A few weeks ago, I purchased some new Solomon Hiking Boots. You know the old phrase:-
“If it ain't broke, don't try and fix it!”
I have always worn the same Salomon hiking boots as they have always been comfortable. Touch wood, I have also never had a blister or in fact any issues with my feet with exception to a black toenail which came from descending over rocks on a very steep downhill the Alto de Perdon, (Iron men statues) on the Camino. That was October and it is now February and my toe is still a strange colour! Anyway, I digress. After that last Camino trip, my boots were starting to split at the edges and I knew it was time for a new pair.
I didn't have to think about it. I simply popped into Cotswold Outdoors and much to my surprise I found that they no longer made my style of walking boot, but they did have a new upgraded version (with higher ankle support) which just happened to be on sale. I tried them on and walked around the shop. I even went over the rock formation testing thing numerous times and I knew they were right for me. I completed the toe test (where you hit the front of the boot on the floor and see if your toes can touch the top), and I was happy that the new boots would be perfect for me. After I paid my money, I went home without that buyer's remorse feeling and I was looking forward to taking a hike or two over the next few weeks.
Boy, my ankle hurts!
A few short hikes of 3 miles, 5 miles and even a 7-mile walk with a full pack and my new boots were holding out well. I then met up with a few friends at Salcey Forrest in Northamptonshire and we completed a longer hike (unplanned, but isn't that always the best type of hike?). Me and my friend Julie walked 13 miles and again, I had no issues…. until the next day!
I didn't realise that anything was wrong until I put my boots on two days later to go on a Nordic Walking trail with the NWUK club. My left ankle was incredibly painful. I hobbled around a 3-mile walk and was thankful that my club friends were patient enough to wait for me. My next set of walks for the duration of that week I used my running shoes. These were so comfy that I started to think about trail runners for my longer walks. This initial thought set me off on a rabbit trail of YouTube videos, blogs and podcasts.
Should I swap from boots to trail runners?
What is a trail runner? Basically, it is a beefier version of a regular running shoe.
- They are usually lighter than a walking boot (but there is not really that much of a difference)
- They are also substantially cheaper than a boot
- I will be able to walk faster if I am wearing trail runners.
- Most trail runners are NOT waterproof, but I actually think that this is a positive. If you are walking through a stream, even with Gortex boots, you will still get wet feet (as I found out over the Pyrenees). Trail runners will dry much quicker.
- As they are flexible then you don't need to spend hours and hours breaking them in.
- I really could not think of anything negative about a trail runner with exception to ankle support.
Decision made (I think!)
Before I invest in yet another pair of shoes, I am going to walk the Cotswold Way in March in my trusty walking boots (and hopefully my ankle will not feel bruised). I am going to carry my running shoes with me and I will try these out for a few days on this particular trail. If I feel comfortable walking multiple days in my regular running shoes then I will certainly make the swap from walking boots to trail runners for the last leg of the Camino in June.