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Lesson Learned - Breaking In Footware !

Discussion in 'What equipment should you use and take' started by BROWNCOUNTYBOB, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    No, the title is not about breaking in your hiking shoes - that's a no brainer! During our 2015 camino, I walked 500 miles and only developed one blister and this was a day that it rained all day long. For our 2017 camino, I decided to wear the same pair of Patagonia boots. However, I made one change. The soles that came with the boots were very thin and one of the soles kept "riding up" out of the back of the boot, causing me to readjust it several times during the day. So I decided to purchase a pair of new soles. I carelessly ordered a pair of Superfeet soles for feet with high arches (my feet are flat!). Right before the camino, I purchased another brand for feet with low arches. Figuring that I'd simply insert these into my boots and all would be fine - I was wrong! The new soles pushed my toes up against the toe box and I developed a painful blister on one of my toes. Within the next few days, I developed more blisters. One was a huge one on the "pad" of my foot close to my toes. It was extremely painful. Fortunately, I brought the old insoles with me "just in case" and I swapped them out. I was able to keep the slipping one in place with good old duct tape. Worked like a charm and my blisters healed and I did not develop any more during our camino.

    Another silly lesson learned regarding sandals. I bought a new pair of PR Recovery Soles which were highly rated and very comfortable. Before the camino, I wore them around the house a few times, but not for more than 5 minutes each time. I told myself these are so comfortable, they don't need to be broken in. Well, the first time I really wore them was around town in St Jean. Within an hour, I developed hot spots on both my feet where they were rubbing against the sandals. I put on some paper tape to prevent a blister, then for the rest of the camino, I wore liner socks over my feet whenever I wore the sandals. Never got a blister.

    Bottom line and lesson learned. Besides breaking in your boots, you also need to break in new soles, sandals, and anything that touches your feet! Bob
     
  2. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Bob - Great insights! I have now worn Superfeet Insoles for about three years. The big difference, because I've never had a problem with them, is that I had them fitted at a running shoe store. I must have tried on half a dozen different models before coming to a decision as to which one fit best. As there are so many models of this insole, it would be most difficult to match up the correct one for your feet without trying them and getting some advice from someone knowledgeable about the product. Once I found the right one for my feet, I also found that I could switch them between my running shoes and my Merrells. With the PR Recovery Soles, it was your recommendation that led me to get a pair. I found it to be a great post-Camino shoe to wear after the hiking shoes came off. I'm not sure you can break in rubber shoes, but your feet do need to get used to walking around in them. Once you've done that, they do help tired feet recover. I almost always wear socks with them. Buen Camino.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
  3. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    I have a minor/major comment here: Break in EVERYTHING before you start your walking on the Camino. Not just foot coverings.
     
  4. NinaMarie

    NinaMarie New Member

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    Yes! Socks, orthotics, insoles, shoes, alternate footwear! But also rain jackets -- we walked alongside a young man who'd purchased an expensive-brand "waterproof" rain jacket who discovered the hard way that it wasn't as waterproof as advertised. I suppose you could put it on and stand in the shower, lol.
     
  5. Jose

    Jose Well-Known Member

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    I am now about 45 KMs out of Santiago. I feel like a kid going to a Christmas party. My advice too is try out everything ahead of time. I was sold two insoles at REI for my HOKAs (god bless the HOKAS) and couldn´t get them to work right and went back to the original insoles and after all these miles they are still amazing. BUT if I had tried the replacement insoles under pressure on the camino I am quite sure I would have had problems. So far NO BLISTERS. And that is amazing for me because in the past I have had them. Some tips from me while I am sitting here drinking great Rioja and a bar:
    1. Learn all about the adjustments your backpack makes. The most minute adjustments make huge, huge difference. If you don´t know what all of those straps do, please find out. I have helped some people who never discovered that there were lifter straps!! And it is a huge difference. Today I took the risk of ripping my backpack open to the frame, because I felt it was suddenly insisting on sitting too low. I did it and got it back together and what a difference an adjustment of an inch makes and on and on. Straps need to be equal unless you have body that is seriously asymmetrical. Learn to pack it. Aiming for the weight to be high.
    2. Learn to use your trekking poles. It makes an enormous difference. There are great tutorials on YouTube. I would say that maybe at the most 5 percent of the people I see are using them correctly and that is probably being too generous on my part.Learn the correct usage of the straps on the poles. Learn how your body moves with the poles. What I see, much to my amazement, is truly laughable. Better without them. BUT I think I would not have made it this far without my poles. I have never used them before and there are times when this 74 year old guy and his poles and big backpack just sail along. What a blast!!!!
    3. Injinji toe socks and good merino wool out socks. Works like a miracle. I lost one of my two pairs of Injinji and was heartsick, but things come and go in this experience. I found another pair of other toe socks but they are not silk like the Injinji.
    4. Bodyglide as a foot lubricant is great. I have now run out of it and have had no luck finding it here. BUT there are others and the people who make the coverings for blisters, forgetting the name, have a new product that is the same. Also got a tube just in case of Vasolina pura and actually I really like it. I use it at night to pamper my feet. They deserve it.
     
  6. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like you are doing Really Well Jose and I am Sure that you are really looking forwards to arriving in Santiago de Compostela – Are you planning to arrive on Thursday, or are you taking a more leisurely approach and aiming to be there on Friday ??



    Thanks for posting the very useful info – I totally agree, particularly about coming across people with badly adjusted (And often badly packed) rucksacks as I have helped a lot of people in a similar way many times myself over the years and only just wrote up my own views on this on my new travel blog this summer – For those interested, this can be found at https://tipsonrucksacks.travellerspoint.com/3/



    Are you finishing your Camino at Santiago de Compostela or continuing on to Finisterra or Muxia ?? If you have the time (And energy) then I can really recommend Finisterra – The end of the know world before Christopher Columbus :)



    I look forwards to reading your next instalment

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
  7. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Jose - Really glad the HOKAs worked out for you. As you found out, the trail running shoe is more than adequate for the CF. Were your insoles Superfeet? Mine are quite interchanageable between three different outdoor shoes that I wear: my Brooks, Sauconys, and my Merrell's. They fit equally well and comfortably in all three shoes. I'm wondering if you were fitter correctly because they should work right out of the package.

    Glad you liked the Injinji toe socks along with the Bodyglide. Two great products! Once people get used to individual toes being covered, they really do help those of us who tend to get blisters from toes rubbing together. I, too, found that poling was great fun! But, you're observation about them being used incorrectly by many is most accurate.

    Thanks for sharing your insights. Buen Camino!
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
  8. Jose

    Jose Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the note! You know it sort of looks like I will be there on Thursday. To Santiago that is. I stopped a little short today because I developed pain in my left ankle which feels fine now, but I didn´t want to do damage at this late point! God willing, I will be fine in the morning and can get to Santiago by Thursday. However Friday works great, too. I am saving Finesterre for the next time. I like doing that, leaves something undone. I have changed my flight from Paris to Madrid. At absurd cost. Oh, well, it is just money! I really want to spend time in the Prado during this life time.
     
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  9. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Jose - just curious - how's the weather been over the last week? We arrived in Santiago on Oct 15 and experienced 30+ days of amazing blue skies and sunshine. Then as we arrived in Santiago, the skies turned grey and it rained Monday and Tuesday in Santiago, and Tues afternoon and Wednesday morning in Madrid. Sure glad the rain held out for our walk, but I'm wondering if current pilgrims are now bearing the brunt of Galician rain storms. Bob
     
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  10. calowie

    calowie Active Member

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    Jose- Congrats on the journey! Ya casi! Carrying too much weight is a real pain. Carrying excess weight in a pack that is not adjusted correctly can only add to the burden. Many people buy their packs from outfitters, REI, MEC, etc where there are people highly qualified to help- for free! It often seems to be the straps at the top that keep the pack tight to the back that are not adjusted. Great, broken in footwear along with a light well adjusted pack makes the 800+ Km trip so much easier! Jose- enjoy your time in Santiago... you have earned it!
     
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  11. anniem

    anniem Active Member

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    All good reminders BC Bob. I too walked in 2015 and am planning the Camino Portuguese 2018. My footwear in 2015 wasn't perfect so am starting to gather ideas for next year so thank you for the reminder. (BTW it's footwear) Buen Camino
     
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