Shoes or boots for the Camino de Santiago?
If there is a topic that concerns pilgrims is what shoes to wear on the Camino de Santiago, therefore the question “Do I take shoes or boots on the Camino de Santiago in summer?” is very common among people who contact us.
Our reply is always the same, the best footwear for the Camino de Santiago is the one that you have used on other excursions and that does not hurt you.
However, there are other variables that also determine the best footwear to do the Camino de Santiago. The time of year and the route to be completed are two factors that also influence. Here’s when it’s best to wear boots, shoes or sandals on the Camino de Santiago.
But before you go on, if you are interested in pilgrimage and still do not know which route to take, we recommend the Camino de Santiago from Sarria. This section has 111 km to Compostela and you will need walking boots or shoes if you plan to do in summer season. Tell us details of your plan and we will contact you to organize an amazing adventure.
Boots for doing the Camino de Santiago
Boots are the most recommended footwear for doing the Camino de Santiago, at any time of the year, even in summer. This type of footwear is ideal to complete any route on the Camino de Santiago, including those with mountain stages.
However, we are not talking about any type of boots, but footwear designed specifically for the practice of walking and having certain characteristics.
Type of boot length
We recommend that you wear low or medium-length walking boots, if you want your ankle fully protected. If you opt for medium length boots, ideally the ankle support should be inclined so you can walk without discomfort.
The use of high-length boots is not recommended because in addition to being very rigid, they are usually heavier. However, if you are going to do the Camino de Santiago in winter and expect to go through mountain passes where you will find snow, it is recommended to use high mountain boots, to protect your feet from the cold.
The boots must have a lacing system that allows them to adjust the shoes well to your feet, and to avoid the uncomfortable chafing suffered by many pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. Similarly, make sure that the boot tab is padded, as this type of system provides comfort to the foot, when walking, and protects the instep from bumps.
It is also advisable that the boots you wear on the Camino de Santiago have rubber reinforcements on the toe and heel. An overly soft heel can cause Achilles heel injuries.
Shoes with a carbon rubber sole generally adhere better to the terrain and are much more durable. Having good shock absorption is also vital.
Waterproof and breathable
Ideally, the boots should have a membrane that is waterproof and breathable. If you are going to do the Camino de Santiago in summer, breathability is essential to prevent blisters from forming.
The heat at that time of year, makes the feet sweat more and it is necessary to have this system of transpiration to avoid discomfort. Many pilgrims hesitate when it comes to bringing this type of footwear on the Camino de Santiago in summer, because of the heat that is concentrated in the feet. If that’s your case, you can find out about walking boots specially designed for summer that are much lighter and more breathable.
Waterproof footwear is especially important, if you plan to do the Camino de Santiago in winter or in times when the chance of rain is high. Although as we told you in the article on what to do if it rains on the Camino de Santiago, showers in Galicia are frequent throughout the year.
Shoes for the Camino de Santiago
An alternative to boots are shoes. Of course we are not talking about sport shoes, but also those designed specifically for walking.
This type of footwear is suitable during spring and summer. Shoes are a good option on those routes that do not have many stretches of mountain, such as the routes of the Camino Portugues, or even the Camino Frances.
Walking shoes have the advantage that they are slightly lighter than boots, although not as much as ordinary sports shoes. We do not recommend wearing fitness shoes because the sole of this type of footwear does not offer enough grip and generally does not have the necessary cushioning to prevent you from suffering with your joints.
Sandals: the footwear to do the Camino de Santiago in summer
More and more pilgrims are using sandals to do the Camino de Santiago in summer. This type of footwear is only recommended for the hottest months (July and August), where the risk of precipitation is very low.
If there is a route where trekking sandals are especially recommended is on the Camino de Santiago de la Costa. This route departs from Porto and runs by the sea, on most stages. In addition, much of the route is done on boardwalks, so no technical footwear is required.
Of course, you cannot use any type of sandal, but ones designed specifically for walking. The advantage of this type of footwear is that it is much lighter and avoids having to wear the foot enclosed throughout the Camino de Santiago.
Our recommendation is to carry, in addition, walking shoes. Sandals can be worn during some sections or to rest your feet. Think that if it rains and you only have sandals, it will be quite uncomfortable.
Advice about footwear
In the previous section we talked about the type of footwear that you can use to travel on the pilgrim routes, considering the time of year and the characteristics of the itineraries on the Camino de Santiago. However, to avoid discomfort during your pilgrimage, it is important that you follow the following recommendations related to your footwear.
Bring previously-used footwear on the Camino de Santiago
Many pilgrims commit the error of wearing new shoes on the Camino de Santiago or not wearing the right footwear and having to buy some during the tour. This always creates discomfort, since it is necessary to have a shoe that the foot is used to previously.
To do the Camino de Santiago, it is best to have boots or shoes with which you have travelled many kilometres without suffering discomfort. We are not talking about an old and worn shoe, but a used shoe that is in good condition.
If you do not have the right footwear, it is advisable to buy one as soon as possible. Generally, it is recommended to use it during training for the Camino de Santiago.
Wear boots that are one size larger on the Camino de Santiago
For walking, it is always recommended to wear a shoe that is one size larger than the running shoe, to avoid being too tight. Your toes should not rub the front part of your boots or shoes, to avoid chafing or finish the Camino de Santiago with black toenails.
Above all, comfort
Choosing footwear to do the Camino de Santiago is a very personal choice. Personal preferences should also be taken into account.
Among the different types of shoes that you can take on the Camino de Santiago choose the one which you are most comfortable with. The anatomy of each foot can make one type of footwear more or less appropriate.
When you try on the shoes or boots you’ll take to the Camino de Santiago, try them on both feet. Pay attention to how your toes are placed, once you have properly adjusted the shoes. Having one toe on top of another can cause a lot of discomfort.
Socks are also important
Sometimes you have a good shoe to do the Camino de Santiago but not a good sock. Choose ones designed for walking and that are breathable. If you’re wearing low socks, avoid wearing ones that put a lot of pressure on your Achilles heel.
Other footwear you’ll wear on the Camino de Santiago
In addition to the shoes you’ll wear for walking, you’ll need one or two more pairs. In the afternoons, you will need to have other shoes that are light and allow your feet to rest. As we mentioned in the previous section, if you wear walking sandals, you can use them at that time.
You’ll also need plastic slippers to go to the shower. Although as we told you in the article we dedicated to the accommodation of the Camino de Santiago, there are many options to find a place to stay.
We hope this article has helped you decide which shoes to wear on the Camino de Santiago. If you want more advice on what to take to the Camino, do not miss the blog post that we dedicate to the organization of your backpack on the Camino de Santiago.
Before saying goodbye, we want to remind you that if you would like to have the support of an agency specialized in the Camino de Santiago to organize your pilgrimage, in Santiago Ways we will be happy to assist you. Call us or write to us on our Facebook.