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BEST Hiking boots,socks and backpack suggestions

Discussion in 'What equipment should you use and take' started by belloc, May 9, 2008.

  1. SueR

    SueR Guest

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    Hi Gerald,
    Sorry for my delayed response to your post. I wear silk liner socks and mid-weight wool socks. I may have come upon a solution to the issue with my boots, I'm going to wear them daily to see if it works. I appreciate the time that you and other forum members take to help people who are new to long distance walking. I rarely post for a few reasons, but learn a lot from reading the forum.
    Sue
     
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  2. Hi all, new to this forum. Planning to walk El Camino next year from St. Jean Pied de Port.

    After reading hundreds of posts, it seems like the person who said that there as many opinions as people was right, regarding shoes v. boots, and I'm still trying to figure out what is best for me. In general, I never liked wearing boots, they feel awkward, and I don't like the extra weight.

    My major concerns are the weight of the shoes, comfort, and especially blisters; and based on the number of posts in this and other forum, shoes beat boots in all three, perhaps not because of many more posts but definitely stronger opinions. If I'm wrong about this, I'd love to know.

    People who prefer boots mention they are better to avoid an ankle twist because--and they are absolutely right--an injury would end your Camino, but what is really the frequency of those injuries? I don't think I recall one person saying they had to stop because of an ankle twist. Maybe folks who have had this problem do not participate in the forum.

    Another argument is boots are better for walking on mud or stuff coming from animals, as well as climbing up and down steep slopes and rocky ground. And I ask the group, how often do these conditions occur and how important is the footwear in those two situations in El Camino?

    Thank you much,
     
  3. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi @Guillermo Alzuru - welcome in the forum!

    There are few places walking down, where footwear is important (btw. footwear on 800km long walking is extra important!!! ) -this is walking down from Pyrenees to Roncesvalles, then down from Alto de perdon.. some other places.....walking O Cebreiro.. Take height profile every day. Many days are ok for sandals... good sandals. Mud..it can be rainy many days, or it can be dry. If it is wet and rainy, walking camino on many many places is very hard. And stuff coming from animals.. maybe in every village :) Buen camino!!
     
  4. calowie

    calowie Active Member

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    Guillermo-I think this depends somewhat on which route you take. On the Camino del Norte and Primitivo this summer there is significant up and down, slippery due to mud or gravel, and animal stuff so we were happy with low level boots. On road trails I think light shoes might be fine!
     
  5. sean

    sean Active Member

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    Hi All,
    I have just returned from a wet weeks walking in Kerry in Ireland and would like to add my views on walking boots and supposed waterproofing. I work as a mountain guide and spend most of my spare time walking in the mountains in Ireland and Spain. To date, I have tried many 'waterspoof' boots. These include;
    Berghaus Explorer 5 pairs-all leaked within days
    Lowa Renegade- lasted about 1 month before they leaked like sieves
    Ecco Biom with Yak leather-DO NOT TOUCH THEM WITH A BARGE POLE. They are the worst boots I have ever worn. I would have been better in bedroom slippers. They take 3 days to dry and trying to contact Ecco Customer Service gives you an indication of why they are called Ecco. You are just listening to your own voice.
    Next time, I am going with Meindl and taking the advice of everyone I have ever met in the mountains.
    Sean,
    Dublin
     
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  6. Hobbler

    Hobbler Active Member

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    I could not be more in agreement Seán. I've had Meindl for the last 15 years and have found them thoroughly reliable. Like any boots they require care and waxing every so often but they well repay that care. In fairness to Ecco I also have a pair of theirs but I keep them for road walking, i.e. dry terrain. They are very comfortable.
     
