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Walking Boots Vs. Trail Runners

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#4
The trend these days seems to be towards trail runners, but there will be different opinions. As you got plenty of time before you go, find a shop that allows you to try footwear out for some time to get a feeling for what works for you.
Hey, @stgcph, this is off topic, but I just noticed you are wearing RED socks in your avatar photo...awesome! :p
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#6
Trecile, @C clearly puts her whole backpack in a drysack every night, so I was asking her about what brand it was and how much it weighed.
EDIT: I think I put this post on the wrong thread! Lol.
 
Last edited:

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#7
Aah, poor @MMoore they asked an innocent's question and got the forum's replies...
Wear what feels good, fits your budget and that you have worn for a good few Kms before you set out on your Camino .
You will be walking asphalt, cobbles, mud, gravel and a few other textures too. Most forms of available footwear will cope. What you're feet are happy with is the crunch.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
#8
My strong vote is for the Sandals with socks. Currently, I am on the Camino and have been walking in them almost exclusively. I imagine I will need my hiking shoes if it rains but so far no rain. The Camino is littered with hightop hiking boots.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#9
My strong vote is for the Sandals with socks. Currently, I am on the Camino and have been walking in them almost exclusively. I imagine I will need my hiking shoes if it rains but so far no rain. The Camino is littered with hightop hiking boots.
I found that sandals were great in rain and mud! They clean up and dry much faster than shoes.
 
#10
@davebugg is not currently posting, but he has a wealth of information about boots vs. shoes vs. runners. If you search using “shoes” and put his name in the “BY:” box, you will find a lot of food for thought. This is one of my favorites: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...-boots-for-cf-october-2018.56516/#post-636397

Full disclaimer— it was thanks to @davebugg that I finally made the move to trail runners, after 18 caminos in boots and hiking shoes. So I am one of those annoying converts, but my feet have never been so happy over a 1,000 km walk!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances , St Jean Pied de Port - Finisterra May/ June 2017
Le Puy en Velay - Ales May 2018
#12
I wore solid hide Scarpa hiking boots for years and Vasque Sky walk boots for decades .
They are now retired , mementos of my youth and past exploits .
I still bushwalk as often as I can , the Merrell Moabs I wore to walk the last two Caminos are now my footwear of choice . My bushwalking mates are also converts now , after making me suffer ridicule for wearing '' runners '' for serious work , none of them will go back to boots let alone mid heights .
Old boots .JPG
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#13
I always wear sandals, but recently bought a pair of neoprene trail runners, on the basis that I would be walking a winter camino in. They are a brand known for having a very wide toe box, which I need, having feet like those of a duck. Felt good when I put them on and wore them for a few days. I then wore them bushwalking. That was the test. After a few hours one foot started to ache, and the more I walked, the more I ached. A weird pain along one side of the arch of that foot. So I switched back to the old sandals. Instant relief. I don't think there is anything wrong with the trail runners, and I will wear them as casual shoes, but obviously my feet are a particular shape and only like certain lasts. So for my winter camino it will be the good old sandals again, together with waterproof, breathable, socks (Sealskinz or Dexshell).

The lesson is that you just have to find the shoes that make your feet happy. And, I say to myself, don't try to re-invent the wheel!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues (April 2019)
#15
on this subject - used to be big on hiking boots/shoes but since visiting the forum I have tried trail runners and I am converted, they are really comfortable and lightweight. Bought two pairs of Saucony, great fit and well made.
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
#17
My strong vote is for the Sandals with socks. Currently, I am on the Camino and have been walking in them almost exclusively. I imagine I will need my hiking shoes if it rains but so far no rain. The Camino is littered with hightop hiking boots.
I find that with socks, they are perfectly fine for rain and puddles; after a while, socks dry quickly as you keep moving. Socks are a MUST, even if they may not look glamourous, they prevent a nasty film of dirt forming between the sole and your skin, and protect you against small sharp bits like loose gravel or the odd seed that gets stuck.

