The “Right” Shoe
It turns out that the “right” shoes for me are the Brooks Cascadia 9, size 11. Typically I wear a size 10 but at the online recommendations of other pilgrims, I went up a shoe size and was grateful that I did. In doing so, I avoided the painful toenail-hitting-the-tip-of-the-shoe problem encountered by so many people walking the Camino de Santiago.
My retired Brooks in a place of honor…
Those of you who have been following this blog since its inception in February 2014, know just what lengths I went to in order to find the right pair of shoes. You know it wasn’t an easy process. The details of my extensive footwear search, which included trying out boots by Merrells, Lowas, and Asics, to name a few, can be read here.
“Give the girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” ―Marilyn Monroe
But finally, on April 21, I wrote, “I am fairly certain I have found my main walking shoes for the Camino; a pair of Brooks Cascadia trail runners, size 11.” And I was right…
In addition to wearing these shoes every day of my Camino, all 33 days and 481 miles of it, I also wore them a number of other times; during spring training hikes and on the beautiful walks I did after the Camino when I stayed in the tiny mountain village of Salinas de Oro, just outside of Pamplona. The bottom line is that these shoes got a good workout and served me well.
I experienced fewer blisters or foot, ankle, knee, leg, and back problems than the majority of pilgrims I encountered, despite having hallux limitus/rigidus in both my big toes and Achilles tendonitis in both legs. My only issue was one small bout of blisters on my right heel for a few days. Oh, and a crazy rash on my feet for close to a week.
As you can see in the photo above, I wore out the inside of the shoes in the heels and some of the stitching started to come out in the uppers toward the toe box. The damage you see in the upper back was actually done intentionally by me; I discovered several years ago that the Achilles tendonitis is much less aggravated when I cut 1/2-inch vertical slits in the pull tabs. It seems to alleviate pressure on the tendon. At around 350 miles, I began to notice a reduction in the tread, which by the end of the trip, was significant.
A couple of weeks ago I went to REI to buy a replacement pair of the blue Brooks but sadly they did not have them in my size at that location. Or, as it turns out, at any other location in the Bay Area. Or in their online ordering warehouse! The good news is that they located one last pair in my size at a store in Virginia and had them shipped to me right away!
P.S. Guess what? I have two more pairs of Brooks Cascadia 9s and you’ll never believe where I got them…
What shoes or boots worked for you while walking the Camino? What was your “shoe search” like?
|Oops, they sent the wrong color!|