Nothing seems to act more like chum in the water among Camino enthusiasts than footwear and foot care. All the really long topics on the forums and passionate discussions at gathering center upon them. We are new to this so keep our opinions to ourselves for the most part. However, the novice and the pro speak freely on the issue. We have tried to distill a reasonable action plan from this fire hose of information.
Boots, Shoes or Sandals?
We chose, after trying lots of options, lightweight hiking shoes. Many passionate voices extol the necessity of hiking boots and others talk lighter until they are in flip flops. Much of our trail is on asphalt and hikers seemed a hard sell for that surface and running shoes too light for the gravelly muddy bits. Chose non gortex thinking foot would get wet from sweat in non breathing gortex or wet from mud and rain – so we chose something we hoped would dry once it got wet. Scarpa Rapid Lights Trail Shoes.
Socks – we chose two different varieties (to avoid laundry arguments) of 2-layer wool socks with built in liners. Both pretty lightweight and low cut. They have worked well in practice. One from Wright socks and the other a wigwam. The double layer gets much support as blister preventing must haves.
Magical potions – Unicorn tears and whale sweat. Also popular duct tape, incantations, blister popping needles, liquid bandages, petroleum jelly. Vaseline gets a near consensus nod as the salve to rub on feet before a day of walking. Vaseline lacks magic. We were lucky to have Austrian friend who procured a care package of deer tallow cream for similar purpose but with more magical properties. Hopefully all these gear choices will be close enough to right that they don’t end up as pilgrim debris at side of trail or Spanish garbage bins.