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What's Your Go-To CF Shoe?

Emily22

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Hey all! Very happy to have found this forum 😊

I'm planning on doing my first Camino next summer, but am in need of a new pair of hiking shoes so am starting to think ahead about which brands & styles I might want to try out. I'd love to hear about some of the footwear that all of you experienced Caminoers have relied on (or learned to avoid!) in the past. I do get it! I've read enough "footwear" posts online to understand that that there is no one right answer & that everyone has their own, unique experience - I'd still very much appreciate any advice that you all have to share based on your own past Caminos :)

Are there any brands that have a particularly good combo of support and breathability? Are boots really more likely to cause blisters? I'm leaning towards a pair of hiking boots because of the extra ankle support they'll provide over the Pyrenees, but am still open to a hiking shoe or trail runner.

Here are some styles that I'm considering:

Keen
Women's Targee Vent Mid
Women's Targee 2
Women's Voyageur
Merrell
Women's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I'm leaning towards a pair of hiking boots because of the extra ankle support they'll provide over the Pyrenees,
You don't need anything extra for the Pyrenees. It's not mountaineering! It's basically walking uphill on either a paved road or a dirt path. There are other places on the Camino that have more difficult terrain than the Pyrenees, but IMO none that require boots. Personally, I like to wear hiking sandals on all parts of the Camino.
Check out the first couple of minutes of this video to see how "difficult" the Pyrenees are.

 

Emily22

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
You don't need anything extra for the Pyrenees. It's not mountaineering! It's basically walking uphill on either a paved road or a dirt path. There are other places on the Camino that have more difficult terrain than the Pyrenees, but IMO none that require boots. Personally, I like to wear hiking sandals on all parts of the Camino.
Check out the first couple of minutes of this video to see how "difficult" the Pyrenees are.

Wow, thanks for the quick reply! I see, haven't heard of walking in hiking sandals - what an interesting idea. I'd imagine they'd help with keeping blisters away? What brand do you use?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Wow, thanks for the quick reply! I see, haven't heard of walking in hiking sandals - what an interesting idea. I'd imagine they'd help with keeping blisters away? What brand do you use?
I'm not saying that sandals are right for everyone, just pointing out that the Pyrenees are not anything to be scared of, and no special footwear is necessary for this part of the Camino.
Lots of people like trail running shoes from Altra, Hoka, Saucony, etc. I wore New Balance trail runners for my first two Caminos before switching to hiking sandals. There are lots of good brands like Teva, Chacos, Keen, Ecco, etc. Merrell sandals have worked for me because they fit my long narrow feet.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I've read enough "footwear" posts online to understand that that there is no one right answer & that everyone has their own, unique experience - I'd still very much appreciate any advice that you all have to share based on your own past Caminos
The forum has hundreds (maybe thousands) of threads on the forum where people describe their shoe experiences - just click on the tag "foot wear & care" and start reading. Testimonials on those specific models are not likely to be helpful.

No single type of foot wear will be perfect for all conditions, so don't agonize over whether you might need lightweight shoes one day, waterproof boots the next, or extra grippy soles the following, or different sizes for different socks. Find the most comfortable shoe/boot/sandal you can, in a size that is on the roomy side. Test it with a brisk 30-minute walk indoors in a mall so you can return it if ANY discomfort appears. Then start walking, working up to 20 km or so. You might need to experiment with socks as well. Boots are not needed for the Pyrenees or for anywhere else, really, and the whole idea of ankle support is dubious. Waterproof shoes or boots might be too hot in summer. Don't shop for brand; just shop for comfort and fit. Once you find your shoe/boot/sandal, if you are walking a lot, you might need to get a new pair before next summer, so you will have a second chance to get it right (or wrong) :p.

I repeat: Comfort and fit - for your foot - are everything.
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Hey all! Very happy to have found this forum 😊

I'm planning on doing my first Camino next summer, but am in need of a new pair of hiking shoes so am starting to think ahead about which brands & styles I might want to try out. I'd love to hear about some of the footwear that all of you experienced Caminoers have relied on (or learned to avoid!) in the past. I do get it! I've read enough "footwear" posts online to understand that that there is no one right answer & that everyone has their own, unique experience - I'd still very much appreciate any advice that you all have to share based on your own past Caminos :)

Are there any brands that have a particularly good combo of support and breathability? Are boots really more likely to cause blisters? I'm leaning towards a pair of hiking boots because of the extra ankle support they'll provide over the Pyrenees, but am still open to a hiking shoe or trail runner.

Here are some styles that I'm considering:

Keen
Women's Targee Vent Mid
Women's Targee 2
Women's Voyageur
Merrell
Women's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof

Whoa........
That's got to be the #1 question and perhaps the toughest decision to make regarding gear.
Take all the tips, advice, recommendations, weight it all up, and make your choice based on what feels right for you.

My first 3 Caminos I wore lightweight boots. Loved them.
But I don't need the added weight on my feet!

Next Camino I'm using trail runners.
Which ones?

Not sure yet.
I'm trialling two different ones and both are good in different ways.

The 'fit' is probably more important than the style/brand.
 

David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
I like this question as it isn't "which is best" but "which do you wear" - excellent!

In my opinion, unless you prefer boots, you do not need boots except in mid winter (mind you, heavy rain in Rioja and that glutinous red mud might change my mind!!!). They are too enclosed, too heavy, users too prone to blisters. In recent times there has been a big move towards trail runners and trekking sandals - and those people don't go back to boots.
I do first aid for pilgrims, have done so since 2006, and not once have I treated blisters or foot damage for any pilgrim wearing trekking sandals, and very very few wearing trail runners (usually those were either a really cheap rubbish copy of a brand or too small).

Now, I have wide feet - clowns laugh - and there are no trail runners wide enough for me, and I also don't like my feet being strapped in, so I wear hiking sandals.

Mine are the Keen Newport H2. They come in leather or webbing. I would say do not use the leather ones, they are too stiff, I find the webbing ones much more comfortable. No blisters, no over-heating. They are wide at the toe box and have a superbly shaped foot-bed support.
I am wearing them now! They are the only footwear I have ever worn that five minutes after putting them on I am not aware that I am wearing them - they are that comfortable. Great traction sole. Maybe not the prettiest shoe in the world with that big bumper on the front and very occasionally you do have to stop to remove a stone that has somehow flipped in from the rear - but I love them.
In England it is an utter NO to wear socks with sandals but on Camino I will wear socks with them in very cold weather (please don't tell my friends over here ;)).

So - Keen Newport H2 (webbing, not leather). They do them in 'men' and 'women' styles but the 'women' styles are just pink I think.

R6c910c671c3954dfe74e551a8821495e.jpg
 
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D

Deleted member 61803

Guest
I wear boots, why, because I like them, because I wear them on other walks, because mine are correctly fitting. They have done lots of kilometres, they suit me. My brand of choice is North Face but that is only because they fit me correctly. Any other brand could have ended up on my feet had they fit.

To me it isn't a case of which brand or what type, its about getting footwear that fits, even at the swollen foot end of day, that are comfortable on your feet at all times.

My advice is pay the insignificant extra to go to a shop where they have qualified fitters and a decent range to try on, and a good returns policy. Never accept little niggles in the fit.

There is truly no recommendation from us, the forum masses, which is going to help get you the exact fit that suits your feet. But do pay attention to our suggestions regarding value for money and lifespan of different makes. Look at the stitching carefully, uneven spacings or loose threads etc are giveaway signs of poor quality control.

One last thing, you can, in some cases, increase the comfort by swapping out the insoles of the footwear. I carry a spare set of ínsoles just in case the insides of my boots get flooded. Having had plantar fasciitis, I use a brand, heat formed to match my feet.
 

Stroller

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Norte (2015), Frances (2016)
You will get a vast number of suggestions here, some quite adamant that their recommendation is the holy grail, all of which work for the person recommending them but they don't have your feet. So even with these recommendations it is still trial and error and better trialed before you go. Also note that cost and branding is not necessarily a good indicator of comfort nor, unfortunately, durability.

If you can afford it buy some that fit well in the shop, try them there with a loaded pack on, in the afternoon, after some walking, and with whatever socks are appropriate. Once you have bought them walk in them as much as you can and make sure you walk with the loaded pack for at least 5/10kM. How do they feel good or bad, any rubbing, any hot spots? If bad or hot spots use them for gardening and start again with another pair. It took me many years and some horrendous blisters to find a shoe and sock combination that fits me and gives me no blisters.

The one piece of general footwear advice I give is try liner socks with a thicker pair of socks for cushioning.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I've walked the Camino in boots (first time) then swapped to lightweight ASIC runners, wore those for quite a few routes, then swapped to open toed Ecco hiking sandals. They are not perfect; they slip on wet cobblestones or stone sets. But so far I have not found other sandals that fit, and support, my rather weird feet.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2021
It's all about the fit. I had a pair of Merrell Moabs that I loved as soon as I put them on, until I started walking down hill and my toes hit the front of the shoe. Nothing worked for me. I ended up with a pair of LL Bean branded shoes, that I tested out by lacing them up and tapping the toes. For my Camino I'm trying out trail runners. Your feet are different than mine, so you just have to try on and try out shoes.
 

koknesis

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances June/July 2014
Camino Aragones August 2015
Camino Sanabres (Ourense-SdC) August 2015
VdlP 2017
I have walked in summer only, so trail runners/sandals therefore.