Boots would be excessive in ALL the caminos I have done so far, there are no really wild descents or rocky nasty climbs in any camino.
 

Davidmm

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#19
In 2017 my wife and I started our Camino in Merrell trail shoes and Hi-tech hiking boots respectively. By Pamplona our feet were in serious trouble and we were on anti inflammatory and pain pills. My wife changed to her Keen CNX and I to thin sandels for the next 600+ km. This year we walked for 39 days covering just under 1000km in Keen CNX sandels wearing socks, with no foot issues at all. The choice is yours!!
 

TimH

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances March-April 2016
Le Puy route April-May 2017
Camino Norte to Bilbao June 2017
#20
Having had five and six days of snow on my last two spring Caminos, I am not really sure how sandals would go but snow should not be a problem for you. I agree with others that boots are totally excessive for Camino walking and I have seen many with terrible blisters from them. That said, walking on hard surfaces can be very hard on the feet and plantar fasciitis is a real risk if you do t have really good arch support. For me I prefer solid but well ventilated walking shoes. I hate those with so called breathable membranes as it is like walking with your feet in a plastic bag as they never breathe as well as shoes without a membrane. Anyways for me the key factors are super comfortable, lots of room around your toes, a really good arch support, and good underfoot cushioning.
 

MMoore

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2019
#24
Thanks folks... First Camino and I have some many questions.. Forum like this is invaluable to someone doing this for first time...
 
Camino(s) past & future
This upcoming May 31st through July 1st approximately.
#26
The trend these days seems to be towards trail runners, but there will be different opinions. As you got plenty of time before you go, find a shop that allows you to try footwear out for some time to get a feeling for what works for you.
I wear trail runners, my husband wears boots - we are both happy with our footwear choice. I guess it is an individual thing. Just make sure that you do a good few miles in them before you go. If you have an REI store close by - you have a year to return items if you are a member ($30 for membership, I believe but well worth it) In theory - you could do the Camino and return them when you got back - but that would really be cheating !!!!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
St. Francis Route 2017
#27
I wore Saucony Peregrine 6 Trail Runners. I broke them in for about 100 kilometers on the hills here on Fidalgo Island while wearing a pack. On the Camino, I had a twice per day ritual of rubbing Vaseline (vaselina in Spanish) into my feet in the morning and after showering at the end of the hiking day. I wore a silk liner sock under a medium weight Smart Wool sock while hiking. I did not have a single blister much less a hot spot. Shoes, like my trail runners, including regular running shoes, have about an 800 kilometer life span. Good for one Camino Frances. Because feet tend to swell from the constant day after day walking, I bought my Sauconys a full size larger than I normally wear. If you are fortunate enough to have an R.E.I. (Recreational Equipment Inc.) store near you, the shoe folks are familiar with Camino adventurers and can offer expert advice on what to wear. I took along an extra pair of liners, but did not need them as the Everun cushioned liner that comes with the trail runner was excellent. I took the liners out of the shoes to air them every night.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#28
Never met a blister that wasn’t attached to a pair of boots.
I never had a blister that wasn't caused by sandals. I have worn boots on all my pilgrimages, and the only time I got a blister was the day that I wore sandals in Pamplona. Never when I have been wearing boots. I changed my evening footwear to a pair of closed toe shoes, and wear boots during the day, and have never had a problem since.

And I saw plenty of people with blisters who were wearing a variety of footwear, mainly those wearing shoes, but boots and sandals as well. I acknowledge that most of the time I wasn't out to systematically record what caused more blisters, and I am aware that I might have had some observational bias. That said, some time ago I was the blister fixer on a group walk on a shorter camino, and there were more blisters and more severe blisters affecting those wearing shoes that anyone wearing boots. No-one on that walk wore sandals during the walking day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arles Route (2013/2014 onwards)
#29
Like others have said go with what's comfortable for you. Needs to be a good fit for the weight you're carrying. Personally I walk in boots, always have done and I appreciate the ankle support. Mind you, boots today are SO much lighter and more comfortable than when I started out back in the 1970s!
Ultreïa
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013
#30
In 2017 my wife and I started our Camino in Merrell trail shoes and Hi-tech hiking boots respectively. By Pamplona our feet were in serious trouble and we were on anti inflammatory and pain pills. My wife changed to her Keen CNX and I to thin sandels for the next 600+ km. This year we walked for 39 days covering just under 1000km in Keen CNX sandels wearing socks, with no foot issues at all. The choice is yours!!
+1 My hubby & I had same experience in 2013. Tevas saved my behind! We both got LaSportiva trail runners in Pamplona saved us. No break-in period needed. Getting ready for another Camino in trail runners this summer.
 

