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Search 69,459 Camino Questions

Sticks and Boots

kaney55

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Sarria to santiago
Bit late in the day to ask these two questions as I've only 6 sleeps to go before i walk Sarria to Santiago. first question do I really need sticks for this stage? also My chiropodist has just told me the reason i am getting pains in my heels (plantar fasciitis) is because of my boots even though i have the correct size and insoles. My problem is i cannot wear another pair in before the walk. Do you think a well made pair of trainers would do or should i cancel. Also the never ending talk of blisters do even the well seasoned walkers get them or is it just the newbies. Thanks in anticipation of your replies.
 
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Non leather shoes should not need to be "worn in.". Wear them on a couple of long walks to make sure that they are right for you.
I always use hiking poles when I carry my Camino backpack. The extra weight changes my center if gravity, and I find that the poles help my posture, and thus my back in addition to all the other advantages they offer.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Plenty of time to break-in a pair of non-leather trail runners or trail hikers. This should not be a problem, and honestly, these shoes provide plenty of support for that Camino section. I've had plantar fasciitis and I use trail runners for all of my Caminos. The exception was my first Frances. My leather boots created issues and so I bought trail runners in Leon. I had no chance to break them in, I just put them on and walked. It was fine and I've never used anything else since then.

Yes, many people of all experiences get blisters. I get them nearly every time I walk a Camino. The trail runners help to keep the feet cool and remove moisture with the right socks. I believe that hydration is key. I use a water bladder rather than a bottle. It means I can easily reach for water whenever I need it and this has helped me greatly in reducing blisters.

Yes, use walking poles. As noted above, it helps to remove weight from your feet (helps the plantar), it helps to balance you as you walk by acting as a third or fourth point of contact with the rough, uneven ground and we believe it helps to keep a consistent rhythm to your walking.

Don't cancel, just go!
 
Plenty of time to break-in a pair of non-leather trail runners or trail hikers. This should not be a problem, and honestly, these shoes provide plenty of support for that Camino section. I've had plantar fasciitis and I use trail runners for all of my Caminos. The exception was my first Frances. My leather boots created issues and so I bought trail runners in Leon. I had no chance to break them in, I just put them on and walked. It was fine and I've never used anything else since then.

Yes, many people of all experiences get blisters. I get them nearly every time I walk a Camino. The trail runners help to keep the feet cool and remove moisture with the right socks. I believe that hydration is key. I use a water bladder rather than a bottle. It means I can easily reach for water whenever I need it and this has helped me greatly in reducing blisters.

Yes, use walking poles. As noted above, it helps to remove weight from your feet (helps the plantar), it helps to balance you as you walk by acting as a third or fourth point of contact with the rough, uneven ground and we believe it helps to keep a consistent rhythm to your walking.

Don't cancel, just go!
Thankyou for a great answer to my questions off to the shops tomorrow and repack the poles thankyou
 
Hi - don't be concerned too much. Just buy a pair of trekking trainers or trekking sandals - as long as they have a thick sole or the rough ground will press through.

Walking poles? I say that no one healthy needs walking poles - do you use them to walk round your park? to go shopping? Exactly - and we carry light packs on what is essentially a multi-day stroll.
Soldiers on march carry truly heavy packs with all their kit - they have done since biblical times - but none ever use poles ... were they actually effective surely one army somewhere would use them?

But one pole or staff is a fine thing to have to convert you from a biped to a triped on steep ground, it being fixed to your pack at other times. A strong umbrella does the same job but can also be used as a parasol and when it is raining.

Re blisters - there is absolutely no reason at all that anyone should ever get blisters, the only people to mess their feet up are the people who mess their feet up .... the body gives clear warnings .. the warning is called a 'hot spot' .... feet ache after walking, that is normal, but if you get a small localised sort of burning or hot point anywhere that is the precursor to a blister.
Take off footwear and pad that spot with something .. whatever you have, folded tissue, soft toilet paper, Elastoplast (band aid), even better to put cream or similar on the skin first to make it more 'glidey' .. then the chafing that will make a blister is stopped so no blister is formed - simple, really simple.
 