Nevertheless, there are more factors to be considered:
- weight to carry/own bodyweight: need for stability, what has to be in concert with cushioning, presence of a rock plate etc
- foot anatomy: need for orthotics, swelling/sweating
- daily distance: if long km, then careful selection required as described above.

Sounds complicated, right :) Therefore some tips in case wrong choice made:
- frequent stops, unbooting, and feet ventilation
- hotspot taping, grease between toes
- selection of Compeed patches
 

Martin 888

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2019, Camino Frances 2020, Camino del Norte 2021
Hanwag, Makra low GTX…..awesome ! Lightweight, waterproof, wide fitting, Vibram approach sole…..best all round Camino footwear for every challenge along the way !
 

Silas Josiah

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
My recommendation is not for a particular shoe but for going to a running store to buy your shoes. Let them know what your planning and they'll run some tests (my place did a posture and gait analysis) which feels a bit silly, but you'll come away with the right shoes.
 
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koknesis

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances June/July 2014
Camino Aragones August 2015
Camino Sanabres (Ourense-SdC) August 2015
VdlP 2017
Hanwag, Makra low GTX…..awesome ! Lightweight, waterproof, wide fitting, Vibram approach sole…..best all round Camino footwear for every challenge along the way !
Hanwag, Vibram are great, but... on my first CF in Najera I met a pilger with completely ruined feet walking 30+ km so far in Hanwag mountaineering boots.. too stiff, too hot for June in Spain. He had to switch to the Crocs and cut daily distances.
btw he had bought the boots following salespersons advice, so be careful and explain where exactly, when and how long distances you plan to walk.
 
D

Deleted member 61803

Guest
Stroller, you are right, the choice of stockings can actually make or break the feet, even in well fitting shoes. There was a thread not too long ago which went into detail.
Silas, the shop I go to does that posture and gait analysis. They have a special "rug" that records pressure points and videos the general gait. They were also especially knowledgeable about toe bang.
 

Emily22

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I'm not saying that sandals are right for everyone, just pointing out that the Pyrenees are not anything to be scared of, and no special footwear is necessary for this part of the Camino.
Lots of people like trail running shoes from Altra, Hoka, Saucony, etc. I wore New Balance trail runners for my first two Caminos before switching to hiking sandals. There are lots of good brands like Teva, Chacos, Keen, Ecco, etc. Merrell sandals have worked for me because they fit my long narrow feet.
Got it! Haha, I can see in the video - not exactly mountaineering! Great, thanks for that. I'll be sure to keep some of those brands in mind when trying stuff out. I've heard good things about trail runners before, so will have to give those a try. Is it common for someone to bring a pair of trail runners or hiking shoes, and a pair or sandals?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Is it common for someone to bring a pair of trail runners or hiking shoes, and a pair or sandals?
Absolutely. I'm fact I would recommend it,
especially for first time long distance walkers. Having a pair of sandals that you can walk in could save your Camino if you have issues with your primary footwear. I have seen it happen. Plus you will probably want different footwear for the afternoons and evenings. Experienced long distance walkers who know what works for their feet over 100s of kms can get by with light flip flops or similar for the evenings, but if you're new at this bringing some hiking sandals can be very useful.
 

Opa Theo

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francais to Santiago
I like this question as it isn't "which is best" but "which do you wear" - excellent!

In my opinion, unless you prefer boots, you do not need boots except in mid winter (mind you, heavy rain in Rioja and that glutinous red mud might change my mind!!!). They are too enclosed, too heavy, users too prone to blisters. In recent times there has been a big move towards trail runners and trekking sandals - and those people don't go back to boots.
I do first aid for pilgrims, have done so since 2006, and not once have I treated blisters or foot damage for any pilgrim wearing trekking sandals, and very very few wearing trail runners (usually those were either a really cheap rubbish copy of a brand or too small).

Now, I have wide feet - clowns laugh - and there are no trail runners wide enough for me, and I also don't like my feet being strapped in, so I wear hiking sandals.

Mine are the Keen Newport H2. They come in leather or webbing. I would say do not use the leather ones, they are too stiff, I find the webbing ones much more comfortable. No blisters, no over-heating. They are wide at the toe box and have a superbly shaped foot-bed support.
I am wearing them now! They are the only footwear I have ever worn that five minutes after putting them on I am not aware that I am wearing them - they are that comfortable. Great traction sole. Maybe not the prettiest shoe in the world with that big bumper on the front and very occasionally you do have to stop to remove a stone that has somehow flipped in from the rear - but I love them.
In England it is an utter NO to wear socks with sandals but on Camino I will wear socks with them in very cold weather (please don't tell my friends over here ;)).

So - Keen Newport H2 (webbing, not leather). They do them in 'men' and 'women' styles but the 'women' styles are just pink I think.

View attachment 103603
This is an interesting choice. One issue with trail runners is that veteran long distance hikers in the USA agree that trail runners need to be replaced every 400 miles due to the cushioning and fabric wearing out.
I have an old pair of Keen newport water sandals which I wear with ankle high socks. The Keen water sandals have a very durable arch support. Only issue for me is if a small stone or twig gets into the sandal I have to stop and dig it out.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Only issue for me is if a small stone or twig gets into the sandal I have to stop and dig it out.
Not a problem that is completely avoided by wearing boots or shoes. I remember seeing a peregrina sitting by the side of the trail dumping small pebbles out if her boots!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
I did half my first CF in Merrell hiking shoes and they nearly destroyed my ability to walk. Switched to a pair of Teva sandals out of desperation and it was transformative. Did my second CF with a pair of Keens, plus those Tevas switched out halfway daily. With merino socks. Never another blister or plantar facitis. Did the CP using that same combo.

Everyone’s feet are different. And the terrain in Spain might be very different from what you experience walking long distances elsewhere.
 

DyanTX

DyanTX
Year of past OR future Camino
CF Sept 22 - Nov 3, 2016
I have very wide but short feet to begin with which makes shoe choice difficult. Many shoes have the arch support in the wrong place for my feet (Keens and Chacos for example). I used to do all my hiking in Asolo hiking boots. They were heavy but worked for wilderness backpacking and I never got a blister. In 2010, I went to Oboz low hiking shoes. Blisters galore - I think it was a combination of shoe too big and socks too big - disaster for hiking Isle Royale NP. I am now a complete convert to trail runners for all my hiking and light backpacking. My recipe for the CF after trying several shoes, socks and blister preventative measures was New Balance 990 trail runners (wide), SuperFeet berry women-specific insoles, injini toe sock liners and Darn Tough CoolMax hiking socks preceded by a good slather of FootGlide each morning. Not one blister, hot spot, lost toenail or other foot issue through 500+ miles of CF plus at least >100 training miles. And due to the FootGlide - nice soft feet at the end! :)
I'm now wearing Altra Lone Peak which are not quite as padded but do have a rock plate which helps on those rocky trails.
 

Emily22

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
The forum has hundreds (maybe thousands) of threads on the forum where people describe their shoe experiences - just click on the tag "foot wear & care" and start reading. Testimonials on those specific models are not likely to be helpful.

No single type of foot wear will be perfect for all conditions, so don't agonize over whether you might need lightweight shoes one day, waterproof boots the next, or extra grippy soles the following, or different sizes for different socks. Find the most comfortable shoe/boot/sandal you can, in a size that is on the roomy side. Test it with a brisk 30-minute walk indoors in a mall so you can return it if ANY discomfort appears. Then start walking, working up to 20 km or so. You might need to experiment with socks as well. Boots are not needed for the Pyrenees or for anywhere else, really, and the whole idea of ankle support is dubious. Waterproof shoes or boots might be too hot in summer. Don't shop for brand; just shop for comfort and fit. Once you find your shoe/boot/sandal, if you are walking a lot, you might need to get a new pair before next summer, so you will have a second chance to get it right (or wrong) :p.

I repeat: Comfort and fit - for your foot - are everything.
Wow, lots to read through under the "foot wear & care" tag! Will do some digging there. Haha, you're absolutely right, "don't agonize over whether you might need lightweight shoes one day, waterproof boots the next, or extra grippy soles the following" is exactly what I needed to hear. Also, very useful to learn that the idea of ankle support is dubious. The more I read, the more it sounds like full-on hiking boots are a bit overkill, but won't rule anything out just yet. "Comfort and fit - for your foot - are everything" - I will take this with me on my search 🙏

Oh, and as for socks, I've seen recommendations for the "moisture wicking" or "Merino wool" type - are they really all they're hyped up to be? What do you use?
 

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017), LePuy(2019)
Why boots over low shoes or trail runners? I just discovered my answer - they fit me better and do not cause my Morton's neuroma to act up after 4 miles with a loaded pack. How do I know? I bought the shoe version of my hiking boots because I thought they would be lighter and more breathable, but being basically the same model, would fit the same. I did an 8 mile hike and by mile 4, I felt the too familiar pain beginning, and hobbled the rest of the way with frequent stops. Two days later, I tried again with the same result. So after a day's rest I put on my boots, and amazingly, the neuroma was quiet. Did one more test -- because I really wanted lighter footwear-- and conceded that the boots were better for ME. I returned the shoe version. If you have any foot issues, test your choices and go with what is best for your feet, and you will have a buen camino!
 
