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Switching fr boots to trail runners: Wool or Coolmax-type socks?

design4life

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2014-18 Kumano Kodo 2019 Portu 2022 Inglés 2023
After walking four times in Keen's low hiking boots, I've bought a pair of Hoka Speedgoat 4 for next month's Camino Portugués.
I've always worn wool socks but I have lots of Coolmax socks (REI lightweight full socks, not liners) at home and they're calling to me ...
So I'm wondering whether the synthetic shoe will generate more heat/friction/sweating than the leather hiking boot, and that synthetic socks will just worsen that. Or will they do their heat-wicking job and cool me off?
Another option is a sock that is half nylon and half wool, such as Darn Tough lightweight. (I currently wear REI, because they have a very high wool content.)
Or maybe there is no difference (as many walkers say.)
 
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Turga

Camino tortuga
Time of past OR future Camino
Pondering 2023
I switched from leather boots to trail runners using the same socks (Merino wool/synthetic blend) and I didn't notice any significant difference.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I bought three different kinds of Darn Tough socks for my three week walk with the intention of comparing them. Their Cool Max was one. I never noticed a difference between them. Your milage may vary.

I wore Merrell Moab vents, a hiking shoe.
 
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design4life

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2014-18 Kumano Kodo 2019 Portu 2022 Inglés 2023
I bought three different kinds of Darn Tough socks for my three week walk with the intention of comparing them. Their Cool Max was one. I never noticed a difference between them. Your milage may vary.
Were you wearing synthetic trail runners?
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
So I'm wondering whether the synthetic shoe will generate more heat/friction/sweating than the leather hiking boot,

No. In fact, due to the nature of the far more porous fabric upper it is likely to largely eliminate any such issues you may have had from your leather boots.

and that synthetic socks will just worsen that. Or will they do their heat-wicking job and cool me off?

Heat and sweat buildup won't be an issue with a regular weight (light padded) Coolmax socks. Nor will they perform better than a merino wool blended sock like Smart Wool or Darn Tough. The synthetics are far more prone do developing funky odors if, for some reason, you do not wash them thoroughly, or often enough.

What I will note is that the Merino wool socks will keep feet warmer in wet-weather conditions. Cool Max will somewhat keep feet warm when wet, but the wool socks do a better job in that regard.
 
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zzotte

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
that’s an easy one of course wool socks ( about 6 will do ) it’s the only way to go along with a NON water proof trainers

zzotte
 

DyanTX

DyanTX
Time of past OR future Camino
CF Sept 22 - Nov 3, 2016
With sensitivity to any wool, I've worn CoolMax socks for hiking for many years. Darn Tough is my brand of choice worn over injini toe sock liners with my Altra trail runners.
 

Mycroft

Veteran Member
After walking four times in Keen's low hiking boots, I've bought a pair of Hoka Speedgoat 4 for next month's Camino Portugués.
I've always worn wool socks but I have lots of Coolmax socks (REI lightweight full socks, not liners) at home and they're calling to me ...
So I'm wondering whether the synthetic shoe will generate more heat/friction/sweating than the leather hiking boot, and that synthetic socks will just worsen that. Or will they do their heat-wicking job and cool me off?
Another option is a sock that is half nylon and half wool, such as Darn Tough lightweight. (I currently wear REI, because they have a very high wool content.)
Or maybe there is no difference (as many walkers say.)
Hmmmm. My 2 cents is, being a vegetarian and animal rights wacko, I do not buy anything made of leather. Haven't worn leather boots or shoes for decades. I do use synthetic waterproof boots and shoes with cool max type socks with no problems, and I will add since starting the use of Green Goo on my feet each night, I have had no foot problems while on Camino.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
I have a pair of Speedgoats that I wear in life and I love them. But I will only step foot on any camino any time of year in my Brooks Cascadias. 4 blisters in 6 Caminos and close to 6,000K. None serious enough to stop me and all healed within a few days. I have worn smartwool and wigwam synthetic socks. I always wear a very light synthetic sock like grandmothers wear. I have no idea what they are called but they are really thin. I think they help absorb the sweat. They are between my dainty feet and my socks. I always think that unless you have some compelling reason to wear a boot especially in summer (and yes I know winter and snow can be considered compelling) I do not think a boot is the way to go. My completely unscientific and non peer reviewed studies (my eyes and ears studies of pilgrims in albergues) will state that more people get more and often more severe blisters with boots.
 
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TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
After three Caminos in boots, I’ve been training in my Brooks Dyad runners on all surfaces and in all weather, and I’m less fatigued and getting more mileage per day. The only drawback is that in rain, my feet get wet. So I’m taking an extra pair of Marino socks. My route is Burgos to Ponferrada, which is flatter, so I’m hoping this works.
 

Rafter

New Member
I bought three different kinds of Darn Tough socks for my three week walk with the intention of comparing them. Their Cool Max was one. I never noticed a difference between them. Your milage may vary.

I wore Merrell Moab vents, a hiking shoe.
I have worn Darn Tough wool socks on my last three Caminos… and will again in April…
 
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019. SJPdP 14 April 2022 to Finisterre
After walking four times in Keen's low hiking boots, I've bought a pair of Hoka Speedgoat 4 for next month's Camino Portugués.
I've always worn wool socks but I have lots of Coolmax socks (REI lightweight full socks, not liners) at home and they're calling to me ...
So I'm wondering whether the synthetic shoe will generate more heat/friction/sweating than the leather hiking boot, and that synthetic socks will just worsen that. Or will they do their heat-wicking job and cool me off?
Another option is a sock that is half nylon and half wool, such as Darn Tough lightweight. (I currently wear REI, because they have a very high wool content.)
Or maybe there is no difference (as many walkers say.)

everyone will have a different view, but after 1 blister free Frances and trying every sock I can find that fits my feet for this next Camino, my plan is to use the following

1. injinji toe liner socks
2. alternate between the old version of Smartwool medium cushion hiking socks and Darn Toughs. I have a Falke minimal cushion running sock in case of heat or foot swelling.

the reason for alternating is to make sure that any seams irritations are not always in the same place. I do cut away the surplus stitching as the ‘good book‘ on ultramarathons advises.
 

design4life

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2014-18 Kumano Kodo 2019 Portu 2022 Inglés 2023
Thank you all. This is a great thread, helpful as always. It's a lovely, warm-ish Saturday here in NYC. I am going to officially begin my Camino training and walk 6 miles through Central Park. I'm wearing liners and thin wool socks under my Hokas. Will report ... Ultreia!
 

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