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When to get boots?


Seeing as it's less than a year until I walk now (november 09), I'm wondering whether I should start looking around for some good hiking boots soon so I can break them in well before going. Only trouble is, I'm 16 (17 in a few months) and I'm not sure if my feet are still going to grow or not in the 10 months between now and the camino. So I'm also wondering whether I should still wait half a year so that I don't grow out of them.

How long or how much walking should you do with new boots to break them in before the camino? I'll be off right after my final exams finish and I graduate high school, so in the two months before I won't be able to do much walking. Do you think I'll get into trouble if I get some sooner?

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Nunca se camina solo
Hi Jo

Well, we can't predict whether or not your feet will grow or by how much! :) :)

You have one or two decisions to make. Boots/walking shoes/mid ankle boots or walking sandals? With goretex lining or not?

The answer depends on personal preference, what time of year you are going i.e. what weather you may encounter, and whether you want your boots or shoes to be all season. Some people hate goretex lining as they say it makes their feet too hot and sweaty others swear by it. Some people use walking shoes and more and more people are using walking sandals.

Dig around the forum and you will see different views. I am sure from answers to your question you will get different experiences and opinions.

We don't know if your feet will grow but what we do know is that modern boots/walking shoes aren't like the old fashioned leather hiking boots with stiff soles which I started out in. Most modern boots are already fully flexible and it is as much a case of your feet getting used to them as them getting used to being walked in. Many people buy their boots 2 - 3 months before walking and wear them round the house, to go shopping etc although a few long walks are recommended - with full kit if you can.

You will see other posts here about purchasing the boots. Go to a reputable shop. Go mid week where you are most likely to get experienced sales people rather than weekend temps. Go in the afternoon and it would be great if you were able to walk for an hour or so before going - as the day goes on and you walk more your feet swell. Take the socks you will be wearing ( or the shop may have some ) If you are going to use an outer and liner sock - take both and put them on before you try the boots. Get the shop to measure your feet and make sure you are entirely comfortable in the boots you try. Walk up and down the artificial slope in the shop. Above all take your time. It may be best not to buy the first tome but to go back and buy them another day. Try two or three shops. Don't rush the purchase - they are going to carry you many miles.

I hope this helps.


ps - let us know if your feet grow! :)
Thanks for your detailed reply John. I should have said that I don't expect anyone to know if my feet are still going to grow or not... Obviously I don't even know myself. I was hoping for something like you've said to get an idea of how much moving-walking I should do before I leave for the camino. I'm thinking I'll have to get proper boots, seeing as I'm guessing it will be pretty cold in november and I'm also planning on backpacking around Europe a bit more afterwards.

Deleted member 397

Sound advise from John. The only thing I would add is that if you are going in November I would lean towards leather boots.I think that a period of breaking in is essential if not necessarily for flexibility but to get the soles moulded to your own particular shapes. My feet have a hard boney protuberance under each big toe and I've noticed that the soles become indented over time to accommodate this, and other,areas of my feet. I've seen so many fit and healthy walkers crippled by inappropriate/inflexible or non-broken in boots. They are probably THE most important piece of equipment.
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I always wear Brasher superlite leather boots and they are ideal for winter walking, [ Camino Frances and VdlP in February and March,]. Also they do not take long to break in.

Alan Pearce

Veteran Member
Last year I wore Scarpa Trek leather boots. It took me 3 months to break them in to a stage where I could wear them all day every day, but I have odd shaped feet. I leave for another camino in 6 months time and am buying a new pair of Scarpas tomorrow. This will give me 3 months to break them in, and 3 months training with a back pack to toughen me up for the trip.
Of some interest to Oz readers might be that Paddy Pallin is giving a 20% discount to buyers of new boots if you trade in your worn ones during Feb. If these are in good nick, they are sent to Papua/New Guinea for the porters on the Kokoda Trail, who carry the packs of those doing that walk [some carry their own packs but not many]. The Kokoda Trail was the site of very heavy fighting by Australian soldiers during W.W.2, and is very steep, very wet, and very hot and humid. in the last few years it has become more popular, and on my walk in Spain was a 56 year old who had done it the previous year. However, he broke down in Spain because of shin soreness, with the constant pounding of walking on hard surfaces being quite different to the mud of P/N.G.
Buen Camino

Deleted member 397

Johnnie Walker
I've never heard of Brashers-but will look them up. I invested in Asolo boots off the interenet (after first trying them on in Melbourne) and find them very comfortable and sturdy.This year will be from Salamanca to SDC then Vezelay to SDC so they will get a good workout!
Update: I HAVE THE BOOTS!!!!

And cannot get them off my feet! I decided to buy them anyway, they're slightly on the roomy side but I'll be wearing thick winter socks anyway, so they're wonderful. They're really light, waterproof, look cool, and are absolutely comfortable. Wearing normal shoes just leaves me feeling like I'm missing something now.

Follow this link to see:
(Except I got them from a local shop.)

I'm really happy now. And I'm just about to book my flight for the end of the year next week! It's all happening. :D

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