Journey to the Camino de Santiago - Let's Talk Footwear Shall We?





OK, before you compare this blog post with others on similar subject matters, please note that my previous hiking experience was a stroll to Western Brook Ponds boat ride in Gros Morne National Park... In 1993. I've done zero true backpacking/hiking in my 40 (cough... something) years. So, like you, I went to friends, "the Google" and "the Twitter" for help.

 

The results varied from "hiking shoes" to "hiking boots" to "I did it in sneakers".  Here are the things I considered:
  1. Weight of footwear
  2. Support for my ankles (weak things they are)
  3. Waterproof-ness (that's a new technical hiking gear word)
  4. Comfort
  5. Cost
  6. Style (not really but a little)

If there is one area of advice that I was given and can recycle to you all is...  Try them all on.  Take them home and wear around the house for a few days.  If the store doesn't suggest this option, move on to another one.  Be sure of your footwear.  I can live in wet, hot, and stinky but if my feet are in agony all the time, I may as well take in the sign and close up my Camino shop (figuratively speaking).

I opted not to buy online.  I suppose I could have tried shoes on in person then ordered but the ones I selected weren't any cheaper elsewhere. Sometimes service makes a huge difference and MEC has been excellent to me.  That is Mountain Equipment Coop (or MEC). If you check out my packing blog entry, you'll see they feature heavily in my supplier list.

What other websites did I use to understand what I was looking for in footwear?

There's a bajillion and I probably read at least ... 10 of them.  Here are the websites I kept coming back as reference:

REI - Hiking Boots: How to Choose
Outdoor Gear Lab - How to Choose the Best Hiking Shoe
BackCountry.com - How to Choose the Right Hiking Shoe & Backpacking Boots

Now while the terrain of the Camino is not expected to be very rough, I took these hints to heart when deciding between a hiking shoe or boot:
  • Carrying a moderately heavy load
  • A beginner or occasional hiker who needs more support to help out less developed muscles, or is prone to rolled ankles or tweaked knees.
(from backcountry.com) 

Ring a ding ding! Boots it is!

When I tried on the shoes I looked for a couple of things.

Fit - Were my toes squished? They shouldn't be.  In fact, you should have a thumbs width between the tip of the big toe to the tip of the boot toe.

*Tip: Easy way to gauge especially with a hard toed shoe is to take out the liner, place your heel against the back of the liner and measure accordingly.

Anti-Blister Factors - Did my heels move up and down or feel them slip when walking?  NO, unless you want blister torture! My boots ended up with some structure along the heel for stabilization and I'm happy to say that after about 50kms of walking, no blisters formed

Feeling Once Laced - Tight enough that there isn't excess movement but not too tight that it feels like your feet and toes are going to sleep.  I am planning a blog post on lacing shoes - we'll see.

After trying on 6 pairs and prancing around the store I settled on La Sportiva FC ECO 3.0 GTX Trail Shoes. They are called a shoe but I think they an excellent hybrid of boot and shoe. 

"Borrowed" from MEC.ca
WAIT!!!  WAIT once minute! My feet need a break from these boots.  20+ kms a day. What do I do?  Sandals folks.  Some light, airy, comfortable sandals.  If you need stability - then judge yourself accordingly. I haven't purchased mine quite yet but here is the top of my sandal heap (and no, Crocs are not part of my vocab - Ever).

Teva Terra Fi Lite Sandals

At about 396g or 14oz, it's about as much as I want to add to my pack. Good looking soles and support. Straps instead of being enclosed will allow my feet to breathe.
"Borrowed" from MEC.ca

Read This: Corey reminded me of a big tip I should share. Buy your footwear and give yourself time to break them in BEFORE the Camino. I will have a couple hundred kms on mine before I leave. Your feet need to love these boots/shoes, introduce them and make sure your feet and footwear love to snuggle.

Next up in this blog pilgrimage (see what I did there?) are my search for socks and how to tie my laces.


Buen Camino,
Lori














  • Heading out on longer hikes over rougher terrain
  • Carrying a moderately heavy load
  • A beginner or occasional hiker who needs more support to help out less-developed muscles, or who is prone to rolled ankles or tweaked knees
  • - See more at: http://www.backcountry.com/sc/how-to-choose-a-hiking-shoe-or-boot#sthash.gkDrgC7B.dpuf














  • Heading out on longer hikes over rougher terrain
  • Carrying a moderately heavy load
  • A beginner or occasional hiker who needs more support to help out less-developed muscles, or who is prone to rolled ankles or tweaked knees
  • - See more at: http://www.backcountry.com/sc/how-to-choose-a-hiking-shoe-or-boot#sthash.gkDrgC7B.dpuf
    How to Choose the Right Hiking Shoes & Backpacking Boots - See more at: http://www.backcountry.com/sc/how-to-choose-a-hiking-shoe-or-boot#sthash.gkDrgC7B.dpuf
    How to Choose the Right Hiking Shoes & Backpacking Boots - See more at: http://www.backcountry.com/sc/how-to-choose-a-hiking-shoe-or-boot#sthash.gkDrgC7B.dpuf

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    Lori

     

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