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Unexpected hiking boot pain


New Member
I recently bought a lovely pair of Berghaus Gore-tex Explorer hiking boots and thought they would be perfect for when I start the Camino in July.
I thought I would try to start to wear them in by hiking for two days with a heavyish backpack including tent in the humid environment of Lantau. However after about 15 kilometres on the first day, while my feet felt great, I developed a huge amount of pain above the ankles on both legs, where the boots were in contact. I had to continue wearing them on the second day as I was camping and on completeing the hike I was in agony. This was a couple of weeks ago and I still feel the pain. I really didn't expect this when I chose these expensive boots. I don't want to wear them again as this problem may get worse. I have given up the idea of wearing proper hiking boots for the Camino now and so I am looking for recommended alternatives.
I will be walking The Way in July and would like to know if people think boots are really necessary for The Camino, or could I get away with a decent pair of Berghaus walking shoes (the low hiking shoe, which fits like a pair of trainers)? I have seen the Merrells thread, but I can't find Merrells in Hong Kong.
What do the seasoned Camino walkers tend to wear in July, other than hiking boots?
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You do not need boots. Ideally, you want something that is light and dries quickly. Of course, if you need ankle support, as some do, you will need boots. It is not surprising that footwear that hits above the ankle would make that area sore after repeatedly hitting it for hours! I suspect that the pain is indicating bruising rather than any real damage, so you should consider whether you will be OK after you "toughen up" the area. The pilgrimage will be an exercise on which pain to ignore and which pain means something! Your warm-up hikes are a good starting place for this lesson.


Jakobsweg Junkie
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Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
I'm not sure I would consider an initial boot experience of consecutive 15-km days with a heavy pack as a gentle break-in. Some single 5-km days, interspersed with rest days, and a very light pack (or none at all), would be a better bet for getting your feet acquainted with new footwear. I've seen the suggestion of 50 miles on new boots before leaving on a camino, and based on my own current experience with breaking in some stiff new Vasque boots, that's a sound recommendation.

A cross-training or trail-running shoe, with a fairly stiff sole, seems to be very popular for the warm weather months. Whether it is low-cut or high-cut depends on your needs for ankle support.

You should also check on replacing the insoles with Superfeet or something similar, as they give much better arch support than the manufacturer's originals.


Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
French Camino (2009), French Camino (2011), Via de la Plata (2012), Camino Inglês (2014),
I don´t think boots are necessary, especially in the height of summer. I walked the Camino Frances (800k) in Reebok hiking trainers with no foot problems at all, not even a single blister. I´m doing the same again this year, setting off for the Camino this Sunday.
Sandra :arrow:
Year of past OR future Camino
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I have always, and still to, swear by New Balance Trail shoes or walkers.
They are lightweight, have GREAT support, especially with the addition of a $30 gel support,
they dry overnight, and you can wear them out of the store and onto the trail with no breaking in. They make them with a LARGE toebox (they call it a particular Shoe Last, not sure of the name) and that is what you should get so your toes don't rub together.

It's good you discovered this BEFORE you began your walk.

Dump the boots.. you'll be happy you did.
There are no portions of the Camino that required boots, in my opinion.
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New Member
Thank you so much for the informative replies and excellent advice. This is such a great community. I have looked up the 'New Balance Trail' shoes and have found they have lots of outlets and availability in Hong Kong, so I will try these out tomorrow. They are also very economically priced too! I shall enquire about the gel support and the 'Superfeet' too.
Yes, it certainly is fortunate I have found out that I am not suited to boots now.


Veteran Member
Try again but don't lace up the top two lace holes. This allows some ankle movement without the boot pressing hard on your ankle with each step.

I seldom lace all laceholes, and certainly not with new boots. I find this effective.

Good luck

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