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Emily22

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Whoa........
That's got to be the #1 question and perhaps the toughest decision to make regarding gear.
Take all the tips, advice, recommendations, weight it all up, and make your choice based on what feels right for you.

My first 3 Caminos I wore lightweight boots. Loved them.
But I don't need the added weight on my feet!

Next Camino I'm using trail runners.
Which ones?

Not sure yet.
I'm trialling two different ones and both are good in different ways.

The 'fit' is probably more important than the style/brand.
Got it, fit over style/brand is what I've been hearing. As of your post, I'm leaning towards trail runners - I'm thinking of walking in June so don't want to end up with extra hot, extra heavy feet for no reason 🙂
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I have used New Balance trail runners on every Camino since 2006. I always buy the one on the SL2 shoe last because it has an arrow heel and a wide and deep toebox. I can wear them out of the store and onto the Camino with no breaking in
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2016), Norte (2017), Portuges (2018), Mozarabe (2019), Primitivo (2019), Via de La Plata (2
Hey all! Very happy to have found this forum 😊

I'm planning on doing my first Camino next summer, but am in need of a new pair of hiking shoes so am starting to think ahead about which brands & styles I might want to try out. I'd love to hear about some of the footwear that all of you experienced Caminoers have relied on (or learned to avoid!) in the past. I do get it! I've read enough "footwear" posts online to understand that that there is no one right answer & that everyone has their own, unique experience - I'd still very much appreciate any advice that you all have to share based on your own past Caminos :)

Are there any brands that have a particularly good combo of support and breathability? Are boots really more likely to cause blisters? I'm leaning towards a pair of hiking boots because of the extra ankle support they'll provide over the Pyrenees, but am still open to a hiking shoe or trail runner.

Here are some styles that I'm considering:

Keen
Women's Targee Vent Mid
Women's Targee 2
Women's Voyageur
Merrell
Women's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof
Hi there. Obviously I am a man and so cannot comment with authority on women's shoes. However the male version of the Columbia Redmond III has got me through 5 Caminos without any foot pain and ZERO blisters. Here's a link to the female version. Buen Camino. https://www.columbiasportswear.es/E...r-1940631.html?dwvar_1940631_color=033&pos=15
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Oh, and as for socks, I've seen recommendations for the "moisture wicking" or "Merino wool" type - are they really all they're hyped up to be? What do you use?
I use several brands and types. Since they are less expensive and less difficult to fit, I can test them for different conditions, and I can take 3 different pairs on the camino. I use a fairly thin synthetic running sock for camino days. I have light merino ones for evenings, but they are too soft and sometimes cause blisters on the bottom on MY feet on long hot walks. (I wear merino for everyday socks at home, and for walks in the rain.) I have some quarter-height to reduce my hiker's rash in summer, and some crew height for more warmth.
 
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padre eric

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2016)
granted you are not mountain climbing, but I prefer boots for the simple reason that I'm a bit clumsy. Walking the Zubiri descent or the descent off of El Perdon (just outside of Pamplona) offers lots of chances to twist an ankle and the last thing I want is to plan an entire camino and be sidelined because of momentary lapse in how I set my foot. I've walked the Frances twice with Keen Targhee and no blisters either time. My next camino will be with Hoka Haha - you just can't beat the soles on these boots and the cushioning they provide over gravel and rocks (they are also quite lightweight). Find what fits best and gives you confidence.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
I'm not saying that sandals are right for everyone, just pointing out that the Pyrenees are not anything to be scared of, and no special footwear is necessary for this part of the Camino.
Lots of people like trail running shoes from Altra, Hoka, Saucony, etc. I wore New Balance trail runners for my first two Caminos before switching to hiking sandals. There are lots of good brands like Teva, Chacos, Keen, Ecco, etc. Merrell sandals have worked for me because they fit my long narrow feet.
Chaco sandals for me.
 

CatherineAnn

CF summer 2016
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012)
Camino Frances (2016)
Hey all! Very happy to have found this forum 😊

I'm planning on doing my first Camino next summer, but am in need of a new pair of hiking shoes so am starting to think ahead about which brands & styles I might want to try out. I'd love to hear about some of the footwear that all of you experienced Caminoers have relied on (or learned to avoid!) in the past. I do get it! I've read enough "footwear" posts online to understand that that there is no one right answer & that everyone has their own, unique experience - I'd still very much appreciate any advice that you all have to share based on your own past Caminos :)

Are there any brands that have a particularly good combo of support and breathability? Are boots really more likely to cause blisters? I'm leaning towards a pair of hiking boots because of the extra ankle support they'll provide over the Pyrenees, but am still open to a hiking shoe or trail runner.

Here are some styles that I'm considering:

Keen
Women's Targee Vent Mid
Women's Targee 2
Women's Voyageur
Merrell
Women's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof
I wore Merrill Moab ventilator boots the first time and a Hoka trail shoes the second. Trained in both. Loved both.
 

MacMac

The Ghost Who Walks
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
I wear hiking boots - LOWA Renegade Goretex Mid. 6 Caminos and a lot of other walking, almost 10000 km in 5 years, am on my third pair.
I swear by these and probably will never switch :cool:
 
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Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018, 2019
I'm a Hoka girl....boots in the spring, trail runners in the summer. Whatever, I wear I upgrade the insoles. Be sure to go bigger than your street size, as you feet will swell, particularly in the summer.
Every shoe is not right for everyone, and your local store may not carry a full array of choices, so you may need to order online. Just pick someone with free returns.
 

Rick M

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
April ('16,'18, '19, 21)
I wore Saucony echelon 5 runners for two Caminos, and when the "Improved" version gave me blisters, I switched to a New Balance 840 for my last, and upcoming Caminos. These are perfect........if you want to borrow my feet for your Camino, you'll be all set. My better half swears by Mizuno running shoes, presumably because she has Japanese feet, and these fit her best. Finding your shoe is a journey, its a lucky pilgrim who walks out of a shop with the right shoe in one go. When Saucony changed their design, I tried many shoes before finding the right replacement. And "trying" does not mean trying on in the store. You have to walk some distance before you really get a sense of it. It needs to be as close to perfect as you can find, as the day after day on Camino reveals any little flaws in the fit of your shoe.

Socks are important too. I walk with either Wigwam or Smartwool trekking weight merino socks. Expensive, and worth every penny. Its not about keeping your feet warm, its about preventing blisters. Merino wool has superb wicking properties, and is perfect for socks, as well as your base layer T-shirt. The socks are the "interface between your feet and the shoe, and provide for differential motion between them without rubbing your skin the wrong way. Experiment with different socks, and you will find the ones that work for you. When in doubt, heavy is better than light. I do not recommend cotton socks of any kind, these are asking for trouble.

Buen Camino
 

koknesis

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances June/July 2014
Camino Aragones August 2015
Camino Sanabres (Ourense-SdC) August 2015
VdlP 2017
One issue with trail runners is that veteran long distance hikers in the USA agree that trail runners need to be replaced every 400 miles due to the cushioning and fabric wearing out.
The same in Europe :) CF was OK with one pair, but on VdlP they started to disintegrate soon after Zamora 😡 So, a good quality hiking shoe, like Merell Moab would be more appropriate then. Btw it has a Vibram sole as well 🤓
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
The same in Europe :) CF was OK with one pair, but on VdlP they started to disintegrate soon after Zamora 😡 So, a good quality hiking shoe, like Merell Moab would be more appropriate then. Btw it has a Vibram sole as well 🤓

I know I sound like a sales rep, and I don't mean to say that sandals are for everybody. Of course they aren't! But my Chaco sandals have a Vibram sole and lasted two Caminos. Then I sent them back to Chaco to be re-soled and they are like new again.
 
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Hey all! Very happy to have found this forum 😊

I'm planning on doing my first Camino next summer, but am in need of a new pair of hiking shoes so am starting to think ahead about which brands & styles I might want to try out. I'd love to hear about some of the footwear that all of you experienced Caminoers have relied on (or learned to avoid!) in the past. I do get it! I've read enough "footwear" posts online to understand that that there is no one right answer & that everyone has their own, unique experience - I'd still very much appreciate any advice that you all have to share based on your own past Caminos :)

Are there any brands that have a particularly good combo of support and breathability? Are boots really more likely to cause blisters? I'm leaning towards a pair of hiking boots because of the extra ankle support they'll provide over the Pyrenees, but am still open to a hiking shoe or trail runner.

Here are some styles that I'm considering:

Keen
Women's Targee Vent Mid
Women's Targee 2
Women's Voyageur
Merrell
Women's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof
I used to wear boots but never ever again. Much of the CF is on paved paths or tarmac and the rest is on pretty decent paths. I use a pair of Adidas supernovas. They’re an ordinary ‘running’ shoe with loads of decent padding and coupled with a sorbothane insole it’s like walking on marshmallows - perfect for the CF. They’re light, incredibly comfortable and when coupled with 1,000 mile socks (double layered) there’s not a blister in sight. I’ve also used them on the Primitivo and on the Portuguese central route. Many pilgrims complain about the cobbles on the Portuguese. To be honest, I didn’t notice that there were cobbles. I’ve used both gore-tex and non gore-tex versions. The gore-tex version is heavier and more robust but unless you’re walking in winter the non gore-tex version is a better bet. My wife also wore boots originally but now uses Altra paradigm trainers. They have a large toe box, zero drop which might cause problems for some walkers but they’ve proved perfect for her for the CF, Primitivo and Portuguese.

Whatever footwear you decide on, the key to an enjoyable walking experience is to have the lightest full backpack possible. Weight on your back translates directly to pressure on knees, ankles and the soft fleshy pads on your feet. My wife and I keep total pack weight including water to less than 5.5kg and 7kg respectively. Your feet will thank you 😊.
 

David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
Correct size is important as so many people have footwear too narrow.

Mine are UK 12 but 3X wide (7E to 8E) - funny how often shop assistants tell me that 3X width might be difficult to find, as if at 73 I have only just started shopping for footwear.

This link is to a foot measurement guide, leading to your proper width - a good start!

Width chart men

Width chart women
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
This is an interesting choice. One issue with trail runners is that veteran long distance hikers in the USA agree that trail runners need to be replaced every 400 miles due to the cushioning and fabric wearing out.

I do not let longevity of footwear determine what I wear. I focus on on comfort of the footwear's fit and feel, and what the overall energy expenditure will be in using them. Then I consider what the conditions are expected to be like (cold, snow, ice). From there, I make my decision.

The actual reasons for choosing a trail or road running shoe is what makes their overall lifespan shorter. I used 5 pairs of trail runners on my thru-hike of the 2,650 mile long Pacific Crest Trail.

Trail and street runners absolutely will not last as long as a boot or heavier hiking shoe or boot. When a lighter weight and cushioning for the feet are the primary focus, the materials are more friable than those used on heavier footwear. Materials technology simply does not exist which will give trail running shoes the kind of durability of the heavier materials in hiking shoes and hiking boots.

Why would I choose that type of footwear? Significantly lighter weight, lessened risk for injury, comfort with the cushioning, and the lessened drain on energy levels caused by lifting the weight on my feet while walking 24 to 26 mile days.

Those are my reasons. They are shared by a large percentage of backpacking enthusiasts in the US (I do not know about the rest of the world).
 

koknesis

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances June/July 2014
Camino Aragones August 2015
Camino Sanabres (Ourense-SdC) August 2015
VdlP 2017
I know I sound like a sales rep, and I don't mean to say that sandals are for everybody. Of course they aren't! But my Chaco sandals have a Vibram sole and lasted two Caminos. Then I sent them back to Chaco to be re-soled and they are like new again.

I like sandals too :) my choice still is Ecco Biom closed toe, now 9yo. Unfortunately not produced anymore. On CF I alternated Reebok trail runners with them, just great. On other caminos the point was to go as light as possible, so with only one trail footwear.

One more factor in this never ending quest for the right shoe is to find the correct heel-to-toe drop... at leat for me this makes huge difference ...
 
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LoriLosch

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to SJPP (Sept 2018)
Are there any brands that have a particularly good combo of support and breathability? Are boots really more likely to cause blisters? I'm leaning towards a pair of hiking boots because of the extra ankle support they'll provide over the Pyrenees, but am still open to a hiking shoe or trail runner.
I swear by Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 trail runners. Walked 600 miles (Le Puy to SJPP with loads of evening walking also and an after tour at the coast). Was like walking on marshmallows. Not a blister or hot spot the entire time. They are well worth the investment. Buen Camino!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
This link is to a foot measurement guide, leading to your proper width - a good start!
Haha! I find the results a little dubious. I have a wide foot - I've always known that, and my selection of comfortable shoes is somewhat limited. However, my feet are not ridiculously wide, and I have always eventually found comfy walking shoes without special order. That shoe chart suggests a size 7, EEE width for me. Forget that! If I looked for 7 or 7.5 EEE in a women's shoe, I would be limited to special orthopedic models! If I needed them, I would get them, but in fact, I can usually find a size 7.5 wide (E) that works well - I'm currently wearing Brooks Ghost 13 in 7.5.

I suspect that manufacturers make these wider shoes but just promote the model by name, without giving it an unflattering super-wide label. So, you need to hunt around for shoes that have a "wide" reputation. My feet are a little unusual, but not off the charts of available shoes. Some people do have much more difficulty in finding a fit for their foot peculiarities.

I agree that many/most people are wearing shoes that are too narrow for comfortable long-distance walking.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Hey all! Very happy to have found this forum 😊

I'm planning on doing my first Camino next summer, but am in need of a new pair of hiking shoes so am starting to think ahead about which brands & styles I might want to try out. I'd love to hear about some of the footwear that all of you experienced Caminoers have relied on (or learned to avoid!) in the past. I do get it! I've read enough "footwear" posts online to understand that that there is no one right answer & that everyone has their own, unique experience - I'd still very much appreciate any advice that you all have to share based on your own past Caminos :)

Are there any brands that have a particularly good combo of support and breathability? Are boots really more likely to cause blisters? I'm leaning towards a pair of hiking boots because of the extra ankle support they'll provide over the Pyrenees, but am still open to a hiking shoe or trail runner.

Here are some styles that I'm considering:

Keen
Women's Targee Vent Mid
Women's Targee 2
Women's Voyageur
Merrell
Women's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof
Actually, I found some other descents trickier than the Pyrenees! Steep descents with round rolling rocks in ravines, for example. I wore boots. I'll wear boots this fall, too. Mine were WP & are again. In 2019, I wore Oboz Bridgers - this time LaSportiva. I'm loving the Sportivas! However, I'm in my 70s and perhaps feel the need for more stability. I walked Sept 7 - Oct 15 from SJPP. Early days were hot & those rocks hold the heat. Removed boots and socks midday, aired the feet, put on a fresh pair of socks & loosened my laces. Put Omnifix tape on my feet each morning in places where I saw other people getting blisters. I had no blisters or hotspots for the entire trek. Oh. I sized up a whole size, but with the Sportivas, I've only needed to size up 1/2 size.
 

koknesis

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances June/July 2014
Camino Aragones August 2015
Camino Sanabres (Ourense-SdC) August 2015
VdlP 2017
I swear by Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 trail runners. Walked 600 miles (Le Puy to SJPP with loads of evening walking also and an after tour at the coast). Was like walking on marshmallows. Not a blister or hot spot the entire time. They are well worth the investment. Buen Camino!
Exactly! Hokas are very good in this "marshmallows"business. But be aware there is a price to pay for this: loss of feedback from uneven surface, required for correct feet placement. I love to run in my Hoka Mafate on smooth asphalt, but hate this degree of cushioning on technical trail.
 
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Emily22

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I like this question as it isn't "which is best" but "which do you wear" - excellent!

In my opinion, unless you prefer boots, you do not need boots except in mid winter (mind you, heavy rain in Rioja and that glutinous red mud might change my mind!!!). They are too enclosed, too heavy, users too prone to blisters. In recent times there has been a big move towards trail runners and trekking sandals - and those people don't go back to boots.
I do first aid for pilgrims, have done so since 2006, and not once have I treated blisters or foot damage for any pilgrim wearing trekking sandals, and very very few wearing trail runners (usually those were either a really cheap rubbish copy of a brand or too small).

Now, I have wide feet - clowns laugh - and there are no trail runners wide enough for me, and I also don't like my feet being strapped in, so I wear hiking sandals.

Mine are the Keen Newport H2. They come in leather or webbing. I would say do not use the leather ones, they are too stiff, I find the webbing ones much more comfortable. No blisters, no over-heating. They are wide at the toe box and have a superbly shaped foot-bed support.
I am wearing them now! They are the only footwear I have ever worn that five minutes after putting them on I am not aware that I am wearing them - they are that comfortable. Great traction sole. Maybe not the prettiest shoe in the world with that big bumper on the front and very occasionally you do have to stop to remove a stone that has somehow flipped in from the rear - but I love them.
In England it is an utter NO to wear socks with sandals but on Camino I will wear socks with them in very cold weather (please don't tell my friends over here ;)).

So - Keen Newport H2 (webbing, not leather). They do them in 'men' and 'women' styles but the 'women' styles are just pink I think.

View attachment 103603
Wow, David, what a detailed response! Thank you for taking the time to write all of that up. This goes for all of the responses I've received so far, but what a great community this is - so many kind, thoughtful replies 🙂

After reading trecile's reply, that pair of Keens was the first I looked at. Used to have a pair and remember them being both comfy and sturdy. Maybe not the prettiest, but if they do the job and and keep the blisters away, that's all that matters to me! Hearing about your experience doing first aid for pilgrims (plus the fact that you're wearing your sandals now!) has just about sold me on the trail runners/sandals over boots argument.

Haha, sandals with socks?! Sounds like the perfect combo to me 😜 Is there a certain brand/material that you swear by? I mentioned this in response to an earlier comment, but some people swear by merino wool/moisture wicking socks. Do they make much difference?
 

