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Shoes! Help!

Discussion in 'Forum Feedback' started by Thea S., Jul 23, 2015.

  1. Thea S.

    Thea S. New Member

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    I hope someone can help me as I am freaking out a bit. I am flying to Biarritz Wednesday to walk the Camino from St. Pied de Port, but I don't have any shoes... My original plan was to purchase a pair of hiking shoes a month ago, but I didn't, because I remembered that I had read somewhere, that it was possible to walk the camino in and old pair of running/sports shoes. But when I'm looking around on the webside and the forums now everyone says that you should wear hiking shoe, but it's far too late for me to buy new hiking shoes now.... So WHAT DO I DO????
     
  2. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    First of all don’t Panic ;-)



    Although you have left it a bit late, IF it were me, I would spend your next available day off going to some good quality outdoor shops that sell footwear and get your feet professionally measured and buy a pair of lightweight boots – Personally, I would opt for Gortex fabric ones as these will both let your feet breath in the hot weather, but also keep them dry if it rains.



    Having said all that, footwear is a personal choice with some people preferring boots and others trekking shoes or even sandals – My own choice being lightweight boots.



    Another consideration is your socks – These are as important as your boots / shoes and consideration should also be given to them, I opt for a very thin seamless liner sock with a cushioning thicker outer sock – The same place as you go for your boots / shoes will be able to advice.



    Then – Finally, If you have the chance, go out for a long day walk before your flight just to ensure that everything is Good



    Buen Camino and The Very Best of Luck

    Rob
     
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  3. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Thea,
    if you have any good shoes, which you use "daily" ( shoes in good condition!) - like me- i had low goretex Merrell - take it. "Good condition" is really important and "good shoes" too. Walking in new, unused shoes is not very good, but - as RJS said - if you go to quality outdoor shop, you can get good shoes for you.
    Buen camino!!
     
  4. Thea S.

    Thea S. New Member

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    Thank you so much for your help, both of you!

    Danvo, what do you mean by "good shoes"? If I have some Nike sports shoes, that I have used daily, can I walk in them? :)
     
  5. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    .... i mean any that can lasts 800km. Shoes made from thin, soft materials, i afraid can't lasts this distance. In my case it was Merrell Moab (try to check it on google for compare to yours) shoes and Teva sandals. Here on forum someone wrote about other Merrell shoes, so i recommend this type, with gore tex, plus good sandals for long flat walking. But - you can find many recommendations on forum - every pilgrim has own preferences and model of shoes good for me is not always good to another one.
     
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  6. Thea S.

    Thea S. New Member

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    Okay, thank you!! :-D
     
  7. Hobbler

    Hobbler Active Member

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    Rob gives very good advice and his preference is the same as mine but, as he also says, footwear is a very personal thing. Danvo is also very right when he says that walking for the first time in new shoes/boots is not a good idea and may cause a lot of foot problems. So you have a very big difficulty because your time before you travel is so short. So, as Danvo has also said, if you have a good pair of shoes that you are comfortable with, walk in them if you think they will last the distance!! Otherwise you will have to buy a new pair on the camino and suffer the agony of running them in. Your footwear is the most important item of your equipment.
     
  8. anniem

    anniem Active Member

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    Don't panic, there is some good advice from some of the posters above. I am walking the Camino in Sept and am walking in New Balance running shoes. Admittedly they are quite new and I am in the process of wearing them in. Note I did not say "breaking them in". I would never buy shoes that need breaking in but I think new shoes do need a bit of wearing in before embarking on a major hike. If your current runners are of good quality and less than half worn I would stick with them. If you have to get new footwear at such short notice I would not risk getting a new type, I would simply get a new pair of what you already have as you know how they will feel.
    Buon Camino
    Annie
     
  9. Hobbler

    Hobbler Active Member

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    A good choice of terms, anniem. Yes, I suppose it is heavier stiffer boots that may need breaking in and shoes that require only wearing in. The only caveat I would have in relation to running shoes is that a goodly proportion of the Camino Francés is over very rough tracks indeed. The favourite, well-loved footwear needs to have a fair amount of useful life remaining. There are places also where the route is over wet, slippery rocks on steep descents and the soles need to have good grip.
     
  10. ThirstyEric

    ThirstyEric Member

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    I know the OP has probably already left for her Camino, but for the sake of discussion I'll add this. Newer lightweight hiking shoes do not really need to be broken in at all. They are usually comfortable from the start, and if they aren't, then they are not likely to get much better. Heavy hiking boots can need some breaking in.

    Personally, I prefer lightweight hiking shoes like the Merrill Moab mentioned earlier. With a shoe like that, as long as it fits well and feels good wearing it around the shoe store for awhile, it's probably fine to go straight to a long hike. It might be taking a small risk that a problem you weren't aware of might develop, but there's a good chance it won't. Ideally you could test them out thoroughly beforehand, but it's not a huge risk if you don't have the time.

