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Best shoes for the Camino de Santiago in 2023

The shoes that you walk the Camino de Santiago with are the most important gear decision you will make on your Camino de Santiago Packing list. Walking in the wrong shoes can result in terrible blisters, tired feet, and other injuries that can even end your Camino. 

Hiking shoes, Hiking Boots and Trail runners used on the Camino de Santiago
Merrel Hiking shoes, Salomon Hiking Boots, and Asics Trail runners I used to walk the Camino de Santiago.

Don´t underestimate the importance of wearing proper socks on the Camino, it can make a huge difference to the comfort of your feet. To prevent blisters good hiking shocks must prevent chafing, keep your feet dry and provide some cushioning. See our in-depth guide to the Best Socks for Walking the Camino de Santiago.

There are so many opinions, everybody is different, and every route is different so unfortunately there is no one straightforward answer to which shoes are the best for the Camino. Alya has walked 9 different Camino de Santiago routes and Campbell has walked 7. We’ve done many other treks all over the world. In this post, I will give you my opinion on the best shoes based on our walking experience on the Camino de Santiago.

Our YouTube video on the best shoes for the Camino de Santiago

Boots vs shoes for walking the Camino de Santiago

The quick answer – our favorite footwear for the Camino de Santiago is hiking shoes.

This is a very popular topic to discuss on Facebook groups and in online forums and you will find plenty of discussions if you search a little. Here is a quick summary of our experience with different kinds of shoes.

If you want to know the pros and cons of walking the Camino in different seasons read our post on the best time to do the Camino de Santiago.

Salomon boots Camino de Santiago
Salomon Ultra 3 GTX mid boots and North Face Smart Wool socks on the Camino de Santiago

Trail runners on the Camino

Trail runners are a very popular option for walking the Camino de Santiago. Trail shoes are similar to road running shoes, but they are built more rugged to protect the shoes and your feet from objects like rocks, and sticks, so they are light and tough. I have read so many discussions with pilgrims praising trail runners, the logic is they are light, get dry quickly, and provide enough support for the kind of terrain that you will experience on the Camino.

Our experience with trail runners on the Camino was not great. We walked two shorter routes in trail runners, the Camino de San Salvador (120 km/74 mi) and the Camino de Santiago de Gran Canaria (67 km/41,6 mi). We hiked in well-worn trail shoes that we use for trail running. The shoes were comfortable on the trail, but we both had problems with blisters walking in trail shoes.

In the Defense of Trail Runners

You do get many different brands and models of trail running shoes, maybe a different trail runner would work better on the Camino. We have however not had any problems running with our Adidas or Asics trail runners while running. Since we bought these shoes for running they were a comfortable fit, but not large enough to wear with our thick merino wool socks. We swear by merino wool socks, they are fantastic!

Popular Trail runners for walking

camino de santiago men trail running shoes
MEN’S TRAIL RUNNERS Hoka Speed Goat 4 | Brooks Cascadia 16 | Altra’s Lone Peak 6
  • Hoka Speed Goat 4 (Speed Goat 4 Ladies) – You see Hokas everywhere on the Camino nowadays. These super cushioned, trail runners have become extremely popular on the trail. Most pilgrims walk in the Hoka Speedgoat, with lots of cushioning; grippy outsole, and a quality upper. The Speed Goat 5 is the latest release.
  • Altra’s Lone Peak 6 (Lone Peak 6 Ladies) – a running shoe that has since become a thru-hiker favorite. Very popular on the Camino, known for extreme comfort and thick padding. Apparently, the novel design takes time to get used to, so make sure you walk them in beforehand.
  • Brooks Cascadia 16 (Cascadia 16 Ladies)- very popular with through hikers, feels like a comfortable road shoe, with good underfoot protection. Light quality built trail runners.
trail runners camino de santiago ladies
LADIES TRAIL RUNNERS Hoka Speed Goat 4 | Brooks Cascadia 16 | Altra Lone Peak 6

Walking the Camino in hiking shoes

Hiking shoes are designed for hiking. With a lower cut, they are more agile and lightweight than hiking boots. Many boots are also available as a lower-cut hiking shoes. For Alya and myself we found hiking shoes to work the best and have worn several different shoes in the 16 Camino de Santiago’s we have walked between the two of us. We found shoes to be fairly lightweight, comfortable, stay relatively dry, and do not take too long to dry when getting wet. Hiking shoes have a stiffer sole which we found to be great on Camino where you spend a lot of time walking on cobblestones such as the Camino Portuguese.

