Choosing the Right Hiking Footwear
Your Hiking Footwear is Your Support System
Having the right hiking footwear for a long journey like the camino is critical to your physical and emotional well-being. Your feet will never have worked so hard for such long periods of time and you need to view your footwear as an extension of yourself. You will be walking on many different types of terrain, and the soles of your feet, your in-step, your toes, your toe-nails, the skin on the top-side of your feet, the muscles and tendons in your calves, thighs, ankles and feet will be tested beyond your wildest imagination! You will need hiking shoes or hiking boots that are hardy, thick-soled, relatively light and that are water-resistant or water-proof. Your footwear is your support system; without a good support system, you will run into all kinds of unnecessary trouble.
Buy and Use Hiking Footwear Months Before Leaving
It is vital that your hiking footwear (hiking boots/shoes or trainers) are well worn in before you leave. Your feet need to adjust and mold themselves into the shoes or boots; they need to befriend them, become familiar. Like any human relationship, your feet and hiking footwear will go through phases as they get to know each other. There will be friction, necessary adjustments, compromises. Try to wear on the camino, the same brand as socks as you'd wear in your training sessions before you leave. Don't present any unnecessary surprises to your feet or shoes. There'll be drama enough once you start walking; its best to reduce the discomfort beforehand as much as you can!
Heavy-duty hiking boots are not necessary for the camino, though many people do prefer to wear them. Good brands are strong and resistant against water. They can be uncomfortably hot in the summer, but protective against the cold in the winter and in the cooler early spring months. In summer, you can wear your boots in the morning and switch to thick-soled open hiking sandals in the hot afternoons. There are boots that you can buy with padding around the ankles that will provide support when on uneven ground. There are also hiking boots that do not cover the ankles.
Hiking shoes are ideal on the varying camino terrain. They resemble trainers, but are hardier and heavier. Some are water-resistant and will protect your feet in wet, muddy conditions.They can also get quite hot in the summer, but are perfect in the cooler months. Again, a lot of pilgrims switch to sturdy open hiking sandals to keep their feet cool on hot afternoons.
Trainers (Sports Shoes)
Walking the camino, you will be perfectly comfortable in a pair of sports trainers, but make sure they are of a good sporting brand and are designed for heavy-duty walking. People who walk in cheap running shoes find that they fall apart rather quickly. As the terrain keeps changing, and your shoes become exposed to different weather conditions, the wear and tear is brutal. It takes a good, solid brand that will make it through to the end of your journey. Trainers are lighter and cooler than hiking boots or shoes, but your feet will still get hot in the summer months. Take hiking sandals with you.
GET YOUR HIKING TRAINERS ON AMAZON
BUY STURDY MERRELLS HERE
TIMBERLAND FOR WOMEN
Open hiking sandals are a great supplement to the walking experience and most pilgrims carry them for use on very hot days when their feet are over-heating, and for the relaxing evenings. Make sure that you buy a good sturdy pair with thick soles and good support for the arches of your feet. For feet that are sore and sensitive after a hard days trekking, ordinary flip-flops will feel too flat and offer little protection against the hard ground.
BUY YOUR HIKING SANDALS HERE
Flip flops are good for the shower, since camino ablution facilities can be a bit grimey after many pilgrims have washed their sweaty bodies! You will find flip-flops too flimsy for the evening relaxation after you’ve been walking for a while.