My attention has recently turned to my feet. I’ve always taken good care of them but never have I chosen to walk 500 miles across lots of different terrain in all kinds of weathers before.
Having done lots of research I’ve discovered that “weight” is the key when doing long distance walking. This is obvious as you carry everything in your backpack at some point. However, this is also true for your boots. The lighter your boots are, the less stress you put on your legs and joints every time you pick your feet off the ground to walk. It might not seem like much but every gram counts.
Imagine over the course of a 30km day with an average gait of 1 metre or less, you will pick your feet up over 30,000 times. Now multiply 30,000 by just 1 gram and you start to realise that you’ve just carried an extra 30kg over the course of just one day. Multiply that over the 35 or so days for the Camino and you quickly start to realise that weight really does matter.
With the average waterproof boots weighing in at around 1kg a pair, the weight your feet and legs pick up over the course of a day and whole Camino just doesn’t bear thinking about. So lighter boots mean an easier Camino.
What to look for in a pair of boots
The lighter the better, this should sound familiar by now. Leather of fabric? Well as long as they’re waterproof and breathable, then fabric will always weigh less. If I were hiking up a mountain for just a day in cold wet possibly snowy weather, then I’d probably wear my leather boots. But I’m not, I’m walking 500 miles across northern Spain in all weathers, so fabric boots it is then.
Having decided on fabric boots, they need to be waterproof. Gore-Tex fabric seems to be the fabric of boot makers when it comes to waterproofing, so look for boots made from Gore-Tex.
The soles of the boots need to have a good tread and be made of a strong enough material to not only last 500 miles but take care all the different terrain you will be crossing on your journey. Most manufacturers use Vibram soles for their boots. I have boots with Vibram soles and would recommend them. Other well known brands have developed their own material for the soles of their boots and from my research can be just as good.
So what boots did I decide to go for?
Solomon boots are known for having a slightly wider fitting. They also have developed Contragrip for all their soles and have a good reputation. So considering all the above and the fact that I have wide feet I went for a pair of Solomon’s boots. Weighing in at a lowly 448g for the pair, they are around 800 grams lighter than my Scarpa leather boots – a great weight saving that my legs will thank me for.
Solomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX