I have read enough about other people’s experience on the Camino that I know the most important thing is to take care of your feet.
I thought I had my footwear all figured out. On training walks I had been alternating between low and mid waterproof Merrell MOAB’s (Mother Of All Boots) and was hoping to take the low version on my Camino until one day, for no reason, my heel started slipping in the low MOAB’s. It was the first time I ever made a rescue call to Ray because I didn’t want to hurt my heel anymore and make training difficult for the next week.
I don’t know what was causing my heel to slip; whatever it was hadn’t caused problems in the past. My shoes were laced to prevent heel slippage and I had on the same light cushion Darn Tough socks I always wear. But, still the slipping heel!
At the same time I was thinking I need a shoe that is 1/2 size larger than what I normally wear. The reason for a slightly larger shoe is to allow for foot swelling that comes with walking 20 kilometers day in and day out. Another argument for a slightly larger shoe is that you don’t want your toes to bang against the front of your shoe going down hill; that is the formula for bruised toes and lost toenails.
We went to our local outfitter, Outdoor Gear Exchange in Burlington, VT, and I tried on several shoes. The Oboz B-Dry Sawtooth felt amazing and I bought a pair.
I wore the shoes for several training walks and out of nowhere, I started having pain with what I suspect are bunion “wannabes.” I was heartbroken. I love the Oboz. I didn’t wear them again for several weeks and went back to my mid Merrells reluctantly.
But, darn it, I wanted to wear those Oboz! So, I investigated how to lace shoes for different foot issues. Eventually I settled on skipping the first two loops on my “bad foot” and skipped just the first on my other foot. I also stayed with the special lacing trick to prevent heel slip.
It’s working! There is generous room in the front of the shoe to keep my “bunion wannabe” comfortable yet the shoes are secure. It is hard to see in this picture, but the shoes are also laced to prevent heal slippage. Here is a nice graphic that shows how to do it.
Lesson learned: take time to try out different ways to lace shoes to help them fit your unique feet. Here is a starting point.