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Jodean

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
#31
After reading the praises for trail runners, etc. decided to buy a good pair and try them out for my next Camino. Have worn Meindl boots on 2 prior Caminos. Since I am a walking tour guide, they were going to get a good trial, tramping through the city.
Really liked them at first, but if I walked for over 10km, my feet just ached as the soles were not near as thick and cushy as my boots were. Tried all summer long to like them better, but by Sept. decided to go with my Meindl boots again. Was completely happy with this decision. Those boots feel so wonderful on my feet.

Never a blister either, but am unconventional and wear knee high compression hosiery (the cheap kind for 2€) and wool socks. A bit of body glide on my little toes though, but do this at home too.

Saw plenty of women getting blisters with their shoes, so this is not a specific shoe/boot problem in my opinion.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Camino France's
(2018) Camino Portuguese
#35
Planning Tui to Santiago next May.. Currently trying to decide on walking boots or trail runners.. For those of you that have walked this route what would you recommend.. Thanks..
I walked again in my Salomon goretex lightweight boots this year Porto to Santiago and loved them. Not a blister or sore muscle or anything. Around me others in lighter shoes were going down like flies. These I have also walked half of the French way 2 years ago. I swear by them. The heat...no problem. The cobblestones....good protection. I wear merino socks over cotton socks and also have merino wool to tuck around any possible hot spots.
 
#36
Okay, I did Le Puy-Pamplona in Vasque boots. Poorly sized, but not too bad, especially with BOA closure. For continuation next year, Pamplona-Santiago-Valenca-Santiago-Fisterra, I ordered larger Asolo boots (already had two pair of a normal size for local use here on NSW midcoast). Those Asolo boots did not come in time and I was forced to make a last-minute purchase of oversize Columbia mid trail shoes in a Sydney shop.

Those cheapish Columbia mids (the waterproofing was good for about ten seconds) worn with Superfeet, liner socks and bulkier socks, were so comfortable I never took them off except to go to bed. Would you believe, they are still with me years later.

As a side-note, the midsoles of all three pairs of Asolos (the third came eventually) just disintegrated in storage over time. If you check the internet this has been a common problem, or was for a while. Hope it's been fixed. Such shoes are no longer made in quaint towns of the Veneto. Look and feel great, but...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2013, 2014
Portugués 2016
Norte 1st half 2018
Norte 2nd half 2019
+ Via Francigena 2017
#37
I second the La Sportiva Trail Runners (mentioned above). I had very bad foot luck doing 3 caminos with Merrill walking shoes. (Not sure why I kept trying with the Merrills!) I wore waterproof La Sportiva trail running shoes the last two caminos and did very well with them and plan to wear them again in the spring (new pair). I can't imagine doing a camino without waterproof shoes. Even if there is no rain there are always puddles to get through, at least in the spring and fall (don't know about summer).
 

hotelmedicis

Commercial Interests
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2001 (+more)
VDLP 2013, 2018
#42
For non-alpine walks I always use breathable running shoes! Can't beat them. Trail runners are totally unnecessary. Non-waterproof works best for me. Super comfortable across hundreds of miles of hard pavement, asphalt, concrete, cobblestones and hard packed dirt paths. Last year on the CF I lost count of the number of people sending their big leather boots home and buying Teva sandals or running shoes.
New Balance.jpg
 

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