This is probably your first question once you have decided to go on this adventure. Knowing how to take good care of your feet is vital and what footwear to take to the Camino de Santiago to be able to enjoy this experience since we will need them in good condition for many kilometers and several days.
Although it is true that there is no such thing as perfect footwear, since each person is unique and what works for one person may not work for another, there are some important aspects to take into account when choosing the footwear we are going to walk with. In the following article you will find a series of recommendations to bear in mind when choosing the best footwear for the Camino de Santiago.
What should I take into account when choosing footwear?
Never wear new shoes on the road
The footwear to do Camino de Santiago must be worn at least a couple of weeks before the trip for a simple reason: you are going to walk hundreds of kilometers with them, your feet must be used to that footwear before embarking on this enterprise.
The size should be perfect, neither too big nor too tight. A large size can make the foot dance inside the shoe and cause you an injury and if it is too tight you may suffer from chafing that will make your experience bitter.
Check and take care of your feet
After each stage, invest a little time in pampering your feet and checking for any injuries, blisters or chafing. Let them rest by wearing more open and lightweight footwear such as flip-flops or sandals.
While each pilgrim has his or her own methods, placing petroleum jelly on the foot before the start of each stage can greatly reduce the appearance of blisters and chafing. If they have already appeared, it is not a bad idea to use some protector, either strips or silicone blisters, to reduce friction and heal the wound.
Types of footwear to use
Along the many kilometers that we will travel we will find all kinds of land. That is why it is important that we choose a resistant shoe with a good sole that adapts to the different routes. We could establish three big categories to take into account when choosing footwear to do the route: mountain boots, trekking shoes or sandals. As we have already mentioned, this is a personal choice and each option has its pros and cons. The most important thing is always to choose the option with which you feel most comfortable.
ADVANTAGES: The hiking boots provide greater support in the ankle area. They usually have more robust soles, especially suitable for steep or very stony terrain. They are the hottest option in case you are going to walk in a cold or rainy season.
CONTRAS: In summer or very hot areas they are not recommended as they increase the temperature of the foot and are less breathable. They are the heaviest type of footwear and this is a factor to take into account when you are going to walk so many kilometers.
ADVANTAGES: It is the option that we recommend since they combine all the characteristics that we can ask to a footwear to make the Camino de Santiago: they are light, they have a firm sole, they have a more padded step than the mountain boots and in addition they are more flexible and transpirable. Additionally, they can include a goretex layer that provides a waterproof point for light rains.
CONTRAS: In very cold, rainy or high mountain areas it may be more appropriate to use a warmer and more waterproof boot.
ADVANTAGES: They are the coolest type of footwear, the lightest and the one that takes up the least space in the backpack. It is always advisable to wear them as secondary footwear so that the foot can rest and breathe after the stage.
CONTRAS: They can be uncomfortable to walk a great amount of kilometers, they are more recommendable as secondary footwear.
EXTRA: Care of the feet during the trip
All of the above tips will be useless if you don’t invest the necessary time every morning in applying Vaseline to your feet, placing your socks correctly to avoid creases (click here if you want to know more about anti-blister socks) and wearing them properly.
It is not a bad idea to always carry a small first aid kit with basic items such as bandages, Vaseline or silicone ampoules to treat small scratches or other injuries that may arise. We hope this article has been useful to you and don’t forget to leave a comment in case you have any other questions or recommendations.
In addition, if you do the Camino with your pet, you will also have to provide them with a break to relieve their paws.