Happily I live a fairly stress-free life. I do worry about the mess the UK is in at the moment, and other alarming political trends. And then of course there’s the state of the environment and the worry of what conditions we are leaving for future generations. I try to do my bit towards making amends to the planet, but am all too aware that perhaps I could/should do more.
However, the camino is something that I don’t stress about. I am an old hand – I know what works for me and what doesn’t, and many of the items I purchased for my first camino will still serve me on my forthcoming seventh. However, there is one item that I have to renew each year and it does cause some stress. I HATE buying new walking boots. Not only the horrible expense but more so the lottery that the boots, which seemed a perfect fit in the shop, might turn out to be instruments of torture!
I seem to be hard on my boots, the soles normally show signs of wear well before the end of my camino, although almost without exception the tops look like new. I am envious of those pilgrims who tell me that their boots last for two or even three caminos. How can that be? How can I be so hard on my walking boots?
Last year’s Asolos (Thyrus model) were the most comfortable boots I have worn, without any bulk from the tongue and a nice soft cuff. I suffered virtually no problems with my feet. But after walking 1,500 km from Almería I had worn through the outer and well into the mid-sole at the outside of the heel. This is caused by under-pronation also known as supination (occurs when the foot rolls outwards at the ankle. Some under pronation is normal during movement or when exercising.) I think my problem may be caused by the insoles I use which have a substantial arch support that I probably don’t need. Perhaps I need to consult a specialty shoe store to get some advice.
Anyway, I was loathe to go through the process of buying a seventh pair of walking boots and decided instead to make the not inconsiderable expenditure to have my treasured Asolos repaired. After some research on the camino forum I sent them off to LSR (lancashiresportsrepairs.co.uk) for which service I paid £66 + £8 return shipping. I have to say that the job they have done looks absolutely excellent – completely replacing mid and outer vibram sole, and they look like new. They don’t need wearing-in as they are tried and trusted so I don’t need to put any wear on them until I set off in April. If the new soles last well it will definitely be money well spent.
In the meantime I gleaned a new idea from the above mentioned forum thread about repairing boots that I thought I would give a try. There is a handy video link detailing the process, which involves applying the necessary amount of special glue to the damaged part. I used a brand called Stormsure in black and used a full 28 gram tube on my well worn old Eccos. It would have been better to build up the required depth in a series of thinner layers, rather than doing it in one go as I did. But it did a reasonable job. I gave them a test run (walk!) this morning on a 12+ km very rough stoney track. They stood the test well. I don’t think I would want to trust this sort of repair for a full camino, but it will enable me to wear my existing boots for some time to come for an outlay of £10. I’ll let you know if it turns out to be a very short term solution.
A few photos from today’s walk – yet another glorious January day (note the shorts and sleeveless shirt!)