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Transitioning from trail shoes to trail boots?

2020 Camino Guides

MargLav

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September - October 2016 Camino Frances
Hubby and I will be walking the CF in Sept/Oct this year (first timers). On our holidays and hikes, I have always worn trail shoes or runners of different sorts but never even thought to get boots. I am very happy with my Hoka Waterproof trail shoes at the moment but, for some reason, thought I'd try the equivalent in a mid-boot for the CF - maybe thinking of extra support and more waterproof being a boot. I'm currently wearing them around the house and can still return them - it's difficult because I can't try them outside. I'm finding the extra support around the ankle plus the extra amount of wool touching my skin a bit too much - a bit restrictive or "less free" I guess. I've read so many helpful comments on this forum but wonder if anyone has advice about this transitioning from shoe to boot experience?
 

newgabe

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Francis May (2016)
There's a current thread about 'boots or cushy shoes' that you might like to read. It seems that the overall experience is that stiff restrictive boots are unnecessary on the Camino and more likely to cause pain than save it :)
Like you, I tried to sabotage my instincts and did get some stiffer shoes than the 'barefoots' I know and love. I ended up leaving them behind after a few hours of intermittent attempts to wear them. Light feet sing happy songs :)
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Get rid of the boots, you don't need them. If your HOOs are waterproof, and have the newer partial Vibram sole you are in business! The reason I mention the Vibram is that on my HOO Biondi 3s the thread of the sole disappeared after 300km or so on ball of foot and heel. Mind you, they were still not slippery, but I would not swear about them over a full Frances.

What I didnt't like about my Biondi was that they are not water proof. Never understood people who recommend staying away from Gortex shoes. Unless they have crappy foot skin...?
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Just in case anyone out their believe that the CF destroys a pair of shoes, here's a photo of the three different sets of Merrells I wore on three different CF's. SJPdP-SDC.
As you see, they are in pretty good shape for 500 miles (washed of course). They are not high end. Under a $100.00 (US) a pair.
I'm sure any quality brand and style would fare just as well.
CAM00554.jpg
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I wear light boots because I am so happy with the comfort and the way they hug my feet. I also enjoy having something a bit higher for puddles and mud, but that is not nearly as important as comfort. If the shoes "feel" better, and you have tested them on some long walks, you should go with them. There's no need to force a change.

My Salomon boots have lasted me almost 2000 km. They are now worn on the bottom and have started to split a seam, so they need to be replaced.
 

MargLav

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September - October 2016 Camino Frances
This question has been asked since the beginning of feet. Lots of threads here. Rule number one: Every body is different.

Buen Camino, - Mike

Thanks Mike. I was really wondering how many people had made successful transitions from shoes to boots rather than which were better for CF. The feel of a boot is so different to a shoe and I have a small window of opportunity to send back my boots. Buen Camino!
 

MargLav

Member
Camino(s) past & future
September - October 2016 Camino Frances
I wear light boots because I am so happy with the comfort and the way they hug my feet. I also enjoy having something a bit higher for puddles and mud, but that is not nearly as important as comfort. If the shoes "feel" better, and you have tested them on some long walks, you should go with them. There's no need to force a change.

My Salomon boots have lasted me almost 2000 km. They are now worn on the bottom and have started to split a seam, so they need to be replaced.
Thanks - I do think that sticking to what I'm used to is best but I'll wear the boots around the house a little longer before making my decision :) I don't know why I thought I should change now!
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (2020)
Just in case anyone out their believe that the CF destroys a pair of shoes, here's a photo of the three different sets of Merrells I wore on three different CF's. SJPdP-SDC.
As you see, they are in pretty good shape for 500 miles (washed of course). They are not high end. Under a $100.00 (US) a pair.
I'm sure any quality brand and style would fare just as well.
I'm not so sure your optimism is justified. My experience with the Keen Targhee II is that that will be a one CF only boot. They were bought in the US last year when I was visiting there, and deliberately got very little use until I went to Spain in late Apr. On one boot, the sole had worn through at the heel after 300km, and by the end of a slightly shorter CF (I didn't walk from Rabe to Leon) the soles of both boots had compressed substantially. You can see the wear on both the heel and forefoot of the right boot, and compression effects on the left boot in these two images.
P6273016.JPG P6273017.JPG

In contrast, here are images of a pair of Scarpa boots with somewhat similar sole construction that I have used bush walking for the past four years, and the Asolo boots that I used on St Olavs Way in 2012. Both boots have Vibram soles, but I suspect that the Asolo boots have a somewhat softer composition than the Scarpas, just based on the substantial wear at the heel. Also, bush walking might be somewhat less wearing than the combination of sealed and unsealed roads, and trails of various types that are found on St Olavs Way.
P6273018.JPG P6273019.JPG
Clearly, the Keen boots have worn to the extent that there is little prospect of them being used again for the Camino, and they will now we relegated to domestic use. This is a shame, because the uppers are absolutely brilliant. They are certainly one of the more comfortable boots that I have worn, and I was otherwise very impressed with the design and construction. My wife wore the Keen Women's Gypsum Mid boots which she bought in 2013 to wear on the Milford Track, and wears regularly. The wear pattern on her boots is different to mine, but they won't be suitable for another long walk. She is similarly impressed with the comfort of her boots.
 
