For the Love of Your Feet (and Entire Body)
If you are planning to walk the Camino de Santiago, you are going to be asking your feet to do something extraordinary. You are about to put them to the greatest test they likely will ever be put to.
How do you prepare your feet for this strenuous journey? With the right socks and boots, and more importantly, by getting your feet – and your body – fully acquainted with your Camino footwear.
Why is this discussion so important? I have some pretty beat up feet over the years. And I have heard numerous stories of pilgrims who had to get off their feet for several days while they waited for blisters to heal, throwing off their rhythm and schedule, while their friends walked on.
I’ve even heard of pilgrims who had to stop walking entirely, Camino over, because their blisters had become infected. So this isn’t a tutorial on how to care for blisters once you get them; rather, it’s a guide for how to prevent them in the first place.
A Typical Day on the Camino de Santiago
A typical day on the Camino will have you walking for four to six hours. On your feet, moving, with breaks throughout the day. You will be carrying something – whether that’s a fully loaded backpack weighing 10-12% of your body weight, or a day pack with just a few pounds or a couple kilos.
You will be walking on a variety of surfaces. If you are walking the Camino Frances, about 30% of your walk will be on paved surfaces – which includes cobblestones, one and two lane country roads and motorways which are asphalt, plus sidewalks, and stairs, and a few old Roman bridges. The other 70% will be on unpaved surfaces which will include dirt, small rocks, scree, and gravel.
Some of these surfaces will be slippery, and many will be uphill or downhill. By the way, I got these statistics from the guidebook by John Brierley, so if you are walking a route other than the Camino Frances, you should be able to figure out the percentages for your route using that book.
You likely will be walking in different kinds of weather – it could be hot, cold, wet, and dry.
What does all this mean for selecting your boots for the Camino? Let’s find out in this episode of the “YOU on the Camino de Santiago” podcast.
Walking the Camino is About More Than Which Boots You Choose to Walk In
What will it be about for you? How do you discover and then honor what you want for your first-ever walk on the Camino de Santiago? Let’s explore that together and get you off on a great start for your Camino experience.
Related: It was years before I learned there were many different ways to lace up hiking boots to cater to the specific needs of your feet. Here is the link for the article on how to lace your hiking boots, as promised in this episode.