  7. Jim Hilbert

    Jim Hilbert New Member

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    I have two stories.
    1 My wife researched (for me because she was not walking). Wasn't she a darling. Anyhow, she discovered these socks. They fitted the toes like gloves on your hand, they had silver in them. Then according to the research, you wear a second normal style sock on top of that, these had silk in them. Well I didn't get any serious blisters in the whole walk (one small one on the heal). I swear by the socks now.
    2 I walked with a fellow from Ireland bought a new pair of walking shoes before his Camino and as he liked loose shoes he bought loose walking shoes. Patrick was his name (naturally) and he lost the skin of the whole bottom of his foot on both feet. He had to stop walking for a number of days to heal enough to walk on in a much slower fashion. New footwear also.
    Take home message: Good shoes and socks are critical. Wear them in before you go and don't wear them out, make sure you are COMFORTABLE. I prefer boots for all the twisting ankle fears and because I am comfortable in boots obviously others might have different preferences. My boots were not a famous brand but I did buy them from a sporting outdoors store and they were specifically hiking boots.
    To address the injuries question; I have not seen so many blisters, injuries and re-recurrences of old problems any where, as I did on the Camino Frances'. Sometimes it is the path, sometimes tiredness, sometimes just unsure foot work but you can be assured, you will see these things, goodness one young lass I met fell down so hard she hit her forehead on a rock and had a very big and nasty bump on her head all the way to Santiago. Luckily she was walking with an acquaintance she met who was a medical doctor. - danvo above is quite correct. Buen Camino.
     
  8. Mike F.

    Mike F. Member

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    I have a pair of Merrells that I've been very happy with. But they're low-rise. Will that be a problem on the Camino? I'd like to avoid the expense of a second, mid-rise pair.
     
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  9. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Mike - I wore lowcut Keens last year on the CF and am currently wearing lowcut Merrell Moab GTXs here in Portugal. A lowcut hiking shoe is as much as you need on the CF. For the most part, the trail is hiker friendly and there is no need for a more aggressive boot. You'll be fine in your Merrells. In fact, you'll also see a lot if trail running shoes if this type if shoe interests you. What I would advise you get is a pair of lightweight, low gators. They will help in keeping your feet dryer both in muddy and wet conditions.
     
  10. Mike F.

    Mike F. Member

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    Gators? Are they like sandals? Like Keen and Teva make?
     
  11. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    No, gaiters cover the top part of your shoe/boot and the lower part of your pants. Check these out by Outdoor Research. In the heavy rain or mud, it's well worth carrying a pair since they are very light weight.
     
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  12. Mike F.

    Mike F. Member

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    Oh...gaiters. Gotcha. Thanks much!
     
  13. Daniel Bowater

    Daniel Bowater Member

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    Both very contentious topics! I prefer a 48L Osprey pack and Scarpa hiking boots. Everyone has different bodies and suiting requirements so its a bit unfair to make big generalizations/assumptions. I prefer a pair of hiking boots that has goretex material, good tread and stiff soles. I saw alot of people quit the Camino due to wearing sandshoes. I'd suggest going in a shop to chose both items. Your pack needs well designed back support. Something that fits your body neatly so it disperses the weight of your pack. In the short clips below I've outlined the reasoning behind my choice of items. Hope it helps you on your journey.
     
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  14. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest that Gaiters are Essential kit when Camino Walking as, when it rains, they (Help) prevent your socks getting wet – And when your socks get wet, the water runs down them inside your boots and you then have wet feet – And, Wet Feet then often lead to Blisters – And Blisters can be a Huge Problem and even end peoples pilgrimage.



    Best Regards

    Rob
     
  15. Jacob

    Jacob New Member

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    My suggestion is to ditch the boots totally unless you’re walking in the dead of winter where snow is a possibility.

    Instead get yourself a pair of Chacos Z1 sandals with Vibram soles (www.chacos.com). Wear these with Injinji toe socks. There’s no need to even take ANY other shoes at all. I’ve done the Camino Frances twice wearing thing but this with NO blisters at all, ever.

    But didn’t your feet get wet? In a downpour everybody’s feet get wet, no matter what you’re wearing. The only difference is that in Chacos your feet dry out very quickly.

    But what about ankle support? Well, if you have weak ankles I suppose an ace bandage of some sort might be useful. But only a small part of the Camino is really “ankle treacherous” and if you’re careful and use poles ankle support shouldn’t be a problem.

    Z1 Chacos have VERY strong and supportive soles — better than virtually any other hiking sandals and at least as good as most boots.

    The number of discarded boots on the Camino is testimony to the fact that virtually everyone who wears them gets blisters. Want to avoid blisters? Wear Chacos with toe socks. And be thankful that your load is lighter!!!
     
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  16. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Jacob – It’s all well and good having your own opinion, and even expressing that opinion strongly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone has had the same experiences with their footwear and kit as you have had.

    I did try a pair of trekking sandals one time, I think Teva’s, but I couldn’t get away with them as small stones kept getting under my soles or occasionally heals and I had to continually keep stopping to remove them –That doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone has the same problem, only that I did and therefore I moved onto something else, in my own case fabric “Gortex” type lightweight walking boots – Again this doesn’t necessarily mean that these are suitable for everyone, but nor does it mean that “The number of discarded boots on the Camino is testimony to the fact that virtually everyone who wears them gets blisters”

    There are many thousands of pilgrims that have successfully walked their Camino’s in boots, walking shoes, sandals and all manner of footwear and you can read a lot of posts on this thread about their stories :)


    Best wishes

    Rob
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
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  17. Ryedalerambler

    Ryedalerambler Active Member

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    Perhaps a bit of a sweeping generalization!
     
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  18. Jacob

    Jacob New Member

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    I don’t advocate for just any walking sandals and especially not Tevas, which are less “substantial.” Only Chacos. I will admit that I too had the occasional stone get between my foot and the sole, and SOMETIMES I had to briefly pause to remove it. But that was a very small price to pay for blister-free walking. Surely you must admit that there are lots of discarded boots on the Camino and lots of pilgrims (90%?) who get at least some blisters. I’m just saying, why not try Chacos and toe socks (the combination is essential)? If you don’t like them as your one and only footwear at least you’re left with an excellent pair of sandals.
     
  19. Ryedalerambler

    Ryedalerambler Active Member

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    Sure there is a lot of discarded footwear on the Frances (why?), but I think that the total number will represent only a tiny proportion of the number of pilgrims who have walked all or part of the route in any given year. If you then take into account the number of boots/shoes that have been discarded because they are obviously worn out, that proportion becomes even smaller.
    I understand that you personally favour a particular brand/combination of brands (as do most people), but I think you are mistaken to assume that what works for you will work for everyone else. As for the argument "If you don’t like them as your one and only footwear at least you’re left with an excellent pair of sandals", I would also suggest that if I don't like them I will also be around $100/£80 out of pocket for a pair of sandals I don't need.
    I am not against sandals - I walk many miles each year in them trekking in Africa (Ecco Offroad since you ask), but in Europe I prefer mid cut lightweight boots. Perhaps I should be extolling the virtues of Scarpa Cyrus for the Camino Frances - they have worked for me on CF and CP, so obviously everyone else should try them. :)
     
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  20. Jacob

    Jacob New Member

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    That’s cool. Never heard of Scarpa Cyrus. Are they expensive? What makes them your choice? Have you ever gotten blisters in them? Do you carry other shoes (e.g., for “off trail” use) when you’re using them? How did you decide to try them out in the first place?
     
  21. Jacob

    Jacob New Member

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    Oh my goodness! Just looked on Amazon for men’s Scarpa Cyrus —- $432.00! Blisters-amistarse! Those shoes ought to do the walking for you!
     
  22. Ryedalerambler

    Ryedalerambler Active Member

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    Hope your research on number of pilgrims who get blisters was a bit more thorough than that on Scarpa boots. They normally cost around $120 - $140!
     
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  23. El Condor 2014

    El Condor 2014 Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    Very good point Rob. I have used both boots and walking shoes (Gortex)*.
    I normally do a little research and find out how rough is the terrain and select the footwear.
    I used the shoes to do the France's and the boots on the Norte and again on the La Plata. I was very happy with both type of foot ware . The boots saved my ankle's a few times on the Norte.
    Ps: I am one of the lucky one (on every Camino I have done , I only get a very small blister on one the toe of my left foot around the 450 km mark)
     
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