    Heavy boots are not like that. They often need to be broken in. I would never start a long hike in heavy boots that I have not already broken in and worn for a long time.

    I like lightweight low-top hiking shoes. That's what I wear for wilderness backpacking trips on trails of broken granite in the Sierras wearing a pack of 35 to 40 pounds. If they work in those conditions, they will work for the Camino. Some people feel that boots are more appropriate, but I like the lightweight hiking shoes better. Repeatedly lifting the added weight of boots with every step is tiring. My feeling is that it is better to have your ankle able to move and flex naturally than to have it "supported" by high boots. My feeling is that the high boots actually lock the ankle more than they support it. I feel like that just transfers stress to your knees on uphill and downhill sections, especially downhill.

    Do an experiment --- put on a pair of low-top hiking shoes, and then stand or walk on a steep downhill slope. Your ankle will bend naturally, toes point downhill, knees will be straight and not under tension. Now try the same thing in a high rigid boot with lots of ankle support. Your ankle cannot bend, so when your sole is flat on the slope, it is your bent knee holiding all your weight, and that puts a lot of strain on your knees.

    I guess this post is wandering off topic a bit, but my point is that the Camino is not a mountaineering expedition through jagged rock, deep snow, and treacherous ice, wearing 60-pound packs. So mountaineering boots are probably overkill. And if you go with a good lightweight hiking shoe with a good grippy sole, that might be a better choice (and you won't need to break them in, either).

    That's my opinion, but it is true that footwear is a very personal choice, so go with what works best for you.
     
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  11. Hobbler

    Hobbler Active Member

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    Since footwear is such a personal matter I think there are really only three pieces of advice that are completely applicable to everybody irrespective of where they intend to walk or how experienced they are.
    1. Footwear is the most important item of a walker's equipment.
    2. Go to a specialist footwear or outdoor activity shop and get your feet properly measured.
    3. Get the best you can afford of whatever you decide on and walk in them for a while before embarking on a long trek just to be certain they are what you need. Don't be afraid to go back to the store if any problems arise.
    If you follow these rules you will be very unlucky to have foot problems.
     
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  12. ThirstyEric

    ThirstyEric Member

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    I'm not sure we should take footwear advice from a guy named Hobbler...

    Just joking! ;)

    These are good points. Footwear is very important and a proper fit is essential. My feet have widened as I've gotten older, so a good fit is hard for me to find. This is another reason I love the Merrel Moab line --- they have wide sizes, and they fit me perfectly.

    I'm not sure I agree that a person needs to get the best they can afford if that implies that more expensive is always necessarily better. The shoes I use for hiking are not the most expensive, but they work great for me. I would say that a person should pay enough to get a good pair that works well for them and should not "cheap out" if it means getting something not suitable. But I think people should be able to find suitable footwear for a reasonable price and don't need to pay the most to get the best.

    I agree about taking your footwear back if it doesn't work out. In the U.S. A great place to shop for shoes and any other hiking gear is REI. Everything they sell comes with an unconditional guarantee of satisfaction. So you can feel free to purchase expensive gear without fear of being stuck with it if it doesn't work out. Some stores are reluctant to take back shoes if you aren't happy with them, but REI will.
     
  13. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I don’t think there is a general rule as far as footwear is concerned as what suits one walker wonderfully well doesn’t suit someone else.

    I have just splashed out on a new pair of walking boots and opted for a pair of “Lowa Renegades” – Lowa was kind enough to give me a pair of boots for my “Big Walk” last year as I was raising money for cancer research – But I have to say, that Lowa worked Exceptionally well for me, walking 1,000 miles from Cumbria to Santiago without a single blister – But as already mentioned, just because they were fantastic for me doesn’t mean that they will be for everyone ;-)

    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
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  14. Hobbler

    Hobbler Active Member

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    Eric, everything you say is true. I suppose what I wanted to get across about price is that no-one should be seduced by low price. Someone said on this forum that shoes bought in Lidl or Aldi or their equivalent were just as good as more expensive ones. If they found them so they were very lucky. I am a great admirer of both stores and have bought very satisfactory work boots from them but I wouldn't set out on a long trek in them!

    As regards where you buy them, because of the current relative value of the Euro to the GB£ and US$ it is probably better value for us in Ireland to look at European brands. My own are Meindl from Austria who are real specialists.
     
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  15. ThirstyEric

    ThirstyEric Member

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    Good advice, Hobbler.
     
