You have decided to take a walking holiday this year and have your heart set on walking the Camino de Santiago. This epic pilgrimage is undertaken by hundreds of thousands of people every year and the Camino’s popularity continues to grow with each passing 12 months.
The Camino de Santiago has several routes available to pilgrims, although the most popular is known as the French Way or the Camino Frances. This route begins in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and finishes in Arzua in Santiago de Compostela almost 780 kilometres later. Walking the Camino de Santiago should take you approximately 30 to 35 days if you manage to walk 25 kilometres per day throughout your journey. This may not seem like a major obstacle, but you need to remember that walking day after day can take its toll on your body, particularly your legs and feet, especially as sections of the Camino are over rough, uneven terrain.
Choose the Best Footwear You Can Afford
All pilgrims are going to need to purchase some high-quality walking shoes or boots for the Camino. Much like when purchasing tyres for a car or motorcycle, you should look to purchase the best walking footwear you can afford. This is because your footwear is going to take a serious hammering along whichever route you take and can sometimes be the difference between being able to finish the full length of the Camino de Santiago or having to withdraw from it.The first thing to take note of is that you need to find some suitable footwear that works best for you. Some former pilgrims will tell you to only wear hiking boots, others will suggest a pair of walking shoes. There are some pilgrims who make the journey wearing a pair of trainers on there feet, while others make the entire pilgrimage with a pair of sandals on their feet. We would suggest you head to a reputable hiking or outdoors shop before you head to an online retailer and purchase some walking footwear. This allows you to try on several different styles, so you can see which is the most comfortable for you to wear. You will, after all, be wearing your new purchases for most of the day, every day for the best part of a month.
Shop Online, but Only After Physically Trying on the Footwear
Heading to a proper store will also allow you to obtain professional advice from the staff who work there, some of whom may be walking or hiking enthusiasts and who may have some tips for you about your journey. Finding walking footwear that has the perfect fit is difficult to do without first trying on the items. Your feet are likely to swell after several consecutive days of walking so you need to consider a fit that allows your feet to spread. Purchase some insoles and some walking socks to help keep a snug fit; you can always take the insoles out of your footwear if your feet do swell. Blisters will quickly end your pilgrimage because they can make walking too painful. Ensure your new footwear has between 1-2 centimetres from the end of your toe to the end of your shoes to prevent cramping.
Above all, seek professional advice, find a supportive shoe or boot, consider the weather when you are going to be walking then get out there and enjoy yourself.