

One other thought to add is to spread your walking across all surfaces found on the Camino rather than, as can be the case, spending too much time walking on hard roads and instead searching out softer verges along the way as well
cathyke said:
Clearly, not in the big picture...

But to prevent blisters - do I need to invest in proper walking socks, rather than the usual cotton ones I wear everyday?

And if so, what are proper walking socks? Wool? also have some thicker nylon-y ones but they make my feet hot.

Advice gratefully received
In answering your first question, cotton is absolutely the worst material for socks because of it's liquid absorption and retention characteristics. More perspiration exits your body through your feet than from any other area. If your socks are a non-absorbing wicking material it serves to push the water away from the skin, towards the outside of the material, keeping your feet reasonably drier. But if the material is of cotton, the perspiration is absorbed by the fibers which tends to hold the sweaty liquid against the skin until the skin begins to soften, turn whiter and wrinkle like a prune-then blisters easily appear upon the slightest friction upon the softened, wrinkled skin.

The socks I wear depends upon the pace I set. If it is casually strolling, even for all day, then just a single pair of some merino wool sock like Smartwool or Bridgedale is usually sufficient. But when I want to go faster, picking up the pace, then I always add a thin polypro liner between my foot and the wool sock. If I don't, and with the much faster pace, blisters may appear.

I generally do not apply any lubricating ointment upon my feet, although in the past I have used Body-glide. I prefer the liner with wool combination. At least it is not as messy.
Yes...socks are very important. In fact, I think they are every bit as important as shoes/boots. I took two pairs of smartwool outer socks and three pairs of wicking liner socks. I washed the liner socks every day and they were usually dry or almost dry the next morning. Each day I started out with clean, dry liner socks. I didn't wash the outer wool socks because they take a long time to dry. Ended up buying a third pair of outer socks when I bought shoes in Sarria. I also used vaseline between my toes and around the heels. Finished in Santiago without blisters.


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJDP - Santiago April "2013"; European Peace Walk"2015"; VIa de la Plata "2016"
I walked the complete Camino Frances in April May of this year. I had two pairs of socks. I used 100% Australian wool Snowgum brand. The inner sock was light weight and the outer sock was mid weight. I washed them everyday. They always dried overnight. I hardly wore the second pair and they just settled deeply into the bottom of my backpack. I never used Vaseline however I did rum Silic 15 cream into my feet each morning.

Buen camino


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Google Bobby Orr.

But unless you're willing to take a long time toughening up your feet you'll need good socks


This is an interesting question and I think that the answer will vary from person to person. I recently wrote on another similar question that I thought that the important issues were ill fitting footwear and dampness. Another issue that was raised was toughening the feet, and I suspect that this might be the key for many people. I do get blisters but never the debilitating ones I have seen many others suffer. I have worn several kinds of socks. Usually wool. I have worn the 1000 mile socks. Most recently I have worn Quechua socks from Decathlon in Bilbao. No idea what they are made of but they were fine. It doesn't seem to matter what socks I wear. BUT my feet are tough. How do I toughen my feet? In my off Camino life I mostly wear sandals without socks and I walk barefoot on the beach. Clearly not an option for many people. So for those who can't do as I can, I suggest wool or the 1000 mile socks.

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