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I'll choose poles every day of every week.

Wilderness Environ Medicine 2020 Sep 24 "Are Trekking Poles Helping or Hindering Your Hiking Experience? A Review"
Says the following in the last line of the abstract; "When carrying a large external load, trekking poles may offer benefit by decreasing lower extremity muscle activity and increasing balance and stability"

Outside Magazine https://www.outsideonline.com/health/training-performance/trekking-poles-research/
"Scientists Weigh in on the Great Trekking Pole Debate. A new review sifts through the evidence for and against hiking with poles"
The conclusion:
1: You burn more calories
2: You walk faster and/or easier
- "The poles seem to enable people to adopt a more normal walking gait, with longer and quicker strides, particularly while carrying a pack or climbing a hill."
3: You take some load off your joints and muscles
- "When you’re walking downhill (and to lesser extent on level ground), poles take some of the load off
your joints. That means the forces and torques on your knees and ankles are smaller..."
- "Poles also help you brake when you’re descending, reducing the eccentric muscle contractions that
damage your muscles and leave your legs sore the next day."
4: You balance better
 
Best wishes on your upcoming trip. I suffer from plantar fasciitis as well and only wear trail runners. Trail runners are generally good to go from the start. I suggest a pair of Superfeet insoles (or similar) to add some cushioning to the soles.

Walking poles are a must on a Camino, whether you are healthy or not. I am not healthy, and I do not run around my park with poles, or while shopping for several reasons. Mainly that I don't have a 12-15lb pack on my back, my park is not 15 miles long, and it does not have 1000 meter elevation gains. Poles keep my posture upright under the weight of the pack, so it only makes sense that I wouldn't use them in town. I do use them while training whenever I carry my pack. But, as you have been diagnosed with an injury, you qualify as non-healthy, and anything you can do to ease the stress on your legs and feet will serve you well. Just be sure to catch a quick video to make sure you are using them correctly, or they won't help that much.

Blisters happen! And they happen more often if you ignore the signs. Stop, take off shoes, investigate what is happening. Drinking lots of water helps with prevention as the skin is not shriveled and rubbing back and forth. Toe socks have worked well for me as I haven't had toe blisters, and the heal blisters seem to be kept under control by wrightsocks dual layer socks
 
My suggestion - lightweight trail runners (not waterproof) with replacement gel insoles, toe socks, and definitely use good quality hiking poles (learn how to adjust height and use properly first). Buen Camino. 🚶‍♂️
 
Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
The attacks against my point of view usually start with how much weight it reduces, using poles, it doesn't. Stand on your bathroom scales holding two poles and press them down onto the floor either side of the scales ... now press down as hard as you can and see what difference it makes .. two ounces???
This point has been made before, and was thoroughly discredited then in the discussion that followed, starting here. I encourage anyone interested to do the test as @David describes it here, ie standing on the scales with the poles on the floor, or vice versa. I know when I have done this using two poles simultaneously that I was able to get over 20kg weight reduction, not the couple ounces suggested here.

Would I expect this level of reduction in normal, regular, use when walking. No! I'm not normally going to be pressing down with both poles at once, and not using as much force as I can muster. Nonetheless, I do expect that my poles will reduce the weight on my lower joints amongst the other advantages that regular pole use brings.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Bit late in the day to ask these two questions as I've only 6 sleeps to go before i walk Sarria to Santiago. first question do I really need sticks for this stage? also My chiropodist has just told me the reason i am getting pains in my heels (plantar fasciitis) is because of my boots even though i have the correct size and insoles. My problem is i cannot wear another pair in before the walk. Do you think a well made pair of trainers would do or should i cancel. Also the never ending talk of blisters do even the well seasoned walkers get them or is it just the newbies. Thanks in anticipation of your replies.
I finished the Camino Frances on 7 October. I wore Hoka Trail runners which lasted the whole way. I wore wool socks and applied Vaseline every morning before walking (except one). I had one blister, which I could have prevented, but that was the day I was out of Vaseline.
I used my poles for stability as much as support. They mostly helped on the grueling downhills after Alto de Perdon, Cruz de Ferro and other steep descents.
The other advantage of trail runners is that they dry out faster. Wet feet are prime candidates for blisters. Wool socks will not make your feet hot or sweat.
This was my experience, a 65 year old guy who is no athlete but reasonably fit.
Good luck and Buen Camino.
 