David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
Wow, David, what a detailed response! Thank you for taking the time to write all of that up. This goes for all of the responses I've received so far, but what a great community this is - so many kind, thoughtful replies 🙂

After reading trecile's reply, that pair of Keens was the first I looked at. Used to have a pair and remember them being both comfy and sturdy. Maybe not the prettiest, but if they do the job and and keep the blisters away, that's all that matters to me! Hearing about your experience doing first aid for pilgrims (plus the fact that you're wearing your sandals now!) has just about sold me on the trail runners/sandals over boots argument.

Haha, sandals with socks?! Sounds like the perfect combo to me 😜 Is there a certain brand/material that you swear by? I mentioned this in response to an earlier comment, but some people swear by merino wool/moisture wicking socks. Do they make much difference?

Thank you - but when it comes to socks and any other clothing items please don't ask me! I am a 100% cotton t shirt and underpants man, and thin cotton shirts, nothing tech or synthetic against my skin - and socks? I just take an old pair of fairly thick cotton rich work socks ... I am hopeless, should have been a Victorian!!
 

Emily22

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Oh dear, I am wondering if Emily is managing to boil down all the answers so far!! 😂
Haha, and here I was hoping for 3-5 replies at most. Really, I can't thank everyone enough for taking the time to write such detailed, thoughtful responses.

I'm doing my best to take notes and write back to each one, but have only just made it to #7 😆 Hoping get to the #50+ replies before I start my Camino next summer!
 
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biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
My two cents, I have a dodgy right ankle due to neuropathy and need the ankle support. Over 11 years I have tried every sort of boot and my only complaint is how well the soles hold up, I have never reused a boot on a second Camino. Sticks are more important to me than my footware.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Hearing about... has just about sold me on the trail runners/sandals over boots argument.
But we are all trying to tell you that "hearing about" counts for almost nothing. You must put them on your feet and walk.
I'm doing my best to take notes and write back to each one, but have only just made it to #7 😆 Hoping get to the #50+ replies before I start my Camino next summer!
We really appreciate it when the OP does respond to the discussion, rather than just posting a question and then disappearing. But it isn't necessary (or possible) to reply individually to every contributor! Your active participation, and a few 👍 or 🙏 responses are great.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Haha, sandals with socks?! Sounds like the perfect combo to me 😜 Is there a certain brand/material that you swear by? I mentioned this in response to an earlier comment, but some people swear by merino wool/moisture wicking socks. Do they make much difference?
Socks and sandals is the height of Camino chic! 😄
When I'm out and about after walking I ditch the socks though.
The socks that I wear most often are WrightSocks Coolmesh double layer quarter socks. (that's quite a mouthfu!l) I have also worn wool socks, and I bring SealSkinz waterproof socks for especially soggy days, though I've only had to use them a couple of times. My first time exclusively wearing sandals on the Camino was during a very wet July on the Norte, and I didn't have the waterproof socks yet, so I just wore the WrightSocks. I just had to wring them out when I stopped for breaks.
 

Emily22

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
But we are all trying to tell you that "hearing about" counts for almost nothing. You must put them on your feet and walk.

We really appreciate it when the OP does respond to the discussion, rather than just posting a question and then disappearing. But it isn't necessary (or possible) to reply individually to every contributor! Your active participation, and a few 👍 or 🙏 responses are what counts.
You're right! I should have said, "sold me on giving them a try" 🙂
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I'm doing my best to take notes and write back to each one, but have only just made it to #7 😆 Hoping get to the #50+ replies before I start my Camino next summer!
No worries about getting back to each one. If you did that the thread would double in length! And since we tend to be an opinionated lot (at least as far as gear goes) it's likely to get rather long anyway. 😄
 
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Len Dacombe

Len from Canada
Year of past OR future Camino
April/May 2015 & September 2015
Hey all! Very happy to have found this forum 😊

I'm planning on doing my first Camino next summer, but am in need of a new pair of hiking shoes so am starting to think ahead about which brands & styles I might want to try out. I'd love to hear about some of the footwear that all of you experienced Caminoers have relied on (or learned to avoid!) in the past. I do get it! I've read enough "footwear" posts online to understand that that there is no one right answer & that everyone has their own, unique experience - I'd still very much appreciate any advice that you all have to share based on your own past Caminos :)

Are there any brands that have a particularly good combo of support and breathability? Are boots really more likely to cause blisters? I'm leaning towards a pair of hiking boots because of the extra ankle support they'll provide over the Pyrenees, but am still open to a hiking shoe or trail runner.

Here are some styles that I'm considering:

Keen
Women's Targee Vent Mid
Women's Targee 2
Women's Voyageur
Merrell
Women's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof
Emily,

Everyone will have their opinion, and they may all be right. In my case, I walked in 2015 and I walked in Salomon 4D Quest light hiking boots. I did have one blister on day 2, but I attribute that to not tying the boot properly. After that those boots became my friend. They wore so well in fact, I still use them today!! When I slip them on now they feel like home and Camino memories come flooding back.

Personally I can’t imagine wearing hiking sandals for the entire journey as I would think you would be ripe for blisters, but I have zero experience with them so other people’s advice may prove helpful.

If you decide on boots please take a couple of pairs of spare boot laces. My onlynissue with the Salomons were that the laces are a weird length and were impossible to find in a quality lace. I ended up making my own and I was glad I did.
 

jeffsadventures

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Oct 2017
After I did the CF, I decided I would just tell people to google the best sneakers that marathon runners use and then go try them on and decide. And buy 1/2 to a full size larger to account for your feet getting "longer". I used a low cut, trail runner from Merrell and it worked but I didn't need the waterproof feature or the aggressive tread. A running shoe for marathons has the support. light weight, and longevity designed in so it works on a camino. My shoes had holes when I was finished at the crease where the toe box folds over and over while walking. Although, all shoes take a beating, Merrell footwear is no longer my go to choice anymore.
 

koknesis

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances June/July 2014
Camino Aragones August 2015
Camino Sanabres (Ourense-SdC) August 2015
VdlP 2017
… In my case, I walked in 2015 and I walked in Salomon 4D Quest light hiking boots
Yes, these have been my long time favorite. Did GR20 and Fjällräven Classic in them, but wouldn’t dare to wear on Camino though.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
A few times
Oboz Sawtooth low....
Also, for the Frances no need for waterproof footwear. Not at all a necessity, especially between June-September.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
A few times
You don't need anything extra for the Pyrenees. It's not mountaineering! It's basically walking uphill on either a paved road or a dirt path. There are other places on the Camino that have more difficult terrain than the Pyrenees, but IMO none that require boots. Personally, I like to wear hiking sandals on all parts of the Camino.
Check out the first couple of minutes of this video to see how "difficult" the Pyrenees are.

That is a great little video. The Camino Frances in a nutshell. Shows the variety of packs, footwear, clothing etc carried and worn by pilgrims. Shows the terrain, surfaces of the route and the variety of villages, cities and towns. All a prospective pilgrim would have to do is watch that and it answers 99% of the questions. So do the guidebooks, but videos put it a bit more dimensional.
As everyone can see it is hardly a true backpacking trip or hike, and not austere at all.
 
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Martin 888

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2019, Camino Frances 2020, Camino del Norte 2021
Hanwag, Vibram are great, but... on my first CF in Najera I met a pilger with completely ruined feet walking 30+ km so far in Hanwag mountaineering boots.. too stiff, too hot for June in Spain. He had to switch to the Crocs and cut daily distances.
btw he had bought the boots following salespersons advice, so be careful and explain where exactly, when and how long distances you plan to walk.
I agree and can see that happening. The shoes I’m referring to are light, low and feel like you’re wearing slippers !
 

Tony Bobcat

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 2017
You don't need anything extra for the Pyrenees. It's not mountaineering! It's basically walking uphill on either a paved road or a dirt path. There are other places on the Camino that have more difficult terrain than the Pyrenees, but IMO none that require boots. Personally, I like to wear hiking sandals on all parts of the Camino.
Check out the first couple of minutes of this video to see how "difficult" the Pyrenees are.

Great video Trecile, thanks for sharing.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
That is a great little video. The Camino Frances in a nutshell. Shows the variety of packs, footwear, clothing etc carried and worn by pilgrims. Shows the terrain, surfaces of the route and the variety of villages, cities and towns. All a prospective pilgrim would have to do is watch that and it answers 99% of the questions. So do the guidebooks, but videos put it a bit more dimensional.
As everyone can see it is hardly a true backpacking trip or hike, and not austere at all.
I like it for those reasons, plus I think that it shows the part of the Camino that's difficult to convey in still photos, which is the camaraderie than once experiences on the Camino
 

Old Kiwi

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
For me, New Balance trail runners. I used boots for years. Changed to trail runners and will never go back. Fit and comfort is most important to me. I walk over 4000 kilometres each year on paved roads, rough tracks and stony ground and never have a problem. I first got the New Balance model I use because they were on special at the shop. Now I ask for the same ones because they work for me and I am happy with them.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Exactly! Hokas are very good in this "marshmallows"business. But be aware there is a price to pay for this: loss of feedback from uneven surface, required for correct feet placement. I love to run in my Hoka Mafate on smooth asphalt, but hate this degree of cushioning on technical trail.
I cannot disagree with your personal assessment and preference. There have been a few models of 'plush' cushioned trail running and street running shoes from a few manufacturers, other than Hoka One One, that I've been contracted to do QA testing and have similar concerns to those you listed.