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cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it". I'm a boot wearer. My ankles like the extra support and no amount of "boots aren't needed" stories will change my mind. On the other hand, if I were NOT a boot person, I would take the advice of the many happy shoe wearers and stick to the tried and true. Obviously either work well depending on personal needs and comfort.
 

Lmsundaze

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2016), CP (2017)
Everyone's feet are different, but I just walked the Camino Francés with trail runners (Saucony Peregrine 5) and had no difficulties, blisters, or regrets. I used hiking sticks, and was just fine even on the rockiest places. My feet did get wet a few times, but the shoes dried very quickly and I will continue to use trail runners on any future Caminos or other walks.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
I'm not so sure your optimism is justified. My experience with the Keen Targhee II is that that will be a one CF only boot. They were bought in the US last year when I was visiting there, and deliberately got very little use until I went to Spain in late Apr. On one boot, the sole had worn through at the heel after 300km, and by the end of a slightly shorter CF (I didn't walk from Rabe to Leon) the soles of both boots had compressed substantially. You can see the wear on both the heel and forefoot of the right boot, and compression effects on the left boot in these two images.
View attachment 27385 View attachment 27386

In contrast, here are images of a pair of Scarpa boots with somewhat similar sole construction that I have used bush walking for the past four years, and the Asolo boots that I used on St Olavs Way in 2012. Both boots have Vibram soles, but I suspect that the Asolo boots have a somewhat softer composition than the Scarpas, just based on the substantial wear at the heel. Also, bush walking might be somewhat less wearing than the combination of sealed and unsealed roads, and trails of various types that are found on St Olavs Way.
View attachment 27387 View attachment 27388
Clearly, the Keen boots have worn to the extent that there is little prospect of them being used again for the Camino, and they will now we relegated to domestic use. This is a shame, because the uppers are absolutely brilliant. They are certainly one of the more comfortable boots that I have worn, and I was otherwise very impressed with the design and construction. My wife wore the Keen Women's Gypsum Mid boots which she bought in 2013 to wear on the Milford Track, and wears regularly. The wear pattern on her boots is different to mine, but they won't be suitable for another long walk. She is similarly impressed with the comfort of her boots.
Oh yeah. I would not wear any of those trail shoes again on a Camino. Even though the soles are in relatively good shape, there is definite compression. I'm sure they are broken down inside. Also the inside liner gets quite a bit wear and tear.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (2020)
Oh yeah. I would not wear any of those trail shoes again on a Camino. Even though the soles are in relatively good shape, there is definite compression. I'm sure they are broken down inside. Also the inside liner gets quite a bit wear and tear.
Noting the sole construction of the Keen and many other boots is very similar to training and running shoes where compression loss is a major factor in the life of the shoe, I was not surprised by seeing that effect in my boots. What I did not expect was the extent to which the sole wore through although my experience with other brands with their own proprietary soles has been similar - relatively high wear rates in normal use. You seem to have had a much better wear life than I was able to achieve. I am now wondering what the factors are that cause these differences.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Noting the sole construction of the Keen and many other boots is very similar to training and running shoes where compression loss is a major factor in the life of the shoe, I was not surprised by seeing that effect in my boots. What I did not expect was the extent to which the sole wore through although my experience with other brands with their own proprietary soles has been similar - relatively high wear rates in normal use. You seem to have had a much better wear life than I was able to achieve. I am now wondering what the factors are that cause these differences.
Type of rubber. Type of gait person wearing them has, etc. Any number of reasons. I did notice that on the Merrells I wore on my first CF the rubber on the soles hardened quite a bit and they lost a lot of their traction/grip. I don't even wear them any more except to mow the lawn. Still, well made shoes for under a hundred bucks, and I suppose 500 continuous miles of walking is a lot to ask of any shoe. I'm sure the improved surfaces (concrete, gravel, blacktop) walked on the Camino do the most wear and tear.
Also I have noticed that some shoes the quality, size and fit changes on the same model sometimes if they change place of manufacture. I was shopping for Merrells once and noticed the ones manufactured in China fit differently than the same model of shoe manufactured in Vietnam. The ones from Vietnam seemed to run 1/2 size smaller.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
On my first camino (VDLP) I was in my Merrells but they really lacked "under foot" protection - result major nerve damage and a nearly 2 year rehab (natural) repair. I now have a pair of Keens (Keens Dry - mid-ankle) - I love the wide toe box. This plus the extra padding I have added provides the required comfort and support.
But as has been said here and on just about every other post - we are all different. So my advice - go with what you know and like/love. If they are not waterproof - not a real problem as long as you can dry them out at the end of each day. Try to get a supply of old newspapers to stuff into the toe-block to help the drying. I would try direct sunlight as opposed to any artificial heating. Good luck
 

Dennis D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés - 2014
Francés - 2015
Francés - 2016
Francés - 2017
Francés - 2018
Francés - 2019
(2020 - ?)
On my first camino (VDLP) I was in my Merrells but they really lacked "under foot" protection - result major nerve damage and a nearly 2 year rehab (natural) repair. I now have a pair of Keens (Keens Dry - mid-ankle) - I love the wide toe box. This plus the extra padding I have added provides the required comfort and support.