Bit late in the day to ask these two questions as I've only 6 sleeps to go before i walk Sarria to Santiago. first question do I really need sticks for this stage? also My chiropodist has just told me the reason i am getting pains in my heels (plantar fasciitis) is because of my boots even though i have the correct size and insoles. My problem is i cannot wear another pair in before the walk. Do you think a well made pair of trainers would do or should i cancel. Also the never ending talk of blisters do even the well seasoned walkers get them or is it just the newbies. Thanks in anticipation of your replies.
I've never had a blister. Have good socks as well as shoes. I walked Sarria to SdC with a staff (a 'pole' I unearthed just outside Sarria). I was walking c 17km a day. After one disaster I booked ahead for the next day.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Hi - don't be concerned too much. Just buy a pair of trekking trainers or trekking sandals - as long as they have a thick sole or the rough ground will press through.

Walking poles? I say that no one healthy needs walking poles - do you use them to walk round your park? to go shopping? Exactly - and we carry light packs on what is essentially a multi-day stroll.
Soldiers on march carry truly heavy packs with all their kit - they have done since biblical times - but none ever use poles ... were they actually effective surely one army somewhere would use them?

But one pole or staff is a fine thing to have to convert you from a biped to a triped on steep ground, it being fixed to your pack at other times. A strong umbrella does the same job but can also be used as a parasol and when it is raining.

Re blisters - there is absolutely no reason at all that anyone should ever get blisters, the only people to mess their feet up are the people who mess their feet up .... the body gives clear warnings .. the warning is called a 'hot spot' .... feet ache after walking, that is normal, but if you get a small localised sort of burning or hot point anywhere that is the precursor to a blister.
Take off footwear and pad that spot with something .. whatever you have, folded tissue, soft toilet paper, Elastoplast (band aid), even better to put cream or similar on the skin first to make it more 'glidey' .. then the chafing that will make a blister is stopped so no blister is formed - simple, really simple.
I don’t use poles at the park or while shopping. But the Camino surfaces are at times rocky, rooty and rutted, unlike my local market. I used a single stick when I felt it was warranted on the Camino and was very glad I had it!
 
Bit late in the day to ask these two questions as I've only 6 sleeps to go before i walk Sarria to Santiago. first question do I really need sticks for this stage? also My chiropodist has just told me the reason i am getting pains in my heels (plantar fasciitis) is because of my boots even though i have the correct size and insoles. My problem is i cannot wear another pair in before the walk. Do you think a well made pair of trainers would do or should i cancel. Also the never ending talk of blisters do even the well seasoned walkers get them or is it just the newbies. Thanks in anticipation of your replies.
I carried a single stick and used it when I needed it. Wore a pain of Keens. Walked the same route you’re walking. Padded hot spots when they came up. No blisters! Buen Camino!
 
Blisters are a result of a combination of things - ‘design’ and health of feet, shoe and sock choice, ignoring warning signs, kms per day etc.
IMO getting blisters is not a sign of personal incompetence - some people always get blisters, some rarely do.
In 2000km of Camino I have had two tiny blisters that I could immediately remedy. I can take no credit for my good fortune. I have well built and healthy feet and have found footwear that suits.
You will discover your own propensity to blisters as you walk. My advice…
Deal with hot spots and blisters immediately.
Consider trekking sandals as alternate footwear. 👍🏽😀

Buen Camino.
 
