The boots dilemma has concluded

…in a very inconclusive way!  Having tried on dozens of walking shoes/boots in tens of different shops, ordered six pairs from Amazon and several more from other online outlets, I have now officially given up and admitted defeat.

I’ve ruined my old Asolo boots which have carried me over 2,500 kms with barely a blister, due to a bodged home-repair followed by an unsuccessful trip to the local cobbler (I’m forcing myself to resist the pun).  I could have had them properly re-soled for a second time at an eye-watering cost, but the uppers are showing signs of wear and I didn’t think it worth the investment.  They will now be destined for local walks, but alas no more caminoing for them.

Way back at the beginning of my search (a good six weeks ago) I did buy a pair of Merrells that I really liked the look of and were very comfortable, but a tiny bit too short in the length, and probably not sufficiently robust for the camino, but perfect for other walks.  However, having just received the latest pair of ‘not quite right’ footwear from Amazon, the Merrells have now been designated ‘the boots that will have to do’.   I have worn them a couple of times on 25+km walks, but without much elevation and I’m just a bit worried that steep descents may cause issues.  We shall see – I just can’t face any more searching this late in the day – although there is a Decathlon store next to my accommodation in Bilbao that I probably won’t be able to resist visiting!

I think my stance and stride have changed due to my hip replacement.  Originally my operated (right) leg was shorter than my left, although I had never really been aware of it.  Post op, it is longer by about 1cm, and feels more so.  My pelvis is now a little tilted and I have been wearing a heel raiser in my left shoe, which quickly put a stop to the backache I was feeling.  But now, for some reason, I seem to need a half size bigger in walking shoes.  I was previously buying a size 8 for the camino which is at the top end of what’s on offer in stores in women’s styles.  I’ve tried a few men’s styles but they come much wider than women’s and my feet are relatively narrow.  Hence my problem finding suitable footwear.

Other than that I am pretty much organised with backpack and contents.  There haven’t been many items to purchase or changes from previous trips.  I’ve bought a pair of lightweight trousers that can be worn for hiking or relaxing, a down blanket, and I have designed (hacked) a backpack cover from a Lidl £10 poncho, with which I’m very pleased.

I’ve had to do lots of work in the garden.  I had gathered quite a collection of plants in pots since returning the UK and, as they wouldn’t survive long without at least some watering, I’ve transplanted them all into the ground.  I shall miss my garden – it’s already very pretty and full of spring colour.  And if tomorrow’s promised rain doesn’t materialise, I’m going to have to resort to filling my leaking pond from the tap before I go. I have avoided using tap water for a couple of years since developing a Heath Robinson system that diverts rainwater from my roof into the pond.  We haven’t had any rain at all for weeks and the pond is at least 30cm below optimum level at the moment.  I keep looking at the forecast which seems to change every day, one day showing a good amount of rainfall due and next time I look there is none to be seen. 

My garden has been quite transformed since my return.  I realised that my huge 4m2 shed was situated in the sunniest part of my garden.  So I found a new home for it, and most of the junk that was in it, replaced it with a new shed less than a quarter its size in a shady spot, laid artificial grass over the concrete plinth, made a fake secret door in the back of my neighbour’s brick outhouse, and installed a raised flower bed.

Little Lily has had a pre-camino hair-do.  I dropped her off at the groomers a total scruff-bag and collected her a couple of hours later looking like a cute, shiny, silky pooch half the size.  Border Terriers should be stripped rather than clipped.  The dog-sitter will have a moult-free experience.

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
This entry was posted in Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Camino del Norte, Camino Primitivo, Preparations and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The boots dilemma has concluded

  1. Brent Smith says:

    For me, footwear choice and overall comfort is priority #1 on long walks. What works best for you is what works best for you. There is no secret. Your feet are your feet. Glad you are taking time out to get it right. When you do, buy that second pair for your backup plan next time.


    • magwood says:

      I’ve been totally preoccupied with my footwear for weeks and just haven’t been able to find anything that is right. I’m hoping for good luck in Decathlon and I’m taking lots of blister prevention methods with me 🤞


  2. Cathy Mahoney says:

    Love the secret door.
    What industrious effort put into your garden

    For Via di Francesco I bought Altras and loved them, will use them again on Via Francigena next year Probably too late now for you to try them but worth a look.


  3. sixwheeler says:

    Be very careful of your toes if your new boots feel a bit short or you’ll lose your toenails, if you find you’re hammering your toes on descents try zig-zagging (it helped me once).

    Your garden is looking lovely and Lily does too.


    • magwood says:

      Yes, Richard, I am quite wary. I may well still change my plans and wear a very old pair of Merrell Moabs that still have a bit of wear in them. If I find something better en route I won’t worry about chucking them away!
      Did you notice the Echium in front of the secret door?


  4. Marian Liebmann says:

    Great that you’re able to walk the Camino again! Hope to see you one day after you get back.


  5. Ann Isaac says:

    I enjoy your posts Mag! I am also getting my gear together to leave Brisbane on May 16th -I’m recovering from a torn hamstring but so looking forward to walking the Camino again – a short one this time with a Dutch friend, who only has two weeks, from Vigo. I look forward to hearing about your next Camino! (PS I love your garden)


  6. M3 Mary says:

    I love your garden Maggie and your dog is a dote. Good luck with the boots. Looking forward to the blog very much. Much love xx


  7. sandra hurford says:

    Good luck


  8. Janice Tyler says:

    I really hope you can settle the boots question. It’s amazing how your leg has lengthened post surgery. The garden is amazing and I love the false door and window idea! Keep the blogs coming x


    • magwood says:

      The leg length thing isn’t uncommon Janice, it’s something they make you aware of before the op. Maybe if I need the other leg done they can even it up!


  9. Marilyn van Graan says:

    Why to go sunshine – I am so missing Camino -ing with you – miss you


  10. OzAnnie says:

    Hi Maggie
    A very inspiring post. You are a wizard with garden design. It looks so friendly and has character .. I envy you.
    I also envy you your ‘shoe searching stamina ‘ .
    As another follower has mentioned – you feet are your feet …. Your choice. I’ve bought many types/brands searching for the right one and have given up and find things work out just as well for camino walks with good old simple trail runners.
    However – only you can decide and know best.

    Sounds like your knew invention for rain cover is as good as your last.
    Your doggie is beautiful. You will miss him ❤️
    Good luck with the planning and your walk.



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