Walking the Camino de Santiago is a life experience but you need to be physically prepared to fully enjoy it. We are giving you some advice from one of our Camino Guides to take a good care of your feet when walking. Thanks to these feet care tips you will avoid discomfort and you will enjoy the experience.
Feet Care before starting the Camino
“It is fundamental that you start training at least a month before you start the Camino to get them used to long distance walks”, our guides recommend. If you are thinking about using new shoes for the first time, it is really important that you walk with them beforehand and adapt them to your feet anatomy. This will help you to avoid discomfort, injures, blisters or chafing. Bringing used shoes to your Camino de Santiago is one of the basic principles to become a happy Pilgrim. Remember: your shoes are the barrier between your feet and the different grounds along the Camino.
So, ¿What shoes should you choose for the Camino?
First of all, check the time of the year that you are thinking to walk. For Spring and Summer, it is recommended to wear low trekking shoes. For Autumn and Winter, light high trekking shoes with a soft soil and breathable system. The breathable system is a key because it will avoid you to walk with wet feet. Sneakers are not recommended even if you find them extremely comfortable because the Camino runs through very different soils like: asphalt, gravel, concrete, rocky ground, well-trodden earth, … Choosing the correct feetwear that will accompany you during this experience is vital!
Do not neglect your nails
Another point to keep in mind is your nails, not only should you check your feet, but also keep your nails well cut,” advises our guide. Ideally, before starting the Camino de Santiago, make a visit to the podiatrist. He will be the best person to prepare your feet for the Camino de Santiago. “Beware of calluses and hardness, trust a specialist.”
With Spain Incoming the transfer of your luggage is included but if you wish to walk with a backpack, it can never exceed 10% of your body weight. It will not only affect your back but also the feet that support the weight of the body. Keep your as light as possible!
Feet Care along the Camino de Santiago
Once on the Camino, our guide Begoña recommends “having your feet well lubricated during the whole stage”. We tend to believe that it is best to keep your feet dry and it is not. To lubricate your feet, you can choose the following products for feet care on the Camino de Santiago:
- Apply a thin layer of Vaseline before beginning the stage. This type of product will keep your feet slightly moist which is perfect for travelling the Camino de Santiago.
- Specific feet moisturizer. It is, without a doubt, the best option. Like the previous product you can apply it before starting each stage or, if you prefer, at the end massaging your feet, which will be already tired. A feet hydrating cream will provide the hydration you need. You can find a wide variety of similar products that also offer restorative properties.
- To avoid chafing and blisters, you should avoid wearing socks with seams. Sports’ socks without seams that facilitate the perspiration of the feet, are the best option.
Feet Care at the end of each stage
“After each stage and leaving the long-awaited shower moisturizes your feet,” advises our guide. “If at the end of the walk you have swollen feet, bathe them in warm water with salt”. Then you can massage the feet “with Vaseline, specific cream or rosemary alcohol”. At the end of each stage let your feet breathe and dry out “it is convenient that you wear flip flops or esparto espadrilles for the feet to rest”.
What to do in case of blisters?
If in spite of following the advices, you happen to have some blisters: “Puncture it with a disinfected needle (with alcohol), this will help the drainage of the blister. After it, apply a povidone gauze – Betadine in Spain – this product is a perfect disinfectant and antiseptic. “Let it to air dry out and avoid the use of plasters”. Another option is to use special blister patches (sold in pharmacies).
Regardless of your physical shape, your feet are the ones that will most likely determine your enjoyment of this experience. Do not let a simple blister, wound or chaff prevent you from walking. Take care of your feet on the Camino and always follow these advices. Buen Camino!