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Socks nightmare, please help!

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2Santos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June/July 2014
Hi everyone! I have probably searched and read every thread on here about socks and now feel even more confused ! ))

I have decided against double-layer socks and not so sure about coolmax liner+wool option.

I do a fair bit of hiking, but nothing close to the Camino intensity. My trip will take place in mid-June, and I have a trusted pair of hiking shoes.

Is it ok/how many people wear just one pair of normal hiking socks (light to medium thick, 40-60% wool etc)?
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
I followed the advice to wear merino hiking socks and liners last year. I did get blisters - a recurrence of the one I picked up on my heel during training and many additional ones. My feet also felt very 'bunched up' under my toes about halfway through a day's walk, although my socks were still smooth. I probably decided to stop wearing two layers about the same time that my blisters healed, and my feet had hardened up - between two and three weeks. But I think this was coincidence.

This year I have new boots and have worn only single socks, 70+% merino Smart Wool mid weight. With experience I have purchased 'mini' socks because I did not like excess length. These come just above the level of my mid-height boots. No blisters so far in training, including some 25+ km walks.

You can only know what is best for you through experience, so if one pair works for you under normal circumstances and in training, then stick with that. And be sure to take some good quality tape with you so that you can protect any hot spots or vulnerable areas.

I commence my camino Portuguese in less than two weeks, so will soon find out whether or not I have got it right.
 
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CaminoKris2013

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2014)
My suggestion is to bring along a liner and see how it goes. Do you hike long distances? Are your shoes well broken in? Only you can say whether or not one or two socks is needed. The most important thing is that your feet stay dry.
 

NicoZ

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013
I do a fair bit of hiking, but nothing close to the Camino intensity. My trip will take place in mid-June, and I have a trusted pair of hiking shoes.
Eh?

If you do a fair bit of hiking your normal stuff is likely more then good enough.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
Lots of socks and lots of sock combinations have worked for pilgrims. The secret is to test properly before you are on the camino. Once you are there, your options are limited. It will be difficult to acquire new boots, new socks, and settle on a combination, particularly if you have already developed blisters from having the wrong boots and socks. Socks and boots is one area of discovery ill suited to the Camino. Know before you go!
 

Rambler

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2008 Camino Frances with Daughter, 2014 Camino Frances with Son
I always use two layers and have gotten only one blister from hiking in my entire life, and it was on a 20 mile training hike for the camino and showed up about mile 17. I got none on my Camino.
I also "prepped" my feet in three ways:
  • I soaked my feet in very strong hot tea for about 45 minutes weekly for the 6 weeks prior to the Camino. The tannin in the tea are supposed to harden your skin. (But note also that the only blister I got came during my time of doing this, so take it for what its worth.)
  • I rubbed 100% lanolin on my feet nightly for a month before leaving for the Camino. This is supposed to make your skin less susceptible to moisture. I do it just before going to bed so the lanolin will be absorbed into the skin.
  • I tried rubbing Tincture of Benzoine on my feet, but this liquid is very sticky and I am not sure how much benefit it provided.
The #1 practice I always hear about is coating feet with petroleum jelly daily. Personally I think it sounds gross, but so many live by this that it must work.
I do think the two layers of socks reduces friction. I would go with thinner socks in order to have two pair before I would just wear one, but that is because I have always had this work. The 1000 mile socks that have a liner built in do the same thing. I would be interested in if anynoe has issues with them drying on the Camino. Having liners and socks to air out seems like they would dry faster due to more surface area than a single "combo" sock.

But I will also say that your feet react differently on the second 15kms of your day than they do on the first 15kms, so if you do not try walking a 20+ km day to see if you get a blister, you may not realize it until you are on the camino. I think this happens to many people and then you are mitigating the issue the rest of the trip. When I did get my blister, it at least gave me a good sense of where to pay attention while I was in Spain so that I could prevent a blister if I had any feeling of a hotspot showing up.

Rambler
 

woodswoman

Member
Hi everyone! I have probably searched and read every thread on here about socks and now feel even more confused ! ))

I have decided against double-layer socks and not so sure about coolmax liner+wool option.

I do a fair bit of hiking, but nothing close to the Camino intensity. My trip will take place in mid-June, and I have a trusted pair of hiking shoes.

Is it ok/how many people wear just one pair of normal hiking socks (light to medium thick, 40-60% wool etc)?
When I was preparing for my Camino (walked the Camino Frances last September and October 2013), I read the forums for endless advise on socks and eventually saw a reference to 1000 Mile FUSION socks from England. Lots of people jumped on that discussion bandwagon and I decided to try a pair. Then I bought three more pairs. Sent a pair to my daughter on the Patagonia trail, who, after her tried and true sock formula and well-broken in boots, found herself with LOADS of blisters. She wore the 1000 Mile Fusion socks on the Annapurna circuit and proclaimed them a "f*&^ing lifesaver".