In those cases, the cause was not as simple as the level of cushioning itself; there were separate technical and design issues. One shoe had far too little motion control and anti-torsion control for the level of cushioning. The others were problematic due to a narrow outersole at the heel, combined with a cushioning material at the midsole that was incorrectly formulated by the supplier.

'Feedback' is a byproduct of 'print through', in which anything on the surface transmits to the foot. This is not limited to assessing general unevenness with each step, but also rocks, clods, roots and other assorted pointy stuff. On the Camino Portuguese that would include cobblestones. :)

The less cushioning there is, the more print-through will occur. A rock plate, however, will help to blunt most of the pointy stuff; but still . . . There are many competitive runners who prefer an ultralight shoe. At running speeds, there is little time with each foot plant to assess and adjust to irregular trail surfaces.

For short duration activities, like running, light and moderate cushioning does not matter if a foot is not subject to issues like Morton's or Plantars.

Hoka describes their cushioning levels as 'Responsive' 'Balanced' or 'Plush'. Uh, sure, ok. Why not do a scale of 1 to 5, or something that provides a bit more of an incremental scale is a puzzle.

The Mafate is a Neutral stability shoe, with a Balanced level of cushioning. Not as cushiony as some Hoka models, like the Bondi. The Bondi is a street runner compared to your Mafate which is an 'off-road' shoe. Hoka has off road/trail runners with less cushioning ('responsive'), too.

At walking speeds, foot placement is far easier to assess than when running. There is more time to 'see' the walking surface, evaluate it, and then adjust to it. While I understand the issue of surface feedback, with proper design and construction a plush cushioned shoe will generally work fine for hiking and walking. The wider outersole helps provide sufficient stability and support for uneven surfaces.

For folks with abnormal foot conditions where discomfort and pain can be caused by the pressure from supporting body weight, the plush level of cushioning is a godsend. The mechanics of reducing direct pressure to the sole of the foot is an amazing benefit.

I want to mention one caveat about 'plush' cushioning: if folks are accustomed to lower levels of cushioning in a shoe, and then switch to a shoe like the Hoka Bondi, for some folks it will take a very short period of time to get used to the feel of the new level of cushioning. But once the body is oriented and has had a chance to adjust, the new 'normal' functions well.
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
After I did the CF, I decided I would just tell people to google the best sneakers that marathon runners use and then go try them on and decide. And buy 1/2 to a full size larger to account for your feet getting "longer". I used a low cut, trail runner from Merrell and it worked but I didn't need the waterproof feature or the aggressive tread. A running shoe for marathons has the support. light weight, and longevity designed in so it works on a camino. My shoes had holes when I was finished at the crease where the toe box folds over and over while walking. Although, all shoes take a beating, Merrell footwear is no longer my go to choice anymore.

I can understand your reasoning in suggesting shoes that are favored by marathon runners. I like the focus on recommending shoes which require less energy when you are constantly lifting legs when walking. Less weight means more energy available.

Perhaps I can share why I would recommend other styles of running shoes, and tend to avoid shoes marketed for marathoners. But if you are looking at the amount of wording below, I would not hold it against you if you decided walking the dog was a better use of the time that it would take to read this post.. :)

The design focus of marathon-specific shoes is for a 'fast' and ultralight shoe. That is achieved by using less cushioning materials to cut weight, and limiting materials for motion control and support. Because marathoning is a short duration with no need to carry a backpack, as compared to walking with a backpack for long hours in a day, sacrificing cushioning and support levels to gain a lighter weight is a reasonable trade.. Runners can cover long distances, but they do so in a fraction of the time that backpackers, hikers, and walkers do.

I do recognize that there exists a wide diversity of people who have feet made of iron. They do not need or want a lot of support and cushioning from a shoe. These are feet that have highly developed structural strength which can deal with the stresses of long distance walking. Stresses that would make a large percentage of folks holler 'uncle' if shod in ultralight marathon runners.

I am among many others who have feet that either suffer from medical conditions, or that refuse conditioning and squawk at the thought of hiking and backpacking.

If I tried to force my feet to do long distance walking in a pair of superlight, thinly padded shoes, my feet would do a Mutiny on the Bounty. Right Foot would lead the rebellion and scream accusations of abuse and barbarism. They would then amputate themselves, set me adrift, and run away. They would view hiking in a marathon shoe as an unforgivable crossing of a line.

You are also on the right track about the idea of purchasing a larger size shoe, and that is an option to keep in mind when purchasing new hiking shoes or trail runners. It is important, however, to decide on exactly how much of a size increase is needed based on how a shoe fits. Specific size measurements are irrelevant. A shoe purchase needs to be assessed solely on how it fits-n-feels,. Once that has been achieved, then you will know what size needs to be purchased.

:) I do not need to know the label size of a shoe to know if a shoe is sized correctly. But, I could very well end up with an uncomfortable shoe that has a poor fit by relying on my stated shoe size printed on the box. Many an injured and blistered foot has occurred because a pilgrim bought a pair of hiking shoes based only their normal measured shoe size, and then adding an incremental size increase.

However, during proper fitting for hiking shoes, you may find a need to go up just a half-size to two whole sizes. You just won't know for sure unless the proper fitting procedure is followed.

A lot of folks share your thinking that when doing a long walk, the primary size increase to feet will be to the length. While that might occur, it is a small, fractional increase; the main increase to size comes from the width of the foot.

The reason so much emphasis is made on purchase a shoe with a longer length, is to have enough space at the front of the shoe to keep toes from banging into the shoe on downhills, and even with just walking over many hours..

A proper fitting assesses the width of the shoe, as well as the length. Again, proper fitting procedures will deliver the shoe size needed.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Dave, you fill a special niche on the forum related to all types of gear and clothing with your expert advise from years of backpacking, and reviewing new products for manufacturers.
We are fortunate to have your input literally at our fingertips...just saying.
 

mdwcolo

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
March 25
I like this question as it isn't "which is best" but "which do you wear" - excellent!

In my opinion, unless you prefer boots, you do not need boots except in mid winter (mind you, heavy rain in Rioja and that glutinous red mud might change my mind!!!). They are too enclosed, too heavy, users too prone to blisters. In recent times there has been a big move towards trail runners and trekking sandals - and those people don't go back to boots.
I do first aid for pilgrims, have done so since 2006, and not once have I treated blisters or foot damage for any pilgrim wearing trekking sandals, and very very few wearing trail runners (usually those were either a really cheap rubbish copy of a brand or too small).

Now, I have wide feet - clowns laugh - and there are no trail runners wide enough for me, and I also don't like my feet being strapped in, so I wear hiking sandals.

Mine are the Keen Newport H2. They come in leather or webbing. I would say do not use the leather ones, they are too stiff, I find the webbing ones much more comfortable. No blisters, no over-heating. They are wide at the toe box and have a superbly shaped foot-bed support.
I am wearing them now! They are the only footwear I have ever worn that five minutes after putting them on I am not aware that I am wearing them - they are that comfortable. Great traction sole. Maybe not the prettiest shoe in the world with that big bumper on the front and very occasionally you do have to stop to remove a stone that has somehow flipped in from the rear - but I love them.
In England it is an utter NO to wear socks with sandals but on Camino I will wear socks with them in very cold weather (please don't tell my friends over here ;)).

So - Keen Newport H2 (webbing, not leather). They do them in 'men' and 'women' styles but the 'women' styles are just pink I think.

View attachment 103603
I have those keens. Love them. But on long walks my pinky toe hits one of the straps at just the right angle to cause a blister. I like running shoes. brooks glycerin. I walk about 4 miles a day to work in Colorado. I did Camino Frances from sarria in 2019. No blisters with running shoes. It rained constantly when I went. Nothing was going to stay dry. My son had lighter less padded running shoes and they dried so quick. I walked with people who had boots that were “waterproof”. And they never dried out once they soaked through. I’m heading to Spain with my daughter on Friday the 13th. August. I’ll probably bring a light pair of shoes and walk in the padded ones. I walked into a pharmacy in one of the towns on CF and the pharmacists very annoyed walked around the counter and looked at my feet. Fortunately I had put newspaper in my other running shoes to dry and was out on the town with my light weight shoes that were clean. The Keens mentioned are not particularly light weight to carry so mine will stay home.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Dave, you fill a special niche on the forum related to all types of gear and clothing with your expert advise from years of backpacking, and reviewing new products for manufacturers.
We are fortunate to have your input literally at our fingertips...just saying.
😮 <blush>

I appreciate that, Chrissy; I am happy to contribute and I enjoy participating.

