Why to ensure that ‘the shoe fits’ before embarking on your Camino!

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46 Replies to “ABANDONED!”

    1. Hi, Janis – I was just over at your site, commenting on your recent post. I love ‘synchronized blogging’! Yup, there were tons of shoes abandoned on the trail, that I would never have thought of taking with me.
      And there were great quality hiking boots/shoes that were also abandoned. Ensuring that your footwear is well broken in and tried out on a variety of types of trails in advance, is essential! Thanks for commenting!

    1. Thanks, Indrani – I love ‘Wordless Wednesday’ but have never been able to be wordless before. These shoes definitely spoke for themselves. I am off to check out your site now!

    1. Thanks, Debbie – Since I am more of a writer than a photographer (much more…as my photography is luck and good editing at best), being truly wordless is definitely an effort for me. As these shoes and boots carried their own stories, I figured that this would be a good theme for this challenge. You’re absoluely right about ‘good quality, well broken-in shoes.’ The frustrating thing is that no two hiking shoes work the same for individual people. Richard and I both bought our shoes from the same place, same brand at the same time. We broke them in together and walked the same length on the trail. Yet his began to fall apart on the trail, while mine (after a good washing) still look new. The upside is that he did get a refund from the manufacturer. It never hurts to ask!

  1. Wow. While I do get irritated that people trash , I love your picture collection and had to giggle. I wished I was better at hiking.

    P.S. I love that your contribution to Wordless Wednesday is also really wordless. I always get irritated when bloggers link normal blog posts up to get more traffic without actually participating in the theme of the blog hop

    1. Other than the discarded footwear, and items left in memory of a loved one, we did find the trails to be very clean. There have been several environmental campaigns to keep the trails this way (e.g., https://caminoways.com/clean-camino). My hope is that they strengthen and continue.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I love ‘Wordless Wednesday’ and have attempted a couple of posts in this category before….never truly wordless.
      I was delighted to have finally achieved this goal.

    1. Thanks, Judee. My husband quickly got used to me stopping to photograph every abandoned shoe and boot that we spied along the trail. Me stopping to photograph numerous doors on the Camino was a completely different story! πŸ™‚ I am off to check out your site now.

    1. Hi, Karen – I would love to see a Wordless Wednesday (or Wordless Thursday) post from you. I always find that they fuel the imagination!

    1. Hi, Carol – Thank you so much for stopping by. This was my first truly ‘wordless’ post. It was also my first time using a photo collage plug-in. My learning curve has been straight-up!

  2. A pair of ill-fitting shoes is bad at the best of times. On a long trek like the Camino, it would be a disaster!

    I’m not sure how I feel about shoes left abandoned to litter the countryside. I can only hope that good pairs of shoes can find a new owner quickly who can use and appreciate them.
    Joanne Sisco recently posted…Searching For InspirationMy Profile

    1. Shoe related problems (especially blisters) were the most frequent medical concern on the Camino. Although there were those (with very large blisters) that claimed that their blisters no longer hurt when they simply continued to walk on them…I was never a convert to that theory!
      Other than the discarded footwear, and items left in memory to others, we found the trails to be very clean. Richard and I always viewed the abandoned boots (and shoes) to be ‘artwork’ along the trail. The items left in memory were always very poignant. So many stories there!

  3. I loved this posting! The shoes tell such a story. It would almost be tempting to write down the stories each of these pairs of shoes tell.

    1. That’s such a good idea, Fran! The Camino has inspired so many (mostly unwritten) blog posts. I could truly stay on this them until readers beg me to stop! πŸ™‚

    1. So funny, Kate! I was hyper-vigilant about blisters, so I think I used up most of the band-aids and moleskin that I had brought with me. Other than that, Richard and I were injury free (not counting his hammock-mishap)! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Anabel – I will definitely pass on the ‘smell-o-vision’, especially on this post.
      Funny thing, I was just admiring your badge as well! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Liesbet — I would never have left my shoes on the trail (she says with confidence), but I made sure that the (only) other pair of shoes that I had with me (Teva sandals) could also be used for hiking if the need arose. I checked with The Camino Forum today to see if the folks there knew what happened to ‘abandoned trail shoes.’ Here’s what they said:

      “It’s pretty common knowledge that in certain parts of Spain, fairies sneak onto the trail in the wee morning hours to take abandoned shoes so they can refurbish them and later leave them in Albergues for pilgrims in need. It’s been going on since the Middle Ages at least according to the gnomes who swear they’ve seen them do it!

      Along the Camino Portugal this past Spring, I can only recall two or three sets of shoes left as trail guardians. But, we walked early in the season so the number may have grown as more hikers found their way north to Santiago. In any case, it’s an interesting idea to ponder! I’m guessing that there’s a shelf life to even abandoned shoes that are probably quietly discarded so as to keep the Camino as tidy as possible!”

    1. Thanks, Sue – I think that there is both ‘science’ and ‘luck’ in having the right (comfortable and blister-resistant) shoes for the Camino. The first year I wore my trusty hiking boots, and they worked perfectly. Six years later, the same boots, on the same length of Camino trail, worked miserably…and I couldn’t wear them for more than two days. Thank you for your kind words. I love Wordless Wednesday and was happy that I could participate!

  4. This post made me smile. I was once walking, in my boots, round the rim of the volcano in Italy when I saw an Italian woman wearing dainty jewelled slippers. Some of the boots in your photos don’t look too bad compared to slippers!

    1. Hi, Miss Cellany – It’s amazing what kinds of footwear some people will choose for hiking (or running). Even good quality shoes/boots specially made for hiking can be problematic if not a perfect fit, not previously broken in, or even if one has chosen the wrong socks! Thanks for stopping by. I’m off to check out ‘Stories In Wood’ now!

  5. Wait, I’ve owned some of those shoes! Not the exact specimens you photographed (I wasn’t secretly tiptoeing ahead of you on the Camino), but the same brands/styles.

    I imagine that even the most appropriate, well-fitting footwear starts to get a bit worn down after 700 kilometres of walking.

    Dr Sock recently posted…A Day in the Life of a RetireeMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Leanne – There are probably several different answers to your question, depending on who left the shoes and why. I didn’t abandon my hiking shoes, but I did also have a pair of hiking sandals with me that would have worked on much of the trail. There were also several hiking stores along the way where you could buy footwear for hiking (I know two people who did this and it worked for them). Finally, some people may have ended there walk near where they left their hiking shoes and just wore their flip flips or running shoes the rest of the way. Fun mystery!

    1. Thanks, Terri – I never thought about the poor shoes missing out on their full adventure. As Wily, from the Camino Forum stated below, the abandoned footwear now stand as ‘trail guardians’ and are gathered by ‘Camino Fairies’ to be refurbished for new adventures. So there is hope for them still! Thanks so much for stopping by.

    1. Hi, Ally – Those shoes and boots definitely have stories to tell!! To help answer some readers questions (and some of my own), I’ve been corresponding with the folks at the Camino Forum (see my ‘cut and paste’ in answer to Liesbet below). Turns out the history and folklore behind abandoned shoes on the Camino was even richer than I imagined. Also, it appears that Richard and I were lucky to see so many ‘trail guardians,’ as the Forum calls them, on one (albeit very long) hike! πŸ™‚

  6. Wow, great Wordless Wednesday post-Donna. Sorry, it has taken me until Friday to respond to the notice of it in my email. There is absolutely nothing like the feel of a well fitting and comfortable shoe. I once spent quite a bit on a pair of walking shoes and my feet felt like they were in Heaven. When embarking on a journey like the Camino Trail I can understand how crucial it would be to have the proper shoes. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words so based on the number of pictures up there you have just written a twenty thousand word post all without a single letter! Spectacular!! Besides, I think pictures can sometimes evoke more thought and feeling that paragraphs trying to relate the same information. πŸ™‚ Beautiful, Donna, just beautiful. – I enjoyed it very much.

  7. Hi, Susan – Thank you so much for your kind words. I was certainly a ‘Wordless Wednesday Failure’ on my previous WW attempts (e.g. how do you blog without words?!). Since these shoes and boots were so ‘talkative’ I thought that I would try, try again!

    1. I didn’t know that bras were also being abandoned on the trail! I did leave a bra behind — but I discarded it discreetly (i.e., washed, dried and in the Good Will Box). πŸ™‚

  8. A beautiful post Donna. There are so many stories in these abandoned shoes and hiking boots – the person who arrived in them is often not the same person who continues walking the trail without them. I love Wordless Wednesday posts and often take part – it is nice at times to let the images do all the talking ;o) xxx

    1. This is a very insightful comment, Xenia. You are right, the person who originally arrived in the abandoned shoes, is often not the same person who continues (or discontinues) walking. That is the beauty of the Camino. It can change you. Or, help you to be yourself more fully.

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