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

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

€60,-
Bit late in the day to ask these two questions as I've only 6 sleeps to go before i walk Sarria to Santiago. first question do I really need sticks for this stage? also My chiropodist has just told me the reason i am getting pains in my heels (plantar fasciitis) is because of my boots even though i have the correct size and insoles. My problem is i cannot wear another pair in before the walk. Do you think a well made pair of trainers would do or should i cancel. Also the never ending talk of blisters do even the well seasoned walkers get them or is it just the newbies. Thanks in anticipation of your replies.
First question:
Many people have walked the Camino successfully without poles. I find that they really help me, but it is a personal decision. No one else can tell you whether you really need them.

Second question:
I have been most successful in walking Caminos in trail runners rather than hiking boots (for me, Merrell Moabs or Hoka One One Challengers). A well made trail runner should require no breaking in. You will want to walk a bit in it to ensure good fit and that they work well with your feet. But that is very different than breaking them in. If they are uncomfortable to begin with, walking more in them won't change that.
 
The attacks against my point of view usually start with
David, it is hard to know where to start, but I'll give it a try.

First off, I'll address the suggestion that you've edited, but which @dougfitz commented on:
encourage anyone interested to do the test as @David describes it here, ie standing on the scales with the poles on the floor, or vice versa. I know when I have done this using two poles simultaneously that I was able to get over 20kg weight reduction, not the couple ounces suggested here.
Thanks for pointing this out, Doug. I did the challenge and was easily able to get 14 kg (30 lb) weight relief with my poles.

do you use them to walk round your park? to go shopping? Exactly
"Exactly" what? This would be a fair comparison if you daily walk 20 kg round the park and shopping, carrying the groceries both ways.

Of course many people walk successfully without poles. However, many of us find that walking poles do provide some weight relief and help with balance.
 
However, many of us find that walking poles do provide some weight relief and help with balance
In addition they help my posture when I'm wearing a backpack which alters my center of gravity, and that helps my back.
Poles also keep my hands from swelling, and help keep my arms toned.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Thanks for all your replies! All of them so helpful. So we have some new soliman trail runners repacked the poles. Thanks for the advice.
I don't know what shape feet you have, but just a word of caution re Salomon trail runners. They tend to be quite narrow, and I had a terrible time with them in 2016, but then my feet are quite wide. I switched to Altra Lone Peaks after that and had no more trouble. Buen Camino. 🚶‍♂️
 
I'm a trekking pole convert. As of this year. I bought a pair of cheap poles to try and was astonished to find that after just a day of getting used to them I increased the distance that I covered each day, and was less tired at the end.
On camino they've helped me in many ways. Obviously they help on the hills -both ascent and descent. Slippery places no matter where. But for me, most surprisingly, on the long, straight flat stretches !
It's not unusual to see people carrying their poles on the trail. BIG mistake. If you've learned to use them properly you will very seldom carry them, they will carry you !
Age has nothing to do with it. Chase from Chase mountains on YouTube makes the point that Sherpas in Nepal use them because they wish to prolong their walking lives.
PLEASE take the time to learn to use them properly.
In fact, seeing as I've mentioned Chase, here's the original video of his that I used.


The only comment of his that I would not take note of is to remove the rubber tips. He's in the mountains, you're not . Rubber Tips have far more grip on most of the surfaces, plus which they're a heck of a lot quieter. Not just for you and your fellow pilgrims, but for the poor towns people in the villages you're passing through!
 
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Walking poles? I say that no one healthy needs walking poles - do you use them to walk round your park? to go shopping? Exactly - and we carry light packs on what is essentially a multi-day stroll.
Soldiers on march carry truly heavy packs with all their kit - they have done since biblical times - but none ever use poles ... were they actually effective surely one army somewhere would use them?
My experience has been different. I do use then to walk around my park when I am walking 15 to 20 km. I don't use them to go shopping, but I don't walk to the supermarket and generally need my hands to carry things when shopping. And those walks are much shorter than a Camino with much less elevation gains and losses.