I got not one blister on my Camino, not one. I'll never use another kind of socks again. That's just my experience, and these ARE double layer socks, but I took back all the other socks I had purchased from REI, etc., and thanked Amazon for being the conduit between the UK sock company and my front door (and my feet). I would not have wanted to wear one layer of socks on the camino unless my shoes were sandals.
 

yakremark

Sister Kay Kramer CDP
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Sept. 2012)
CF (Oct-Nov. 2014)
I wore the smart wool PhD socks and did not get blisters. But I tried several brands and combinations before settling on
the PhD brand. As Falcon said above, make sure you have tried out socks well ahead of leaving for the Camino.
From a physical standpoint, I think the most important thing in your Camino preparation is the right socks and shoes
for your feet. Happy feet a happy pilgrim makes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
I've done both.
A person just has to figure out what's best for them.
It's like the boots/trainers question or the sleeping bag/liner question.
Everyone is different.

I usually begin with a pair of Smartwool over liners until my feet swell (usually the 2d-3d day).
Then it depends on the weather.
I also generally wear the combo when it's cold and then when it warms up, I just wear one pair.
In summer heat, I've even gone to wearing one pair of cheap China store cotton socks.

Do what feels best for you.
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
As we were training in the months before the Camino, I evaluated many combinations of socks and liners. I ended up wearing medium weight merino wool socks (both Smartwool and Powersox brands), plus some ladies ankle-high nylons that for liners. I tried polypropylene and silk liners, but settled on the nylon because the were extremely lightweight, wicked as well as polypro or silk, worked well to isolate friction between my feet and my boots, and they were free -- my wife had a whole box of them in her dresser drawer. However, I should add that my wife wore lightweight, ankle high WigWam synthetic socks without liners. We both applied a liberal coat of Gold Bond "Friction Defense" -- http://goldbond.com/friction-defense.html -- on our feet every morning before we started walking. Neither of us experienced any blisters for our entire 6 weeks on the Camino Francés.

This next bit of advice has nothing to do with socks, but it does pertain to feet, so I feel it's relevant to any discussion of socks, boots, and foot care. It concerns tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. If you have even a hint of these conditions, have your feet evaluated before you leave and get a pair of orthodic inserts to support your arches. This can be done by a professional or by the self-serviced machines that can be found at many stores that sell high-end running and hiking shoes, and even at most Walmarts. Once you start developing symptoms of these conditions, the only real solution is rest: getting off and staying off your feet -- not a practical solution if you're well into the Camino. I started feeling symptoms of plantar fasciitis around Leon, and being too stubborn (or stupid), I failed to address the issue and limped, at times hobbled) the last 300 km into Santiago in level 8 or 9 pain. It still bothers me at times, six months after completing the Camino.

Buen Camino,
Jim
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
When you find out what socks works for you and you train in them, get some brand new socks right before you leave. I guarantee the "training socks" will break down when you are on the Camino.
 

fraluchi

RIP 2019
Camino(s) past & future
One every year since 2007
During many Caminos and other hiking times I have been wearing MICO socks: the left one with "L", the right one with "R" (seems logic, noo_O) Last year, in Sarria, I needed to buy an extra pair and found a similar type in a local sports shop. When I unwrapped the socks in the albergue, both socks had "L" written in them.:( I rushed back to the shop to sort this out, where the owner started laughing: "L" stands for "Large":eek:.
So the left and right have become "uni-socks".;)
NB: they work out perfectly well.:)
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
I wear cool max liners as socks in hot weather. Ordinary hiking socks otherwise.
 

daesdaemar

Camino-holic
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles - twice
I have always worn Injinji liners with medium weight wool hiking socks in July and August with never a blister!
 

2Santos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June/July 2014
My suggestion is to bring along a liner and see how it goes. Do you hike long distances? Are your shoes well broken in? Only you can say whether or not one or two socks is needed. The most important thing is that your feet stay dry.
I hike about 10-15 km on the weekends and my shoes are ready for the Camino much more than I am :)

Eh?

If you do a fair bit of hiking your normal stuff is likely more then good enough.
My understanding is that I will be walking double to triple of my regular hikes, with few kilos on my back , and doing it day in day out for several weeks.
I am guessing (maybe incorrectly) that my feet and my body will react in a different way.

I always use two layers and have gotten only one blister from hiking in my entire life, and it was on a 20 mile training hike for the camino and showed up about mile 17. I got none on my Camino.
But I will also say that your feet react differently on the second 15kms of your day than they do on the first 15kms, so if you do not try walking a 20+ km day to see if you get a blister, you may not realize it until you are on the camino.

Rambler
Great idea, I will definitely try that!
 

