Favorite Camino Footwear
While my wife and I were on the Camino this past summer, we were able to try out some of the recommended brands and products from the Camino Provisions website store, and there was no product I used more than my hiking shoes.
I’ve had the opportunity to walk the Camino in both boots and sandals, both of which have their pros and cons, but this summer was my first time wearing hiking shoes, and on this side of things, I’m not sure I’ll have much need to try anything else! The Merrell hiking shoe was an excellent fit, had just the right amount of padding, and was relatively cool since I opted for the water-resistant pair rather than the fully water-proof.
One of my parents has long, narrow feet, and the other has long, very wide feet, which resulted in my feet being 13+ in American shoe size, but of average width. (Merrells come in an extensive range of sizes, which is another big plus for getting a good fit.) Once I broke them in, I rarely even noticed my Merrells while I wore them on the Camino, because there was no place too tight or too loose. They fit just right for the size and shape of my foot. Folks with flat feet or high arches might need special insoles (like Superfeet), but if that’s not an issue for you the insoles that come with the shoe are impressively comfortable.
The venting on the sides helped keep me from noticing the shoes while I wore them – though my feet got hot on some days, the vents allowed for a lot more airflow than the typical boot while still protecting my feet from the elements. If you notice you are getting bits of gravel in your hiking shoes, you might consider wearing gaiters. Lightweight to carry and waterproof, gaiters keep out rain or gravel when you need to prevent either of those from sneaking past the collar of your hiking shoe. If not addressed, bits of trail gravel and wet interiors can cause friction resulting in blisters.
The Merrell laces are easy to adjust and have a decent grip, though I recommend looping the main knot twice through to help it stay securely tight. Remember with any lace-up shoe on the Camino to untie and re-lace a few times during your walk, because your feet will enlarge some as they are exercised, which could result in problems related to tight-fitting shoes. A foot break once or more during your walk where you take off your shoes and change into dry socks, then relaxing to suit your foot is a good practice with any shoes.
All told, my Merrells are excellent hiking shoes, and my favorite for the Camino! With their amazing range of sizing it is no surprise that they are one of the most often seen shoes on the Camino.
Everything ordered from Amazon through our website costs the same to you, and we make a small commission that we use to keep our service going, and donate a portion to non-profit groups helping pilgrims on the Camino. For more about our favorite picks for Camino gear check out our website store, and these other blogs. Sandals on the Camino? , Favorite Camino Socks , Favorite Camino Hiking Shoes , Preventing Blisters & How to Keep Going If You Get Them.
Hunter Van Wagenen’s Camino experiences began in 2007 when he was a high school senior. He enjoys sharing humorous and miraculous stories in addition to practical advice he has collected during his walks. He and his wife Stephie's dream is to live in Spain helping pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. They currently live in Greensboro, NC. hunter@CaminoProvisions.com