The Camino de Santiago is one of the most famous pilgrimage routes in Europe. Thousands of people from all over the world travel there every year in search of an unforgettable experience .
The Camino will test you on many levels: your body, your mind and your soul. It is an exhausting challenge that requires a lot of preparation and advance planning . Everything, from clothes to luggage, has to be thought out beforehand.
And of course, the right socks are crucial ! There are many factors that must be taken into account when choosing socks before doing the Camino de Santiago .
What material do they have? How thick should they be? Do they have any special features?
Here's a detailed guide to help you choose the perfect pair of shoes for your next trip:
1. And why are socks so important?
Socks have the difficult mission of effectively managing the sweating generated by our feet since we are going to encounter different weather situations during the Camino de Santiago.
In the morning we can find low temperatures and at midday with high temperatures and managing that wide range of temperatures is what is difficult in a sock.
The socks also have to fit the foot very well so that they do not move . When a sock does not fit well on the foot, what it does is contribute to the appearance of the dreaded blisters .
These two characteristics working together are what will allow our foot, if it does not have areas of friction with our footwear, to prevent blisters from appearing and ruining our path.
“Socks should keep your feet dry in any situation and not move when you walk”
2. What sock to choose to do the Camino de Santiago?
When it comes to choosing the raw material for socks to do the Camino de Santiago , there are several, but we are going to focus on the most popular ones. On the one hand, merino wool socks, synthetic ones and cotton ones.
2.1 Merino wool socks
Merino wool is an excellent material. But always combined with other materials.
The mixture will take the best properties of merino wool with synthetic materials so that the sock eliminates the moisture generated by our feet well and dries quickly after washing them.
Merino wool will provide its properties by removing moisture from your skin. Keeping your feet warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot .
Merino wool is also very soft and does not itch .
Merino wool is also antimicrobial , odor resistant (you can wear the socks for several days without them smelling), keeping your feet healthy .
2.2 Synthetic socks
Another raw material that is very close to the characteristics of merino wool , but synthetic, is Coolmax® .
This option is perfect for vegans or those allergic to merino wool.
The main differences are that they dry faster than merino wool socks and that it is not antimicrobial , so to prevent it from smelling, they use chemical treatments to prevent microbes from proliferating.
2.3 Cotton socks
Cotton blend hiking socks are a very popular combination as they are very cheap.
This is the worst option since cotton will absorb the sweat generated by our feet and on a long walk there will come a point where it can no longer absorb moisture , causing the dreaded blisters to appear .
Therefore, we do not recommend this option .
3. What are the characteristics of socks for making a path?
We can test two socks with the same composition, but obtain very different behaviors.
Another important feature is the padding in the sole area of the foot and in the Achilles heel area.
This feature will allow our footprint to be more comfortable by adding extra padding to the cushioning of the shoe.
Another feature is the support in the area
of the metatarsals, this support will help reduce fatigue in one of the areas of our foot that works the most when walking .
This support in the metatarsal area is also important when it comes to preventing the socks from slipping when walking .
Therefore, it is very important that this area is well worked by the sock brand.
"The sock and footwear must form a team that keeps our feet in optimal condition to take the path"
4. How do I choose the right footwear, regardless of the sock?
Now that we know the importance of socks and we know which sock to choose to do the Camino de Santiago, let's talk a little about footwear.
The sock and footwear must form a team that keeps our feet in optimal condition to take the path.
We are not going to go into depth about how to choose the ideal footwear for walking the trail, we have already done so in another blog entry , but the fundamental thing is that the shape of the shoe fits perfectly to the shape of our foot.
One way to test it is to try to replicate a stage of the trail near our home to see how our footwear performs during 30-kilometer days.
An important decision is, with Gore-tex or without Gore-tex? .
Gore-tex should be used if we are going to encounter rain on the way. If this is not the case, it is better to do without it since the presence of Gore-tex in our shoes makes it difficult for our feet to breathe and this, friends, is essential .
If we wear socks that manage the moisture in our feet well and we wear shoes with Gore-tex on a hot day , this will lead to the Gore-tex making it difficult to breathe , causing moisture to appear on our feet and favoring the appearance of the dreaded blisters .
Gore-tex is only necessary if it rains.
"Remember that the well-being of your feet will be conditioned by two factors, one the socks and the other the footwear you choose"
Which brand of socks provides the aforementioned characteristics so that we can enjoy a pilgrimage without foot problems ? Darn Tough brand socks are the best option .
If you are looking for the most natural option, Merino wool socks are the best option .
However, if you are looking for a vegan option or if you are allergic to merino wool, the best option is Coolmax socks .