  16. raymond john

    raymond john Well-Known Member

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    Rob
    I agree with your sound advice regarding boots & selection. I got my boots from Costworld , they measured my feet and I selected my boots without knowing the price "Scarpa Rev0" like you no blisters. I hope you raised a lot of money for cancer research. I walked the Camino Frances last year raising awareness & money for Don Bosco Ashalayam Project in India for destitute street children giving them a home & education.The money brought winter cloths for all the children & Christmas gift packets (containing sweets, balloons, shampoos, cold creams, dairy, pen, sketchpen...etc). I owe a big thank you to all my camino family friends for their support, encouragement and camaraderie who I met in SPJJ and along the way on our fantastic journey from SJPP to Santiago. This year I'm going to walk the Camino Finisterre to raise awareness and money for the HCPT . Do you have any information and or recommendations on where to stay in Santiago and Albergues on the Camino Finisterre, also any other info you think may be useful.

    Buen Camino

    Raymond John
     
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  17. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi Raymond

    Yes – Unhappy Feet Always make for Unhappy Peregrino’s ;-)



    I have walked nearly all of my own Camino’s raising money for cancer research – I was diagnosed with None Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 19 and only survived because I managed to get into The Royal Marsden Hospital – So when I took up walking later in life, it seemed the obvious thing to do, as I was walking for “Pleasure”, to try to raise some funds for cancer research on the back of the walks so as to put something back into the system that had bailed me out of the Deep Poo – As without that system, I simply wouldn’t be around now getting a lot of pleasure from walking Camino’s :)



    Both of your own causes also sounds wonderful and exceedingly worthwhile – I hadn’t heard of The Hosanna House and Children's Pilgrimage Trust, but they sound like they do a lot of good work, so I wish you the best of luck, both with the walk as well as with the fundraising for them


    With recommendations for places to stay, Certainly in Santiago, as last year I accidently discovered a beautiful little Pension right in the heart of the old city just a couple of minutes walk away from the cathedral – The Pension Girasol - It is a little more expensive than the previous pension that I used to use at 50 Euro for a large twin room (25 euro each for two of us sharing) but the breakfast that they served was Spectacular !!!

    It is a long time since I walked out to Finisterra but I was very happy with the Refugio’s I stayed in, I have reviewed them on http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/50192/3e180/3/#memberreviews=page2 towards the bottom of the page


    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
  18. EhorShk Canada

    EhorShk Canada New Member

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    Just to add a different view of footwear, in 2014 I walked from Pamplona to Finisterre in Teva Toachi sandals through hot sun, multi-day rain, gravel, mud, wet rock, uphill, downhill. The Tevas are very light but sturdy with a very good footbed, great grip and they dry very fast (far far faster than wet Gortex hiking boots!).

    They aren't a good choice for someone with weak ankles, but in my experience, they are an excellent alternative to shoes for the Camino, especially if you are worried about your feet swelling. Although I used the Tevas as my only footwear, some peregrinos may want to consider taking the Tevas to use in showers and for evenings and as a back-up hiking alternative.

    That's how I came to wear the Tevas - my first day out of Pamplona were in my roomy Merrell shoes. Not roomy enough it seems when my feet swelled and I ended up with blisters. I carried the Merrells in my pack the rest of the way to Finisterre. Thank goodness for those Teva Toachi; they performed remarkably! (No, I don't work for Teva, but I don't know what other brands are equivalent: light, waterproof, sturdy, cushioning footbed, grippy soles, easily adjustable, fast-drying.)

    But it's just a suggestion to consider. I plan to return to the Camino this September for 4 weeks and it will be with my trusty Tevas!
     
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  19. Hobbler

    Hobbler Active Member

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    The Tevas are very good. I carried a pair with me all the way. They were a bit extravagant weight-wise in my pack but I decided to allow myself that luxury. I wore boots on the walk and had no problems at all. The Tevas were my footwear in the evenings when my feet got a chance to cool and relax. They were also useful in the shower and I wore them paddling in the river on a very tiring day.
     
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  20. danvo

    danvo Super Moderator Staff Member

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    @EhorShk Canada - wow...great! I afraid walking in sandals downhill (down to Roncesvalles, down from Alto de Perdón, etc... is it safe? I walked about half of The way in my Teva Terraluxe (other half in my Merrells) and it was very good. So it is good for whole camino??
     
  21. EhorShk Canada

    EhorShk Canada New Member

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    Hi Danvo. Not all sandals are created equal. I can only speak for the ones I wore, Teva taochi 2. I think what makes them so good for the Camino is their lightness and the sturdy footbed, which is has a well-defined heel and arch support. The result is that your foot doesn't move much forward or back. Also the toe is open so there is nothing for your toes to jam into, as sometimes happens with some footwear when you are going steeply downhill.

    Mind you, I haven't been on the 'mother' of all downhills, the 2-day trek from the top of the pyrenees, thru Roncesvalles to Pamplona. But I plan to do it in 2 weeks, weather permitting, and I'll let you know how it went.
     
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