Soldiers on the march generally are in better shape and have received much more training than the typical pilgrim and probably need their hands available for other things (like holding weapons).

I certainly would not say that every pilgrim needs poles. But I am equally certain I would not have finished my 2016 Camino Frances without them. I tried everything short of poles (ibuprofen, knee brace, staff) and they were all insufficient. You might say that with my knee problems I was not healthy. But my knees were fine and when I started the Camino. And when I later walked the San Salvador and Primitivo with poles, arguably much tougher on the knees, I never developed knee problems. So clearly this pilgrim, when healthy, on a long walk with descents, needs poles to remain healthy.
 
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Bit late in the day to ask these two questions as I've only 6 sleeps to go before i walk Sarria to Santiago. first question do I really need sticks for this stage? also My chiropodist has just told me the reason i am getting pains in my heels (plantar fasciitis) is because of my boots even though i have the correct size and insoles. My problem is i cannot wear another pair in before the walk. Do you think a well made pair of trainers would do or should i cancel. Also the never ending talk of blisters do even the well seasoned walkers get them or is it just the newbies. Thanks in anticipation of your replies.
So much good info here. Has anyone reminded you to make sure you buy trail shoes at least half size larger to allow for feet swelling on long walks? I wear orthotics and use them in my Hokas which never needed wearing in for caminos. Mine are 1 size larger and have a wide toe box, thickly cushioned sole for comfort on hard rocky surfaces and vibram soles for stability.
 
I've never had a blister. Have good socks as well as shoes. I walked Sarria to SdC with a staff (a 'pole' I unearthed just outside Sarria). I was walking c 17km a day. After one disaster I booked ahead for the next day.
I was also lucky. Walked from SJPDP to SdC without a single blister. And I didn't use any products or do anything in particular to prevent them. No vaseline or powders. I think the most important factor in whether or not you get blisters is the shape of your feet, or more precisely how your toes sit next to each other. Some toe shapes/alignments are prone to blisters and some aren't.

I also used a wooden (bamboo) staff rather than hiking poles. I mainly did that because I liked the aesthetic of using a wooden staff rather than modern hiking poles. A silly reason I acknowledge, but nevertheless it's the truth. And I loved that staff. It saved me from many falls on the descents.
 
My experience has been different. I do use then to walk around my park when I am walking 15 to 20 km. I don't use them to go shopping, but I don't walk to the supermarket and generally need my hands to carry things when shopping. And those walks are much shorter than a Camino with much less elevation gains and losses.

Soldiers on the march generally are in better shape and have received much more training than the typical pilgrim and probably need their hands available for other things (like holding weapons).

I certainly would not say that every pilgrim needs poles. But I am equally certain I would not have finished my 2016 Camino Frances without them. I tried everything short of poles (ibuprofen, knee brace, staff) and they were all insufficient. You might say that with my knee problems I was not healthy. But my knees were fine and when I started the Camino. And when I later walked the San Salvador and Primitivo with poles, arguably much tougher on the knees, I never developed knee problems. So clearly this pilgrim, when healthy, on a long walk with descents, needs poles to remain healthy.
I'm a recent pole convert. For me, they make all the difference between arriving exhausted and sore, and arriving ready to explore the town.
 
Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
Bit late in the day to ask these two questions as I've only 6 sleeps to go before i walk Sarria to Santiago. first question do I really need sticks for this stage? also My chiropodist has just told me the reason i am getting pains in my heels (plantar fasciitis) is because of my boots even though i have the correct size and insoles. My problem is i cannot wear another pair in before the walk. Do you think a well made pair of trainers would do or should i cancel. Also the never ending talk of blisters do even the well seasoned walkers get them or is it just the newbies. Thanks in anticipation of your replies.
I rarely get blisters, but my hiking buddy almost always does. It's the way her feet are made. She has tried a lot of different things. It seems that socks with toes help some and airing her feet frequently. We are seasoned about the same. She gets and I don't.
 
I suffered through my first two Caminos wearing boots before I saw the light.
Trail shoes on my last five walks combined with lined 'Wright' brand socks were the end of my foot issues completely. Zero issues this year, none. My first two years I literally grew new feet after returning home from my boots butchering my feet.
The Camino is a long walk, not mountain climbing or scrambling up rocky slopes. Considering how many steps you take each day, a lighter breathable shoe is so much better than a boot for the daily distances done on a Camino. Buy a minimum of 1/2 to a full size larger than normal as your feet do swell from your daily half marathon of walking. Walking down hill with your toes jamming the end of your shoes isn't at all pleasant.
My longest day this year was 59,000 steps. I would have been on bloody stumps if I had been wearing boots.
Also, 100% yes to trekking poles. I use mine 100% of the time. I scratch my head at the number of walkers I see carrying them collapsed on their packs!
 
Be aware there is a learning curve for poles. Also, if traveling to Spain by air, they will have to be in checked luggage.

As someone said, buy your new shoes a size larger. I swear my feet grew that size, and didn’t shrink when I got home. All my original shoes are now tight!
 
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

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

€60,-
Bit late in the day to ask these two questions as I've only 6 sleeps to go before i walk Sarria to Santiago. first question do I really need sticks for this stage? also My chiropodist has just told me the reason i am getting pains in my heels (plantar fasciitis) is because of my boots even though i have the correct size and insoles. My problem is i cannot wear another pair in before the walk. Do you think a well made pair of trainers would do or should i cancel. Also the never ending talk of blisters do even the well seasoned walkers get them or is it just the newbies. Thanks in anticipation of your replies.
Hiking poles or not. Good question. However there's often a bigger question - how to use them. I've seen so many where I wonder why they bought them. So many are not using them correctly - especially on flat surfaces. There are videos on youtube showing how - and sporting goods stores can also help. With regards to blisters - even seasoned hikers can get them. It's mostly about getting the right shoes/boots and getting used to using them for long durations of time. On my latest camino I got 2 blisters in the first 5 days - but after that no problems.
 
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Bit late in the day to ask these two questions as I've only 6 sleeps to go before i walk Sarria to Santiago. first question do I really need sticks for this stage? also My chiropodist has just told me the reason i am getting pains in my heels (plantar fasciitis) is because of my boots even though i have the correct size and insoles. My problem is i cannot wear another pair in before the walk. Do you think a well made pair of trainers would do or should i cancel. Also the never ending talk of blisters do even the well seasoned walkers get them or is it just the newbies. Thanks in anticipation of your replies.
I wore merino wool socks and did not get a single blister from Irun to Santiago. I also used sticks and feel that this is a personal preference but not a necessity. Good luck
 
Thankyou for a great answer to my questions off to the shops tomorrow and repack the poles thankyou
Remember with the poles it’s unlikely you will be able to carry them into the plane, they need to go into the hold, if you take them on as carry on luggage, they most likely will be taken off you. I know there are people who will say “I did” etc but it’s not likely
 
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

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

€60,-
I just finished Camino Frances last week, SJPP to SdC. I wore NEW (not broken in) Altra Lone Peaks with Injinji Toe Socks. I did not get any blisters. I met 4 women and one man with the same footwear setup. None of them had blisters either. I had 2 hotspots at the tips of 2 toes. I covered them with moleskin for a couple days and they were fine.

As for the sticks, I’m sure I would have gotten hurt without them. I tripped a couple times on rocks or tree roots. The sticks kept me from falling. They also made it easier on my knees when going down hill and helped me navigate around deep puddles while balancing on packed dirt the width of one foot. I would NEVER consider doing a Camino without them.