2Santos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June/July 2014
I got not one blister on my Camino, not one. I'll never use another kind of socks again. That's just my experience, and these ARE double layer socks, but I took back all the other socks I had purchased from REI, etc., and thanked Amazon for being the conduit between the UK sock company and my front door (and my feet). I would not have wanted to wear one layer of socks on the camino unless my shoes were sandals.
I read a lot about 1000 Mile socks, but I am afraid in this case I will be stuck with two layers without having the option of removing one. Plus much longer drying time, as some people have mentioned before.

I have always worn Injinji liners with medium weight wool hiking socks in July and August with never a blister!
I was curious about those, are you talking about the ones with 5-toe design?
 
Last edited:

tictoc

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago
I wear sandals for all my hikes, wet, muddy or dry, and I just wear ordinary everyday socks.
I've experimented with "hiker" socks, sealskin waterproof socks and even the thin freeby socks you get on the plane and to be honest the only problem I had was with the sealskins which where double layer with gortex in between and they made my feet overheat, result, blister.
So the moral of the story is, put in plenty of practise miles of 20km plus in different socks and see what your feet tell you.
 

jayree

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC 2012
Irun to Fisterra 2013
Shikoku 2015
CP 2016
I have hiked two Caminos without getting blisters. Everyone seems to have a different method that works for them. I used thin synthetic socks (Cabela's X4 Tech Mini-Crew Socks) and NB low cut trail shoes (CF) and Keen low cut hiking shoes (CN). However, I think the most important thing was that I religiously applied BodyGlide SkinGlide, a "liquified powder," each morning. It is available at REI and Amazon. One tube will last about 10-14 days. It is expensive. The ingredients are:
Water (Purified), Talc, Dimethicone, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Emulsifying Wax, Propylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Triclosan, Xanthan Gum, Allantoin (Comfrey Root) , Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Propylparaben, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil, Menthol

http://www.bodyglide.com/products/liquified-powder/

It is important to make sure it contains dimethicone or similar. This substance purportedly incorporates into the skin epidermis and prevents it from rubbing against the dermis, the reason blisters form to start with, especially if your feet get wet or your shoes don't fit correctly. I used non waterproof shoes because they keep my feet cooler. I hiked in September and October when it didn't rain much. I am thinking about using SmartWool socks next time if I can be convinced they dry quickly.

One couple from England who hiked the CF 3 times blister free applied Vaseline every 2-4 hours. It worked for them but seemed too messy for me.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
I wore thin, lightweight, single layer, synthetic running socks when I did the Camino, and applied Vaseline (petroleum jelly) to my feet and toes every morning before I put them on. Zero blisters.
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
I wore Lidl hiking socks and one pair of Regatta. As good as they get and very inexpensive. Only got one blister and that was from damage to the footbed. You dont need brand names
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. Next: Gd St Bernard to Rome
Hello!
As the others said, you'll have to find the best sock combination that suit YOUR feet and the temperature when you're walking. I start with 2 pairs worn together, a liner sock plus a smart wool pair.
What I found invaluable though was the tip of using vaseline. It worked for me. When I ran out, I used the 'unguente del peregrino' which you can buy in Spain, good too but... Found it a bit smelly.... In France you can get hold of Nok cream (or through the internet) and it's very good :)
 

koknesis

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances June/July 2014
Camino Aragones August 2015
Camino Sanabres (Ourense-SdC) August 2015
VdlP 2017
Unfortunately you need to find out this yourself. Everybody is different. Since you will walk in June, I suppose the main concern is swetting. Wet feet means blisters. Whatever socks or liners you will wear. Just listen to your feet and when you start to feel uncomfortable, take off boots and socks and let them dry. You will loose some time, but gain in distance you can walk.
 
A

AJ

Guest
I've done both.
A person just has to figure out what's best for them.
It's like the boots/trainers question or the sleeping bag/liner question.
Everyone is different.
I have done both too and agree with Annie. My first camino socks were an American brand I bought in Spain. Fairly lightweight, wool/silk mix. They were very good. I then tried the 1000 mile fusion socks. They were good too, but no better than my first pair. My latest are quechua brand bought in Decathlon in Bilbao, very light, marked R and L and they too are fine. I have had blisters in all of these socks, but only minor ones lasting a couple of days. We are all different.
 

pipello

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés, Camino del Norte, and the Camino Portuguese (May, 2018)
Hi everyone! I have probably searched and read every thread on here about socks and now feel even more confused ! ))

I have decided against double-layer socks and not so sure about coolmax liner+wool option.

I do a fair bit of hiking, but nothing close to the Camino intensity. My trip will take place in mid-June, and I have a trusted pair of hiking shoes.

