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Footwear

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Chuck, Aug 14, 2017.

  1. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    I don't know the HOKAs so really can't comment. I bring a very light pair of Columbia Trail runners that I switch into later in the day and they have holes in the soles to let water run through but I think they are really for running through streams rather dealing with downpours.

    If I had to chose to bring one pair I would go for the Merrells for the following reasons:-

    1. they provide good support to the ankle while being reasonably lightweight and are a very good compromise between a boot and a shoe - so good for the climbs but comfortable on the flat;
    2. they are reasonably waterproof and combined with gaiters are probably as waterproof as you can get;
    3. I combine them with Superfeet insoles that combined with the vibram sole of the shoe gives extra support to the foot which is really important when you are walking long distances day after day.

    The problem I have with the trail runners is that they don't provide great support, you can feel stones through the sole and after a long walk the soles of my feet really get sore wearing them.

    At the end of the day it comes down to what works for you. If the Hokas are light I think I would wear the Merrells and bring the Hokas as backup.

    Buen Camino

    Greg

    PS Wily....the mud..........oh the mud......only encountered it once early on the Meseta but oh my!!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  2. ToussantFrend

    ToussantFrend New Member

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    A very wise advice. Thanks, Greg!
     
  3. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Just another voice to add to the posts saying not to forget to pack your gaiters for when you have to walk in the rain – I have written more detail on this on my new blog at http://tipsonrucksacks.travellerspoint.com/10/

    You might find some of the info useful

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  4. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey All - If you don't already have a pair of gaiters, check out these by Outdoor Research.

    https://www.outdoorresearch.com/us/en/gear/gaiters/trail/rocky-mountain-low-gaiters/p/2430970001015

    There are undoubtedly a number of very good gaiters on the market, but I like these Rocky Mountain Low Gaiters. They're light weight (3.75 ounces), made of durable and water-resistent material, and quick to put on or take off. The L/XL will fit most men while the S/M will work for most women. About $32 on Amazon. Strong reviews. Regardless of the gaiter you choose, they're a smart addition to your Camino kit.

    ROCKY MOUNTAIN LOW GAITERS
    QUICKBROWSE™ 7 TRAI[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  5. calowie

    calowie Active Member

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    I walked the Camino del norte, the primitivo and the portuguese in Keens. We chose rainpants over gaiters because... well, no real reason... just because. And we dealt with quite a bit of rain and mud, and came away very pleased. A sale came up at a local store so I got a pair of Merrrill Moab GTX that some on this forum like. After training in them for ~100 Km, I can feel stones under the ball of my feet, and something is just "not right". The 3 most contentious issues on this forum seem to be pack, rain gear and footwear (especially footwear!)! I am not putting down the Moabs, just saying that they do not seem to be the ones for me. And in a long winded manner, this is just to say that while getting advice on footwear from this forum is great, there is nothing better than getting fitted at a proper store and training in that shoe/boot/sandal to make sure it is the right one for you!
     
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  6. Daniel Bowater

    Daniel Bowater Member

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    Hi Calowie, I've got to agree with the last part of your post. Getting your 'big' items fitted correctly in a shop makes a huge difference. With footwear and pack selection- especially so. Its worth remembering that physically every human is different. Likewise our journeys take us through different terrain, weather and distances. All these variables contribute to purchase deisions in addition to what is recommended on the forum. The best brand or model of an item by online concensus won't necessarily therefore be suitable for every individual.
     
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  7. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Calowie - Although my experience with those two particular shoes was just the opposite of yours, you're 100% correct about fit. The shoe must fit you for it to be the right shoe for you! My Keens gave me real problems! Whereas this yesr, the Merrell Moab GTX proved to be a better shoe for my foot. With that said, I think that there are probably any number of other shoes equally good. It's a matter of trying them and seeing how they fit.

    I see the Forum recommendations as the place to get some ideas particularly when you don't know where to start. So, whether it be packs, footwear, or rain gear, ideas generated here can send the person off with some sense of what they're looking for. Unfortunately, not all retailers or at the least the people who work in these businesses are as product knowledgeable as they should be or as we'd like them to be. Having some sense of what others like or use at least gives the "newbie" an idea of the direction to go. Buen Camino.
     
  8. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hi Calowie

    I couldn't agree more with your advice to get shoes, and even packs, properly fitted. Feet and shoes sizes vary considerably (as Jose noted elsewhere he even had to buy two different sized socks because one foot was slightly bigger than the other).

    But I also agree with Wily. The forums here are an invaluable source of advice on what has or hasn't worked for fellow pilgrims in the past. I've found that kind of info invaluable. Whereas trying shoes on in the shop is very very important it is not the same as wearing them day after day walking the Camino so other's experiences are really helpful in that regard.

    I have used both walking boots and hiking shoes. The boots were good for climbing stages but, in my view were heavy and not needed for most stages on the Camino. The hiking shoes, in my case Merrells combined with Superfeet insoles, were for me the best compromise between support and weight. But as I say what works for me might not suit someone else. I can only report on my experience.

    As an aside, I bought a new pair of Merrell Moab GTXs just before my last 9 day Camino in March this year. I wore them for the Camino and wore them fairly regularly since then but they wouldn't have a huge amount of mileage on them. Last week I notice some wear and tear on the seams on the inside of the heels. I brought them back to the shop last week and they are organising with Merrells to replace them. So a bit disapppointed in the "build quality", given that the cleats were barely worn but happy enough with the customer service response.