Popular hiking shoes for walking

hiking shoes men camino de santiago
HIKING SHOE MENS Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX | Merrell Moab 2 | Oboz Sawtooth
hiking shoes women camino de santiago
HIKING SHOES for LADIES Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX | Merrell Moab 2 | Oboz Sawtooth

Wearing hiking boots on the Camino de Santiago

The two biggest problems many people have walking the Camino de Santiago in boots are weight and breathability. The higher the cut of the shoe the heavier it will obviously be. Leather boots tend to be heavier and less flexible. Waterproof material does not only keep water out but also keeps water in. If your feet sweat a lot, leather or Gortex is less breathable and your feet can be wet in any conditions.

The Camino de Santiago is not a single route, but a network of pilgrimage routes ending in Santiago de Compostela. The chosen route and season definitely influence what shoes will be suitable. I will not recommend wearing heavy, waterproof boots on a hot dry Camino in summertime (July/August). Walking in the shoulder season (May, June, and September), can be good, but rain is possible. We walked a very wet Camino Primitivo during this time and waterproof boots worked fantastically. We walked the Camino del Norte in October and the Camino Finisterre in November when we got a lot of rain having waterproof boots would save us a lot of trouble.

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid Gore-tex Hiking Boots. LADIES | MENS

With boots there are many different choices, the height of the boot and the material used for construction make a massive difference. Old-style, heavy, leather boots do not work well for us. We both love our Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX (LADIES) mid-length, Gortex boots. Modern, light, and super comfortable we have done some distance in conditions varying from snow to hot dusty trails and have only had a great experience! Light and athletic with a mid-length design. I find them very comfortable and do not have a problem with breathability. I wear them with thick Merino wool socks.

Sandals for walking the Camino de Santiago

Most people pack sandals to wear around the Albergues after a long day on the road. I love my Havaianas flip-flops and have walked long stretches in my flip-flops on hot days on the Camino. I have met people walking the whole Camino in hiking sandals and saying after switching from shoes to sandals they will never go back! Packing sandals to alternate with your shoes is not a bad idea to keep your feet dry and blister-free. Walking your Camino in sandals is mainly an option if you walk in the dry season. Some popular sandals we have seen are made by KEEN and Teva; Keen Ladies Whisper Sandals, Keen Men’s Clearwater CNX 2 Lightweight, Teva Hurricane Xlt2, and Teva Hurricane Xlt2 women.

SANDALS FOR THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO Teva Hurricane Xlt2 | Teva Hurricane Xlt2 women | Keen Men’s Clearwater 2 CNX | Keen Ladies Whisper |

Walking in Running Shoes

We walked our first Camino after coming to Europe following a hiking season in Nepal. It was summer and Campbell decided to walk in his road running shoes rather than in his trekking boots. He has done a lot of running in the shoes (more than 1000 km) blister-free. He walked in his running footwear, thin running socks, and his Asics road running shoes. After a couple of very long days (over 30 km) he got the worst blisters he has ever had and by the end of the Camino, the shoes were completely destroyed. We know some people that run the Camino and they do so in their running shoes but running and walking is different, especially walking with a heavy backpack.

Good socks for the Camino

We are firm believers in Merino wool socks, this is a game changer. Hiking many thousands of kilometers on a variety of budgets we have used probably about every kind of sock you can imagine. Nothing comes close to Merino wool socks. They are simply fantastic at keeping your feet dry and blister-free. They just take much longer to start smelling bad than even the fanciest synthetic hiking socks. DARN TOUGH and MERIWOOL make excellent quality Merino wool socks.

