Keeping stress at bay

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!)

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
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18 Responses to Keeping stress at bay

  1. Marilyn Piper says:

    Where is your 7th Camino taking you?

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  2. Those boots look great. The reason other people can wear their boots/shoes for 2 or 3 caminos compared to your one, is that your caminos are 2 or 3 times longer!

    I am currently considering whether I should get new shoes or use the ones I bought last year in Cordoba, for 2019.

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  3. M3 Mary says:

    Your boots look as new Maggie. What a great idea having them repaired instead of buying a new pair. It’s much better for the environment too!! Wonderful photos of your part of the world. Amazing weather for December isn’t it? I’m looking forward to your daily blog in April. Much love xx

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  4. Ina Sinclair (Pelerine) says:

    They do look wonderful, your repaired boots. But are you sure they don’t need wearing in with the new soles? I would wear them in again! At least give them one good walk. Or wear them round the house for a day or two…..

    Where are you going to walk this year? Maybe you said already and I missed it..

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Ina. Great to hear from you. Thank you for the advice, also offered by Birgit, which I have taken on board. So good to have experienced hikers sharing tips. This year will be another trio of caminos starting with the Lana from Alicante. Will give more details in a blog post soon.
      Keep well x

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  5. Alan says:

    Hello Maggie,LSR was a good choice,they have repaired boots of mine too. As ‘seeing clarely’ suggests and I agree not to many peregrinos walk the distances you do. The procedure of buying boots/trainers is fraught though. Looking forward to your stories. We walk gr221 in March as a walking warm up. Take care.x

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Alan. I just checked out the GR221 – I’m sure that will be a beautiful walk. Not sure about those cobbles though – I still have memories of how they made my feet feel on the Camino Portuguese. Have a wonderful time.

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  6. Aurelio Simoes says:

    What a great idea.

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  7. hmmm, I have the same problem with my walking shoes. the soles wear down in no time at all. I know I’ve done well over 1000 miles in my shoes but even so…..it’s a pain when the uppers are still in perfect condition so I’m reluctant to throw them out….also in relation to conserving the planet, trying to be less wasteful. could you tell me….the new soles you have put on, are they rubber? I’m keen to avoid plastic…..many thanks. and enjoy your 7th Camino. I’m planning my 2nd in September. regards Cindy

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Cindy. Just read your latest blog post. How exciting. Congratulations to all!
      From what I could glean from the internet, Vibram is made from rubber. Good point about the environmental impact of repairing rather than replacing.
      Buen camino for September.

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  8. Cecilia says:

    A fantastic outcome. I was going to recommend the Lancashire shoe repai company as I had my beloved leather Scarpa boots resoled there. £50+£8 p and p. My goodness but you are heavy on the soles. I have done3 caminoes Frances, Portuguese and Primitivo on first sole and half the Norte on the new soles. I’m off to Nepal with them in 3 weeks. I love your blogs Maggie. Looking forward to your announcement of this year’s adventure. Cecilia x

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Cecilia. Yes I am hard on my boots, but only the soles, not the uppers. I guess I really need to have a stride assessment but I’m too mean to pay for it. I shall try different insoles this year and see if that makes a difference.
      Wishing you a wonderful time in Nepal. Would love to hear about it.

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  9. Birgit says:

    Hi Maggie, I regularly give my hiking boots to a shoe repairer to change the soles and as long as he only needs to change the outer vibram sole everything is fine. But one time he also had to repair the inner sole and after that the shoe was a lot tighter and I had to buy a new pair. Therefore even if you don´t need to break in your repaired shoes, I would recommend to do at least 1-2 hikes before returning on the camino. Just to be on the safe side.
    I am also looking forward to read about your next camino – I always enjoy it very much! Right now I am planning my second camino for the first two weeks in April. I am thinking about the camino primitivo or the camino portugues – unfortunately I don´t have 5-6 weeks to do a long one, but short is better than no camino at all! Best wishes from Munich, Birgit

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Birgit. Thank you so much for your advice and I have taken it on board by wearing my repaired boots on a fairly long hike today. They felt fine, so I will use them one more time before putting them away until April.
      Early April on the Primitivo may still be snowy on the high stages. Maybe check out any available stats for the Hospitales stage. Either of those routes will be beautiful in early spring. Hard choice!
      Thanks for telling me where you are writing from. I love to know.
      Happy planning and buen camino, Maggie

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