    Buen Camino all

    Greg
     
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  9. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Greg - So glad to hear about the good customery service regarding the Merrells. Hopefully, that's a company policy so that any of us with construction problems with the shoe would get a similar response regardless of wear the shoe was purchased.

    Related, but certainly not the same issue, is the return policy that we have here in the States with the national chain Dick's Sporting Goods. They have a 60 day, no questions asked policy on returning shoes or boots. If for any reason, you're dissatisfied with your purchase and you have your receipt, you can return the shoes for an exchange or a full refund. So, for hiking or running shoes, they may seem to fit well in the store, but not be the right shoe for you on the trail or the road. As the old saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating! I need to see how a shoe performs before I know it's the right one for me. Buen Camino.
     
  10. calowie

    calowie Active Member

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    Greg- I fully agree- the advice on this forum is incredibly informative, and we have used it extensively to make our planning much easier. It is a wealth of information that all can use. Keep in mind that everyone has a bias. My only emphasis was that with all the sometimes contradictory recommendations, in the selection of footwear, each of us should make sure that whatever combination we choose works for us to make the 850Km a pleasant stroll rather than a hobbling painful ordeal!
     
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  11. Galloglaigh

    Galloglaigh Member

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    I have to fully agree with this. On the mountainous sections, a good set of boots are needed especially when scrambling down some of the rocky paths. A couple of peregrinos twisted their knees and were laid up for a few days to recover. On the flatter sections, boots are too heavy/not needed.

    And a bit of controversy here too. Would not recommend poles on any section as they give you a false sense of control on the downhill sections. Good boots with good grip are better than poles any day.
     
  12. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Galloglaigh - Proper footwear is most important! On the issue of poles, I've found them most beneficial regardless of terrain. However, one does need to learn to use them correctly. On the flats, I've found them invaluable for helping me set my pace. On climbs, they assist in helping me drive forward. Then on downhills, they add to stability and balance. Keeping in control going downhill, with or without poles, is key! Used properly, poles can assist the hiker. I think of them as just another tool the hiker can use to successfully complete a walk. But, before heading to Spain, become accustomed to walking with poles and learn how to use them effectively so that they enhance your walking experience. Buen Camino!
     
  13. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I think that poles are usless, except for going down hill. I like the extra stability that they provide and I love them for that.
     
  14. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Well Pilgrims have been using some form of pole or staff for centuries and there is plenty of evidence that they help stability and weight bearing.

    I suppose it depends on how you are walking. If you are just strolling along they would probably be of little use. But if you want to up the pace on the flat or when climbing or descending hiking poles can really really help. I find they help me to set a good pace and rhythm when I walk and having them when coming down the Pyrenees and the Alto de Perdon certainly saved my knees.

    I would certainly agree with Wily about the need to learn how to use them properly.

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
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  15. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Footwear must be the most debated topic on walking forums and we all have our Two Penneth to add based on our own experiences – Some (like myself) will always advocate some from of boot, in my case it’s the lightweight “Gortex” fabric versions as I believe that these keep your feet dry (When wearing the correct additional wet-weather gear) in wet times as well as cooler and reasonably aired in hot dry times – But others have different opinions based on their own experiences, they perhaps prefer trail-runners or sandals and are therefore equally correct in their own views, even though they may well differ from my own.



    One thing that most of us do however agree on is that all of our feet are different and all footwear manufacturers make slightly different fitting footwear to their competitors, so, rather than chase a particular manufacturer / brand / label/ model, go footwear shopping with an open mind and buy the ones that fit you the best – Just make sure that you are wearing the same socks (Or combination of socks) when you make your purchase as you will be wearing when walking the route :)



    Poles – Again, although I prefer to trek with one, some prefer two and some prefer none at all – I find one incredibly handy, especially coming downhill, but also uphill, particularly when I am tired and my arms can give my weary legs a boost, but also when I come across less than friendly looking dogs (And other animals – Not to beat them with you understand, just a threatening gesture is usually sufficient) – An Old Lakeland Farmer once told me that “Using a Stick was like having a Third Leg” – He is, alas long dead, but I think about his saying from time to time and can’t think that he was at all wrong :)



    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  16. Daniel Bowater

    Daniel Bowater Member

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    Some interesting input here. For me I could never have imagined doing the pilgrimage without trekking poles. They were beneficial in so many ways. In the flat expansive areas they help you get a good rythym and disperse some of the load off your knees and ankles. On the more rugged terrain they were great too in my opinion. I think they do help to give you more secure footing in those places. The general technique only takes a day or so to pick up. I suppose like other topics we will all have different perspectives, which ultimately enriches the forum content. Cheers!
     
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  17. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I am mostly worried about stability, thus I want to always have a reasonably level walking serfice. Most uphill hiking does OK with this, by level I mean the left-right walking serfice, not the front back serfice. However when going down hill I like to use three of four, feet on the ground and poles are the only way I can do this.

    Then there is the special case if "slippery" footing like that into Zubiry, where poles are needed, or there be a bunch of uncontrolled sliding.

    I love them for down hill and somewhat like them for uphill walking. I carry them in my hand on any reasonably flat sections.
     
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