Questions or Comments?

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Dawn Leskoske

Friday 1st of September 2023

Hello Alya, I have enjoyed reading your posts and the information you provide is really invaluable. My friend and I are planning on walking the Portuguese route September of 2024. This will be our first Camino. We are both 65 and in good condition but novice hikers. Also, living in Florida our walks are on flatland. Do you think this route would be one to choose for our first (and probably only) Camino. We have talked about doing this for years and want the best experience possible as this will be the trip of a lifetime for us.

Thanks so much. Dawn Leskoske

Stingy Nomads

Wednesday 6th of September 2023

Hello Dawn. Thank you for the comment. The Portuguese Camino especially the Coastal Route is probably the flattest Camino route. At the very end of the route on the way to Santiago there will be a couple of steep ascents but all routes have it as the city sits on the hill. It is a good Camino to walk for first-timers. The route is well-marked, has plenty of places to stay, restaurants, shops, etc. I would suggest combining the two routes the Coastal and the Central. Walk out of Porto on the Litoral Way (the route that goes along the coast) to Vila do Conde from there continue on the Coastal Route till Caminha and from there walk to Valença and continue on the Central Route. We have many posts on the Camino de Santiago in general and on the Portuguese route in particular. You can find them here Buen Camino


Tuesday 15th of August 2023

We are thinking of walking the Camino in the spring. What type of training regimen is required to be able to walk the longer distances. We are considering the Portuguese route. D0 you have info on the leg that would branch off to Fatima? This will be my first long distance hike.

Stingy Nomads

Tuesday 15th of August 2023

Hello Ellen. We have a detailed post on walking the Portuguese Camino from Lisbon including the Fatima part. You can find all our posts including the Camino training From our experience I'm not sure that route is the best one to walk as the first long distance hike. The Lisbon to Porto part doesn't have as much infrastructure as the Porto to Santiago part. There are not many albergues and overall places to stay are more limited. Maybe for the first long distance hike it's better to choose a shorter distance and start in Porto. Buen Camino


Sunday 4th of June 2023

I am starting the Frances route mid September 2023. I typically where Oboz low cut and Hoka trail running shoes. Is it very rainy during these months? Doesn't appear to be. Also, do you need to carry much cash or are their ATM's. Also, how is cell service/wifi? I've heard that many buy a SIM card for the trek.

Stingy Nomads

Tuesday 6th of June 2023

Hello Rick, thanks for reading. Alya walked the Frances the same time of the year in hiking shoes and they worked great. ATM´s are not a problem. Cash withdrawals are always expensive in foreign countries, so we pay by card where possible. I always withdraw the maximum amount possible (about EUR 300) to save on withdrawal fees and top up when needed. Private Albergues mostly have wifi. Many public albergues, especially those that are in bigger cities or towns, have wi-fi as well. Between bars, restaurants and cafes frequent wifi access is not a problem. Sim cards, data and talk time are not crazy expensive and is easy to buy. If you want to be sure you can be online whenever you want or to be able to phone albergues if you want to book a place or find out if places are open it is good to buy a sim card.


Tuesday 30th of May 2023

Thank you for all your advice, walking the Camino English way end of September and looking for recommendations on shoes and clothing.

Stingy Nomads

Tuesday 30th of May 2023

Hello Iliana, thanks for reading, for more recommendations on clothing and general packing for the Camino, you can take a look at our content on packing for the Camino, Buen Camino!


Friday 26th of May 2023

I plan on going mid-april until mid-end of May. Some people say Gortex and others no to Gortex. Anyone have experience at that time of year? Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

Stingy Nomads

Friday 2nd of June 2023

Hello Jill, I assume you are going to walk the Frances. You will definitely get some rain, but I think you will have more dry days. My opinion is that Gortex is not really necessary. All Gortex shoes are obviously not the same. We tested Gortex and non-Gortex shoes on the same route on warm days and did not have problems with overheating and wet feet from sweating in the Gortex shoes as many people fear they might have.

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