I didn't have to do rehab but had a similar experience with the Merrells just not as serious. The bottoms of my feet felt like they were slammed with a hammer a few hundred times.

I went to our local store (REI) and told them my problem and they showed me the Keen Durand model. I wore a pair last year and they worked great for me. The pair I wore this year was not waterproof as advertised. Every time it rained my feet got soaked. When I returned I wrote to Keen and told them about it. Guess what? They sent me a new pair for free ! I had at least 1500KM on my old pair.

But I agree with the general comment that everyone's feet are different. There is no single answer. Unfortunately wearing a new pair around the house doesn't compare to walking 5-8 hours every day for 5 weeks or more. There was a lot more rain this April/May than in previous years too.

If you can take care of your feet the rest of you will follow.

Buen Camino
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
I trained for a year then walked the 800kms from SJPDP. Finished my Camino Frances on May 2nd. Because of a residual plantar fasciitis problem and what I now realise was probably about an 8-million-foot-strike onslaught, I've ended up with a slowly but steadily healing case of very sore feet. I had to use custom orthotics which were extremely hard. Interesting to hear about your experiences, Dennis and Mike. I wore very good boots (excellent fit, almost waterproof, no blisters). I needed the boots' ankle support because of the weak ankle ligaments/plantar fasciitis combo.

I'm hunting for boots with a built-in shock absorber structure. Marrone's Bajura GV's sound interesting. Insanely expensive, but as you say Dennis, "If you take care of your feet..."
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
If there is a concern regarding ankle support, wear the boots. I got some new boots just a couple of months ago after discovering my super comfortable Tevas were falling apart. They are from Far West and I got them at a work wear store. Camping and hiking stores are not always the only places to go.

For me, I do have weak ankles so the added support is essential. When the potentials of being off my feet for a week with a twisted ankle are weighed against the possibilities of other foot problems, I will do whatever needed to ensure my ankles remain intact.
 

Pam Scott

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago compostella 2015
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it". I'm a boot wearer. My ankles like the extra support and no amount of "boots aren't needed" stories will change my mind. On the other hand, if I were NOT a boot person, I would take the advice of the many happy shoe wearers and stick to the tried and true. Obviously either work well depending on personal needs and comfort.
I can't agree more
 
D

Deleted member 12253

Guest
Hubby and I will be walking the CF in Sept/Oct this year (first timers). On our holidays and hikes, I have always worn trail shoes or runners of different sorts but never even thought to get boots. I am very happy with my Hoka Waterproof trail shoes at the moment but, for some reason, thought I'd try the equivalent in a mid-boot for the CF - maybe thinking of extra support and more waterproof being a boot. I'm currently wearing them around the house and can still return them - it's difficult because I can't try them outside. I'm finding the extra support around the ankle plus the extra amount of wool touching my skin a bit too much - a bit restrictive or "less free" I guess. I've read so many helpful comments on this forum but wonder if anyone has advice about this transitioning from shoe to boot experience?
Boots. I am in the boots camp. I weighed the hikking shoes and same brand boots and weight identical. In 7 years, 12 caminos, 7000 km, no blisters, no problems
 

Allan Morris

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009, 2011 and will walk again August/Septmber 2016
I recommend getting a good fitting trail shoe, but make sure they have a stiff Vibram sole. It is the sole which will protect you when on rocky root filled paths. Anything lighter tends to buckle and twist. The fit and lacing pattern should match your foot. Some people like trail shoes, others boots for various reasons as we all are different.. Waterproofness depends on the time you of year are walking. I've walked twice in September and will again this September and have faced minimal rain. A couple hours here and there. Breathability is important to help protect against blisters and other foot problems. I would take a waterproof mixture of mesh and leather over an all leather boot. I personally like Vasque boots, but Keen, Scarpa, etc all have great products. I depends on what fits you best. Good luck.
 

Wolfdog

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, ( Sept. 7 - Oct 10 2014) Dingle Peninsula ( Aug. 2015 ) West Highland Way ( Sept. 2016 ) Camino Portugues ( 2017? )
I wore Brooks Cascadia trail shoes and every few days switched to my Keen sandals, never had a problem or a blister. Wear what you're comfortable with and you'll be fine. Buen Camino!
 

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