There are a lot of veterans who inspire me by their wisdom, knowledge and compassion. Some willingly share and seek to help other members. Some are the 'glue' that keeps the Forum together (thanks Moderators). So many outstanding Forum members who, for the benefit of old and new pilgrims everywhere are:
  • Creating great YouTube videos; both instructional, and those designed to focus on the 'inner' camino issues .
  • Authoring books about things Camino.
  • Conducting informative podcasts.
  • Producing regular livestreams to keep us in touch with each other, and with Camino news and events. It helped with Camino anxieties and irritations from the COVID caused Camino drought.
  • Changing, or who have changed, their lives to invest their money and their time to become a vital part of the Camino infrastructure and to help with its upkeep.
  • Doing magnificent work by pouring their hearts into Pilgrim and Camino ministries which provide spiritual, physical, and emotional support, yet demand nothing in return.
  • Organizing charitable non-profits and volunteer programs in order to organize monetary and logistical help to needed Camino infrastructure, like alburgues, which have struggled to stay open.
  • Regularly and periodically posting their thoughts and encouragements and knowledge which makes this Forum a unique oasis within the social media Desert of the Negative and the Belligerent.
Forum Members Are Kewl. :cool: And, as an introvert, this is a pretty comfortable and easy way to hang around with a group.
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I like this question as it isn't "which is best" but "which do you wear" - excellent!

I wholeheartedly agree, David. Asking "which is best" can only be answered objectively if the questioner wants to know about issues with the quality of manufacture, average useful lifespan for a specific body type, the rate of product returns due to defects or poor construction, most popular color, etc.

There is no objective measurement to say which is the best in terms or how the shoe feels, how it fits, how it will perform for a given person, and such.

Many times a thread about shoes gets cooking when a lot of participants make recommendations for shoes that performed well for them. As I glance at some of the recommendations, there will be shoes or boots mentioned that I intensely disliked. Like snowflakes, no two pairs of feet are alike which means that the performance of shoes on one persons foot may not feel or act the same on someone else's feet.

The 3 first-world things I like least that I can remember I like the least:
  1. Moving. Aaargh!!!! I'd rather just leave all the stuff in the sold house, and just drive away.
  2. Jill 'reorganizing' my stuff in the garage. For months after, it will take me more time to find the stuff I need (until I can get it re-memorized} than the amount of time it takes to finish the project that requires me to use my stuff. Personally, I think Jill does it for the giggles. I really need some sort of "Wife Messing With My Stuff" repellant in a 100% concentration. Either that or a trained Watch Snake. Jill is paranoid of snakes, but I think snakes be kewl. Huh, that would make a Watch Snake a multi-tasker; now if I can only find a snake collar. . Note to self: do a search on Alibaba for snake stuff.
  3. Buying shoes. Compared to shoe shopping, I'd rather be trapped by Cujo inside an out-of-gas Pinto sitting under a blazing hot sun. But I can't fit and wear either the Pinto or Cujo on my feet.
Sorry for rambling, David.
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I have those keens. Love them. But on long walks my pinky toe hits one of the straps at just the right angle to cause a blister. I like running shoes. brooks glycerin. I walk about 4 miles a day to work in Colorado. I did Camino Frances from sarria in 2019. No blisters with running shoes. It rained constantly when I went. Nothing was going to stay dry. My son had lighter less padded running shoes and they dried so quick. I walked with people who had boots that were “waterproof”. And they never dried out once they soaked through. I’m heading to Spain with my daughter on Friday the 13th. August. I’ll probably bring a light pair of shoes and walk in the padded ones. I walked into a pharmacy in one of the towns on CF and the pharmacists very annoyed walked around the counter and looked at my feet. Fortunately I had put newspaper in my other running shoes to dry and was out on the town with my light weight shoes that were clean. The Keens mentioned are not particularly light weight to carry so mine will stay home.

For wet weather walking, there are a number of thing that I will do and not do. Here are a few that may add to what you are already doing.

  • Apply a good layer of goop (there are a number of choices) to your feet to keep a barrier between skin and water. This will help control feet from becoming macerated and more prone to skin damage, including blistering.
  • Wear thin, light-cushioned merino wool socks. Thinner padding will not absorb as much water as thicker socks. Merino wool will also keep wet feet warm and comfortable in most seasons and temperature ranges, unless the weather is frigid winter-cold.
  • While I prefer merino wool socks, there are some decent synthetic-blend socks, specifically designed for hiking, which can also work well.
  • During rest stops which will last longer than 20 minutes, take off shoes and socks to let feet air dry. During that time, I will wring out any excess moisture from the socks, but I will not put on either of my dry pairs (I take three). Putting on a dry pair will mean you will have two pairs of wet socks to deal with. I dry off moisture on my feet and then reapply a goodly amount of goop to my feet to help keep them from becoming macerated.
  • Carry an extra pair of insoles. I do not carry other footwear, but I always carry an extra set of insoles. These extra insoles do not have to be the same as the expensive “walking” insoles that you purchased separately. I use the same lightweight pair of insoles that came with the shoes. These will be the barrier between your wet footwear and your dry socks when you are done for the day and if your shoes are a bit damp come morning.
  • I find that at days end, I can remove the wet insoles and use absorbent paper or toweling to sop up as much moisture as is possible while I am showering and dealing with end of the day chores. When I get ready to go to dinner or to wander around town, I insert the extra pair of dry insoles into my shoes, put on a pair of dry Merino wool socks, and put my shoes back on. This accelerates drying out the shoes. Depending on the shoe’s material, within a couple of hours the shoes are mostly dry.
  • At bedtime, I remove the insoles and stuff absorbent material into the shoes to continue the drying out process, if need be, during the night. Most of the time the stuffing is not needed, even if the shoes are still a bit damp. They will finish drying by morning.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I wore men’s Merrill Moab mid-highs, not waterproof, on both of my Caminos. My first Camino was especially wet and muddy. I was glad I had mid-highs because the route was slippery in places. I was glad I did not have waterproofs because these boots dried out very quickly. I plan to use them again on my next Camino. As I write this, I have a pair of low Moabs on, they fit well. I bought my Camino pairs a size larger than I would normally wear, with more sock layers if needed.
‘Hope this helps. I think a big part of the picture is getting the right size - room for your feet to grow - and good lacing and socks.
 

Joejoe

El Topo Verde.
Year of past OR future Camino
The French way, plus aiming to walk the mozarabe through to muxia.
Hey all! Very happy to have found this forum 😊

I'm planning on doing my first Camino next summer, but am in need of a new pair of hiking shoes so am starting to think ahead about which brands & styles I might want to try out. I'd love to hear about some of the footwear that all of you experienced Caminoers have relied on (or learned to avoid!) in the past. I do get it! I've read enough "footwear" posts online to understand that that there is no one right answer & that everyone has their own, unique experience - I'd still very much appreciate any advice that you all have to share based on your own past Caminos :)

Are there any brands that have a particularly good combo of support and breathability? Are boots really more likely to cause blisters? I'm leaning towards a pair of hiking boots because of the extra ankle support they'll provide over the Pyrenees, but am still open to a hiking shoe or trail runner.

Here are some styles that I'm considering:

Keen
Women's Targee Vent Mid
Women's Targee 2
Women's Voyageur
Merrell
Women's Moab 2 Mid Waterproof
Altras are very good , no need for boots unless you prefer them.
Topo athletic and new balance have very good trail shoes.
These brands all dry out quickly as well.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I do not carry other footwear,
Dave, I am enjoying reading all of your replies on this thread.
Do you then not carry a pair of lightweight shower/evening sandals to give your feet a "change" or a rest after walking all day?
BTW, I have a few new suggestion "take aways" for wet weather walking I have not known about!🙂
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Dave, I am enjoying reading all of your replies on this thread.
Do you then not carry a pair of lightweight shower/evening sandals to give your feet a "change" or a rest after walking all day?
BTW, I have a few new suggestion "take aways" for wet weather walking I have not known about!🙂

I do only take the one pair of shoes. I find that if my shoes are comfortable enough to walk in, they are also comfortable enough to stroll around in at the end of the day when visiting a town or village. :) All I do is wipe out the inside of each shoe, whether wet or dry. Then I'll set them aside while I'm doing chores, like laundry, and then showering. After the shower, I apply a liberal amount of rubbing alcohol - or an alcohol based hand sanitizer - to my feet. Then I tend to lay down for 20 or 30 minutes to rest my legs and feet.

After the rest, and catching up with needed hydration, I usually feel great and want to get out and explore. I slip the 'strolling' insoles into the shoes, put on fresh socks (the 'walking sock's have been either completely washed or only rinsed out, depending on dirt and sweat levels), and head out the door with my little carry bag.

When I am in the alburgue or my room at a casa rural, I go barefoot. I tend to sit or lie down to put my legs and feet up while writing in a journal, or reviewing and editing photos and video.

For backpacking I usually make a pair of 'camp-flops' to take with me. They are nice to have for quickly putting when needing to get up and leave the tent during sleep time for a nature break :) I've made them out of old insoles, and out of blue foam mats. The pics below are pretty much the same as the camp-flops I've made. The weight is around an ounce or so.

Old Insole Style
1625158250684.png


Foam Mat Style

1625158395336.png

Use a closed cell foam. On the foam mat, trace out the footbed with the 'wings'. After it is cut out, bring the wings (straps) together and secure the two sides with duct tape.
 
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MacMac

The Ghost Who Walks
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
Emily,

after reading these few hundred responses, I think you should get a trailer or wagon so you can transport all the different sets of shoes, boots, sneakers, sandals, flipflops, socks, pads, plasters, stickers, foot measuring devices and creams recommended here ;-) Then you can try each combination of these on the way!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Emily,

after reading these few hundred responses, I think you should get a trailer or wagon so you can transport all the different sets of shoes, boots, sneakers, sandals, flipflops, socks, pads, plasters, stickers, foot measuring devices and creams recommended here ;-) Then you can try each combination of these on the way!
That would be one heavy load! One of @David's trailers would be needed for sure.😅
 

Dochim

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2016 July - April 2018 Francés
June - July 2018 Primitivo
In England it is an utter NO to wear socks with sandals but on Camino I will wear socks with them in very cold weather (please don't tell my friends over here ;)).