Is it ok/how many people wear just one pair of normal hiking socks (light to medium thick, 40-60% wool etc)?
My husband and I walked from Burgos to Santiago last year and we are heading back this year to complete the first part. I highly recommend Smart Wool PhD socks. We wore them with thin silk liners and did not get one blister. Let's hope I haven't just jinxed myself for this time around. The PhD are the key. I like the liners because they are easy to wash and dry quickly and then there isn't the need to wash the Smart Wool ones as frequently. That's my 2cents.
 

obinjatoo@yahoo.com

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
1 layer, wool. One big contributor to blisters that folks seem to negate or simply blow off is hydration. Here's the rule: Drink BEFORE you get thirsty and then drink MORE..... There are the 2 "Cs" to your pee: Clear and Copious... If it's not, you are on your way yo dehydration and nasty blisters. But don't take my word for it, try it for yourself. There is nothing to lose... Except water....
 

sriyantra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances September "2014"
As we were training in the months before the Camino, I evaluated many combinations of socks and liners. I ended up wearing medium weight merino wool socks (both Smartwool and Powersox brands), plus some ladies ankle-high nylons that for liners. I tried polypropylene and silk liners, but settled on the nylon because the were extremely lightweight, wicked as well as polypro or silk, worked well to isolate friction between my feet and my boots, and they were free -- my wife had a whole box of them in her dresser drawer. However, I should add that my wife wore lightweight, ankle high WigWam synthetic socks without liners. We both applied a liberal coat of Gold Bond "Friction Defense" -- http://goldbond.com/friction-defense.html -- on our feet every morning before we started walking. Neither of us experienced any blisters for our entire 6 weeks on the Camino Francés.

This next bit of advice has nothing to do with socks, but it does pertain to feet, so I feel it's relevant to any discussion of socks, boots, and foot care. It concerns tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. If you have even a hint of these conditions, have your feet evaluated before you leave and get a pair of orthodic inserts to support your arches. This can be done by a professional or by the self-serviced machines that can be found at many stores that sell high-end running and hiking shoes, and even at most Walmarts. Once you start developing symptoms of these conditions, the only real solution is rest: getting off and staying off your feet -- not a practical solution if you're well into the Camino. I started feeling symptoms of plantar fasciitis around Leon, and being too stubborn (or stupid), I failed to address the issue and limped, at times hobbled) the last 300 km into Santiago in level 8 or 9 pain. It still bothers me at times, six months after completing the Camino.

Buen Camino,
Jim
Now I have an old wives remedy for you - and I am an old wife! 6 years ago I suffered from diagnosed plantar fasciitis and had orthotics made but for 12 months I hobbled everywhere in pain. One day a lady in Rockhampton, Australia, asked me what was wrong. I told her and this was her remedy which worked for me. Every night for 6 months - and I was so desperate I did do it for 2 weeks short of 6 months - you cut an orange in half and juice it. It doesn't matter what you do with the juice. The resultant orange half cup is what you want. That is placed on the heel and secured with bandage - I also put on a plastic bag to save my sheets. Now our son is a scientist and I asked him why it might have worked. His explanation was that it acted as a splint during the night immobilising the heel/ankle area, and he also believed that there was some component in the pith that entered the skin and worked its magic. I started to notice an improvement within 3 months but kept up the routine to make sure. I even did it during an overnight train journey where the man across from me had had quite a few drinks and thought he was seeing things! Sriyantra
 

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
Our answer is a triple layer.
One pair of Rohan 'Inner and Hot' socks - wash daily. We take 3 pairs, two in pack and one on feet. Weight 25gms per pair
One pair of Corrymoor Sportsman (middle layer)
One pair Corrymoor Companion (Cushion sole - outer layer)
Both Corrymoors hardly need washing - part of the brand recommendation as they are mohair not wool. We wear a set and carry a set.
No blisters, happy feet in good fitting boots.
 

2Santos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June/July 2014
Thank you for your advice and recommendations! I must admit, I am as confused as before though, as it looks like 1, 2 or 3 layers seem to work great :)
As many of you have mentioned, the only way to find out is to try, so I will do few 25+ km trips in the next few days to see how my feet will react!
 

xin loi

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
I'm wearing smart wool, but not sure what works. Used to walk dark to dark on a sesmic crew carrying up to 90 lb when humping the main line. Never got a blister wearing army surplus boots with cotton sox. Most guys on our walking crew in Texas wore Cowboy boots all day and we walked overland from Carlsbad NM to Del Rio, Texas one summer. But last winter I got numerous blisters walking barefoot on the beach sand in Mexico. My Ex Ranger friend never wears sox for hiking--he claims that ALL sox cause blisters. Wear what works for you.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
I must admit, I am as confused as before though, as it looks like 1, 2 or 3 layers seem to work great :)
I will do few 25+ km trips in the next few days to see how my feet will react!
You can start with 3 and peel off a layer each day - I have an old army mate who swears by leather boots with no socks at all - so there's another possibility!
 

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