Camino de Zapatos

I walked on the Camino de Santiago for 25 days from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela, 725 kilometers. Twenty five days. Three pairs of shoes. Is this ridiculous? Absolutely. I had trained in one pair of boots that I thought would see me to the end of the journey, but ultimately lasted only two days on the Camino.

While training, they never gave me blisters. But they did rub. I just kept thinking, they’ll get better. They didn’t. I started the Camino with this lovely pair of semi-stylish boots that I bought in the Sechuan Province of China about 7 years ago for a horse trek. Turns out that horse trekking shoes are not ideal for 20+ kilometer walks in the north of Spain.

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Two days and a dozen blisters in, I realized that with these boots, I would never make it to Santiago. Although many people advised against it, I knew in my hear that new shoes were the answer. As soon as I arrived in Estella, I went shopping and found the ugliest pair of velcro shoes that looked like my grandfather might wear, but felt like walking in pillows.

These shoes were a damn darling, until one day, about two weeks later, my foot felt wet. I thought that they may have gotten a little from being outside the night before. But as the day went on and the rains got worse, my foot got even more soaked. At the end of the day, I peeled off my completely drenched shoes and then socks to find a hole that went through my sole and out the bottom side.

The next town with a shoe store was 45 kilometers in front of me, a two day walk. So for the next two days of rain, and prune feet, I carried on, pretending it was comfortable. The elation of sitting in a sporting store in Ponferrada wearing new, warm socks is indescribable, one of the best moments on the Camino.

After tossing my second pair of shoes into the trashcan, I walked out into that pouring rain, ready for anything.


If I were to do the Camino again, I would DO these things:
1. Buy a few of those microbial undies- cotton doesn’t dry so fast in November
2. Make sure my shoes were a good fit
3. Bring foldable walking sticks
4. Get one of those really light backpacks that is basically just a frame

The things I would do again:
1. Bring a Camelbak water pouch
2. Bring my GoPro (light, tiny, water proof, fits in my pocket, shoots photos and videos)
3. Bring only one walking outfit and one night time outfit
4. Put hydrating cream on my feet every night, and vaseline on my feet every morning
5. Take glucosomin condroitin every day (and for 2 weeks beforehand)