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Trail runners or hiking sandals?

Peakseeker

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking the Camino del Norte this autumn
I've been on the shoe hunt and with so many different options and opinions out there it's very hard to make a decision. I understand it's very much down to personal preference when it comes to a matter like footwear but I am seeking some advice specifically from people who've walked the coastal route: do you think it's viable to hike the Norte in a pair of Keen closed toed sandals? I'm looking at the Rialtos currently. They just look to be a really solid shoe and it's appealing to me that they'd be very quick drying and I could go sockless when needed. I also imagine this might eliminate the need to bring a second pair of sandals for the albergues.
At the same time, I do wonder if I'd be playing it safer buying a decent non waterproof trail runner that covers the entire foot.
Any thoughts?
 

Dorpie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
I've been on the shoe hunt and with so many different options and opinions out there it's very hard to make a decision. I understand it's very much down to personal preference when it comes to a matter like footwear but I am seeking some advice specifically from people who've walked the coastal route: do you think it's viable to hike the Norte in a pair of Keen closed toed sandals? I'm looking at the Rialtos currently. They just look to be a really solid shoe and it's appealing to me that they'd be very quick drying and I could go sockless when needed. I also imagine this might eliminate the need to bring a second pair of sandals for the albergues.
At the same time, I do wonder if I'd be playing it safer buying a decent non waterproof trail runner that covers the entire foot.
Any thoughts?
Hi Peakseeker,

Afaid I'm breaking your rule as I haven't walked the Norte.....yet, but hopefully will get the ball rolling. I wore Arroyos on the CF last year and felt they were pretty much perfect for the Camino but I did find the neoprene lining, which appears to be the same in Rialtos, tended to pinch when I tried to wear them barefoot, particularly if wet. Something to consider.

Also from my point of view having other footwear to change into after a long day was very welcome due to the change of pressure points and just the general lightness on the foot. I was carrying decent quality flip flops and the extra weight was pretty minor.

Buen Camino,

Rob.
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
It really depends on what you're used to. The folk who swear by sandals, from what I've gathered, tend to be sandal-wearers in everyday life, to the extent that their sandals become like second soles.

I tried sandals for the first time last year (on the Norte in autumn) but ended up swapping back to trail-runners after a couple of days. I got blisters when my feet got wet (just skin against rubber for km after km, no socks to mediate), and I also encountered a lot of mud. And sometimes stones got in (very annoying!)

Given that one's feet take quite a pounding walking 25km+ per day (especially on asphalt), I realised I needed the extra cushioning, protection, and support of a sturdier shoe. I think a trail-runner is good all-purpose bet, especially for an autumn camino. And then, as Dorpie says, something lighter for the albergue - flip-flops work for me, as they let your blisters breathe... oh, the joys of camino life ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
I tend to wear sandals the whole summer in the UK, not just for hiking but all day every day, the soles of feet become incredibly tough and hard, harder than a bricklayers palms. The problems I encounter are, in the spring, abrasion to the top of the foot until the soft skin hardens I just put tape on my foot for a few days. Small stones are a pain they easily find their way in bit are a pain to get out again. In the last few days I have been training for the CF next April and have found that the trail runners I have are more supportive but a bit restrictive. I have a thing about my feet I find socks too tight with no shoes. My training with regular shoes has reached 15 km with 400m climb and 8 KG pack, next week I will try the same with sandals bit with out the pack. The pack I have is too short in the back. I am 183cm 6"1'.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
I wore sandals for most of my Camino del Norte this year, and now I won't do the Camino in anything else. I started out with a pair of trail runners and a pair of hiking sandals, which I alternated. But after about a week I was only wearing the sandals. My feet felt so much better in the sandals than the trail runners. And they were much easier to clean than the shoes. There was a lot of mud on the Norte, so that was really important. Next time I will bring some Seslskinz waterproof socks for the really wet days.
 

irishrock

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1st three stages in 2016 and finished in 2017)
I would never have thought about Keen's for the hike until watching an older gentleman (likely around 78 years old) hiking up the hill out of Altapuerca (I know, CF route) to Burgos in Keen's. I asked him, the best I could as he was Italian, about his shoes and he said he wouldn't do the Camino any other way. I wear trail runners myself, but made a mistake on my second go around. I took a pair that were very well broken in, but also broken down. My next go around, I'll buy a pair and break them in for a few days, five at most, and then hike in them. Broken in, but not broken down is my theme.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
When I walked the Norte last year I wore Keens (Venice H2) or Bedrock Cairn Pros the entire way and my feet were very happy. YMMV.

Buen Camino
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
I've been on the shoe hunt and with so many different options and opinions out there it's very hard to make a decision. I understand it's very much down to personal preference when it comes to a matter like footwear but I am seeking some advice specifically from people who've walked the coastal route: do you think it's viable to hike the Norte in a pair of Keen closed toed sandals? I'm looking at the Rialtos currently. They just look to be a really solid shoe and it's appealing to me that they'd be very quick drying and I could go sockless when needed. I also imagine this might eliminate the need to bring a second pair of sandals for the albergues.
At the same time, I do wonder if I'd be playing it safer buying a decent non waterproof trail runner that covers the entire foot.
Any thoughts?
Three Caminos with both.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May and October 2015
(2015 October)
June 2018 Portuguese
Keen sandals for me. My feet totally rejected boots. Also not really happy with sneakers. Got the sandals on my first Camino, in Logrono, and now wear them here at home too.
 

Peakseeker

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking the Camino del Norte this autumn
did you have issues with debris making its way into the sandals?
i'm pretty sold on some Keen Arroyos at this point, i tried them on at the Keen store here in Portland today and they were SO comfy, but this is the one concern keeping me from making a purchase.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
did you have issues with debris making its way into the sandals?
i'm pretty sold on some Keen Arroyos at this point, i tried them on at the Keen store here in Portland today and they were SO comfy, but this is the one concern keeping me from making a purchase.
My sandals are much more open than the Keens and I didn't have any problem with stones in my sandals. If a small one did get in it was easy to get it out without removing the sandals. I met some pilgrims wearing boots that often got small stones inside and had to stop and take off the boots and shake them upside down to remove them.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
As always footwear comes down to personal choice. I don't like my feet being restricted and wear sandals most of the year - though I do have a brilliant pair of Merrell Moab 2 mid GTX for winter wear - very wide and with a supportive footbed, though they are sized slightly under so I have the size above my normal -

My every day sandals, that I wear on all terrains - superbly comfortable for a wide clown footed person like me, with a beautifully shaped supportive footbed - are the Keen Newport H2 ... now, these are possibly the ugliest footwear in the world but the only footwear I have ever worn that ten minutes after putting them on I am not aware that I am wearing them ... stones? yes, one does get the occasional stone dropping in but the rubber bumper at the front keeps most out and it takes just a moment to empty if one does get in.

1008399-3.jpg

But! The decision has to be yours ... though .. doing first aid over the years I have met so many pilgrims who have ditched their boots along the way and started walking in their 'evening sandals' and found the comfort and freedom quite enlightening. Good luck with your choice!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
May and October 2015
(2015 October)
June 2018 Portuguese
did you have issues with debris making its way into the sandals?
i'm pretty sold on some Keen Arroyos at this point, i tried them on at the Keen store here in Portland today and they were SO comfy, but this is the one concern keeping me from making a purchase.
Occasional grit, yes, but seldom enough that I don't find it a big problem.
 

Dorpie

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
did you have issues with debris making its way into the sandals?
i'm pretty sold on some Keen Arroyos at this point, i tried them on at the Keen store here in Portland today and they were SO comfy, but this is the one concern keeping me from making a purchase.
Can't remember for sure but I think I had zero (certainly hardly any) issues with pebbles in the Arroyos last time round, in sharp contrast with my ankle high boots which picked up tiny pebbles like there was no tomorrow. The Arroyos are a sufficiently closed enough design that pebbles don't have an easy way in while having the benefits of lightness and relative lightness.

Might be just my liking for fairly tight footwear but I destroyed the lacing system pretty quickly. If you can get the store to throw in a spare set I would, otherwise message Keen direct and they will probably send you a spare set free of charge.

Buen Camino,

Rob.
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
My sandals are much more open than the Keens and I didn't have any problem with stones in my sandals. If a small one did get in it was easy to get it out without removing the sandals. I met some pilgrims wearing boots that often got small stones inside and had to stop and take off the boots and shake them upside down to remove them.
Hi, you never mentioned what brand sandals you wore. I see Keens are popular, I have a pair myself but I'm also looking at other options. What did you wear? :)👣
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Hi, you never mentioned what brand sandals you wore. I see Keens are popular, I have a pair myself but I'm also looking at other options. What did you wear? :)👣
I have tried quite a few brands and styles, but many of them had straps that hit my foot in the wrong places. I ended up with Merrell Siren Strap sandals, which worked well for my long narrow foot.
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
I have tried quite a few brands and styles, but many of them had straps that hit my foot in the wrong places. I ended up with Merrell Siren Strap sandals, which worked well for my long narrow foot.
Those are nice looking. I've found Merrell to have too high of an arch for me but I will try these. I like the style. Keens work with my feet, I will look at those as well for this type of style - Thanks!!
 

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 Ecco Off-Road sandals. I don't seem to get stones very often, but when I do they kick out pretty easily. They have open toes. I've never stubbed my toes in them, maybe because I wear a size larger than my normal shoes.
 

Lee Lauder

Remotelee
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Apr-may 2017 Portugues (2018) Norte (2018)
I've been on the shoe hunt and with so many different options and opinions out there it's very hard to make a decision. I understand it's very much down to personal preference when it comes to a matter like footwear but I am seeking some advice specifically from people who've walked the coastal route: do you think it's viable to hike the Norte in a pair of Keen closed toed sandals? I'm looking at the Rialtos currently. They just look to be a really solid shoe and it's appealing to me that they'd be very quick drying and I could go sockless when needed. I also imagine this might eliminate the need to bring a second pair of sandals for the albergues.
At the same time, I do wonder if I'd be playing it safer buying a decent non waterproof trail runner that covers the entire foot.
Any thoughts?
I walked from Irun to Santander in the Keen whisper sandals. Also the Frances and Portugues from Porto to Tui had no issues on any of them in sandals. I still brought flip flops for Albergues.
 

Walli Walker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances '2009', Camino Portuguese from Porto '2015', Camino Ingles from Ferrol '2015', Finisterre and Muxia '2015'. Tentatively planning Camino from Granada '2017'.
Love my Teva sandals.
 

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