I Ioved this because I also wear socks in Oxford! A few years ago, our (then eight year old) grand-daughter came home from school one cold day, wearing socks with sandals. When her parents “spoke to her about it” in the evening she replied that Gramma wears socks with sandals and she said it was ok. 😁
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Oh, and as for socks, I've seen recommendations for the "moisture wicking" or "Merino wool" type - are they really all they're hyped up to be? What do you use?

I learned about Merino socks for my first Camino. I had figured on finding something like I use for skiing: thick and padded… but someone turned me onto a few different types of merino, and to the “Wright sock” double layer. Merino and Wrights are now my “go-to” for *everything*.

Here’s why:
The Wright socks are perfect when it’s feeling too warm for merino and you need the protection from the sheering forces that lead to many of the blisters you see on the backs, sides, and bottoms of feet.

Otherwise I carry one warm pair of merino and one light-weight pair.

They never stink; they don’t seem to get damp; they certainly do not hold moisture. In general they last *forever* and give great value for the investment.

Darn Tough are my favourites, and Icebreakers are my second faves. Make sure you get the ones for hiking/walking.

Also: seriously consider merino undies and bra. Life changing. No chafing, no stink…. And perfectly fine for your everyday life too. Smartwool and Icebreaker are my preferred sources.

My first camino was in 2014, and I think I’ve worn traditional women’s under things only a handful of times since the camino epiphany.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
In England it is an utter NO to wear socks with sandals
This is one of those oft-quoted fashion rules that might just show you are farther out of fashion than you realize. By the time the oldies are talking about such a rule and stop wearing socks with sandals, it is likely that more fashion-forward trend-setters will have started the same practice. But probably with different style of socks than you used to wear. That is how fashion works!

My advice is to wear socks with sandals if that is comfortable for you (and many people do on the camino), give the same attention to their style that you would to any of your clothes, and then pretend to be oblivious (superior) to fashion rules! I should add that anyone who takes my fashion advice must be truly desperate.

For clarity on the trends related to socks with sandals, check this Wikipedia article.
 
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Deleted member 61803

Guest
Socks with sandals just has to be a no no. Its like wearing a vest and a t shirt together (vest with UK meaning), the folks from North of the Humber reckon a vest is good enough on its own no matter what the weather, if it is that day of the year when it is sunny then maybe just put a tweed jacket on as well for uv protection.
Only the avant garde wear socks with sandals. 😁😂🤣😅😜
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Maybe, but look at the clothes they are wearing them with.😱
Except for the pink taffeta, I would love to wear any of those… and I’d love to see Betsy Johnson, aged 78 now (?) wearing the taffeta. Indeed, at one point I had a brown linen dress not dissimilar to the one here… Mine was chocolate linen with a bias cut ankle-length hem and three diagonal stripes of cream, peach and tangerine silk about 3 inches wide at the shoulder, and about half the widt of the skirt front panel at the bottom. Bought it in Paris in 2003…. It brought me great joy to wear it… and then my Spouse told me I looked stupid in it in North America. So I made a point of spending more time in Paris, Dublin, Rome and Barcelona.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
It brought me great joy to wear it… and then my Spouse told me I looked stupid in it in North America. So I made a point of spending more time in Paris, Dublin, Rome and Barcelona
My fave was dress #1 on the left, but not with those socks and shoes.
If a clothing item brings you great joy to wear that is all that matters. I hope hubby was able to join you on your other travels.
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
My fave was dress #1 on the left, but not with those socks and shoes.
If a clothing item brings you great joy to wear that is all that matters. I hope hubby was able to join you on your other travels.
Sometimes he was… but I have the luxury and demand of sabbaticals with fieldwork and conferences that his work does not. I lived in the Cité Universitaire in Paris for several months, and then in Dun Laoghaire for half a year with frequent trips back to UCD for ongoing stuff… And I spent half a year in different EU cities (But Barcelona was my favourite) working with colleagues on a book…. The brown dress (which I wore to a dinner with Francis Lai, his wife, and daughter at which he taught me to eat a proper Nicoise with fat fat fat grilled sardines) got a lot of mileage. I wore it on a rooftop in Amsterdam to celebrate the doctoral defence for a student I was the external examiner for at Utrecht… Spouse and I did drink cava on a rooftop at midnight in Barcelona with friends from New Zealand, and I wore it to dinner at a restaurant called “Marmelade” down near the new port.

Basically… we caminantes might have alternate universe lives in which we are not so “sensible” as on the camino and to see those other possibilities derided stings — even if I no longer wear such things at all. Others might.

At any rate, most of those examples strike me as very “Comme Des Garçons” in the general aesthetic, a fusion of Asian footwear and oversized, barely structured pieces made from delicate fabrics… My great grandmother was a lady’s tailor and milliner. I think she would be fascinated by these things, having for herself as she did a massive Tudor styled chapeau decked out with wide grosgrain ribbon and THREE Ostrich feathers.
 

deborahbennett

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I like this question as it isn't "which is best" but "which do you wear" - excellent!

In my opinion, unless you prefer boots, you do not need boots except in mid winter (mind you, heavy rain in Rioja and that glutinous red mud might change my mind!!!). They are too enclosed, too heavy, users too prone to blisters. In recent times there has been a big move towards trail runners and trekking sandals - and those people don't go back to boots.
I do first aid for pilgrims, have done so since 2006, and not once have I treated blisters or foot damage for any pilgrim wearing trekking sandals, and very very few wearing trail runners (usually those were either a really cheap rubbish copy of a brand or too small).

Now, I have wide feet - clowns laugh - and there are no trail runners wide enough for me, and I also don't like my feet being strapped in, so I wear hiking sandals.

Mine are the Keen Newport H2. They come in leather or webbing. I would say do not use the leather ones, they are too stiff, I find the webbing ones much more comfortable. No blisters, no over-heating. They are wide at the toe box and have a superbly shaped foot-bed support.
I am wearing them now! They are the only footwear I have ever worn that five minutes after putting them on I am not aware that I am wearing them - they are that comfortable. Great traction sole. Maybe not the prettiest shoe in the world with that big bumper on the front and very occasionally you do have to stop to remove a stone that has somehow flipped in from the rear - but I love them.
In England it is an utter NO to wear socks with sandals but on Camino I will wear socks with them in very cold weather (please don't tell my friends over here ;)).

So - Keen Newport H2 (webbing, not leather). They do them in 'men' and 'women' styles but the 'women' styles are just pink I think.

View attachment 103603
David, in case you might be interested in revisiting the trail runner option, I too have very wide feet, and I have found two brands of trail runners that fit after trying on more pairs than I like to remember at this point LOL.

One is that Altra Lone Peak 5's come in Wide here in the U.S., and I believe that I've read they will be in the U.K. in July and elsewhere in Europe in August. Not only are they very room in the toe box to begin with, but the material is reasonably flexible at the widest point which makes them extra roomy.

The other brand is New Balance Fresh Foam Trail v1 that comes in a 4E width. Though Hoka's come in "extra wide," I and many reviewers on the zappos.com website feel that this is not a "true" extra wide (puts my feet to sleep!)

Thanks for the recommendation on the Keen Newport H2. I'm just about to start trying on trekking sandals, and your advice will be very helpful.
 

David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2005
David, in case you might be interested in revisiting the trail runner option, I too have very wide feet, and I have found two brands of trail runners that fit after trying on more pairs than I like to remember at this point LOL.

One is that Altra Lone Peak 5's come in Wide here in the U.S., and I believe that I've read they will be in the U.K. in July and elsewhere in Europe in August. Not only are they very room in the toe box to begin with, but the material is reasonably flexible at the widest point which makes them extra roomy.

The other brand is New Balance Fresh Foam Trail v1 that comes in a 4E width. Though Hoka's come in "extra wide," I and many reviewers on the zappos.com website feel that this is not a "true" extra wide (puts my feet to sleep!)

Thanks for the recommendation on the Keen Newport H2. I'm just about to start trying on trekking sandals, and your advice will be very helpful.
Thanks Deborah - will definitely look at those, but I am a 7E to 8E width - really wide!!
I do like the Newport H2 - I have two pairs, leather for 'town' and canvas for 'country' (what a fashionista I am).
 

Ghislaine

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francès(2006)
Le Puy/Conques(2009)
Del Norte(2012)
Portuguese(2018)
You don't need anything extra for the Pyrenees. It's not mountaineering! It's basically walking uphill on either a paved road or a dirt path. There are other places on the Camino that have more difficult terrain than the Pyrenees, but IMO none that require boots. Personally, I like to wear hiking sandals on all parts of the Camino.
Check out the first couple of minutes of this video to see how "difficult" the Pyrenees are.

Merci! Thank your for showing your video. It brought back a lot of memories from my first Camino in 2006! Also that camaraderie that could such a gift, in so many ways!💖🙏
 
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