Good luck and Buen Camino.
 
Until the last post I had never seen anyone give my main reason for using poes. " helped me navigate around deep puddles while balancing on packed dirt the width of one foot" Yes they stop my hands swelling, keep me balanced and take the weight off my joints but when you see that puddle or mud on the path infront of you the poles (or staff) are great for testing the depth and have many times stopped me from getting wet feet.
one thing I do is always wear thin gloves when using poles. At first this was to stop them getting sunburnt but later to stop me getting blisters on my hands
 
I always use poles for the many reasons already quoted so I won't repeat them all except to endorse all of those reasons.
I was having a lovely birthday weekend with my husband in June and he suggested that we go on a nice little walk, one that we often do and always using poles. As I hadn't planned to go walking, I hadn't packed my poles or my pack. Anyway, we set off and I tripped over a branch and fell heavily onto both my palms, and 5 months later, they are still hurting. My husband is a specialist in micro-invasive carpal tunnel releases, and his scans show that I gave my hands such trauma that it left me with carpal tunnel. (He, being my husband, is ethically unable to do my release and I don't want to have any of the other surgery knowing how much better and safer his micro-invasive release is.)
Use poles. I wouldn't have fallen if I had.

In reply to David, we don't use poles in the park or shopping because we are on flat, clear, paved surfaces so no sticks to trip on, muddy holes and streams to step over, logs to balance over, steep gravel paths to slip down or steep hills to haul ourselves up. Even so, we do get fat, swollen fingers which we wouldn't get if we used our poles.

In regards to boots, I use Merrells with my orthotics and they were comfortable from day 1 with no need to break them in.
 
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Hi - don't be concerned too much. Just buy a pair of trekking trainers or trekking sandals - as long as they have a thick sole or the rough ground will press through.

Walking poles? I say that no one healthy needs walking poles - do you use them to walk round your park? to go shopping? Exactly - and we carry light packs on what is essentially a multi-day stroll.
Soldiers on march carry truly heavy packs with all their kit - they have done since biblical times - but none ever use poles ... were they actually effective surely one army somewhere would use them?

But one pole or staff is a fine thing to have to convert you from a biped to a triped on steep ground, it being fixed to your pack at other times. A strong umbrella does the same job but can also be used as a parasol and when it is raining.

Re blisters - there is absolutely no reason at all that anyone should ever get blisters, the only people to mess their feet up are the people who mess their feet up .... the body gives clear warnings .. the warning is called a 'hot spot' .... feet ache after walking, that is normal, but if you get a small localised sort of burning or hot point anywhere that is the precursor to a blister.
Take off footwear and pad that spot with something .. whatever you have, folded tissue, soft toilet paper, Elastoplast (band aid), even better to put cream or similar on the skin first to make it more 'glidey' .. then the chafing that will make a blister is stopped so no blister is formed - simple, really simple.
I walked the CF in March-May (41 days). While I did carry far too much (23kg) the entire way, I also used two walking poles. I made good use of them and also put rubber tips on them for good grip and to avoid annoying other walkers with the 'ticking' noise. My observation was that far too many people had no idea how to use the poles properly and so either put them away, carried them or just tapped them along the ground. I leaned on mine every step until it became automatic. Also, I carried a large roll of pink strapping tape. My partner and I stopped immediately upon any foot issues and applied the tape over the skin before a small problem became a big one. We noticed many other walkers become passengers in taxis, buses and trains due to emergency rest due to foot problems. I think it was a mix of: lack of preparation/fitness, footwear not 100% & and not taking remedial action when their feet started protesting. I had to ditch my socks halfway through due to continual blister problems and buy the best hiking socks I could find from Decathalon. Some people ended up in hospital due to broken skin becoming infected. People do not realise that there is no time for feet to recover if they're being walked on every day. Many recommended changing socks twice a day, but I didn't need to after my upgrade.
 
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