This will probably be 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 enjoy this experience as we will need them in good condition for many kilometers and several days.
While it is true that there is no such thing as the perfect shoe as each person is unique and what works for one person may not work for another, but there are some important aspects to take into account when choosing the shoes we are going to walk in. In the following article you will find a series of recommendations to take into account when choosing the best footwear for the Camino de Santiago.
What should I consider when choosing footwear?
Never premiere on the road
The shoes to do the Camino de Santiago should be worn at least a couple of weeks before the trip for one simple reason: you are going to walk hundreds of kilometers with them, your feet should be accustomed to these shoes before embarking on this venture.
The size should be perfect, neither too big nor too tight. One size too big can cause your foot to dance around in the shoe and cause injury, and if it’s too tight you may experience chafing that can sour your experience.
Check and care for your feet
After each stage spend some time pampering your feet and check for any injuries, blisters or chafing. Let them rest in lighter, more open footwear such as flip-flops or sandals.
Prevent and cure
Although each pilgrim has his or her own methods, putting Vaseline on the foot before starting each stage can considerably reduce the appearance of blisters and chafing. If they have already appeared, it is not a bad idea to use a protective band-aid or silicone blisters to reduce friction and heal the wound.
Types of footwear we should use
Throughout the many kilometers that we will travel we will find all kinds of terrain. 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 main categories to take into account when choosing footwear for the Camino: hiking boots, trekking shoes or sandals. As we have already mentioned, it is a personal choice and each option has its pros and cons. The most important thing is always to choose the option you feel most comfortable with.
ADVANTAGES: Hiking boots provide greater support in the ankle area. They usually have more robust soles, especially suitable for steep or very rocky terrain. They are the warmest option in case you are going to walk in a cold or rainy season.
CONS: 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 kilometres.
ADVANTAGES: This is the option that we recommend as they combine all the characteristics that we can ask of a shoe for walking the route: they are light, have a firm sole, have a more cushioned tread than hiking boots and are also more flexible and breathable. Additionally it can include a layer of goretex that gives a point of waterproofing for light rains. CONS: In very cold, rainy or high mountain areas it may be more appropriate to use a warmer, 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 a pair of shoes as secondary footwear so that the foot can rest and breathe after the stage.
CONS: They can be uncomfortable for long distance walking, they are more recommended as secondary footwear.
EXTRA: Foot care while travelling
All of the above tips will be useless if you don’t invest the necessary time every morning to apply Vaseline on your feet, put your socks on correctly avoiding creases (click here if you want to know more about socks) and put them on properly anti-blister socks) and put on your shoes properly.
It’s not a bad idea to always carry a small first aid kit with basic items such as plasters, Vaseline or silicone blisters to treat small scrapes or other injuries that may arise. We hope you found this article useful and don’t forget to leave a comment if you have any other questions or recommendations.
In addition, if you do the Camino with your pet, you will also have to give them a rest to relieve their paws.